Jean McCarthy

47 hours with a prince

Jean McCarthy
By Jean McCarthy
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(LifeSiteNews.com) - “Your husband isn’t with you?” The doctor looked concerned.  Hannah Boland had decided to go alone for her follow-up appointment.

Only a short while before, a pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But this pregnancy was different. They were out of the danger zone. The baby was already twenty weeks gestation. Alison and Harry, Hannah’s two toddlers, aged three and two respectively, were going to have another sibling.

“I like having the husband or partner present in these sorts of situations. We detected a problem with your baby’s scan,” the doctor continued. “There seems to be a problem with his brain.”

An information sheet was pushed in front of Hannah. 

The baby’s brain had not developed, the doctor explained. The condition could not be altered. It was unlikely he would be born alive. If he survived birth, he would have a few, short, painful moments to live. 

“I was in total shock,” Hannah told LifeSiteNews, “This sort of thing happens to other people.” 

Hannah and her husband, Michael, both devout Christians, raise their family in a semi-rural area outside Sydney, Australia. Michael is the sole breadwinner, working as a mechanic who specializes in elevators.  Hannah is a stay-at-home mom, who was taking care of their two toddlers at the time of the diagnosis. 

This diagnosis put her faith to the test. 

The couple’s main struggle was how to cope with the uncertainties that lay ahead. But Hannah says the Bible gave them hope.  She clung to the passage, “He will not tempt you beyond your strength.”

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Abortion was never an option for the Bolands.  “With our first child, we went through those questions because they can do prenatal testing.”  Those tests were “a waste of time,” she said. “We knew that that was not something God would want us to do…Who are we to say that that person is not worthy to live?” 

Almost every doctor they met recommended an abortion. Hannah says one doctor said at a consultation, “Tell me why I am here?  I don’t even know why I am here. There is no hope for your baby.  No.  None.  There is a 99.9 per cent chance of your baby dying right after he is born.  It is likely that he will just gurgle a little and then die.  I won’t even be present at his birth; there is no point.”

The doctors also thought there was no point in giving the baby oxygen in the event that he lived after birth.  One doctor suggested simply letting the baby starve.

Prayers and tears were all the couple was left with.  They loved their son and wanted what was best for him.  They had to decide on their own what that would mean. 

In the end they decided to feed, love and serve him.  The one real struggle was resuscitation.  Was it in his best interest to bring him back? Their final decision: “We would not do anything intentionally to end Stephen’s life.”

The birth took three days.  When Stephen was born, “he stunned the theater staff with his loud, healthy cry.  It was a far cry from the gurgling, dying cry they had expected to see,” Hannah recounted in a book she later published about her son. 

Their son looked healthy and beautiful.  Tears rolled down Michael’s cheek and family members trickled in and out to meet and cuddle the new baby.  Stephen’s brother and sister were excited to meet him, but too young to fully process what was going on.  They only understood that he was very sick.

Hours later, Stephen began to fuss, a signal that it was feeding time.  The nurses inserted a feeding tube through Stephen’s nose.  It seemed to nourish and settle him. 

“He was feeding.  He was well.  I was going to be able to bring him home and take care of him!” Hannah wrote. 

However, the initial signs were misleading.  Stephen began spitting up his food and it became apparent that he was not assimilating any nutrition.  It was only a matter of time. 

Hannah recounts being tired and frazzled, not knowing how to handle a child that was slipping away.  Her husband showed her how.  He gently took his son and said, “Well, mate, you’re still here for a reason.  And as long as you are still here, I am going to serve you as best I can.” He cradled him and swabbed his dry lips. 

It was a time to be completely selfless, which Hannah admits was difficult especially after the long labor.  She is ashamed to recount, “Here was my son dying, suffering, and once again all I could think about was how it was hard on me.”

During short intervals Stephen stopped breathing, but would revive again and again.  After several hours of cradling Stephen, Michael turned to his wife. Their son was gone.  He slipped away in the arms of his father, close to his mother.  He had arrived at his final destination.  In some ways, their journey had only just begun. 

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Stephen’s birth.  Hannah has written an account of his life, 47 Hours with a Prince, and is training to be a Christian Counselor. 

“I want to help people in the way I have been helped,” she says, explaining that a Christian Counselor helped her though the many months of grieving that followed the death of Stephen.  She hopes to help those with emotional illness, noting, “the emotional side of us is just as prone to illness as any part of us.”

There are many messages she wants to give, and one is about acceptance. “We have to look at things through God’s eyes or you are going to make decisions that you are going to regret.”

As for the book, it has met with success in Hannah’s mind.  “I have non-Christian friends coming away saying they will give deep consideration to it.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to 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,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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