Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula

Nobody owns his life: an integral defense of life

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
By Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
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Note: The following comments were adapted from a speech given on May 12, 2012 as part of Italy’s March for Life weekend celebration.

In the defense of life, it is absolutely essential that we are committed to the abolition of all laws and judicial decisions that would permit even a single abortion. But we have to look further ahead to protect in an integral way the whole of human life from its biological beginnings until natural death. The same logic of dominion over life that leads to abortion serves as justification for euthanasia, assisted suicide, as well as contraception and artificial means of fertilization. If a person is capable of deciding on the life or death of the baby in the womb, that person could also make these same decisions over the life of a dying or disabled person under his or her legal care.

Nobody owns his life; no one has the right to euthanasia or assisted suicide. No one has the right to judge if the life of a human person is “not worthy of being lived” and should thus be eliminated.

Behind an apparently compassionate approach to the sufferings of a person that is dying, there is often a strong economic motivation to save society of the expenses of keeping alive a person whose condition has been deemed terminal. Life is the property of the Creator, so only He may decide the time of its beginning and the time of its conclusion; thus neither abortion or euthanasia, suicide, assisted suicide nor any form of artificial conception where human persons decide the time of the beginning or the end of life are permissible.

We have to protect the family which is the cradle of life and encourage generosity with life at a time of demographic winter. We should do everything possible to guarantee children their natural right of being born in a stable family, constituted by a man and woman, and their right to be conceived in natural fashion and not artificially.

The struggle to protect life is closely related to the acceptance or the rejection of the fullness of the Way, the Truth and Life that was brought to the world through the incarnation of the Eternal Word. John Paul II in Centesimus annus, demonstrates that a society cannot live without God in the emptiness of atheism. He finishes this analysis indicating how the Kingdom of God has to have a concrete effect in the life of society, enlightening it and penetrating it with the energies of grace. In light of these principles we can understand the gravity of Italian Law 194 of May 22, 1978 that legalized abortion and of the Law 40 of February 19, 2004 that legalized artificial fertilization. We cannot be in agreement with those that are of the view that Law 194 has to be applied in a correct way as a means of limiting the number of abortions. The first article of this law is totally ambiguous. It states that, “The Republic…. Protects human life from its beginning.” But right away we can ask: who between the partisans of this law is ready to define the beginning of life as its biological beginning? We can try to limit the damages caused by this law applying article 73 of Evangelium vitae, but we can never accept the ideological foundations of the Italian abortion law.

The Italian law that legalizes artificial fertilization is the consequence of view of life in which men think everything he wants to do is licit. Some see this as a consequence of the Enlightenment, but really behind it we have the old demonic temptation that led our first parents to think they could be like God and become the Lords of everything created, instead of accepting that man is only a temporary administrator of a spiritual and material reality that has been entrusted to him during his life on this earth.

Behind this law there is a view in which children are not seen as a gift from God but as a right. This frame of mind of dominion over life is a grave evil in itself, but we also have to be keenly aware of its immediate consequences, which are the death of thousands of newly conceived babies, because many are rejected at implantation in the womb of the mother due to the unnatural means of implantation. There are sources that indicate that in this way more than eighty percent of the embryos produced artificially die before being born.

There is a connection that can never be taken away between the unitive and procreative meanings of the sexual act; this connection should not be broken by man. Artificial fertilization separates procreation from sexuality, and in certain way there is a relation between a contraceptive frame of mind and artificial fertility because we can say it is the reverse.

The defense of life is a fundamental part of building up the common good of society, as John Paul II taught us:

To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.” Then John Paul II adds with sober realism, “There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his rights.

A central element of the common good is the active protection of life as part of a commitment to establish a just and well-organized society under the Social Kingship of Christ, where Faith would be lived with a deep love of the truth, and as a consequence all the social and economic resources should be properly managed to assure a social and economic growth in real terms. A fundamental element in this struggle to establish the common good is generosity with life, because selfishness with life is the consequence of the lack of hope, which is in turn due to a lack faith. This lack of faith and hope leads directly or indirectly to abortion, euthanasia and all sorts of aggressions against the family. This happens also because without a hopeful and strong view of the future grounded in the faith it is difficult to make the permanent commitment which is the essence of marriage. A lived faith would encourage the generosity of families with life and a healthy socioeconomic policy would give them the necessary material security to carry forward their mission.

In the missionary presentation of the faith we should make a courageous and integral effort to communicate the teachings of the Church on life and family, demonstrating how all of them are bound together, and the abandonment of one of them leads to an attack on the others. These teachings are strongly opposed by a world dominated by relativism and hedonism, but without these it impossible to lead a happy and well integrated life. These obstacles should not discourage us, because nothing is impossible with God who always wishes our salvation.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro is the executive director of Human Life International’s Rome office. This article reprinted with permission from hliworldwatch.org

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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. 

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