John Westen

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Pope: Church must preach what God says not what people want to hear

John Westen
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VATICAN CITY, July 16, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a homily delivered in the town of Frascati in Italy Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI noted that the Apostles were called by Christ to preach the truth even if people don’t want to hear it.

He said:

Jesus sends them out two by two and gives them instructions. ... The first instruction concerns the spirit of detachment: the Apostles must not be attached to money and comforts. Jesus warns the disciples that they will not always receive a favourable welcome: at times they will be rejected, and may also be persecuted. But that should not affect them: they must speak in the name of Jesus and preach the Kingdom of God, without worrying about success. They must leave the outcome in the hands of God.

Reflecting on the reading concerning the prophet Amos, the Holy Father added: “But, whether accepted or rejected, Amos continued to prophesy, preaching what God says and not what people wanted to hear.” 

Addressing our current times, the Pope said, “This remains the mandate of the Church: she does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power”.

In North America today, the Christian Church is challenged in the most extreme way in this regard by the issue of homosexuality.

There is no other topic, abortion and contraception included, which has made for more gun-shy Church, political and institutional leadership.  And that is quite understandable given the current obsession with homosexuality and all things relating to it by the media and so many of the institutional elites.

For nearly 20 years the labels of ‘hater’ and ‘bigot’ have been cast upon all those who would dare to question the homosexual lifestyle.  Christian Mayors have been lambasted and fined for refusing to declare gay pride days; businesses fined and even shut down for refusing their services to homosexual activists. Teachers and sportscasters who dared - on their own time - object to homosexual ‘marriage’ were turfed from their jobs. And now information and news services threatened for daring to report straight facts on situations that may not be complimentary to certain homosexuals.

Christian institutions, especially schools, have been targeted.

Very good men, leaders in the Church, even those who have stood up strong in the fight against abortion have shied away from the matter of homosexuality.  Even when confronted with it head-on the preference has been to side step the fight with conciliatory stances.

During the Canadian ‘marriage’ battles back in 2003-2004, prior to the passage of same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation in 2005, the Ontario Bishops regularly consulted a diverse advisory group of lay people for advice on how to confront the issue.  Some of the advisers - a minority - warned that the whole issue was really about normalization of homosexuality rather than marriage.  Thus, in order to address the heart of the issue, the bishops were compelled to raise the long ignored subject of the harm of homosexual acts. But they declined to do so.

In some 80 public interventions, from that time until the passage of same sex ‘marriage’, the Ontario Bishops decided to avoid in nearly every case the hard issue of homosexuality. Rather, they spoke in glowing terms about the goodness of heterosexual marriage.  It seemed it would be just too costly in public relations, or too uncomfortable,  to address the subject of homosexuality head-on.

A repeat of the scenario has occurred in Ontario regarding the government’s imposition of ‘gay-straight alliance clubs’ on Ontario Catholic high schools.  From the outset, parent groups were warning the Ontario Bishops that the agenda had little to do with ‘anti-bullying’ and everything to do with forcing normalization of homosexuality in Catholic schools.

The Bishops, however, in many interventions and countless meetings spoke only about their common goal with the government in opposing bullying.  They took at face-value the claims of the McGuinty government rather than noting the warned about underlying agenda.  For those listening closely to the noises coming from the politicians themselves that agenda was painfully clear.

Once, in a statement outside of that heated debate in Ontario, the national bishops’ conference came out with a statement on the matter of homosexuality which requires commendation. It was called, Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction

However, when asked directly by reporters about homosexuality, the lead bishop on the ‘anti-bullying’ fiasco refused to answer.  Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, only replied that the matter was too complex to explain in a media interview.

Remember who this man is.  He is the same bishop who took the bull by the horns when it came to denouncing abortionist Henry Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada; the same bishop who laudably took Development and Peace to task over supporting pro-abortion groups. 

Are Christians lacking a well-worded way to present Christ’s teachings on homosexuality to our modern culture? We’ve been in this battle for four decades. It’s time to get our talking points in order and face this issue, that clearly cannot be avoided, head on.

Perhaps just speaking the truth in charity and leaving the outcome to the Holy Spirit is all that is necessary. The truth on this issue IS charity - to everyone, Catholic, non-Catholic, and non-Christian. It benefits our entire society.

In words very similar to those the Pope used yesterday, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, upon his departure from Canada for Rome in 2010 gave an interview wherein he outlined what is needed in a good bishop. Bishops, he said, “need spiritual discernment and not just political calculation of the risk of the possibility of the message being received.”  He added, “We have to dare to speak to the deep heart, where the Spirit of the Lord is touching people beyond what we can calculate.”



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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.

I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:

Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.

Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.

After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.

The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.

So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.

When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.



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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. 

The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans.  Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.  And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”

Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.” 

The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.

“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says. 

The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children. 

“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked. 

There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so. 

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.



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