Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Cardinal Bertone overrules Vatican CDF head on “Catholic” status of rebel Peru university

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, February 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a highly unusual move, the Vatican curia’s highest official, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, has reportedly corrected the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a dispute over a rebel Peruvian university. According to a report by La Stampa’s Vatican Insider magazine, Cardinal Bertone and a meeting of high-level Vatican officials have declared that a letter by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller to Cardinal Juan Cipriani Thorne, the archbishop of Lima, Peru, is “null and void” and that Cardinal Cipriani’s actions against the former Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PCUP) were correct and within the precepts of Canon Law.

Vatican Insider reports that a controversy has flared within the Vatican over the actions taken by the Secretariat of State and Cardinal Cipriani against PCUP, whose theology department is known for opposing Catholic teaching on homosexuality and abortion.

The university received a papal decree dated July 11, 2012 from Cardinal Bertone withdrawing the titles “Pontifical” and “Catholic” and rescinding the licenses of the theology faculty to teach Catholic doctrine in the name of the Church. But the professors appealed to the CDF and Müller, who had been a student of Liberation Theology founder Gustavo Gutiérrez, a PCUP professor with whom Müller has had a long and close friendship.

The Vatican Insider says that Müller, an outsider to Vatican curial procedures, wrote a personal letter to Cardinal Cipriani reportedly without consulting his own staff in the CDF, bypassing the normal channels of the Peruvian nunciature. The letter, the text of which was published in part by the Peruvian press, told Cipriani that he had no right to revoke the university’s status. Müller demanded an explanation for the decision to not renew the licenses of theology professors. Müller had, moreover, told the university theology department to carry on teaching in the name of the Church, indicating that the issue is not yet closed in the Vatican.

Bertone reportedly responded to the letter by calling a meeting of high officials in the Vatican who rebuked Müller’s interference. Bertone said that Canon Law is clear that it is the prerogative of the local bishop to grant or revoke the teaching license of any individual or institution proposing to teach Catholic theology.

At the time of his appointment, Archbishop Müller was widely perceived to be sympathetic to theologians involved in Liberation Theology, a synthesis of Christian ideas and Marxism that was censured in the 1980s and ‘90s by then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Müller, a close collaborator with Ratzinger, came to Rome in July 2012 at Pope Benedict’s request from the archdiocese of Regensburg. His friendly relationship with PCUP is highlighted by his reception in 2008 of a doctorate honoris causa from the university.

The controversy comes at a time of extreme delicacy in the life of the Vatican, with scandal swirling around the unpopular Bertone, the pope resigning and a looming conclave that could change the entire curial landscape.

Müller’s sidestepping of the Secretariat of State, formally above the CDF in the Vatican’s hierarchy, and in defiance of a papally approved decree is a major breach of protocol. The rebuke from Bertone’s Secretariat of State to the CDF is being seen in Rome as a serious blow to the authority and prestige of the recently appointed Müller, and indirectly to Pope Benedict. It is being called another indicator of the state of near-chaos and rivalry that prevails in the Vatican.

The university administration and theology faculty has remained defiant, claiming the university has a right to the name Catholic, and say they have no plans to change it. A former PCUP rector, Salomon Lerner Febres wrote on January 13th in La República, that the decree is a “decision not in line with the spirit of the Gospel” aimed not at promoting Catholic doctrinal orthodoxy, but at suppressing Liberation Theology.

Cardinal Cipriani, the university’s Great Chancellor, issued the decree after months of talks between the archdiocese and Rome, but the problems date back decades. Founded in 1917, the Vatican says that since 1967 the university “has on various occasions unilaterally modified its statutes, seriously prejudicing the interests of the Church.”

The Vatican and the local Church have been trying to bring PUCP back into line with Catholic teaching since at least 1990 when Pope John Paul II promulgated the law on Catholic universities, the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae”. As of today, the university still bills itself as the “Pontifical Catholic University of Peru”.

Andres Alvarez Beltramo wrote for Vatican Insider that the “very existence of the letter” was seen at the university as “an encouragement” for the rector Marcial Rubio and his collaborators, who have long refused the requests of Church officials to comply with the Vatican’s requests.

See previous LifeSiteNews reports:

Vatican gives ultimatum to wayward Catholic university: conform to Church law by April 8

Ultraliberal Catholic University and Vatican at an “impasse”

Pro-abortion university defiant in face of Vatican ruling stripping it of ‘Catholic’ name



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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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