Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Vatican vows to continue fighting for traditional marriage despite setbacks

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, November 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an unusually strongly worded statement on Vatican Radio’s website, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the head of the Vatican’s press office, has vowed that the Church “will not give up its defence of marriage” despite recent setbacks.

Lombardi’s comments followed a front-page editorial in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which appeared the same day and decried the growth of “politically correct ideologies invading every culture of the world,” backed by organizations like the UN. The paper called for “courage” from Catholics in fighting those ideologies.

The Church, said the editorial, “is the only institution to point out that while it is certainly unfair to persecute homosexuals, to oppose the marriage between persons of the same sex is not an offensive act, but a point of view that must be respected.”

“And so is opposition to abortion,” it added. “This is not an attack on human rights, but the defense of a social structure - the heterosexual family - which formed the basis, so far, of all human societies.”

In a statement published in 30 different languages, Lombardi agreed, writing that the Church’s opposition to same-sex “marriage” is not a matter of unjust discrimination, which the Church does not allow. Rather it is “a question of admitting that a husband and a wife are publicly recognised as such; and that children who come into the world can know, and say they have, a father and a mother.”

Lombardi was responding to the fact that voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington State on Tuesday voted to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Lombardi called the votes “myopic” and said that “the logic of it cannot have a far-sighted outlook for the common good.”

He also noted the hardening of the legal situation in Spain, where the Constitutional Court recently refused an appeal challenging the country’s same-sex “marriage” law, and the fact that a bill has been introduced in France to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

The erosion of natural marriage in the laws of Western countries, Lombardi said, “does not cease to amaze.”

There is “public acknowledgement” that “monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilization,” he said.

Catholics who oppose the re-writing of marriage laws maintain that disconnecting marriage from procreation is a way of draining all genuine meaning from the institution. Unhooked from its procreative purpose, they say, marriage could come to mean any pairing or even grouping of consenting people.

Lombardi took up this theme, saying, “If not, why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry?”

Defending natural marriage, Lombardi said, is a matter of “preserving a vision of the human person and of human relationships where there is a public acknowledgement of monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilization.”

The Catholic Church, he said, will not “give up proposing that society recognise a specific place for marriage between a man and a woman”.

In the editorial in L’Osservatore Romano, journalist Lucetta Scaraffia wrote, “The church is called to present itself as the lone critic of modernity, the only check ... to the breakup of the anthropological structures on which human society was founded.”

“It seems in fact that the Church, at least on this floor, is doomed to failure,” Scaraffia wrote, but this appearance is deceptive. “Contrary opinions, even by journalists and intellectuals close to the Church,” are finding their way into the public debate, she said, a result of Catholics raising their objections after reflection on the topic and honing their reasons in public forums.

“Catholics are playing a key role in today’s guardians of freedom of religion and belief,” Scaraffia wrote.

She cited the case of the Catholic adoption agencies in the UK, some of which fought lengthy legal battles for the right to refuse to consider gay partners as adoptive parents. Their struggle, Scaraffia wrote, “has made it clear to everyone that this is not progress, but rather a conflict that sees the defeat in these cases of one of the freedoms constitutive of the modern state, the religious freedom.”

Scaraffia noted the irony of the US forcing Catholic institutions to violate their religious principles and provide contraceptives for employees: “To restrict religious freedom in a country founded by colonists who had fled there in order to freely practice their faith is really a dangerous contradiction.”

Catholics, she said, are the only group to “have the courage and the strength to oppose an ideology based on political correctness, that is invading every culture in the world, thanks to the support it gets from the United Nations.”

The pair of editorials are a departure for the Vatican’s media machinery that that has heretofore been largely supportive of Obama and dismissive of his many Catholic critics. L’Osservatore Roman’s editor-in-chief, Gian Maria Vian, has penned several editorials defending and praising Obama and his administration, including one in 2009 in which he said that far from being a pro-abortion president, Obama – who is on record as voting against a bill the would have protected infants born alive after failed abortions – can only really be called “pro-choice”.

The definition of natural marriage has already been abolished in eleven countries since 2000: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden. Same-sex “marriage” has also now been installed in parts of Mexico and at the state level in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

The states of Maryland, Maine and Washington approved the creation of “same-sex marriage” at last week’s election. The topic is open to legislative debate in a dozen other Western countries.

In addition, civil unions, also called civil partnerships, domestic partnerships or registered partnerships, have been created in law in many jurisdictions and grant all or most of the privileges of legal marriage, including in some cases the right to adopt children. They are recognised in Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Same-sex civil partnerships are recognised in Mexico in Coahuila and Mexico City and the United States in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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