Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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

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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Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.

I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:

Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.

Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.

After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.

The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.

So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.

When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.



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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. 

The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans.  Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.  And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”

Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.” 

The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.

“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says. 

The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children. 

“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked. 

There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so. 

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.



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