Hilary White

The life and family stands of a few of Pope Francis’ new cardinals

Hilary White
Hilary White
Image
Image
Image

ROME January 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This past weekend, the Vatican announced Pope Francis’s choices for his first consistory, the men he has chosen to raise to the Sacred College of Cardinals. The list of new names includes 19 bishops, of whom three are already over the age of 80, making them ineligible to vote in an election of a new Pope.

Several of these bishops are well known for their strong stances on the issues that are dearest to pro-life and pro-family activists.

Among the 16 Cardinal Electors, Pope Francis’s replacement in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli, has been described as the most “Bergoglista” of the group, that is, the one most in line with the pope’s own priorities. Archbishop Poli has most recently opposed the imposition of “gay marriage” on Argentina, and as head of the Catholic archdiocese of the nation’s capital, is said to be maintaining a “respectful but distant” relationship between the Church and the leftist government.

In 2012, Poli denounced the intention of the government to decriminalise abortion. In a homily, Poli said, “We ask God to have mercy on those who are the life line to the culture of death.” Speaking to a group of pilgrims at a shrine to the Virgin Mary, Poli added that decriminalising abortion “is threatening the lives of the most vulnerable and defenseless children who are the unborn”. 

“Despite our warnings, the raising of the voice of the Church, our legislators were deaf. We will continue praying, asking the Virgin to protect all pregnant mothers,” he said.

Another new cardinal-elect who has long been of interest to the pro-life community is Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the archbishop of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Archbishop Yeom was prominent in his opposition to the work of an internationally known embryo researcher. In 2005, at the height of the furore over the work of Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk, (which was later discredited as fraudulent) then-bishop Yeom was the head of a committee launched by the Archdiocese of Seoul that raised 10 billion won (US$9.6 million) to fund adult stem-cell research.

Last year, Archbishop Yeom spoke strongly against a proposal by the Korean National Commission of Bioethics to legalise euthanasia. “My opinion on Euthanasia coincides with that of the Catholic Church: I am against it. Death should be a natural process,” the Archbishop Yeom told AsiaNews in August, 2013.

Instead of legalised euthanasia, he suggested practical assistance for patients, including comprehensive hospice and “financial support for the dying patients.” Without these changes, he warned, the recommendation “may cause negative result of approving the contempt for human life”.

Of the three older cardinals on Pope Francis’s list, 95-year-old Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, a theologian and former Archbishop of Pamplona, Spain, stands out as a fierce opponent of abortion throughout his long career. As early as 1985, the year the Spanish government changed the abortion law, Archbishop Sebastián, as secretary general of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, warned that legalising abortion would create a “license to kill” for civil servants whose moral authority it would also “degrade.”

Legalisation, he said, would cause a “demoralization of the Spanish people.” It “facilitates and encourages people to resolve issues that may arise through the expeditious and cruel formula of attacking the weakest.” The “essential reality” of abortion, he said, is “the violent suppression of a helpless human being.”

The reception of the cardinal’s red hat is an event that tends to launch a mere bishop or archbishop, a prelate who is often of only local or national interest, into the stratosphere of global newsworthiness. The source of this increased importance comes from the cardinals’ function as an advisory body and, as such, they are understood to be the highest rank of prelate below the pope himself. But their most important function is the election of a new pope. As such, a pope’s choice of cardinals is always looked upon by Vatican-watchers as one of the most important ways he signals the priorities of his papacy.

Many are observing that the list of Francis’s first consistory has much to do with the economic condition of their locations, with most coming from the developing world. Indeed, most of the names are obscure even in Catholic media and the pope seems to be using the choices to focus attention on his project of elevating his concept of reaching to the peripheries.

Notable also is the absence from the list of a number of politically important or ancient Catholic sees such as Venice, Brussels, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. 

When the cardinal emeritus of a major “red-hat” see is still under 80, his successor’s elevation to the College is often, though not always, delayed, and this is the situation with both Philadelphia and Los Angeles. But not for Archbishop Andre Leonard, the head of the archdiocese of Brussels who replaced the now 80 year-old Godfried Cardinal Danneels. Archbishop Leonard has made international headlines for his strong opposition to abortion and “gay marriage,” and for this has suffered the wrath of opponents who have on several occasions physically attacked him in public.

The pope has also hinted that there will be no formal reception for the actual consistory on February 22nd, normally a lavish public affair where Rome dignitaries and ordinary lay people alike can meet the new appointees. In a letter addressed to each of them released by the Vatican today, Francis told the new cardinals-elect that their role is to be one of “service” and warned them not to hold the traditional lavish parties. They should avoid any response that smacks of “high society or hold celebrations that have nothing to do with the gospel spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty,” the pope said.

Red alert! Only 3 days left.

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
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."

Advertisement
Featured Image
Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
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. 

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

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.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Red Alert!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
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!

Thank you so much for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook