Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Hilary White: How a fire was lit within me

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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September 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I’ve never been much of a one for anniversaries. I’m notorious amongst my friends for forgetting birthdays and other significant dates. So I can’t really tell you when, exactly, I got involved in the pro-life movement, but I’m better with words and can relate to you exactly the conversations I had that got it all started.

I had spent the year, 1998, being very ill and so, not working and without much energy and a lot of time on my hands, I decided it was a good opportunity to fill a gap in my education and get read up on philosophy. One book led to another, and I ended up spending most of that year learning all about the two hundred and fifty years of philosophical developments (the “Enlightenment,” utilitarianism, etc.) that led up to our current and ongoing abortion holocaust and the whole Culture of Death, as the late John Paul II so succinctly described it. The abortionist culture did not just start in 1968.

In that year well spent, I discovered the pro-life movement through the back door, so to speak. Unlike most people who become interested in life issues, I did not start with abortion, which I already recognised as a horror that had to be outlawed and punished. I started with the new reproductive technologies.

In my reading, I had found out a good deal about how the ethical problems surrounding embryo research, cloning, artificial procreation, had been glossed over through lies and linguistic and political manipulation.

I learned in detail how the world was made to accept IVF, with all its attendant atrocities, and how one thing literally led to another and we now have embryo experimentation, cloned human/animal hybrids, organ farming and “disposable” human beings, while all the world’s “ethicists” continue to tell us that everything is just fine.

The new thought started in 17th and 18th centuries, and said that man was just a random collection of cells and that human life had no transcendent meaning. It says that individual human beings are unimportant and their needs should be subordinated to those of the state. It asserts that individual “autonomy” is the highest good and once it is gone, a human life has no value.

These theories have led to the belief that it was acceptable, indeed meritorious, to end the lives of those whom others considered unsatisfactory or inconvenient. This is the core of the Culture of Death.

I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the time and I hung out a great deal with a group of young Catholics in a Catholic bookshop that served at the time as a kind of meeting place. I remember quite distinctly towards the end of that year one of the ladies who worked in the shop asked me how my reading was going.

I said I had learned a lot but that it had started something else in me, something I hadn’t known was there. I told my friend that learning these things, having my eyes opened to just how far western society had sunk, had lit a fire in me. I was filled with a desire to do something about it, to try to show others how these ideas were evil disguised as good, and to reverse these terrible trends of thought.

“There is a war going on that hardly anyone even knows about but that affects everyone,” I said. “And I want to get into the fight.”

She invited me to a meeting of the local pro-life organisation. Since then, I’ve served in the war in Toronto and now in Rome, working in lobbying and education. In writing for LifeSiteNews for seven years, I’ve seen the big picture and learned that the same war is being fought on numerous fronts in nearly every country in the world.

I remember once being told by a woman who didn’t like the pro-life movement, that she rejected such “confrontational” language. She thought everyone should just be nice and get along, that people in the pro-life movement should drop terms like “opposition” and “fight”. I was told that we had to find “common ground” and “be a part of the dialogue” and not “shut ourselves off” from the political process with these “extreme” views.

But what else is it possible to call this but a war? We who do this work, in all sorts of venues, see that there are many people, deluded and corrupted by these false ideologies, who are clearly opposed to us, who want to continue expanding the Culture of Death until it has engulfed the whole world and all opposition is quashed and silenced forever. They want to remake the world in the image of a death camp.

How can this not be opposed? How can we try to “find common ground” with people who want to do this? How is this anything but a war? One that is fought in boardrooms, and parliaments, at the UN and the EU, in ethics committee rooms in hospitals and in doctors’ offices. It has already taken countless millions of innocent lives, and destroyed the souls and ruined the happiness of millions more?

I don’t hate the people who oppose us, but I know that what they want to do must be stopped. The world they want, though they don’t understand this, would be a horror, a dystopia worse than any science fiction movie.

A few months after I had moved to Toronto to work for Campaign Life Coalition, the pope came to visit. John Paul II made one of his last trips abroad to visit Canada for World Youth Day and as a participant, I went to confession in a big barn-like building on the CNE grounds with hundreds of others.

I picked the priest that day because he looked like the most austere one there. He was quite slim and wearing a long black Benedictine habit. I was expecting someone terribly holy and severe, but the fellow turned out to be quite a friendly Midwestern American who heard my confession and then patiently listened to me complain that God wasn’t letting me know what my vocation was.

Suddenly, he asked if I were married.

“No, I’m not married,” I said, somewhat taken aback.

“Ah,” he said, smiling mysteriously. “Any kids?”

“No.”

“You look after elderly relatives, perhaps?”

“Actually, I have no family, really,” I said, wondering where this was going.

He looked at me quite seriously and said, “Oh, the Lord just LOVES people like you. He can send you anywhere; you’re free to do anything for Him.”

At the time I just laughed, maybe a bit uncomfortably and went on my way.

I’ve thought a few times about that exchange, nearly ten years ago now and wondered if this young priest didn’t have prophetic powers. Because he had hit the nail smack on the head.

It’s true. I am free to go places and do things, to be mobile and available, in a way that a married woman with children or a sister in a community would not be. And I’m grateful for this, in a way, though it has given me reason to complain.

I know that a lot of our readers have the same fire in the guts. How could you not, when you read LifeSiteNews every day?

I know that we receive a lot of mail from people who say that they would love to do what we do but can’t. Many of our readers are parents with grave responsibilities that keep them from being involved more actively. You want to get into the fight, to change the world, to reverse the disaster that we can all see coming on the world.

This week, we are trying to raise funds to keep us going another year. The Death Movement, in all its manifestations, has the benefit of millions of dollars of government funds. They are given unimaginable resources by the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

It seems to be a rule with God that He likes to keep His employees on their toes. The pro-life movement is not funded by rich philanthropists. We are funded a bit at a time, by regular people, people with kids and jobs and mortgages, who want to be in on the fight.

This is the key that we have that the Death Movement doesn’t. They may have money, and a lot of political influence, but we’ve got you. Polls continually show that ordinary people don’t want legalised abortion. They’re horrified by atrocities like human/animal hybrid clones. They want the natural family to be protected. And they want to be involved. And that is what LifeSiteNews allows you to do.

I’ve written this before. There is a way in which we are your proxies and your conduit to the war’s battlefronts. We do this work in the way we do, with our phone lines open and our email address available, so that everyone who wants to can participate.

When we write articles, we do so every time with a mind to help people understand the Big Picture of the war against human life and the natural family. We work for you to help you be informed and to understand and know how you can fight in the war in your current situation, without having to move to Washington or Toronto or London or Rome. We include contact information so that you can write to add your voices to say, Stop.

This is something no other organisation does as well as we do. This is war, a terrible global war for lives and souls. And you are involved in it with us.

To the extent that your circumstances permit, please join with us in this good work with a financial contribution today.

I want to thank you, for your generosity over the years that has allowed me and the rest of the LSN staff to keep doing this work. And to thank you for being in it with us.

Hilary White
Rome

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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