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Novak Fed Up with Vatican Newspaper: “We asked Rome for Bread they Give us Stones”

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By Hilary White

NEW YORK, May 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A recent string of "star struck teenage" articles praising US President Barack Obama by the Vatican daily newspaper is scandalizing Catholics around the world, according to a prominent American conservative commentator. Michael Novak, a US Catholic writer, philosopher and diplomat, wrote on the website of the National Review magazine today that the editors of L’Osservatore Romano have failed to grasp either "the full threat Obama poses for the American Catholic conscience" or the "immense scandal" they are causing the Church by praising him.

Novak, regarded by many as a "moderate conservative," wrote in an editorial titled "All the Confusion Fit to Print," that "L’ Osservatore Romano seems not to grasp the fundamental realities of abortion politics in America."

In the last month, the Vatican’s daily newspaper, largely in its Italian daily edition, has produced a set of articles about President Obama that have downplayed his pro-abortion and anti-family policies, ignored his 100 per cent pro-abortion voting record and reported with little criticism his appearance at Notre Dame University.

One article, published May 12th, compared Obama to the biblical Joshua who led the people of Israel to the Promised Land and said that he is the "fulfilment" of Rev. Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement. But the greatest criticism has been levelled against a political editorial published last month titled, "Obama in the White House: 100 Days that Didn’t Shake the World," by Giuseppe Fiorentino.

Many pro-life leaders have voiced their concerns at the recent kid-glove treatment of Obama in the newspaper, that is known to be vetted by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Their criticisms became even more vocal last week when the paper’s editor-in-chief said that he does not believe Obama is a pro-abortion politician. Giovanni Maria Vian, in an interview with Italian political analyst, Paolo Rodari, praised Obama’s Notre Dame speech, a speech labelled "mendacious" by Novak. Vian said it had been "respectful toward every position."

Vian said, "He [Obama] tried to engage the debate, stepping out from every ideological position and outside every ‘confrontational mentality.’ To this extent his speech is to be appreciated."

In its reportage of Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame University last weekend, Novak identified five "crucial facts" of which Vian’s newspaper, "like a blind observer of faraway events," seems "completely ignorant."

Novak said that the paper ignored the fact that the US bishops had issued a public declaration that no politicians who oppose "fundamental moral principles" were to be honoured by any Catholic institution in the US. It has also failed to distinguish between the 40 percent of practising US Catholics who support the Church’s teaching on abortion, and the US Church’s barely practising members who support legal abortion. This failure to distinguish, Novak said, put L’Osservatore Romano into the same ranks as the mainstream liberal secular press.

The L’Osservatore Romano coverage also failed to note, he said, that Barack Obama has gone "farther than any president in American history in supporting abortion." This includes supporting legal infanticide, "euphemistically called ‘partial-birth abortion,’" and opposing legislation that would protect children born alive after an attempted abortion. In this latter case, Novak pointed out, Obama is "virtually alone in U.S. politics" in his attempt to please the abortion lobby, since many other "pro-choice" politicians voted in favor of the measure.

The paper, he wrote, has also failed to grasp the subtleties of the euphemistic language, the "code" of "doublespeak," that has grown up in politics around the abortion issue in the US. While L’Osservatore Romano claimed that Obama promised at Notre Dame to put in place legal protections for doctors, Novak points to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), for which Obama has promised his support. FOCA proposes to repeal all previous legislation that put any restrictions whatever on abortion. This would effectively force all medical practitioners in the US to participate in abortion.

FOCA, Novak wrote, would change the law so that "anyone who would stand in the way of abortion could be recognized as a criminal."

Novak concludes by asking, "Why on earth, then, does L’Osservatore Romano side with the abortionists, and against the besieged, struggling minority of churchgoing Catholics who find abortion abhorrent, and an intrinsic and unrationalizable evil?"

He laments, "We ask Rome for bread, and L’Osservatore Romano gives us stones."


To read Novak’s editorial:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGFiYWE3OTc1MjRkN2IyMWFhMTM4NTY4NmU4NjkzNDg=


Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

"Obama not Pro-Abortion" Says Editor in Chief of Vatican Newspaper
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09052101.html

Obama is "Joshua" to Martin Luther King’s "Moses": Vatican Newspaper Article
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051204.html

Why the Vatican Newspaper Said Obama’s First 100 Days Wasn’t All that Bad
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050113.html

Pro-Life Leaders Worldwide Concerned About Weakening of Vatican’s Pro-Life Stand in Wake of Uncorrected Vatican Newspaper Article
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050104.html

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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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