Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Liberal outrage in Spain: Homosexual groups seek prosecution of bishop over sermon on homosexuality

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Homosexual groups are seeking the prosecution of a Spanish bishop after he gave a sermon repeating the Catholic Church’s teaching associating the gay lifestyle with the suffering of hell, and then an interview in which he endorsed psychological treatment for homosexual behavior.

Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà of the diocese of Alcalá de Henares began the brouhaha on Good Friday earlier this month, when he gave a sermon on the death of the soul as a result of sin.

Referring to various kinds of sinful behavior, including adultery, theft, and failure to pay wages to workers, Reig Plà added homosexual behavior to the list as well. With regard to each example of sin, the bishop spoke of the act itself, and the resulting destruction of the soul.

With regard to homosexual behavior, Reig Plà said: “One must not corrupt people, not even with false messages. I would like to say a word to those people carried away by so many ideologies that end up failing to properly guide human sexuality. They think that since their childhood they have had an attraction to people of their same sex and, sometimes, to prove it they become corrupt and prostitute themselves or go to homosexual nightclubs. I assure you that (there) they find hell.”

After expressions of outrage regarding the bishop’s statement, which reflects the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual deviance, Reig Plà gave an interview to the Internet news service Religion en Libertad (Religion in Liberty), in which he explained his statement in more detail, and added that homosexual tendencies can be cured through therapy.

In contemporary society, we are confronted with “a program of calculated ‘deconstruction’ that is tolerated in every setting (in education from the earliest stages of childhood, in part of the media, in work and leisure, etc.) which additionally includes the promotion and protection of a great number of evil laws and some powerful lobbying groups that determine what is politically correct, and therefore, socially acceptable,” said the bishop.

“Based on these factors, many children, adolescents, and adults are increasingly invited to question their sexual identity, and eventually they are urged to ‘verify and prove’ their ‘sexual preferences’, and some fall into the trap,” he added.

“Those of us priests who know about the private lives of people, listening to and helping those faithful who request it, know that the consequences for many people are suffering and destruction, coloquially speaking a ‘hell’ in their lives.”

Forgiveness and therapy for those who suffer homosexual tendencies

The bishop pointed out that those who are entangled in the homosexual lifestyle and other forms of sin are not without hope, and can find spiritual healing in the sacraments and teachings of the Catholic Church.  Moreover, psychological therapy is available to those who suffer from homosexual tendencies.

“Always with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds us in everything, it is possible to initiate the journey of return to the House of the Father,” said Reig Plà. “The Church makes available to all the treasures that Christ has deposited in her: the word of God, the sacraments (in particular those of Penance and the Eucharist), prayer, etc.”

“With the help of the grace of God and accompanied by priests, counselors, and catechists, and in some cases, by professionals, people with SSA (Same Sex Attraction) can live in chastity (dominion over one’s self); not without combat, but the life of every Christian who wants to live according to the will of God includes fighting against temptation until the very day of death,” he said.

Reig Plà noted that both the assessment of homosexual attraction as “intrinsically disordered” and homosexual behavior as “intrinsically evil,” as well as the possibility of therapy for homosexuals, are upheld by the documents of the Catholic Church.

“I have to humbly say that everything that I explained in my homily responds to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church,” said the bishop, who noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church requires that people with homosexual attractions should “be received with respect, compassion, and delicacy” and that “All trace of unjust discrimination regarding them is to be avoided”.

However, he noted, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, under the the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stated in 1986 that such attractions represent “a tendency, more or less strong, towards a behavior that is intrinsically evil from the moral point of view” and are therefore “objectively disordered.” The Catechism, he added, states that homosexual acts “do not proceed from a true affective and sexual complementarity” and “they cannot receive approval in any case.”

Quoting another Vatican document, entitled Human Sexuality: Truth and Meaning, Reig Plà agreed that “parents, for their part, when they notice in their children, at the stage of childhood or adolescence, some manifestation of said tendency or such behavior, should seek out the help of people with expertise and qualifications to give him all possible help” and that “many cases, especially if the practice of homosexual acts has not become deep-rooted, can be positively resolved with appropriate therapy.”

Homosexual and socialist groups seek prosecution

For his statements upholdingCatholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts, a number of homosexual and socialist organizations are denouncing Reig Plà and calling for his prosecution, for “homophobia” and “inciting hate.”

The Spanish Confederation of Associations of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals (COLEGAS) has already presented a formal accusation with Spain’s General Prosecutor, and the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB), with the Gay Collectives of Madrid, have said they also plan to file charges with the Provincial Prosecutor of Madrid for “inciting discrimination and hate,” according to the leftist Spanish newspaper El Pais.

COLEGAS additionally claims that therapy for homosexuals “applied generally in the United States as well as in certain European countries, constitute a clear violation of the charter of the Rights of the Child, as well as the most elemental culture of respect for diversity” and asserts that “the Catholic Church cannot continue using the protection of the Constitution as a permanent defense that permits it to promote segregation and discrimination based on positions abandoned long ago by society.”

The bishop has received support, however, from Catholic organizations, including the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), pro-life and pro-family groups such as Spain’s influential Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), and the Catholic blogosphere.

For his part, Bishop Reig Plà says he is not backing down.

“I don’t want to offend anyone, but I won’t renounce speaking the truth in charity,” he told Religion in Liberty.

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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!

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