Christina Martin

Dreams live on: A couple’s dreams for adoption carry on after husband’s death

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
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May 4, 2012 (LiveActionNews.com) - Renee Loux is a dreamer. Since the age of 7, Renee has had a desire in her heart to care for orphans. She shared those desires with her husband, Derek Loux. Derek was a gifted musician whose passion for adoption began as a young boy. Together, the Louxs set out to make their dreams come true.

Renee’s parents brought her to the Marshall Islands when she was nine months old. A daughter of missionaries, she spent the first ten years of her life stationed there. In that environment, her young heart became burdened for children. Years later, while teaching in the U.S., she revisited the Marshall Islands for a short mission trip that changed her life forever. During the trip she met Derek for the first time. He fell head-over-heels for Renee and asked her to marry him after only 8 days together. In 1992 the couple wed, and their adventure began.

Renee gave birth to her first child two years later. Josiah was a beautiful boy born with a severe case of spina bifida. Renee and Derek had two and a half years with him before he passed away. Enduring the pain together, they found strength and comfort in God’s love. In 1997 they had a girl named Sophia, and three years later another daughter named Michaela.

For most Americans, two children make for the average size of a family. Yet the Louxs never wanted to be average. They longed to obey the biblical command found in the book of James (chapter 1, verse 27): “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Seeking to live out that verse, they adopted twin girls Teyolla and Keyolla from the Marshall Islands in 2002. Less than a year later they took in Telma, another girl from the Islands. Born with severe scoliosis, Telma was abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother. She ended up alone, fighting to survive on the streets. Renee promised to get her the help she needed. She kept that promise by welcoming Telma into the family.

In December of 2008, Derek and Renee traveled to the Ukraine to adopt three boys with special needs: Sasha, an energetic child with spina bifida, and Ethan and Silas, who both suffered from Down syndrome. The journey had its difficulties. Derek’s journal entry displays his precious humanity: “I was thinking, this is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes?

In that moment, Derek heard God speaking to his heart: “Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

That experience marked his heart with a powerful revelation that adoption is a form of redemption. Derek believed that God was removing a selfish human love and replacing it with an “agape” love that cares for others even when love isn’t reciprocated. The Louxs wanted to make sacrifices for love. They successfully brought home the boys, who were sick and worn down from their stay in the orphanage. In a short time and with much medical care and attention, they were noticeably healthier and happy. The story of their adoption was later told in a beautiful children’s book called Redemption. In addition to their boys, the Rouxs continued on by adding two more girls, Leeann and Sana from the Marshall Islands.

Derek once said, “I wanted something to live and die for, to breathe and bleed for. I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort. That’s one of the reasons why we adopt in a radical way. On purpose, I set myself up to where I’ve got so much pressure I gotta run after Jesus…”

In the midst of their journey Derek, at 37, lost his life in a tragic car accident, just days before Christmas 2009. He was traveling back from a conference focused on rescuing girls from sex slavery. His death was a great loss to both those who knew him personally and those who connected with him through his beloved music and teachings. He left behind his beautiful wife and ten children. The family bravely forged ahead through deep pain and sorrow.

After Derek’s death, Renee courageously continued to bring home children. Though some would think it crazy to do so after such a loss, Renee knew that she was being led to continue adopting. She welcomed Judah, the family’s first boy from the Marshall Islands. She also began caring for Joanna, a girl from the Islands who is completely blind and non-verbal. Though Joanna came into their family as a 13-year-old, she had the body size of a 5-year-old. Renee received no financial aid for Joanna’s medical and dental needs, instead depending on the generosity of donors to cover the expenses. Joanna is continuing to grow and respond in new ways. She loves to joyfully sing her own little songs, and she is a delight to her family.

Derek’s and Renee’s life together has inspired many people to adopt and care for children. Renee is the founder of the Orphan Justice Center, an organization whose mission is to help rescue, adopt, and restore orphans across the globe. They do a number of things, from bringing resources to pre-adoptive, adoptive, and foster care families to working with children in their community who are recently adopted or are in foster care. Renee travels and shares hopeful truths about adoption. She is a strong voice for justice as well as a loving mother. She recently had the great pleasure of seeing her oldest adopted twins girls marry a set of twin boys. It was a proud moment for her, though she earnestly wished Derek could have been there to share it.

Though it’s difficult raising her children without a father, Renee carries on with grace and strength. As she remarked in her family’s blog, “I will never understand this side of heaven, why Derek had to die, but, I know my God is sovereign and I can trust him. Even without an answer to the ‘why’, I can see the fruit of his beautiful life. I see it in the eyes of our amazing children. I hear it in the voices of those who share with me how their own lives were impacted by Derek’s passion and vision for loving, caring for, and restoring orphans. I see it as I remember what was once just a dream in our hearts, taking root and becoming reality as we rescued 10 children, teaching them along with our biological children, to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ Jesus, which would help restore them all.”

This life will end for all of us. The dreams that we fight for now can impact generations to come. A life devoted to caring for weak, vulnerable, and voiceless children is a life well spent. May we all learn from Derek’s and Renee’s example and open our hearts to the children of the world.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.com

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Pope tells Girl Scouts to oppose ‘ideologies’ against God’s design for marriage

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

ROME, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Girl Scout and Girl Guide leaders from across the globe last week that it is essential they promote respect for marriage and family according to God’s design.

The pope’s remarks came as both the international organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts USA face criticism over support for abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and contraception.

"It is very important today that a woman be adequately appreciated, and that she be able to take up fully the place that corresponds to her, be it in the Church, be it in society,” Pope Francis said in his address on the morning of June 26, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision imposing same-sex “marriage” on the country.

In the face of ideologies that seek to destroy the truths about marriage and family, he said, the formation of girls through Guiding "is absolutely determinant for the future."

"We are in a world in which the most contrary ideologies are spreading to the nature and design of God on the family and on marriage. Therefore, it is a question of educating girls not only to the beauty and grandeur of their vocation of women, in a just and differentiated relation between man and woman, but also to assume important responsibilities in the Church and in society," Pope Francis said.

The pope spoke during a private audience at the world meeting of the International Conference of Catholic Guides (ICCG), which took place in Rome from June 25-30.

Stressing that among educational movements Guiding has played a pivotal role in the faith formation of young women, the pope said, "Education is, in fact, the indispensable means to enable girls to become active and responsible women, proud and happy of their faith in Christ lived in every day life. Thus they will participate in the building of a world permeated by the Gospel."

“To Live the Joy of the Gospel as a Guide” was the theme for the ICCG meeting in Rome, with the stated purpose of reaffirming and strengthening the organization's 50-year-old history within the Catholic Church.

Among the participants at the ICCG meeting in Rome were Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) CEO Anna Maria Chávez and National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan.

In a statement, Chavez maintained that faith is “at the heart of Girl Scouts, and is woven into everything the organization does to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.”

However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has cautioned that some aspects of the Girl Scouts pedagogy go against Catholic teaching and doctrine.

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A report by the USCCB focused on three issues:

  1. GSUSA's relationship with groups like Planned Parenthood and international affiliate World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS);
  2. GSUSA's views on issues related "to human sexuality, contraception, and abortion";
  3. and various materials and resources GSUSA has that have "inappropriate content."

With regard to WAGGGS, the report notes that while this group claims it does not formally back abortion and "reproductive rights," language on its website leaves no doubt that such support exists, as well as support for contraceptive use.

Numerous pro-life and pro-family groups have organized boycotts of Girl Guide cookies in protest of the organization's embrace of feminist politics and activism.

The pope's address to the ICCG meeting, translated into English by Zenit, is available on the Zenit website here.

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St. Peter Damian
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St. Peter Damien (1049): what Church MUST do in response to rampant homosexuality among clergy

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By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The rise of the power and influence of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as influential laity, has been a major factor in the growing chaos within Catholicism over the past 60 years. This disorder within the Catholic Church has had a negative impact on the entire world because of the resulting decline in the positive influences that Catholicism has had on civilization for many centuries.

To think that what is happening now is new, however, betrays an ignorance of history. In 1049, when St. Peter Damien wrote his treatise, Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), to Pope Leo IX, homosexuality and sexual perversion in general were far more openly rampant within the clergy than today.  This horrendous state of affairs is what the Saint addressed in his appeal to the Pope for urgently needed reforms.

We often hear from sleepy, comfortable, cowardly, timid or cultural Catholics, and especially from clergy who are directly implicated in homosexuality, that we should never criticize priests, bishops and especially the Pope. Supposedly, that is a greater sin than that of the heretics and sexual perverts facilitating great personal suffering and sending souls to Hell without anyone doing what is necessary to either convert or stop them.

St. Peter Damien was not so foolish as to listen to such nonsense denying God His justice at a time when the Church appeared to be in its death throes. He understood the grave duty to be blunt about the dangers and sinfulness, to not minimize the catastrophe that would come if strong actions were not quickly taken and to demand corrective actions. And yet, he also emphasized that all of this must be done with charity and Christian hope for the persons involved in the moral corruption. Their conversion was above all hoped and prayed for, rather than their condemnation for eternity.

An Italian translated version of the Book of Gomorrah has recently been published. An English version carefully translated by one of our LifeSite journalists will also soon become available.

On Feb. 11 of this year the Rorate Caeli website published excerpts from the introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei to the Italian version.

Following are some paragraphs from that introduction that I hope will jar awake some of the faithful, especially considering what is going on now in the United States as a result of the mad Supreme Court decision and the moral chaos around the Synod on the Family regarding Church sexual teachings.
 

Excerpts from the Introduction:

St. Peter Damien (1007-1072) Abbot of the Fonte Avellana Monastery and subsequently Cardinal/Bishop of Ostia, was one of the most outstanding figures of Catholic reform in the XI century. His Liber Gomorrhianus, appeared around 1049, in an age when corruption was widely spread, even in the highest ranks of the ecclesiastical world.

In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Peter Damien condemns the perverted habits of his time in a language that knows no false mercy or compromises. He is convinced that of all the sins, the gravest is sodomy, a term which includes all the acts against nature and which want to satisfy sexual pleasure by separating it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist – he writes – the sword of Divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing ruin to many.”

There have been times in (the Church’s) history when sanctity pervades Her and others when the defection of Her members cause Her to collapse into darkness, appearing almost as if the Divinity has abandoned Her.

Peter Damien’s voice resounds today, as it did yesterday, with encouragement and comfort for those, like him, who have fought, suffered, cried and hoped, throughout the course of history.

He did not moderate his language, but kept it fiery to show his indignation. He was fearless in voicing an uncompromising hatred for sin and it was precisely this hatred that rendered his love burning for the Truth and the Good.

Today, at the beginning of the third millennium of Christ’s birth, priests, bishops and Episcopal conferences are arguing for married priests; they are placing in doubt the indissolubility of the marriage bond between man and woman and at the same time, accepting the introduction of laws for homosexual pseudo-marriage. Sodomy is not being thought of as a sin that cries to God for vengeance but is diffused in seminaries, colleges, ecclesiastical universities and even inside the Sacred Walls of the Vatican itself.

Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something worse than moral vice practiced and theorized. It is the silence that should speak, the abstention that should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established among the wicked and of those, who with the pretext of avoiding scandal are silent, and, by being silent, consent.  

Graver still, is the acceptance of homosexuality by churchmen, thought of as a “positive” tension towards the good, worthy of pastoral care and juridical protection and not as an abominable sin. In the summary Relatio post disceptationem of the first week’s work in the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, a paragraph affirmed that:   “homosexual persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, with an invitation to the Bishops “…are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This scandalous statement was removed from the final report, but some bishops and cardinals, inside and outside the Synod Hall, insisted on the appeal to look for the positive aspects of a union against nature, going as far as hoping for “a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

St. Peter Damian as a simple monk, and with greater reason as a cardinal, did not hesitate in accusing even the Popes of that time for their scandalous omissions. Will the reading of the book Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of St. Peter Damien in the hearts of some prelates or laypeople, by shaking them out of their torpor and force them to speak and act?

Even if abysmally far from the holiness and prophetic spirit of St. Peter Damien, let us make his indignation against evil, ours, and with the words that conclude his treatise we turn to the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, presently reigning, so that he may intervene and bring an end to these doctrinal and moral scandals: “May the Almighty Lord assist us, Most Reverend Father, so that during the time of Your Apostolate, all of the monstrosity of this vice be destroyed and the state of the Church, presently supine, may wholly rise up again in all its vigour.”

The book can be found in Italian here. 

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Phil Lawler

So now is it ‘hate speech’ to deplore the Obergefell decision?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

June 30, 2015 (CatholicCulture.org) - The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision.

”No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality,” Father Martin told his Facebook followers. He repeated the same message several times throughout the day, warning commenters that they must not indulge in “homophobia” and suggesting that someone who questioned whether we were all expected to sing “Kumbaya” was illustrating his point. So is sarcasm now prima facie evidence of hatred?

In my own surfing through the internet, reading scores of posts on the Obergefell decision, I can honestly say that I did not see a single message, a single comment, that struck me as hate-filled. Perhaps Father Martin’s email traffic is qualitatively different from mine. Or perhaps—far more likely, I’m afraid—he sees “hatred” where I see only vehement disagreement.

Is it possible to be angry about the Obergefell decision, to consider it a travesty of justice and a betrayal of the Constitution, without being viewed as a hater? Wait; let’s turn that question upside-down. Is it possible to see all serious disagreement with the decision as hate-speech, without celebrating the outcome of the Obergefell case?

I ask the latter question, you see, because if Father Martin was upset by the Supreme Court ruling, his dismay did not show through on his Twitter feed. He recommended three columns reacting to the decision: one by a fellow Jesuit, recounting how his grandmother could not marry her lesbian partner; another by the gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, celebrating the decision; the third by the gay activist/blogger Andrew Sullivan, also celebrating.

The recommendation for Andrew Sullivan’s piece was particularly striking because of the title: “It Is Accomplished”—an explicit reference to the words of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Father Martin, who was horrified by so much of what he read on Friday afternoon, let that blasphemous headline pass without comment. His demand for the use of temperate language, and for avoiding comments that others would find offensive, was applied to only one side of the post-Obergefell debate.

And that’s likely to be the party line for politically-correct Catholics in the wake of this momentous decision. We are allowed to disagree with the Supreme Court, politely, but not too forcefully. Any strident denunciation of the ruling or its logic might be interpreted as hate-speech, which of course is unacceptable. As the secular left clamps down on religious expression—and we’ve already been served notice that the crackdown is coming-- the Catholic left will worry aloud that, yes, some strong public expressions of religious beliefs are distasteful.

The influence of this approach, with its keen anxiety to avoid provocation, has already been evident in the statements released by some American bishops in response to the ruling. Archbishop Gregory says that he disagrees with the Court, but if you don’t know why he disagrees before you read his statement, you’re not likely to be any better informed when you’re finished. Cardinal Wuerl reminds us that we must hate the sin but love the sinner; he neglects to mention what the sin is. And Archbishop Cupich gives no indication at all that he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling.

We have a long uphill struggle facing us as we seek to restore a proper understanding of marriage, to revive appreciation for the natural law, and to undo this wretched judicial decision. We cannot expect success if we go into the battle unarmed. If we begin the debate by saying that we must not offend our adversaries—even after our adversaries have declared our most fundamental beliefs to be offensive—we are doomed to failure.

We already know how the battle will unfold, because the campaign to crush resistance to same-sex marriage is already underway. The militant left will choose vulnerable targets—a pizza-parlor here, a baker there—and vilify them as “haters.” People who been trained to see “hatred” in any firm disagreement will nod in solemn approval as the alleged offenses are harshly punished. And so juggernaut will keep rolling, gaining momentum, until it reaches us.

There is an alternative. We can speak the truth. Yes, certainly we should avoid making unduly provocative statements. But since we are trying to provoke reactions, we cannot pull all our punches.

More to the point, if we’re going into battle—and we are—we need to know who’s on our side, and who’s working against us.

This article was originally published on CatholicCulture.org and is re-published with permission.

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