Patrick Craine

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Retired bishops join pro-Planned Parenthood group in call for Catholic funding of pro-abort orgs

Patrick Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ten Catholic bishops teamed up with a pro-Planned Parenthood group to a release a report this week that urges Catholic organizations to fund groups linked to the promotion of abortion and other acts opposed by the Church.

The 28-page report, released Tuesday by the advocacy group Faith in Public Life, targets Catholic critics of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, accusing them of adopting “McCarthy-era tactics” in their quest to rid the USCCB-run organization of problematic partnerships.

The CEO of the group Faith in Public Life is Jennifer Butler a Presbyterian minister who sat on a panel of “pro-choice clergy” at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual interfaith breakfast in 2008.  Moreover, the website of Faith in Public Life has published numerous blog posts defending Planned Parenthood.

The report was authored by John Gehring, Faith in Public Life’s Catholic Program Director, who once served as the USCCB’s Assistant Director for Media Relations.

The opening pages of the report include a list of endorsing groups and individuals, including nine retired U.S. bishops and one sitting bishop (Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa). The retired bishops listed are Archbishop Fiorenza, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, Bishop Peter Rosazza, Bishop Sylvester Ryan of Monterey, Bishop Joseph Sullivan, and Bishop John Leibrecht of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Archbishop Fiorenza and Bishop Skylstad are both former presidents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Many of the bishops backing the report are known for taking public positions against Catholic teaching.

  • Bishop Dowling is famous for his opposition to Church teaching on contraception and in 2010 he was rebuked by the Southern African Bishops' Conference after giving a talk that criticized the Vatican and Catholic teaching against the ordination of women.
  • Bishop Gumbleton, a well-known dissident in the U.S. Church, made headlines in April when he opposed his own bishop, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, after Vigneron defended the Church's opposition to same-sex "marriage" and urged Catholics who support the illicit unions to not approach for Communion.
  • Bishop Sullivan has been a speaker for the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry, and has called for active homosexuals to be brought in to "full participation in the life of the church."

In the report, Faith in Public Life charges that CCHD’s critics are working to "undermine the U.S. Catholic bishops’ most successful anti-poverty initiative."

"Using guilt by association and other tactics from the McCarthy-era playbook, these activists are part of an increasingly aggressive movement of Catholic culture warriors who view themselves as fighting for a smaller, 'purer' church,” it reads.

The report mentions the Reform CCHD Now coalition by name, and focuses particularly on American Life League, which has been one of the leading critics. LifeSiteNews is also mentioned because of its recent reports highlighting Catholic Relief Services' links to pro-abortion groups.

It criticizes recent decisions by CCHD to defund grantees like the Land Stewardship Project and Compañeros, which were found to be taking active leadership roles in coalitions that endorse same-sex “marriage.”

These defunding decisions have come after detailed reports from the Reform CCHD Now coalition, but in these cases the coalition has merely called on CCHD to live up to its own guidelines. According to those guidelines, CCHD funds “cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”

The report also includes interviews with bishops and other faith leaders who oppose CCHD’s ongoing reform and believe the anti-poverty arm should work with groups that oppose fundamental Catholic moral teachings in the interest of securing relief for the poor.

“At a time when poverty is growing and people are hurting we should not withdraw from our commitment to helping the poor,” urges Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, former head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “Catholic identity is far broader than opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Catholic identity is a commitment to living the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed it, and this must include a commitment to those in poverty.”

The report won accolades on Thursday from the Human Rights Campaign, one of America’s leading homosexual advocacy groups, which used the occasion to urge Catholic leaders to fund “marriage equality” groups.

“It is utterly wrong that a network of conservative Catholic organizations would choose to withhold funds from local groups working with the poor because they support marriage equality and the LGBT community,” said Sharon Groves, HRC’s Religion and Faith Director. “Before all else Jesus’ ministry was with the poor and for the poor.  No matter what these Catholic leaders feel about marriage equality it is nothing short of wrong to turn poor people into pawns for their political ends.” 

“We thank Faith in Public Life for bringing this scandal to the attention of the wider public.”

Michael Hichborn, a researcher at American Life League and the lead spokesman for the Reform CCHD Now coalition, emphasized that they fully support authentic poverty relief efforts, but said Faith in Public Life is clearly not aiming to help the poor.

"Given that Faith in Public Life is headed by someone strongly aligned with Planned Parenthood, and that the ‘report’ they wrote is getting support from the Human Rights Campaign, it's clear that the reason for this report has nothing to do with the poor and everything to do with helping the gay and pro-abortion lobby,” he said.

"The whole report is nothing more than an apologetics piece attempting to make the case that in order to help the poor, Catholic money has to go to organizations working hand-in-glove with coalitions promoting abortion and homosexuality,” he added.

"Even though a number of bishops have endorsed this report, I am reminded of the warning of Our Lady of Akita that we will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops, and the Church will be full of those who accept compromises,” Hichborn continued. “Ultimately what these bishops are saying is that those bishops who supported the review and renewal guideline on coalitions, and those others who’ve decided not to do the CCHD collection are hurting the poor because they oppose giving money to organizations who become members of coalitions that are the ideological enemies of Christ."

Hichborn also questioned why Faith in Public Life and its backers were targeting American Life League when the pro-life group has merely upheld CCHD’s own standards. He highlighted a quote last year by CCHD’s own executive director, Ralph McCloud: "To work with organizations who are working against some of the things that we're teaching, the tradition that we have -- we just have no tolerance for that," said McCloud.

“This is the executive director of the CCHD speaking, not American Life League,” said Hichborn. “If FIPL and all of its endorsers have a problem with the CCHD's standards, then I don't know why they are pointing a finger at American life League.  All we're doing is applying the Church's own standards in our investigations." 



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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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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

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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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