Patrick Craine

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‘Campaign for Humanae Vitae’ seeks one million signatures

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

August 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York made the stunning admission in March that he believes America’s bishops had failed in their duty to teach the faithful the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical that reiterated the Church’s condemnation of contraception.

Now, as the U.S. bishops continue to unite in opposition to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, a new multi-year petition campaign is rallying behind them and calling them to preach the encyclical’s message boldly.

The Campaign for Humanae Vitae, launched by The Bellarmine Forum (formerly The Wanderer Forum), is a worldwide effort seeking one million signatures to present to the Pope and bishops by the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae on July 25th, 2018.

Prof. Charles Rice, professor emeritus in law at Notre Dame University and president of The Bellarmine Forum, told LifeSiteNews that Obama’s mandate has presented an important “teaching moment” on contraception for America’s bishops. “We have reason to think they will take advantage of it,” he says.

Dr. Christopher Manion, a Bellarmine Forum board member, says they already have “a couple thousand” signatures and have secured contacts in Europe and Latin America to expand the campaign beyond the U.S.

“This is a petition thanking the Holy Father for repeatedly requesting that the entire moral teachings of the Church be taught, even the unpopular parts,” he explained. “We want the whole world to know that first of all, Humanae Vitae exists, that it is the teaching of the Church, that it is a beautiful gift to the Church, and that we are ready and, with the prayerful virtue of fortitude, willing to bring it to a culture that might not be too friendly.”

The text of the petition, available at The Bellarmine Forum’s website, expresses gratitude to the pope for his “repeated requests that [Humanae Vitae] be taught vigorously, and in its entirety,” and calls on the bishops to “speak out boldly and with confidence in defense of the moral truths of Humanae Vitae – all of them.”

“Please ask your priests to preach Humanae Vitae ‘with confidence’ and ‘without ambiguity’ (HV, 28), fortified by prayer and with the assurance that it constitutes ‘a promulgation of the law of God Himself.’ (HV, 20),” the petition adds.

In a July 25th column for Crisis Magazine announcing the launch of the Campaign, Rice wrote that Obama’s HHS mandate has “opened for the bishops a clear field to advance the truth of HV.”

He notes that Christians had been united in their opposition to contraception up until the Anglican Communion’s 1930 Lambeth Conference. By the time Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae in 1968, it resulted in a “storm of dissent” even within the Catholic Church.

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According to Rice, the problems have in large part been due to the failures of Catholic leaders themselves. He highlights in particular an incident known as the “truce of 1968”.

“In 1968, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., disciplined nineteen priests who had dissented publicly from HV,” Rice explains. “Three years later the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy ordered Cardinal O’Boyle to lift canonical penalties from those priests who told him privately that they agreed that the teaching on ‘the objective evil of contraception’ was ‘an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.’  The Congregation explicitly refrained from requiring that priests who had dissented publicly must retract their dissent publicly.”

According to George Weigel, whom Rice quotes, “The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free.”

“The Truce of 1968 taught bishops inclined to defend authoritative Catholic teaching vigorously that they should think twice about doing so, if controversy were likely to follow,” Weigel added.

Since this “truce,” says Rice, “the American bishops, with exceptions, have miserably failed to educate Catholics and others on HV and the similar teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

“When an objective history of this period is written, the practical abandonment by the American Catholic Church of the theretofore unbroken Christian teaching on contraception will be seen as astonishing, craven and frivolous,” Rice added.

According to a Gallup poll in May, 82% of America’s Catholics now believe that contraception is “morally acceptable.”

Rice observes, however, that this problem has been recognized increasingly by the bishops, and he especially praised Cardinal Dolan’s “candid analysis” of the situation in his March 31st interview with James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.

The cardinal, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Humanae Vitae “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa, we’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’”

“We forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day,” Dolan added.

According to Manion, Humanae Vitae is crucial because it is “the way that the culture is going to be saved from itself.”

In his Crisis column, Rice relates that the mass acceptance of contraception has been a disaster for sexual morality, families, and the culture at large, opening the door to such evils as promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, abortion, and even euthanasia.

“If you make yourself the arbiter of whether and when life shall begin, you will predictably put yourself in charge of when life shall end, as in abortion, euthanasia and suicide,” he writes. “If it is man’s decision as to whether sex will have any relation to procreation, then the only objections to same-sex ‘marriage,’ polygamy, bestiality, etc., are reduced to the aesthetic and arbitrary.”

“The separation of sex from procreation undercuts any reservation of sex for marriage and any reason for permanence of marriage,” he continues.

“HV is a game-changer because it challenges the core of the secularist, relativist and individualist religion of America’s ruling class,” he adds.

“What we want to do is to bring Humanae Vitae to a world that is very, very hungry for it,” says Manion.

Find the Campaign for Humanae Vitae petition at The Bellarmine Forum’s website.

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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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