Peter Baklinski

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Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, January 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Primate of Canada electrified the airwaves during the Priests For Life radio show on Monday, telling listeners that he believes that a strong vibrant “culture of life” is superceding the “culture of death.”

“I have a lot of hope in what is growing in our Church. There’s something dying, but there’s something new that’s coming up, that’s growing, that’s sprouting, that is filling me with hope,” said Archbishop Gérald Lacroix during the interview.

The Quebec Archbishop was interviewed by Fr. Tom Lynch and Fr. John Lemire from Priest for Life Canada, an association of Canadian Catholic priests and lay people who promote and defend the sanctity of human life. The interview, which was transmitted by Radio Teopoli AM530, focused on the state of the Catholic Church in Canada, and in particular, on what the Church has to offer to the pro-life cause.

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Lacroix is convinced that Canadians are living in “very exciting times, but very challenging ones.”

“The pope said the Church is going through a time of turmoil and difficulties — that was in the 12th century and it hasn’t changed since. It’s just normal. The Church is living and preaching the Gospel — the Word of God — and inviting people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As we preach the Gospel, we also present God’s plan for life, God plan for humanity, and that is not accepted by everyone.”

The primate argued that not everyone accepts God’s plan for life and for humanity because of the many “influences out there in the world that have other interests than [human] life.” He pointed specifically to “economic values” that foster “materialism” and a “very secularized way of seeing life in our society.” He noted that in this context “production” of goods becomes more important than the “family, the cell base of society.” He says that these have “drawn us away from family values” and have “hindered very much and hurt our families.”

He also said that the country has not always had “governments, whether they be on a local level or national level that have favoured life, that have supported family policies.”

As the archbishop approaches the end of his first year as the Primate of Canada, he said that people have indicated to him that “we cannot go on living like this without having reference to God and his plan… We are not succeeding in life… We have tried to do it without him, and it’s not working.”

When people are searching for answers to such seemingly insurmountable difficulties, says Lacroix, the Church has something to offer them.

“Bringing people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Gospel changes their life because it brings them into a relationship with the Lord, with God our Father, with the Holy Spirit. And that changes everything. And that gives them a new vision of life, of values, of family, of the world. And it helps them to be different in the midst of this world.”

Lacroix sees signs that young people are looking intently to the Church for a new way of living, a way that is radically opposed to the anti-life and anti-family values of the world.

“And that is my hope. We have young people, young families who are very open to life right now and who want to live out the Gospel and who want to respect life and live by God’s rules which is a way of life which brings really that liberty, it helps you become yourself and it helps you to be happy.”

Lacroix says that people are mistaken when they think that Christianity will restrain them, will impede a good life, or that it will not let them love like they should. “To the contrary,” he says, “in encountering Christ and accepting the Gospel, and accepting the Word of God and the Church’s teaching, [these] will bring you to fullness of life.” 

Lacroix compared current scandals in the Church to dead trees falling in the forest making lots of “noise.” “When a tree falls in the forest it makes quite a BANG, and everyone says, ‘Wow!, what a scandal’.” In this analogy, he said that the hope that he sees in young people and in young families is like a “growing forest that makes no noise.” 

“There are things falling in our Church and maybe they need to fall, old ways of doing things, things that are not adapted. The Second Vatican Council 50 years ago has invited us to a whole renewal. Well, renewal is letting things go and opening your heart to what the Lord is putting before us today. Well, that makes a lot of noise. But what I am seeing [now] is a whole forest growing that makes no noise.”

Lacroix is convinced that the most effective way to build up a culture of life is with a “one-on-one” encounter with another person.

“[It’s] the time we will give and share with people whether it be with one person, with a couple, whether it be a family; the time we spend to build bridges, to welcome, to listen, to walk with, to be able to bring them to make a good decision. I think that is where we are most effective.”

Lacroix stressed that it is one’s very own “presence” at “ground zero” that makes the difference, whether it be supporting the life of someone in palliative care, accompanying someone who is suffering or depressed, or helping a woman with a crisis pregnancy.

“We need to train our people more and more to be effective on a very local level,” he said.

Witnessing one-on-one takes courage, says the archbishop. That is why the Church strengthens her people by nourishing them with the Eucharist and the Word of God, he said.

The “Word of God” and the “Bread of Life” make us “more like” Christ and to be “with him and him with us,” to be “true Christians who witness and who work for life year round, day in and day out.”

People have asked the Primate, “what is the Church going to do in front of these challenges of abortion and euthanasia?”

“We are in this together,” he responds. “The Church has leaders, has bishops, has priests, but you are the people of God who need to look at this seriously also.”

“In my diocese I have one million, seventy-five thousand Catholics. Potentially I have one million, seventy-five thousand missionaries for [the cause of] life; missionaries who feed on the Word of God, who live in communion with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, and who are out in this world making it a place where life is celebrated, welcomed, protected, sustained.” The archbishop pointed out that young people who choose to “live the Gospel are becoming apostles. They are being sent out to other young people.”

“We need to continue to be very well connected to God so that he will give us the Spirit, give us the Truth, and the courage, the audacity, to be able to be faithful to life.”

To young people, Archbishop Lacroix says: “Do not be afraid. Open the doors to Christ. He will bring you to life and fulfillment and happiness. Open wide the door. He will set you free. Come to a relationship with the Lord.”

Listen to entire interview here.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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