Pope: Church must preach what God says not what people want to hear
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.
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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Pro-life group asks: Pray for abortionists who sell baby body parts
February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This Lent, a pro-life group would like you to pray for an abortionist - specifically, an abortionist who facilitates the sale of unborn babies' body parts.
The Pro-Life Action League is asking for people to pray for three people in particular throughout the 40 days of Lent. All three were caught on video by the Center for Medical Progress.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola appeared in the first video released last July, sipping red wine and stabbing her salad as she discussed the dismemberment of aborted children, including where to “crush” their bodies for a "less crunchy" technique.
The second is Dr. Mary Gatter, who appeared in the second undercover video, haggling over the prices Planned Parenthood expected to receive for the aborted children's organs and tissue. At one point, she joked that she wants the revenue to pay for “a Lamborghini.”
And the third is Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who was also caught in the first video praising Dr. Nucatola.
Despite the shocking evidence uncovered by CMP, Richards has insisted her organization did not receive any profit for what she dubs its "fetal tissue donation program." She apologized only for Dr. Nucatola's "tone." She has since said that Planned Parenthood will not receive any remuneration for babies' body parts.
"These three architects of Planned Parenthood’s baby parts scheme have devoted their lives to the destruction and exploitation of human life in the name of ‘choice,’" said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. "If we won’t pray for them, who will?”
He asked Christians to pray for these three abortion industry profiteers - and for Richards, who is a post-abortive woman - in order to fulfill Jesus Christ's commandment in the Bible, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44).
“In God’s eyes, what abortion has done to these three women may be worse than what they’ve done to unborn children, who now rest in our Lord’s loving arms," Scheidler said.
For most Catholics, Lent began yesterday on Ash Wednesday, and lasts 40 days.
Texas AG faces ethics probe for defending conscience rights of natural marriage supporters
AUSTIN, Texas, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The attorney general of the state of Texas is facing an ethics investigation for having affirmed the constitutional religious freedom of state workers to decline to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it goes against their religious beliefs.
Attorney General Ken Paxton took steps to address the issue of conscience protection in his state before and after last June's Supreme Court's Obergefell decision imposing same-sex "marriage" on all 50 states, first issuing a statement the day prior clarifying that Texas law recognizes the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and recommending that state officials wait for direction from his office should the High Court move to redefine marriage.
Paxton then issued a statement two days after the ruling, his office allowing county clerks and their employees to retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and said as well that justices of the peace and judges would similarly retain religious freedoms.
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A month later, a group of some 200 attorneys filed a complaint asserting that Paxton's position encouraged officials to violate the U.S. Constitution and break their oaths of office, according to ABC News.
The complaint was dismissed at first by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas, but it was reinstated February 2 by a state Supreme Court-appointed appeals board, which contended that the complaint alleges a "possible violation" of professional conduct rules.
The appeals board decision to reinstate the case does not mean Paxton violated professional ethics, according to the ABC report, but does require him to respond to the complaint in conjunction with the investigation.
"The complaint has always lacked merit," said Paxton spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer, "and we are confident the legal process for resolving these complaints will bear that out."
Paxton was among several state officials across the U.S. who moved to ensure conscience protection in the immediate aftermath the Obergefell ruling, at times garnering the ire of homosexual activists.
Last July, South Dakota's attorney general granted permission to county clerks with conscientious objections to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as another clerk in the office would issue the license.
In a highly contentious case, Davis had asked for a religious accommodation allowing her office to issue altered licenses to homosexuals without her name on them, which was eventually granted by Kentucky's Governor Matt Bevin. However, the ACLU sued, seeking to force Davis to issue the old forms with her full name on them. A federal judge rejected the suit earlier this week.
Last year, homosexual activists sent harassing messages, including threats of violence, to Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk and his family after the Republican legislator sponsored a bill that would have given the state's business owners the freedom to follow their religious convictions in regard to homosexual "marriage."
Paxton faces penalties varying between a reprimand and disbarment resulting from the ethics complaint. The Texas attorney general is also facing securities fraud charges.
This pro-abortion billionaire may run for president
NEW YORK, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - He's an upwardly mobile, socially liberal billionaire whose political affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He's teased numerous presidential campaigns in the past, but this time he's talking like he's serious. And no, he's not who you think he is.
Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City, has confirmed to media sources that he is considering running for president as an independent in 2016.
Bloomberg told told the Financial Times this week that he finds American political "discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," and that he's “looking at all the options."
The 73-year-old tycoon was a registered Democrat before switching parties to run in the less contested Republican primary in 2001. He became a registered independent in 2007.
As mayor, Bloomberg governed as a social liberal who strongly supported abortion and the LGBT political agenda.
In 2011, Bloomberg signed a controversial gag order directed at crisis pregnancy centers. A year later, he endorsed Barack Obama's re-election, saying that abortion-on-demand is part of "the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there."
That's the same year Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand "reproductive health," including a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to overturn pro-life laws in four nations: Nicaragua, Sengal, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.
Mayor Bloomberg played a pivotal role redefining marriage in New York state, giving the four Republican state senators who voted for New York’s same-sex “marriage” bill the maximum campaign contribution allowed by law. One retired and a second lost his primary fight.
His strong emphasis on health regulations, such as attempting to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, did little to enhance his popularity and were deftly parodied by Sarah Palin. (A state court struck down the proposed regulation.)
The financial heft he could bring into the race, as well as his quirky politics, has tempted Bloomberg to enter presidential politics in the past. He considered a presidential run in 2008 and thought more strongly about a third party bid in 2012, after hosting the inaugural convention of the “No Labels” movement in New York City in 2010, but he backed off each time after not seeing a viable path to victory.
With an estimated fortune of $39 billion, he has said he would be willing to spend more than $1 billion on his campaign in 2016 - but he would only enter the race if the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and the Democratic Party nominates Bernie Sanders.
He called Jeb and Hillary Clinton "two quality” candidates and "the only two who know how to make the trains run." Jeb reciprocated last month, telling CNN that Bloomberg is "a good person, and he’s a patriot and wants the best for the country.”
At least one of his competitors is eager to see Mike run. "I hope he gets into the race," Donald Trump told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday night. "I'd love to compete against him...I would love to see Michael in the race."
That is likely because polling shows Bloomberg would draw most of his support from the Democratic candidate. "Although he is characterized as the New York counterpunch to Trump, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is more the nemesis of Bernie than he is of Donald," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Bernie Sanders would defeat both Trump and Cruz in a head-to-head match, according to Quinnipiac. But if Bloomberg entered the race, he would win 15 percent of the vote largely from Sanders, giving Trump a one-point victory in the popular vote (and narrowing Cruz's loss to one point).
However, he could throw a major wrench in the Democrats' electoral college total, according to columnist Pat Buchanan.
"Not only would Bloomberg lose the Big Apple, his statewide vote would come mostly from the Democratic nominee, giving Republicans the best opportunity to carry the Empire State since Ronald Reagan coasted to re-election in 1984," wrote Buchanan, who served as White House communications director during Reagan's second term.
“It’s not beyond imagining that he could get in and have an effect on the race,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, told The Hill.
Perhaps sensing this, numerous Democrats - including Senators Claire McCaskill and Jeanne Shaheen - have thrown cold water on a Bloomberg presidential run.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, said this week that an independent Bloomberg candidacy "won't be necessary" - because the Democrats already represent social liberals.
"I really think when he takes a good hard look, he will conclude that the issues that are important to him...[have] a natural home among our Democratic candidates," she said. "And so, I think Michael Bloomberg's agenda is well cared-for and advanced among our Democratic candidates, and his candidacy, I think he will find, won't be necessary.""
His entrance into the race would be a true injection of "New York values" - making him the third or fourth New Yorker in the race - alongside fellow billionaire Trump from Queens, the Brooklyn-born Sanders, and onetime New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
Annie Linskey, a reporter for the Boston Globe who once worked for Bloomberg, told Fox News on Monday that there is "about a four" percent chance that Bloomberg will run.