Patrick Craine

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Former CRS head Bishop Lynch says pro-lifers ‘attack’ Catholic agencies as ‘money raising scheme’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, August 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bishop who formerly headed Catholic Relief Services has issued a vigorous defense of the relief agency while at the same time accusing its pro-life critics of “attacking” CRS as a “money raising scheme.”

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, who served as chairman of CRS’ board of trustees from 2001 to 2007, made the charge in a Wednesday post on his personal blog that was co-published by CRS and promoted through its media channels.

“From time to time, I suspect when these organizations need money, they try to stir up a hornet’s nest or storm by attacking a Catholic organization, usually falsely accusing them of being anti-life, pro-contraception, either pro or soft on abortion, etc., etc., etc.,” the bishop writes. “The storms start small enough and then occasionally grow in size. It’s simply a money raising scheme with little regard for the human lives which they allege they seek to protect – well maybe it is only pre-born human life in which they are interested.”

Bishop Lynch became known in pro-life circles nationwide in 2005 during the Terri Schiavo crisis when - as the bishop of the diocese in which the crisis raged - he failed to intervene even as the Vatican urged the Florida courts to preserve her life from euthanasia.

A month before Terri’s death, Bishop Lynch issued a statement urging Schiavo’s family to seek “mediation” with Terri’s husband, Michael, even as he fought to remove her access to food and water and prevented a priest from giving her the last sacraments.

Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, later said he held Bishop Lynch more responsible for Terri’s death than he does Michael Schiavo. “When apostolic grace and responsibility are abdicated, innocent people die,” he wrote in a letter to the bishop in 2007.

“Terri’s legacy is one of life and love,” Schindler continued. “Sadly, your legacy will be that of the shepherd that stood silently by as one of his innocent disabled lambs was slowly and needlessly slaughtered by removing her food and water — while you persistently ignored the cries of her family for help.”

In 2000, Bishop Lynch issued guidelines barring parishes from practicing perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. “Parishes seeking to inaugurate or restore eucharistic devotions should reflect on … their commitment of time and money (stewardship) to social services,” the guidelines read. (The guidelines, still in force, are published by the diocese here.)

In his Wednesday blog post, Bishop Lynch targets a recent series of reports by the pro-life group Population Research Institute, which charge that Catholic Relief Services had been engaged in distributing contraceptives and abortifacients in Madagascar as part of a USAID project. PRI spent a month in the African country in the fall of 2012 conducting interviews with USAID and CRS employees/contractors, as well as clergy and two Archbishops.

Calling PRI an “allegedly pro-life group,” Lynch says the “attacks” on CRS began with them and then “spread to a few other notoriously and consistently wrong entities who ‘thrive’ on attacking the Church or its entities.”

The bishop targets PRI’s investigation in Madagascar and does not address other findings reported by LifeSiteNews, such as CRS’ $13.8 million grant to the pro-abortion group CARE in 2012, or its $2.7 million grant to the abortion marketer Population Services International.

"I'm sure Bishop Lynch has read the motu proprio, On the Service of Charity. That changes everything,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. “CRS should cease being an NGO and report directly to the bishops. Even the Pope has said Catholic charities have to stop acting as NGOs. And guess what, if you take money from USAID, you can't do what is at the heart of charity in the Church, and that is to evangelize.”

On July 31, PRI released strong quotes from Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina backing up their charges. “Even in my own diocese!  Without my knowledge,...they [CRS] were working on an artificial contraception project here,” he said.

The USCCB responded in a statement August 2, saying they had spoke with Archbishop Tsarahazana and he expressed “strong support” for CRS.

In his blog post, Bishop Lynch cites the USCCB statement, but quotes it as though it were a direct quote from the Archbishop:

Now, how about the hierarchy of Madagascar? Do they think CRS is acting contrary to Church teaching? Are they unhappy with the presence and work of CRS in their country? Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana, President of the bishops’ conference of Madagascar expressed “strong support” for CRS and said that the agency is “acting in accord with Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion.”

However, as LifeSiteNews noted in an editorial Wednesday, the USCCB statement offered no direct quotes by the Archbishop and does not even indicate that the archbishop believed his quotes to PRI had been in error. It states merely that there had been “some confusion” about CRS’ work in the archdiocese that was “quickly resolved,” and CRS is not now distributing contraceptives.

The program in which CRS was allegedly distributing contraceptives ended July 24th, which would be consistent with the claim that CRS is not currently distributing contraceptives in the archdiocese.

Bishop Lynch alleges that the critics of CRS and other Catholic agencies “never identify their sources but just throw mud up into the air.”

“So who do you wish to believe, an organization that will not identify either its sources of the allegations or name its own members of its Board of Directors or the arm of the Catholic church that saves lives daily throughout the world?” he asks.

In LifeSiteNews’ reports we have backed up our allegations with links to original documentation, quoted commenters by name, and sought responses from CRS before publishing. The Population Research Institute has identified each of the aid workers and clergy they have quoted.

“So this little storm which was headed in a way to harm CRS’s work in Africa has run into a ridge of dry air and will stall,” the bishop concludes. “But when the Population Research Institute or others need money from Catholics who want to believe the worst about their church, its leadership and their service agencies, then it will suck up the mud-filled moisture and try to stoke up another storm.”

Contact:

Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
00193 Roma,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Phone: (011) 39-06-6988-4217
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-5303

Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3357
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3413
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-3409
E-mail: [email protected]

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Lisa Bourne

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

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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.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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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