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Former Operation Rescue Leader to Vatican: Remove Cowardly US Bishops

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, March 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican must remove key members of the US Catholic episcopate and replace them with men who will speak and act courageously and with urgency to stop abortion, a prominent American pro-life advocate has told Catholic leadership at the Vatican. Randall Terry, a former leader of Operation Rescue, came to Rome last week with a delegation of US pro-life advocates to ask prominent Vatican prelates to end the "scandal" of some American Catholic bishops refusing to act on behalf of unborn children by replacing them.

Terry told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview that he and his colleagues had come to Rome, "to help connect some dots for certain prelates who perhaps have not had them connected before. … Namely that the greatest single reason that child-killing continues in America is the fear or the outright treachery of US bishops."

Terry was received into the Catholic Church in 2005, and has turned his attention to what he sees as a deficit of orthodoxy and commitment to defending life in the US episcopate. He told LSN that he was committed to founding a new "confederacy" of pro-life groups and individuals who would focus on imploring the leadership of the Catholic Church to "to lay the axe to the poisonous root" of the current episcopate in the US.

Meeting with LSN within sight of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Terry told LSN that the US Catholic bishops’ actions and inaction have led directly to the election of Barack Obama, who has been called by pro-life advocates the "most pro-abortion president in US history." After the election, many Catholics, including Vatican prelates, expressed their dismay that 55 percent of the US Catholic electorate had voted for Obama.

Terry said that he learned while in Rome that much of the higher level leadership of the Catholic Church are not aware of the extent of the problem of the US Catholic leadership. "The responses of those we met with ranged from surprise and shock, to sympathy and heartfelt agreement."

Armed with a package of information on the doings of the US episcopate in the lead-up to the election of President Obama, Terry and his colleagues met with Archbishop Rino Fisichella of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and representatives of the Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Councils for the Laity, the Family and for Justice and Peace.

"One of the reasons we are here is to specifically request the transfer of Bishop Loverde of Arlington and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC," he said.

Archbishop Wuerl has gone on record saying that he will not refuse Holy Communion to the large number of pro-abortion Catholic politicians living in Washington. Terry said that his group had chosen to highlight the two DC-area bishops because of their importance politically, but he admitted that the problem is endemic in the US episcopate.

"The majority of the federal politicians who promote and defend child-killing are receiving Communion in Washington and northern Virginia. And both these men have made it crystal clear that they are not going to withhold Communion. They won’t uphold the teaching of the Church."

While there are a "handful of bishops speaking courageously," most of the US bishops, he claimed, are "culturally Democrats" who actively supported Obama "for money reasons."

"Obama, as a left-winger on social spending, would certainly offer more money for certain Catholic social works. The US bishops have been in tight with the Democrat party for a hundred years. Culturally they’re Democrats," he said. 

Terry also brought to the attention of the Vatican officials the influence of the USCCB document, "Faithful Citizenship," which, he said, "paved the way" for the election of Obama. The document said that although abortion is one of the most important electoral issues, that Catholics could in conscience vote for a pro-abortion politician for "proportional reasons."

"So, when person after person stood up after the election and said, ‘Well the Catholic bishops told us this is OK,’ the bishops did not correct them. So their silence had as a direct fruit the election of Obama."

Terry said that his delegation showed the Vatican officials "well-documented proof," that many of the US bishops, "perhaps the majority of them," are ignoring the teachings of the Church on the requirement to defend unborn children from abortion, and to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

The new pro-life initiative, to be called the Vanguard of St. Catherine, is named after the 14th century nun and reformer Catherine of Sienna, whose years of letters and lobbying brought the papacy back to Rome after the so-called "Avignon exile." It will consist of pro-life Catholics and organisations who will petition Rome to address the "ongoing scandal" of bishops who refuse to act to defend human life.

Terry has been arrested more than forty times during his years in Operation Rescue. Founded by John Cavanaugh O’Keefe on the same principles of non-violent civil disobedience as the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, Operation Rescue grew to become one of the best known pro-life organisations in the world. Terry told LSN that since becoming a Catholic, he has seen that one of the most serious obstacles to the ending of abortion in the US is the inaction of the Catholic Church.

Diocesan pro-life groups are paralysed by fear, he said. "The road to ending child-killing," he said, "goes through the diocesan offices. And the greatest road blocks to child-killing are in those diocesan offices. Sadly, it’s true that very often the biggest problems we face are the people working in diocesan pro-life offices."

Quoting the book of Proverbs, he said, "The fear of man brings a snare, and many diocesan pro-life workers are just shackled by fear. They fear losing their job. They fear displeasing the bishop. They fear looking radical. They fear bad press or that they won’t get funding. And it mutes their words and shackles their actions so that they say little and do even less." 

"You cannot have a polite conversation with people who are committed to slaughtering babies. And that is one of the greatest crises we’re facing in the pro-life diocesan works."

He has excoriated the US Catholic leadership for what he sees as an excessive fear of jeopardising their tax-exempt status. He said that the history of the Church, in which people have faced down torture and death for the truth, "stands as a double accusation against the bishops."

"Bishops in other centuries faced death. We face bad press. Whining letters from parishioners. Perhaps losing our tax exempt status. I turned to a group of bishops after one election and asked them, ‘Why were you silent?’ I said, ‘Your tax-exempt status be damned if it keeps you from saying the words of God’."

Terry said that this is only his first of many planned trips to Rome to plead with the Vatican to address the situation.

"The greatest joy I had after I came into the Church was really studying Evangelium Vitae, and I was never so proud to be a Catholic and I was never so embarrassed. Because I realised that if we would simply follow these marching orders we would win. And the fact that the bishops refuse to obey, is why we have child-killing in America." 

To read more about the Vanguard of St. Catherine project: www.humbleplea.com

** For a different analysis and approach to the problems of US Catholic Church leadership see the LifeSiteNews series of articles "US Election Message to Catholic Bishops: The Broken Window Strategy."

Part I, with links to succeeding parts:
U.S. Election Message to Catholic Bishops: Time to Clean House
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08111012.html

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to 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,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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