All articles from February 05, 2018


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Virginia school board seeks to shut down parents criticizing pro-LGBT policies

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Virginia, February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential U.S. school district is shutting down the ability of parents to give feedback on controversial policies such as its gender identity policy, concerned parents are saying. 

The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB), serving one of the busiest suburbs of Washington D.C., is in the process of introducing new restrictions for parents making comments during board meetings.  

Among the restrictions parents have expressed concern about are rules that commenters may only speak about what the board allows on its agenda, banning anyone from speaking except the few who have previously signed up, and disallowing commenters from sharing speaking time.

Ever since the FCSB ushered in a transgender policy allowing boys in the girls’ toilets, changing rooms, and showers in 2015, over 100 parents have barraged board meetings with criticism of the policy.  Comments include not only concern about the policy itself, but that it was enacted quickly without public debate instead of lengthy, transparent consideration.

A massive parental backlash has prompted the board’s proposed rule changes.

One concerned parent called the rule change a dangerous “ploy to censor opposing speech.”

“It’s a con game,” another parent told the Christian Post, which reported that by “tightly controlling” comments to “circumvent controversial topics” the board intends to “squash any opposing voices.”

“If the LGBT or whomever manage to rig and get most of the speaking slots,” the concerned parent continued, not only will that particular meeting not air concerns, but “by carefully controlling the agenda...the school board can block any speakers in the future who may want to try (to) retroactively address” an issue and “shut down any opposition indefinitely.”

The board’s existing rules already limit parental input, allowing just ten parents to briefly speak, and only those who sign up online early. “Ten parents have just three minutes each to give their views,” Fairfax mom and former White House staffer Bethany Kozma complained to the Daily Signal.

“The Fairfax County School Board does not seem interested in listening to constituents who do not share their political views,” Kozma surmised. “Rather than shutting down citizens who would defend the privacy of their children, the Fairfax County School Board should make good on its commitment to openness, respect, and the democratic process,” she opined.

This concern has been echoed by the critical comments from parents who were allowed to speak at board meetings going back to 2015.   

Alan Telecki complained that some board members seek to censor parent opinion.

Stamatios Stamoulas said some students are not going to the restroom because opposite-sex transgenders are there.  He also disagreed with presenting sex ed and transgenderism to the very young, without adequate opt-out provision.

John Murray said half of the students skip some classes over “offensive, unhealthy, emotionally harmful, politically charged lesson(s)” that are “offensive to religious faiths.”  

Thorium Hussein criticized the gender identity policy for religious discrimination.  Mrs. Hussein said she does not approve of her daughter going to the bathroom with boys.  She further complained that young Muslim children should not be taught homosexuality, which that faith condemns.

“A controlling number of School Board members seem unwilling to listen,” Fairfax county resident Tim Hannigan noted.  “It’s way past time for the School Board to quit ignoring the interests of parents and to partner with them to educate their children.”

Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit last year had a side panel discussion on transgenderism in schools. The panel pointed out that since the presidential election the federal government has begun to oppose it. Panelists emphasized that administration appointments matter a great deal, because policy implementation is just as important as the policy itself.

“Gender identity mandates hurt all kids, not just those kids who may be gender dysphoric,” FRC’s Cathy Ruse explained. “These policies make them question their sense of safety, security, certainty and everything.”

A parental alert via email urged those concerned to contact FCSB Public Engagement Committee members Megan McLaughlin, Ryan McElveen, Dalia Palchik, and Karen Gamarra.

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Dean Dettloff, who promotes communism and writes for the Jesuit 'America' magazine Twitter
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Jesuit-run America Magazine reporter promotes communism, abortion, gay ‘marriage’

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
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TORONTO, Canada, February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America Magazine, whose most visible face remains that of LGBT-promoting Fr. James Martin, SJ, has on its staff a self-described communist who actively promotes gay “marriage,” transgenderism, and abortion.

A recent investigative report published by the Lepanto Institute reveals that the Jesuit-run magazine’s Toronto correspondent, Dean Dettloff, has a history of promoting communism and communist causes.

America Magazine has long held a reputation for heterodoxy, but never before has its connection to outright communism been so obvious,” said the Lepanto Institute’s Michael Hichborn.

“No Catholic publication has any business employing a reporter with any socialist sympathies, let alone an outright communist,” continued Hichborn. “And yet, there he is.”

“And just like any loyal communist, he actively promotes immoral ideologies directly opposed to the Church’s teachings on abortion and human sexuality,” added Hichborn. “Because of this, this publication has no place in Catholic parishes, chanceries, or seminaries.”

On his social media pages, Dettloff has praised Hillary Clinton’s October 2016 pro-abortion debate statements, posted an article from the pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice, and expressed support for same-sex “marriage.”

Hichborn’s report features screenshots of these sentiments. It does not appear Dettloff has deleted them since the Lepanto Institute’s report broke.

In addition to writing for America, Dettloff co-hosts a podcast titled “Magnificast.”  

Although it is described as “a podcast exploring Christianity and the political left,” it is more aptly described as focusing on “the fusion of communist ideologies with Christianity,” according to the Lepanto Institute report.  

The podcast’s logo, called “blasphemous” by Hichborn, bears an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by an irreverent, profane prayer, “O Mary conceived without white supremacy pray for us trying to dismantle this sh*t.”

In October 2017, Dettloff made no mention of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions on his social media accounts, choosing instead to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Revolution.

The presence of Dettloff on the America staff comes as no surprise, given its history.   

Over the years the magazine’s content, once described by The New York Times as a “moderate-to-liberal journal published by the Jesuits,” has moved sharply to the far left.

In 2005, Richard John Neuhaus, the distinguished First Things editor, said, “It would be fair to say that during the pontificate of John Paul II that America [Magazine] apparently saw itself or at least certainly read as a magazine of what some would describe as the loyal opposition. And, needless to say, there's dispute over the definition of ‘loyal’ and the definition of ‘opposition.’”

Now – thirteen years later – it would be difficult for many Catholics to identify America as the “loyal opposition.” It is more likely to be seen simply as “the opposition,” often promoting ideas and causes that are antithetical to Church teaching.  

When Pope Benedict was elected, America’s editor, Rev. Thomas Reese, ran an editorial saying, “A church that cannot openly discuss issues is a church retreating into an intellectual ghetto.”  

The Vatican reportedly put pressure on Jesuit leaders to remove Reese, who was subsequently replaced.  

Reese had been one of St. Pope John Paul II’s sharpest critics, and had also used the magazine as a vehicle to promote abortion and homosexuality, according to a UPI report at the time.  

The Vatican in 2017, instead of being similarly critical of virulently pro-LGBT Fr. Martin, chose not to seek his removal from editing America but to reward him by making him a consultant to the Holy See’s Secretariat for Communications.  

LifeSiteNews reached out to America’s Editor-in-Chief, Matt Malone, SJ and Dettloff for comment. Neither responded.  

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Teacher fired, reported to counter-terrorism agency after telling lesbian student ‘God loves you’

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BRISTOL, England, February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A government-funded pre-apprenticeship academy in Bristol reported a Christian teacher as a “radicalisation threat” for answering students’ questions about her beliefs, Bristol Employment Tribunal has heard.

Svetlana Powell, a teacher of some 17 years’ experience, told the Tribunal that she was dismissed by the T2 Apprenticeship Academy in Bristol in July 2016 after being asked by students about her views on homosexuality. 

In reply to a personal question, Mrs Powell said that her personal belief was that homosexuality was against God’s will, but that He loved every person, regardless of what they did, or who they were.

When told that one of the students identified as a lesbian, Mrs Powell in conviction of God’s care and love for every person, turned to her and said: “God loves you”. Two days later, the Academy’s HR Officer, Stacy Preston, told Mrs Powell that she was fired for “gross misconduct” with immediate effect.

The Academy’s Chief Safeguarding Officer, Sian Prigg, told the Tribunal that after a group of students complained that they were “brainwashed and preached to”, she decided to contact the local coordinator for Prevent - the government’s ‘counter-terrorism’ strategy group – to report the incident. Mrs Powell said she did not know of being reported as a “radicalisation threat” until she brought a legal claim against the Academy and read Mrs Prigg’s witness statement for the Tribunal.

Fired with immediate effect

Mrs Powell has told the Tribunal she had been a teacher for 17 years at a Bristol College with an exemplary record, before joining T2 Academy in May 2016 as a tutor. T2 is a pre-apprenticeship academy run by a private firm, Marr Corporation, on rolling contracts from the government.

Returning to work from a one-week holiday on 25 July, Mrs Powell was assigned to teach a class for 2 days, on 25 & 26 July 2016, in the absence of a fellow tutor. She was provided with a lesson plan, including a discussion on employability, or another topic which she considered to be appropriate.

Powell had previously taught one of the students in the class, and in a small group, he had told her that he was a Christian, and she had told him that she was too.

On the morning in question, the Christian student was distracting fellow pupils, and so the tutor asked him to stop and to focus on his work.

He was given a verbal warning by the teacher, saying that if he didn’t produce a certain amount of work after the lunch break, she would have to move him away from the others, so that he could concentrate on his work and not distract other learners.

After the lunch break, the student continued talking while producing minimum work, so was asked to move away to the opposite end of the classroom. The student objected, and then started to be argumentative about the tutor’s faith, asking her first a question about her personal beliefs on evolution.

Other students then started to ask the tutor’s personal views on other faith issues, and as the class was engaging with the conversation, the tutor decided to use this as the 

“I decided to use the students’ interest in the subject and to have a discussion to accommodate the activities included in the lesson plan,” Mrs Powell said. “I considered the topic appropriate, as the discussion about Christian views would contribute in raising cultural issues of our day and awareness of the religion of this country.”

The student who had originally been warned about his behaviour then asked the tutor for her personal views on homosexuality.  She replied by saying that as a Christian, she “personally” believed the Bible says that homosexual activity was against God’s will, but that God still loves every person regardless of what they did, or who they were.

The same student then said that another student in the group was a lesbian, to which the tutor replied that God loved her. The tutor was then asked whether the lesbian student would “go to hell”, to which the tutor replied with the historic Christian view that for everyone who repents (turns to God), God has provided a way of salvation to us through His son, Jesus Christ. The tutor said nothing about ‘hell’.

The discussion became very heated with the original student who had been disciplined talking over others. At break, that student, and four others left the classroom and then went to talk to the Academy manager, Liz Barker.

As a result of this, Svetlana Powell was then called into another room by Ms Barker, told that the students had made a complaint, and that she would take it further and would be contacting Human Resources.  When Mrs Powell returned to work the next day, she was told she had been suspended, and should await news from her employer, via email.

Mrs Powell was invited to a disciplinary hearing the next day at 11am, and did not have time to obtain legal representation. At the Hearing on 27 July, she was grilled about her Christian faith and what she had expressed about it in her discussion with students.

After one hour, Mrs Powell was called back into the room and told her contract was being terminated on the basis that she could not control the class, and that her comments were offensive to some students.  She was told to leave the Academy immediately, and that she would not be allowed to appeal her dismissal.

Anti-Christian discrimination

Mrs Powell, supported by Christian Legal Centre (CLC), is suing Marr Corporation in Bristol Employment Tribunal for loss of earnings.

CLC lawyer, Pavel Stroilov, told the court that Marr Corporation discriminated against Mrs Powell because of her Christian beliefs. He argued that the school’s treatment of Mrs Powell is “in stark contrast” to dealing with students’ complaints against another teacher, Andrew Spargo, whom he described as an “outspoken left-wing atheist”.

When questioning one of Marr Corporation’s witnesses, Liz Barker, Mr Stroilov referred to an e-mail where she reported students’ complaints that Mr Spargo spent most of his time in class “preaching to them on the daily basis about how terrible England is and how many innocent people the government has killed, as well as why Jesus never existed”. On one occasion, Mr Spargo allegedly shocked the students by showing them a sketch of a naked woman with her legs open and vagina showing. On another, he allegedly twice told a student to “get the f*** out of my classroom”.

“The school dealt with that situation pastorally,” Mr Stroilov said in his submission to the tribunal. “Mr Spargo was only told off, and had his probation period extended for three months. He continues to teach at the Academy, and for all we know, carries on with anti-Christian and anti-British indoctrination of students. By contrast, Mrs Powell was dismissed on the spot for much milder comments. In my submission, we have proven today that this was because her views are Christian.”

Censorship and indoctrination

Andrea Williams, barrister and CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “We are seeing a worrying trend of cases such as this. The fact that Svetlana was reported to Prevent for holding Christian views is a sign of our times. It shows how Prevent will be used to punish innocent and soft targets. A radical rethink is required.” 

The case continues.

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Social scientist: Vatican is ‘negotiating the surrender’ of China’s real Church to the Communists

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February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican’s negotiating strategy in China is nothing more than "simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church" to the false church created by the Communists, stated a recognized expert on the Chinese government. 

Social scientist Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and author of Bully of Asia, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that he cannot understand why the Vatican has agreed to replace faithful Catholic bishops with a number of excommunicated “bishops” appointed by the Chinese Communist Party. Also on the show was Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

“Why should the Catholic Church participate in its own dissolution and destruction?” he said. 

Mosher was reacting to recent news of the Vatican asking legitimate bishops to step down from their posts in order to make way for the installation of new, illegitimate bishops, hand-picked by the government.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, China’s leading prelate, has warned that the Vatican is "selling out the Catholic Church in China " and that it is "giving the blessing on the new...schismatic Church" created by the Communists. 

Mosher said that the so-called "negotiating" between the Church and the Communist government appears to be one-sided. In the past six years of negotiations, he said, he hasn’t seen the Chinese government make any concessions to the Vatican whatsoever, and that even if they had made any private ones, “they couldn’t be trusted to keep them.” 

“We are simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church,” he said, “the delivery of underground Catholics into the hands of the Patriotic Association, which is beholden to the Communist Party of China and answers to it.” 

Mosher compared the capitulation of the Vatican to the Chinese government to giving a Roman emperor who is persecuting Christians control over the Church in Rome. 

“Why would we do this? I just don’t understand it,” he said.  

Littlejohn said that she didn’t think the Chinese Communist Party is negotiating with the Vatican in good faith. 

“I believe what they care about is the consolidation of their power,” she said. “They have demonstrated that over and over again with the forced abortions of hundreds of millions of women, with the intense persecutions of the Underground Church, and most recently, one church this month and one church at Christmas have been demolished.” 

According to one report, Littlejohn said, one Chinese Communist reaction to the downfall of Communism in eastern and central Europe was to blame Christianity, observing “we’ve got to strangle that baby while it's in the manger.” 

“Why should we possibly trust them in the current negotiations?” she demanded. 

Mosher explained the history between the legitimate, underground Catholic Church in China founded on Christ and the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association" created by the government. 

“The Chinese Communist Party has been hostile to religion from its very founding back in the 1920s,” he told Arroyo. “Chairman Mao in the 1950s tried to stamp out Catholicism altogether.” 

When Mao failed, he founded the Patriotic Church. But now, Mosher said, the “new Red Emperor”, Xi Jinping, has been “clamping down” on religion in China since he took power in 2012. 

Xi Jinping “wants to be appointed the head of the Catholic Church in China,” said Mosher. “He does not wish it well. He wants to gradually eliminate it over time by appointing what anyone would reasonably construe as … fake bishops… And fake bishops they are.” 

Arroyo played a clip of Cardinal Zen explaining why he thought the Vatican would enter into an agreement with the Chinese government. Zen said that he thought that Francis was “optimistic”, “trusts everybody” and felt “compassion” for Latin American communists: “He may not know our communists.” 

What mystified Zen was the “optimism” of Francis’s advisors, especially Cardinal Parolin, who “must know the facts” having dealt with the Chinese government for many years. 

When rumours of the Vatican agreement reached him, Cardinal Zen personally delivered to Pope Francis a letter from the underground Bishop Zhuang of Shantou. Zhuang is one of the legitimate bishops apparently to be replaced by a Patriotic Association bishop. Zen also strongly criticized the Vatican for “giving a blessing” to the “new schismatic church”. 

In response to Zen’s criticism, the Vatican Press Office released the following statement: 

The Pope is in constant contact with his collaborators, in particular in the secretariat of State, on Chinese issues, and is informed by them faithfully and in detail on the situation of the Catholic Church in China and on the steps in the dialogue in progress between the Holy See and the People’s Republic in China, which he follows with special attention. It is therefore surprising and regrettable that the contrary is affirmed by people in the Church, thus fostering confusion and controversy.

Mosher told Arroyo that this, and the pope’s statement that he didn’t want “another Cardinal Mindszenty”,  had ended hopes that Pope Francis simply had not understood the situation.  Bishop Zhuang, who has been imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese government, reportedly burst into tears upon hearing the news that he would have to hand over his flock to a schismatic, state-appointed bishop. 

“It’s so sad, and I’m sure that millions of Catholics in the underground Church feel the same way: abandoned by their shepherd,” Mosher said. 

In September, the Chinese government drew up a list of regulations for the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association which are now in effect. Called the “Five Transformations," these include control over the appointment of bishops and adapting Christian teachings so as to mold them into institutions that reflect the objectives of the Communist Party.

“They’re going to create a national church severed officially from the Vatican,” Mosher predicted. “They’re going to appoint their own bishops. They’re going to have their own liturgy. They’re going probably to revise Scripture. All of these things are to assert control over an organization they ultimately...want to eliminate from existence altogether.” 

Mosher observed that everyone who goes to the “official” (i.e. government) Church is under surveillance and that parents have been told not to bring their children to Mass so that the faith does not get passed on to the next generation. 

“It’s obvious to everybody what [the Chinese Communist Party’s] goal is,” Mosher said. “Why should the Catholic Church participate in its own dissolution and destruction?”

Littlejohn reiterated that there was no reason to trust the Chinese Communist Party in any way.

“They are officially atheistic,” she observed. “That is their doctrine, and that is what they want to promote.”  

“The Official Church has to enforce the laws of the land,” Littlejohn continued. “One of the laws of the land has to do with forced abortion under the one-child or the two-child policy. This is directly in opposition to Catholic doctrine. Why should we trust a government that is forcibly aborting women to be the head of the 'Catholic' Church?”

However, Littlejohn reminded EWTN's Catholic viewers that, in the end, even the power of Communist China can never destroy the Church:

“No matter what the Chinese Communist Party does it cannot stamp out the power of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. As long as that exists in China, and as long as there are faithful Catholics who are willing to shed their blood even under these circumstances, there will be a remnant there."

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Archbishop urges priests to preach against contraception: ‘do not be afraid to proclaim the truth’

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DENVER, Colorado, February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches, the “liberating truth” of Church teaching on human sexuality must be proclaimed to the “increasingly confused” world, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver wrote in a new pastoral letter.

In his pastoral letter, titled The Splendor of Love, Aquila wrote that although contraception has wrecked much of the culture and family life, not all is lost and there are great opportunities for people in every state of life to live and share Catholic teaching.

Catholics must have a “strong commitment” to defend authentic love, Aquila said, noting that Fatima visionary Sister Lucia said the final battle between God and Satan will be over “marriage and family”:

Indeed, Sr. Lucia, one of the visionaries from Our Lady’s apparition at Fatima, related that a “decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.” The family is the foundation of society, and when it is undermined, society itself is threatened with collapse. Therefore, it is crucial to reaffirm our commitment to the truth, goodness, and beauty of Christ’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.                                                                       

Priests should “address” the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae in their parishes, wrote Aquila, urging them, “do not be afraid to proclaim the truth of God’s plan for human love with gentle clarity and charity.”

‘Undeniable’ that Paul VI’s predictions all came true                                   

Some positive developments since Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical upholding the Church’s perennial teaching against artificial contraception are the rise of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Aquila wrote.

“Pope Saint John Paul II has deepened our understanding of the great gift of human sexuality, which requires nothing less from us than a complete gift of self,” Aquila explained. “In his reflections on the theology of the body, he teaches us that ‘The human body includes right from the beginning ... the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.’”

Aquila cited as another positive development Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s writings on marriage and how the love between husband and wife is a reflection of the love between God and His Church and the emphasis of Pope Francis on “the importance of fostering a culture of encounter within the family, so that the deeply social character of marriage is supported and spreads to society at large.”           

Aquila cited chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the current pontiff’s controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia. One of the portions of the document he quoted referenced St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio.

“Unfortunately, Blessed Paul VI’s prophecies” about the effects of contraception “have all come true,” the archbishop wrote. He explained:

While advocates of contraception predicted that divorce rates and abortions would decrease with its use, they skyrocketed. Women have also greatly suffered from objectification, which is found in advertising and movies, but also takes on more extreme forms like pornography and sex trafficking. The Holy Father’s expectation that governments would impose contraception on people most recently came to fruition in the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services contraception mandate, but has also appeared in American and European government programs that provide contraception in developing countries.

While the 1968 reception of Humanae Vitae was mixed, the fulfillment of Blessed Paul VI’s prophetic wisdom is undeniable and points to the truth of the teaching contained in Humanae Vitae. Furthermore, those communities of faith which have gone the way of the world in their teaching on human sexuality have not filled their churches but only emptied them. As Jesus made clear in the Gospel, apart from him and his life-giving teachings, we cannot bear fruit.

Other “unique challenges” have arisen, “of which Blessed Paul VI could not have even dreamed,” Aquila lamented. “Rejecting the true nature of the sexual act has not led to increased happiness and fulfillment but to a distortion of the relationship between men and women. The effects of the sexual revolution have devastated our culture: large numbers of abortions, a sharp rise in STDs, divorce rates hovering near 50 percent, birth rates falling below replacement level, and a decline in people getting married.”

READ: Cardinal Dolan: Humanae Vitae’s warnings about contraception coming true ‘in so many ways’

The prevalence of pornography has cheapened sex and led to “a decline in a rightly ordered sex drive, with a loss of libido and even a movement towards intercourse with robots, as reported in the media.”

Aquila observed that artificial contraception has had a negative impact on the planet.                                                      

“The predominant use of the pill, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and other products have flooded our water supplies with synthetic estrogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, causing a rise in infertility, an increased risk of cancer and hormonal changes for our children,” he wrote.

Catholic Church has the ‘antidote’ for today’s sexual brokenness

Citing the first book of the Bible, Genesis, Aquila told his flock that God created humans “male and female.”

“Our dignity comes from being made in his image and likeness,” he wrote. “God, the source of all life and love, planned from the beginning that the love between a man and a woman should image his own love and bring forth new life in the context of a family. The blessing of children was given to man and woman before their fall from grace, and it was not lost because of their sin.”

Family allows us a “glimpse” of “the joy of eternity” while on Earth. The family shows the reality of the two sexes and created in God’s image and loves new life into existence, Aquila explained, quoting homilies from Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.

Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body are “vitally important teachings” that “convey these truths in a way that is both bold and pastorally aware of the challenges men and women encounter in the modern world.”

Family allows us a “glimpse” of “the joy of eternity” while on Earth.

They offer the “antidote” to “the widespread false ideas of freedom and the purpose of sexuality that so many are suffering from today.”

Total, faithful, fruitful

Citing Humanae Vitae, Aquila wrote that married love “needs to be fully human, total, faithful, and fruitful.”

He emphasized the importance of husbands and wives loving each other unconditionally. Marriage is “exclusive until death, reflecting God’s fidelity.”

Aquila recalled:

Within the last couple years, I met a couple who was living together and had conceived a child but also wanted to get married in the Church. Their situation was further complicated by the fact that the man had been married previously and had children from those marriages. The woman wanted to regularize their situation with the Church. He began the annulment process, their child was born, and they went through marriage preparation classes and NFP classes. The couple was so convicted by what they learned in NFP classes that they decided they should live as brother and sister for several months until I happily officiated their sacrament of marriage. Their love was profoundly deepened by encountering Jesus and his plan for sexuality and the family. Not only were they transformed, but their extended family and their friends heard about their experience too.           

Children are “esteemed as marriage’s greatest gift,” not a burden and infertile couples can still have fruitful love “when they seek to serve the community around them.”

“Through marriage, the spouses are joined in their flesh, but also in their affections and spirit (fully human), in all the dimensions of their life (total), in their past and future (faithful and exclusive), and in the possibility of receiving the gift of a new life (fruitful),” the archbishop wrote. “Genuine married love has these four features.”

READ: New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

“Because God designed sex to have both a unitive and procreative dimension, man cannot separate them without causing real damage,” wrote Aquila. “Sex, too, is a part of ‘what God has joined together.’ It is a blessing! Like the wings of an eagle, these two meanings can only subsist together. If we try to separate them, we will lose both.”

He then outlined how the attempted sterilization of sex has led to procreation without sex:                                                                                   

That contraception attacks the procreative aspect of sex is readily apparent from its design. What is less apparent, though, is how it harms the unitive dimension of sex.

Saint John Paul II observed that our bodies were designed by God so that they speak a language. In the one-flesh union of husband and wife, that language communicates the total gift of self, including their fertility, without any limits or restrictions. But contraception introduces a falsehood into the language of the body. While the spouses indicate with their bodies that they are totally giving themselves, contracepted sex withholds one’s fertility and the chance to become a potential parent. Blessed Paul VI did not reject contraception because it is artificial but because it damages the conjugal act of the spouses, which lies at the heart of their intimacy and is the sanctuary of life. This makes contraceptive acts “repugnant to the nature of man and of woman” and contrary to God’s plan, as Humanae Vitae states.

Blessed Paul VI’s teaching also helps us understand the link between contraception and in vitro fertilization, that is, between sex without babies and producing babies without sex. While contraception involves removing the procreative dimension, in vitro fertilization jettisons the unitive dimension of sexual intimacy. Instead of conceiving a child in an act of love, the couple produces a child in a lab, which violates the child’s inherent dignity.

‘Take a stand against the gender ideology that is sweeping through our country’

The archbishop ended his pastoral letter with a call to action, imploring Catholics to share the beauty of the Church’s teaching.

Rather than being “a burden and a source of repression,” it helps people “overcome the many burdens and wounds that follow from our broken families and sexuality.”

“Our bodies were designed by God so that they speak a language.”

“Every Catholic has a mission to live and share the good news of God’s plan for human sexuality,” he declared. “This requires courage to stand against the prevailing cultural winds, but Jesus calls us to nothing less. Only living in the truth will give us true freedom, true love, and true happiness.”

Evangelizing the culture about the wisdom and truth of the Church’s teachings includes taking “a stand against the gender ideology that is sweeping through our country. Pointing people to the teaching of Jesus is not confrontational, but an act of love, helping them to find true happiness.”

Aquila offered suggestions for people in various states of life and professions to witness to the truth about human sexuality.

As children’s “primary educators,” parents have a special role in this regard, he said. They should guide their children to avoid pornography and casual sex and be prepared to equip them to “respond when dangerous situations present themselves.”

“Unfortunately, and sadly, our children are exposed at a young age to many confusing distortions of human sexuality,” he noted.

The archbishop said parents have told him about their four-year-olds coming “home from public schools where teachers have told them that they can be whatever gender they want and that people of the same sex can marry each other. Innocence is harmed and confusion is instilled by such teachings.”                                                      

So, “having conversations early, without destroying their innocence, will be important so that children know how to respond when dangerous situations present themselves,” he wrote.

Aquila offered inspiration for doctors and nurses, lawyers and politicians, those in media, teachers and catechists, NFP instructors, and engaged couples to continue living the Church’s teachings on sexuality.

“Jesus is the source of true love” and “the one who heals us of our sexual wounds,” he concluded. “Humanae Vitae serves as a great light in the midst of a dark and confused world when it comes to human sexual intimacy. We ask for the prayers of Blessed Paul VI as we look to his guidance for handing on and living according to the teachings of Christ in the world today.”

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Pope Francis chooses pro-LGBT priest to guide Lent retreat who holds Jesus didn’t ‘establish rules’

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ROME, February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Francis has selected a Portuguese “priest-poet” to preach at his 2018 Lenten retreat who is an open promoter of the “critical theology” of a Spanish nun who defends the legalization of abortion and government recognition of homosexual “marriage” and adoptions.

Father José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, vice rector of the Catholic University of Lisbon, wrote the introduction to the Portuguese translation of “Feminist Theology in History,” by Teresa Forcades, whom the BBC calls “Europe’s most radical nun.”

In the introduction to Forcades’ work, Tolentino de Mendonça tells the reader that Jesus didn’t leave any rules or laws to mankind, an idea that he approvingly applies to Forcades’ “critical theology.”

“Teresa Forcades i Vila reminds of that which is essential: that Jesus of Nazareth did not codify, nor did he establish rules,” writes Tolentino de Mendonça. “Jesus lived. That is, he constructed an ethos of relation, somatized the poetry of his message in the visibility of his flesh, expressed his own body as a premise.”

When the Portuguese translation of the book was published in 2013 with Tolentino de Mendonça’s introduction, Forcades had well-established herself as an advocate for legalized abortion and the creation of homosexual “marriage.” In the same year she issued a video tribute to the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who was then dying of cancer.

Tolentino de Mendonça  compares Forcades to Hildegard of Bingham, and says her theology is expressed in “a form that is symbolic, open, and sensitive about addressing the real” as opposed to the Church’s traditional way of speaking in clear, non-metaphorical terms, which he calls “the triumphal univocal grammars that we know.”

“It’s necessary that the doctrinal narrative understands itself to be more of a reading than a writing, more like a voyage than a place, because the memory that transports is not reducible to a legal code, a vision, something automatic,” the priest writes.

Such theology is given to us by Forcades, says Tolentino de Mendonça: “It is precisely here that the frightening [provoking] work of Teresa Forcades i Vila, Feminist Theology in History, which the reader has in his hands, comes to our aid.”

In a 2016 interview with the Lisbon radio station Renascença, Tolentino de Mendonça blasted Catholics and particularly cardinals who have raised their voices in criticism of Pope Francis, dismissing their views as “traditionalism,” which he contrasted with authentic “tradition.”

“Today, we see Pope Francis being contradicted by a more conservative wing of the Church and by some important names, even cardinals, which in a certain way are willing to place traditionalism above the tradition,” he said.

Regarding Pope Francis “welcoming” attitude towards those who are stubbornly living in gravely sinful situations of homosexuality and adultery, Tolentino de Mendonça told the interviewer, “No one can be excluded from the love and mercy of Christ. And that experience of mercy has to be taken to everyone, whether they be Christians who are remarried, wounded by disastrous matrimonial experiences, whether it be the reality of new families, whether it be homosexual persons, who in the Church must find a space to be heard, a place of welcome and mercy.”

Tolentino de Mendonca will preach and give spiritual guidance to Pope Francis and high curial officials during their retreat from February 18 to February 23 of this year.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer high-fives Catholic Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp on Jan. 29, 2018 after she voted in favor of late-term abortion. CSPAN
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Priest calls for excommunication of 14 Catholic senators who voted against late-term abortion ban

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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest is calling on bishops to excommunicate the 14 Catholic-identifying U.S. senators who voted last week against banning late-term abortions. He is also calling on priests to deny the Catholic pro-abortion senators Holy Communion. 

“Today is the day for their bishops to issue a formal statement acknowledging that these men and women have publicly denied their Catholic faith, and if not formally, then have informally excommunicated themselves,” Father Dwight Longenecker wrote in a recent blog post. 

Many bishops often refuse to publicy correct pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic. Of these, a small number prefer to be more "pastoral," handling the matter in private.

But Father Longenecker wasted no time on this premise, pointing out the reality of the infraction committed by public figures identifying themselves as Catholic when they publicly support abortion.

“Since their offense is public, it should be acknowledged publicly and their pastors should publicly rebuke them and deny them access to the sacraments,” he said, adding that if Church hierarchy does not do so, then Catholics should make their concerns known via the most effective channel – the collection basket.

“If the bishops and priests do not do this,” Father Longenecker added, “the faithful in their parishes and dioceses should rise up and blizzard them with letters, emails and the one thing that will really make them sit up and take notice: withholding their contributions.”

Longenecker, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina, wrote about the fact that last Monday 46 of 97 members of the U.S. Senate voted against ending debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the result of that was the Senate not being allowed to vote on the bill, and the senators in effect voting against the ban.

The bill’s premise is based upon the scientifically established fact an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks

One of two proposed bills up for a possible vote to coincide with the annual March for Life, it was not perfect, allowing exceptions for babies conceived in rape or incest. It was regarded by some as feel-good legislation timed for the annual March when pro-life advocates and media would be paying attention. Despite its shortcomings, the bill would have banned most late-term abortions, a brutal and inhumane practice.

“So fourteen Catholic senators voted for this barbaric, inhumane practice to still be legal in the United States and thereby assured its continuation,” Father Longenecker stated.

Father Longenecker called on Catholic media to publish their names and to “publish the horror that they have enabled by their vote.”

He also stated that “every Catholic college, university, institute of learning, newspaper and website should publish the names of the Catholic senators who voted for late term abortion, and circulate their names as widely as possible.”

He included links to the official vote roll call and public record of the senators’ identifying as Catholic, as well as a chart containing their district, diocese and bishop.

Father Longenecker remained vocal on social media throughout the week about his call to name the 14 Catholic pro-abortion voting senators, making numerous posts.

“USCCB website acknowledged Monday's Senate vote in favor of late-term abortion was "appalling,” he tweeted last Thursday, “but fails to name and condemn Catholic senators who voted for dismemberment of unborn babies. That article now gone from website. Essentially-silence from the USCCB. #namethefourteen.”

The USCCB responded that its statement was still available on the Conference website, but did not address the substance of Longenecker’s tweet.

“CRUX, National Catholic Reporter and America Mag -- leading Catholic online journals still all silent about Monday's Senate vote and no comment on the Catholic senators who voted for late-term abortions,” he tweeted that same day. “Does silence indicate consent? #namethefourteen.”

“I expect the bishops of "The Fourteen" will say, "It is better that I have a quiet word with them in private about this matter,” Longenecker tweeted as well. “No. Their vote was a formal, public action in favor of late term abortion. Public crime demands a public condemnation. #namethefourteen.”

He used the #namethefourteen hashtag in his other posts during the week that were related to the defense of human life as well.

“Neonatalogist says, "Babies at 20 weeks gestation do feel pain,” he quoted with a link to an article from The Federalist, “… #namethefourteen.”

Longenecker also shared the Catholic World Report column on the matter by canon lawyer Ed Peters, wherein Peters termed the senators The Bloody 14

One of his posts showed that North Dakota Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp – who is among the Catholic pro-abort 14 – was also one who high-fived New York Democrat Chuck Schumer last Monday upon the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’s defeat.

Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota, took heat in October 2012 after a letter to the diocese’s parishes regarding the forthcoming election was leaked. The letter had discussed the non-negotiable issues of life and marriage, and asked Catholics to consider the Church’s teaching on those issues when voting. Some regarded the letter as telling people not to vote for Heitkamp, who was running for the Senate.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, had previously upheld the decision of one of his priests to deny Holy Communion to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, one of the Catholic pro-abortion 14.

Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, who is listed as Democrat Senator Tim Kaine’s bishop, was critical of Kaine during the 2016 election for his support for abortion, gay marriage, same-sex adoption and women’s ordination. Tobin publicly rebuked Democrat Congressman Patrick Kennedy for Kennedy’s support for abortion.

The names of the 14 Catholic senators who voted against the 20-week abortion ban are:

Maria Cantwell – Washington
Susan Collins -Maine
Dick Durbin – Illinois
Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
Heidi Heitkamp – North Dakota
Tim Kaine – Virginia
Patrick Leahy – Vermont
Ed Markey – Massachusetts
Catherine Cortez Masto – Nevada
Claire McCaskill – Missouri
Bob Menendez – New Jersey
Lisa Murkowski – Alaska
Patty Murray – Washington
Jack Reed – Rhode Island

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Fabricio Alvarado, center. Fabricio Alvarado / Facebook
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Christian minister takes lead in Costa Rican presidential election after vowing to stop gay agenda

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February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Evangelical Protestant minister​ has unexpectedly won the first round of Costa Rica's presidential election process​ following a massive surge in support after he made it part of his platform to challenge the government’s plans to capitulate to the international gay lobby.​

Fabricio Alvarado, 43, began with minimal support, but yesterday he won the most votes of any candidate in the election, beating the candidates of the country’s two major parties. Local and international media are largely attributing his lead to his opposition to the gay agenda in Costa Rica. He is running as the candidate of the National Restoration Party.

Fabricio Alvarado, who obtained about 25% of the votes in yesterday’s election, will now compete in a runoff with the candidate who obtained the second-highest number of votes, Carlos Alvarado, who represents the ruling Citizen’s Action Party, and received about 22% of the votes yesterday.  Carlos Alvarado’s party is accused of corruption, which is increasingly a matter of concern to Costa Rican voters.

Fabricio Alvarado’s surge in pre-election polls followed an opinion published January 9th by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights holding that states in its jurisdiction “must recognize and guarantee all of the rights that are derived from a family relationship between persons of the same sex,” which is understood to include marriage.

Alvarado, who unequivocally opposes homosexual “marriage,” has promised that if he is elected he will withdraw Costa Rica from the jurisdiction of the court. 

As a result, the candidate quickly skyrocketed from about three percent support to seventeen percent in opinion polls, the highest of any of the six major candidates in the race. 

“People said, ‘This is the person that I want to defend us in the face of international impositions,’” Fabricio Alvarado reportedly said during a radio interview.

The large number of candidates in this year’s election, voter dissatisfaction with corruption and the gay agenda, and the fact that over 35% of Costa Ricans have regarded themselves as “undecided” in recent polls, have made this year’s election particularly volatile, placing establishment parties in serious political jeopardy.

Costa Rica is the only country in which Catholicism is the official state religion, and seventy percent of Costa Ricans profess the Catholic faith.  According to recent polls, between sixty and seventy percent of the population is opposed to homosexual “marriage.”

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One of Pope’s 9 advisor Cardinals proposes ‘liturgical’ blessings of homosexual unions

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February 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Episcopal Conference and close advisor of Pope Francis, has told the German media that “one must encourage priests” to give encouragement to homosexual unions, which could include public blessings that would take a “liturgical” form.

Marx was asked in a radio interview yesterday why the Catholic Church “does not always move forward when it comes to demands from some Catholics regarding, for example, the ordination of female deacons, the blessing of homosexual couples, or the abolition of compulsory celibacy [for priests].”

Marx responded that “closer pastoral care” must be given to homosexuals, adding that “one must also encourage priests and pastoral workers to give people in concrete situations [of homosexual unions] encouragement. I do not really see any problems there.”

This “encouragement” might include some sort of “liturgical” recognition of their union, according to Marx, who said that “how this would be done publicly, in a liturgical form,” is “another question,” adding, “that is where one has to be reticent and also reflect upon that in a good way.”

Marx was asked by the interviewer if he meant that he could “imagine a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church,” and the cardinal responded “yes.”

However, Marx added that no general rule should be established for such blessings, which should be left up to the judgment individual pastors.

“There are no general solutions. I don’t think that’s right, because this is pastoral care for individual cases, which I have to leave to the pastor . . . there are things that cannot be regulated,” said Marx.

Marx’s words echo those of the Vice President of the Episcopal Conference of Germany, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, who brought up the possibility of blessing homosexual unions on January 10, and referred to such unions as “positive and good.”

“How do we do justice to them (homosexual couples)?” asked Bode. “How do we accompany them pastorally and liturgically?”

“We have to reflect upon the question as to how to assess in a differentiated manner a relationship between two homosexual persons,” said Bode. “Is there not so much positive and good and right so that we have to be more just?”

Mathias von Gersdorff, a German pro-life activist and well-read blogger, decried Marx’s latest concession to homosexualist ideology.

“For Cardinal Marx and for Bishop Bode it is clear: Catholic sexual morality must adapt to the sexual revolution,” wrote Von Gersdorff, adding that their views “can be summarized as follows: The Catholic sexual morality must be replaced by the maxims of the sexual revolution.”

Earlier this month, Von Gersdorff wrote of Bodes’ proposal: “German progressivism does not wish a few things changed here and there, but it wishes to scrap the whole of Catholic teaching and to create a fundamentally new religion . . .The ‘normal’ Catholic is perplexed and asks himself: How far can the Catholic Church in Germany continue this path of destruction and still be called ‘Catholic’? When does it come to the point that there exists the moral duty to refuse to pay the Church tax?”

Reinhard Marx is arguably the most influential Catholic prelate in Germany. In addition to overseeing the massive archdiocese of Munich and Freising with its 1.7 million Catholics, he is the chairman of Germany’s bishops’ conference, and President of the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Community (ComECE). He is also one of the nine members of the Council of Cardinal Advisers, who are charged by the pope with reorganizing the Roman curia.

Marx has expressed sympathy for homosexual unions in the past, claiming that the Catholic Church should “apologize” to homosexuals for not opposing Germany’s law prohibiting sodomy, which existed until 1994, and claiming that homosexual unions must be given “respect,” and that they have “worth.”

“We have to respect the decisions of people. We have to respect also, as I said in the first synod on the family — some were shocked, but I think it’s normal — you cannot say that a relationship between a man and a man, and they are faithful, [that] that is nothing, that has no worth,” said Marx in June of 2016.

Marx added that the state “has to regulate these partnerships and to bring them into a just position, and we as church cannot be against it.”

Marx’s comments were condemned at the time by South African cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier. “God help us! Next we'll have to apologise for teaching that adultery is a sin! Political Correctness (PC) is today's major heresy!” Cardinal Napier tweeted.

The Catholic Church condemns all homosexual acts as gravely sinful, thus meriting eternal damnation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressly prohibited any support for homosexual unions in 2003, stating, “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” and that “all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

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A warning to pro-lifers about the so-called New Pro-Life Movement

CEC for Life

The 'New Pro-Life Movement': True or False?

February 5, 2018 (CEC for Life) – Some may remember several years back when Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) popped onto the pro-life scene.  They had awesome graphics, a great presence on social media, and seemed to be a reinvigorated voice in the movement that young people could really get behind.

That fanfare, however, was short lived, as leaders within AHA soon became hypercritical of every major leader in the movement, and even more critical of the Catholic Church, which they believed to pretty much be the Antichrist.  As they received push back from every kind of pro-lifer for this overwhelming aggression, AHA pushed even harder, ultimately claiming that the current movement had failed from being too soft, and that AHA’s “new” approach (of establishing chapters and handing out literature – true story) would finally end abortion.  They washed their hands of the movement.  And now, not many would know who they are.

So, enter the New Pro Life Movement, an ambitious group began by Patheos bloggers Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Matthew Tyson, in response to Trump receiving the Republican nomination.  The NPLM is the cheery version of AHA, who wants to work with everyone (as long as they didn’t vote for Trump), but remains publicly hypercritical of the current movement.  Like AHA, they too, believe the movement has failed – but not because we are too soft.  Rather, because the movement is too hard. Too narrowly focused. And more Republican than they can stand.

Including just about every Democratic plank, the NPLM believes that unless we devote ourselves to what they call the 11 Pillars, we are not truly pro-life.  The 11 Pillars of the NPLM include: The Right to Life, Abortion, Women’s Rights and Justice, Euthanasia, War, Death Penalty, Healthcare (Universal), Poverty, Environment, Gun Violence, Social & Political Involvement.

The list itself is not problematic.  Any pro-lifer could hold a number of opinions on some of these issues without compromising a pro-life stance. (Again, pretty sure Democrats for Life of America has been doing so for years.) The list itself should not concern the pro-life movement.  However, the philosophy and means by which they aim to address and accomplish this “new pro-life movement” should be very alarming to anyone involved in the fight against abortion.

Red Flag #1: Common Ground Because War Isn’t Nice

The NPLM focuses on the idea of eliminating the demand for abortion, rather than supply, believing that this will close the distance between pro-lifers and abortion advocates.  In order to do this, they reiterate again and again the idea of finding common ground with abortion supporters, banking on the sentiment that no one really wants abortion, and rejecting the concept of a “culture war.” They truly believe that abortion supporters will just come alongside them once they calmly explain that they are helping pregnant women.

“Our goal is not to defeat this or that cultural opponent,” they write on their website. “We believe we will be more effective in creating a culture of life if we are able to find common ground as often as possible.”

In his most recent video, co-founder Matt Tyson says of abortion supporters, “I guarantee you they can get on board with helping women…No one is going to complain if people stop having abortions.  They’re just not. That’s not a thing.  That’s not going to happen.”

Rebecca Bratten Weiss strongly agrees with this idea of bringing abortion supporters “on board” with the NPLM.  In a recent blog post criticizing the March for Life (along with the rest of the movement), Weiss writes, “I have encountered more and more thoughtful, ethical pro-choice advocates who sincerely believe that we need to have fewer abortions….”

Ok, sure.  Your average pro-choicer on the street might say they’ll go for fewer.  But “fewer” certainly is not zero.  Fewer is not removing abortion altogether.  What do they say when you propose that? (Answer: Abortion on demand without apology!)  Because the idea of “reproductive choice” is not based on circumstances or volume; it is based on the preborn child having no rights and the woman exercising “bodily autonomy.”  The reason isn’t what matters to them.  The “right” is what matters.

Not to mention that a person you spoke to at the Women’s March is not a Cecile Richards, or a Barack Obama, or any number of powerful people who have made certain that abortion is entrenched in our society.  For them, abortion is not a debate, it is a directive.  And they do not engage in peace talks.

Yet, Weiss believes she can build a pro-life culture with any of these people.  In this same article, she discusses building bridges with “many responsible and ethical pro-choice feminists and political leaders.”

To shy away from the idea of a culture war in order to more fully embrace the opposition is not only an error in judgment, but a fatal flaw that will ensure failure. There is simply no common ground for murder.

Ironically, NPLM states under their Pillar against War that “military force is only justifiable when absolutely necessary to stop an unjust aggressor and protect the lives of innocent human beings.” Over the last four decades, sixty million innocent lives have been destroyed by the unjust aggressors of abortion.  If that’s not a war, then what is?

Red Flag #2: Fight Everything or It Doesn’t Count

The NPLM prefers the phrases “consistent life ethic” or “whole-life ethic.”  They state that a “true pro-life ideology focuses on more than just abortion,” which refers to their 11 Pillars.  If you aren’t willing to support all of their positions – including universal healthcare and preventing climate change – then you aren’t really pro-life.  (And again, if you voted for Trump, just leave now.)

This is perhaps the most hypocritical slant of the “new” movement.  There’s room for an “ethical pro-choicer” – whatever that is – to sit at the table.  But if you are already pro-life, suddenly the standard flies skyward.  There is no middle ground on gun control, or healthcare, or the environment – issues on which pro-lifers have always held varying opinions with no trouble.

Under the “new” movement, you can’t believe that any one of those things, abortion included, is more important than the other, or you cease to be pro-life.

Pro-Life apologist Scott Klusendorf recently wrote an excellent article to combat this very line of thinking.  He writes:

“Abortion intentionally kills a million innocent human beings every year. Given that brutal reality, pro-lifers are right to put greater emphasis on the lives of the unborn…Demanding they do more is like telling an abolitionist in 1860, ‘You can’t be against slavery unless you address its underlying causes.’

“Slavery is wrong. Abortion is wrong. Neither statement requires further qualification.”

The all-or-none approach is strikingly similar to how Black Lives Matter proceeded (and AHA, actually).  The BLM movement, organized under the banner of ending senseless police violence against African Americans, also adamantly chose to include advocacy in favor of LGBTQ, abortion, and “dismantling the nuclear family.” And, much like the current NPLM, if you cannot embrace every platform then you cannot truly believe Black lives matter.

It’s actually pretty tyrannical.  And it’s in this same vein that the NPLM is creating their line in the sand, while simultaneously criticizing pro-lifers who prioritize the fight against abortion for…well, drawing a line in the sand.

Is it possible that the NPLM simply thinks that by including more issues on equal levels, more people will join their movement?  Perhaps they do.  And perhaps they will.  But will more preborn children be saved?  Absolutely not.  You can’t fight on eleven fronts at the same time and hope to win.  The pro-life movement formed in response to legalized abortion.  It formed as passionate citizens came to the rescue, quite literally, of innocent preborn children being torn apart in the womb.

To lose that focus is to lose the movement.  Moreover, abortion is a systematic evil that tears away at the fabric of any society willing to embrace it.  If the NPLM wishes to end poverty, war, or gun violence – then end abortion.  Because as long as a child in the womb – innocent and defenseless – is not deemed worthy of protection, then no one outside of the womb, with far more means to defend themselves, ever will be either.

Red Flag #3: Women First, Babies Second

The NPLM is also unequivocally feminist.  It seems to be the lens through which everything they articulate is filtered. In fact, “feminist activists” is the only group on their About Us page that is welcomed by name: “We especially welcome feminist activists who share our concern for opposing those societal evils that drive women to abortion….”

This creates a drastic change in focus for the NPLM.  Whereas, the current pro-life movement focuses on gaining rights for the preborn, who have none, as well as providing care for mothers and fathers that will enable them to walk away from abortion, the NPLM seems to believe women should come first.

In their 11 Pillars, NPLM states that “women are the central figures in the abortion debate” (not the preborn).  And there’s no mention of fathers either, who are also devastated by abortion.  This kind of narrow focus has the potential to gloss over the true crux of the abortion issue: personhood for the preborn.

This is made shockingly evident in the article written by Weiss that was mentioned earlier.  She states:

“It’s true that abortion can be physically and psychologically harmful to a woman. But what the pro-life movement fails to note is that in many cases, NOT choosing abortion will hurt women more. They’ll be kicked out of homes and schools, fired from their jobs, shunned by their communities. Lacking medical coverage, they will sink into crushing debt. Lacking funds, they can’t take time off work in the event of a high-risk pregnancy. Infant and maternal mortality rates are an issue here. Often, they can barely even feed the children they have. They may be stuck in abusive marriages, and be afraid to bring a baby into a violent home.”

Weiss gives zero attention to the fact that when a woman chooses abortion, a child is denied her basic right to life and ripped to pieces. Instead, she makes the bizarre argument that a woman choosing not to have an abortion – that is, choosing not to become implicit in her own child’s horrific death – can be more physically and psychologically damaged by making a choice for life.

Which do you think is harder to bear: Losing your job, or letting someone kill your child?

Under their Pillar for Women’s Rights & Justice, the NPLM also complains that the current movement has failed to help pregnant women, stating that there is “too much time spent arguing with the social and political figures who support abortion and not nearly enough time spent helping the women who actually have [abortions].”

They seem to ignore the fact that, while abortion clinics are currently in the hundreds, pregnancy resource centers are now in the thousands.  Or that every day countless sidewalk counselors stand outside of clinics, in every type of weather, for hours on end, to offer women alternatives to abortion. Or that resources like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More exist and were created specifically to help women who did choose abortion.

It seems the NPLM has all kinds of criticisms to readily offer against the pro-life movement, and “new ideas” to try – like helping women. Ultimately, however, it fails to acknowledge a long-standing history of compassion and hard labor made evident through the hundreds and thousands of resources now available for mothers and fathers and their preborn child.  Not to mention counseling and services available to abortion workers looking for healing and a new life.

The NPLM seems to remove itself from this history, believing it has the new, best way to end abortion, just as other groups, such as AHA, have done before.

And, look, there is no problem in changing tactics to win any war; sometimes a tactical change is necessary.  But to alter your vision so much that you lose sight of your purpose; to relinquish ground in the name of common ground; to forget exactly who it is you came to rescue; these are things we must not do.  We cannot do. Because lives are hanging in the balance.

The NPLM may be new, and it might be a movement, but it lends itself to some very slippery slopes.  Slopes we have seen before.  Proceed with caution.

Reprinted with permission from CEC for Life.

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Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards
Cheryl Sullenger

Opinion

The Trump/Russia memo has a surprising connection to Planned Parenthood

Cheryl Sullenger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2018 (Operation Rescue) – After much anticipation, the Nunes FISA memo was released on Friday that clearly showed that high-ranking officials within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) misused a so-called “Russian Dossier” that they knew had no credibility to obtain a warrant to spy on an associate of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and during Trump’s initial days as a sitting president.

The anti-Trump elements within the FBI and DOJ also withheld crucial information from the secret FISC court, including the fact that the spurious dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Also withheld from the court were connections between the shadowy organization that produced the fake dossier and an Associate Deputy Attorney General who was working on the investigation into Trump.

The source of that dossier was a company called Fusion GPS.

Pro-life supporters are familiar with that business. It was hired by Planned Parenthood in 2015 to perform a “forensic analysis” on the undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which showed evidence that Planned Parenthood was involved in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby remains and other crimes. That “analysis” stated that the recordings had been deceptively edited and were not reliable as evidence in court.

It turned out that the Fusion GPS “forensic analysis” was as phony as the fake Trump Russian Dossier.

But further investigation revealed that Fusion GPS had no experience in forensic video analysis. It was in fact an “opposition research” firm that specialized in political dirty tricks, especially against Republicans.

Operation Rescue first wrote about Fusion GPS on August 28, 2015, stating:

Fusion GPS is a Democratic opposition research firm that, according to the Weekly Standard, “has a history of harassing socially conservative Republican donors, possibly on behalf of the Obama campaign. In fact, Fusion GPS admitted in its “report” that it “conducted preliminary research into the CMP organization and its personnel.”

So, it appears that Fusion GPS was hired by Planned Parenthood not only to produce a phony analysis to discredit the incriminating recordings, but also to dig up dirt on the CMP “and its personnel,” which included at that time Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who served on the founding board of the CMP.

Meanwhile, Coalfire Systems, Inc. – an actual expert in video forensic analysis – issued a credible report after examining the recordings at the behest of the public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom. This report verified that the full length undercover recordings were not altered, except for minor edits to remove bathroom breaks, rides in elevators where no conversation took place, and the like. The recordings were found to accurately depict the conversations without alterations.

However, when the National Abortion Federation, and later Planned Parenthood, sued the CMP and its members, including Troy Newman, in Federal Court, they submitted the phony Fusion GPS report as evidence that the recordings lacked veracity.

Federal Judge William Orrick, relying on a record that included the fake Fusion GPS analysis, then ruled that he found no evidence of any crimes within the undercover recordings. Orrick then issued a gag order that prevented the further release of undercover recordings even to members of law enforcement.

That gag order, which sprang from a poisoned well tainted by a fake Fusion GPS report, is now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court for hearing. The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Newman in the NAF and Planned Parenthood cases, filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that the gag order be overturned so evidence can be released to law enforcement, including 27 State Attorneys General, who have sought the evidence for their own investigations into Planned Parenthood’s alleged criminality. [Fusion GPS is mentioned on pg. 89 of petition.]

Now here is where things get especially interesting.

Planned Parenthood’s use of the phony Fusion GPS analysis to provide friendly media with the basis to attack the recordings was so successful that a similar plan was used by Fusion GPS, the DNC, the Clinton Campaign, and the FBI/DOJ to promote the fake Russian Dossier in attacks in the media and in the secret FISA courts against Donald Trump.

Cecile Richards was very close to Hillary Clinton, for whom she spent much time stumping during the 2016 presidential campaign. She was also close to former President Barack Obama, and was a regular guest at the Obama White House, having visited there 39 timesfrom 2009 through July 2015.

It’s no secret that Richards feared a Trump presidency. After all, her organization had been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and prosecution by both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

As long as Clinton won the 2016 presidential election, Richards could rest assured that no investigations of Planned Parenthood would be forthcoming. However, under a Trump administration, Richard’s monolithic abortion organization would be placed in jeopardy, along with billions in government funding.

In fact, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that Planned Parenthood is indeed currently under criminal investigation by the FBI and the DOJ, (hopefully not by those involved with the dubious Trump Russian investigation).

As news that the Nunes memo was soon to be released – a memo that was purported to implicate those involved with the Fusion GPS fake Russian dossier – Richards suddenly tendered her resignation as CEO of Planned Parenthood on January 24, 2018.

Could it be that Richards has closer ties to those implicated in the Nunes memo for using the fake Russian Dossier to illegally obtain FISA warrants in order to spy on the Trump administration? What if Richards recommended Fusion GPS to Clinton Campaign/DNC because she knew from first-had experience that organization could fake a dossier against Trump to discredit him and influence the election? Would that qualify as a conspiracy?

Richards obviously had a vested interest to see that Trump was defeated by any means or removed once elected.

It seems that Richard’s sudden resignation and the Nunes memo may have more in common than anyone thought. The FISA warrant scandal and the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal seem to share many working parts.

Now, the investigations into the Clinton/DNC/DOJ/FBI corruption scandal take on new meaning for those who work every day to end abortion.

Read the memo.

Reprinted with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

Opinion, , ,

Fewer Americans support the LGBT agenda, survey shows

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

February 4, 2018 (C-Fam Turtle Bay) – A couple of recent news items reinforce the perception of a backlash against the LGBT agenda. Even in the U.S. and Europe it seems support for the homosexual and transgender agenda is waning. At the very least there are signs that contestation of the LGBT agenda is not going away anytime soon.

A survey commissioned by GLAAD suggests LGBT social acceptance may actually be declining in the United States.

This year’s survey reflects a decline with people’s comfort year-over-year in every LGBTQ situation, losing ground that had been gained during the last four years. Three of the most personal interaction scenarios experienced significant declines with more people reporting discomfort with “learning a family member is LGBTQ”, “learning my child’s teacher is LGBTQ” and “learning my doctor is LGBTQ”.

The survey also found a decrease in Americans who identify as strong supporters of the LGBT agenda in all situations, as opposed to only qualified supporters of LGBT issues in certain situations. This may be a reaction to the intransigence of LGBT extremists in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the Supreme Court.

You can find the survey here. Of course, GLAAD conveniently blames this on Donald Trump, even though Trump has expressed support for LGBT advocacy and the Trump administration is still promoting LGBT rights internationally.

In Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) just elected an openly pro-family judge María Elósegui Ichaso to the European Court of Human Rights. You can read about her here in Spanish.

There were also pro-LGBT candidates in the running, but the vote was not even close, with 114 votes in her favor and the next runner up only garnering 76. This, even though María Elósegui Ichaso has written and spoken out against gender ideology in conservatives publications and environments. While the Court has always been more conservative than most human rights bodies, the sheer bluntness of María Elósegui Ichaso’s writings, one would have thought, might have disqualified her. Instead, it seems to have worked in her favor. Here is a zinger from María Elósegui Ichaso’s writing:

Those who build and express their sexual behavior in conformity with their biological sex develop balanced and healthy conduct. Those who commit themselves to going against their own biology develop several pathologies. This is clear.

Far from being unstoppable, it would seem the homosexual agenda and gender ideology do not have a certain political future. I wrote about a global backlash to extreme LGBT advocacy in The Federalist earlier this month.

Last December, Politico published a leaked memo by State Department senior aide Brian Hook, on the importance of realism in U.S. foreign policy. Extensively citing speeches of President Ronald Reagan, Hook argues that instead of seeking to impose human rights, democracy, and liberal values, the United States should lead by example and incentivize good behavior.

This return to pragmatism breaks with the Obama years’ rigid ideological dogmatism about human rights and clearly rattled the bureaucrats who leaked the memo. But his arguments cannot be easily shoved aside. Promoting a rigid leftist agenda internationally is a form of social engineering.

It is not only politically fraught, it is an ethereal goal that cannot be quantified. And it demands untold expenditures for unforeseeable amounts of time without any way of measuring the effects.

Nowhere is the obtuseness of this idealistic approach more evident than in U.S. promotion of LGBT policies abroad. Without applying any moral calculus, a realist approach to foreign affairs requires accepting that LGBT rights likely will never be accepted by all the people of the world, no matter how many millions of dollars we pour into foreign LGBT organizations.

This article was originally published on C-Fam's Turtle Bay and Beyond blog and is re-published with permission of the author.

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

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LGBT group finds America doesn’t like its radical identity politics anymore, panics

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Acceptance of “LGBT” people – which had experienced a dramatic upswing in recent years – has peaked and begun to decline according to a report unveiled by the LGBT media advocacy group GLAAD.

The GLAAD report, based on a Harris Poll, set off loud alarm bells, sirens, and flashing lights in gay and mainstream media. One headline trumpeted, “Shocking report finds acceptance of LGBTQ people is rolling backwards in the age of Trump.”

“In a single year, we’ve seen significant declines from what had been an increasingly accepting America to one now less supportive,” Harris Polling said in a statement from a GLAAD press release, adding, “this lost ground of acceptance cuts across many in American society.”

In last year's report, 53 percent of Americans said they were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBT people. This year, that figure dropped four points to 49 percent, nearly an 8% decrease.

LGBT, Inc. is scared. As it turns out, LGBT, Inc. was prematurely condescending, not unlike Cinderella’s step sisters before the ball.    

Yet the results should come as no surprise.

The mirage is fading

The normalization of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and now transgenderism always relied on the power of political correctness to manufacture consent at unreal, unsustainable levels.

It is a mirage – a grand illusion – created not by the hearty endorsement of this country’s majority, but by its silence.

In the age of Obama, political correctness beared its sharp teeth, silencing all who held opinions in opposition to any and every part of LGBT ideology.

Journalists, academics, politicians, and jurists harnessed the power of political correctness and were rewarded with heaps of praise and affirmation for demonstrating their fidelity to progressive forces.

Corporations were happy to jump on the “right side of history” bandwagon.

Those who resisted were dealt swift punishments for daring to disagree with untenable notions such as same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Just ask Colorado’s Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, whose fate now rests in the hands of nine United States Supreme Court justices, or Washington state’s Barronelle Stutzman proprietor of Arlene’s Flowers, or a host of other bakers, florists, photographers, tee-shirt manufacturers, farm stand proprietors, and restaurant owners.

Even heads of large corporations such as Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, and, quite literally, brain surgeons – such as world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – were not immune to the crushing retribution of LGBT, Inc.  

Fake news and fake science

Beyond that, the public has been fed a steady diet of propaganda. Fake news and fake science were served as main courses.

In 2015, “when a major study published in Science, which purported to show that personal canvassing by LGBT people had an amazingly large effect on people’s opinions,” reported National Review’s Maggie Gallagher, it “was revealed to have been entirely faked, and in ways that one lone grad student, David Broockman, found easy to debunk. (The ‘scholar’ had even created easily checked fake grants from real foundations, thanking them publicly for grants they had never made.)”

More recently, a study by a Columbia University researcher asserting that minority stress is causing gays to die a full 12 years earlier than straights has been debunked. The study’s authors said when it was released, “the results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death.”

The press loved the story, and so headlines blared, “Can Prejudice Kill You? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Life Expectancy Drops 12 Years in Anti-Gay Communities.”  

Outlets from Medical Daily to Reuters and U.S. News & World Report happily spread the news.

To date, the study, Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations, has been cited over 100 times in professional journals, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Yet it wasn’t true. It wasn’t science; it was junk. The results of the study have proven to be unreplicable, and a retraction is most likely forthcoming.  But only after much damage has been done.

Claiming (falsely) that speaking against same-sex “marriage” and transgenderism kills people forces politically incorrect dissenters to remain silent.

That fake claim was part of the grand illusion.

Recently a gay man, Chad Felix Greene, wrote at The Federalist that the reported spike in anti-LGBT homicides is fake news: “LGBT media outlets are alarmed over a report that anti-LGBT homicides doubled in 2017, but the context of the crimes suggests the hype may be overstated.”

“On closer examination it appears that 4 of the 52 cases in 2017 were possibly anti-LGBT driven,’ Greene analyzed, “and yet the headlines will continue to shout an 86 percent increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes. The more the LGBT media manipulates the narrative to perpetuate politically convenient fear, the less average Americans will appreciate true violence towards the gay and transgender community. This unethical behavior in journalism and advocacy organizations only harms the people it is attempting to protect.”

Gay pundits begin to realize LGBT, Inc.’s overreach is its Achilles’ Heel

Another gay man, Andrew Sullivan, offered a sober assessment of the GLAAD report in New York Magazine.  

“The mainstream media has no other explanation than, well, Trump, and a culture more tolerant of intolerance,” he said. “But no one seems to notice the profound shift in the tone and substance of advocacy for gay equality in recent years, and the radicalization of the movement’s ideology and rhetoric.”

Sullivan says that since the U.S. Supreme Court established same-sex “marriage” in 2015:  

As many of us saw our goals largely completed and moved on, the far left filled the void. The movement is now rhetorically as much about race and gender as it is about sexual orientation (“intersectionality”), prefers alternatives to marriage to marriage equality, sees white men as “problematic,” masculinity as toxic, gender as fluid, and race as fundamental. They have no desire to seem “virtually normal”; they are contemptuous of “respectability politics” — which means most politics outside the left. Above all, they have advocated transgenderism, an ideology that goes far beyond recognizing the dignity and humanity and civil equality of trans people into a critique of gender, masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality. “Live and let live” became: “If you don’t believe gender is nonbinary, you’re a bigot.” I would be shocked if this sudden lurch in the message didn’t in some way negatively affect some straight people’s views of gays.

“The left’s indifference to religious freedom,” added Sullivan, “has also taken a toll.”

Sullivan concluded that the Trump presidency isn’t solely to blame for the stunning reversal in LGBT, Inc.’s acceptance: “It’s also fueled by a reaction of many ordinary people to the excesses of the social-justice left — on immigration, race, gender, and sexual orientation.”

Pundits in LGBT news outlets are also beginning to understand that LGBT, Inc. has overplayed its hand, and are willing to admit that identity politics sank Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign ship in 2016.

“Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy,” Columbia professor Mark Lilla wrote in the New York Times shortly after Clinton’s defeat.

“But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop,” wrote Lilla. “This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don't, those left out will notice and feel excluded.”

Don’t forget: Candidate Clinton was speaking to an audience full of gay and lesbian donors when she called Trump supporters “deplorables,” because they are “racist, sexist,” and “homophobic.”   

The eroding grand pretension

Now in the age of Trump, when political correctness is losing its stranglehold on America, people are beginning to again feel free to assert their strongly-held personal beliefs (which are held in contempt by LGBT, Inc. and its progressive collaborators).

The grand pretension crafted by LGBT, Inc. had reached an unimaginable level of grandiosity. The illusion has been so successful that folks on Main Street overestimate the size of the gay and lesbian population to a stunning degree.  

Gallup reports that the American public believes, on average, that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, when in fact only about 1.7% are. That’s fourteen times (1,400%) the actual number of self-identified gays and lesbians. And what is the actual number of self-identified transgendered persons? Less than three one-thousandths (0.003) of the population of the United States – just 700,000 people, fewer than the population of Columbus, Ohio.

Now that illusion is coming undone.

What will Main Street America do when it finally sinks in that it has been propagandized, and that instead of one out of four of their neighbors being gay, less than two out of 100 are? And what will happen when Main Street folks realize that gays, always portrayed as exceedingly fun, funny, and cool on TV and in movies, are really mean bullies out to destroy your life and livelihood if you refuse to bake them a cake?

In a stunning display of irony, underscoring the fact that LGBT, Inc. has arrogantly overplayed its hand, GLAAD’s annual report on gay and transgender approval is titled “Accelerating Acceptance.”  

LGBT, Inc.’s acceptance is no longer “accelerating.” It is sliding back down the hill it climbed so quickly over the last few years, desperately searching for the emergency brake.

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