Fr. Frank Pavone

John Paul II: The pope of life

Fr. Frank Pavone
Fr. Frank Pavone
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May 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Sunday, May 1 the Catholic Church declared Pope John Paul II to be “Blessed,” a step on the way to being declared a saint. This was done not as a judgment on the effectiveness or influence of his pontificate, nor on the depth of his knowledge of theology, but rather on his fidelity in living the Christian virtues.

The Church said, in other words, “If you want to follow Christ, look to John Paul II as an example.”

Each person whom the Church beatifies or canonizes, moreover, has his or her special theme, some aspect of discipleship that marks his or her life. For Pope John Paul II, it is the theme of pro-life. Not only was this a theme he spoke and acted upon continuously, but he gave the Church and the world a new way of understanding and practicing it.

At a recent conference, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who served as Vatican spokesman under Pope John Paul, said that the key to his effectiveness was his conviction that each person was created in God’s image and likeness. “He was a man profoundly convinced of the truth of those words in Genesis, ‘God made man and woman in his image and likeness.’ This gave him optimism even when he could no longer walk, and then even when he could no longer speak,” Navarro-Valls said. “I think this was what attracted people even more than the way he spoke.” (April 1, 2011, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome).

I was privileged to see this dynamic up close, as I served under Pope John Paul II at the Pontifical Council for the Family, an agency of the Vatican that he created in 1981 specifically to sustain and coordinate initiatives for the protection of human life from its conception.

This pope did not simply repeat the longstanding teaching of the Church that abortion is wrong. He did not simply hand down dogmas about what we can and cannot do, and how we are supposed to live up to the principles and the commandments, such as “Thou shalt not kill.”

Traditionally, these and other teachings of the Church have been communicated in a philosophical context that is objective, deductive, and principled. There is a truth to which we have to adhere, and from which we deduce moral imperatives that are the same for everyone.

Now John Paul II never denied that. But he also realized that people today don’t think that way anymore. Modern thought is more subjective, experiential, and inductive. It relies more on personal insights and viewpoints. “What’s true for me may not be true for you” is one of its favorite positions.

John Paul II was able to join traditional, objective thought with the patterns of modern thought in what came to be known as his “personalism.” He focused on the dignity, the uniqueness, of each individual human person and affirmed their subjective insights and experiences. He taught that in each person we have a unique and unrepeatable being. And that uniqueness is precisely a reflection, or image, of God himself. Here is where the two worlds merge. Individual experience is not crushed, lost, or absorbed by the recognition that there is a God who has revealed universal moral norms. On the contrary, when God reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ, he reveals us to ourselves.

This is a key teaching of John Paul II. Precisely by accepting, not rejecting, our individual uniqueness, we connect with a truth that surpasses it and leads us, as individuals and a community, to fulfillment.

That’s what he meant by the exhortation with which he began his pontificate and which he repeated so often: “Be not afraid!”

In other words, don’t fear what you will lose if you welcome Christ into your life. You will in fact find your best self!

One of the most powerful expressions of this teaching is in “The Gospel of Life” (Evangelium Vitae) the 1995 encyclical that John Paul II considered central to his entire pontificate.

Newsweek devoted a cover story to the Encyclical when it came out. Religion editor Kenneth Woodward praised it as John Paul II’s “signature statement” in history.

The encyclical calls us to “proclaim, celebrate, and serve” the gift of life, which is the foundation of society and of all the rights and goods we enjoy as individuals. He speaks in that document of how both the Church and state need to serve the human person in every circumstance, and identifies abortion and euthanasia as the fundamental and most serious moral problems of our day.

But they are not presented just as “issues.” They are presented as contradictions to a deeper call to serve the person.

The pope wrote often about women, and one of many points he made is that we need to provide them alternatives to abortion, and forgiveness and healing after abortion.

In “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (1994) he said, “In firmly rejecting “pro choice” it is necessary to become courageously “pro woman,” promoting a choice that is truly in favor of women.”

He challenged public officials to realize that when a state permits abortion, “the disintegration of the State itself has already begun” (Evangelium Vitae, 20).

And he called upon the young, and all of us, to build a “Culture of Life” with tremendous hope.

If he could repeat one thing to us this day, I believe it would be his words at World Youth Day in Denver on August 15, 1993: “Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided … You too must feel the full urgency of the task … Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. …This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”

By beatifying John Paul II, the Church is saying “Amen!”

This article reprinted with permission from www.priestsforlife.org

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President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Lisa Bourne

Obama to speak at Catholic Health Association’s annual meeting

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic alliance that defied the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in supporting Barack Obama’s controversial overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system is persisting in its close relationship with the president, giving him a venue to further endorse ObamaCare at its annual meeting.

Obama will “focus on the future of health care and the Affordable Care Act,” when he delivers the “Future of Healthcare Address” June 9, closing the Catholic Health Association’s (CHA) annual membership meeting and marking the organization’s 100th year, a CHA statement said.

“We are delighted and honored that President Obama will speak to Catholic health care leaders gathered for our 100th anniversary as an association,” CHA president and CEO Sister Carol Keehan stated. “As long-time supporters of a health care system that works for everyone and pays special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, we are grateful for the president’s leadership on the ACA.”

Sister Keehan was a crucial ObamaCare proponent. She later received one of the 21 ceremonial pens Obama used to sign the measure into law. She was also a beneficiary of his public, personal gratitude for her assistance in getting the law passed.

Pro-abortion Catholic politicians cited Keehan and CHA's support for the law, despite ObamaCare’s compulsory taxpayer funding of contraception and abortifacients, in justifying their support for the law.

In 2010, the late Cardinal Francis George, then president of the USCCB, said that culpability for ObamaCare’s passage lies at the feet of Sister Keehan and other Catholic groups that split from the bishops to support the pro-abortion legislation.

"The Catholic Health Association and other so-called Catholic groups provided cover for those on the fence to support Obama and the administration," Cardinal George said at the time, adding that "Sister Carol and her colleagues are to blame" for the passage of the health care bill.

The cardinal and bishops had met personally with her numerous times to communicate about the law and continually came away frustrated.

"The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The executive order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation," the cardinal stated, also saying that the CHA and the groups have "weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S." with their actions in regard to ObamaCare.

Sister Keehan, who was pressured off of the Knights of Malta’s Holy Family Hospital Foundation as a result of her ObamaCare support, continued in defending the embattled law in her statement announcing the president’s upcoming appearance to further tout it.

“This important law has provided meaningful health coverage to at least 16 million people who needed and deserved it, as well as improved both the benefits and finances of Medicare and Medicaid,” said Sister Keehan. “We look forward to the president's comments and insights at our assembly, and to being a continued partner in preserving and improving the ACA.”

One Catholic blogger criticized the CHA for having Obama come speak to its membership.

Kathy Schiffer of the Seasons of Grace blog pronounced herself “disgusted and horrified.”

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“What in the world, I wonder, could this president have to say to Catholics about health care?” Schiffer asked.

She then listed Obama’s policy offenses against Catholics, including seeking to penalize Catholic organizations that oppose funding contraception and abortifacients, and his refusal to acknowledge that Catholic organizations are religious employers for the purpose of religious liberty.

Schiffer’s examples illustrating the irreconcilable invitation for Obama to speak to Catholic healthcare professionals also included mention of the threat of Catholic hospitals closing because of his policies requiring contraception and sterilization. Statistics show that large numbers of Catholic doctors plan to retire early and leave healthcare because of the ACA.

Schiffer wrote that she believed it was her responsibility to share her concerns “and to encourage others to express their concerns as well–inviting the Catholic Health Association to abide by Church teaching, and to return to the faith passed on to us by the Apostles.”

Contact:

The Catholic Health Association of the United States

Sister Carol Keehan:
[email protected]

Board of Trustees Staff Contact Candice T. Hall:
[email protected]
1875 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20006
PH: (202) 296-3993
FX: (202) 296-3997 

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Bruce Jenner wanted to abort his oldest daughter

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By Ben Johnson

HOLLYWOOD, CA, June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bruce Jenner has spared the public virtually nothing during his public transformation into “Caitlin,” but one detail of his life emerged in the story that accompanies that much-shared Vanity Fair cover: The former Olympic medalist wanted his oldest daughter, Casey, aborted and refused to be at the hospital during her birth.

During the height of his fame, Bruce Jenner was married to Chrystie Crownover. Their nine-year marriage produced two children: Burt (Burton) and Casey (Cassandra).

But Bruce learned about Casey in the midst of a divorce battle and told Chrystie he wanted her to get rid of the child.

“When I found out I was pregnant Bruce raised the issue of an abortion, and I went along with him just as I always did. I had all the tests and had even paid for the operation,” Chrystie wrote in People magazine in 1981, the year they divorced. “But one night I was out to dinner and my friend asked me why I wanted an abortion.”

Her answer was simple: “I don't want the abortion,” she said. “Bruce wants it.”

Her friend responded, “You are having the abortion because the man that you are not going to be living with wants you to have it?"

“I thought, what an idiot I am,” Chrystie wrote. “I wanted the child very, very much.”

She gave birth to a baby girl in June 1980. Bruce chose not to be present at her birth, telling Vanity Fair his night consisted of crying in a hotel room.

However, his attitude changed. Chrystie wrote that after giving birth, “Bruce has been very loving and accepting of Casey.”

Although the articles were publicly available, Casey said she did not know about her father's initial reaction until she was 13 years old. She overheard a few cryptic remarks Bruce made to his ex-wife during a fight, telling Vanity Fair that she remembers at age 13 “asking my mom what he was talking about, until she confessed the history behind my birth.”

Casey has since reconciled with her father – and her mother has never questioned her decision to give birth, even in life apart from the decathlon winner.

“My fulfillment 10 years ago was totally through a man,” Chrystie wrote. “Today the important things in my life are my kids, my design work, my friends, and my running, and I feel fulfilled by those.” 

Like Chrystie almost did, many women abort under duress, feeling they have no choice but to follow the instructions of their husband, boyfriend, or parents.

Bruce Jenner went on to have six children with three wives.

Casey tells Vanity Fair that she supports her father's public and conspicuous transition into “Caitlin.” But some of his other six children have reacted differently.

Seventeen-year-old Kylie Jenner, Bruce's youngest child with third wife, Kris, admitted last month, “I feel like I go through these times where I hate my life.”

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She told her father she missed their bonding times, saying, “I wish you were out here to do crazy things with me.” She then told the television audience, "Me and my dad have so many things in common, [but] he's making all of these changes.”

Kylie has denied rumors that she has had an abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Gay atheist rips into Irish bishops’ weak response on gay ‘marriage’

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A leading British commentator who is both a homosexual and an atheist has come down hard on the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ireland for what he calls its complacent “willingness to bend to prevailing mood” on Ireland’s same-sex “marriage” referendum.

The Irish voted two-to-one for allowing homosexual “marriage.” This result met with the full approval of Matthew Parris, a former Conservative MP and current columnist for the Spectator and Times newspapers who has been in a civil partnership with his longtime homosexual partner Julian Glover since 2006. He nonetheless devoted a scathing column in the Spectator to condemning the Catholic episcopate for undercutting its own beliefs with its tepid response to the referendum result.

He cited Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who told Irish broadcaster RTE, “The Church needs a reality check right across the board, to look at the things we are doing well and look at the areas where we need to say, have we drifted away completely from young people?” Martin went on to question the effectiveness of the Church’s involvement in the school system, since polling indicated young people proved especially keen on legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

But Martin’s humble, apologetic self-examination was not what Parris wanted from the Church he disbelieves in, though his Wikipedia entry indicates he was never a member. What he wanted to see was something like “Moses’ (and God’s) furious reaction to the nude dancing and heretical worship of Moloch in the form of a golden calf: the Sin of the Calf in the Hebrew literature.”

Archbishop Martin went on the describe Ireland’s vote as a “social revolution” which must serve as a “reality check” for Church leaders about how bad a job they are doing as teachers and pastors.

What should Martin have said? According to Parris, “The conservative Catholic’s only proper response to [the referendum result] is that 62 per cent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.”

“Can’t these Christians see that the moral basis of their faith cannot be sought in the pollsters’ arithmetic? What has the Irish referendum shown us? It is that a majority of people in the Republic of Ireland in 2015 do not agree with their church’s centuries-old doctrine that sexual relationships between two people of the same gender are a sin.”

Parris went on to argue that Christians more than other religious believers ought to expect their teachings to be unpopular, given “the fate of their Messiah, and the persecution of adherents to the Early Church. ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you,’ says Paul.”

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Parris concludes with a question. He wonders if Martin’s response -- and Pope Francis’ too -- to the Irish loss, reveal that they never really believed their moral positions were from God after all –“that on some half-conscious level neither ever really believed that morality was absolute or objective anyway — or supposed we really thought they were serious? Have some of us, in short, made the mistake of taking the church at its word?”

Parris’s argument at this point rests on an atheist’s typically truncated understanding of Christian teaching—that it consists solely of repeating God’s word as distilled from the Bible. Clearly it has never occurred to him that the Church has developed a moral theology based on reason and the concept of natural law which it has passed down in the form of millennia-old Tradition (not “centuries-old” as Parris puts it).  That homosexuality is a sin not because God says so, but that God says so because He is the designer of humanity and ought to know best how we function.

But this does not necessarily make Parris wrong in his assessment of the Catholic hierarchy’s milquetoast response to the referendum. Raised in a time when the Church’s power was peaking, entering seminary with the expectation of preferment and perquisites, most current bishops never signed on to be reviled like Jesus Christ was, or, perhaps worse, ignored as an irrelevant anachronism.

So the answer to his question could be that the current Church leadership is indeed suffering from a crisis of doubt, but this need not be true of earlier generations, and is not even an accurate characterization of the Catholic faithful or bishops in the developing countries in Africa and Asia. There persecution is growing, and the Faith is strong.

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