Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

2,600 religious leave orders annually: homosexuality, ‘women’s ordination’ among top reasons

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, November 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to figures compiled by the Vatican, more than 2,600 priests and consecrated female religious leave their orders every year – and the office that oversees religious life has cited lack of fidelity to the Church’s sexual teachings and disagreement over the reservation of priestly ordination to men as a leading reason.

In all, 13,123 men and women were dispensed formally from their vows in religious life, a requirement for returning to the lay state, between 2008 and 2012. The annual average is 2,624.6.

The Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, cited “emotional problems” including “falling in love” in heterosexual relationships which sometimes “culminate in marriage.” But he also noted the “violation of the vow of chastity,” including with “repeated acts of homosexuality – more evident in men, but equally present, more than you think, among women.”

Many religious, he said, suffer a “loss of sense of belonging to the Church,” and this “lack of true communion...is manifested, among other things, in not sharing the Church’s teaching on specific issues such as the ordination of women and sexual morality.”

At a meeting in Rome late last month, Archbishop Rodríguez, lamented, “In a world where everything is soft, there is no place for sacrifice, nor by renunciation, or other similar values.”

The “absence of a spiritual life” – meaning “personal prayer, community prayer and sacramental life” and the “loss of sense of belonging to the community” – leads ultimately “to a profound crisis of faith,” he added.

The numbers, said Archbishop Rodríguez, indicated a possible change in the Church’s Canon Law saying that the law as it is “does not allow us to have longer novitiates in order to permit better discernment.” Nevertheless,” he said, “it’s appropriate to say that it is almost impossible to accurately detect these root causes,” due to a lack of “fully reliable data.”

Further, most people in Western countries come from a culture that precludes long-term commitment, one the archbishop compared to “zapping” from one television channel to another. “The first thing obvious to all is that we are in a world in profound transformation,” he said.

Following the close of the Second Vatican Council, one of the most notable, and alarming, features of the Catholic landscape was the mass “exodus” of thousands of consecrated religious, who left their orders, at the same time that religious orders started “experimentally” abandoning their habits and traditional practices like life in common and daily, scheduled prayer times.

In his October 29 address, however, Archbishop Rodríguez did not mention the growth of a movement within the religious life to push against the trends, and retain their customs and traditions. Dozens of small communities have either been founded or reformed in the last 20 years to bring back, in accordance with the instructions of the Second Vatican Council, those aspects of religious life – most prominently deliberate adherence to the Church’s moral teachings – that were lost or abandoned.

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In a decision seen by many as a powerful symbol, in 1993 the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, made famous as the community of ETWN founder Mother Angelica, moved from a modified, short-skirted habit, to the enveloping outfit that had been traditionally associated with sisters before Vatican II.

Another world-famous, and instantly recognizable, community are the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Theresa of Calcutta whose strict regimen of asceticism and care for the “poorest of the poor” around the world – including lepers – has never dampened the enthusiasm of the hundreds of women who apply around the world.

One of the most prominent and well known of these groups are the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, a teaching order founded in 1997, who have been featured as “young and rapidly expanding” on Oprah and dozens of other television and print news outlets in the U.S. These sisters have announced that, having outgrown their recently completed motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they will be opening two new houses of formation in Texas and California.

The sisters are part of an umbrella organization for female religious, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, (CMSWR) that was formed as an answer to the extreme liberalization of the older group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), that is currently under doctrinal investigation by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In opposition to LCWR organisations, CMSWR groups have as their basic principle their loyalty to Catholic doctrine and the Vatican’s authority and to the ancient traditions of the religious life. All of the groups wear some form of recognizable religious habit, live the traditional common life and engage in works that have always been associated with Catholic sisters such as teaching, nursing and prayer. They are also attracting large numbers of young women.

Sister Thomas Augustine, director of California Mission Advancement for the Ann Arbor Dominicans recently told Catholic San Francisco magazine, “We had 22 young women enter in August, and we have had between 10 and 20 new vocations per year for the past five years.”

“It has happened to us before that by the time we finished adding onto the motherhouse in Ann Arbor we were already out of room! This time we are hoping to stay ahead of things so we are planning for two new houses of formation.”  

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For Hillary Clinton, abortion access trumps religious liberty

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- For Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, apparently abortion trumps religious liberty.

It may have gotten bipartisan support in the House of Representatives last night, but a spokesperson for the Democratic Party's leading presidential candidate says a resolution protecting religious liberty in the District of Columbia "overrule[s] the democratic process" and hurts women.

The vote, which saw three Democrats join the GOP majority and 13 Republicans stand with Democrats, was meant to protect pro-life and religious organizations in the District from the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA).

RHNDA was signed by the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, in January, and makes it illegal for any employer, including religious and pro-life organizations, to use a person's belief or actions about abortion in employment considerations. It also requires employers to provide abortion coverage.

The resolution now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to fail due to the Senate being on recess. Under existing federal law, the measure has 30 legislative days to be disapproved by Congress and President Obama. If this does not happen, it becomes law.

The 30-day window ends on Saturday. President Obama promised a veto of the resolution on Thursday, even though RHNDA was opposed by former District mayor Vincent Gray. According to Gray, while he "applaud[s] the goals of this legislation," the former mayor believes RHNDA could violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment under the law.

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The statement by the Clinton campaign left no doubt that she stood with Obama and a majority of Democratic legislators. Spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri told CNN, "Hillary Clinton has fought for women and families and their right to access the full range of reproductive health care without interference from politicians or employers."

"Hillary will fight to make it easier, not more difficult, for women and families to get ahead and ensure that women are not discriminated against for personal medical decisions."

The remarks come a week after Clinton took criticism for saying that "religious beliefs" critical of "reproductive rights" must "be changed."

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” she told the Women in the World Summit on April 23.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper," said Clinton in her speech. "Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will."

“Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed,” said the candidate.

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Social conservatives may be funding the destruction of marriage: corporate watchdog

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By Dustin Siggins

May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- With over $55 million in annual revenue, the Human Rights Campaign may be America's most powerful LGBT activist group. And according to a conservative corporate watchdog, that's in part because social conservatives are funding it.

"Conservatives would be surprised to know that many of the dollars they spend every day are helping fund an agenda that seeks to destroy traditional marriage and undermine religious freedoms," said 2nd Vote National Outreach Director Robert Kuykendall. "Even when they purchase a beverage from a company like Coca-cola or Starbucks, their dollar is going to support HRC's liberal agenda to redefine marriage."

Less than 18 months old, 2nd Vote has graded hundreds of corporations on six issues -- corporate welfare, the environment, education, support for the Second Amendment, abortion, and as of two weeks ago, same-sex "marriage." Using their "scoring" system, 2nd Vote ranks corporations on their direct or indirect involvement with these hot-button public policy and cultural issues.

And according to them, some of America's favorite corporations are making the radical HRC agenda possible.

"HRC is the largest LGBT lobbying organization in the United States with reported revenues of over $55 million," Kuykendall told LifeSiteNews. "The redefinition of marriage and the undermining of religious freedom are major components of HRC’s policy agenda. To fund their policy goals, HRC has enlisted the help of many major corporations that we do business with every day to help fund. Over a third of the contributions received by HRC are listed as 'Corporate/Foundation Grants.'" 

Why should conservatives care about corporate donors to HRC? Kuykendall says the organization is both politically influential and publicly deceptive. "Last election cycle, HRC spent around a million dollars on electioneering activities and in support of liberal candidates willing to push their legislative agenda. HRC is responsible for spreading much of the misinformation regarding [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] laws and has also mischaracterized the protections provided by these laws."

"HRC organized a massive grassroots campaign in support of the legal battle to overturn state laws protecting marriage and influence the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges," said Kuykendall.

Marriage isn't the only issue on which conservatives may be at odds with HRC's corporate backers. "2nd Vote’s research into other issues such as life, the environment, and the 2nd Amendment shows that many of the companies supporting HRC have taken liberal stands on other issues as well,” he said. “For example, Apple, Citigroup, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola are Platinum Partners, the highest level of HRC’s National Corporate Partners, that have also funded the liberal Center for American Progress [CAP]."

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"Bank of America, Google, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Morgan Stanley are also HRC Corporate Partners that have funded CAP. Furthermore, all of these companies signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn state marriage laws."

In Indiana, the state's religious liberty law was modified because of corporate pressure led by Tim Cook, Apple's gay CEO. Kuykendall says conservatives should not give up, though he acknowledges that "for too long, conservatives have let liberals and groups like HRC bully companies into not just going along with their agenda, but actively funding and promoting it."

"However, conservatives have also proven their ability to mobilize and use their dollars in support of traditional values as we’ve seen through the fundraising campaigns for the pizza parlor and wedding cake makers who have been attacked by liberals for their beliefs. Conservatives need to turn the tables on the left, and groups like HRC, and motivate companies to stop funding the liberal agenda through the power of their shopping habits."

Only nine companies have ranks of "five" or "four" on 2nd Vote's ranking system, indicating a pro-marriage perspective. They are outnumbered more than 10 to 1 by organizations that support redefining marriage.

Concerned citizens can download the app on 2nd Vote's website. The full list of corporation scores can be found here.

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Fr. Mark Hodges

First graders exposed to book about transgender boy—without parental notification

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

KITTERY POINT, ME, May 1, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Parents at one Maine school are upset that children as young as six were exposed to a book promoting transgender issues, in the name of "acceptance."

Parents were not only not consulted, they were never even notified of their children's exposure to transgenderism.

Horace Mitchell Primary School read the book I Am Jazz to first-grade students. The book is about a boy who identifies as a girl from the age of two, "with a boy's body and a girl's brain." He eventually finds a doctor who tells his parents, "Jazz is transgender."

Parents began to inquire about what was being taught at Horace Mitchell Primary after children came home with questions about their own sex and wondering if they, too, might be transgender.

One mother, upset that teachers would broach the subject of transgenderism with her little boy, said the primary school ignored her complaint. "I feel like my thoughts, feelings and beliefs were completely ignored...My right as a parent to allow or not allow this discussion with my child was taken from me," she told Hannity.com.

"When I spoke with the principal he was very cold about it," the mother continued. "It's amazing how thoughtless the school has been with this whole thing."

Only after Sean Hannity made national inquiries did Horace Mitchell Primary School suggest that teachers should have told parents ahead of time.

Allyn Hutton, the superintendent of the local district, said she supported reading the book but admitted that parents should have been given advance warning about the subject matter. "We have a practice of – if a topic is considered sensitive – parents should be informed. In this situation, that didn't happen," she said. "We understand that toleration is tolerating people of all opinions."

Horace Mitchell Primary School sent an e-mail, after the fact, to concerned parents, including a link to a blog post of the school's guidance counselor, explaining their motivation was "cultivating respect."

"Some may think primary school students are too young to worry about addressing issues surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Not so, experts say,” the school's guidance counselor wrote. “It’s never too early to begin teaching children about respecting differences."

Homosexual activists say they support the teaching of transgenderism to first-graders, with or without parental notification. "The staff of Mitchell School is...shedding a light on [LGBTQ] issues,” said a column in Gay Star News.

The LGBT puublication goes even further, advocating homosexual propaganda be commonplace in elementary schools across the country. "LGBTQ issues should never be classified as a 'sensitive subject,' [because] there is nothing sensitive about the way we are born. Blonde hair, brown hair, gay, straight or somewhere in-between."

Brian Camenker of MassResistance commented on the infiltration of homosexual propaganda in children's schools. "We deal with parents and teachers a lot, and the idea that teachers would do this is unconscionable. It's like the people that promote this stuff are evil. It's demonic. You can't imagine adults that would do this to other people's children, and do it with such anger, and such vitrol.”

Camenker emphasized that this is “not an isolated incident with just one, rogue teacher. This happens because the whole administrative hierarchy buys into it.”

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“The new generation of educators is very, very frightening,” he said.

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