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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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