Tony Gosgnach

Mary Wagner takes witness stand at her trial

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach
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TORONTO, December 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After two days of testimonies from abortion personnel at Toronto’s “Women’s Care Clinic” on Lawrence Avenue West, it was time Thursday for Mary Wagner to take the witness stand and offer her version of events that transpired at the abortion centre on August 12, 2012.

She is on trial on charges of mischief and three counts of failing to comply with probation orders for entering the centre that day with pamphlets and roses and attempting to counsel women to keep their babies. She has remained in prison since that time, refusing to accept bail conditions for reasons of conscience. The trial is being held before Justice Fergus O’Donnell.

The trial had heard from head abortionist Saira Markovic, head nurse/office manager Khatija Akoojee and receptionists Jane Yoon and April Cabaluna, as well as Toronto Police Service Constable Richard Mau. The Crown concluded its case when proceedings began Thursday morning.

Wagner then took the witness stand, to be questioned by her counsel, Dr. Charles Lugosi. He began by asking about her life and role models. Wagner responded by calling Mother Teresa of Calcutta one of her major influences. “She showed how our faith can be animated through loving our neighbor,” she said.

She added she formed her pro-life views through the example of her mother specifically, who went through several difficult pregnancies and was willing to lay her life down for her biological brothers and sisters, and her parents generally, who fostered numerous children over a period of a decade and a half.

A visit to the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp also impacted her, especially reading the guest book that included entries from people signing it, “Never again.” She realized history is repeating itself and began to weep in court.

After taking a moment to regain her composure, Wagner said she was moved to give more of herself and so her pro-life involvement began in her late teens, when she volunteered for the crisis pregnancy agency Birthright. She was also influenced by the example of Joan Andrews Bell, who was arrested a number of times for peaceful pro-life activism.

Relocating to Ontario, Wagner said she was arrested in March 2010 while attending at a Bloor Street, Toronto abortion site. She did it, she said, because she felt “called to protect my neighbor who is in danger,” realizing that “each human life is precious and each human life begins at conception.”

She said she has since been arrested some half-dozen times, serving a total of over two years in prison for her actions. “I’m not deterred by that. Human beings in the womb are worth protecting.”

She acknowledged being named a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for her efforts to protect human life, though she said she has not yet physically received it. She added she does not see herself as a criminal, as some critics of her receiving the medal have charged, because she believes she has not committed any moral wrongdoing.

“I hope people will see beyond human laws,” she said. “Human beings are being killed.”

To those who charge she is interfering with “a woman’s choice,” she asks: “What is the choice? The choice to do what? … The termination of a pregnancy is the killing of a human being.”

She said of all places women should get education on embryology and fetal development, it should be at an abortion site. “We need to be there … It’s the last chance for a human being in the womb to be protected … And a woman needs to know there is support for her and her baby.”

Asked if she is willing to pay the price for her beliefs, including possibly spending her entire life in jail, she replied she hoped she would have the strength to do that if necessary, as God has already given her the strength to minister thus far.

Lugosi then questioned Wagner about whether she would return to an abortion site upon her eventual release. “I likely will,” she replied.

Asked specifically about her entry into the Markovic site, Wagner said she was intending to protect human beings from abortion. She would do this by “approaching mothers with love.”

She said she followed a couple into the site, then approached a woman in the waiting room, knelt down, offered her a rose and said, “This is for you. I’m here to support you and your baby.” She said it was not her intention to upset anyone. Almost immediately, she was interrupted by Yoon, who told her to leave.

“My intention was to reach out to mothers, encourage them and offer them support … My hope was that some would accept the support that was offered.” She added if someone was not willing to listen, she respected their decision and moved on to another person.

Akoojee then entered and also told Wagner to leave. The nurse then “got in my way and put her hands on me … I said, ‘This is an assault.’ She said, ‘You can charge me if you want.’” Akoojee then let her go as people were moved out of the waiting room.

Wagner said she then said through a glass partition, “Don’t do this,” and tried the door handle to enter the adjoining room. She was grabbed by Akoojee and Yoon, who eventually pulled her into the hallway as Wagner tried to stand her ground.

In the hallway, Wagner began praying as suddenly, Markovic came out and started screaming, “You’re a psycho!” and “Go f--- yourself.” Wagner said she is certain it was Markovic who uttered those words as she saw that woman on the witness stand at the trial last Friday.

Markovic went back inside and, as Wagner approached other people entering the abortion centre, Akoojee was talking over her, telling them, “Don’t listen to her.” Later, she said Akoojee threatened her with words to the effect of, “I can do much more than this to you.”

When police arrived, Wagner told them she would not leave voluntarily, because “staying here is the only way I can show love and respect to the children being killed.” She said she did not see women crying, as abortion personnel testified happened, but added she would not have been surprised if they were, given the gravity of what they were doing.

Asked by Lugosi if there had been violence during the incident, Wagner said there had been. “Twenty babies were killed and I was assaulted physically and verbally.” She characterized her actions as truthful, peaceful, non-violent and in no way a verbal assault.

She concluded by setting the stage for the planned constitutional challenge of Canada`s abortion law, stating that she was acting under Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which sanctions self-defence of a human being, and acknowledged the trial would serve as a test case in challenging the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, one is not considered human until fully born.

She agreed that, because Parliament will not amend the abortion law of its own accord, she is taking it upon herself to do it.

Perhaps surprisingly, Crown attorney Tracey Vogel had no questions for Wagner, thus ending the trial proper. The case now moves to the consideration of Wagner’s standing for a constitutional challenge, to begin with a hearing in Room 308 of the Ontario Court of Justice, 1000 Finch Avenue West at Dufferin Street in Toronto, on February 4 at 2:15 p.m.

Just before Wagner was handcuffed and led back to the holding cells, Lugosi asked O’Donnell if he would be willing to release Wagner on bail without conditions so she could enjoy freedom for the Christmas season. O’Donnell replied it was tragic that Wagner remains in custody, but the bail conditions are as bare as they can be short of unconditional release. Wagner, he said, “has to make her choice … she is the architect of her future … It’s not within my control. She makes her choice. ”

As Wagner will be imprisoned over the Christmas season, those wishing to send Wagner cards or letters at the jail can find guidelines for doing so through a previous LifeSitenews article.

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St. Peter Damian
Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

St. Peter Damian (1049): what Church MUST do in response to rampant homosexuality among clergy

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The rise of the power and influence of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as influential laity, has been a major factor in the growing chaos within Catholicism over the past 60 years. This disorder within the Catholic Church has had a negative impact on the entire world because of the resulting decline in the positive influences that Catholicism has had on civilization for many centuries.

To think that what is happening now is new, however, betrays an ignorance of history. In 1049, when St. Peter Damian wrote his treatise, Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), to Pope Leo IX, homosexuality and sexual perversion in general were far more openly rampant within the clergy than today.  This horrendous state of affairs is what the Saint addressed in his appeal to the Pope for urgently needed reforms.

We often hear from sleepy, comfortable, cowardly, timid or cultural Catholics, and especially from clergy who are directly implicated in homosexuality, that we should never criticize priests, bishops and especially the Pope. Supposedly, that is a greater sin than that of the heretics and sexual perverts facilitating great personal suffering and sending souls to Hell without anyone doing what is necessary to either convert or stop them.

St. Peter Damian was not so foolish as to listen to such nonsense denying God His justice at a time when the Church appeared to be in its death throes. He understood the grave duty to be blunt about the dangers and sinfulness, to not minimize the catastrophe that would come if strong actions were not quickly taken and to demand corrective actions. And yet, he also emphasized that all of this must be done with charity and Christian hope for the persons involved in the moral corruption. Their conversion was above all hoped and prayed for, rather than their condemnation for eternity.

An Italian translated version of the Book of Gomorrah has recently been published. An English version carefully translated by one of our LifeSite journalists will also soon become available.

On Feb. 11 of this year the Rorate Caeli website published excerpts from the introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei to the Italian version.

Following are some paragraphs from that introduction that I hope will jar awake some of the faithful, especially considering what is going on now in the United States as a result of the mad Supreme Court decision and the moral chaos around the Synod on the Family regarding Church sexual teachings.
 

Excerpts from the Introduction:

St. Peter Damien (1007-1072) Abbot of the Fonte Avellana Monastery and subsequently Cardinal/Bishop of Ostia, was one of the most outstanding figures of Catholic reform in the XI century. His Liber Gomorrhianus, appeared around 1049, in an age when corruption was widely spread, even in the highest ranks of the ecclesiastical world.

In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Peter Damien condemns the perverted habits of his time in a language that knows no false mercy or compromises. He is convinced that of all the sins, the gravest is sodomy, a term which includes all the acts against nature and which want to satisfy sexual pleasure by separating it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist – he writes – the sword of Divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing ruin to many.”

There have been times in (the Church’s) history when sanctity pervades Her and others when the defection of Her members cause Her to collapse into darkness, appearing almost as if the Divinity has abandoned Her.

Peter Damien’s voice resounds today, as it did yesterday, with encouragement and comfort for those, like him, who have fought, suffered, cried and hoped, throughout the course of history.

He did not moderate his language, but kept it fiery to show his indignation. He was fearless in voicing an uncompromising hatred for sin and it was precisely this hatred that rendered his love burning for the Truth and the Good.

Today, at the beginning of the third millennium of Christ’s birth, priests, bishops and Episcopal conferences are arguing for married priests; they are placing in doubt the indissolubility of the marriage bond between man and woman and at the same time, accepting the introduction of laws for homosexual pseudo-marriage. Sodomy is not being thought of as a sin that cries to God for vengeance but is diffused in seminaries, colleges, ecclesiastical universities and even inside the Sacred Walls of the Vatican itself.

Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something worse than moral vice practiced and theorized. It is the silence that should speak, the abstention that should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established among the wicked and of those, who with the pretext of avoiding scandal are silent, and, by being silent, consent.  

Graver still, is the acceptance of homosexuality by churchmen, thought of as a “positive” tension towards the good, worthy of pastoral care and juridical protection and not as an abominable sin. In the summary Relatio post disceptationem of the first week’s work in the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, a paragraph affirmed that: “homosexual persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, with an invitation to the Bishops “…are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This scandalous statement was removed from the final report, but some bishops and cardinals, inside and outside the Synod Hall, insisted on the appeal to look for the positive aspects of a union against nature, going as far as hoping for “a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

St. Peter Damian as a simple monk, and with greater reason as a cardinal, did not hesitate in accusing even the Popes of that time for their scandalous omissions. Will the reading of the book Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of St. Peter Damien in the hearts of some prelates or laypeople, by shaking them out of their torpor and force them to speak and act?

Even if abysmally far from the holiness and prophetic spirit of St. Peter Damien, let us make his indignation against evil, ours, and with the words that conclude his treatise we turn to the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, presently reigning, so that he may intervene and bring an end to these doctrinal and moral scandals: “May the Almighty Lord assist us, Most Reverend Father, so that during the time of Your Apostolate, all of the monstrosity of this vice be destroyed and the state of the Church, presently supine, may wholly rise up again in all its vigour.”

The book can be found in Italian here. 

(Note: the name of the saint is spelled Damian in English and Damien in Italian and French. In Fr. Mattei's quotes is it spelled Damien)

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Bernadette Smyth, the head of Northern Ireland's Precious Life, speaks at LifeSiteNews' Rome Life Forum in May 2014. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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Victory in Ireland: Pro-life leader’s ‘harassment’ conviction overturned

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By Pete Baklinski

BELFAST, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Northern Ireland’s most prominent pro-life leader who last year was found guilty of “harassment” against an abortion facility director has had charges thrown out of court on appeal due to insufficient evidence.

“I thank God for my vindication and for helping my family and me through this horrible ordeal,” stated Bernadette Smyth, head of Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group Precious Life, after the Monday decision that quashed the previous guilty verdict.

“Our prayers have been answered. I would like to thank the wonderful work of Aiden Carlin Solicitors and all my legal team. ‘Precious Life’ and I will continue with the work we have been doing over the last 18 years, which is to advocate for unborn children.”

Between 2012 and 2014 Smyth, 52, had been among a group of pro-life sidewalk counselors who prayed, handed out leaflets, and talked to passers-by outside the illegally operated Marie Stopes abortion facility in Belfast.

In 2014 Smyth was found guilty of “harassment” against the facility’s operator, the former politician Dawn Purvis who claimed she was intimidated by Smyth’s comments and “witchy” laughter. The legal attack came at precisely the moment when Smyth was publicly leading an effective campaign to oppose the liberalization of Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.

Smyth was ultimately handed a £2,000-fine, 100 hours of community service, and a five-year restraining order.

Smyth's lawyer challenged Purvis' claim that his client's interaction with the director on two occasions had left her in fear, pointing out in court on Monday that Purvis was a seasoned politician with a former role within the Progressive Unionist Party.

“Are you not a person with a bit more fortitude than that?" he asked.

When Smyth's lawyer asked to have the case thrown out, the judge agreed, ruling that the evidence at hand was insufficient for a successful prosecution.

“Today Judge Gordon Kerr quashed the conviction, ruling that Bernadette Smyth’s laughter outside the Marie Stopes center in Belfast was not criminal behavior and that there was insufficient evidence that Bernadette Smyth had harassed Dawn Purvis,” Precious Life stated in a press release.

Pro-life groups welcomed the news as a victory.

“We’re delighted that justice has been served and that the court has thrown out these ridiculous charges against Bernadette Smyth,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute.

Uí Bhriain praised Smyth for giving her life to “supporting women in crisis and providing real assistance to mothers and babies.”

“This attempt to shut down her pro-life work was reprehensible and she should never have been dragged through the courts to face these baseless accusations.”

“Bernadette Smyth can hold her head high as the court has vindicated her good name and the important work she does to protect mothers and babies,” said Uí Bhriain. “We are delighted with today’s ruling which overturned the miscarriage of justice which saw Bernadette accused of harassment.” 

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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Bishops conduct exorcism over the entire nation of Mexico to cast out demon of abortion

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MEXICO CITY, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An unprecedented event took place in the city of San Luis Potosi, in Mexico, as a group of bishops performed an exorcism on the entire country.

“Mexico opened the door to the devil when we legalized abortion,” said Cardinal Juan Sandoval, Bishop Emeritus from Gualajara, who led the exorcism. “It’s the legalization of homicide,” he told El Universal.

The first ever exorcism on a whole country took place last month behind closed doors inside the Cathedral of San Luis Potosí. It was made public once Pope Francis was informed it had happened. Only one journalist, Roberto O’Farril, was allowed inside.

“Mexico is living a demonic infestation similar to the one these territories lived before the evangelization and before Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparition,” said O’Farril in an interview with AciPrensa.

He compared abortion to the sacrifices performed by the Aztecs. “Many of those sacrifices were human sacrificies,” he continued. “Young warriors and damsels whose chests were cut open to take out the heart and offer it to these demons.”

According to renowned exorcist Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea, who was also present, an Exorcismo Magno “is useful in a situation in which great violence is unleashed in a country.”

San Luis Potosi’s Archbishop, Mons. Cabrero, explained the exorcism was done to ask “for the liberation of this strong presence of the enemy.”

“This prayer is certainly extraordinary, but it’s still a practice within the Church,” he explained in interview with AciPrensa.

Official data show 138,000 legal abortions have been performed in Mexico City since abortion was made legal there in 2007.

A recent study from the Guttmacher Institute revealed that Mexico has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, with 33 in every 1,000 pregnancies ending in abortion.

In 2013, LifeSiteNews reported the case of a man who claimed he was suffering from demonic influence because of the legalization of abortion in Mexico. Renowned exorcist Fr. Amorth confirmed the possession and tried to exorcise the man's demons, concluding the demons would leave him when the abortion law was reversed.

O’Farril, who covered this man’s case, said the demons possessing the man had said that time, “She had banished us from Mexico but your stupid laws have allowed human sacrifices to return.”

According to Sandoval, “the grave situation we are living in Mexico has a very profound root,” that goes “further than human evil, it is the devil, who is very connected to death, he’s been the murdere[r] since the beginning.”

Sandoval went on to compare the victims murdered by the cartels, who are often dismembered, to the children who are “torn apart inside their mother’s womb.”

CNN Mexico reported Sandoval might go on to perform more exorcisms in other Mexican states.  

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