Peter Baklinski

‘God would not send you this baby in order to let you perish’: A Romanian mom’s miracle pregnancy

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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BUCHAREST, Romania, July 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Daniela Popa’s husband was away on spiritual retreat in Mount Athos, Greece, when she suddenly began to experience a high fever that she could not bring under control. It was May 2005. Daniela’s worries increased when she also began to experience heavy fatigue, intense sweating, and swollen neck glands. When Daniela’s husband Richard finally returned, an emergency biopsy revealed stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system.

Natural treatment proved ineffective and within months, Daniela was fighting for her life against the most aggressive form of the cancer (stage 4).

“The fever was higher, my glands had grown bigger and I was itching all over my body,” recalled Daniela in an interview with Familia Ortodoxă magazine.

By September, Daniela was hardly able to walk anymore. Her swollen glands made her neck double in size. The pain and the abundant sweating made it practically impossible for her to sleep at night.

“I would change my clothes a dozen times a night, and my fever would not go below 38 °C (100.4 °F),” she recounted.

Daniela began a desperate regimen of chemotherapy which was to be followed by radiotherapy, but had to stop after her body refused to cooperate with the grueling treatment. Subsequent tests revealed why. Daniela had contracted tuberculosis.

The body of the sick woman was now saturated with a matrix of chemotherapy drugs and nine antibiotics that she had taken for six weeks to combat tuberculosis. A tomography was scheduled to determine how much damage the tuberculosis had caused to Daniela’s lungs.

Two lives in the balance

Daniela was about to receive the most challenging news of her life. 

“During the tomography, I realized that something was not exactly right. The machine stopped. Then a pause followed, and then it restarted.”

What Daniela did not know was that the doctor had stopped the machine when he noticed that his patient was not the only one being scanned.

Daniela was pregnant. The doctor restarted the scan only after consulting with Daniela’s husband Richard.

“Basically, I was irradiated twice,” said Daniela.

The newly discovered life in Daniela’s womb now had three strikes against it. Not only did the little one have to contend with the toxic environment of chemotherapy drugs and tuberculosis antibiotics, but it also had just received a double-dose of radiation, which is known to cause severe health defects to unborn babies.

Doctors strongly urged the parents to terminate.

“At that moment I had very little faith,” said Richard to LifeSiteNews. “I only thought of my wife’s health and nothing about God. I was sure that abortion was the best solution.”

After the tomography, only one doctor had words of encouragement for the distraught Daniela. “Do you think God has sent you this baby in order to let you perish?”

‘You have no right over the life of that child’

Daniela and Richard approached their ‘spiritual father’, Orthodox priest Ion Popescu, and asked if they should follow the advice of the doctors.

“You have no right whatsoever over the life of that child,” the priest responded gently.

After these words, Daniela and Richard remember experiencing a “big burden” being lifted from their shoulders and “moved onto God’s shoulders.”

With new hearts, the couple now turned to their faith as a previously untapped source of courage, hope, and strength. Up until now they had placed their trust in doctors and drugs to overcome the sickness. Now, with a baby in the picture, and with the blessing of their spiritual father, they decided to place all their trust in God.

Stepping out in faith, Daniela decided to interrupt all treatments and give no more thoughts to her sickness. She focused exclusively on the life of the child in her womb.

Daniela and Richard dedicated their unborn child to the Mother of God praying, “Holy Mother of God, please take care of this child. We give it to you; it is yours. May your will be done.”

The couple begged for prayers from the faith-filled people who lived in their area. Their plight inspired an entire monastery, where Daniela’s brother is a monk, to storm heaven with prayers for the protection of the mother and child and for a safe delivery.

Daniela turned to the ‘Holy Mysteries” of her faith for strength and healing. Every week she received the Anointing of the Sick. She frequented the sacrament of Confession to make her soul right with God. She made every effort to regularly receive Jesus into her ailing body in Holy Communion.

One gynecologist, however, continued to insist that Daniela abort, pointing out that “you can’t have it all: get healed, see your child live, and also see it free of malformation”.

But that doctor was wrong.

A miracle

On January 17 2007, the feast day of Saint Anthony the Great, little Antonie came into the world. To the astonishment of all the doctors, numerous tests revealed that the child was perfectly healthy.

“We regard this miracle as the fruit of the prayers of many of our brethren – monks, priests, and laymen,” the parents say.

The doctors were even more astonished by the improved condition of Daniela’s health. An X-ray after the baby’s birth showed a complete absence of tuberculosis.

“The doctor held up both my X-rays – the one before and the one after the birth – and she couldn’t believe that they belonged to the same person, who had been so sick and had not taken any conventional treatment over the past months.”

Further tests indicated that even Daniela’s cancer was in remission.

“What happened to Daniela is simply a miracle,” said Richard to LifeSiteNews. “We believe that putting our faith in God is what cured my wife. It was such a hopeless case. And such hopeless cases cannot be solved by medicine alone, but by prayer, a lot of prayer.”

Daniela, who is now cancer free and enjoys good health, believes that she went through this time of trial so that “God’s power would be shown”.

“Through the miracle that we lived, God’s power was shown”.

The couple has learned to “thank God for this trial”, saying that it has set a “fire in our hearts for God”.

They will be forever grateful for the words of their ‘spiritual father’, words that they say were the “beginning of a miracle”.

“Can you imagine where we would be if we did not have Father Ion Popescu giving us such holy advice?” said Richard. “Maybe Daniela and Antonie would no longer be with me today.”


Editor’s note: Richard told LifeSiteNews that Antonie, now 6, is a “clever, beautiful, obedient boy” with “a lot of energy” who is “loved by all”. Daniela continues to enjoy good health and the blessing of being surrounded by her loving family including Mihaela, 17, and Andrei, 16.

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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

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

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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Lisa Bourne

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Girl Scouts returns $100,000 donation over transgender stipulation

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - An unusual request from a major donor to a regional branch of the U.S. Girl Scouts has drawn attention to the organization’s ongoing support for gender ideology and transgender issues. 

Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland revealed last week that the council had recently received a donation for $100,000. However, after the Girl Scouts’ practice of allowing boys who identify as girls to join the Scouts hit the news during the media’s coverage of the Bruce Jenner case, Ferland says she received a note from the donor putting a condition on the donation.

“Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls,” the donor reportedly asked. “If you can’t, please return the money.”

In the end, Ferland said she chose to give the $100,000 - what could have comprised nearly a fourth of the council’s annual fundraising goal - back to the donor.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland stated in a report from SeattleMet.com. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

In the meantime, the council used the publicity over the refused donation to launch a social fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo, a social fundraising site. The #ForEVERYGirl has far exceeded its goal, raising over $300,000 for the group in just three days.

"Our vision at Girl Scouts of Western Washington is that EVERY girl in our region—regardless of her race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or geographic location—is empowered to unleash her potential, build her future and transform her world," states the campaign.

This is not the first time that Ferland has been involved in a controversy over the Scouts’ support for transgenderism.

When a boy self-identifying as a girl attempted to join a Colorado Girl Scout troop in 2011 and was initially refused by the leader because of his male gender, Ferland, then head of the Colorado council, issued a statement welcoming boys identifying as girls, and saying efforts were in progress to find the boy a troop. The council also renounced the troop leader’s actions in refusing the boy access.

“Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland stated at the time. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.” 

Western Washington Girl Scouts current program brochures show that gender ideology is woven right into the council’s programming for girls, with promotion found right in the council’s workshops:

SafeZone for Girl Scouts Sat, May 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tacoma Learn how you can become an ally and advocate for your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) peers. Includes activities and discussion around: inclusive language, the process of coming out, the power of the straight ally, how to respond to homophobic/trans-phobic incidents, where to go for help and much more. Bring lunch.

Girl Scouts and radical feminism

For years, pro-family leaders have raised alarms about partnerships and programs that indicate that the Girl Scouts have moved toward embracing a radical feminist identity.

As far back as 2004 a U.S Catholic Bishop intervened when a Girl Scout-Planned Parenthood partnership threatened young girls. 

Then-Austin Bishop Gregory Aymond warned local Catholics not to sign their children up for Planned Parenthood’s “Nobody’s Fool,” a sex-ed campaign designed for pre-pubescent children which had been integrated into the local Girl Scouts.

A survey, also from 2004, found that many Girl Scouts councils were partnering with Planned Parenthoood in some fashion. 

In 2010 the Girl Scouts were found to be pushing a radical agenda on its young members with Planned Parenthood given access to distribute an explicit ‘sex guide’ at a closed-door, no-adults-welcome meeting at the UN sponsored by the Girl Scouts.

Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop James Conley warned in 2011 as auxiliary bishop of Denver that involvement in the Girl Scouts could serve to make girls more open to the pro-abortion agenda.

Roughly 90 Girl Scouts of Northern California members and their families marched in San Francisco’s 2013 Gay Pride Parade. 

"The San Francisco Girl Scouts participate in many parades that celebrate the diversity of San Francisco," Girl Scouts of Northern California Communications Manager Dana Allen told LifeSiteNews at the time. "Girl Scouts is inclusive and reflects the communities we serve."

A sexuality-based Girl Scout troop was started earlier this year in Utah aimed at gay and lesbian families and boys who consider themselves “transgender.” It meets at the Utah Pride Center.

"As long as a youth identifies as a girl or with girls, even if they are genderfluid on the day that they registered, then they can become a Girl Scout," Shari Solomon-Klebba, the Utah Girl Scout outreach coordinator, and an open lesbian who started the troop, told a local news station at the time.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged caution last year in engaging with the Girl Scouts after conducting a two-year examination of the scouts. That study identified concerns about several Girl Scouts USA policies, affiliations and structural weaknesses.

Girl Scout alternatives

The representatives of two organizations for girls frequently considered a Christ-centered alternative to the Girls Scouts told LifeSiteNews this latest incident with the Western Washington Scouts underscores the need for other options for families and their children.

“There has been a huge cultural shift in redefining life-long truths that have many families carefully considering their youth program options. American Heritage Girls has often been regarded as a Christian-based alternative to the Girl Scouts,” American Heritage Girls National Communications Specialist Jennifer Troutman said.

American Heritage Girls marked its 20th anniversary this past week. There are more than 40,000 members within the organization.

“Now more than ever American Heritage Girls recognizes the importance of bringing Christ-centered, character development programming to girls across the nation.”  

The head of Little Flowers Girls’ Club concurred.

“I feel very blessed that we can offer an authentically Catholic alternative to Girl Scouts,” Joan Stromberg told LifeSiteNews.

Little Flowers started over 20 years ago, not as a reaction against what Girl Scouts were doing, or where they are now, Stromberg said, but as a way to help moms and girls bond together to learn about the world through a Catholic lens.

“It is sad that Girl Scouts policies and positions have put them in direct conflict with Church teachings,” Stromberg continued. “I am just pleased that girls and moms have alternative places like Little Flowers where they can go.”

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