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Addressing Homosexuality with “Love in Truth”

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White

ROME, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What is the best way to present Christian teachings on homosexuality in the face of an increasingly hostile secular culture? How can Christians answer the accusations leveled against their beliefs? John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com’s editor-in-chief, told an audience of the world’s pro-life and pro-family leaders at a conference in Italy this week that the only way is “caritas in veritate;” to speak the truth in love.

(Read the complete speech here)

It is an act of love, he said, for parents to correct and discipline their children. “It is not love,” he said, “to allow your children to rampantly misbehave without correcting them.”

“So too the Church, especially Her shepherds – the fathers of souls - must feed the flock, must teach the truths however difficult and politically incorrect.  That is true love.”

Speaking at Human  Life International’s Fifth Annual World Prayer Congress for Life north of Rome on Wednesday, Westen proposed that the “vast majority” of clergy and bishops have shied away from the forthright presentation of Christian teaching on all aspects of sexuality out of a fear of losing “human respect” - in essence, out of a desire to fit in and be accepted. 
  
“And what has come of these lapses in teaching? Has the silence of the Church led to cultural peace in these matters? No.” 

Christians, he said, have balked at defending their beliefs in all the areas of concern in the Culture Wars, from abortion, adultery, homosexuality and divorce to human embryonic stem cell research.

“It is precisely in those hard cases where it was believed prudent, or convenient, caring or pastoral, to be silent and appease the prevailing culture.” 

Westen identified the issue of acceptance of homosexuality as particularly urgent across the western world. Homosexual “marriage” is legal in 10 nations; homosexual civil unions are legal in another 20 nations, and the matter is under political consideration in another 43 nations.

Westen posed the question of how Christians can now begin to present their beliefs forthrightly in a culture that is so firmly rejecting them. The answer, he said, is to be found in the Christian principle of love of neighbour. Specifically, the love of those suffering from homosexual temptations and those men and women in the grip of a destructive lifestyle.

“Even from just a medical perspective it is love to oppose homosexual acts,” Westen said.

Addressing a largely Catholic conference audience, Westen highlighted a flaw in the approach of most of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy towards the “gay marriage” debate. He noted that despite the fact that the Vatican forbade silence on the matter of the immorality of the homosexual act, the vast majority of Catholic leaders have failed to teach this relying rather on less controversial arguments in favour of heterosexual marriage.

The 1986 CDF document entitled “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” states: “But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

“Unfortunately, the ways in which we have communicated the Church’s truth on sexuality, or failed to communicate it, have for the most part helped us to lose the majority of Catholics,” said Westen.

The failure of the Church in recent decades to address effectively the smaller issues, he said, has led to a virtually uncontested field for the opponents of life and family and traditional Christian values.

“The rampant practice of contraception has inevitably led to the abortion holocaust.  Unchecked immodesty and total lack of custody of the eyes has brought us to the near universal addiction to pornography. In vitro fertilization gave us embryonic stem cell research.  Homosexual acts by their acceptance have led to homosexual ‘marriage’ and even restrictions on the freedom of religious practice in various nations.”

Westen said that homosexualist activists, in seeking to create “gay marriage,” had little interest in committed, permanent unions, but were rather focused on attaining marriage “as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behaviour.”

Societal approval of their behaviour, he said, is sought as a means of quelling the voice of conscience. “For practicing homosexuals as with all those engaged in aberrant sexual behaviour, the conscience speaks uncomfortably.”  

Westen received a standing ovation after his talk with numerous conference participants personally thanking him for the talk throughout the day. After the talk Westen received invites from pro-life leaders to speak in England, New Zealand and Austria and one European Bishop expressed interest in having John-Henry to come to his diocese to speak to his priests and seminarians.

Read the full text of Westen’s talk here.

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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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