Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Video series sponsored by Jesuits promotes homosexuality

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, September 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A series of videos sponsored by the Jesuit Roman Catholic religious order, titled “Who are we to judge,” in reference to a comment made earlier this year by Pope Francis about homosexual priests, has come under fire for promoting the idea that there is no conflict between being a faithful Catholic and being an active homosexual. 

The video series was produced by the Ignatian News Network, a YouTube channel that is a joint project of the US Jesuits and Loyola Productions in Los Angeles, to feature videos about the work and mission of the American Jesuits. 

Prominently featured in the series is Arthur Fitzmaurice, the head of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM), a group that is currently under censure by their local Catholic bishop for misrepresenting Catholic teaching. Fitzmaurice says in the videos that his “coming out” experience as a homosexual “strengthened my faith journey”. At first he said he had asked God, “how do I leave this cross behind me, how do I become a straight man?” which he said changed in time to “a realisation that God made me to be this gay person”. 

Fitzmaurice says that his group only wants “to create a Church where all are welcome at all parishes. And once they’re there, not just being welcomed, but a place where they’re going to thrive.” 

However, in June of last year, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, where CALGM is based, issued a statement saying that the group cannot be regarded as “authentically Catholic” due to their opposition to Catholic teaching.

In letters to the GALGM board, Cordileone requested that each member “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness” and “profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition”. The group’s leadership twice told Cordileone they refused to sign such a declaration. 

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that the video series presents an unbalanced view of Catholic teaching. 

“It is good to point out that the Church nowhere condemns people who are attracted to members of the same sex,” he said. “As the Church says, it is not the person with same-sex attraction that is disordered, it is the attraction itself that is disordered, and homosexual acts themselves are always gravely sinful.”  

But he said that it is a failure of pastoral charity and genuine brotherly love to “create the impression that sinful behavior is somehow morally acceptable in the Church, or that an identity based on disordered sexuality must be celebrated by the Church.” 

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“In a modern social and political climate where the Church is being persecuted precisely for her truthful and loving stand on human sexuality and marriage, what we need is not more ambiguity about what the Church teaches, but a more robust defense of the truth that she holds,” he said. 

“And organizations that have been rightly chastised by our bishops for their public opposition to Church teaching should not receive an uncritical hearing in Catholic media.” 

Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that while people with same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” Scripture clearly “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”  

“[T]radition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. They are contrary to the natural law,” it adds. “They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

This teaching is not mentioned in any of the three videos of the series.

The first video in the series starts with an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., a prominent US media personality and Jesuit priest in New York, who has made advocating for the normalisation of homosexuality in the Catholic Church a prominent feature of his career. 

Martin says that “many LGBT people” “have very deep spiritual lives and are Christians.” He also denies a conflict between the Catholic Church and the homosexual movement, saying, “It’s not as if you have atheist gays on one side, and religious or spiritual straight people on the other.” 

Martin also praises the movement in the Catholic Church in the US and elsewhere that is a feature of many parishes that encourages homosexuals to believe they can be actively “gay” and faithful as Catholics, without contradiction. “The idea that someone could come out and be honest and transparent and open about the way that God created them, I think is terrific. I think it’s something that the Catholic Church can support,” he says. 

Martin adds, “If a music minister is gay, it doesn’t matter [to other parishioners] if they’re homosexual…it matters that they did a great job at the [liturgy of the] Easter Vigil. 

“If a spiritual director is gay, it doesn’t matter that they’re homosexual. It matters that they’ve brought people to God through prayer.” 

Episode 2 of the series features John Paul Godges, a “gay Catholic” author, who says at the opening of Episode 2, “My Christian faith, of course, has been a source of strength in my spiritual journey throughout my life as a gay man. My experience as a gay man has been a source of strength in my Christian journey.” 

“A gay identity can inspire and deepen a Christian faith.” 

Godges says, “I often tell people that being Catholic is like being American. And just because some politician prosecutes a misbegotten war, I’m not going to renounce my citizenship and flee to Canada. I’m going to stay and fight and communicate and converse and speak at retreats and do whatever I can to promote the best that’s in the Catholic Church…I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.” 

In the third installement of the video he says that he hopes "that in the future lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender people can be open and visible in the Church, and not have it be any big deal."

Fr. Boquet Boquet told LifeSiteNews.com that he agrees that people who experience same-sex attraction aren't “excluded” from the Church. He added, however, that there can never be any acceptance of homosexual behaviour. 

“Chaste persons who are attracted to others of the same sex understand and appreciate this stand of the Church, and many have lived lives of great virtue and holiness,” Fr. Boquet said. “Whatever our sinful dispositions,” Catholics who want to be faithful must “truly desire to leave these behind and in humility, ask for forgiveness in the sacrament of confession”. 

“The person who does this with a sincere heart will be forgiven, whoever he is attracted to,” he added. 



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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

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Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.” 

“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.

More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.  Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms. 

Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.” 

“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target.  This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott. 

“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena.  “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”

On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room.  Police are searching for the man. 

There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.  



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Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against a katz / Shutterstock.com
Albert Mohler

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Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Albert Mohler

May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose? 

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.

By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.

The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.

But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.

As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.

To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.

Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.



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‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.

Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.

The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”

Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.

“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”

Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.

“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”

“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.

“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”

Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”



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