Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Still waiting for moral leadership in Britain: Queen’s cousin speaks to LSN

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, March 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lord Nicholas Windsor, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II, told LifeSiteNews.com earlier this month that patience is required from those waiting for true moral and spiritual leadership to turn the anti-human, anti-life tide in Britain.

Lord Windsor sat down with LSN at the annual plenary meeting of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life on February 25th. He spoke at length of his conversion to Catholicism, through the influence of the late Pope John Paul II, and his dedication to the pro-life philosophy.

The hope of turning society away from the post-Christian amorality, he said, lies with the post-Baby Boom generation: “Our generation is the one after [the one] which made these, I think, calamitous decisions. To some extent, our generation looks upon all that with horror.”

He said that “undoubtedly” true leaders will emerge from the generation disillusioned with the social revolution. “There are inspiring people,” he added, but “perhaps not on the national stage … One has to be patient.”

Lord Windsor was received into the Catholic Church ten years ago and became the first ever member of the current English Royal Family to be married at the Vatican and the first since 1554 to be married according to the rites of the Catholic Church. His son Albert was the first member of the Royal Family to be baptized a Catholic since 1688.

Under the 1701 Act of Settlement, Lord Windsor lost his place in line, 27th, for the English throne upon his conversion. He studied theology in university and recently moved to Italy, but when resident in London attends Mass regularly with his wife at the Brompton Oratory. Lord Windsor’s mother, Katherine, Duchess of Kent, and his sister, Lady Helen Taylor, are also converts to Catholicism.

Recently, the American media was made aware that a member of the British Royal Family was a strong pro-life Catholic when the journal First Things published an article in which Lord Windsor asserted that abortion is a greater threat to Europe than Islamic terrorism.

As with so many young converts, he credits the influence of Pope John Paul II for his awakening to faith.

“It was a recognition of a richness and a fullness of Christian exposition, what is the faith, that I admit I hadn’t encountered” in the Anglican Church, he said. 

Born in 1970, Lord Windsor sits squarely in the demographic that has come to be known in Catholic circles as the “JPII generation,” that which saw directly the “calamitous” results of the sexual and social revolutions of the latter half of the 20th century.

He became aware of the message of John Paul II in his late teens and remembers him as the young, dynamic “skiing” pope who appealed so strongly to younger people. It was the “realisation of the potential excitement of the life of faith” presented by Pope John Paul, that prompted him to look more deeply into what the Catholic Church proposed.

“To invite young people to the challenge of living an orthodox faith with integrity and being prepared to witness to it as much as they were able, was a very appealing thing. The directness of the pope in his address to young people was something perhaps they were not used to.”

The pope, and the Church he represented, offered, “rich, nourishing food” for the spiritual life. “Perhaps nourishing is the best word. He wasn’t offering anything diluted or made softer for our generation. It was a very hard but beautiful and loving presentation of faith and living it.”

“When I was a teenager, I have to say I more or less went along with the prevailing culture, and I wasn’t experiencing much of a pushing back against that from the church I belonged to, the Anglican Church.”

A pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Rome in the Jubilee year 2000 brought about a profound change and moved him away from acceptance of modern social and sexual mores.

“It was then I started to join the dots a bit. How it was possible that the Church could be holding these positions that society found so improbable or worse, retrograde or even wicked. And realising that not only did they make sense, but make sense in a very beneficial way, in a way that really is concerned, doesn’t just pay lip service, to the flourishing of human beings and desiring that they should be happy.”

Asked the million-dollar question: “What’s wrong with Britain,” Lord Windsor said, “I do hear a lot of people say that something has changed, whether it’s something to do with the loss of politeness that the British were famous for, or their reserve or perhaps innate conservatism, social conservatism.”

“It doesn’t really exist any more, or if it does it’s more on the margins of life. And perhaps this is partly where the pro-life question comes in because it’s something wrapped up in a matrix of questions about how to live and how to love and conduct relationships. How family life is and why it matters as the foundation of society.”

He said that, although there are many deep critiques of the direction of British society, his own impression is that there is hope. “There is something in British life that is resilient. I’m not sure that these things that people see should be seen as a permanent change for the worse. I definitely think there’s hope.”

Where things have become “particularly bad,” however, is among the working class people whose lives and prospects have been blighted by the moral breakdown that prevailed in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and the social breakdown that followed it.

“Life for a lot of working class people, especially in the cities and housing estates, has got very, very tough indeed. With the expectation and opportunities pretty constricted. It looks very grim in some respects for a lot of people, who possibly can’t see.”

He said that this is “possibly” what Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly spoken of when referring to Britain’s “broken society” and his proposals that “voluntary efforts and civil society can help some of the people that the state evidently isn’t reaching,” he said. “By lifting them out of want, in its various forms, including education.”

But he said that it is spiritual poverty, which is outside the purview of the state, that most profoundly affects British life.

Part II of the interview with Lord Windsor will be published tomorrow.

This article updated with a minor correction 03/22/2011 at 11:52 am.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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