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Canadian Non-Catholic PM Says he Did Consume Communion after Offered, Will Meet Pope Saturday

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By John-Henry Westen and Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, July 7, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in hot water over a video that caught him taking Holy Communion in a Catholic Church, despite being a non-Catholic Christian. To make matters worse, the video** shows him walking away without consuming the host - although a spokesman for the Prime Minister told LifeSiteNews.com that the PM did consume the host off-camera.

The incident took place last Friday at the funeral of former Governor General Romeo Leblanc in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

In the video Harper is shown being offered communion by the Archbishop of Moncton, André Richard.  The Archbishop commented, regarding what Harper did with the host, that "I didn't see anything wrong there because I was busy doing something else," according to the Telegraph-Journal.

According to Catholic teaching the communion wafer becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ after it is consecrated by the priest. The Church teaches that only practicing Catholics who are properly disposed to receive Holy Communion should present themselves to receive the sacrament.

Catholic officials are blaming Prime Minister Harper for the incident.  Monsignor Brian Henneberry, Vicar General and Chancellor for the Diocese of St. John called for an explanation from the Prime Minister's office.  "If the prime minister is not a Catholic, he should not have been receiving communion," he said, "and if he comes up it places the priest in an awkward position, especially at a national funeral because everyone is watching."

He says that if Harper took the host without consuming it, "it's worse than a faux pas, it's a scandal from the Catholic point of view."

"If I were the prime minister," he said, "I would at least offer an explanation to say no offence was meant, and then (clarifying) what happened to the consecrated host is in order.  I would hope the Prime Minister's Office would have enough respect for the Catholic Church and for faith in general to make clear whatever happened."

Msgr. Henneberry said that if Harper was unclear about what was appropriate at the funeral Mass, it "would say to me it's time to get new protocol people."

Rev. Arthur Bourgeois, who preached the homily, however, said he did not have a problem with the prime minister receiving communion.  "Usually, to partake in holy communion in the Catholic Church, you have to be a member of it," he said, "but if you're not, exceptionally sometimes at major occasions (it is different)."

"If you are up there and giving holy communion," he said, "you are not going to stop and asked everyone if they are Catholic or if they are not Catholic. You say the Lord provides."

Archbishop James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed regret over the incident.  He said, "I would feel very sorry for the prime minister if he wasn't informed about what the procedure is. I would find it terrible if we put him in an embarrassing situation.  My concern is at a funeral of that level everyone knows what the protocol is."

The Church is clear, however, about the duty of pastors in conferring the sacraments.  According to the 1982 Code of Canon Law, "Pastors of souls and other members of the Christian faithful, according to their respective ecclesiastical function, have the duty to take care that those who seek the sacraments are prepared to receive them by proper evangelization and catechetical instruction, attentive to the norms issued by competent authority" (Can. 843 §2).

Further, Canon Law states, "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone" (Can. 844).

LSN attempted to contact Archbishop Richard for comment, but was told the Archbishop was on vacation, had no spokesman, and had not made any statements.

Neil MacCarthy, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto told the National Post that the Prime Minister probably should have been briefed that non-Catholics are not supposed to take Communion. He said at most funeral and wedding masses, when there will be a large number of non-Catholics in attendance, a priest tell the guests that only Catholics can take a Communion wafer but others can receive a blessing.

McCarthy also said most Protestant services allow all baptized Christians to take part in communion, which may have led to Mr. Harper’s confusion.

LSN was able to speak with Harper's spokesman Dimitri Soudas, who explained that the Prime Minister was offered Communion by the bishop and therefore "accepted it and consumed it." He said, "Any allegation that he put it in his pocket is absurd and ridiculous."

When questioned about the video showing the PM walking away without consuming the Host, Soudas replied: "He was holding a program in his hand and he went to put the program down and then consumed it." That took place, he said, after the camera stopped following the PM.

Asked why the PM as a non-Catholic would receive Communion, Soudas replied: "Who is the Prime Minister to judge once Communion has been offered to him?"

Soudas added, "It is a well known fact that he's a Christian." 

Soudas then turned to the Prime Minister's upcoming meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Saturday. "He's very much looking forward to his audience with the Pope this Saturday," said Soudas. He would not state if the PM had any agenda for that meeting, but did acknowledge that Mr. Harper would be accompanied by his wife and children.

** Note: The above video is not a LifeSiteNews video and the editorial content in the video is not the position of LifeSiteNews. Double click on video to view larger YouTube version



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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