John Westen

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Numerous bishops clarify pope did not approve condoms in any circumstances

John Westen
John Westen

VATICAN, December 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – From America to Africa and the Philippines to Australia, at least forty of the world’s bishops (that we are aware of), including four Cardinals, have spoken out publicly to affirm that Pope Benedict did not approve the use of condoms in the new book-length interview Light of the World. The massive media misrepresentation of the pope’s remarks on condoms in that book has created confusion amongst many, including some prominent Catholic leaders.

In the last few weeks seven American bishops, and all 26 bishops in Kenya, Africa, have joined bishops from the Vatican, Australia, Spain and the Philippines in attempting to set the record straight, stating plainly that the Pope did not justify the use of condoms under any circumstances.

LifeSiteNews has compiled the key statements made by some of these Catholic Church Bishops on the question.

(Interventions by Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke, Sydney Cardinal George Pell backing the statement of Australian Bishop Anthony Fischer,  as well as Philippines Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu have previously been covered on LifeSiteNews.com)

UNITED STATES

Youngstown, Ohio Bishop George Murry

“A careful reading of (the Pope’s) remarks reveals, however, that Pope Benedict neither proposed any change to the teaching of the Church on the immorality of the use of contraceptives, nor does he justify condom use, or characterize their use as a lesser evil. … Pope Benedict was not justifying condom use for male prostitutes or for anyone else.”


Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin

“It’s still wrong. It’s still evil. But if a person uses condoms to prevent the spread of disease, at least there is some kind of humanity there, some kind of decency, that the pope referred to as the first step toward moralization,” Tobin said.


Denver Colorado Archbishop Charles Chaput Nov 21:

“But intense controversy—at least in Europe and the United States—has always surrounded the Catholic rejection of condom use in AIDS prevention. The Church holds that condom use is morally flawed by its nature, and that, equally important, condom use does not prevent AIDS and can actually enable its spread by creating a false sense of security.”

“In the context of the book’s later discussion of contraception and Catholic teaching on sexuality, the Pope’s comments are morally insightful. But taken out of context, they can easily be inferred as approving condoms under certain circumstances.”


Toledo, Ohio Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, said on December 11:

“In 2009 Pope Benedict made the claim that condom distribution is not helping, and may actually be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Now in 2010, he reaffirmed this claim in a recent book interview in which he repeats what he has said in the past, namely, that condoms are not the answer morally or otherwise to the scourge of AIDS.”

“All the pope did was to express a hope that maybe in the hypothetical situation he describes the use of a condom might be the first stirring of a conscience on the long road to conversion.”


Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

“(The Pope) does not say that the condom use is justifiable or acceptable, but only that it “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.” That’s not saying much. That reminds me of the news reports a few years ago about the so-called “Gentleman Bandit” who was given that nickname because he was very courteous to the bank tellers during a hold-up. One could say that the thief’s courtesy “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” but that does not justify his theft. He was still a crook!”


San Angelo, Texas Bishop Michael Pfeifer

“The pope has indicated he’s not providing any change in church teachings,” Pfeifer said Tuesday. “He’s trying to make a point that a person, like a known prostitute, if they were to use a condom to prevent passing on a disease like HIV, it could be the first step in the conversion of that person’s life.”

“In no way is he saying prostitution is acceptable. In no way is the use of a condom acceptable,” Pfeifer said.


Fargo, North Dakota Bishop Samuel Aquila said on Nov. 22:

“Despite recent news articles which falsely construe the words of Pope Benedict XVI to suggest otherwise, that teaching has not changed in any way.”

“The Holy Father is not condoning the use of condoms, but making an observation regarding the awakening of a sense of responsibility in the people who are caught up in the habitual sin of prostitution. He does not offer a new moral evaluation of the use of condoms, neither in principle nor practically in this circumstance, but is merely describing a psychological development as one, even in the grip of sin, can begin to acknowledge the safety and human dignity of another.”


SPAIN

Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, General Secretary of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference

Noted on Nov. 26, at the conclusion of the Spanish bishops’ 96th plenary assembly, that the use of condoms “always” takes place “within a context of immorality.” Thus, he continued, it “can never be recommended.”


KENYA

Nairobi Kenya Cardinal John Njue and the 25 other Kenyan Bishops signed a statement Nov 29:

“We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.”

“The church and indeed the Holy Father reaffirms that “naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the “authentic and moral solution” to the problem of AIDS.”

“(The Pope) is not speaking on the morality of the use of condoms, but on something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. This in no way condones the use of condoms in itself.”

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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