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
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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For Hillary Clinton, abortion access trumps religious liberty

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- For Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, apparently abortion trumps religious liberty.

It may have gotten bipartisan support in the House of Representatives last night, but a spokesperson for the Democratic Party's leading presidential candidate says a resolution protecting religious liberty in the District of Columbia "overrule[s] the democratic process" and hurts women.

The vote, which saw three Democrats join the GOP majority and 13 Republicans stand with Democrats, was meant to protect pro-life and religious organizations in the District from the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA).

RHNDA was signed by the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, in January, and makes it illegal for any employer, including religious and pro-life organizations, to use a person's belief or actions about abortion in employment considerations. It also requires employers to provide abortion coverage.

The resolution now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to fail due to the Senate being on recess. Under existing federal law, the measure has 30 legislative days to be disapproved by Congress and President Obama. If this does not happen, it becomes law.

The 30-day window ends on Saturday. President Obama promised a veto of the resolution on Thursday, even though RHNDA was opposed by former District mayor Vincent Gray. According to Gray, while he "applaud[s] the goals of this legislation," the former mayor believes RHNDA could violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment under the law.

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The statement by the Clinton campaign left no doubt that she stood with Obama and a majority of Democratic legislators. Spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri told CNN, "Hillary Clinton has fought for women and families and their right to access the full range of reproductive health care without interference from politicians or employers."

"Hillary will fight to make it easier, not more difficult, for women and families to get ahead and ensure that women are not discriminated against for personal medical decisions."

The remarks come a week after Clinton took criticism for saying that "religious beliefs" critical of "reproductive rights" must "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,” she told the Women in the World Summit on April 23.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper," said Clinton in her speech. "Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will."

“Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed,” said the candidate.

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Social conservatives may be funding the destruction of marriage: corporate watchdog

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By Dustin Siggins

May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- With over $55 million in annual revenue, the Human Rights Campaign may be America's most powerful LGBT activist group. And according to a conservative corporate watchdog, that's in part because social conservatives are funding it.

"Conservatives would be surprised to know that many of the dollars they spend every day are helping fund an agenda that seeks to destroy traditional marriage and undermine religious freedoms," said 2nd Vote National Outreach Director Robert Kuykendall. "Even when they purchase a beverage from a company like Coca-cola or Starbucks, their dollar is going to support HRC's liberal agenda to redefine marriage."

Less than 18 months old, 2nd Vote has graded hundreds of corporations on six issues -- corporate welfare, the environment, education, support for the Second Amendment, abortion, and as of two weeks ago, same-sex "marriage." Using their "scoring" system, 2nd Vote ranks corporations on their direct or indirect involvement with these hot-button public policy and cultural issues.

And according to them, some of America's favorite corporations are making the radical HRC agenda possible.

"HRC is the largest LGBT lobbying organization in the United States with reported revenues of over $55 million," Kuykendall told LifeSiteNews. "The redefinition of marriage and the undermining of religious freedom are major components of HRC’s policy agenda. To fund their policy goals, HRC has enlisted the help of many major corporations that we do business with every day to help fund. Over a third of the contributions received by HRC are listed as 'Corporate/Foundation Grants.'" 

Why should conservatives care about corporate donors to HRC? Kuykendall says the organization is both politically influential and publicly deceptive. "Last election cycle, HRC spent around a million dollars on electioneering activities and in support of liberal candidates willing to push their legislative agenda. HRC is responsible for spreading much of the misinformation regarding [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] laws and has also mischaracterized the protections provided by these laws."

"HRC organized a massive grassroots campaign in support of the legal battle to overturn state laws protecting marriage and influence the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges," said Kuykendall.

Marriage isn't the only issue on which conservatives may be at odds with HRC's corporate backers. "2nd Vote’s research into other issues such as life, the environment, and the 2nd Amendment shows that many of the companies supporting HRC have taken liberal stands on other issues as well,” he said. “For example, Apple, Citigroup, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola are Platinum Partners, the highest level of HRC’s National Corporate Partners, that have also funded the liberal Center for American Progress [CAP]."

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"Bank of America, Google, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Morgan Stanley are also HRC Corporate Partners that have funded CAP. Furthermore, all of these companies signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn state marriage laws."

In Indiana, the state's religious liberty law was modified because of corporate pressure led by Tim Cook, Apple's gay CEO. Kuykendall says conservatives should not give up, though he acknowledges that "for too long, conservatives have let liberals and groups like HRC bully companies into not just going along with their agenda, but actively funding and promoting it."

"However, conservatives have also proven their ability to mobilize and use their dollars in support of traditional values as we’ve seen through the fundraising campaigns for the pizza parlor and wedding cake makers who have been attacked by liberals for their beliefs. Conservatives need to turn the tables on the left, and groups like HRC, and motivate companies to stop funding the liberal agenda through the power of their shopping habits."

Only nine companies have ranks of "five" or "four" on 2nd Vote's ranking system, indicating a pro-marriage perspective. They are outnumbered more than 10 to 1 by organizations that support redefining marriage.

Concerned citizens can download the app on 2nd Vote's website. The full list of corporation scores can be found here.

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Fr. Mark Hodges

First graders exposed to book about transgender boy—without parental notification

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

KITTERY POINT, ME, May 1, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Parents at one Maine school are upset that children as young as six were exposed to a book promoting transgender issues, in the name of "acceptance."

Parents were not only not consulted, they were never even notified of their children's exposure to transgenderism.

Horace Mitchell Primary School read the book I Am Jazz to first-grade students. The book is about a boy who identifies as a girl from the age of two, "with a boy's body and a girl's brain." He eventually finds a doctor who tells his parents, "Jazz is transgender."

Parents began to inquire about what was being taught at Horace Mitchell Primary after children came home with questions about their own sex and wondering if they, too, might be transgender.

One mother, upset that teachers would broach the subject of transgenderism with her little boy, said the primary school ignored her complaint. "I feel like my thoughts, feelings and beliefs were completely ignored...My right as a parent to allow or not allow this discussion with my child was taken from me," she told Hannity.com.

"When I spoke with the principal he was very cold about it," the mother continued. "It's amazing how thoughtless the school has been with this whole thing."

Only after Sean Hannity made national inquiries did Horace Mitchell Primary School suggest that teachers should have told parents ahead of time.

Allyn Hutton, the superintendent of the local district, said she supported reading the book but admitted that parents should have been given advance warning about the subject matter. "We have a practice of – if a topic is considered sensitive – parents should be informed. In this situation, that didn't happen," she said. "We understand that toleration is tolerating people of all opinions."

Horace Mitchell Primary School sent an e-mail, after the fact, to concerned parents, including a link to a blog post of the school's guidance counselor, explaining their motivation was "cultivating respect."

"Some may think primary school students are too young to worry about addressing issues surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Not so, experts say,” the school's guidance counselor wrote. “It’s never too early to begin teaching children about respecting differences."

Homosexual activists say they support the teaching of transgenderism to first-graders, with or without parental notification. "The staff of Mitchell School is...shedding a light on [LGBTQ] issues,” said a column in Gay Star News.

The LGBT puublication goes even further, advocating homosexual propaganda be commonplace in elementary schools across the country. "LGBTQ issues should never be classified as a 'sensitive subject,' [because] there is nothing sensitive about the way we are born. Blonde hair, brown hair, gay, straight or somewhere in-between."

Brian Camenker of MassResistance commented on the infiltration of homosexual propaganda in children's schools. "We deal with parents and teachers a lot, and the idea that teachers would do this is unconscionable. It's like the people that promote this stuff are evil. It's demonic. You can't imagine adults that would do this to other people's children, and do it with such anger, and such vitrol.”

Camenker emphasized that this is “not an isolated incident with just one, rogue teacher. This happens because the whole administrative hierarchy buys into it.”

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“The new generation of educators is very, very frightening,” he said.

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