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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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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