Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

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Full translation of Pope Francis’ (Cardinal Bergoglio) 2005 pro-life homily

Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

Homily of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos AIres and Primate of Argentina, given during a mass in honor of the Holy Protector of Pregnant Women, Saint Raymond Nonnatus (August 31, 2005).

Translated by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman of LifeSiteNews.com, March 15, 2013

When one listens to what Jesus says: Look, "I send you, I send you like sheep amongst the wolves," one wants to ask: "Lord, are you joking, or do not have a better place to send us?" Because what Jesus says is a little chilling: "if you proclaim my message, they are going to persecute you, they are going to slander you, they are going to set traps to deliver you to the courts and to have you killed.  But you must continue forward.  For that reason, take care, Jesus says, and be astute, be clever like the serpent but very simple like doves," joining the two things.

The Christian cannot allow himself the luxury to be an idiot, that's clear. We don’t have the luxury to be fools because we have a very beautiful message of life and we’re not permitted to be fools.  For that reason, Jesus says, "Be astute, be careful."  What is the astuteness of the Christian?  In knowing how to discern who is a wolf and who is a sheep. 

And when, during this celebration of life, a wolf disguises himself as a sheep, it's knowing how to smell him. "Look, you have the skin of a sheep but the smell of a wolf." And this, this mandate that Jesus gives us is very important. It's for something very great.  Jesus tells us something that attracts our attention, when someone asks him: "well, why did you come into the world?" "Look, I come to bring life and for that life to be in abundance, and I am sending you so that you can advance that life, and so that it will be abundant."

Jesus didn't come to bring death, but rather, the death of hatred, the death of fighting, the death of calumny, that is, killing with the tongue.  Jesus did not come to bring death, the death that He suffered for defending life.  Jesus came to bring life and to bring the abundant life, and he sends us out, carrying that life, but he tells us: "Care for it!" Because there are people who have what we are hearing about today, who aren't involved in the Gospel:  the culture of death.  That is, life interests them insofar as it is useful, insofar as it has some kind of utility and if not, it doesn't interest them.  And throughout the world, this weed has been planted, of the culture of death.

I was reading a book a while back, where this disturbing phrase was found: "In the world of today, the cheapest thing is life, what costs the least is life" -- which is, therefore, the most disregarded thing, the most dispensable thing.

This elderly man, this elderly woman, are useless; discard them, let's throw them in the nursing home like we hang up the raincoat during summer, with three mothballs in the pocket, and let's hang it in the nursing home because they're now disposable, they're useless.

This child who is on the way is a bother to the family. "Oh no, for what? I have no idea.  Let's discard him and return him to the sender."

That is what the culture of death preaches to us.

This child that I have at home, well, I don't have time to educate him. Let him grow up like a weed in the field, and this other child who doesn't have anything to eat, not even little shoes to go to school, and well, I'm very sorry, but I'm not the redeemer of the whole world.

That's what the culture of death preaches. It's not interested in life.  What interests it? Egoism. One is interested in surviving, but not in giving life, caring for life, offering life.

Today, in this shrine dedicated to life, in this day of the patron saint of life, Jesus again says to us: "Care for it! I came to bring life, and life in abundance, but care for it!  You are going to be surrounded by wolves; you are to be the ones to defend life, to care for life.

Care for life! What a beautiful thing one sees -- which I know! -- that a grandfather, a grandmother, who perhaps can no longer speak, who is paralyzed, and the grandson or the son comes and takes their hand, and in silence cherishes them, nothing more.  That is caring for life.  When one sees people who take care so that this child can go to school, so that another doesn't lack food, that is caring for life.

Open your heart to life!  Because the egoism of death, the egoistic culture of death, is like the weed in the field, that weed, that grass or black weed, or that hemlock, is growing, it is invading and kills the trees, kills the fruit, kills the flowers, kills life.  The weeds.  Remember that once Jesus spoke of that.  He said: "When the seed is life, it falls in the middle of the weeds, and the thorns choke it, " the thorns of egoism, of the passions, of wanting everything for one's self.  Life is always giving, gives itself, and it is costly to care for life. Oh how it costs! It costs tears.

How beautiful is caring for life, allowing life to grow, to give life like Jesus, and to give it abundantly, not to permit that even one of these smallest ones be lost.  That is what Jesus asked of the Father: "that none of those whom You have given me be lost, that all of the life that You gave me to care for, might be cared for, that it might not be lost."  And we care for life, because He cares for our life from the womb.  We have it in the motto for this year: "From the womb you were our protector." He cares for us and he teaches us that.

We (modern society) don't care for life.  Because there is an ethical order of caring for life, we simply care for life. Jesus teaches us to care for life because it is the image of God, who is absolute life.  We cannot announce anything else but life, and from the beginning to the end.  All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth.

But it is a road that is full of wolves, and perhaps for that reason they might bring us to the courts, perhaps, for that reason, for caring for life they might kill us.  We should think about the Christian martyrs.  They killed them for preaching this Gospel of life, this Gospel that Jesus brought.  But Jesus gives us the strength.  Go forth!  Don't be fools, remember, a Christian doesn't have the luxury of being foolish, I'm not going to repeat, an idiot, a fool, he can't give himself the luxury.  He has to be clever, he has to be astute, to carry this out.

When one speaks of these things of the culture of life, to which we are called, one feels the sadness that, in these hearts, and even from childhood, the culture of death has been sown.  Egoism is sown in them, the "well, and what does it matter to me what happens to others" is sown in them. Who am I to care for others?  This statement, do you remember who made it first? Cain.  "Am I the one who must care for his brother?"  This criminal statement, this phrase of death -- it is a shame that even from childhood people grow up with this thinking that this egoistic thinking in inculcated within them, that men and women are formed in this way.  I said it once and I'll repeat it -- we could place it as a nickname -- I, me, mine, with me, for me, everything for one, give nothing to others, because to give life is to open the heart, and to care for life is to expend one's self in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others.

Today we're going to bless the messengers of life.  They are those who are going to carry the images of Saint Raymond Nonnatus to people's homes.  They are going to go to people's houses, and each time the image arrives at a house, it's not for saying "Oh how lovely! I have it to myself." Rather it is to remember that I have to struggle for life, to care for life, that there shouldn't be even one child who doesn't have the right to be born, there shouldn't be even one child who doesn't have the right to be well fed, there shouldn't even be one child who doesn't have the right to go to school. 

How many children are working to recycle cardboard?  I see them in the center of Buenos Aires.  They don't go to school.  They are exploited by their parents.  And who provokes the parents to exploit their children?  The culture of death.  There shouldn't be one child who doesn't grow up, who doesn't live his adolescence open to life.  There shouldn't be any adult who doesn't concern himself with what others are lacking, with what others need to have more life, and with ensuring that there isn't even one elderly person put into storage, alone, discarded.

Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing.  Father, is that why there are so many wolves who want to eat us?  Is that why, tell me?  Who did Jesus kill? No one.  He did good things. And how did he end up?  If we go down the road of life ugly things can happen to us, but it doesn't matter. It's worth it.  He first opened the way.

So, go forth and don't be discouraged.  Care for life. It's worth it! So be it.

Note: This text was translated from a transcript of the original Spanish text published by the Argentinean Catholic Information Agency (AICA)with the following URL: http://aica.org/aica/documentos_files/Obispos_Argentinos/Bergoglio/2005/2005_08_31_SanRamonNonato.htm

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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