Damian Goddard

The Olympics - where the honour, and the glory are His

Damian Goddard
By Damian Goddard
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But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.
Matthew 19:14

While sports enthusiasts and passing observers alike find themselves in the throes of “the Olympic Spirit”, it’s been very difficult not to put that often-used phrase in the context of Scripture.

Indeed, the Spirit is most certainly moving.  And the Spirit is deking in and out of venues at the Games of the 30th Olympiad in London.  After all, that’s how He rolls.  And you can see it in the eyes of the youth who are making their mark on the world stage.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a child’s eyes light up with joy… or, well up with tears, for that matter.  What’s that “they” say?...  The eyes are the windows to the soul?

No kidding.

Some of us have been so lucky to see youthful exuberance first-hand.  Ask anyone who’s been to a World Youth Day, and they’ll tell you that the energy drawn from that overwhelming experience is one that will stick around for a lifetime.  To an extent, one can draw a parallel to experiencing the Olympic Games.  Even experiencing it on television.

On the first weekend of competition, people of faith were treated to what can only be described as a “spiritual spectacle” in women’s gymnastics. 

Jordyn Wieber, one of these Games’ “sure-bet Gold medallists”, the reigning all-around world champion, failed to make the all-around finals in London.  NBC Sports exquisitely, and respectfully, detailed the precise moment of anguish when Wieber realized her long-awaited Olympic dream had been dashed.  Oh, the pain that girl must have felt.  For someone who has been in sports broadcasting for some 20 years, I had never seen anything quite like it.  Her Olympic experience had become a nightmare in a matter of minutes.  How would an impressionable 17-year old muster the strength to move on and be there for her mates in team competition?  I think we got an idea when, on the next night of competition, the television cameras caught a ‘ready-for-the-world’ Wieber warming up, followed by a shot of mother Rita - as commentator Al Trautwig put it - “clutching her Rosary.”

It was all that needed to be said for those who see these Games for what they truly are - glorification of God’s great creation.

But it’s not all that has been said about faith at these Games.  Not by a long-shot-put.

The Olympic champion of the aforementioned women’s all-around gymnastics competition is a girl known as the “flying squirrel”.  What were Gabby Douglas’s comments shortly after winning gold?  Right into the mic, and for all the world to see, little Gabby said, “the glory goes up to Him, and the blessings fall down on me.”  She had also tweeted (gosh I LOVE Twitter!) “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”  Nothing like a good shout-out to to Psalm 103 moments after making your dream come true.

Hunter Kemper may be 36 years of age.  But he is definitely acting like a “child of God.”  So much so, that he doesn’t care if any outward profession of faith “scares off any potential sponsors.”

What would make Hunter so bold?  Or, to those who have no idea from where he’s coming, what would make Hunter so foolish?

What isn’t scaring him off is the mere fact that he believes deep down in his soul that it is God who has put him in the position to race for a medal at these Summer Games.  Last October, Kemper sustained such a devastating spill in competition that he had to have a plate and 13 screws put into his elbow.  Two months later, he developed a scary staph infection, and he thought his Olympic dream was over before it began. Hunter, who went through a heart-melting conversion to Christ after graduating from college, believes it is God who healed him.  Kemper has made it known to anyone who will listen, even trepid, potential, sponsors, that his happiness comes from walking with Christ.  Not only walking, but swimming 1,640 yards, cycling 26.7 miles and running 6.2 miles with Him at his side.

And then there’s swimmer Katie Ledecky who swam to a gold medal finish in the women’s 800 freestyle.  What does Katie do before climbing onto the blocks before each and every race? She prays the Hail Mary.  Here’s a kid who calls the Sisters - Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - who taught her at Little Flower School in Bethesda, Maryland, “great role models”.  Oh.  And did I mention Katie is only 15 years of age?

D’ya think St. Therese of Lisieux was just beaming after catching wind of that one?  Sure she was.

One Biblical passage has Jesus’ disciples telling annoying little rug-rats to “move along”: this is just “adult time” ... our Lord and Saviour doesn’t have time for “small talk”.  What does Jesus do?  He tells his pals to “hold up!”  He scolds them… tells them to never keep the children from climbing up on His lap. The fact of the matter is, dedicated Olympians - some even ‘pint-sized’ - are making the decision, in their moment of glory, to go to Him.  To glorify Him.

And let not any one of us keep them from coming to Christ.  Conversely, let’s start encouraging this behavior.

Lord knows, we need to.

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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11-year-old in Uruguay refuses to abort after rape

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An 11-year-old girl in Uruguay is making headlines for refusing to abort after being raped by a 41-year-old relative. Pro-abortion organizations in the country are using the case to ask for a broadening in the law, which allows for abortion up until 12 weeks gestation, 14 weeks in cases of rape, and up to 9 months when the life or health of the mother are at risk or when the baby is “unviable.”

Local media report that the girl, who is 18 weeks pregnant, lived with her abuser for over a year prior to the pregnancy. Her mother is now asking authorities to make her abort, but according to the local newspaper La Diaria, a team of psychiatrists from Uruguay’s Child and Adolescent Institute (INAU) has said that “the girl’s position has been confirmed without a doubt: she wishes to be a mother.”

According to her relatives, the girl suffers from a mild mental incapacity, although she is not considered handicapped.

In a press conference, Susana Muñiz, president for the Association of State Health Services and former minister of health, said: “An 11-year-old girl obviously has a body not prepared to be pregnant, with a very small uterus.”

However, according to Monica Silva, head of the INAU’s Health Division, “There is no risk to the life of the girl nor that of the baby. We cannot force her to abort.”

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“Even if her mother wants it, it would be inhuman to force her to abort,” continued Silva. “The fact that there was a rape doesn’t allow me to force her to abort. This [aborting] may seem like a protection of her rights but it is against the girl’s will.”

Nevertheless, a press release “demanding” that the girl abort “immediately” was issued by several pro-abortion NGOs soon after, on May 12. “The hypocritical and bureaucratic system allows for her rights to be undermined without considering the cost this will bring to the girl,” it read.

“Who will take charge now to stop the undermining of her rights and protect her health and her life? How much longer do we need to wait before somebody decides responsibly on the interruption of that pregnancy?” it concluded.

In her interview, Silva also said the girl’s parents “never visited, with exception of one of the six siblings she has.”

 “The best that could happen would be to ensure that she has a ‘welcoming family,’ that would receive the girl with her baby,” continued Silva. “I doubt we can achieve that because it’s hard to find families who want this challenge.”

The girl remains under INAU’s care and her abuser has been imprisoned.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Christian jeweller made gay couples’ rings but still got targeted by gay lobby

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

MOUNT PEARL, Newfoundland, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –While North Americans are used to reading about Christian business people being fined and excoriated for refusing to cater to homosexual weddings, Newfoundland has added a novel twist: there a Christian jeweller has been punished financially and deluged with hate mail even though he did do business with a homosexual couple.

Nicole White and Pam Renouf liked the service they got from Esau Jardon of Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, who took their deposit and proceeded to design and build them two engagement rings. They even recommended the store to friends.

But by the time one friend went there, the Mexican-born Jardon had put up a sign in his shop window marking Mother’s Day—and his strong, traditional Christian beliefs: “The Sanctity of Marriage IS UNDER ATTACK; Help Keep Marriage Between Man & Woman,” it read.

The friend went ballistic. Her picture of the sign went viral. The couple went back on their deal and back to the store, demanding their deposit. Today’s Jewellers’ Facebook page was so deluged with hundreds of hateful emails and many threats that Jardon and his brother, who is his business partner, have to shut it down.

LifeSiteNews asked White if Jardon had been punished enough. “Omigod, yes,” she responded. “Way, way too much.” But earlier she explained to a local newspaper why the couple cancelled their order. “The ring symbolizes love, and just knowing that that’s the sign that they have up there — every time I look at my ring, yes, I’ll think of us, clearly, but also everything we went through. So I don’t want my ring from there anymore. I just want my refund.”

At first, she reported, “They just said that that's their beliefs, and they think they can put up whatever they want. I just said it was very disrespectful, it's very unprofessional and I wanted a refund,” White said. “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.”

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Jardon, at first, was loath to return it, lest this be seen as an apology for his beliefs. Reached in Toronto, he told the St. John’s Telegram, “When I walk on Church Street in Toronto, where I am right now, and I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don't have a problem with them. I accept it. I chose to come to Canada... and we accept the whole package... I don't discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down. For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it's in my own business.”

But what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the geese, or for the LGBT community that crowded onto the bandwagon, or for the CBC which was all too ready to label the jeweller’s sign “homophobic.”

However, some have offered support and sympathy. Rod Dreher, blogging at The American Conservative, observed that only so-called sexual minorities expected this kind of treatment. “Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not. Some delicate snowflakes are more delicate than others.”

Referring to recent decisions by courts and human rights tribunals against Christian vendors who refused to serve homosexuals, Dreher concluded on an ironic note. The pressure on Jardon to return the deposit marked “the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.”

Jardon defends his right to his own opinion. “One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

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Canadians headed to the ballot box for the fall federal election should remember the right to life is 'the most basic thing in society,' the archbishop tells LifeSiteNews. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Exclusive: Clinging to Christ will help those struggling with sexual identity, says Montreal’s archbishop

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By Pete Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Montreal’s archbishop, Christian Lépine, weighed in on what the Catholic Church actually has to offer people struggling with the biological sex they were born with, telling LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that it’s no mistake that God creates the human person as male or female and that every person must look for their identity within a “view of God.”

“The teachings of the Church as such, its most basic one, is that we’re made in the image of God. That's always the starting point. And when you lose track of that — that you're made in the image of God — then somehow you come to lose trust in who you are as a human being, and you know less of who you are, and you don't know anymore who you are, and you [find yourself] looking for your own identity outside of a view of God,” Lépine told LifeSiteNews last week one day prior to the annual National March for Life that drew an estimated 25,000 pro-life advocates.

Following the first book of the Bible, where it is stated that God created human beings as “male and female,” the Catholic Church has always taught, and continues to teach, that the male/female binary is God’s plan for mankind.

As the book of Genesis (1:27) states: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that recognizing and preserving the male/female sexual difference is necessary for a healthy society.

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out,” the Catechism states.

Lépine said that anytime questions about sexual identity arise for the faithful, “we must go back to the basics,” namely that “every human is created in the image of God, and of course, biblically, every human being exists as a woman or as a man.”

The archbishop’s words are foreign to mainstream notions of so-called ‘gender fluidity’ where male/female difference is construed as a social construct and ultimately as a personal choice.

Lépine acknowledged that some people suffer when it comes to accepting their own sexual identity as either a male or female based on biological characteristics.

“Sometimes people have sufferings about their own desires, or about their own sense of identity, or about the fact that masculinity and femininity exists, or about the fact that you as ‘human being’ [exist] as a male or female, as a man or as a woman.”

He called the male/female binary “a reality that is part of the [human] experience,” adding that it is also “taught in the Bible.”

Lépine stressed that the Church does not leave people “looking for a meaning in their lives and their own sense of identity” to struggle on their own, but offers them many helps and aids, including a clear anthropology on the nature of the human person.

“As Christians, we have the Bible to help people. We have Jesus Christ to help people. We have faith in God to help people. So, going back, [we must be] conscious that we are made in the image of God. And our own sexuality — what is the meaning of being a man or woman — is related to our vocation to love. And, every human being as such, made in the image of God — being a man or woman — is called to love.”

“So, how [are we] to help [such] people? You can talk about things theoretically, which is one thing. But also, we have to be conscious of people who live through situations where they're looking for their own identity and we need, I think, the Bible and faith to help them.”

Fluid notions of gender have been criticized by Pope Francis on at least three occasions, and prior to this, by Pope Benedict XVI.

“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," Pope Francis told young people during his voyage to Naples, Italy last March.

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In his 2012 Christmas greeting, Pope Benedict condemned gender theory as a “profound falsehood” since it denies the male and female sex as a “given element of nature.” According to Benedict, instead of acknowledging that God created people male and female, gender theory posits the existence of sexual social constructions that people can decide to conform to or not.

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being,” Benedict concluded. “The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, Lépine spoke about the need to “promote relentlessly life and respect for life” in the face of the country’s top court setting the legal stage for allowing doctors to end the lives of their patients under the pretext of compassion and mercy.

“You don't take care of someone when you suppress the life of someone, because you're not solving a problem. You're suppressing the person. It doesn't work,” he said.

Referring to the upcoming federal election this fall, the archbishop called “life and the right-to-life and dignity of the person” an “important subject, because it's the most basic thing in society.” 

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