Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Media ‘derailed’ my message on gay civil unions: Vatican prelate

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, February 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since Monday, the Catholic and pro-family internet has been abuzz with conflicting articles and blog posts about comments by a Vatican prelate who was reported to have supported legal structures recognizing same-sex partnerings. A story published by the U.S. bishops’ news service reported Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as saying, “While the Catholic Church opposes legal sanctions against homosexuality and favors legal protections for unmarried people living together, it must defend traditional marriage for the good of society.”

The story touched off a small firestorm in the secular media, with some claiming that the archbishop had contradicted previous statements from Pope Benedict XVI and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

But in a follow-up interview with Vatican Radio yesterday, Archbishop Paglia insisted that his remarks, which had been given off-the-cuff after a prepared statement, were taken out of context and that he had never intended to imply that the Church supports homosexual civil unions.

In her coverage on Monday, Cindy Wooden, a Rome correspondent for Catholic News Service, quoted Archbishop Paglia saying, “If a country outlawed homosexuality, I would work to overturn it.” Wooden noted that he believed “there are still ‘20 or 25 countries’ that define homosexuality as a crime."

Wooden reported Paglia calling for “greater efforts to ensure legal protection and inheritance rights for people who are living together, but not married,” and that “legal means must be found to guarantee rights and regulate inheritance.”

“But do not call it marriage,” the CNS article quoted the archbishop saying.

The report was followed within hours by stories from secular liberal news outlets, carrying headlines like this one from the Huffington Post: “Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia Says Vatican Should Do More To Support Gay Couples.” The Global Post said, “Vatican official opens to rights for gay unions”. 

The reports even prompted a positive response from homosexualists in Italy. Franco Grillini, the head of Gaynet, an Italian homosexualist organization, said, “For the first time a senior prelate recognises that there should be rights also for gay couples and that there are many countries in the world where being gay is a crime.”

The ambiguity of the comments was highlighted, however, by the response from Aurelio Mancuso, head of Equality Italia, who said they could as easily be interpreted to mean “keeping the status quo, in other words an absence of rights.”

But in his interview Wednesday with Vatican Radio, Paglia said he was “very surprised at how some media reported” his statements, saying his intention had been “derailed.” “And it is certain that, when the train is derailed, it does not reach the station, it risks running off a cliff,” he added.

Paglia said it is worth considering whether existing laws, which in Italy do not include “civil partnerships,” are enough to grant all citizens sufficient protection from “unjust discrimination”. It is a matter, he said, of “individual rights,” as opposed to collective “gay rights.”

“This is far from the approval of certain perspectives,” he said.

Paglia added that he had been deeply moved by the pope’s discourses on both the value of marriage and the need to defend all persons, including homosexuals, from “malevolent and violent actions.” 

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“I really hope that precious treasure, the heritage of humanity, which is the family, can be defended, supported and helped,” he said, “and woe to those who distort its meaning.”

Fr. Shenan Boquet, the president of Human Life International, issued a media release today thanking the archbishop for his clarification, saying it has relieved the widespread confusion created by the media reports. 

Whatever the media may have implied, Fr. Boquet said, the archbishop has “simply affirmed the Church's long held defense of basic human dignity (which is a gift from God the Father as every person is made in His image), her defense of the unchangeable nature of marriage, and her desire that no one suffer unjust discrimination.” 

Fr. Boquet cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a recent document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith showing that the Church has no established position on questions of inheritance law and has never opposed the claims of individuals to pass on their property to whomever they choose, or to allow visitors of their choice when in the hospital.

But this does not mean that the Church has or could ever condone legal changes creating “civil unions” between persons of the same sex. Rather it has said clearly that Catholics must oppose efforts to establish legal recognitions of any type of non-marital sexual relationships. To do so, Boquet said, would only create “confusion” over the true nature of marriage, “which is rightfully elevated and defended in almost every nation”. 

“It makes perfect sense to protect marriage in law, just as it makes little sense to provide legal recognition to dissolvable, affection-based relationships between individuals,” he said. 

With regard to “laws against homosexuality,” Boquet added, “in certain nations, we are not aware of any law against sexual orientation per se. Some nations have retained laws against homosexual acts and the Church has never opposed these laws nor sought their reversal.”

However, the Church does not concern itself with the morality of “orientation.”

“Being attracted to a those of the same sex is not in itself sinful,” Fr. Boquet said, “but is rather a disordered desire, that is to be responded to with the virtue of chastity. 

“But she respects the right of any nation to elevate natural marriage as the most basic institution of any healthy society, which is thus worthy of legal recognition and protection.”



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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