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Catholic colleges sending record number of students to the March for Life

Cardinal Newman Society
By Cardinal Newman Society
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January 24, 2013 (CNS) - Participation by several faithful Catholic colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C., March for Life is expected to reach an all-time high this year. Total student participation by schools featured in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide will surpass 2,000 this year.

As in years past, the entire Christendom College student body, as well as faculty, staff members, and families will join the March.  Christendom expects that more than 400 people affiliated with the College will attend. Christendom cancels classes at its Front Royal, Va., campus for the day to allow students to participate.

The College has attended the March for Life annually since its founding 35 years ago. Christendom students have been invited to carry the lead banner and flags in 1984, 1998, 2009, and 2012.

Senior Chris Roberts said he finds it “refreshing” that the College cancels classes.

“It really highlights Christendom’s dedication to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life – even in a culture of death,” said Roberts. “We are able to reinvigorate ourselves for the fight.”

Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., is sending a record number of students to this year’s March. The College had to add a seventh bus so that interested students could take the 48-hour round-trip ride to attend. They’ll be attending with their President, Stephen D. Minnis, and the new Abbot of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Abbot James Albers, OSB. The College has been participating in the march for 28 years.

“I organized the trip my sophomore year; we usually went with Kansans for Life,” said Abbot Albers, who graduated from Benedictine College in 1994. “Back then, 15 to 20 students going was a good number.”

This year, more than 350 will be attending.

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“Benedictine College has the largest group attending from the greatest distance away,” said Minnis, who has attended the March since becoming president in 2004. “Now, about 20 percent of our student body is willing to take that long…trip…in support of life. I am constantly amazed and pleased by our students.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) also has seven busloads of students attending. Prior to the March, the students will be attending the Solemn Mass for Life at 7:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center. FUS catechetics professor, Robert Rice, is hosting the Youth Rally.

As he has every year since becoming president in 2000, Father Terence Henry, T.O.R., will lead the Franciscan contingent, 800 strong, under the emerald Franciscan University banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… Before you were born, I dedicated you…” (Jer. 1:5).

“When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope,” adds Grace Daigler, a junior social work major and vice president of Franciscan University’s Students for Life.

Given its location, The Catholic University of America is involved in the March in a variety of ways. While classes are not cancelled, organizers expect approximately 500 CUA students to attend. In addition, the university will continue its custom of hosting teen marchers from out-of-town. More than 1,200 teens will camp out in the Ramond A. DuFour Athletic Center the evening before the March. Approximately 200 CUA students have volunteered to serve as hosts for the visitors. They help with hospitality, register visitors, serve meals, chaperone, and lay out sleeping bags.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life and vigil Mass begins at the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s Great Upper Church at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. The student volunteers also lead teams in the DuFour Center in the Rosary for Life. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Jan. 24, Catholic University is hosting all-night Eucharistic adoration, as well as opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

More than 17% of the student body at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., plan to attend. Approximately 150 students, administrators, and staff are taking three buses to participate in the March. Many others are driving or flying independently.

“I’m proud of our over 150 Ave Maria students, faculty and staff members who will travel over 1,000 miles… to participate in the March for Life,” said President Jim Towey. “Our students know how important it is for them to march as witnesses to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception through natural death.”

Last year’s trip nearly didn’t happen. The chartered bus cancelled the trip. With only hours to go before their departure, students raised $20,000 to hire an Orlando-based bus to take them to the 2012 March.

Mount St. Mary’s University is bringing more than 280 people on five buses. That number includes at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Mount St. Mary’s junior, Justin Wykowski said that attending the March gives him hope.

“It’s arguably one of the most powerful ways to further the cause against abortion. Some people drive 40-plus hours just to march; I can do one,” said Wykowski. “It gives me hope. To look down from the top of Capitol Hill and see tens of thousands of people waving signs in the blistering cold is simply breathtaking. We are not alone in this fight. Not even close.”

Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is sending its largest contingent ever to Washington, D.C., for the March. The College allowed students to attend the March without counting it as an absence, and similarly, for faculty or staff without being forced to use a vacation day.

Aquinas students, faculty, and staff spent two afternoons earlier this week placing 3,000 crosses on the front lawn to memorialize the 3,000 children lost every day to abortion.

Approximately 30 students from DeSales University are attending in conjunction with the Catholic Newman Center at Lehigh University.

St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok., is sending 14 students along with Fr. Nicholas Ast, OSB, vice president for mission and identity and university chaplain.

“By participating in the March for Life, our students give a prophetic witness to the truth that all human life is sacred,” said Fr. Ast. “Indeed, the presence of so many young people at the march every year is a sign that a new generation has embraced the Gospel of Life.”

“Every year I make an effort to attend the March for Life, either in my hometown or in Washington D.C., as an exercise of my American right to peaceful protest and my duty as a citizen, and even just as a human being, to protect the rights and lives of others,” said Gabriela Weigel, a junior at St. Gregory’s University. “It is important for me to attend because action is what provokes change, and as a young person it is my place to be the new energy and vitality in the Pro-Life movement, and to display to our secular society a love for all its members, especially the unborn, elderly and disabled.”

Students from colleges far from Washington are participating in their own local demonstrations supporting life. One-third of the student body from Wyoming Catholic College braved that state’s winter weather to participate in the Wyoming March for Life in Cheyenne.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University helped plan and lead the inaugural Walk for Life San Diego on Jan. 19. Senior Timmerie Millington was a key organizer of the event. About 3,000 walkers participated.

Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, Ca., is sending two-thirds of the College’s student body to San Francisco for the Jan. 26 Walk for Life West Coast. The College has participated every year since the Walk first began in 2005. The more than 200 students, faculty, and staff attending make up one of the largest groups in the Walk.

Students will begin the 550-mile round-trip journey Friday after classes. Students are staying at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s Little Italy, where the Salesian fathers have offered them space to sleep in the parish’s two gymnasia. Students will participate in all-night Eucharistic adoration, culminating in a Holy Hour in honor of the Unborn Child Jesus from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Later that morning, the students will attend the Walk for Life Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. Following the Mass is the two-mile Walk, beginning in Justin Herman Plaza, through Fisherman’s Wharf, and concluding with a rally in Marina Green.

Numerous TAC students have been asked to take on leadership roles in the event, including directing walkers, assisting visiting dignitaries, and bolstering security along the route. A delegation of the College’s women have been given the honor of leading the marchers through the city, carrying an “Abortion Hurts Women” banner.

Reprinted with permission from the Cardinal Newman Society.

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Christian clerk fights on as Sixth Circuit orders her to issue gay ‘marriage’ licenses

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

ROWAN COUNTY, KY, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A federal appeals court has ordered Christian clerk Kim Davis to provide same-sex “marriage” licenses, but she’s refusing to give in.

Davis, a Democrat, says that her Christian beliefs will not allow her to issue licenses for same-sex “marriages.” Despite pressure from Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear, a lawsuit from the ACLU, and two federal court rulings, Davis has refused to issue any licenses while the matter is still working its way through the courts.

However, the Sixth District Court of Appeals said Davis must issue the licenses.

While critics say Davis must follow the law as a public employee, she says the First Amendment protects her decision even as a government worker. In addition to being sued by the ACLU, she has pro-actively taken her case to court.

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Beshear told all government employees that "you can continue to have your own personal beliefs, but, you’re also taking an oath to fulfill the duties prescribed by law, and if you are at that point to where your personal convictions tell you that you simply cannot fulfill your duties that you were elected to do, then obviously an honorable course to take is to resign and let someone else step in who feels that they can fulfill those duties.”

The initial court decision against Davis was stayed 10 days ago. Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, whose organization represents Davis, told CNN that they might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and are hoping the high court would issue a stay of the Sixth Circuit ruling in the interim.

A poll of Kentucky voters that was released last month found that 50 percent of the state backs natural marriage, while only 37 percent supported its redefinition. 

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Steve Weatherbe

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Christians at Duke U refuse to read lesbian porn novel assignment

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

DURHAM, NC, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Christian freshmen at Duke University are refusing to read an assigned graphic novel depicting masturbation and homosexual intercourse. The university says the assignment was optional and won’t discipline the holdouts.

Brian Grasso emerged as the spokesperson for the dissenters after he posted his decision on the Class of 2019’s closed Facebook page. Opponents have done their best to mock and deride the holdouts as ignoramuses who don’t belong at Duke, but Grasso has addressed all their jibes, first to Duke’s student paper and then in an op-ed in the Washington Post, intelligently and engagingly.

The book at issue is Fun Home, a fictional depiction by lesbian artist Alison Bechdel of growing up with a homosexual, suicidal dad and discovering sex with other girls. “After researching the book’s content and reading a portion of it, I chose to opt out of the assignment,” Grasso told Post readers, explaining he was not opposed to learning about homosexuality any more than he would be with the ideas of “Freud, Marx or Darwin,” though he might find them immoral too.

“But in the Bible,” he went on, “Jesus forbids his followers from exposing themselves to anything pornographic. ‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,’ he says in Matthew 5:28-29. ‘If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.’” He then cited St. Paul to support his argument.

Grasso knew Christians would be in the minority at Duke, he admitted, but what surprised him was that Duke would blithely assign something so obviously offensive to this minority. “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind. It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”

But Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization devoted to promoting American Catholic orthodoxy at Catholic universities, isn’t surprised. “American society has been moving away from Christian values or even neutrality, especially at secular institutions but even at Catholic and other Christian schools,” Reilly told LifeSiteNews. He urged Catholic and other Christian parents and high school students to choose their universities carefully.

Other freshmen have supported Grasso: Bianca d’Souza said the novel’s ideas were important but the salacious content unnecessary and offensive. Jeffrey Wubbenhorst wrote, “”The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that the content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic content.”

But others from the class of 2019 responded, “Reading the book will allow you to open your mind to a new perspective and to examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar.”

In the same vein students wrote the Duke student newspaper Chronicle, mocking the dissenters with references to a Dr. Seuss children’s book. “Mermaid Warrior,” for example, wrote, “I’m sure there are people who think Cat in the Hat sends bad messages. That’s a big problem I have with complaints like these, ‘I shouldn’t be expected to read stuff I disagree with!’ It’s like, guess what, there’s no way to find something that everyone will agree with.”

But Grasso makes clear his issue isn’t with disagreeable ideas at all. “I think there is an important distinction between images and written words. If the book explored the same themes without sexual images or erotic language, I would have read it. But viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex. My beliefs extend to pop culture and even Renaissance art depicting sex.”

Inevitably, Duke itself weighed in. The book was selected for summer reading by the freshman class, explained Duke’s vice president or public affairs, Michael Schoenfeld, “because it is a unique and moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront.”

After touting its artistic value and noting that a Broadway adaptation won the Best Musical award for 2015, he noted that the book was not a requirement and there would be no examination or grading. He expressed the hope that Duke’s 1,750 freshmen would arrive with open minds willing to “explore new ideas.”

But for all that, Schoenfeld did not explore the issues raised by Grasso: morality, pornography and the sexualization of relations.

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Aborted babies’ hands too disturbing? Solution: chop them off before shipping the bodies

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By John Jalsevac
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August 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - As if we needed more evidence that many of those in the abortion industry know perfectly well what they are doing, along comes the latest undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

The video includes disturbing undercover footage of a conversation with Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, a biomedical firm that acquires the bodies of aborted babies from Planned Parenthood clinics.

During that conversation Dyer infamously jokes with an undercover investigator about the need to warn lab techs ahead of time when a fully “intact” aborted baby's cadaver is being shipped to them.

But there it is: that hand, in all of its beauty, and its horror. Beautiful, as every hand is beautiful. Horrific, in that it is attached to a dismembered arm, yanked out of its socket, and swimming in a pool of the baby’s intestines and other body parts, to be bartered over and sold. 

“If you have intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety,” she says. "Tell the lab it's coming, so they don't open the box and" scream. "Their lab techs freak out and have meltdowns."

"Academic labs cannot fly like that, they are just not capable," Dyer adds condescendingly. "It's almost like they don't want to know where it comes from. I can see that."

But don’t worry, Dyer makes it clear she knows exactly where fetal tissue comes from, and isn't bothered in the least.  However, she agrees with a joke made by the undercover investigator, that if you’re going to be shipping the intact body of an aborted baby, it would be best to always make sure that the “eyes are closed.”

But surely the saddest part of the conversation comes when Dyer reveals how some of those squeamish lab techs manage to get around their natural repugnance at receiving little, perfectly-formed babies’ bodies in the mail, which they will then slice and dice – all in the name of “medical progress,” of course.

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She says that she often receives instructions from scientists who experiment on aborted babies that, "We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached."

A curious request, no? But then again, there is something especially pesky about those tiny hands and feet, isn’t there?

Human hands are, after all, a true marvel of nature – so far surpassing in dexterity the appendages of any other mammal, the unparalleled tools that have enabled human beings to build empires, create art of breathtaking beauty, and to express themselves in myriad different ways. So marvelous, in fact, that Isaac Newton is reported to have said, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

Not only are hands and feet useful, but they knit human beings together in intimacy: lovers will hold or squeeze their beloved's hands, and friends will soothe their friends in time of sorrow by taking their hands. And then there is the case of new parents, who will go into raptures over the hands and feet of their newborn babies, and speak, using the foolish language of love, of wanting to “eat” them. Mothers will shower their newborn babies’ feet with kisses, and tickle them, and will study and fall in love with every dimple, every crease.

Perhaps that is why so many people found the fifth (or was it the sixth? I’m losing track of the horrors) video so disturbing: that footage inside the lab, when the man behind the camera uses his tweezers to delicately lift up a dismembered arm, with the hand still attached.

That arm, it is true, would not have been half so disturbing, were it not for the hand. But there it is: that hand, in all of its beauty, and its horror. Beautiful, as every hand is beautiful. Horrific, in that it is attached to a dismembered arm, yanked out of its socket, and swimming in a pool of the baby’s intestines and other body parts, to be bartered over and sold. 

Before this, we have heard the lab techs on camera identifying the baby as a twin, at about 20-weeks gestation. In other words, a baby on the very verge of viability.

But no mother will gaze in raptures at those hands and those feet. Instead, Planned Parenthood will discuss how much they can “get” for each "specimen." And perhaps Cate Dyer will instruct her staff to cut off the hands or the feet before shipping the limbs to those too-tender-hearted lab techs who might “freak out” and “have a meltdown” at being forced to see too much of the truth.

But what does it say about us, and our politicians, that the videos with those pesky hands and feet are out there circulating, watched by millions, and yet we are not “freaking out” or having any meltdowns?

Instead, our politicians are dismissing the video as being "highly edited," as if David Daleiden of CMP is a CGI wizard who can conjure up dismembered limbs at will, and even though even Planned Parenthood has never denied the existence of those dismembered arms and legs, but has only implausibly denied that they are illegally "profiting" from the sale of the appendages - as if illegally profiting from the sale is somehow worse than the fact that they have dismembered the babies in the first place. 

If the dismembered hands and feet aren't enough to awaken our consciences, and to force our politicians to stop the massacre, what will be? I fear the answer to that question. 

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