Hilary White

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

Hilary White
Hilary White
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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.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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