News & Commentary

Homily for October 2, 2016

27th Sunday OT (Year C) – October 2, 2016
HAB 1:2-3; 2:2-4; PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 TM 1:6-8, 13-14; LK 17:5-10

The Catholic Mass is broadcast live at 9 a.m. (Arizona time) each Sunday from
Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona
Homily- Fr. Lankeit

The Devil is a divider who will use almost any tactic to separate Christians from
Christ…except for one. He doesn’t typically come right out and say, “Deny Jesus
Christ!” because he knows that someone who loves Jesus would immediately reject
the suggestion. So, he tends to use more subtle means and subtle words. But more
on that later…

For now, let’s deal with something closer to home, and very much in the forefront of
many people’s minds: the 2016 presidential election. But let’s do so from a
Catholic perspective. Let’s consider the intersection of the practice of our Catholic
faith and the exercise of our civic duty, especially when it comes to voting.
Let’s first acknowledge that there has never been a political party in the United
States that is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue. That does not
mean, however, that we are therefore automatically free to vote for either major
party, because one party can be much further from Catholic principles on the
most important issues than the other party. As a result of that, we are often faced
with the task of discerning which party and which policies are most in line with
Catholic teaching, and which ones aren’t.

So many issues are subject to the prudential judgment of Catholic voters. What
does that mean? It means that Catholics can legitimately disagree, for example, on
the best way to address issues such as racial injustice, education, the economy,
immigration and healthcare and still remain in good standing in the Church.
There are other issues, however, which touch on matters of intrinsic evil—actions
that can never, at any time, under any circumstances be committed, promoted or
even enabled by a faithful Catholic. But setting aside issues of intrinsic evil for
now, let’s consider some of the more common issues for which Catholics can
legitimately exercise prudential judgment.

One such issue is Affirmative Action. This program aims to eliminate perceived
disadvantages that minorities face when competing, for example, for admission to
college. In our nation, one party favors Affirmative Action to bring justice and
balance in our multiracial society. The other party holds that it penalizes high
achievers by giving limited spots in the college classroom to less qualified
candidates, while denying more qualified students access. One party sees affirmative
action as a matter of justice…while the other party sees it as injustice.
But, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal
for someone to kill a black person if that black person created a hardship for them
getting the education they desired.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate?
Another issue that falls under the category of prudential judgment is immigration.
One of the major political parties seeks to allow immigration with very little
restriction. The other party is concerned that unrestricted immigration leads to,
among other things, non-citizens taking jobs that could be worked by citizens.
One party favors open borders—the other favors “law and order”.
Now, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal
for someone to kill a Hispanic person if the presence of that Hispanic person made
it more difficult to pursue one’s career of choice.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate?
Thank God we don’t have a candidate from either party who says that they condone
such policies. Nobody in their right mind would say such a thing—that we could kill
blacks or Hispanics—or anyone else—just for the sake of protecting personal
economic or educational interests.

Nobody would say it, but, as you’ll see in a moment…
There is a candidate, in this 2016 race for president, who along with that candidate’s
political party does, in fact, sanction the killing of blacks and Hispanics in the
situations previously described…under one…particular…condition:
That the black person or the Hispanic person is still in his or her mother’s womb.
Now, this candidate and party certainly won’t say it that way, not publicly
anyway. Instead, they use words like “choice” or “reproductive rights” or
“women’s health” or other sanitized statements in order to cover up what abortion
is and what abortion does.

Now, before we go any further in discussing the extremely sensitive issue of
abortion…I want to say a word to any woman in this congregation here today—or among
those watching or listening on TV or radio—who has chosen abortion:
God’s mercy is bigger than your sin and your pain. In ten years of priesthood, I have
often been blessed to welcome a woman back to the merciful embrace of God the
Father after she has admitted to, and repented of, her abortion in the Sacrament of
Confession. A priest in such a situation has the privilege of assuring the woman that
she has never lost the love of God the Father, nor her dignity as his beloved
daughter, no matter what she did. And so I say to these women today: You do not
have to hide from God any longer. I know it’s exhausting to pretend that your pain
is not real, that your loss is not immense and that your choice was not
devastating. But when you experience God’s loving mercy even after the abortion,
you will really come to know and experience that God’s love in forgiving our most
serious sins is even greater than his love in creating us. Your Father has been
waiting for you for a very long time. It’s time for you to come home!
So, now, having shared that important word with grieving mothers let’s return to
the subject of our duty as Catholics in the public square.

When we consider that a woman can walk into Planned Parenthood and have her
baby put to death because she doesn’t want to jeopardize her education or career,
we must acknowlege that the shocking scenarios described previously are not only
possible…not only real…but also among the most common reasons for abortion in
America.

Even the word “abortion” has been drained of its meaning—we treat it like nothing
more than a term that starts a heated debate rather than a procedure that stops a
heartbeat. Many want to treat abortion as merely one issue among many—but that
requires that a person pretend not to know what abortion is and what abortion does.
So let’s stop beating around the bush with regard to the current presidential race:

• Do you know which candidate and party in this election promotes abortion and
even promises to expand its availability here at home as well as abroad?
• Do you know that this candidate and party intend to make you and me pay for
other people’s abortions with our tax dollars—something that has always been
illegal?
• Are you aware that this candidate and party, which until recently, said that
abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” no longer even bothers to say that it
should be rare—but rather, that it must be available any time, any place, even up
to the last moment that the fully formed, full-term baby remains in the womb?

If you do not know which candidate and party I’m referring to, then you should not
even consider voting until you do know! Ignorance in this area is unacceptable,
because ignorance in this area costs millions of babies their lives and jeopardizes the
souls of many Catholics voters.

On the other hand, if you DO know which candidate and party want to promote and
expand abortion, and you still intend to enable them to continue their war on the
unborn with the help of your vote, then it is my duty as a priest to tell you that
your soul will be in grave danger, especially if you present yourself for Holy
Communion after casting such a vote with the full knowledge of what you’re
doing.

Every election season, when a priest addresses such topics from the pulpit, a certain
portion of the population complains that he’s preaching politics:
“A priest has no business discussing politics in church!”
That’s what some people say.
But what does God say to the priest whom he has designated to be spiritual father for
the people entrusted to his care?
The same thing he said to the Prophet Ezekiel: “…I have made [you] a watchman
for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give
them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die,
and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man
shall die in his [sin], but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the
wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his
[sin], but you will have saved your life. (Ez 33:7-9)

Another of the Devil’s tactics is to encourage us to make excuses for our
participation in really bad things by appealing to other good things that we support,
which we try to convince ourselves somehow “cancel out” the grave evil we enable.
Take capital punishment, for example. If you bring up abortion, some people will
say, “I’m against capital punishment…and if you’re against abortion, then you
should be against capital punishment!” Fair enough. What is the biggest
objection to capital punishment? That innocent people might be mistakenly put to
death. And it must be acknowledged that innocent people very well could be
unjustly executed due to the many flaws in our legal system.

And this very reason for opposing capital punishment is precisely the reason that
Catholics must never willingly support or even enable abortion with their vote.
Because, while some innocent people have no doubt been put to death mistakenly
through capital punishment, in abortion an innocent person is always put to death,
and never by mistake. It’s always chosen…always intended.

If a person is against capital punishment, then, they necessarily must be against
abortion because the intention of abortion is to knowingly and deliberately kill an
innocent boy or girl—each and every time.

What about war? People who vigorously oppose the wars in the Middle East, for
example, often quote statistics on the great number of innocent people accidentally
killed in the crossfire. “Collateral damage”—the innocent people killed in war—is,
perhaps the greatest tragedy of war. But if a person opposes the accidental killing
of innocent people in war, while enabling the intentional killing of the most
innocent human beings on the planet with their vote—well…this is hypocrisy of the
most extreme kind.

If a person opposes war because of the accidental, unintended deaths of innocent
people, they necessarily must oppose abortion because the killing in abortion is
neither accidental nor unintended, but always directly willed.
Sometimes we hear the stupendously deceptive claim that a candidate or party will
reduce abortions by improving economic or social conditions, while simultaneously
promoting abortion as a right worth protecting.

But let’s face facts: Abortion is not caused by economics or social conditions.
Economic and social factors are, no doubt, circumstances that affect a mother’s
decision in some cases, but they are not causes.
After all, if eliminating abortion were merely a matter of economics, or access to
healthcare, or other socioeconomic factors, then why do wealthy mothers also
abort their babies?

There are plenty of Catholics who, quite rightly, have criticized bishops and priests
in recent years for not having spoken out more forcefully against the sexual abuse
of children by priests.

Why, then, do many of these same Catholics want to silence bishops and priests
who speak out forcefully against killing innocent children?
Why is opposing sexual abuse of children a matter of justice, but opposing the
murder of children a matter of “preaching politics”?
Regardless of the resistance, a priest must follow the example of Peter and John in
the Acts of the Apostles when it comes to preaching difficult truths. To those who
sought to silence their proclamation of the Gospel these Apostles boldly responded:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you
must judge; for [I] cannot but speak of what [I] have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-
20)

A priest is not only protected by the 1st Amendment (at least for now).
He is also bound by the 5th Commandment—Thou Shalt Not Kill.
If a priest doesn’t speak up for those most vulnerable in our society, and if the
Catholic faithful don’t actively protect the most vulnerable in our society by
refusing to enable their deliberate destruction with their vote, then such Catholics
are condoning the killing by their cowardice.
And what did St. Paul say to Timothy about cowardice in today’s 2nd Reading?

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and selfcontrol.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share
of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. (2 Tim 1:7-8)
Part of every Catholic’s share in the hardship for the Gospel is that we must repent
of our actions that are offensive to God and destructive to our brothers and
sisters. And we must oppose the threats to innocent life that are most real and most
urgent. Make no mistake! There is no single issue that threatens innocent human life
more directly, consistently and urgently than the deliberate killing of baby boys
and baby girls in their mother’s womb. No…issue!
In the time since this homily started, at least 30 children have been deliberately
executed in the womb in the United States—and that’s just the ones that are
reported.

Let me sum up with some very challenging words:
“We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the lives of
the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Whoever fails to do this, when
otherwise able to do so, commits a serious sin of omission. They jeopardize their
own spiritual wellbeing and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they
be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion.” Catholics in the Public Square, 4th Ed., p. 25
Now, I hope you realize that it takes a lot of courage for a priest to communicate
such challenging words as these—reminding his people that some actions are so
gravely sinful that they render a Catholic unworthy to receive Holy Communion
until there is complete repentance.

A priest who is more concerned about the state of his people’s souls than they are
themselves, deserves the esteem of his people for his willingness to speak such
difficult truth to them with genuine love—to put the welfare of his people’s souls
ahead of his own reputation, popularity or comfort. Such a priest should receive
respect, admiration and support, rather than their resistance or criticism.
So please pray for, thank and encourage the spiritual father that God has appointed
for you and who loves you enough to tell you the truth.

Because the priest who said these particular words…is your bishop…and mine.

Voting as a Catholic in 2016

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By Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila
Source: http://denvercatholic.org/voting-catholic-2016/

I have voted in every presidential election since 1972 and I have never experienced an election like this year’s. Both candidates are disliked, lack credibility, and have made comments that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The American public is fed up with politics as usual and with the establishment in both parties. So, what should Catholics do when we vote in November?

That question is one that I have been asked by the faithful more this year than in any previous election. Recently in a dinner discussion with a group of Catholics, the conversation turned to politics and became vigorous, as some at the table supported Clinton and some Trump. All eyes turned to me and one of them asked, “Archbishop, what do you think?”

First, I shared my aversion for both candidates. Then I said that they need to reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues. Everyone at the table knew well the teaching of the Church on life and the dignity of life. They knew that Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion.  All pretty much agreed that, when it comes to life issues, Catholic politicians on both sides of the aisle have put party ideology before their faith and living their faith in the public square.

This is the most important guidance I can give: allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions. I say this because we believe that the truth about ourselves and the world we live in is revealed in and through him. Our society suffers and has suffered for quite some time because too few people live an integrated life – one that does not divide “the personal” from “the public.”

This year there are some critical changes to the two major parties’ platforms that some at the dinner were not aware of.  Most important is that this year the Democratic party platform calls for the overturning of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that both parties have voted to include in the federal budget and on other spending bills for 40 years. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer money from being used for abortion. The platform is aggressively pro-abortion, not only in funding matters, but in the appointment of only those judges who will support abortion and the repealing of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the U.S. from supporting abortion availability overseas. Conversely, the Republican party platform is supportive of the Hyde Amendment and just this year strengthened its support for life by calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion and opposing assisted suicide.

Our conversation then turned to the understanding of the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience, and the ability for faith-based organizations like the Church to provide charity through shelters, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., without fear of government interference and the existence of a respect for religious values.

In that vein, the subject was raised of the Health and Human Services mandate. This regulation requires the provision of contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortifacients through employer’s health plans. Most surprising to me was that all at the table were practicing Catholics who are involved in their faith, and a couple of them had neither heard of the difficulty the Obama Administration has created for the Little Sisters of the Poor, nor the litigation that has occurred trying to force them to violate their consciences.

Catholic voters must make themselves aware of where the parties stand on these essential issues. The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.

The health of our nation depends on a deep respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the future of our society depends on how we protect that right. If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen.

Some, both in politics and in the Church, have stated that it is the Church that needs to change her teaching to include abortion, same-sex unions, and even euthanasia. Yet, in faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ. She would cut herself from the vine and only wither away, as promised by Christ. The further we move away from Jesus Christ and his teachings, the more will our churches empty.

We are where we are today because too many Catholics and other people of faith have embraced the ways of the world and not the ways of Christ. They have not served as leaven that transforms society, but rather have condoned evil and the throw-away culture that Pope Francis frequently reminds us to reject.

When we fail to do this, the government will step in to fill the void. Indeed, the government will become “god” and impose its beliefs on the citizens. One only needs to look to the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate, or the attempt by President Obama to force a transgender agenda onto public schools. We may even soon see the federal funding of abortion and the approval of physician-assisted suicide in Colorado. We are witnessing the dictatorship of relativism and the erosion of true freedom. And as Pope Francis often preaches, the devil gets in the mix quickly, especially when people no longer believe in God.

So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying. If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay.  Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.

For many, the presidential election will involve a choice between the lesser of two evils. On the Colorado ballot, we will also face the evil of physician-assisted suicide, known as Proposition 106. In conforming our hearts and minds with the Gospel and its clear teaching on life, all Catholics are called to vote “no” on this issue. A “yes” vote only furthers the throw-away society, and the culture of death. You will be hearing much more on this in the days and weeks ahead. Let us keep our country and state in our daily prayers, praying for God’s protection and blessings in these challenging, difficult times in which we live. And let us in charity pray for the conversion of those who support a throw-away culture of death!

The pill is linked to depression – and doctors can no longer ignore it

pill

A newly published study from the University of Copenhagen has confirmed a link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. The largest of its kind, with one million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 tracked for a total of 13 years, it’s the kind of study that women such as me, who have experienced the side-effects of birth control-induced depression first hand, have been waiting for.

Researchers found that women taking the combined oral contraceptive were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and those using progestin-only pills (also known as “the mini-pill”) were 34% more likely. Teens were at the greatest risk of depression, with an 80% increase when taking the combined pill, and that risk is two-fold with the progestin-only pill. In addition, other hormone-based methods commonly offered to women seeking an alternative to the pill – such as the hormonal IUS/coil, the patch and the ring – were shown to increase depression at a rate much higher than either kind of oral contraceptives.

In recent years we’ve seen efforts from the NHS and family planning organizations to encourage teens to use these so-called LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives), primarily because they eliminate the need to remember to take a pill every day, but also due to the fact they’re commonly believed to have less severe potential side-effects than the pill. The new research suggests this practice is misguided. We already know that those with pre-existing depression may find the pill worsens their symptoms, and if teens were at greater risk of depression, then continuing this practice would be negligent.

The researchers note that, because GPs are less likely to prescribe the pill to women who already have depression and because women who do experience depression on the pill are more likely to stop taking it, this study probably underestimates the potential negative affect that hormonal contraceptives can have on mental health.

Having spent the past eight years researching and writing on the emotional and psychological side-effects of hormonal birth control, I initially felt elated to read this study. Not just for myself, but for the hundreds of women I’ve interviewed over the years. Mood changes are one of the top reasons many women discontinue using the pill within the first year. Finally, here was the kind of large-scale, long-term study I’d been told was necessary before we could seriously talk about this issue or make a change in how we prescribe hormonal contraceptives.

However, I was naive, because it seems that no study will ever be good enough for the medical community to take women’s experiences seriously. As soon as this research dropped, the experts lined up to deliver their usual mix of gaslighting and paternalistic platitudes. We’re told not to be alarmed, concerned, or deterred from continuing to use our hormonal contraceptives, mostly by men who have never and will never take them themselves (partly because the long-term, large-scale study undertaken by WHO on the “acceptability” of the male pill revealed it would negatively impact their emotional wellbeing).

This “pillsplaining” is specific to discussions of research into the side-effects of hormonal birth control. Usually, when the research is on the pill alone, we’re quickly informed there are many other hormone-based methods to choose from, but unfortunately this new study says those alternatives are even worse. One expert even tried to dismiss the link with depression in pill-taking teens as more likely the result of “teen heartbreak”.

So, why is it that we’re not supposed to take this study seriously? Considering that women are fertile just six days per menstrual cycle and men are fertile every single day, that the burden of avoiding unwanted pregnancy falls to us, regardless of the burden that might have on our health and wellbeing, is nothing short of sexism.

Yet, we’re reminded with one medical professional’s response to this new research that “an unwanted pregnancy far outweighs all the other side effects that could occur from a contraceptive.” If that’s true, why bother researching the side-effects at all?

It is important to remember that women are twice as likely to experience depression as men, reportedly due to “the fluctuation of progesterone and estrogen levels”, in other words our biological femaleness. It’s apparently acceptable to blame women’s depression on the fact that they’re women, but it’s not OK to claim a powerful medication formulated from synthetic hormones could be at fault.

To me, and many other women, these Danish researchers are heroes and criticism of their methods (such as, they should have tracked those women using condoms or the copper IUD as well – even though these options were not available to them; or that women were likely depressed because of menstrual cramps – which the pill is supposed to prevent), only highlights the incredible knots the medical establishment will twist itself into in order to deny there’s a problem with the pill.

One of the study’s authors, Øjvind Lidegaard, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, also brought attention in 2011 to the increased risk of blood clots associated with newer, and supposedly “improved” hormonal contraceptives such as the ring, the patch and drospirenone-containing pills. Lidegaard plans to focus next on researching the possible “association between taking hormonal birth control and attempting or committing suicide”. Researchers originally flagged up this potential link back in 1970 at the Nelson Pill Hearings, but the topic has not been touched since.

Depression and anxiety from hormonal contraceptives may not be the experience of every woman, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the experience of your friend, your daughter or your partner, and of many women out there, who, in reading about this could have their lives changed for the better.

The life-saving amendment

By Chris Smith – – Thursday, September 29, 2016
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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Today marks 40 years since the life-saving Hyde Amendment was first enacted. This annual appropriations amendment stops taxpayer dollars from being used to fund most abortions and abortion coverage through government programs like Medicaid.

Thanks to new analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute we now know that as many as two million children — some much older now — are alive today because of the Hyde amendment.

Prior to enactment of Hyde, the Medicaid program paid for about 300,000 abortions annually. Research, including by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, has long shown that stopping taxpayer-funded abortion reduces the abortion rate. In an analysis released just this week, the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that the Hyde amendment saves as many as 60,000 lives each year.

I remember the day several years ago when my friend and author of the amendment, Henry Hyde of Illinois, first learned that about one million children were alive because of his amendment. He was overcome with joy knowing that a million mothers were spared the agony of post abortion pain, a million children were alive and well, growing up, going to school, playing sports, dating, marrying and having kids of their own. Today that number is estimated at two million — all because abortion subsidies have been prohibited by this law. Since the first bitter and protracted battles over this policy, the Hyde amendment has generally, if begrudgingly, been accepted as the status quo. President Bill Clinton — who supported partial-birth abortion — and President Barack Obama — who pledged to veto a bill protecting children born alive after abortion, both consistently signed the Hyde amendment into law.

Yet Hillary Clinton represents a new era of pro-abortion extremism.

Not only does she fall in party line with her opposition to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the ban on sex selection abortion, and the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, she will have an abortion litmus-test for every judge and justice. And in a new assault on innocent human life, she has vowed to decimate the Hyde Amendment and fund abortion on demand using taxpayer dollars.

In 1980 the Hyde Amendment narrowly overcame a constitutional challenge in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. If Hillary Clinton appoints just one justice, the Hyde amendment will be nullified.

Hillary Clinton is outside of the mainstream. Today, more Americans support the sanctity of life and oppose taxpayer funding for abortions than ever.

America has an ever-growing majority that believes our government should not fund abortion. A July 2016 Marist poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion — including 45 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice.”

The Hyde Amendment is not extreme. Hillary Clinton is.

Hillary Clinton is so extreme and outside the mainstream that when MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked her in an April 3 interview: “When, and if, does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” Hillary Clinton fired back: “unborn persons don’t have constitutional rights .” Mrs. Clinton acknowledges that unborn children are persons, but denies them their right to life and wants taxpayers to pay for their destruction.

When Hillary Clinton was awarded the Margaret Sanger award by Planned Parenthood in 2009, she said she was “in awe” of Margaret Sanger, the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood. Shockingly, its American affiliate alone claims responsibility for the death of over seven million babies.

In her 2009 speech Mrs. Clinton also said she admired Sanger for her vision and that Sanger’s work here in the United States and across the globe was not done. “Not done” means more abortions, paid for by the taxpayer, and an end to conscience rights for those who don’t agree.

If we lose the Hyde Amendment our country will be carrying out Sanger’s eugenic legacy — incentivizing the destruction of the poor and vulnerable by paying for their death.

There are nearly 60 million Americans missing from 43 years of legal abortion. That’s 60 million lives with potential that have been snuffed out by state-sanctioned killing.

Hillary Clinton poses an existential threat to the welfare and well-being of unborn children and their mothers in the United States and around the world. Rather than expand the culture of death and shred the Hyde amendment — as Hillary Clinton promises — women and men of conscience have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from the violence of abortion.

Chris Smith is an 18-term Republican congressman from New Jersey.

The Mighty Archangels

BY KATHLEEN BECKMAN, 29 SEPTEMBER 2016

The Office of Readings for the feast of the Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, offers a reflection by Saint Gregory, pope, “…Those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. Personal names are assigned to some to denote their ministry when they come among us. Thus, Michael means, “Who is like God?”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

We are beloved of God, and He provides us with angelic companions and protectors as the Catechism states, “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of the faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition” (328).
The Archangel Michael

Pope Gregory continues, “Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.”

St. Michael is known to be the warrior angel who fights Satan and his demons from the beginning, and throughout the epic Christian pilgrimage, St. Michael is the great defender of the Church on earth.

I’d like to share an anecdote related to St. Michael. As I was exiting St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey Chapel after Mass, I noted 2 young boys standing in front of a nearby large white marble statute of St. Michael. I also stopped before the same statute to silently pray the St. Michael Prayer. I saw that the younger boy, approximately 5 years old, stood in awe of the impressive St. Michael statute as he inquisitively examined the details of the handsome sculpture. Suddenly he exclaimed to the older boy, approximately 12 years old, “Look, St. Michael is stepping on the head of the devil!” To which the older boy quickly replied, “Yes, that is what St. Michael does and he thrusts his sword into him too!” I thought to myself, “Bravo, St. Michael! Bravo, boys and bravo to your parents who taught you about the role of St. Michael!”

Since childhood, I have had a strong devotion to St. Michael, always perceiving myself under the protective canopy of his God-given power. So devoted am I to St. Michael that our first-born son was named after him and we enthusiastically encouraged him to have real devotion to his patron saint. In my new book I share how St. Michael dramatically helped to defend our family when all odds where stacked against us in a lawsuit by the F.B.I.—who lost their case. Recently when my car was broadsided by an eight-passenger van, I thought of St. Michael as I walked away without injury though my new sedan was totaled.

I often ponder how truly present and effective St. Michael is in the battle against the fallen angels who roam the earth seeking to tempt, vex, oppress or possess God’s children. During each official rite of exorcism that I have witnessed, the priest and team ardently summon the help of St. Michael throughout the ministry. St. Michael never fails to support the priest in his ministry of proclaiming Christ’s victory over evil. Victims attest that the evil spirits greatly fear St. Michael knowing that God has given him the power not only to expel them, but also to increase their torment. St. Michael is a reflection of God’s omnipotent love and His provision for the Church militant in all our struggles.
The Archangel Gabriel

Again, in the Office of Readings, Pope Gregory teaches, “…Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus, God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of heavenly powers, mighty in battle.”

Just prior to the coming of Christ, the Archangel Gabriel is sent to announce to Zachariah the birth of a son, John the Baptist, who would prepare the way of the Lord. “I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to you, and to bring you these good tidings.”

Probably the most joyful message ever given to an angel was the message brought by Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary—the message of the Incarnation.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel’s flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people. …Gabriel must overcome Mary’s reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his manner of salutation. He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: “Fear not, Mary, for you have found grace with God.” He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude for her perturbation. As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order “to prove that nothing can be impossible with God.”

Theologians think that Gabriel was probably given special charge of the Holy Family in Nazareth, and was probably the angel who brought good tidings of great joy to the shepherds keeping night watches over their flock on the night that Christ was born, and probably the angel who appeared to Joseph in his sleep to warn him against Herod and guide him to Egypt. Gabriel who is “the strength of God” may have been the angel in Luke’s gospel narrative of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane, “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” It seems fitting that the angel, who announced His birth, protected Him in infancy, and strengthened Him in the Garden, should be the first to announce his resurrection on Easter morning.
The Archangel Rafael

Pope Gregory’s homily continues, “Raphael means God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: “And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, …who stand before the Lord.” In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias’ wife. (Angelophany is a term used to describe the visible manifestation of angels to mankind.)

Raphael seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ, in the pool called Bethsaida. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool: “An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had.”

Archangel Raphael’s healing ministry may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred shrines throughout the Christian world.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, mighty Archangels, graciously protect, guide and heal us on our journey to the Father’s house. Amen.

Shocking Report Reveals Scientists Have Created the Word’s First Baby With Three-Parents

A shocking new report claims the world’s first three-parent baby (pictured above) has been born. Children born through ‘three-person IVF’ would contain some genetic material from each of three different people.

There are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases (MCDs), which are passed on in genes coded by mitochondrial (as opposed to nuclear) DNA. They range hugely in severity, but for most there is presently no cure and little other than supportive treatment. The goal behind creating “designer babies” with three parents is to eliminate such diseases.

But there are good reasons for pro-life people to be concerned about the process and the eugenics-based reasons behind it.

Here’s more on the infant born from three parents:

It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.”

The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of the child, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists.

The boy’s mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. Genes for the disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria, which provide energy for our cells and carry just 37 genes that are passed down to us from our mothers. This is separate from the majority of our DNA, which is housed in each cell’s nucleus.

Around a quarter of her mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation. While she is healthy, Leigh syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children. The couple sought out the help of John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.
Dr. Peter Saunders, a pro-life physician in England, has commented on the ethical problems with three-parent embryos:

This is not about finding a cure. It is about preventing people with MCD being born. We need first to be clear that these new technologies, even if they are eventually shown to work, will do nothing for the thousands of people already suffering from mitochondrial disease or for those who will be born with it in the future.

Is it safe? This is far from established. Each technique involves experimental reproductive cloning techniques and germline genetic engineering, both highly controversial and potentially very dangerous. Cloning by nuclear transfer has so far proved ineffective in humans and unsafe in other mammals with a large number of cloned individuals spontaneously aborting and many others suffering from physical abnormalities or limited lifespans. Also, any changes, or unpredicted genetic problems (mutations) will be passed to future generations. In general, the more manipulation needed, the higher the severity and frequency of problems in resulting embryos and fetuses.

Is it ethical? No, there are huge ethical issues. A large number of human eggs will be needed for the research, involving ‘harvesting’ that is both risky and invasive for women donors. How many debt-laden students or desperate infertile women will be exploited and incentivised by being offered money or free IVF treatment in return for their eggs? How many thousands of human embryos will be destroyed? If it ever works, what issues of identity confusion will arise in children with effectively three biological parents? What does preventing those with mitochondrial disease being born say about how we value people already living with the condition? Where will this selection end? Some mitochondrial diseases are much less serious than others. Once we have judged some affected babies not worthy of being conceived, where do we draw the line, and who should draw it?

Pediatrics support for LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception)–A Catholic Legal and Pastoral Response‏

John E. Fitzgerald

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its policy statement on contraception for adolescents, which provides, in effect, a mandate to temporarily sterilize all adolescents with long-acting reversible contraceptives for five to ten years. The author reviews the AAP guidelines and their effects on Catholic adolescents, their families, and adolescent health care providers. He then discusses medicolegal issues raised by the policy, outlines Catholic strategies for combating it, and proposes a diocese-based physician-led program for teaching and counseling elementary and high school students.

Click on the icon to read the entire article published on the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16.1 (Spring 2016): 63–81.

The right to life: authentic Catholic social teaching

archbishophebdaofficialportraitStrange things happen in election years. That was clear to me last Monday morning as I opened the newspaper to a full-page ad from an organization called “Catholics for Choice” referring to “Abortion in Good Faith” and misrepresenting Catholic social teaching by claiming that “public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value.” This ad, with slight regional variations, appeared in newspapers across the country, and represented the latest in a series of public relations efforts by this organization to promote a pro-abortion agenda by attempting to counter the Church’s consistent and convincing proclamation of the Gospel of life.

You may remember Catholics for Choice from their failed efforts, for example, to challenge the Holy See’s permanent observer status at the United Nations.  It’s the same group that put St. John Paul II at the top of its “enemies list” at the time of the U.N. Cairo Conference. Its long-time president, Frances Kissling, would go so far as to express her longing at times “for the destruction of the Catholic Church,” which she saw as a “fatally flawed” institution — quite a contrast from our Catholic understanding of the Church as the body of Christ. As an organization, there’s nothing Catholic about “Catholics for Choice.”

Unable to muffle the Church’s opposition to the culture of death, its most recent ad campaign seems to be an attempt to sow seeds of confusion concerning authentic Church teaching as we once again approach election time.

Judging from the phone calls and email messages that we received this week, however, the Catholic faithful of this archdiocese are too well-educated in the faith to be so easily misled. They know that Christ, in founding the Church upon the apostles, assured that through them and their successors she would always be blessed with authentic teachers endowed with his authority who, as taught at the Second Vatican Council, would “preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice” (Lumen Gentium 25). They also know that those authentic teachers have consistently taught that the value of human life needs to be respected and protected from conception to natural death.

In his most recent encyclical, “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis, reiterating the teaching of his predecessors, could not be any clearer: “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life.” Earlier this year, he called on all Christians to “a renewed esteem of the human person and a more adequate care of life, from conception to natural death.” That, brothers and sisters, is authentic Catholic social teaching.

I am not naïve enough to think that there are not individual Catholics who struggle with different aspects of Catholic teaching, even here in our local Church. I bristle as you do whenever I hear a politician begin a sentence with “I’m a devout Catholic, but … .” Living in a throwaway culture that at times values things more than people and convenience even more than life, it is all too easy to forget that the right to life is the first human right. As men and women of faith who have taken to heart the theme of this jubilee year, “Merciful like the Father,” our hearts have to move with compassion not only for new parents anxiously wondering how a child is going to fit into their lives, but also for their unborn children.

Indeed, in “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis noted that we need to have a special compassion for the unborn: “Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this … . Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question … . It’s not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life … .”

I am very proud that our Catholic community is so obviously committed to providing concrete support to new parents and families. I know that so many of you are supporting the many pregnancy resource centers in this region that offer practical assistance to pregnant women in need. I know as well the wonderful programs that are offered locally to enable young moms to be great parents, even when they are facing that responsibility alone or need to finish their education. I know the phenomenal work that Catholic Charities is doing to keep struggling families together. It is a blessing to be part of a Church that lives what it believes about the dignity of human life.

It seems to me that the recent ad from Catholics for Choice presents us as a local Church with a wonderful teachable moment. I hope that the priests and faithful of this archdiocese, who have been relentless in their defense of human life, will join me in looking for opportunities to lovingly and patiently bring the light of authentic Catholic social teaching into this discussion in the days and weeks ahead. May the Lord bring forth our efforts to preach his Gospel of life.

Hundreds of Catholic scholars affirm ‘Humanae Vitae’ as dissidents blast Church teaching at UN

popepaulviWASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — More than 400 Catholic academics released a statement affirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception and human sexuality in response to recent calls for the Church to change her teaching as the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches. Opponents of Catholic teaching presented those calls Tuesday at the United Nations.

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical upholding the Catholic Church’s long-held teaching on human sexuality, was released in 1968. In preparation for its upcoming 50th anniversary, the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research released a statement titled On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives calling for the Church to accept the use of artificial contraception as moral.

It said the Church should issue an “official magisterial document … affirming that the use of non-abortifacient modern contraceptives for prophylactic purposes can be morally legitimate and even morally obligatory” and consider revising its teaching on in-vitro fertilization, homosexual activity, and masturbation.

To counter the so-called Wijngaards statement, the 400+ scholars released Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality at a press conference at The Catholic University of America (CUA) yesterday. Numerous CUA faculty members, including President John H. Garvey, signed the statement.

Scholars: There is no Catholic argument for contraception

“The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church,” the scholars wrote. “Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. During the past half century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the Theology of the Body, personalism, and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships, and culture.”

The Wijngaards Statement “offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception and, in fact, repeats the arguments that the Church has rejected and that numerous scholars have engaged and refuted since 1968,” the document continued. One of the key inaccuracies of the Wijngaards Statement, the scholars assert, is its claim “that the argument against contraception in Humanae Vitae is based primarily on ‘biological laws.’ Humanae Vitae instead focuses, as it should, on the person’s relationship to God and to other persons.”

On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives “virtually ignored” Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that defended Humanae Vitae, the scholars wrote.

Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality outlined 11 points about the nature of God, the nature of marriage, and faith and reason that are the basis of the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception “is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.”

Humanae Vitae’s ‘prophetic’ warnings coming true

“Humanae Vitae was prophetic” when it predicted that contraception would lead to marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, and abuse of women for sexual pleasure, the signers of the CUA statement agreed. “Abundant studies show that contraception, such as hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices, can cause serious health problems for women. The widespread use of contraception appears to have contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women, to declining marriage rates as well as to declining population growth in many parts of the world. There is even growing evidence that chemical contraceptives harm the environment.”

Pope Paul VI also predicted that contraception would begin to be imposed on people after its widespread acceptance. This prediction makes the Wijngaards Statement rather ironic given that it says the Church should label the use of artificial contraception “morally obligatory” in some cases.

Also in tune with Humanae Vitae’s predictions, the Wijngaards Statement recommended that the Church “seek the opinion of Christian theologians and experts in other relevant disciplines … on the other areas of Catholic sexual ethics which will likely be affected by a revision of the present teaching banning the use of contraceptives for family planning, namely the negative evaluation of masturbation, homosexual relationships, and in vitro fertilization.”

The CUA statement, however, calls for governments and international organizations to “make instruction in Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning a priority” because “FABMs are based on solid scientific understanding of a woman’s fertility cycle, are easily learned by women in developing countries, are virtually without cost, and promote respect for women.”

“International organizations and governments should respect the values and beliefs of families and cultures that see children as a gift, and, therefore, should not impose — on individuals, families, or cultures — practices antithetical to their values and beliefs about children and family planning,” the CUA statement said.

Notable signers of Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality include:

Janet E. Smith, Ph.D, Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics, Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Author, Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
John S. Grabowski, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Director of Moral Theology/Ethics, School of Theology & Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America, Board Member, The Academy of Catholic Theology; Author, Sex and Virtue: An Introduction to Sexual Ethics
Mary Rice Hasson, JD, Director, Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Editor, Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church
Helen M. Alvare, JD, Professor of Law, Scalia Law School at George Mason University; Editor: Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves
John H. Garvey, JD, President, The Catholic University of America
Richard J. Fehring, Ph.D, RN, FAAN, Professor Emeritus and Director, Marquette University’s Institute for Natural Family Planning
Angela Franks, Ph.D, Director of Theology Programs for the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization at St. John’s seminary in Massachusetts
John M. Haas, Ph.D, STL., MDiv, K.M. President, The National Catholic Bioethics Center
Mary Healy, PhD, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Rev. Thomas Petri, O.P., STD, Vice President and Academic Dean, Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies
Michael Waldstein, Max Seckler Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University, Florida, Translator of Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body and author of Glory of the Logos in the Flesh: John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (forthcoming)
George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.; author of the two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning

The other signers included professors and intellectuals from around the world and Dominican and Jesuit religious.

Dominican Father Thomas Petri, one of the main signers of the CUA statement, noted that CUA’s sponsorship of the statement shows it has come a long way since the 1960s, when its theology department was known for heterodoxy and dissent from Catholic doctrine.

Five Jesuits and two Dominicans were signatories of the Wijngaards Statement, along with 140 others, some of whom are not Catholic.

The full Affirmation and list of signatories is available here.

First Child Dies After Belgium Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children

The first child has died under a new law in Belgium allowing doctors to euthanize children.

In 2014, Belgium voted to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further. The law allows minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. No age limit would be set, but the children who are euthanized would have “to possess the capacity of discernment.”

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002 but has, since its enactment, been prohibited for patients under 18. While euthanasia is legal in a handful of countries in Europe, Belgium is the first country in the world to lift all age restrictions on the practice.

Professor Wim Distelmans, the head of Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, issued a statement confirming that the first physician induced death of a minor was reported to the committee by a doctor last week.

Few details were released about the child’s condition.

Now, the first child has been killed:

A terminally ill minor has been helped to die in Belgium for the first time since the country did away with age restrictions on euthanasia two years ago, according to the senator who wrote the law.

Liberal Senator Jean-Jacques De Gucht confirmed the death of the sick juvenile to The Associated Press Saturday.

He said the minor was from Belgium’s Flemish region, but declined to provide any further details about the patient to protect the privacy of the grieving family.

Catholic teaching forbids euthanasia and the president of the Italian bishops conference on Saturday described the news of the euthanasia of a child as painful and worrisome.

“It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons,” Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA.

Some have questioned whether children should be allowed to make the choice between life and death. In 2014, a group of doctors — including pediatricians — signed a group letter to voice opposition to the measure.
In 2012, Belgium recorded 1,432 cases of euthanasia – a 25% increase from 2011.

At the time the law was being debated in the Belgian Senate, euthanasia opponent decried the proposal.

“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at the time. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”

“Regardless of disability, life should be valued. To pass legislation that allows termination of life for people with disabilities who are minors is unacceptable,” he added. “Instead we must make every effort to use the research provided to us to provide attentive care to relieve their physical suffering in a moral way.”

Dr Paul Saba of Physicians for Social Justice, was very concerned about the situation in Belgium.

“They are already euthanising people who are depressed or tired of life because they have taken the interpretations of saying physical and/or psychological suffering – you don’t have to have both, if you have one, why is that not enough? If you are suffering, it’s a personal experience and it would be discriminatory for someone to judge what a person is suffering,” he said during that time. “What this teaches us is that despite the government’s assurances that they will set very strict criteria, that won’t work.”

Professor Chris Van Geet of Leuven University asserted that the proposed law poses “an enormous ethical problem.” Following the vote on Thursday, Tom Mortier, a lecturer in chemistry at Leuven University and an anti-euthanasia campaigner, called the vote “insanity.” Professor Mortier’s own mother, who was suffering from chronic depression at the time, was euthanized in 2012.

“Her departure wasn’t the serene family gathering, full of peace and reconciliation, which euthanasia supporters gush about,” Mortier stated. “The University Hospital in Brussels phoned my wife the day after.”

The leaders of Belgium’s Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities put out a joint statement opposing the vote’s outcome. The statement read, “We mark out opposition to this extension and express our trepidation in the face of the risk of a growing trivialization of such a grave reality.”

There is enormous concern about abuses under the expanded euthanasia law.

Research conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) in 2010 found that 32% of euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium occurred without an explicit request.

Meanwhile, according to Schadenberg:

The number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium is skyrocketing with an increase of 25% in 2012. Recent studies indicate that up to 47% of all assisted deaths are not being reported, 32% of all assisted deaths are being done without request and nurses are killing their patients, even though the law restricts euthanasia to doctors.

Some Belgian experts are supporting the extension of euthanasia to children with disabilities because they say that it is being done already. The same medical experts suggest that the extension of euthanasia will result in an increase of 10 to 100 euthanasia deaths each year.

The Belgian euthanasia law appears out-of-control. The Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission appear to be in a conflict of interest. The Commission supported the euthanasia deaths of: Nathan Verhelst (44) who was born as Nancy, Ann G who had Anorexia Nervosa and was sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, Mark & Eddy Verbessem, and at least one depressed woman. These are only the cases that we know about.

Dr Wim Distelmans, who is the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium has also been the chairman of the Belgium euthanasia commission for more than 10 years, and the commission has been stacked with supporters of the euthanasia lobby.

The Netherlands already allows children over the age of 12 to request euthanasia with the consent of their parents.

WATCH: Fr. Pavone on why Catholics can’t sit out the election

This is Part 3 of a 4-Part series on Catholics and the 2016 election:
Part 1 – Can a Catholic justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate?
Part 2 – What Catholic voting says about the state of the Church in America
Part 4 – How churches are ‘more free to speak’ about elections than they think

September 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Voting isn’t about feeling good and there is no reason for Catholics to sit out the 2016 election, Father Frank Pavone told LifeSiteNews.

“We might feel like we’re uncomfortable voting for a particular person even if we know it’s the better of the two choices,” said Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. “Voting is not about what’s good for me. It’s about the common good.”

“A vote is not about liking the person. … A vote is a transfer of power,” he said. “And we transfer the power to best of the viable alternatives.”

Pavone compared voting in the 2016 presidential election with changing a runaway train’s tracks in order to limit its damage.

“At the end of those two tracks, the damage is going to be done,” he said. “But what if you know that less damage is going to be done at the end of track B than at track A? It’s not that you intend any damage; you don’t. But it’s beyond your control. Wouldn’t you switch the train to track B, even if you couldn’t stop it? To lessen the damage, to reduce the harm? Of course you would.”

“People should never think that by not voting at all they escape responsibility for the outcome,” said Pavone, noting that Catholics at the beginning of Mass ask for forgiveness for “what I have done and what I have failed to do.”

Those who abstain from voting in a certain race or voting at all “still have responsibility for the [election’s] outcome, because if you don’t vote at all, that took away a vote from the better of the candidates,” the priest explained.

Pavone said Catholics should consider that when they vote for a candidate they are essentially voting for an entire administration.

“You are also putting someone in the office of the Secretary of State, the Surgeon General, the Attorney General, the Secretary of [Health and Human Services], and in fact thousands of positions in the federal administration — not to mention that you’re also putting a certain type of person on the Supreme Court, and on all the other federal courts that decide so many issues of public policy,” he said. “Who are the people the president brings with him into office?”

It is “critically important” for Catholic voters to recognize the significance of party platforms, Pavone said.

“You have to consider, what do the parties represent?” he asked. “The platform contains an entire philosophy, a set of policy preferences, a whole worldview, and the people … [on politicians’] staffs are going to be people who are … more or less consistent with the position, the philosophy, the worldview, of that particular party.”

“This is so much more than, ‘Oh, that candidate said something bad or this other one said this other thing,’” Pavone said. “It’s not about what they’re saying in a particular set of remarks. What are they representing? And we need to look at that closely.”

Jesus Announces Fallen Officer’s Final Gift

The Gerald Family

The Gerald Family

Only days after Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald was buried, his three year-old daughter made a shocking announcement to his grieving widow – that Jesus said she had a baby boy in her tummy.

WAFB is reporting on the incredible story of Dechia Gerald whose 41 year-old husband was one of three officers slain during a July 17 ambush on police in Baton Rouge.

Dechia said both her daughters – Dawclyn,9 and Fynleigh, 3 – were strangely aware of her pregnancy even before she knew it herself.

Her first hint came while she was hunting for something to wear to her husband’s funeral and Dawclyn said, “Mommy, I don’t know why you’re complaining because you’re pregnant.”

Shocked, Dechia responded, “Girl, hush! Don’t say that kind of stuff.”

A few days later, while giving Fynleigh a bath, Dechia said that she was told the same thing. “However this time, she [Fynleigh] told me that Jesus told her that there was a baby boy in my tummy.”

A week later, just before attending a get together with family, she decided to buy a pregnancy test.

“I took it and within a second of that being done, the test read positive,” she said. “I wanted to cry but at the same time, it’s kind of exciting but then the flood of knowing all of the firsts that he would miss with that one.”

She immediately told her family and friends, including the wives of the two officers who died alongside her husband.

“For the most part, it’s a blessing. I mean obviously he left us a very special gift behind, but at the same time, all those days that I get overwhelmed, I ask how am I going to do this by myself without him,” Dechia said.

But everything happens for a reason, she believes.

“Did I ever think that we were going to have our time cut that short? No. Did I want to be a widow at 38 years old? No,” she said.

Looking back on it now, she’s surprised that in the midst of 12 hour work days, she had time alone with her husband on July 12, the night she believes she conceived, which was just five days before he died in the line of duty.

But she feels her husband’s presence all around her. For example, while driving to the doctor for her first ultrasound at four weeks, she heard their wedding song on the radio, something she had not heard in a while.

She also noticed something that looks like a wedding ring in the first ultrasound image of the child.

“I felt like when I saw that he was with us,” Dechia said.

All she’s hoping for now is to one day hold a little carbon copy of her husband in her arms, completed with the blue eyes that she fell for seven years ago.

“It’ll have the blue eyes. I’m sure the blonde hair although I’ve been praying for the red hair however I don’t know if that’ll happen,” Gerald said.

Now 10 weeks pregnant, she believes God will guide her through life.

“There’s no better gift that a husband could leave behind than a baby, a gift from God. There’s no better gift than that,” Gerald said.

The baby is due April 7, 2017.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com 

Remember Me

by

“Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” – Isaiah 49:15-16

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, and across our country pro-lifers are honoring the memory of little boys and girls whose lives were violently ended at the hands of the very people who should have welcomed and loved them – their mothers and fathers. These precious little ones are victims of a culture and society growing increasingly more violent.

BABY-BOY_ultrasound-620x250It is fitting that this day falls adjacent to September 11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Arlington, Virginia. Though the number of lives taken by abortion is much larger than that taken on that terrible day fifteen years ago, both acts of mass murder rely on the same evil, the denial of the humanity of others.

In the Culture of Death, the fundamental and immutable value of each human life is rejected to sustain a self-consumed culture that destroys more than one million unborn children every year in the United States and nearly 55 million globally. This irrational and immoral behavior contributes to the pervasive culture of violence escalating in our nation and in our world. Even using the word abortion shields us from its reality, keeping the humanity of the child distant and shadowed.

For these innocent children, there is no story to tell about their lives. There are no names to recollect or pictures to share. No birthdays or special occasions to celebrate. There are no “firsts” to remember – a first smile, first tooth, first walk or first day of school. There is no burial place among his family. For the majority, they are labeled “medical waste” and disposed of.

There is something tragically wrong when society ignores the humanity of the unborn child or worse yet, is indifferent toward the violence done to him/her. In 1994, Saint Teresa of Kolkata during the National Prayer Breakfast said:

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion…. I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

The argument in favor of legal abortion rests upon a deception—keeping the science obscure and language about the beginning of life ambiguous.

It’s not a baby… It’s just a blob of tissue. Or… It’s not a human person… It’s a potential human being.

Any distinction about the worth of the unborn child based on his stage of development is entirely arbitrary, and when abortion is the result of such distinctions, it is the cruelest form of discrimination. The unborn child in the womb is not a potential life, but a life with potential – a teenager, brother, sister, mother, father, doctor, lawyer, teacher.

It is interesting that an unborn child wanted by his/her parents is called a baby and given a name, but the same set of parents could decide that the same baby is a “fetus” unworthy of life because he is unwanted.

Life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization. There is no debate about the science, only denial from those for whom it is inconvenient. Human development begins when a male gamete unites with a female gamete to produce a single cell, a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual with our own genetic code. The 23 chromosomes in the sperm join the 23 chromosomes in the ovum to make a genetically unique human being with 46 chromosomes. Since the baby is genetically unique at fertilization, it is inaccurate to say he/she is merely another part of his/her mother’s body. At fertilization our genetic make-up is complete including gender and eye and hair color. The heart begins to beat at 18 to 21 days after fertilization. There are brain waves at 6 weeks, and at 8 weeks all body systems are present, including the baby’s fingers and toes.

Most abortions take place after the 8th week of the pregnancy, about 5 weeks after the baby’s heart has started to beat. Abortion silences the beating heart and active brain waves of the individual maturing in the womb of his mother.

The Day of Remembrance is a chance to remember the humanity of the more than 55 million boys and girls whose lives were violently—and legally—ended.

To transform our culture and society from its perilous path, we must affirm and protect all life, especially the most vulnerable among us. Pope Saint John Paul II understood what was necessary to build a Culture of Life where the most vulnerable are defended, welcomed, and cared for:

The first and fundamental step towards this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. These are inseparable goods: where one is violated, the other also ends up being violated. There is no true freedom where life is not welcomed and loved; and there is no fullness of life except in freedom.  (Evangelium Vitae n. 96)

Today we remember those who have been killed and the survivors, those who have been harmed by abortion. Let us also renew our commitment to abolish abortion in law, eradicate the idea that it is acceptable in culture, and love those in our lives who mistakenly see it as a solution to a difficult situation. Let’s love them by telling them the truth and praying for and with them. Let’s continue to live and promote chastity as the life- and freedom-affirming virtue that it is.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Guideposts to save the world?

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Guideposts to save the world?

UN-760x300In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a series of goals and targets in order to eradicate poverty, eliminate inequality, and subdue climate change by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), comprising 17 goals, 169 targets, and 230 indicators (to measure progress) replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals that had guided UN development policy thinking over the previous 15 years. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the SDGs as heralding “an historic turning point for our world”; they will probably be the hallmark of his legacy as he ends his decade-long reign at the helm of the UN in December.

The SDGs, bannered “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” are universal and thus apply to the entire UN membership of 193 nations. Through the UN’s online “The World We Want” campaign, millions of people the world over initially provided input on what they considered the most pressing global problems. The actual compilation and formulation of the SDGs lay in the hands of civil society through an Open Working Group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the UN. Some of the more powerful and better-financed NGOs exerted considerable influence in the process, which started in 2013 and ended after an all-day, all-night session in early July 2014. UN member-country delegations refined and tweaked the content for presentation to world leaders for their acclamation a year ago.

In their entirety, the goals are supposed to be a blueprint for development but not everyone can agree on the content. Unfortunately, the SDGs contain some controversial language that is disturbing to promoters of life. A major problem lies with “reproductive rights” language that was inserted into the document during the initial formulation period by powerful pro-choice NGOs, and which none of the country-delegations were subsequently able to remove. The controversial wording is found in targets 3.7 and 5.6, which many pro-life NGOs are now fighting battles over.

Goal 3 reads: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” While this is rather vague, target 3.7 is disconcertingly specific:[1]

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care

services, including for family planning, information and education, and the

integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

Goal 5 reads: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This may be laudable as it stands, but target 5.6 raises a red flag:

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive

rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International

Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and

the outcome documents of their review conferences

The two targets have become the springboard for abortion promoters and providers to foist their credo on mostly poorer countries which, unlike nearly all developed countries, do not have abortion on demand. “Reproductive,” however modified—“rights,” “health,” “services,” “care,” “access”—is subject to varying interpretations according to the beliefs of the beholder. The word itself is almost never used in a procreative sense; rather the opposite. Given the importance and universality of the SDGs, this “reproductive” language is being used to support the agenda of population controllers.

The references in 5.6 relate to two major UN conferences: the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development and the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women. The formulation of the Cairo outcome document witnessed a word struggle that yielded specific language important to pro-lifers and often repeated by them: namely, that family planning does not involve abortion. In the section covering women’s health and motherhood there is this in paragraph 8.25:

In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning . . ..  Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process. In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe.i

The Cairo document contained several references on abortion language. As is common with UN conferences, however, there have been periodic “reviews” which revisited the language of the document, each time pushing forward the abortion agenda. Therefore, the inclusion of the “reproductive” language in target 5.6 is problematic.

Statistical experts are now busy drafting a set of 230 indicators to hold governments accountable for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to monitor progress. Given that the UN has a slogan “you measure what you treasure,” and vice versa, global statisticians have a herculean task ahead of them. There is supposed to be at least one indicator for each target but about 30% of identified indicators as of yet have no methodology and no data. So-called reproductive rights represent one challenge.

[1] For all interested in reading the entire SDG document, this is the source:

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E

Toddler forcibly removed from life support: a horrific end to a devastating ordeal

September 2, 2016 (Life Legal Defense Foundation) — Just days ago, two-year-old Israel Stinson was forcibly removed from life support at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I was on the phone with Jonee Fonseca, Israel’s mother, when doctors disconnected his ventilator.

I could hear Jonee begging the doctors to wait just a few more hours until her family arrived to say goodbye to Israel. They refused. Then I heard her begging her son to breathe.

It was a horrific end to an ordeal that began over four months ago. Israel suffered an asthma attack and stopped breathing while being treated at a Sacramento hospital on April 2 of this year. He was resuscitated, but was placed on a ventilator.

Jonee called Life Legal for help when a second hospital declared Israel brain dead. Doctors at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, California said Israel’s condition would soon deteriorate and that his heart would stop beating even if he were kept on life support. They refused to feed Israel for over five weeks, saying that giving him a feeding tube would be “catastrophic.”

Life Legal attorneys were able to obtain court orders in state and federal court keeping Israel alive until arrangements could be made to care for Israel at home. In order for that to happen, Israel needed two minor procedures to provide him with a breathing tube and feeding tube. Kaiser refused to perform those procedures.

A Catholic hospital in Central America agreed to accept Israel as a patient to do the procedures. In May, Israel was transported by air ambulance to Guatemala. He had to leave a hospital with state-of-the-art healthcare and travel thousands of miles to a developing nation to get the care he needed to survive.

After the procedures, Israel’s condition improved markedly. Doctors did two EEGs, which showed active brain waves. Three separate doctors reported that Israel was not brain dead! Moreover, the doctors were so committed to saving Israel’s life that they agreed to treat Israel without cost during the last few weeks at the Guatemalan hospital.

Jonee then began the arduous process of finding a hospital that would accept Israel temporarily while she arranged for him to be cared for at home. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles agreed to admit Israel after speaking with Israel’s doctors about his condition.

However, shortly after Israel arrived at Children’s Hospital, doctors threatened to end Israel’s life. They refused even to look at the EEGs or examine Israel’s movements in response to his mother’s voice. They did not consider that Israel’s condition in Guatemala had stabilized such that he needed no artificial means to maintain his heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. Jonee asked that a Los Angeles neurologist be permitted to examine Israel, as California’s brain death statute requires an independent exam. The hospital refused.

Ten days ago, Jonee called me saying the hospital was going to remove Israel’s ventilator the following day. I flew to Los Angeles to assist her in obtaining a court order. The judge ordered that Israel be kept on life support for three weeks to allow the neurologist to complete his exam. We also found a local attorney to work with Jonee going forward.

But the hospital immediately filed a motion asking the judge to dissolve the court order so they could terminate Israel’s life as soon as possible.

Again, Life Legal attorneys fought heroically alongside Jonee, but ultimately the fight for Israel’s life was lost.

So where do we go from here?

Last January, in a unanimous decision, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the state’s brain death guidelines should be reexamined after a young woman was declared brain dead even though several EEGs showed that she had active brain waves. In that case, the woman died because the hospital refused to feed or treat her.

We have no ethical obligation to fight nature every step of the way in the dying process. However, these cases continue a very disturbing trend of medical professionals actually facilitating a person’s death. Life Legal has represented people in several recent cases where hospitals and hospice facilities have tried to end the life of a patient with a brain injury because doctors or family members believed that person had no chance for recovery. In reality, however, the decision was made in haste, before the person’s brain had a chance to heal. In two cases, young women were sentenced to death who, just weeks later, were on their way to a full recovery. This should NEVER be permitted to happen!

Please join Life Legal as we press on in the fight to protect vulnerable human life.

Reprinted with permission from Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Cardinal Burke on push for U.S. bishops to shift priorities: Life always come before immigration, poverty

September 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke called it an “absolute contradiction” for poverty, immigration, and the environment to be placed by leading U.S. prelates on the same priority level as protecting and defending life and the family.

“All of these questions have moral importance, but there can be no question — also in the long tradition of not only the Church’s thinking but also of philosophical reason — that the fundamental question has to be the question of human life itself, the respect for the inviolable dignity of human life, and of its cradle, its source, in the union of a man and woman in marriage, which according to God’s plan, is the place where new human life is welcomed and nurtured,” he said during a teleconference on August 29 hosted by Carmel Communications to discuss his new book, Hope for the World.

Burke, responding to a question on the topic posed by LifeSiteNews, stated that he would be “very concerned” to see priorities shift.

“I would be very concerned that in any way the questions about the protection of human life, either at its beginning — here questions regarding abortion and other questions regarding the artificial creation of human life, etc. — or at its conclusion — questions regarding euthanasia — be in some way seen to be at the same level as questions regarding immigration and poverty,” he said.

Last year, a group of Pope Francis’ episcopal appointees and other like-minded prelates provoked an open clash at the U.S. Catholic bishops’ fall meeting when they pressed the conference to rewrite its election guide for 2016 to downplay the importance of the battle for life and family.

Bishop Robert McElroy, appointed as head of the Diocese of San Diego by Pope Francis, went as far as to argue that the proposed guide, with its emphasis on the evils of abortion and euthanasia, was out of step with Pope Francis’ priorities of combating poverty and protecting the environment.

“Pope Francis has, in certain aspects of the social doctrine of the Church, radically transformed the prioritization of Catholic social teaching and its elements,” McElroy urged the assembly at that time. “Not the truth of them, not the substance of them, but the prioritization of them, has radically transformed that, in articulating the claims that fall upon the citizen as believer and disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Burke, however, stated during the teleconference that the priority of life must not change if Catholics are to get the other issues such as poverty and immigration right.

“We have to give the first priority to the respect for human life and for the family in order to have the right orientation in addressing all of the other questions which are involved with poverty and immigration, the many challenges that any human being faces in life,” he said.

“But it doesn’t make any sense at all to be concerned about immigration or poverty if human life itself is not protected in society. It’s an absolute contradiction. The first justice accorded to any human being is to respect the gift of life itself, which is received from God. And so, that the unborn should be protected and at the same time those whose lives are burdened either by advanced years or special needs or some grave illness, their lives also are to be equally protected.”

When LifeSiteNews pressed the cardinal about how Catholics might go wrong on the fronts of poverty and immigration if they did not prioritize respect for life, he responded:

Well, for instance, it is not uncommon that some people’s idea of how to address the question of poverty is to eliminate a certain part of the population, so that there is less draw on the natural goods available, or to propagate a contraceptive mentality.

In the same way too, in the question of immigration, one has to respect the family, both the family of the country which is receiving the immigrants but also the families from which these immigrants are coming. If we don’t have this fundamental direction in our lives, it all can become a kind of social engineering and so forth, which can be, in the end, very harmful to society and therefore to the individuals.

Cardinal Burke is backed by St. Pope John Paul II in asserting the priority of life over other concerns. In his 1988 apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici, John Paul II called the right to health, home, work, family, and culture “false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

John Paul II said on another occasion that the promotion of the culture of life should be the “highest priority in our societies,” stating that if the “right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.”

Later during the call, John Allen from Crux asked Cardinal Burke to comment on Mother Teresa’s “obvious concern for the poor and an obvious concern for the unborn.”

Unsatisfied by Burke’s initial answer, Allen pressed: “Can I just pressure you, that was a beautiful answer, but I was hoping what you would also say is something about how for Mother Teresa and for Catholics who think with the mind of the Church that concern for the poor and concern for the unborn are two sides of the same coin.”

While Burke replied that the “matters are absolutely related one to the other,” he did so in a way that gives priority to respect for life.

He explained: “As I mentioned in response to one of the earlier questions, when someone asked, ‘Why is this teaching about abortion or about euthanasia, what importance does it have for addressing poverty?’ she [Mother Teresa] said frequently that the greatest poverty in the world is the fear of life, are those nations which seemingly are very rich which practice freely, for instance, the killing of unborn children in the womb and so forth as a response to social needs.”

“And so she is a brilliant teacher to us in addressing, whether it be questions of a difficult pregnancy, or questions of a difficult illness, whatever it may be, she teaches us that the way to address these issues is with respect for the individual human life and in that way no matter what the suffering is of the person, or no matter what great sacrifices have to be made, the person will find that happiness and fulfillment for which he or she is seeking,” Burke said.

Pro-Life Heroine Mother Teresa Will Be Declared a Saint

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | September 1, 2016

https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/pro-life-heroine-mother-teresa-will-declared-saint/

NEW YORK, September 2 (C-Fam) Mother Teresa will be declared a Saint by Pope Francis in a special ceremony on Sunday at the Vatican. The pro-life heroine skillfully exploited her celebrity status to propel the pro-life cause internationally like no one else before her or since.

The four feet tall Albanian nun was never afraid to speak truth to power, even when it made the powerful of the world feel uncomfortable, and she never pandered to curry their favor. Draped in her iconic white sari, she traveled the globe condemning abortion even when doing so was inconvenient and unwelcome.

While lunching at the White House, First lady Hillary Clinton reportedly asked Mother Teresa why America had not yet elected a woman president. “She has probably been aborted,” Mother Teresa replied.

During her acceptance speech of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize Mother Teresa first popularized her signature condemnation of abortion.

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child,” she told the crowd of nobles, politicians, and celebrities. After a moment of deathly silence Mother Teresa continued.

“For if a mother can murder her own child, in her own womb, what is left for you and for me? To kill each other.”

“Today millions of unborn children are being killed, but we say nothing.”

Then she raised her voice with alarm.

“To me the nations that have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations. They are afraid of the little one! They are afraid of the unborn child! And the child must die. Because they don’t want to feed one more child! Because they don’t want to educate one more child! The child must die.”

She concluded her remarks about abortion with a plea.

“Let us make a strong resolution. We are going to save every little child. Every unborn child. Give them a chance to be born.”

Her plea was not heeded, and she continued to speak for the unborn unabashedly.

In 1985 she was a special invitee at the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations during the height of the Cold War.

“We all want peace, and yet, and yet we are frightened of nuclears [weapons], we are frightened of this new disease [HIV/AIDS]. But we are not afraid to kill an innocent child, that little unborn child, who has been created for that same purpose: to love God and to love you and me.”

At the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, she surprised Bill and Hillary Clinton with scathing remarks against abortion as they sat close to her. She called abortion “a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” she said. President and First Lady remained quietly seated as the entire room erupted into a standing ovation after her speech

She also challenged those with a narrow view of feminism, such as when she said motherhood was “the gift of God to women” and that abortion destroyed it. “Those who want to make women and men the same are all in favor of abortion,” she stated in a message to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

I might want to be euthanized too if my children did this to me

Sept. 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – While euthanasia is being presented across North America as “compassionate” and a good way to end suffering by suicide activists, there is something chilling about the intimacy of these killings. As pro-life activist Gregg Cunningham noted, “Ours is the first generation that, having demanded the right to kill its children through elective abortion, is now demanding the right to kill its parents through doctor-assisted suicide.”

The closest of human relationships are rupturing under the sheer weight of the selfishness and narcissism of the Me Generation. The tagline “dying with dignity” is starting to very much sound like, “Now don’t make a fuss, off with you now.”

Consider this 2014 story in The Daily Mail:

An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first ‘couple’ euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill.

Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.

Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed.

The children have even gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia…

The couple’s daughter has remarked that her parents are talking about their deaths as eagerly as if they were planning a holiday.

John Paul [their son] said the double euthanasia of his parents was the ‘best solution’.

‘If one of them should die, who would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us,’ he said. ‘It would be impossible for us to come here every day, take care of our father or our mother.’

I wonder why no one considers the fact that the reason some elderly parents may experience “mental anguish” is that they have come to the sickening realization that their grown children would rather find an executioner to dispatch them than take on the responsibility of caring for their parents.

It is for precisely that reason that some scenes in the 2011 HBO euthanasia documentary How To Die In Oregon are so jarring. In one scene, an elderly father explains to the interviewer why he has procured death drugs that he plans to take in case of severe health problems. “I don’t want to be a burden,” he explains while his adult daughter nods approvingly, “It’s the decent thing to do. For once in my life I’ll do something decent.” There was no argument from his daughter.

Think about that for a minute. Would that not be real suffering? To come to the realization that the children you loved with all your heart would rather find someone to kill you than find someone to care for you? Or to care for you themselves? Would it not truly be suffering to realize that those very closest to you, those you loved the very most, would like you to kill yourself, or support your suicide?

Let me take this a step further. Suicidal people often reach out to others, often let someone know about their plans. By telling people they are contemplating suicide, they are letting out one last cry for help—I’m going to kill myself…are you going to stop me? Is it not possible that many elderly parents may be suggesting assisted suicide in the desperate hope that their children will reject such a situation out of hand? That their children will tell them how much they are loved, will promise to come see them, will offer to find them the care that they need? What if the suggestions of some elderly or sick people that suicide is the best option is not so much a suggestion as it is a question: How much do you love me?

Which leads to more questions: Love is not proven until it is tested. As those we love suffer illness and the many afflictions of old age, what is our responsibility towards them? A loved one with Alzheimer’s, for example. It is easy to love someone when they can love us back. But does our responsibility suddenly vanish when that person is not capable of loving us in the same way? Does mental illness, old age, or disease relieve us of our responsibility towards them, eliminate our duty to care for them, or change the fact that we love them? Too often the idea of euthanasia is not about releasing the suffering one from pain. It is about releasing those around him from their responsibility.

Another question: If assisted suicide is a right, do you ever have the responsibility to kill someone? Or rather, do we have the responsibility to protect people from themselves? Many of these questions are simply not surfacing in the debate on suicide. People are simply accepting euthanasia on the grounds that death is a solution to suffering, and are not asking questions that desperately need answers.

Perhaps I’m naïve, but the news stories of children happily arranging the suicide of their parents actually shocked me, and I’m not shocked by much these days. I simply could not fathom responding to fears or depression of parents or grandparents by agreeing to get them killed. In fact, if one of them told me that their life no longer had any meaning and that they wanted to die, I would take that very personally and very seriously. I love them, and it would be my responsibility to dispel their will to die, to convince them that they were precious, and necessary, and I wanted them in my life for as long as was possible.

A final question that I’d like you to think about, long and hard: Would hearing that those who you loved the most agreed that suicide was your best option cause you great suffering?

Implanon Device Migration

. By Gordon Gibb

Washington, DC  You may not have heard much about Implanon birth control previously. But you will, given the emergence of an Implanon birth control personal injury lawsuit that’s been filed as a class action. The issue in the current lawsuit is device migration. But there can be other issues as well.

Implanon Device Migration: “Where the Heck Is It?”First, a refresher as to exactly what Implanon is: an implantable birth control device, small and thin akin to the size of a toothpick, that’s inserted below the skin in the upper arm and designed to provide birth control protection through the measured release of the progestin etonogestrel for about three years before removal. Various advocates of the device claim that it can last as long as four years – but three years is the recommended window.

It’s one of the latest examples of the so-called ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ line of devices that does not require the ingestion of a daily birth control pill, or the management of a dermal patch that requires changing at regular intervals. For busy women prone to forget their birth control pill, the automatic dispensary option is viewed with some favor. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Implanon, marketed by Merck & Co., in July of 2006.

After ten years on the market, it has been reported that some 500,000 women use the device for birth control.

However, lawsuits are beginning to emerge. Co-plaintiff Brook Reynolds, who joined the class action Implanon birth control personal injury lawsuit, alleges that the Implanon device she received in 2012 migrated away from the initial implantation site. In 2014, when Reynolds attended her doctor’s office to have the device removed, her physician was unable to locate it.

The toothpick-sized device had migrated away from the original implantation site. Other plaintiffs cite remarkably similar issues to those of Brook Reynolds. Co-plaintiffs Jenni Akins, Major Akins, Ruby Ginns, Robert Reynolds and Julie Reynolds allege that Merck & Co. and subsidiary Organon failed to warn of the potential for migration.

There is, indeed, little mention – if any – about the potential for device migration by way of information generally available to consumers. The Contraceptive Technology Update (06/01/16) carried a report that lauded the effectiveness of the implantable Implanon and its successor, Nexplanon, in terms of effectiveness. While common side effects were outlined, there was no mention of the potential for device migration.

In another example, Planned Parenthood on its website includes more common Implanon birth control side effects – as well as less-common side effects – but makes no mention with regard to the potential for device migration. Under the heading of ‘Serious Side Effects of the Birth Control Implant’ Planned Parenthood lists as the last item, “tell your health care provider immediately if the implant comes out or you have concerns about its location.” Device migration is not mentioned. Reference to ‘concerns about its location’ is subject to interpretation.

It is not until we look to Merck.com before we get any sense as to the possibility of device migration. In a downloadable pdf document intended for consumers, there is references made at the bottom of a bullet listing of common side effects – but is not part of the active list.

“Implants have been reported to be found in a blood vessel including a blood vessel in the lung.”

And,

“Implants have been found in the pulmonary artery (a blood vessel in the lung). If the implant cannot be found in the arm, your healthcare professional may use imaging methods on the chest. If the implant is located in the chest, surgery may be needed.”

Downloading a document intended for doctors and healthcare providers reveals more information – specifically with regard to guidance for the removal of a spent implant, which is normal after a few years. The Implanon is meant to be retrieved at the end of its useful life cycle:

“Confirm that the entire implant, which is 4 centimeters long, has been removed by measuring its length. There have been reports of broken implants while in the patient’s arm. In some cases, difficult removal of the broken implant has been reported.

“There have been reports of migration of the implant; usually this involves minor movement relative to the original position [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)] (original reference), but may lead to the implant not being palpable in the location in which it was placed. An implant that has been deeply inserted or has migrated may not be palpable and therefore imaging procedures, as described below, may be required for localization.

“Exploratory surgery without knowledge of the exact location of the implant is strongly discouraged.”

This is a dilemma faced, in particular, by Brook Reynolds, according to the Implanon birth control consumer fraud lawsuit to which she belongs. When Reynolds attended her doctor to have the device removed, her physician was not able to locate it. Presumably, diagnostic imaging was unsuccessful in locating the device and thus, the location of the Implanon remains a mystery. As suggested by the manufacturer’s dissertation to doctors noted above, exploratory surgery is not recommended without first knowing where the device is. In Brook’s case, without knowing where the device is, surgery appears out of the question.Thus, the Implanon originally received by plaintiff Brook Reynolds appears to be irretrievable. The continued migration of the toothpick-sized object could subject her to Implanon birth control personal injury, including ectopic pregnancy and potential damage to her vascular system – not to mention her peace of mind, living daily without a clear picture of where this thing is.

NFL star Evan Rodriguez and wife refuse to abort baby with anencephaly

TAMPA BAY, FL, August 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Their child might only live a few hours, but an NFL player and his wife say that prayer led them to not abort Layla Sky.

According to Evan Rodriguez, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, his wife Olivia is due with their first child in December. Named Layla Sky, she was diagnosed with anencephaly, and is expected to be born with parts of her brain and skull missing — and to only live a few days.

“From that moment on, I’m like, what can we do?” Rodriguez told Tampa Bay’s ABC News affiliate about his reaction after the diagnosis. The doctor told the couple to “either terminate it or move forward with the process.”

The couple, which prays together each morning, spent a week making their decision. “God, show me what it is that you want to do through all of this. What’s the good to come out of it?” asked Olivia each morning.

“We decided to continue with the process because we felt like who are we to determine a baby’s life. So, we are going to leave it in God’s hands,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to preparing for the arrival of Layla, Olivia and Evan are raising awareness of anencephaly. At practices, Rodriguez wore a towel with his daughter’s name, and created the hashtag “The Fight for Layla Sky.” Their Facebook page has more than 2,600 followers. On Monday, Rodriguez posted that “most of the time we plan on teaching our child about the world never expecting you have to teach the world about your child.”

ABC reports Olivia and Evan are using the hashtag to advise women on how to avoid birth defects, and they are partnering with Duke University to study the disorder their child has. The CDC estimates that one in 4,859 babies are born with the disorder.

“It felt like it was our job to let other people know about this,” said Rodriguez, who said he knows he’ll see her again. “She’ll be waiting up there saying daddy. So, there’s a time and place for everything.”

Rodriguez said his daughter’s name came from how “I always zone out and look at the sky and wonder what else is out there.” He is hoping to be picked up by another NFL team.

Little Israel Stinson Dies After Hospital Called Him “Brain Dead” and Refused Treatment

In an abrupt, unexpected, and surprise decision, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Thursday dissolved an injunction that prevented a local hospital from turning off 2-year-old Israel Stinson’s ventilator.

The adorable little boy, whose brain-dead diagnosis was fought on two continents by his parents, died shortly afterwards.

“They are devastated. I think still in shock,” family attorney Alexandra Snyder told reporters. “It’s not even my child; I am still in shock this could happen so quickly.”

According to CBS News/Los Angeles

Snyder is shocked by a judge’s decision because just last week the court gave her a temporary order to stop the hospital from removing the ventilator so they could get an opinion from another neurologist.

Many reporters have covered this tragic situation which is eerily similar to Jahi McMath, also diagnosed as brain-dead, whose mother moved her out of California when doctors refused to treat her daughter and who is alive today two and one-half years later.

The most complete appeared in today’s Washington Post

It all started last April, reports Michael E. Miller, “with an asthma attack.”

Israel Stinson was an adorable toddler with a sweet smile and unruly hair. But on April 1, he began having trouble breathing. After he was taken to a northern California hospital, the unthinkable happened: Israel suffered a heart attack. After 40 minutes of CPR, doctors were able to restart his heart. But nearly an hour without oxygen had left him brain dead, they determined.

That’s when the battle began.

In those nearly four months, the family had pulled out all the legal stops and moved Israel to Guatemala on May 22 just before Israel was to be taken off the ventilator. There, Snyder told the Post,

three Guatemalan doctors, including a neurologist, declared that the boy was not brain dead after all.

That diagnosis was based in part on EEG, or electroencephalogram, tests, used to measure electrical activity in the brain, she said.

Snyder declined to name the Guatemalan doctors or their hospital but dismissed the idea that their opinion weighed less than that of American doctors.

“We’re not talking voodoo here,” she told The Post. “They have access to the same equipment as American doctors. Many of them probably have degrees from American medical schools.”

Some three months later they returned to the United States, Miller wrote because, “Despite the pending death certificate, and possibly because of the EEG tests from Guatemala, he had been accepted as a patient at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.”

But, within days,

the new hospital also moved to take the boy off life support. Once again, the family sought an injunction. And on Aug. 11, they received a temporary restraining order blocking the hospital from taking Israel off his ventilator.

Then, on Thursday, came a final, sudden twist in the international medical saga.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge removed the restraining order, saying the case had already been decided at state and federal level before the family traveled to Guatemala.

And with that, doctors turned off Israel’s ventilator.

“I heard them disconnect the ventilator and then heard, of course, a very grieving mother,” said Snyder, who was on the phone with Fonseca at the time.

Snyder told the Post, “What I really don’t understand is why this hospital agreed to take this little boy in the first place,” adding

the boy’s parents never would have brought Israel back to the United States if they had known the hospital was going to pull the plug. “They knew exactly what his condition was, what his treatment was, and they agreed to take him. But it appears they only accepted him as a patient to put him to death. …

“The irony is this little boy was cared for so much better in Guatemala than he was here,” she added.

LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in atNational Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.

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Choosing to be Open to Life: On Having more Kids

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BY

Just after you have a baby people ask all sorts of interesting questions.  Questions about pooping and labor and the details of breastfeeding.  By and large, however, one of the most common questions I field is, “So, are you guys going to have more kids?”

I laugh when asked this question.  (well, in those first days I probably cried)  I just endured/survived 9 months of sickness, hormones and stretching.  Then I went through horrible pain during delivery and now I’m not sleeping.  GIVE ME SOME TIME TO DEAL WITH THIS, PLEASE!

But this question, are you going to have more kids, is something my husband  and I are thinking about.

And the answer is maybe–hopefully.  Let’s wait and see.

Depending on the crowd I’m with this answer can seem strange, strange that we don’t have a plan for how many kids we want…or even a plan for the space we’d like between kids.  We practice NFP.  The “plan”, if you want to call it a plan, is to avoid for a while, if it feels right.  We have several months of breastfeeding infertility to keep talking, thinking and praying about this, but yes, we do hope to have more kids.  We currently have 3 kids, each 18 months apart, and although I spend some days going from one crying kid to another, we love our lives and feel blessed–and that blessing is thanks to the kids we have.  We won’t turn our backs on more blessings.

I’ve spent a little bit of time reflecting on this choice–the choice to be open to life, open to a big family–and I think I can best explain this choice with these 3 facts:

 

1. I’m in love with the miracle of life

My husband and I got married in our late 20’s and hit ground running.  We had a 3 month old baby on our first anniversary…another one 18 months later and another one 18 months after that.  At the end of this month we will be celebrating our 4th anniversary with 3 kids.

Shortly after my daughter was born (#2) my husband said something that was profoundly true for both of us.  We now had a boy and a girl.  He was cradling our daughter in his arms and he said, “I would be so sad if I knew that this was the last baby we’d have.”  

I feel the same way.

It is such a profound miracle–the conception of a baby, the pregnancy, the delivery… the whole process of welcoming a new human being into the world.  My first weeks with my infants I can’t help but look at them and wonder, where did you come from?  How are you possible?  Even during pregnancy, each time I feel that baby kick or squirm I am humbled by the miracle I am part of.

I’m in love with this miracle of life.  They way they change and learn and grow–it’s all a miracle.

So, yes, yes, I want to have more children.  That’s the thing about miracles, they’re sort of like potato chips.  Once you know how good they are, you are always going to want another.  And another.  And another.

 

2. I (really) have no idea what is good for me

I am so happily in love with my husband, but he is not the type of guy I thought I’d end up with.  In fact I knew him a full year before I even considered dating him…he just isn’t want I thought I needed.  Turns out he’s exactly what I needed, I’m just clueless.

The same is true with our family size.  Despite this choice to be open to life I still catch myself thinking, I would love to just hurry up and get done having kids so that I can get back to MY life, get onto accomplishing MY goals.  Once I don’t have these kids in my hair I can get this done, do that, have time for all of this…

You see, what I love above all other things is the ability to get things done–to check things off of the ole’ to-do list.  I think I might be addicted to checking things off the list.  But, my kids are always getting in the way of me accomplishing anything.

I get frustrated, but then the baby cries and I’m forced to pull myself away from the computer and sit down to nurse him.  During those quiet moments, when the older two are sleeping and I’m rocking with a nursing baby, during those moments I can feel the hand of God on my shoulder.  I can feel my feet touch ground and I just want to bask in the joy that is oh so real.  In those moments the unfinished projects, the dirty house, none of those things matter.  In those moments I actually KNOW what matters.  I actually KNOW what will really make me happy.

Turns out that if left to my own devices and desires I’d end up chasing things that would leave me unhappy, unfulfilled and alone.  Happiness and joy–I know these things when I see my kids dancing together, as I stand over a sink full of dirty dishes following a great family meal, when all three kids want to climb up on my lap at the same time…  I know joy when I am accomplishing nothing.

Turns out that happiness is found through my children.  Wanting to get this chapter of diapers and nursing and tantrums closed already so that I can focus on myself is probably not the surest path to happiness (or holiness).

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3. The Gift of Siblings

I grew up in a family of 7–3 sister and 1 brother.  Although not big by some standards, I loved the fact that my family was bigger than most.  When I went off to school I already had friends there–my sisters.  In the evenings we would all sit around the dinning room table and do homework together.  We were on the swim team together.  When we got older we were roommates, and travel companions and bridesmaids for each other.

Simply, my siblings are my best friends.

It was a sacrifice for my parents to have 5 kids, I’m sure.  We didn’t have a lot of things that other kids had in terms of clothes and toys.  I drove a aqua Astro Van to school and was always on the hook for picking up or dropping off this sibling or that.  But I knew that my parents had as many kids as they could–and that is the greatest gift that they ever gave us.

This idea–that siblings are the greatest gift I can give my kids–is reinforced every time I see my kids play together.  They certainly fight, but they also love each other.

I want my kids to be challenged and loved and molded in a way that only a sibling (or lots of siblings) can.  Sure, kids are expensive, but I would rather cut back on all the STUFF and instead have a house full of kids.

And so there you have it.  We are Catholic and we do embrace the teaching of the church on contraception–but our choice to be open to life, to welcome more children, is so much richer than just obedience.

Gay men are 2% of population but 55% of AIDS cases: CDC

ATLANTA, August 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Although homosexual men are a tiny sliver of the U.S. population, they account for the majority of all Americans living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are two percent of the population but make up 55 percent of people who were HIV-positive in 2013, according to a CDC fact sheetreleased last Wednesday.

More than nine out of 10 new HIV diagnoses (92 percent) come from young gay and bisexual MSM, ages 13 to 24.

If these trends continue, one of every six men who has sex with men will be diagnosed with AIDS in his lifetime. Already, 15 percent of all HIV-positive homosexuals and bisexuals don’t know they are infected, the government agency said.

“Gay and bisexual men are also at increased risk for other STDs, like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia,” the CDC added.

“Two things never change when it comes to the U.S. government and homosexualism. First, the CDC is constantly providing evidence like this of the high risks associated with male homosexual behavior; and second, the CDC and pro-LGBT politicians never admit that the problem is unnatural homosexual behavior itself,” Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, told LifeSiteNews.

The CDC reported that men who have sex with men are 44-times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexual males, and 40-times more likely than women. Earlier this year, the CDC estimated that half of all black MSM will get the disease, a statistic that is repeated in the latest fact sheet.

“In a sane world, the CDC would encourage all men, but especially young men and teenage boys, to avoid homosexual sex,” LaBarbera said. “Instead, the CDC blames societal ‘homophobia’ and ‘stigma’ for the rising disease rates, even though the American public’s acceptance of homosexuality is at an all-time high.”

More Americans (60 percent) regard homosexual sex as moral than immoral, a 13 percent increase since 2001, according to a poll released in June. The number of Americans who favor same-sex “marriage” has virtually reversed since Gallup started polling the question in 2001, with 55 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed.

“Social conservatives in the United States and across the world should demand that, if sex education is taught to their children in school, it be taught accurately,” LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews. “Kids need to see these statistics to cut through the ubiquitous gay propaganda.”

Americans Are Having Fewer Babies, Says CDC

By Jessie Van Amburg

According to a new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the fertility rate in the United States is at an all-time low.

The fertility rate, which is based on the number of babies born per thousand women aged 15-44, is 59.8 babies per 1,000. That’s a slight drop compared to the first quarter of 2015, when the rate was 60 babies per 1,000 women. According to researchers at the CDC, this is the lowest number on record. Note that fertility rate is slightly different than birth rate, which is based on the number of babies born compared to the entire U.S. population.

The numbers also reflect interesting demographic changes. Between 2015 and 2016, the fertility rate among teens dropped from 22.7 babies per thousand women to 20.8. For women aged 20-24, the drop was from 75.2 babies per thousand women to 72.5, and for women aged 25-29, the drop was from 100.3 to 98.4.

However, the rate actually rose slightly for women in their 30s and 40s. For example, the fertility rate for women aged 30-34 increased from 95.6 to 97.9. The numbers may reflect the trend of more women choosing to have children later in life, as well as an overall decrease in teen pregnancy. This correlates with an earlier study released by the CDC in January, finding that the average age of mothers when they have their first child has risen from 24.9 years old in 2000 to 26.3 years old in 2014.

Little girl’s adoption video is causing tears of joy around the world

August 18, 2016 (LiveActionNews) — When Michael and Megan Foster shared a video of the “Gotcha” moment when they adopted their daughter Fen from China, they never expected the reaction would be so overwhelming. Their new daughter was so excited to see her parents and siblings that her joy is contagious – and is felt around the world.

“She comes out from behind a curtain (our heart skips a beat), squints (she needs glasses), takes a couple steps, spots Meg, proclaims, ‘Mama? Mama!’ and runs and leaps into her arms,” writes her father, “and gives a huge hug while repeating ‘Mama.’ She says ‘I missed you.’ She finds dad and says ‘Baba’ and gives a big hug, then back to mom […]”

She continues to run around hugging her siblings before jumping up and down for joy. Her smile is so brilliant that other people in the room take notice.

The video has been viewed over 415,000 times in just two days. Mr. Foster calls it “completely mindblowing” that for 11 years this little girl went unnoticed by the world and now is being seen and loved by thousands.

“[…] this morning I’ve replied to messages from people from Minnesota to Moscow to everywhere in between all over the world,” wrote Mr. Foster after the video had been posted for one day. “The network of people moved to tears of joy from this video is as broad and diverse as the world itself – and yet we are brought together by the power of this LOUD LOVE! Love wins. Love unites. Love prevails. Love never fails! Thank you Jesus! We love you Fen!”

Fen will be back home in the United States soon, joining her new family – which includes five siblings. Her parents are aware that there will be challenges as they all adjust to their new life, but right now they are loving getting to know Fen and enjoying her “uncontainable joy.”

Adoption saves lives and should be the preferred option over abortion. In China, millions of baby girls have been aborted through gendercide. Knowing that fact, it makes Fen’s joy even more beautiful to watch.

Runner Sarah Brown Sacrificed Olympic Dreams and Rejected Abortion to Become a Mom

Women’s magazines are notoriously pro-choice. Therefore, when the tweet below appeared in my feed this morning, I thought I knew what to expect.

Abortion seemed liked a logical answer. After all, in 2014, senior editor of Elle Magazine Laurie Abraham penned a piece entitled “Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry.”

In it, she wrote: “Nearly one in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. Why are we so afraid to talk about it—or to acknowledge that our lives would have been so much less than we hoped for without it? Why are we pressured to feel that we should regret our choice, and that there’s something wrong with us if we don’t?”

This kind of content had shaped my expectations. In fact, Abraham’s article could have been a perfect segue for the tale of an empowered woman who aborted the baby that got in the way of her Olympic dreams. Warily, I clicked on the link.

But what I got was a lovely surprise. The article detailed the inspirational story of Sarah Brown, an elite runner who discovered, while at the peak of her Olympic trials training, that she was pregnant—but she never even considered abortion.

“I was at top of my game and then, all the sudden, it was like I fell off a cliff. I felt so fatigued in my races, like I felt like I was running through sand. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. By the time I found out I was pregnant, it was a lot of mixed emotions.” But she was excited too. “This is my first child and my husband and I did plan on having kids at some point, it just happened a bit earlier than we were expecting!” she told Elle’s Kristina Rodulfo.

In an interview with Alison Wade of Runner’s World, Brown revealed that she wanted to keep her child from the moment she heard the news. “It was one of those things where I wasn’t ready to have a kid, but also, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t ready for the thought of losing that kid. As terrifying as it was to become a mom, I knew that that was what I wanted,” she said.

In the ultimate display of true feminist choice, “she set her sights on both achieving her career goals and having her child,” Rodulfo wrote. The decision was a family affair. Brown’s husband and coach, Darren, was literally with her every step of the way. He often trained alongside Sarah, donning a weight vest to truly empathize. “I don’t know if I could have done a lot of the things I did if [my coach wasn’t my husband],” Sarah told Rodulfo, “just from a standpoint of him seeing me every day, working very closely with me, knowing how I’m feeling.”

What gave Brown these strong convictions and determination? Her bio on Athlete Biz gives a clue: “Sarah believes that her running talent is a gift from God and needs to be used for something more than her own personal gains.”

This summer, she had an opportunity to put her beliefs into practice. Although Brown was slated to place at the Rio Olympics, she never made it past the trials. But her inspirational reaction to the disappointment revealed her strong faith.

“Today wasn’t the fairytale ending you dream about. But then again, this journey never really was about an ending, it’s a beginning,” she posted on Instagram. “A new chapter as a family of three. Thanks for all the support ❤ & you can bet you will continue to see this mama run #runmamarun”

54 Day Novena for Our Nation

NovenaBanner4ABOUT THE NOVENA FOR OUR NATION

The time is now to call upon God, through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, to heal our country and return it to holiness.

This is a nationwide prayer campaign called the “Novena for Our Nation.” Everyone from around the nation is encouraged to join ranks as, united, we pray the very powerful 54 Day Rosary Novena from the Feast of the Assumption on August 15 to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.

We are living in extraordinary times. Presidential executive actions, US congressional and state legislation as well as court rulings at all levels up to the Supreme Court are in conflict with God’s laws; especially the disregard for the rights of the unborn, elderly and weak in our society and the attacks on marriage and family values. At the same time society and government are becoming more intolerant towards biblically based religious belief and practice. In conflict with First Amendment constitutional rights, persecution of traditional religious expression has reached unprecedented levels. We are in a Spiritual Battle.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, and as we enter the centennial year of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we are called upon to help turn our country back towards God. We will accomplish that through prayer; prayer that can change hearts, change families, change our communities and change our country. There is no stronger weapon in this Spiritual Battle than the Rosary.

THE HOLY LEAGUE RISES AGAIN!

Pope St. Pius V formed the original Holy League in response to the dire situation in which Christian Europe found itself in 1571. Small bands of Catholic men and remnant armies from various nations came together under the spiritual leadership of the saintly pontiff and the military leadership of Don John of Austria. By prayer and fasting, they implored the help of God’s grace, through the intercession of the Mother of God, and, by the grace of Almighty God, on October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto; the Christian fleet won a crushing victory over the Ottoman Turks, saving Christendom and western civilization.

The new Holy League, under the spiritual guidance of Cardinal Raymond Burke is, .essentially, calling men to combat the forces of evil in today’s society. The Holy League strives to call men back to the state of grace and to transforming the culture through prayer (primarily Adoration and Confession) and training in holiness. You can read about this Catholic men’s movement (http://holyleague.com/).

The new Holy League is sponsoring this very necessary campaign because, at this particular moment in time, the Church finds itself in a similar situation to that of the Church in the late Sixteenth Century. However, instead of a physical enemy on the horizon, the Church and the family (the domestic Church) are threatened daily by relativism, secularism, impurity, and confusion regarding Church teaching.

The battle today “is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6: 10-12).

PRAYER AND TRAINING!

This prayer campaign is also a Basic Training in Holiness. Each day, along with praying your rosary, holiness trainees will be provided with a 1-2 minute reflection on the qualities of excellence. The first 27 days, trainees will read from passages in scripture, quotes from saints and the catechism on one of the following: Theological Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The second 27 days will be excerpts from the book entitled, Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ.

The daily reflections for this prayer and training campaign can be found in multiple places.

1) If you would like a hard copy to carry with you, it is available in book form that is entitled, 54 Day Basic Training in Holiness. The 54 Day Rosary Novena prayers are included in this book. Order your book HERE(https://romancatholicgear. com/54-day-basic-training-in-holiness-pre-order.html). The books are also offered in bulk, at a reduced rate.

2) You can sign up to receive the daily reflection in your email. Sign up on the main page of novenaforournation.com

3) You can join the Novena for Our Nation Facebook group HERE(https://www.facebook. com/novenaforournation/), to receive the reflections each day.

NATIONAL ROSARY RALLY IN WASHINGTON DC

We are asking everyone to join us in Union Square in front of U.S. Capitol for a very special Rosary Rally on October 7. As the Year of Mercy recedes, and the Presidential election only days away, we want to call out to God in a very special way at the conclusion of our 54 Day Rosary Novena.

If you can join us, please do. If you cannot, please consider planning your own Rosary Rally in your area. Some suggestions for locations might a government facility or Planned Parenthood or your parish church or wherever you think would be best.

SPREAD THE WORD!

Finally, please do everything you can to get the word out about this very important and necessary prayer campaign for our nation, that begins on August 15, 2016! May God, through the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, truly pour out His grace upon the United State of America.

Gymnast Simone Biles soars to Olympic gold while grounded in Catholic faith

simone_bilesRIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When three-time world champion gymnast Simone Biles flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, the 19-year-old carried a rosary her mother gave her and a St. Sebastian medal from her family’s spiritual home, St. James the Apostle Catholic Church in Spring, Texas.

Simone is already the most decorated woman gymnast in her sport’s history, winning golds at the world level in all-around and individual events. But as the young daughter of a fatherless home who was shunted between a drug-addicted mother and foster homes, her chances of excelling in any sport let alone one so intense as gymnastics seemed slim indeed.

Then her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, stepped in, took her and three siblings into their home and then adopted Simone and her sister, while Ron’s sister adopted her two brothers. Simone grew up in a family of achievers, who were also devout Catholics, not incidentally, according the social science findings showing strong correlation between family stability, regular and frequent church attendance, and success.

According to this week’s story in Independent Journal Review, “Little Girl Abandoned by Father and Drug-Addict Mother Is Adopted by Christian Texas Family, Becomes Best Athlete in the World,” her faith plays an important role in her life and success.

“Her parents,” reporter Benny Johnson wrote, “also introduced Simone to her Christian faith. She attends mass [sic] with her family every Sunday when she is not competing. Simone prays regularly and carries a rosary that her mother gave her.”

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Simone Biles goes to Mass with her family.

US Magazine has the details on the rosary, in a story on what Simone carries in her bag. “My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church. I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there in case.”

Simone’s own innate talent and strong will are clearly crucial to her success. As Texas Monthly reports, when the girl came home from a day care field trip to a gymnastics school insisting on becoming its newest pupil, there was no denying her. “She’s always been headstrong,” said adoptive mother Nellie, the now-retired owner of a chain of nursing homes. “When she makes up her mind, it’s, like, oh, my gosh — the whole world could be upset and she’d still do it. My other kids would listen. Her, no. She makes her mind up and that’s it.”

Simone was six when she self-launched her gymnastics career, the same year Ron and Nellie adopted her and her sister Adria, and the two girls started calling them Dad and Mom.

Until then, the sisters called them Grandpa and Grandma. Then Nellie told the girls, “It’s up to you guys. If you want to, you can call us Mom and Dad.”

“I went upstairs,” Simone told the Texas Monthly, “and tried practicing it in the mirror — ‘Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad.’ Then I went downstairs, and she was in the kitchen. I looked up at her and I was like, ‘Mom?’ She said, ‘Yes!’ ”

Simone soon had a second mother in coach Aimee Boorman, who not only mentored Simone in gymnastics but babysat her and her sister when her father was out-of-state installing apparatus for the Federal Aviation Administration and her mother was away overseeing her nursing home network.

Completing the stability to which Simone returns when lands from her increasingly athletic and gravity-defying vaults and jumps is the family church, St. James the Apostle. Father Charles Semperi, the church’s pastor, describes the Biles as “very faithful Catholics who are always at Mass.”

Father Semperi told LifeSiteNews that the family frequently asks for the congregation and priests to pray for Simone in her efforts both during Mass and privately. “She was very good in Confirmation class,” he recalls. The family now concentrates on supporting Simone and building a world-class gymnastics training facility called World Champions Centre in Spring.

The parish sent Simone off with a St. Sebastian medal. “I told her not to wear it during her events,” Fr. Charles joked, “in case it flies up in her face.”

As of Tuesday, Simone had qualified for the finals individually for all events in her field and was well on her way to winning as many as five medals, perhaps all gold.

Explains the IJR story, “Biles is able, with ease, to pull off moves other gymnasts could only dream about in a world seemingly unbound by the laws of gravity. Her routines and dismounts are so complex and so rarely seen in competition, several are named for her.”

Though already established as the best in the world, Biles will need an Olympic victory, the news media make clear, to ensure the 19-year-old becomes a multi-millionaire through endorsements, as if that was the point of sports, or of the Olympics, or of hers and her family’s 13-year effort.

Success could also bring family troubles, they warn, such as the possible re-emergence in her life of her natural mother, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, and has reportedly been clean from drugs for several years, or even of the father who disappeared virtually at birth. Teammate Gabby Douglas faced similar embarrassment at the hands of her long-absent father, who showed up after her Olympic victory in 2012 seeking her signature on various sports memorabilia he wanted to sell.

However, Simone’s adoptive parents and family have done their best to shield her from a preoccupation with such outcomes and focus her efforts on her sport, family life, and faith.

This supports the scientific research conducted or collected by the Washington D.C.-based Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which it summarizes on its website: “Regular attendance at religious services is linked to healthy, stable family life, strong marriages, and well-behaved children.

“Religious worship also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crimesubstance abuse, and addiction. In addition, religious practice can increase physical and mental health, longevity, and education attainment. These effects are intergenerational, as grandparents and parents pass on the benefits to the next generation.”

Study finds skyrocketing rate of abstinence among Millennials

holding_handsAugust 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Think Millennials are the most sexually active generation in history? Think again, say the authors of a new study released on Monday.

The number of young adults born in the 1990s who report they are not having sex is more than twice as high as it was for the Baby Boomer generation, a sign they have learned from the fallout of the sexual revolution, experts tell LifeSiteNews.

The study found that 15 percent of Millenials aged 20-24 said they had not had sex since age 18, more than those born in the late 1960s (six percent), 1970s (11 percent) or 1980s (12 percent). That is lower than their fellow Millenials born in the previous decade.

The definition of “sex” is left up to the respondent to define. However, the number of women who were sexually abstinent as young adults tripled since the 1960s, while the number of men doubled, according to the study, which appeared in the Archive of Sexual Behavior.

“I think a lot of them are watching the adults around them and concluding that sex without limits is not making people happy,” particularly “parents with multiple marriages and divorces,” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews.

The study concludes that “the new sexual revolution has apparently left behind a larger segment of the generation than first thought.”

“The idea that these kids are ‘left behind’ by the sexual revolution is quite strange, as if they’ve somehow been sealed in a bomb shelter and never knew it happened,” Rebecca Oas, Ph.D., the associate director of research for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), told LifeSiteNews. “More likely, they’ve seen that experiment running its course and decided they’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes instead of their own.”

The finding dovetails with CDC figures that show a majority of teenagers are choosing not to have sex. Only 41 percent of high school students reported sexual activity, a 13-point drop since 1991. Millenials also have a lower average number of sexual partners (eight) than either Baby Boomers (11) and Generation X (10).

Valerie Huber, the president of Ascend, told LifeSiteNews that her group – formerly the National Abstinence Education Association – “commissioned the Barna Group to survey 18 and 19 year olds and found similar results. The majority did not like the idea of ‘hooking up,’ and most of those who were not sexually experienced were waiting for a committed relationship.”

Some do not know what to make of the results. The Washington Post wrote, “Delaying sex is not necessarily bad, experts say.”

Numerous studies show having sex at a younger-than-average age leads to negative results, while delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of partners has positive outcomes.

Dana Haynie of Ohio State University found that early sexual activity increased delinquency by 20 percent. Experts have warned that earlier sexual activity can increase anxiety and negative psychological reactions, such as feeling used, especially for girls. A study in Pediatrics last year concluded that troubled children were more likely to begin having sex earlier in life, reinforcing the vicious circle.

Those who had sex later than average had higher incomes, educational achievement, and satisfaction in marriage, according to a 2012 report from Dr. Paige Harden of the University of Texas.

A 2014 report found that having multiple sexual partners and cohabitation before marriage decreased marital happiness after couples eventually tied the knot.

“We know that early sexual behavior tends to set a pattern for later behavior. The fact that more and more emerging adults are avoiding sex suggests they recognize that casual sex can compromise their life goals,” Huber told LifeSiteNews.

One young person told The Washington Post that, having seen so much sex depicted in pornography, “there really isn’t anything magical about it” anymore.

Those who attend religious services are more likely to be abstinent, as well. “There was a significant increase in sexual inactivity among those who attend religious services once a week or more compared with those who do not,” Oas noted.

Huber said the most common reasons young people reported to Ascend for delaying sex were personal values and a focus on attaining their goals. She encouraged schools teach Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education – as opposed to Sexual Risk Reducation (SRR) or Comprehensive Sex Education, which present teen sexual activity as more normative.

The study notes, “abstinence-only sex education and virginity pledges became more popular (and federally funded) after the 1980s, especially between 1996 and 2009, when abstinence-only programs received large amounts of federal and state funding.” Studies have found that abstinence-based education reduces the overall teen sex rate.

“This new research suggests that our students have caught a positive and healthy vision for their futures,” she said. “It also means that we must, as a society, be more intentional on reinforcing this same healthy behavior for young, single adults.”

Profs debunk human-chimp 99% shared genes myth at World Youth Day

WYDEditor’s note: The following address was given in a catechesis to youth at World Youth Day.

World Youth Day
July 28, 2016
(Church of the Conversion of St. Paul, Krakow, Poland)
Hugh Owen, Director, Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation
Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich

Your Excellency, Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters, younger brothers and sisters in Christ, God is a loving Father, He is Mercy Itself.  So, He always teaches us clearly the things that we need to know for our happiness here on Earth and in eternity.  He doesn’t confuse us. In fact, He teaches us through the inspired, inerrant words of Holy Scripture that, “HE is NOT the Author of confusion.” He is the Father of Mercy who CLEARLY proclaims the Truth that saves us from the father of Lies, from Sin and from Death.   And so that we would never be in doubt about the fundamental truths, the Dogmas, of the Catholic Faith, God has appointed the Holy Father and the Bishops to GUARD the Deposit of Faith that was handed down from the Apostles, so that all that was taught by the Apostles and defined by their successors through the centuries, will always be upheld in its original form, without any corruption or deviation.   That is Divine Mercy in action.

Today, however, my younger brothers and sisters, there is great confusion among many Catholics, especially about what it means to be a man or a woman, and about God’s unchanging plan for Holy Marriage and for the Family.  God is not the Author of this confusion.  And no one who studies and abides by His teaching on this subject as it has been handed down from the Apostles will ever be confused.

Now what is this beautiful teaching on man and woman, on Holy Marriage and on the family that was handed down by all of the Apostles, Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching?

It is very simple and very clear.

It is that “In the beginning, God created ONE Man for ONE woman for LIFE.”

My scientist colleague Dr. Thomas Seiler and I are here to proclaim that sound theology, sound philosophy, and sound natural science ALL confirm this beautiful revelation from God that in the beginning He created Adam’s body from the material elements of the Earth and at one and the same time created his soul to be the form of that body; then He created EVE for Adam from Adam’s side; and placed them as the king and queen of the entire universe, a universe that was completely free not only from human death but from any kind of deformity or disease.

Less than 150 years ago, when the enemies of the Church launched the current war against Holy Marriage and the Family by trying to legalize divorce in Catholic countries where it was forbidden by law, Pope Leo XIII wrote an entire encyclical on Holy Marriage.  In that encyclical Pope Leo directed the Bishops of the whole world to defend Holy Marriage on this foundation. He wrote—and please listen very carefully:

We recall what is known to all and cannot be denied by anyone that God on the sixth day of creation having created Adam from the dust of the Earth and breathed into him the breath of life gave him a companion whom He formed from his side miraculously while he was locked in sleep.

Now the Pope was certainly correct to direct the Bishops in this way — because if every Catholic young person in the world were taught that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning, it wouldn’t be possible to be confused about the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, and sexual morality!  When God created Eve, the first woman, for the first man, Adam, by creating Eve’s body from the body of Adam, He showed us CLEARLY that the union of man and woman in Holy Marriage is not something that comes up from the animals; it is something that comes down from the Heaven.  And, therefore, any use of the gift of sexual intimacy outside of a Holy Marriage between one man and one woman committed to each other for life is not only a great sin but a sacrilege — because it takes a gift that God created specifically for man and woman in a permanent, holy, exclusive, and life-giving union and desecrates it.

That is why when Jesus was asked about divorce, He answered CLEARLY, “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female . . .” and of divorce He said to the Pharisees, “From the beginning it was not so . . .”

Now, my younger brothers and sisters, why is it that this beautiful doctrine which the Vicar of Christ on Earth said is “known to all and cannot be denied by any” is today known by so few of your generation and denied by so many of your teachers?

I think you all know the answer.

The reason why many young Catholics do not hear this beautiful Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve is because we are told that “science” — meaning natural and physical science — has proven that the bodies of the first human beings evolved from microbes over hundreds of millions of years through mutation and natural selection. And, so, we are told, what all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching called the sacred HISTORY of Genesis—is actually a myth.

But is that true?

Did God allow His Church to teach a totally false account of the origins of man and the universe for almost two thousand years only to enlighten her through the wild speculations of godless men like Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, and T. H. Huxley who hated the Church and wanted to destroy her?

At this point I would like to introduce a Catholic natural scientist who has dedicated much of his life to studying the scientific evidence for and against the hypothesis that molecules turned into human bodies over billions of years of the same kinds of natural processes that are going on now — Dr. Thomas Seiler.  Dr. Seiler has a Ph.D. in Physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.  He has lectured at Catholic universities, seminaries, schools, and parishes all over the world, demonstrating that all of the evidence in natural science harmonizes with the traditional Catholic teaching that all human beings on Earth today are descended from one man and one woman who were created in a state of genetic perfection less than ten thousand years ago, just as we are told in the sacred history of Genesis.  Dr. Seiler . . .

Dr. Thomas Seiler:

Most of you may have heard the statement that chimpanzees and humans are having 99% of their genes in common. However, what you are usually not told is that this result was not based on comparing the entire DNA of man and ape but only on comparing a very small fraction of it (ca. 3 %). The function of the other 97% of the genetic code was not understood. Therefore, it was concluded that this DNA had no function at all and it was considered “leftover junk from evolution” and not taken into consideration for the comparison between man and ape. Meanwhile, modern genetics has demonstrated for almost the entire DNA that there is functionality in every genetic letter. And this has led to the collapse of the claim that man and chimpanzee have 99% of their DNA in common.

In 2007, the leading scientific journal Science therefore called the suggested 1% difference “a myth.” And from a publication in Nature in 2010 comparing the genes of our so-called Y-chromosome with those of the chimpanzee Y-chromosome we know now that 60% of human Y-chromosome is not contained in that of the chimpanzee. This represents a difference of one billion genetic letters, known as nucleotides.

And modern genetics has recently made another important discovery which was very unexpected. Researchers found that all of the different groups of humans on earth, wherever they live and whatever they look like, have 99.9% of their genes in common. This leads to a problem for the hypothesis of evolution because if humans really were descended from the apes, then how could it be that we only have 40% of our Y-chromosome in common with the apes but at the same time there is almost a complete genetic identity among all humans? If there had been an evolution from ape to man then it should still go on among men and reveal significant genetic differences. These recent discoveries therefore drastically widen the gap between man and the animals. And they confirm that there are in reality no such things as human “races”. Asians, Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from America and Australia only have superficial differences like color of skin or shape of the nose but they are all extremely similar on the genetic level.

And these recent breakthrough discoveries even go further. Today, because of the extreme similarity of the human genome, it is considered a well-established fact among geneticists, that all humans living on earth now are descended from one single man and from one single woman. In order to convince yourself of this you only have to search in the internet for the terms “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y-chromosome Adam”. These names were given by evolutionists in an ironic sense but now many regret that choice of name because this discovery perfectly confirms the Catholic Doctrine of Creation which has taught for 2000 years that all humans are brothers and sisters descended from one single human couple, the real historical persons Adam and Eve, not from a multitude of subhuman primates.

Another evolution-related research field is embryology. Biologist Ernst Haeckel proposed his so-called “Biogenetic Law” according to which the embryonic development of vertebrates repeats the assumed history of their evolution from one-celled ancestors. This was formulated by Julian Huxley in the following way: “Embryology gives us the most striking proof of evolution. Many animals which are extremely different as adults are hard to tell apart as embryos. You yourself when you were a young embryo were very like the embryos of lizards, rabbits, chickens, dogfish, and other vertebrates. The only reasonable explanation is that we vertebrates are all related by common descent.” However, apart from the logical error of concluding from similarity to descent, the “evidence” for this proposed law only consisted in Haeckel’s skillful drawings of embryos belonging to different animals and man.

After 120 years, British embryologist Michael Richardson used modern microscopes and examined the embryos of humans and different animals at the same stage of development.  His work has been published in the scientific literature and he summarized the significance of Haeckel’s influential drawings in an interview in The Times London in 1997: “This is one of the worst cases of scientific fraud. It’s shocking to find that somebody one thought was a great scientist was deliberately misleading. … What he [Haeckel] did was to take a human embryo and copy it, pretending that the salamander and the pig and all the others looked the same at the same stage of development. They don’t … These are fakes.”

A further field of research which is related to origins is anatomy. If evolution were true, we would expect to find many vestiges of the organic constructions produced in the course of evolutionary history. Anatomist Robert Wiedersheim presented about one hundred “rudimentary” or “vestigial” organs in humans, organs which have a reduced function or no function at all because they are left-overs from an earlier stage of evolution. Famous examples include the vermiform appendix and the tonsils. Wiedersheim and most of his peers did not understand the function of these organs and concluded from this that they have no function at all. Meanwhile, however, new scientific research has reached a different conclusion. For the appendix, for example, it was found that it has indeed a function in the immune system, especially during the first years of our life.

A similar conclusion has been reached in regard to the tonsils and also for almost all of the other organs functionality has meanwhile been discovered. Yet, even if there were still many organs whose function is unknown, we would never be allowed to conclude from our ignorance of a biological function that there is no function. This would be exactly the same logical error which has been made with the so-called “junk-DNA” for many years.

Now you may ask: But what about the Neanderthals? Have we not found much fossil evidence that there were once ape-men on earth which were our ancestors?

To say it briefly: All fossils which we have found finally turned out to be either fully human, like Neanderthals and others, or fully ape, like Australopithecines. Paleontologists could not find any ape-man fossils — which indicates that these creatures never existed.

The theory of evolution predicts that things change from less complex to more complex, from incompleteness to completeness and that we should find many failures, lost functions, wrong constructions and half-finished organs which are in the process of evolution. However, all the different areas of relevant research, such as genetics, embryology, anatomy and paleontology, over and over again confirm that all the different kinds of creatures began their existence as already perfect and fully formed. Indeed, we do not find any evolving, half-finished eye, ear, leg, or wing in nature, neither in the fossil record nor in today’s world. If such half-complete organs ever had existed then many of them should have survived until today since they were per definition more fit than their ancestors which did not have that organ at all and which are still existing, like the wing-less reptile which supposedly has turned into a bird or the land-mammal which should have turned into a whale.

Furthermore, all changes which we do actually observe in nature are never processes of genetic increase or perfection but always processes of genetic loss and degeneration. This certainly supports that in the beginning, everything must have been perfect and not vice versa. Geneticists observe an ongoing accumulation of harmful mutations in our genome instead of an ongoing perfection of our DNA. This observation is to be expected because the most fundamental natural law, the law of increasing entropy, demands that all natural processes can only proceed from order to disorder and never vice versa. Also so-called open systems cannot produce new constructional information, not in one single case. Therefore, assumed processes like changing a leg into a wing or an ape body into a human body by mutation and selection are excluded by natural law.

Let me conclude with an analogy: One could certainly change a refrigerator into a television by many small steps, replacing one small electrical or mechanical part by another one until one has got a TV. However, it is very improbable that each of these small changes towards the television would lead to a fridge which is a better one than its predecessor or the original one. However, that would be needed to make evolution via continuous selection possible.

For more information, you can visit www.originality-of-species.net.

Hugh Owen:

So, you see, my younger brothers and sisters, REAL NATURAL SCIENCE does not support the evolutionary mythology that human bodies resulted from hundreds of millions of years of genetic mistakes! It confirms the traditional Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, what difference does it make?”

I will show you that it makes a huge difference.

In the first place, this doctrine tells us that God really did create ONE man for ONE woman for LIFE from the beginning of creation, just as Jesus said.

So we can be sure that God will not bless any change in the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, or sexual morality.

We can be sure that your happiness and the happiness of your brothers and sisters all over the world depends on KNOWING and OBEYING this teaching — even if some of the professors and teachers in our Catholic institutions want to introduce something new.

Divine Mercy demands that we believe and proclaim this teaching to the whole world: that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning of Creation.

By our words and by our lives, we must tell the whole world, loudly and clearly, “If you want to be happy, you must follow God’s plan for Holy Marriage.”

That is Divine Mercy.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz, understood and defended this teaching against those like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin who abandoned the Christian doctrine of creation to embrace evolution. The last teaching that St. Maximilian gave before he went to the starvation bunker in Auschwitz was a defense of this beautiful doctrine. Let me share it with you in closing.

As most of you know, Our Blessed Mother visited Lourdes in the south of France in 1858 on the very eve of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species in which he argued that humans had evolved from sub-human primates. At the request of her pastor, St. Bernadette asked Our Lady: “Who are You?” And the Blessed Mother answered

“I AM THE Immaculate Conception.”

St. Maximilian meditated on these words for decades and before he died he explained that with these words Our Blessed MOTHER defended the traditional Catholic teaching that God created ONE MAN body and soul for ONE WOMAN for LIFE from the beginning of creation and refuted Darwin’s claim of man’s descent from the apes.

Listen to his explanation.

“Adam,” St. Maximilian explained, “was not conceived in the womb of a parent.  He was created body and soul.” “Eve,” St. Maximilian observed, “was not conceived in the womb of a mother; she was created by God from Adam’s side.”

“Our Lord’s Divine Personhood,” St. Maximilian continued, “was not conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. As a Divine Person — the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity — He existed from eternity.”

Therefore, St. Maximilian concluded, it is true: Our Blessed Mother is THE UNIQUE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

But, you see, if so-called theistic evolution is true, then Adam was conceived in the womb of a sub-human primate; so was Eve. And if that were true — since theistic evolutionists must hold that Adam and Eve were created without sin — then the Blessed Virgin would have said to St. Bernadette: “I am Immaculate Conception Number Three.”

But She didn’t say that.

Why?

Because She wanted to remind us that God CREATED ONE MAN (body and soul) for ONE WOMAN (formed from his side), FOR LIFE, from the beginning of Creation.

And that is why the Blessed Mother is the UNIQUE, ONE AND ONLY, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Live, embrace and proclaim that Truth wherever you go, and you will be a powerful channel of Divine Mercy!

God bless you all!

Cardinal Burke: Gender theory is ‘madness,’ transgender bathrooms ‘inhuman’

Burke

July 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Contraception is at the root of the culture of death and the defense of family is inseparable from the defense of life, Cardinal Raymond Burke says in a broad book-length interview.

In his lengthy interview with French journalist Guillaume d’Alançon, titled Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ, the American cardinal calls gender theory “madness,” addresses the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried, and offers remedies for the crisis in the Church.

Burke is the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court.

“I do not see how it is possible to talk about the family without talking about the defense of human life,” Burke said. “It is fundamental. Contraception and abortion are two stages in the attack on conjugal love. In contraception there is a fear of new life, and this practice often leads to abortion. It is of fundamental importance to associate works on behalf of the family with pro-life works, because marriage is the source of new life.”

“The Lord created man and woman to love each other and to marry, and they express their love more fully in conjugal union, which is by nature procreative,” Burke explained.

“Gender theory” is an attack on this truth, he said.

“Gender theory is an invention, an artificial creation. It is impossible to have an identity that does not respect the proper nature of man and that of woman,” Burke said. “It is madness that will cause immense damage in society and in the lives of those who support this theory. With gender theory, it is impossible to live in society. Already today, in certain places in the United States, anyone at all can change identity and say, ‘Today I am a man; tomorrow I will be a woman.’ That is truly madness. Some men insist on going into the women’s rest rooms. That is inhuman. In the schools, you can imagine the confusion. … Nowadays there is enormous confusion, which is based on the false idea that there are practically an infinite number of possible sexual orientations. The twofold expression of the human person is not heterosexuality and homosexuality, but male and female. This is the authentic theology of anthropology: that God created man: ‘male and female he created them.’”

Burke warned that Christians must defend the natural law from legislative attacks that contradict what “is inscribed in the heart of man by the sovereign will of God.”

“Not to speak about the natural law is to deny reason,” he said.

Similarly, people who experience same-sex attraction deserve authentic pastoral care, Burke said, care that doesn’t cause them harm by encouraging them to follow “inclinations against the natural law.”

Homosexual acts ultimately cause suffering, he said, because they go against the natural “complementarity of the sexes and the sexual faculty’s potential for procreation.”

But the Church offers those with same-sex attraction the opportunity to “discover what authentic love means,” Burke said. He cited the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that people attracted to the same sex must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (CCC 2358).

In addition to the dismantling of natural law, Burke said Islam’s inability to peacefully coexist with other religions and President Obama’s attacks on religious liberty pose threats to the Catholic Church.

“President Obama wants to push the Church back behind the walls of her church buildings and to prevent her from applying her law to her own hospitals and schools,” the cardinal cautioned. “He claims that the Church may not intervene on the question of abortion, of homosexuality, but that the State alone must manage these questions.”

The U.S. government “wants citizens to obey unjust laws,” he said, such as requirements that Catholic hospitals commit abortions and dispense contraceptives. “To that, I reply: We cannot do it,” because “there are situations in which the Christian must disobey when civil law commands an action contrary to the moral law.”
There is no justification for saying that a certain percentage of marriages are null’

“It is impossible to say anything other than what Saint John Paul II said” on the question of whether non-abstinent divorced and remarried couples may receive Holy Communion, Burke insisted.

He addressed the controversial topic that has been the source of a heated debate within the Catholic Church by quoting the late Pope’s exhortation Familiaris Consortio, which reiterated the Church’s longstanding teaching of not admitting to the Sacraments the divorced and civilly remarried unless they live as brother and sister.

“The state of life of divorced-and-remarried Catholics is not consistent with the mystery of the union of Christ and the Church,” Burke said.

Liberal prelates such as Cardinal Walter Kasper pushed for the Church to admit the divorced and remarried to Communion at two contentious synods on the family. Pope Francis brought up the topic in his April 2016 exhortation.

Many see Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia as having poured gasoline on this fire with its seeming suggestion that in some cases the Church will allow those living unrepentantly in situations it labels objectively sinful to receive Holy Communion.

“In the recent synod … the tendency was sometimes to dwell at length on all the problems of the family, at the risk of speaking only about that, giving me the impression that the family I knew as a child, that the [healthy] families I met during the first years of my priesthood no longer exist,” Burke said. “I can tell you that there are many magnificent families that function well!”

After the exhortation’s release, Burke wrote in the National Catholic Register that it must be read through the lens of Catholic doctrine.

No pope could change the Church’s moral teaching even if he wanted to, Burke told d’Alançon.

“It is impossible for the Church to change her teaching in matters concerning the indissolubility of marriage,” he said. “The Church, the Bride of Christ, obeys His words in chapter 19 of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, which are very clear insofar as they concern the nature of marriage. No one disputes the fact that these are the words of Christ Himself, and after the response of the Apostles, the import of these words for those who are called to married life is quite clear.”

As one of the Catholic Church’s most well-established canonists, Burke has spent a good part of his career in the Vatican working on cases of marriage validity. In other words, Burke has defended unions as being valid marriages and reviewed cases when the Church declared that a marriage never actually existed and thus is null.

Pope Francis made waves in June when he said that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages are “null.” The Vatican subsequently altered his remarks in their official transcript of his speech, and numerous canon lawyers and theologians responded that his remarks were incorrect.

Although d’Alançon did not mention the pontiff’s remarks explicitly, he asked Burke if “many marriages” are “actually null from the start.”

“It is difficult to say how many marriages are null from the moment when consent is exchanged. … There is no justification for saying that a certain percentage of marriages are null,” Burke said. “That would open the door to a mentality favoring divorce, which would dissolve some valid marriages because no one investigates whether there are grounds for the request for a declaration of nullity.”
Poor catechesis and ‘unrecognizable’ liturgy have contributed to Church’s crisis

Throughout Hope for the World, Burke spoke warmly of the love for the Catholic faith that his parents instilled in him as a child.

He lamented the “invasive secularization of the culture” which he found had also “entered into the life of the Church” as the biggest obstacle to his ministry as a bishop.

Bad catechesis and changes to the liturgy falsely believed to have been sanctioned by the Second Vatican Council or the “spirit” of it have contributed to this crisis, Burke said.

“I remember that in the years after 1968, I attended liturgical celebrations that had retained almost nothing of what could be a Mass,” the cardinal recalled. “I had gone to the Netherlands, at that time, and witnessed a Mass in which the priest arrived in civilian clothing. The whole celebration was totally unrecognizable as a Holy Mass.”

“More and more man became his own idol, making his subjective impressions the judge of good and evil,” he said. “Very often he has forgotten or denied the sense of mystery, and therefore he has no longer been able to marvel at it. Along with mystery, the sense of the faith and of the sacred has gradually faded. At the same time, people have suffered cruelly from a lack of formation and, at best, have kept up a rootless formalism, whether in their human relations or in their liturgical practice.”

“Worship centered on man is a self-contradiction, and this is what led many people to stop attending Sunday Mass and other sacramental celebrations,” the cardinal noted.

Burke said he has noticed the younger generation craves more traditional forms of worship and are “thirsting to hear the truths of the faith.” Growing up in a secularized culture, rather than the Christian one in which the prelate was raised, has stifled and in many cases wounded young people. The divorce of parents, pornography, and “‘liberation’ from morality” contribute to these wounds, but many are still “looking for true love” and God nonetheless.

“I observe also that many of these young people, who live in this world from which God is excluded, feel a great attraction to a beautiful, holy liturgy that is celebrated with the dignity that befits the Holy Sacrifice, whether in the Extraordinary Form or in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, provided that there is great devotion and the sense of transcendence that indicates that we are turned toward the Lord and that the sacrifice on Calvary is being renewed,” Burke said.

He also echoed the sentiment of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, that receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue fosters respect for the Eucharist, which the Catholic Church teaches is the literal body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Post-abortive women ‘told me that at night they would hear the cries of their unborn child’

In addition to the restoration of the liturgy, Burke said people must reject “narcissistic individualism,” rediscover the meaning of family life, and promote virtue in order to fix the deep crises the modern world faces.

“Lack of moral life” is more grave than material poverty, Burke said, and he noted the “emotional frailty” that many young people experience after having multiple sexual partners.

“Emotional instability is a terrible form of poverty,” he said.

Burke encouraged Catholics to never cease defending life and family, and to look to the examples of soon-to-be-canonized Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Professor Jérôme Lejeune, and people like Bishop Austin Vaughan, an Auxiliary Bishop of New York, “who went to prison for their commitment to the service of life.”

“Calm and strong” pro-life witness “bears fruit,” Burke said, and pro-life activists would do well to look to converts to the pro-life cause like former abortionist Bernard Nathanson and Roe v. Wade plaintiff-turned pro-life activist Norma McCorvey.

And pro-life advocates can never forget to show compassion and mercy toward those who have participated in abortion, he said.

Burke said that throughout his priesthood he has encountered many people suffering from abortion and several post-abortive women “told me that at night they would hear the cries of their unborn child.”

“We must understand and listen to the great suffering of women who have experienced an abortion and stand beside them as witnesses of divine mercy, of the unfathomable love of Jesus, who opens the riches of His Heart to those who, despite their sin, dare to turn to Him with trust,” he said.

Burke also revealed in Hope for the World that a doctor pressured his mother to abort him after she became seriously ill while pregnant, but his parents believed that “Christ would give them the necessary help” and he was born in good health.

Why I Think Doctors Are Overprescribing the Pill

The Pill isn’t the perfect solution everyone claims it is.

http://verilymag.com/2016/07/side-effects-of-the-pill-hormonal-contraceptives-birth-control-womens-health-fertility-awareness

John T. Littell MD

It was at a medical conference in Orlando, Florida, some years back when I decided I must write a book about, and for, women who have been victimized by the health care system. As a family physician practicing for more than twenty-five years, I’ve had countless women come through my doors with a myriad of gynecologic concerns. At this particular conference, I asked the lecturer—a prominent women’s health physician—to explain why he did not mention the connection between cervical cancer and the use of oral contraceptives in his talk on cervical cancer. He replied (before three hundred other physicians), “Let’s keep that to ourselves.”

Let’s keep that to ourselves? Keep information from patients?

The status quo, it seemed, was this: Let’s keep women in the dark about the risks associated with using the Pill. Women today are prescribed the Pill from a range of doctors—general practitioners, dermatologists, psychiatrists, OB-GYNs, and others. There is an overriding concern in the medical community across all disciplines of preventing unplanned pregnancy. I came to find this thinking problematic because in effect it presumes that women are incapable of making choices about their reproductive health care.

For a physician to think a woman must take a contraceptive pill to avoid pregnancy, especially when she isn’t seeing the doctor for that expressed concern, is for a physician to place his or her agenda ahead of the patient’s best interests. It makes sense for doctors to have an “agenda,” if by that we mean a predisposition to helping patients avoid diseases and inform them of it. But when it comes to the Pill, we’re talking about suppressing not an illness but healthy fertility. It may seem worthwhile in the name of preventing a woman from having an unexpected pregnancy, but it’s up to the woman to make the choice of whether that benefit is worth the risks of the medication.

Still, this “let’s keep information of the risks to ourselves” thinking isn’t isolated to one physician on a panel. Physicians in training during the past thirty years or so have been taught to find any reason to put women on some form of contraception—without mentioning any possible risk associated with these methods. Physicians in the United States may agree on the facts concerning the physical and physiologic side effects of hormonal contraception, yet the vast majority of them still prescribe any and all manners of artificial contraception with little visible hesitation.

So, you may ask, why doesn’t my family doctor, my OB-GYN, my dermatologist, my psychiatrist, and so on—why doesn’t anyone mention the risks? I’ll tell you why—because I used to be a physician who didn’t.

The reason for this peculiar contradiction is that while depression, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and increased risk of blood clots are most certainly problematic, most doctors are trained to see them less of a problem (for women as well as the rest of us) than the overarching “problem” of pregnancy.

For many in the medical community, pregnancy, especially in young women, is considered to be a disease. There’s somewhat of an indoctrination that all physicians receive as we go through seemingly endless years of medical training. I experienced it myself going through school. I was taught, as in intern in family medicine, that one of the first questions I needed to ask every woman within the first twenty-four hours of delivering her baby was, “What are you planning to use to prevent another pregnancy?” (Talk about timing—most women will accept any form of birth control after going through a difficult vaginal delivery.) I was instructed that women who have had two or more children should be strongly encouraged to consider permanent sterilization. And teenagers seen for pretty much any concern are to be encouraged to get started on long-acting forms of contraception—regardless of their level of or interest in sexual activity. If pregnancy was a disease, preemptive contraception was the vaccine.

Not only is medical school and residency highly structured and resistant to change, medical students and residents in training are in no position to question the views of their instructors, often for the real fear of losing all they have striven to achieve in a career in medicine.

As a trusting medical student, and then a faculty member who taught other doctors, it took me years to come to the realization that during those years I was blinded by a combination of stubbornness and ignorance.

This discussion surrounding female fertility and family planning is controversial, to say the least. There are many differing opinions, but my own experience has led me to a conclusion that, thirty years ago, I never would have believed.

All physicians have sacrificed a great deal to get to the point in time where they can actually provide healthcare to patients. During the majority of my near three decades in practice, if I was approached by someone trying to tell me that what I was taught to do by my preceptors was “bad medicine” or “harmful” to women, I would reject their criticism outright. I would figure they were just some overly zealous, ill-informed doctor who, though they meant well, was clueless as to how best to treat women. That was my attitude; no amount of factual data on the harms of the Pill, the shot, the implant, the ring, the patch, the IUD, or sterilization could change my mind about how to care for my female patients.

As is often the case in life, it wasn’t until it affected me personally that I changed my perspective.
Close to Home

After welcoming three beautiful daughters in the first five years of marriage, my wife and I had to make a decision to limit our family size using some form of birth control. That’s when the truth about female fertility really hit home for me. Since my wife’s mother had died at the age of 52 from a cerebral aneurysm, we knew that exposing my wife to artificial hormones would place her at increased risk of stroke. We were convinced for other reasons that permanent sterilization was not an option for us either.

Only in later years did I discover that one-third of women who chose Bilateral Tubal Ligation regretted this decision. Further research has also correlated other serious health issues with Bilateral Tubal Ligations, such as an increased occurrence of dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

At that time we were able to find other couples who were learning, and then teaching, natural methods of family planning. Kathleen and I learned of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) and ultimately chose to use the Billings Ovulation Method for the rest of our marriage.

The Billings Method allows couples to either avoid or pursue pregnancy by determining the body’s natural fertile and infertile periods, based on observing and charting vulva sensations and the discharge of cervical mucus. Couples using the Billings Method to avoid pregnancy then avoid sexual intercourse during the fertile days of the cycle. When we starting using the Billings Method in our marriage, it put the challenge on me as a husband to communicate about and cooperate with my wife’s fertility, rather than ending or altering her fertility with chemicals.

This allowed us to refrain from having kids for a number of years, and then when we returned to seeking pregnancy we had two more children—all while preserving my wife’s health. Because had we gone the route of the Pill, it’s exactly that—her overall health—that could have been compromised.

The fact is that the normal human estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone produced by the ovaries do far more than simply help a woman to achieve a normal reproductive cycle and pregnancy. The natural ovarian hormones act on practically every organ system in the woman’s body to ensure optimal functioning. Examples include improved mood (especially during elevated estrogen phases), reduced risk of heart disease and stroke (as compared to men), cleansing of the breast tissue with each normal reproductive cycle to reduce the woman’s risk of breast cancer, and improvements in bone mass to prevent osteoporosis and premature fractures. Not to mention improved libido and overall energy level.

Conversely, women using these artificial hormonal methods may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (largely due to the chemicals causing deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals folic acid, magnesium, and B12). Depression is a common side effect, due to the folic acid deficiency as well as the relative lack of estrogen (a “feel good” hormone). Loss of libido, weight gain, and premature bone loss also frequently occur. One study found that breast cancer rates in women who have used the Pill for more than five years prior to first pregnancy are two to three times higher than in women who have never used the Pill. And women who have been on oral contraceptives for any length of time will find they are at an increased risk of miscarriage within several months of stopping the Pill.

Needless to say, what I experienced in choosing a method to protect my own family forever changed the way I saw my patients. It may sound obvious, but the notion became much more solidified in me: every patient’s life and health should be treated of equal value to my wife’s. But when I returned to my practice to start incorporating FAM and other fertility awareness methods in my work, I faced a well-established rhetoric that proved difficult to overcome.
The Pill That Rules Them All

The Pill was a game-changing technology when it was invented a half-century ago. During these past fifty-plus years since the discovery of the pill and its widespread embrace in the 1960s, many women have believed that artificial birth control made them more powerful than ever before. The ability to remove the possibility of pregnancy from the sexual act was seen as liberating event.

But the Pill didn’t just provide advancements in what medicine could do; it has also been treated differently than any other medication prescribed by physicians to patients. Unlike other medicines which are usually only prescribed when medically necessary, the Pill is prescribed routinely and by default.

Further, unlike other medications that are prescribed along with a warning of possible risk, the Pill is often prescribed without any sense of hesitation from the prescribing physician—stating risks is viewed as less important than encouraging the woman to take it.

One example of how common this thinking is in the medical world took place at a conference on migraine headaches that I attended. Upon being asked to discuss the increased risk of stroke among women who suffer from migraine headache and use oral contraceptives, the physician speaker answered, to a room of over a couple hundred physicians that it would seem impractical to ask women to discontinue the use of oral contraceptives so as to prevent stroke, for fear of pregnancy. While the facts are what they are, the primary goal of avoiding pregnancy takes precedence.

This thinking, that pregnancy reduction is more important than informing women of the risks of the Pill or other contraceptive medication, is pervasive in my field.

FAM, on the other hand, has been distorted in the medical textbooks, and most physicians still refer to it as the “rhythm method” of ages past. In fact, when taught and used correctly, modern methods of FAM have an effectiveness rate of 99 percent, which is as effective as the Pill for avoiding pregnancy.

Nonetheless, instead of pursuing the natural methods to avoid pregnancy, today’s medical community prefers to encourage prescribing stronger hormones and devices, even if it means lessening a patient’s agency over her fertility cycle. In recent years, ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), the professional organization representing most of America’s OB-GYN docs, has encouraged women’s health providers to recommend to teenage girls in particular to utilize LARCs (long acting reversible contraceptives), which do a more effective job of preventing pregnancy—though at increased risk to her health. IUDs going by the pharmaceutical names of Mirena and Skyla have highly touted effectiveness, with less than 1 percent pregnancy rate per year of typical use; that high prevention rate, also seen in such implants as Nexplanon and Implanon, and the long acting injection, Depo-Provera, is what makes them so popular today.

The use of these long-acting methods of contraception for young women came to my attention in 1995 when my wife was working toward her master’s degree in maternal and child nursing. Kathleen came home one day from a rotation at a county health department in rural Georgia, where she saw many teenage black girls who were lining up by the dozens to receive their quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, which, while preventing ovulation also dramatically reduces estrogen levels to that of a postmenopausal woman and so creates a host of adverse effects in its users. In speaking with several girls, she found that many had not even experienced their first menstrual cycle, and the majority had never been sexually active—they were simply told by their parents, grandparents, teachers, or government agencies that they need these quarterly shots for their own good.

What the general public doesn’t know, and what I detailed in my recent book, The Hidden Truth: Deception in Women’s Health Care: A Physician’s Advice to Women and All Who Care for Them, is this: Each of these LARC methods dramatically alters the woman’s normal hormonal makeup and replaces it with a host of artificial/synthetic female hormones that, in turn, suppress the healthy function of the woman’s ovaries. Not only do LARCs produce many of the risks as the artificial hormone methods mentioned above, the LARC Depo-Provera for instance makes estrogen levels fall so low that calcium is no longer taken into the bones, creating decreased bone mineral density in many users, not to mention significant weight gain. IUDs, which are abortifacient in that they interfere with formed embryos from implanting to uterus lining, are associated with heavier, more painful menstruation in many women. And while the ACOG stresses that contraceptive implants and IUDs are removable, many young women tell me they are having a tough time convincing their doctors who put them in to take them out. Further, while it is quite an easy procedure, it is often billed very highly. These highly billed patient costs no doubt influence women’s decisions.
Changes Unforeseen

Today, I have listened to and served female patients as a physician for almost thirty years, providing prenatal and obstetric care, caring for their gynecologic needs, and caring for their families—their husbands, their children, their parents. This has been my privilege as their family physician. And today, more than ever, I listen to women as they tell me the many ways in which they are suffering—truly suffering—as a result of choices made not only by themselves, but by their parents, their husbands, and their physicians. I too used to be that physician.

But now, it saddens me to see the effects of the Pill at play in unsuspecting lives. How often have I seen one patient after another frustrated by what has come to be viewed as a “necessary evil” for all women, if they ever hope to be a good wife, a good girlfriend, a good sexual partner. What is so “liberating” or “empowering” about feeling miserable, depressed, increasing one’s risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, blood clots, strokes, and heart disease, while the male partner has not a worry in the world?

Take for instance the young women on the Pill for acne who is struggling with depression, taking antidepressants at the same time, having never been told that the Pill is linked to depression.

Or the patient who came in my office who decided the side effects of depression and weight gain she had experienced after receiving Depo-Provera injections wasn’t worth the pregnancy-avoiding effects, and signed up to learn more about how to track her fertility naturally.

Or another who I met in the ER who suffered a blood clot in her lungs after being prescribed oral contraceptives. While the Pill carries increased risk of blood clots in all users, it was particularly dangerous for this young woman who, unbeknownst to her, had a condition known as thrombophilia. After treatment with blood thinners for several months and stopping the Pill, she became anxious to learn about natural ways to avoid pregnancy without putting her life at risk.

I’ve also heard from women struggling in their marriages, after the birth of their first child, wondering why after going on the Pill, they have lost energy and libido. Often their husbands do not recognize them as the same women they married. Indeed, the relative absence of normal levels of female hormones can change the woman’s moods and emotions greatly. Simply take a moment to review recent studies on the changes in the limbic system of the brain (the emotional center) in women on the Pill after only three months.

It’s fascinating stuff—yet sobering.

All this explains why, in the middle of a crazily busy family practice, not to mention family life, I chose to write a book about, and for, women. I have seen women, day in and day out, who have made enough sacrifices in life already. Asking these women to make healthcare choices that further compromise their overall well-being is bad health care.

I believe in serving the reproductive health care needs of all women, we should consider more natural alternatives that do not put women at an increased risk of disease and at the same time encourage their male partners to demonstrate equal level of responsibility with regard to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. As I see it, true equality of the sexes in matters of family planning would not require women to bear the brunt of risks, but one that requires men demonstrate some level of sacrifice as well.

Many couples I meet, once they hear all the information about FAM, prefer to refrain from sexual activity for the seven days or so that the woman is fertile, rather than put the woman at risk with artificial hormones. Couples using natural methods of family planning find that the need to communicate more often about the changes in the woman’s body leads to an increased respect for the woman and increased self-control and maturity in the husband.

Which is why I ask all women—and the men in their lives—to come to a better understanding of who they are, in their natural state, with normally cycling female hormones and to learn natural ways to deal with issues such as family planning and other gynecologic concerns. Female empowerment comes from knowing all the options. When a woman has agency over her health decisions and feels comfortable discussing them with her doctor and her partner, that’s when we’re all better off. Turning blindly to the Pill is not a fix-all; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Black women targeted with eugenics drug, a deadly carcinogen offered as a ‘contraceptive’

depo(NaturalNews) It has been on the U.S. drug market since the early 1990s, and population control organizations like Planned Parenthood continue to push it heavily on black women and other ethnic minorities as a form of contraception. But the injectable contraceptive drug Depo-Provera, manufactured by Pfizer, has an extensive track record of causing serious harm to women, including its tendency to trigger the development of cancer.

Most people are unaware of this and many of the other long-term side effects of Depo-Provera, because eugenics groups like Planned Parenthood erroneously claim the drug is “safe, effective and convenient.” But the non-profit Rebecca Project for Human Rights (RPHR) recently issued a groundbreaking report outlining the adverse effects of this insidious birth control shot, which currently bears a “black box warning” issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 2004.

This warning clearly states that women who receive Depo-Provera could develop significant and irreversible bone mineral density loss, for instance. The drug can also lead to blood clots in arms, legs, lungs and eyes and may also cause stroke, bleeding irregularities, weight gain, ectopic pregnancy and delayed return to fertility. In some cases, women who get jabbed with Depo-Provera become permanently sterile.

Perhaps most concerning is the fact that Depo-Provera has been shown to more than double a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. A 2012 study out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that, compared to women who had never received a Depo-Provera shot, jabbed women were about 220 percent more likely to develop the disease, regardless of their family and medical histories.

Gates Foundation, USAID behind ongoing Depo-Provera eugenics conspiracy

But according to RPHR, none of these catastrophic risk factors has deterred groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Columbia University and others from aggressively pushing this horrific jab on unsuspecting women both domestically and abroad. The group’s report draws attention to the fact that these organizations have committed medical violence against women, particularly in third-world countries, by administering the shot time and time again without informed consent.

“The story of Rebecca Project for Human Right’s struggle to unmask Depo Provera as a deadly contraceptive for women is important, because it demonstrates the deeply rooted cultural hegemony of population control and corporate profits put before humanity at any cost,” explains the report, entitled Depo-Provera: Deadly Reproductive Violence Against Women. It goes on to highlight numerous Depo-Provera experiments that have taken place against women in the U.S., Ghana and elsewhere.

Federal government continues to endorse Depo-Provera, despite deadly adverse effects

Though many foreign governments have since outlawed medical experimentation on women with Depo-Provera, the U.S. continues to embrace the drug, as well as distribute it to overseas health contractors, according to Turtle Bay and Beyond. And the Gates Foundation and others continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the distribution of Depo-Provera across the globe.

“The Rebecca Project for Human Rights urges the U.S. government to enforce mandatory FDA Black Box patient counseling requirements, and for health providers to obtain valid informed consent before Depo-Provera is administered in the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Southern Asia and the rest of USAID’s program areas,” concludes RPHR.

For a full breakdown of the fraud and corruption behind Depo-Provera, and a detailed analysis of the many groups involved in perpetrating this cancer-causing contraceptive drug to unsuspecting women, be sure to read the full RPHR report:
http://www.rebeccaproject.org.

The condom conundrum: more prophylactics, more teen pregnancies

teenpregJuly 21, 2016 (BreakPoint) — Those who’ve pushed condoms like candy in public schools have given us any number of rationales. They told us that young people “are going to do it anyway,” so more condoms would equal fewer pregnancies. They also said that more condoms would lead to fewer STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. And as they proceeded to pass out condoms by the handful to our school-age children, they told us that religion and morality should be left out of it, in the name of public health and, of course, science.

New research, however, suggests these prophets of prophylactics were wrong—desperately wrong—and that it’s time for a fresh look at the issue.

A recently released study by University of Notre Dame researchers Kasey S. Buckles and Daniel M. Hungerman has found that access to condoms in schools actually increases teen pregnancies by about 10 percent—that’s right, increases it! Buckles and Hungerman selected 22 school districts in 12 states that started such programs back in the 1990s, including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The study analyzed teen-fertility data from nearly 400 high-population counties over a span of 19 years.

Among the contributing factors Buckles and Hungerman cite is the possibility that condom-distribution programs can crowd out efforts to encourage young people to delay sexual activity. Condom-distribution programs may actually encourage more teenagers to have sex.

Is this really that surprising? If adults tell teens that the decision to engage in sex is theirs and give them condoms, what message do they receive?

It makes sense, especially given another finding of the study. Buckles and Hungerman found that sexual activity, along with STDs, increased in counties with condom-distribution programs. This puts a lie to all those lofty assurances from the Sexual Left that condoms would prevent all that. No, more likely, they encouraged it!

Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, notes that this ugly outcome likely is a result of increased sexual risk-taking as a result of condoms in the schools. All at taxpayers’ expense.

Now Buckles and Hungerman are quick to point out that they believe the effects of teen fertility would be less alarming if the condom-distribution programs were also accompanied by mandatory sex-ed counseling. But New says such education efforts would not totally offset the jump in teen fertility caused by condom distribution. There would still be more births to teenaged mothers, and presumably more teen STDs, than if there were no condoms in the schools in the first place.

“Overall,” says New, “the study adds to an impressive body of research which shows that efforts to encourage contraceptive use either through mandates, subsidies, or distribution are ineffective at best or counterproductive at worst. In many countries, increases in contraception use are correlated with increase in the abortion rate.”

Now it would be optimistic at best to assume that the folks who brought these condom-distribution programs to us, and their cheerleaders in the media, would own up to the conundrum they have created and work to make things right. But no, we’ll have to do that ourselves.

So the first step to changing what our schools do is to read the study and make sure that members of your local school boards have a copy. Just come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for a link to it, along with more information to get you up to speed.

And second, we shouldn’t be surprised that non-Christians teach our sons and daughters a non-Christian worldview concerning the human body, the unitive act, or marriage. Teaching our own kids about sex and design and relationships and marriage, while pointing out and countering the lies about sex proclaimed in the culture, is first and foremost our job as parents and as Christian communities.

Reprinted with permission from Break Point.

NFP Helped Me Overcome Infertility

maternityJuly 27, 2016
by Womensp

While I had a mostly positive attitude toward NFP from the beginning of my marriage, in hindsight I still thought of it as “Catholic Birth Control.” In other words, my husband and I would use it until we wanted to have a baby (which was very soon), and then we would stop, and boom, I would get pregnant.

So we stopped. But no “boom.” No baby. Month after month, year after year.

All the “birth control” in the world won’t give you an ounce of control when you want to have a baby, and you can’t. It was when I wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t that I experienced how very different Natural Family Planning is from artificial contraception.

NFP isn’t a blunt instrument for manipulating the reproductive system; it is rather a means of obtaining information about one’s own body, information which can serve a woman’s health in a variety of ways.

When I was diagnosed with infertility, the very same methods that we thought we were using to delay pregnancy were immediately turned toward the goal of conceiving a child. All the records that we had kept and all the knowledge that we had gained about our mutual reproductive system were put to the service of healing that system so that it could do what it was supposed to do: create new life.

And that is just one way that NFP is much bigger, and much better, than mere “birth control.” Natural Family Planning respects the whole reality of women’s bodies, including the goodness of healthy human reproduction. Natural Family Planning respects science, and uses the methods of medical science to understand more about how women’s bodies work and how to heal them when they don’t. And Natural Family Planning respects women (and men), by empowering us with the knowledge that we need, both for prudence in family planning and awareness of our own reproductive health.

Thanks to the knowledge we gained from Natural Family Planning, and the skilled assistance of medical professionals trained in NFP, we are now the parents of two beautiful daughters. Through NFP, we found real help, true healing and new life.

Kristen Grant is a wife, mother, graduate student, and an alumna of WSFT Media Training. She and her family live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Oral contraceptives affect responsiveness to emotions, study says

By on

BirthcontrolAccording to a 2016 study, the hormones released by oral contraceptives may influence women’s ability to process emotional situations—especially during their “pill-free” days.

The study, published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology, tested 73 women: 18 who do not take oral contraceptives (OC), 30 who were currently taking OC, and 25 who take OC but were on their pill-free week.

Scientists were interested in the three components of empathy—emotion recognition, perspective-taking, and affective (emotional) responsiveness—and whether OC influence women’s ability to empathize for better or worse. The research has significant implications for adult women.

“If OC use is linked to a reduced ability to recognize emotions, this might ultimately have negative consequences for relationship quality…by leading to more conflict,” said Sina Radke, corresponding author.

“In light of…the widespread use of OC across the globe, effects of OC are of interest to millions of users, their partners and society,” Radke continued.

Measuring Emotion Recognition

To measure emotion recognition, participants looked at images of faces (one at a time) on one side of a computer screen. On the other side was a list of several terms describing emotions. Participants were asked to choose which word corresponded with the given image.

Scientists found no significant differences between the three groups regarding emotion recognition. Though the women who do not take OC (no pill group) scored the highest in this area, the differences were slight.

Measuring Perspective-Taking

In this exercise, participants watched a simulated interaction between two people that displayed a basic emotion. One of the simulated faces was masked. Participants were then asked to choose which facial expression (corresponding to an emotion) would describe the masked face in the scene.

Again, the differences between the three groups were negligible and indicated that OC use or pill phase did not have an influence on perspective-taking.

Measuring Affective Responsiveness

To measure affective responsiveness, participants read one-sentence hypothetical scenarios designed to evoke a specific emotion. They then chose which emotion they would feel if they were in the situation in real life.

Data showed that women currently taking OC (“on pill” group) scored significantly higher than those on their pill free week (“off pill” group). They also scored higher than the “no pill” group, indicating that OC influenced participants’ ability to respond emotionally. Scientists attribute this difference to the increased levels of exogenous estrogen and progesterone in OC users.

The results point to a need for further research and more data to explain these effects.

“With regard to the prevalence of hormonal contraception across the world, determining its psychological and behavioral effects more thoroughly will not only improve our understanding of the non-contraceptive impact of OC use, but also allow women and clinicians to make more informed contraceptive decisions,” said Radke.

Baby Edwin Was Saved From an Abortion When His Mother Saw Something Amazing

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/07/20/baby-edwin-was-saved-from-an-abortion-when-his-mother-saw-something-amazing/

Miriam Harding   Jul 20, 2016   |   2:51PM    Washington, DC

A few weeks ago, I had an unshakable urge to reach out to a former classmate of mine from high school: Sarah. We had never been good friends, but I had recently noticed a Facebook post that Sarah gave birth to a son. I sent Sarah a short message, asking her if she’d like a meal and diapers. I received an emphatic “Yes!” and we agreed to meet.

When I visited Sarah, I was not aware of how God worked in her life over the previous months.

Surprisingly, in the middle of our conversation, Sarah said that she “could not believe she had ever considered other options.” When I inquired about what she meant, I found out Sarah was engaged to a man for several months, and just weeks after breaking off the engagement, she learned she was pregnant.  Sarah was devastated, and what’s worse, her ex-fiancé told her he wanted nothing to do with Sarah and nothing to do with the baby. Her experience followed the cliché perfectly – he told her to “get rid of it.”

Sarah began considering when she should schedule her abortion. Then, she saw my posts on Facebook: the Planned Parenthood videos, ADF blogs and articles, and pictures from the Planned Parenthood protests. Each time Sarah was considering abortion, one of my posts came back to mind–a photo of me at a Planned Parenthood protest, holding a homemade poster of my son’s ultrasound next to a current photo of my son.

img-Its-A-Boy-Protest

Sarah immediately pulled out her ultrasound, obtained just days earlier from a local pregnancy center. She stared at the tiny human in black and white and wondered what her child would look like in just a few short months. Did it really already have fingernails, like Juno said?

After 4 days of looking at the ultrasound, it was too much. Abortion-minded Sarah decided abortion was no longer an option. She chose to carry her baby to full term.

As her story concluded and I held the newborn in my arms, I gave thanks to God for this baby’s life. In a way, I felt like somehow I was partly responsible to take care of him for the rest of my life.

Sarah had never intended to reach out about her experience, and she certainly never expected me to reach out to her.  But as Sarah was sitting in the hospital after delivering her baby, she received the message from me, the girl from high school whose posts help change her mind about abortion … someone she barely knew…. reaching out to her with an offer of dinner and diapers the day after her child was born.

Only our Heavenly Father could have orchestrated these events, and I’m so overwhelmed by the way God chooses to reveal His work through us. What an amazing reminder that we never know the impact our lives may be having on those around us.

I hope you will celebrate with me in this victory of life – a victory accomplished only by God’s grace.

His name is Edwin.

edwin

Contra Cardinal Sarah: The Bitter and Noxious Fruits of Ideology

By Father Richard G. Cipolla

FRCH

It is quite remarkable to be living at a time when a Cardinal of the Roman Church and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship is publicly contradicted and humiliated.  I do not know Cardinal Sarah personally, but from his writings, I suspect that he is using his humiliation in a spiritually profitable way.  But one has to wonder at the absence of any sense of fatherly concern and mercy in the Year of Mercy.

It seems that there is no limit to the nonsense that Father Lombardi allows himself to spew forth in defense of the indefensible.  We hope that once he lays aside this burden, as he will very soon, he can return to more spiritually profitable endeavors. The ideology that lies behind that repudiation of Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation to return to the Traditional posture of the priest at Mass rang out quite clearly in the Clarification.  It is an ideology that has for so many years prevented the Church from restoring the liturgical life of the Church that is necessary for the mission of the Church to the world.  It is an ideology that has no basis in Tradition and in fact is a break with Tradition.  Anyone who still believes that the Mass of Paul VI is continuous with the Roman Rite of Catholic Tradition needs to get out into the fresh air more.

The heart of the ideology driving the post-Conciliar reform of the liturgical books is the destruction of  the Traditional understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice, namely, the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, the offering of the Son to the Father.  Without the Roman Canon, which the reformers tried to get rid of entirely, that the Mass is a sacrifice is not evident in the three new Eucharistic prayers.  What is at stake in the insistence on versus populum is the very nature of the Mass.  What most Catholics believe today is that the Mass is a community meal and the priest’s job is to say the words that change the bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ for the purpose of Holy Communion.  The Mass is for them. The priest facing the people engenders this understanding quite readily and enforces a heavily horizontal experience of the Mass.  The almost universal practice of Communion in the hand standing in a line as if waiting for ham in a deli is the result of a deliberate repression of Communion on the tongue kneeling and telling the people that standing in the hand is the only way to receive Holy Communion after Vatican II.  All nonsense.  All ideology.

Fr. Lombardi’s defense of the celebration versus populum had no substance except for ideology.  For him to use the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 299 as a basis foversus populum as the necessary norm is shameless.  Much has been written on the meaning of the Latin in this section of the GIRM, quite apart from the translation into English.  I speak as a Latin teacher of many years, and I would insist that there is no way to conclude from 299 that all celebrations of Mass must be facing the people.  That famous “quod” that introduces the relative clause cannot possibly refer to the celebration of Mass versus populum.  The English translation has been faulty from the beginning, or rather, from when that clause was added.  In addition the Congregation for Divine Worship in September 2000 rejected the interpretation that 299 made a free -standing altar obligatory and therefore versum populum obligatory.

Furthermore, the very rubrics of the Paul VI missal assume that the priest is celebrating ad orientem.  It is distressing to have to repeat all of this at this time, but the fact is that most of our bishops may have never read the rubrics in English let alone Latin.  At the “Orate fratres”, the rubric reads:  Stans postea in medio altaris, versus ad populum….The obvious and easy English translation is:  Then, standing in the middle of the altar, turning  to the people….Why should he turn to the people if he is already facing them?  There are other examples where the rubric calls for the priest to turn to the people.  And again, it is tiresome to have to go through these explanations once again.  But after what happened in the slap down of Cardinal Sarah by the powers that still be, one has to rehearse certain facts and show how it is sheer ideology that has driven and continues to drive the intense hostility to the Traditional understanding of the Mass as the Holy Sacrifice (despite pious talk about the Holy Sacrifice).

So much of what is happening and why it is allowed to happen has to do with a papalatry gone wild.  The irony is that the Second Vatican Council introduced and spoke so glowingly of collegiality vis a vis the bishops and the Pope, but the reality after the Council is that of a highly centralized papacy whose power seems to have no bounds.  There seems to be a never ending speculation about Benedict XVI’s resignation.  Perhaps he figured out that the power of the papacy and the authority of the papacy are two different things entirely, and that it is entirely possible to renounce the power and keep the authority, because, as someone has said, power comes from the office, authority is earned.  Stuff to ponder. But in this context, to claim, as Fr. Lombardi stated, that the Extraordinary Form must never or can never replace the Ordinary Form has no basis in Summorum Pontificum, nor in rational thinking, nor in any magisterial document.

What can be done about this shameful episode?  Nothing much except prayer.  Prayer, yes. And a lot of it.  But as for me and my flock, we will go on worshiping God at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass not facing each other over a table but rather together facing the Lord.

  • [emphasis added]

Father Richard Cipolla pastors St Mary Parish in Norwalk CT.

Vatican rejects Cardinal Sarah’s ad orientem appeal

by Catholic News Service, posted Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016

Pope Francis met Cardinal Sarah to indicate that no liturgical directives will begin in Advent, according to Vatican spokesman

PF

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, urged priests and bishops at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on July 5 to start celebrating Masses ad orientem, or facing away from the congregation, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent this year.

However, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement on July 11 indicating the Pope Francis met with Cardinal Sarah on July 9 to indicate no liturgical directives will begin in Advent.

“Cardinal Sarah is always rightly concerned with the dignity of the celebration of Mass, that it might adequately express an attachment of respect and adoration for the eucharistic mystery,” Fr Lombardi’s statement said.

“Some of his phrasing has been badly interpreted, as if he had announced new, different indications from those now given in liturgical norms and the words of the popes on celebration toward the people and the ordinary rite of the Mass,” the spokesman added.

He recalled that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which “remains fully in force,” indicated that the altar should be built away from the wall so “that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible.”

The statement also reminded people that when Pope Francis visited the offices of the congregation for divine worship, “he expressly recalled that the ‘ordinary’ form of the celebration of Mass is that foreseen by the missal promulgated by Paul VI,” and that the extraordinary form permitted by Benedict XVI “should not take the place of that ‘ordinary’ form.”

Fr Lombardi also said it would be better “to avoid the use of the expression ‘reform of the reform,’ referring to the liturgy, given that it’s sometimes the sources of misunderstandings.”

At the conference in London, Cardinal Sarah had asked that “wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the church,” priests face east when celebrating the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Several liturgical experts said Cardinal Sarah does not have the authority to impose a change but is simply encouraging a practice that liturgical law already permits.

“I think he’s just encouraging as anyone can encourage, but because of his position, his encouragement carries more weight. He’s not changing the legislation at all; he’s just giving his opinion that he thinks this would help people to pray better,” Fr Andrew Menke, associate director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ divine worship office, told Catholic News Service on July 6.

Fr Menke also said that as new editions of the Roman Missal are released, liturgical law is bound to shift, but he doubts anything would happen regarding the direction the priest faces, except perhaps more encouragement of “ad orientem” Masses in future missal editions.

Others agreed, saying neither bishops nor Cardinal Sarah have the right to force priests to celebrate Mass “facing East” until there is an official change to the missal, the official liturgical law.

Meanwhile in Britain, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written to priests in his  Westminster diocese discouraging them from celebrating Mass facing east.

He issued the message to clergy days after Cardinal Sarah spoke at the at the Sacra Liturgia conference.

Cardinal Robert Sarah’s Complete Address, Sacra Liturgia 2016

NEWS: VATICAN

by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 9, 2016

cardenalsarah

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, offered the opening speech at the 2016 Sacra Liturgia conference in London. Below is the complete English translation of his address.

In the first place I wish to express my thanks to His Eminence, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, for his welcome to the Archdiocese of Westminster and for his kind words of greeting. So too I wish to thank His Excellency, Bishop Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, for his invitation to be present with you at this, the third international “Sacra Liturgia” conference, and to present the opening address this evening. Your Excellency, I congratulate you on this international initiative to promote the study of the importance of liturgical formation and celebration in the life and mission of the Church.

In this address I wish to place before you some considerations on how the Western Church might move towards a more faithful implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. In doing so I propose to ask, “What did the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council intend in the liturgical reform?” Then I would like to consider how their intentions were implemented following the Council. Finally, I would like to put before you some suggestions for the liturgical life of the Church today, so that our liturgical practice might more faithfully reflect the intentions of the Council Fathers.

It is very clear, I think, that the Church teaches that Catholic liturgy is the singularly privileged locus of Christ’s saving action in our world today, by means of real participation in which we receive His grace and strength which is so necessary for our perseverance and growth in the Christian life. It is the divinely instituted place where we come to fulfill our duty of offering sacrifice to God, of offering the One True Sacrifice. It is where we realize our profound need to worship Almighty God. Catholic liturgy is something sacred, something which is holy by its very nature. Catholic liturgy is no ordinary human gathering.

I wish to underline a very important fact here: God, not man is at the center of Catholic liturgy. We come to worship Him. The liturgy is not about you and me; it is not where we celebrate our own identity or achievements or exalt or promote our own culture and local religious customs. The liturgy is first and foremost about God and what He has done for us. In His Divine Providence Almighty God founded the Church and instituted the Sacred Liturgy by means of which we are able to offer Him true worship in accordance with the New Covenant established by Christ. In doing this, in entering into the demands of the sacred rites developed in the tradition of the Church, we are given our true identity and meaning as sons and daughters of the Father.

It is essential that we understand this specificity of Catholic worship, for in recent decades we have seen many liturgical celebrations where people, personalities and human achievements have been too prominent, almost to the exclusion of God. As Cardinal Ratzinger once wrote: “If the liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age.” (Joseph Ratzinger, “Theology of the Liturgy,” Collected Works vol. 11, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2014, p. 593)

We must be utterly clear about the nature of Catholic worship if we are to read the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy correctly and if we are to implement it faithfully. For many years before the Council, in missionary countries and also in the more developed ones, there had been much discussion about the possibility of increasing the use of the vernacular languages in the liturgy, principally for the readings from Sacred Scripture, also for some of the other parts of the first part of the Mass (which we now call the “Liturgy of the Word”) and for liturgical singing. The Holy See had already given many permissions for the use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments. This is the context in which the Fathers of the Council spoke of the possible positive ecumenical or missionary effects of liturgical reform. It is true that the vernacular has a positive place in the liturgy. The Fathers were seeking this, not authorizing the protestantization of the Sacred Liturgy or agreeing to it being subjected to a false inculturation.

I am an African. Let me say clearly: the liturgy is not the place to promote my culture. Rather, it is the place where my culture is baptized, where my culture is taken up into the divine. Through the Church’s liturgy (which missionaries have carried throughout the world) God speaks to us, He changes us and enables us to partake in His divine life. When someone becomes a Christian, when someone enters into full communion with the Catholic Church, they receive something more, something which changes them. Certainly, cultures and other Christians bring gifts with them into the Church—the liturgy of the Ordinariates of Anglicans now in full communion with the Church is a beautiful example of this. But they bring these gifts with humility, and the Church in her maternal wisdom makes use of them as she judges appropriate.

One of the clearest and most beautiful expressions of the intentions of the Council Fathers is found at the beginning of the second chapter of the Constitution, which considers the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. In article 48 we read:

The Church … earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God’s word and be nourished at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

My brothers and sisters, this is what the Council Fathers intended. Yes, certainly, they discussed and voted on specific ways of achieving their intentions. But let us be very clear: the ritual reforms proposed in the Constitution such as the restoration of the prayer of the faithful at Mass (n. 53), the extension of concelebration (n. 57) or some of its policies such as the simplification desired by articles 34 and 50, are all subordinate to the fundamental intentions of the Council Fathers I have just outlined. They are means to an end, and it is the end which we must achieve.

If we are to move towards a more authentic implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, it is these goals, these ends, which we must keep before us first and foremost. It may be that, if we study them with fresh eyes and with the benefit of the experience of the past five decades, we shall see some specific ritual reforms and certain liturgical policies in a different light. If, today, so as to “impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful” and “help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church,” some of these need to be reconsidered, let us ask the Lord to give us the love and the humility and wisdom so to do.

I raise this possibility of looking again at the Constitution and at the reform which followed its promulgation because I do not think that we can honestly read even the first article of Sacrosanctum Concilium today and be content that we have achieved its aims. My brothers and sisters, where are the faithful of whom the Council Fathers spoke? Many of the faithful are now unfaithful: they do not come to the liturgy at all. To use the words of Pope Saint John Paul II: many Christians are living in a state of “silent apostasy;” they “live as if God does not exist” (Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa,” June 28, 2003, 9). Where is the unity the Council hoped to achieve? We have not yet reached it. Have we made real progress in calling the whole of mankind into the household of the Church? I do not think so. And yet we have done very much to the liturgy!

In my forty-seven years of life as a priest and after more than 36 years of episcopal ministry I can attest that many Catholic communities and individuals live and pray the liturgy as reformed following the Council with fervour and joy, deriving from it many, if not all, of the goods that the Council Fathers desired. This is a great fruit of the Council. But from my experience I also know — now also through my service as Prefect of the Congregation of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — that there are many distortions of the liturgy throughout the Church today, and there are many situations that could be improved so that the aims of the Council can be achieved. Before I reflect on some possible improvements, let us consider what happened following the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

While the official work of reform was taking place some very serious misinterpretations of the liturgy emerged and took root in different places throughout the world. These abuses of the Sacred Liturgy grew up because of an erroneous understanding of the Council, resulting in liturgical celebrations that were subjective and which were more focused on the individual community’s desires than on the sacrificial worship of Almighty God. My predecessor as Prefect of the Congregation, Francis Cardinal Arinze, once called this sort of thing “the do-it-yourself Mass.”

Saint John Paul II even found it necessary to write the following in his Encyclical letter “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” (April 17, 2003):

The Magisterium’s commitment to proclaiming the Eucharistic mystery has been matched by interior growth within the Christian community. Certainly the liturgical reform inaugurated by the Council has greatly contributed to a more conscious, active and fruitful participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar on the part of the faithful. In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness. The devout participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a grace from the Lord which yearly brings joy to those who take part in it. Other positive signs of Eucharistic faith and love might also be mentioned.

Unfortunately, alongside these lights, there are also shadows. In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this? The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation. It is my hope that the present Encyclical Letter will effectively help to banish the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery (n. 10).

There was also a pastoral reality here: whether for good reasons or not, some people could or would not participate in the reformed rites. They stayed away, or only participated in the unreformed liturgy where they could find it, even when its celebration was not authorized. In this way the liturgy became an expression of divisions within the Church, rather than one of Catholic unity. The Council did not intend that the liturgy divide us one from another! St John Paul II worked to heal this division, aided by Cardinal Ratzinger who, as Pope Benedict XVI, sought to facilitate the necessary internal reconciliation in the Church by establishing in his Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum” (July 7, 2007) that the more ancient form of the Roman rite is to be available without restriction to those individuals and groups who wish to draw from its riches. In God’s Providence it is now possible to celebrate our Catholic unity whilst respecting, and even rejoicing in, a legitimate diversity of ritual practice.

We may have built a very new, modern liturgy in the vernacular, but if we have not laid the correct foundations — if our seminarians and clergy are not “thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy” as the Council required — then they themselves cannot form the people entrusted to their care. We need to take the words of the Council itself very seriously: it would be “futile” to hope for a liturgical renewal without a thorough liturgical formation. Without this essential formation clergy could even damage peoples’ faith in the Eucharistic mystery.

I do not wish to be thought of as being unduly pessimistic, and I say again: there are many, many faithful lay men and women, many clergy and religious for whom the liturgy as reformed after the Council is a source of much spiritual and apostolic fruit, and for that I thank Almighty God. But, even from my brief analysis just now, I think you will agree that we can do better so that the Sacred Liturgy truly becomes the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as the Fathers of the Council so earnestly desired.

In the light of the fundamental desires of the Council Fathers and of the different situations that we have seen arise following the Council, I would like to present some practical considerations on how we can implement Sacrosanctum Concilium more faithfully today. Even though I serve as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, I do so in all humility as a priest and a bishop in the hope that they will promote mature reflection and scholarship and good liturgical practice throughout the Church.

It will come as no surprise if I say that first of all we must examine the quality and depth of our liturgical formation, of how we imbue our clergy, religious and lay faithful with the spirit and power of the liturgy. Too often we assume that our candidates for ordination to the priesthood or the permanent diaconate “know” enough about the liturgy. But the Council was not insisting on knowledge here, though, of course, the Constitution stressed the importance of liturgical studies (see nn. 15–17). No, the liturgical formation that is primary and essential is more one of immersion in the liturgy, in the deep mystery of God our loving Father. It is a question of living the liturgy in all its richness, so that having drunk deeply from its fount we always have a thirst for its delights, its order and beauty, its silence and contemplation, its exaltation and adoration, its ability to connect us intimately with He who is at work in and through the Church’s sacred rites.

That is why those “in formation” for pastoral ministry should live the liturgy as fully as is possible in their seminaries or houses of formation. Candidates for the permanent diaconate should have an immersion in an intense liturgical life over a prolonged period also. And, I would add, that the full and rich celebration of the more ancient use of the Roman rite, the usus antiquior, should be an important part of liturgical formation for clergy, for how can we begin to comprehend or celebrate the reformed rites with a hermeneutic of continuity if we have never experienced the beauty of the liturgical tradition which the Fathers of the Council themselves knew?

If we attend to this, if our new priests and deacons truly thirst for the liturgy, they will themselves be able to form those entrusted to their care — even if the liturgical circumstances and possibilities of their ecclesial mission are more modest than those of the seminary or of a cathedral. I am aware of many priests in such circumstances who form their people in the spirit and power of the liturgy, and whose parishes are examples of great liturgical beauty. We should remember that dignified simplicity is not the same as reductive minimalism or a negligent and vulgar style. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, teaches in his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium“: “The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving” (n. 24).

Secondly, I think it is very important that we are clear about the nature of liturgical participation, of the participatio actuosa for which the Council called. There has been a lot of confusion here over recent decades. Article 48 of the Constitution states:

The Church … earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration.

The Council sees participation as primarily internal, coming about “through a good understanding of the rites and prayers.” The Fathers called for the faithful to sing, to respond to the priest, to assume liturgical ministries that are rightfully theirs, certainly, but it insists that all should be “conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration.”

If we understand the priority of internalizing our liturgical participation we will avoid the noisy and dangerous liturgical activism that has been too prominent in recent decades. We do not go to the liturgy so as to perform, to do things for others to see: we go to be connected with Christ’s action through an internalisation of the external liturgical rites, prayers, signs and symbols. It may be that we whose vocation is to minister liturgically need to remember this more than others! But we also need to form others, particularly our children and young people, in the true meaning of liturgical participation, in the true way to pray the liturgy.

Thirdly, I have spoken of the fact that some of the reforms introduced following the Council may have been put together according to the spirit of the times and that there has been an increasing amount of critical study by faithful sons and daughters of the Church asking whether what was in fact produced truly implemented the aims of the Constitution, or whether in reality they went beyond them. This discussion sometimes takes place under the title of a “reform of the reform,” and I am aware that Father Thomas Kocik presented a learned study on this question at the Sacra Liturgia conference in New York one year ago.

I do not think that we can dismiss the possibility or the desirability of an official reform of the liturgical reform, because its proponents make some important claims in their attempt to be faithful to the Council’s insistence in article 23 of the Constitution “that sound tradition … be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress” and that “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”

Indeed, I can say that when I was received in audience by the Holy Father last April, Pope Francis asked me to study the question of a reform of a reform and of how to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite. This will be a delicate work and I ask for your patience and prayers. But if we are to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium more faithfully, if we are to achieve what the Council desired, this is a serious question which must be carefully studied and acted on with the necessary clarity and prudence.

We priests, we bishops bear a great responsibility. How our good example builds up good liturgical practice; how our carelessness or wrongdoing harms the Church and her Sacred Liturgy!

We priests must be worshippers first and foremost. Our people can see the difference between a priest who celebrates with faith and one who celebrates in a hurry, frequently looking at his watch, almost so as to say that he wants to get back to the television as quickly as possible! Fathers, we can do no more important thing than celebrate the sacred mysteries: let us beware of the temptation of liturgical sloth, because it is a temptation of the devil.

We must remember that we are not the authors of the liturgy, we are its humble ministers, subject to its discipline and laws. We are also responsible to form those who assist us in liturgical ministries in both the spirit and power of the liturgy and indeed its regulations. Sometimes I have seen priests step aside to allow extraordinary ministers distribute Holy Communion: this is wrong, it is a denial of the priestly ministry as well as a clericalization of the laity. When this happens it is a sign that formation has gone very wrong, and that it needs to be corrected.

I have also seen priests, and bishops, vested to celebrate Holy Mass, take out telephones and cameras and use them in the Sacred Liturgy. This is a terrible indictment of what they understand they are doing when they put on the liturgical vestments, which clothe us as an alter Christus — and much more, as ipse Christus, as Christ himself. To do this is a sacrilege. No bishop, priest or deacon vested for liturgical ministry or present in the sanctuary should be taking photographs, even at large-scale concelebrated Masses. That priests often do this at such Masses, or talk with each other and sit casually, is a sign, I think, that we need to rethink their appropriateness, especially if they lead priests into this sort of scandalous behaviour that is so unworthy of the mystery being celebrated, or if the sheer size of these concelebrations leads to a risk of the profanation of the Blessed Eucharist.

I want to make an appeal to all priests. You may have read my article in L’Osservatore Romano one year ago (June 12, 2015) or my interview with the journal Famille Chrétienne in May of this year. On both occasions I said that I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction — eastwards or at least towards the apse — to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God. This practice is permitted by current liturgical legislation. It is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite. Indeed, I think it is a very important step in ensuring that in our celebrations the Lord is truly at the center.

And so, dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people. Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’ (see: Introit, Mass of Wednesday of the first week of Advent) may be a very good time to do this. Dear Fathers, we should listen again to the lament of God proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah: “they have turned their back to me” (2:27). Let us turn again towards the Lord!

I would like to appeal also to my brother bishops: please lead your priests and people towards the Lord in this way, particularly at large celebrations in your dioceses and in your cathedral. Please form your seminarians in the reality that we are not called to the priesthood to be at the center of liturgical worship ourselves, but to lead Christ’s faithful to him as fellow worshippers. Please facilitate this simple but profound reform in your dioceses, your cathedrals, your parishes and your seminaries.

We Bishops have a great responsibility, and one day we shall have to answer to the Lord for our stewardship. We are the owners of nothing! As St. Paul teaches, we are merely “the servants of Christ and the stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). We are responsible to ensure that the sacred realities of the liturgy are respected in our dioceses and that our priests and deacons not only observe the liturgical laws, but know the spirit and power of the liturgy from which they emerge. I was very encouraged to read the presentation on “The Bishop: Governor, Promoter and Guardian of the Liturgical Life of the Diocese” made to the 2013 Sacra Liturgia conference in Rome by Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon in the USA, and I fraternally encourage my brother bishops to study his considerations carefully.

At this point I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that Pope Francis has asked me to continue the liturgical work Pope Benedict began (see: Message to Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, New York City). Just because we have a new pope does not mean that his predecessor’s vision is now invalid. On the contrary, as we know, our Holy Father Pope Francis has the greatest respect for the liturgical vision and measures Pope Benedict implemented in utter fidelity to the intentions and aims of the Council Fathers.

Before I conclude, please permit me to mention some other small ways which can also contribute to a more faithful implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. One is that we must sing the liturgy, we must sing the liturgical texts, respecting the liturgical traditions of the Church and rejoicing in the treasury of sacred music that is ours, most especially that music proper to the Roman rite, Gregorian chant. We must sing sacred liturgical music not merely religious music, or worse, profane songs.

We must obtain the right balance between the vernacular languages and the use of Latin in the liturgy. The Council never intended that the Roman rite be exclusively celebrated in the vernacular. But it did intend to allow its increased use, particularly for the readings. Today it should be possible, especially with modern means of printing, to facilitate comprehension by all when Latin is used, perhaps for the liturgy of the Eucharist, and of course this is particularly appropriate at international gatherings where the local vernacular is not understood by many. And naturally, when the vernacular is used, it must be a faithful translation of the original Latin, as Pope Francis recently affirmed to me.

We must ensure that adoration is at the heart of our liturgical celebrations. Too often we do not move from celebration to adoration, but if we do not do that I worry that we may not have always participated in the liturgy fully, internally. Two bodily dispositions are helpful, indeed indispensable here. The first is silence. If I am never silent, if the liturgy gives me no space for silent prayer and contemplation, how can I adore Christ, how can I connect with him in my heart and soul? Silence is very important, and not only before and after the liturgy.

So too, kneeling at the consecration (unless I am sick) is essential. In the West this is an act of bodily adoration that humbles us before our Lord and God. It is itself an act of prayer. Where kneeling and genuflection have disappeared from the liturgy, they need to be restored, in particular for our reception of our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion. Dear Fathers, where possible and with the pastoral prudence of which I spoke earlier, form your people in this beautiful act of worship and love. Let us kneel in adoration and love before the Eucharistic Lord once again!

In speaking of the reception of Holy Communion kneeling I would like to recall the 2002 letter of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments which clarifies that “any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture [is] a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful” (Letter, July 1, 2002, “Notitiae,” n. 436, Nov–Dec 2002, p. 583).

Correctly vesting all the liturgical ministers in the sanctuary, including lectors, is also very important if such ministries are to be considered authentic and if they are to be exercised with the decorum due to the Sacred Liturgy — also if the ministers themselves are to show the correct reverence for the mysteries they minister.

These are some suggestions: I am sure that many others could be made. I put them before you as possible ways of moving towards “the right way of celebrating the liturgy inwardly and outwardly,” which was of course the desire expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger at the beginning of his great work, The Spirit of the Liturgy. (Joseph Ratzinger, “Theology of the Liturgy,” Collected Works vol. 11, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2014, p. 4). I encourage you to do all that you can to realise this goal, which is utterly consistent with that of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Catholic Teen With Down Syndrome on Quest to Serve Mass in All 50 States

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholic-teen-with-down-syndrome-on-quest-to-serve-mass-in-all-50-states/

‘Momma, all I want to be is a saint,’ Kara Jackson has told her mother. The family has visited 40 states already, so that Kara can fulfill her dream. They consider each trip a pilgrimage.

by TONIA BORSELLINO/CNA/EWTN NEWS 07/08/2016

teen

DENVER — On July 1, Kara Jackson crossed the 40th state off her list.

The 18-year-old helped serve Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Northglenn, Colo. Dressed in her own vestments and with a big smile on her face, Jackson served with the same passion she began her journey with in 2013.

This all started because “God told me to,” Jackson told CNA. She said God came to her in a dream one night, telling her to begin the quest of helping serve Mass in all 50 states.

Her mother questioned this mission, at first.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea,” Christina Jackson said. “It was a crazy idea.” The thought of traveling to unknown areas, without financial support, and Kara’s heath complications made her mother hesitant.

But Kara was persistent. Christina and her husband, Rick, took the idea to their local priests in Middletown, Ohio, for their opinion. The late Msgr. Paul Metzger encouraged Kara because he had traveled to every state celebrating Mass. Father John Civille, their pastor, told Kara he would be her personal chaplain in Alaska and Hawaii.

With their support, Kara’s mother looked to the closest state, Indiana, to “test the waters.” Kara, having a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, suggested stopping at St. Mary Catholic Church in Richmond.

“I didn’t think there was a St. Mary’s,” her mother said, but, sure enough, “they have a St. Mary’s.”

The family said a prayer and sent a letter to the parish. That Friday, at 3pm, the pastor of the parish called back welcoming Kara. The evening before Divine Mercy Sunday, she stood with Father Kevin Morris and served Mass in her second state.

Since then, Kara and her parents have traveled across the nation during school breaks and family vacations.

“God leads us where we’re supposed to go,” Christina said. The family never has a specific parish in mind. Sometimes they end up at a small church in a strong Protestant area or a parish that has more than 12,000 parishioners, like Immaculate Heart of Mary in Colorado.

“We’ve seen it all,” the family says.

The family tells stories of churches with expansion plans and others where the pastor’s dog also attended Mass. They recalled the time Kara served with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in her sixth state of Kentucky. They even said their journey impacted the life of a hotel clerk, bringing him back to God.

“I don’t think of ourselves has evangelists,” Christina said, “but we really are evangelizing our faith.”

The family considers each trip a pilgrimage. Kara prays for the priests and their parishes before Mass begins. Regardless of where they travel, they say God is always with them.

Seeing the universal Church and all the Godly encounters “gives me great hope, and it has strengthened my faith,” Christina said.

“We are a vibrant Church,” she said. “We’ve survived over 2,000 years, and we will still be here.”

Kara’s notebook filled with messages from every priest she has met documents her journey. One priest wrote a message inviting Kara to serve Mass at his home parish in Ireland. She hopes to make the trip for her 21st birthday.

“It’s emotional to see this,” Christina said, with tears in her eyes.

After struggling with infertility for many years, Christina became pregnant. When doctors told Christina and Rick their daughter had Down syndrome, they said she would never lift her head or talk. The doctors even suggested “adopting her out.”

“We brought her home,” Christina said, and have been blessed ever since.

Kara wanted to take altar-serving lessons when she was 9 years old. Her parents said she was focused and attentive the entire time. She watched daily Mass on EWTN to learn how to ring the bells.

“She tells me, ‘Momma, all I want to be is a saint,’” Christina said.

While traveling, Kara has never gotten sick consuming Communion hosts with gluten, though she has Celiac disease.

The family will stop in six more states on this leg of their trip, leaving only Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska to come. Though they would love to complete their journey in the Year of Mercy, they said they will finish “when the money comes in.”

The family said people have suggested their story be turned into a book or movie. Either way, Kara said she would like to become an actress and writer one day.

Starting in August, she will attend the “Project 101 Program” for students with special needs at Butler Tech University.

 

86-Year-Old Grandma Meets Her 86th Great-Grandchild

grandma

No. 86 must be lucky for Marie Frey, who received the gift of her 86th great grandchild just days before her 86th birthday.

“It’s pretty good that she got to see her,” said Frey’s grandson Kenny Frey of Forest, Ohio. “Family and faith are her two biggest favorites. She’s a very strong woman.”

Blakely Grace Frey was born the morning of June 23.

Frey told ABC News that his father’s mother Marie, of Upper Sandusky, was born and raised in Ohio.

She and her late husband Gerald, who died in October 2009, had 15 children, with the oldest being 66 years old.

Marie also has 68 grandchildren, including two sets of twins, and six step-grandchildren. In addition to 86 biological great-grandchildren, Marie also has nine step-great-grandchildren.

Blakely is Frey’s fifth daughter. She was born at 7 pounds, 5 ounces at Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, Ohio, three days prior to her great-grandma Marie’s 86th birthday, and her mother Holly’s 32nd birthday on June 26.

Although they have quite the crowd to keep up with, Frey said he and his grandmother enjoy being part of such a large clan.

“She came from large family and Grandpa did too,” he said. “My wife and I also wanted a big family.”

This year, Marie is expecting two more great-grandchildren, Nos. 87 and 88, from Frey’s sister and cousin, he said.

The Power of Women: 2016 Pro-Life Women’s Conference

The Power of Women: 2016 Pro-Life Women’s Conference

The first ever pro-life women’s conference took place on the weekend of June 24-26 in Dallas. Hosted by activist Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None, the conference attracted women from all over the country eager to hear from female leaders and connect with one another. Over 500 activists participated: pregnancy center and sidewalk counselors, doulas and nurses, writers, lawyers, and community organizers. There were 31 sponsors, among them Natural Womanhood, Sidewalk Advocates for Life, Save the 1, and International Helpline. Keynote speakers included Marilyn Musgrave of Susan B. Anthony List, and Star Parker from the Center for Urban Renewal and Education; break-out informational sessions and panel discussions featured other popular figures like abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and Secular Pro-Life’s Kelsey Hazzard.

A recurring conference theme was the need for the feminist movement to get away from claiming men and women are the same in order to gain equality—in the workplace, in schools, and in society at large. Speakers stressed that women are equal because our contributions, while distinctively different from those of men, are just as valuable. It was therefore fitting for Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster, who opened the conference Friday night and spoke again on Saturday, to call on attendees to embrace feminism: To be pro-woman is to be pro-life, she declared. Foster shared insights gained from her decades-long experience as a pro-life feminist and related heart-breaking stories she had heard from both women and men effected by abortion.

Leah Jacobson, founder of The Guiding Star Project, was both a keynote speaker and leader of one of the informational sessions. She addressed how our society continues to perpetuate the idea that the female body can be manipulated to fit a cultural norm. There are three things that are distinctive to being a woman, she explained, which a man cannot mimic: the ability to ovulate, gestate, and lactate. As natural as these functions are, throughout American history, Jacobson claimed, attempts have been made to manipulate or suppress them, reflecting a troubled culture that undermines femininity by sending women the message that they can’t trust their own bodies. She also addressed the devaluing of the bond between mother and child indicated by the lack of workplace accommodations for families with babies. And she made a good point about the hypocrisy of a culture that promotes a movement protesting GMOs and hormones in meat, while remaining generally complacent about the hormones and chemicals in birth control pills. High amounts of artificial drugs in these pills, she pointed out, have been found in groundwater supplies.

In addition to Jacobson’s, other breakout sessions included topics such as “Latinas and Abortion,” “Pregnancy Loss,” “Fertility Awareness Based Methods for Family Planning,” “Pro-Life Concerns about the Girl Scouts,” and “How to Start a Pro-life Group on Campus.”

The panel discussions featured first-hand accounts concerning political activism, adoption and birth mothers, and creating a culture of life to embrace even the hard cases—such as that of Rebecca Kiessling, a public speaker who was conceived in rape. Kiessling told the story of how her mother had sought to end her pregnancy, then reconsidered because she didn’t want to gamble her own life and health by resorting to a back-alley abortion. “I wasn’t lucky,” Kiessling said. “I was protected. Legality matters.”

There was also a session on activism from the millennials’ perspective. The young panelists acknowledged that imagery plays an important role when trying to reach abortion-minded women or to initiate dialogue with pro-choicers. But in their experience, the use of graphic images of bloody aborted baby parts makes pro-lifers appear unapproachable and extreme. Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of the New Wave Feminists added that it can be effective to show the violence of abortion, but only after a person has expressed genuine openness to pro-life viewpoints. In her experience with her own crisis pregnancy, and as a sidewalk counselor, she found that abortion-minded women responded better to sidewalk counselors offering pamphlets with a happy, young mother smiling on the cover, rather than a picture of an aborted baby.

The Conference was a call for more and better action for women, by women. As we began to leave the hotel on Sunday to return to our respective hometowns, the general chatter was, “We’re doing this again next year, right?” and “I know what I need to do”—the beginning of a new phase of a collective and cohesive national women’s movement to reclaim the narrative about abortion and what women’s equality really means.

The Hidden Truth about Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Pier Giorgio Frassati smiled and laughed so freely that he was called “an explosion of joy.” He whistled and sang loudly and hopelessly out of tune. He loved playful teasing and practical jokes. In his early 20’s, he was the picture of strength and health, leading groups of friends into the Alps to scale mountain peaks.

His ready laughter and adventurous spirit were fountains that sprang from a well of holiness. Pier Giorgio was so filled with virtue that Saint John Paul II, who beatified him in 1990, called him the “Man of the Beatitudes.” Joy of life and love of God coursed readily through his veins. Could anyone who knew him in the sunshine of his youth, in the early twentieth century in Turin, Italy, have believed that he would die before the age of 25?

In her beautiful memoir My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days, Luciana Frassati—Pier Giorgio’s only sibling—tells the story of her brother’s final week on earth, and of the veil that was lifted from the eyes of his family as they discovered two truths about him that they had not dreamed possible: that he was dying, and that he lived a life of immense charity that touched thousands of lives.

His family never suspected these truths, because Pier Giorgio quietly and humbly hid both his suffering and his good works.

“We were still unaware, at his death watch, that he had been late for mealtimes because he had given his tram money to some poor person and his jacket to another,” writes Luciana.

Pier Giorgio’s wealthy father was an important senator and owned one of Italy’s most prestigious newspapers, but Pier Giorgio was always broke and often begged for money from his family and friends—not for himself, but for the poor, whom he visited and served daily, and to whom he gave every cent he could find.

To his family, he was merely an engineering student—an average one, who worked hard but for whom learning never came easily. They saw him come and go from their large estate, where the discord between his parents created an atmosphere of constricted love, and where no one fully knew or understood Pier Giorgio, and they never guessed where he actually went.

It was as if a veil had been placed over their eyes, and it remained there until his very last days on earth. Until his death from poliomyelitis—a disease he most likely contracted while serving the poor—at the age of 24.

When Pier Giorgio first began to feel sick, he tried hard to hide it. His grandmother was on her deathbed upstairs in the Frassati home, and he did not want to bother anyone with his own ailments. Every time he came in the door, he inquired about his grandmother and went to visit her room. As his sickness progressed, he became less and less able to move, yet he still pushed himself out of his bedroom and down the hall to pray at his grandmother’s bedside. One sleepless night followed another, as he stumbled down the hall and back again, unable to rest, unwilling to complain.

His family, consumed by his grandmother’s illness, believed he had the flu. A doctor who came to examine him diagnosed him with rheumatism; and so, the veil remained. While his grandmother approached her death, no one knew that a few doors away, death was coming for her grandson, too.

Pier Giorgio wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He prayed his heart out for his grandmother, and exhorted others to pray, too. “Go to Grandmother,” he told Luciana. “Pray for her because her condition is very serious,”—and then he broke down and sobbed.

When his grandmother passed away, polio was ravaging Pier Giorgio’s body and beginning to paralyze him—yet every two hours throughout the night, he made his way to his grandmother’s room, where he stood and prayed, or knelt and prayed, each time appearing more exhausted, less able to rise again.

All the while, his family thought what an inconvenient time he had chosen to get sick.

“You’re letting yourself go,” his mother told him, not knowing that he would be dead two days later. “If you want to get well, you must get hold of yourself.”

The regret with which Luciana writes about her family’s dismissal of Pier Giorgio’s sickness is heartbreaking. She spent the rest of her life spreading her brother’s story, wishing they had understood sooner and cared for him better. And yet, his family’s blindness helped to conform him to the Person he most wanted to imitate. It gave him the opportunity to be more like Christ. For as Pier Giorgio—a daily communicant who strived to live the Gospel with every breath he took—was misunderstood by his loved ones as his death came near, so was his Lord misunderstood by His loved ones as His death approached, as well.

In Mark 10:32-34, Jesus tells his apostles something that should have shocked, saddened, and stunned them: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise.”

The apostles should have wept, right? Shouldn’t they have fallen to their knees in grief? That’s not what Mark says they did, though. He says that James and John came forward to Jesus—and asked Him to let them sit at His right and His left in His glory. He had just told them He was going to be murdered, and they responded with a request for special treatment in heaven.

I imagine James and John might have regretted that move later, when they looked back and understood, in hindsight, what Jesus had been saying. But for some reason, at the time of Jesus’ words, the veil remained. Like Pier Giorgio’s family, Jesus’ apostles did not appear to understand the gravity of the situation they were in. For reasons that might only be revealed in heaven, the veil was not lifted until later.

As Saint Paul says, the Lord “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendations from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5) For Pier Giorgio, the time to “bring to light the things now hidden” was approaching hand in hand with the end of his earthly life.

Two days after Pier Giorgio’s grandmother died, the doctor who had diagnosed him with rheumatism returned and, deeply grieved by what he found, called for a second doctor, who called for a third, to confirm the sad diagnosis: poliomyelitis.

His family reeled in shock and grasped for quickly unraveling threads of hope while the paralysis moved into his lungs. As they struggled to comprehend the first hidden truth—that he was dying—the second hidden truth came to the surface as well: that he had been surreptitiously serving the poor in the manner of a saint.

“During his life he had kept quiet about his poor,” writes Luciana, “but at this point, having sensed his imminent death, he was forced to reveal himself.” One of his last acts was to ask Luciana to retrieve some medicine and a pawn ticket from his study. With effort that Luciana calls “impossible to describe,” he scrawled a note to ensure the items would reach the poor people for whom he had kept them. This small glimpse of charity on his deathbed was only a hint of what would come to light after his death.

Pier Giorgio took his last breath on July 4, 1925. At his funeral, thousands of people from every part of the city flooded the streets.

“The letters we began to receive and even more what was said about Pier Giorgio by unknown friends and all the strangers who turned to us constituted a revelation so imposing and so sublime that it overwhelmed us at least as much as his death,” Luciana writes. Only then did his family realize the impact he had made and the lives he had touched in the name of Jesus. Only then did they begin to understand the truth about Pier Giorgio. Only then did the lifted veil reveal that they had been living with a person of extraordinary grace.

On his feast day, July 4, and always, let us ask Blessed Pier Giorgio to intercede for us, that we, too, may live and die in humility, charity, and holiness.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!

A Deeper Love

by Anthony J. Caruso, M.D.

Natural family planning is an invitation to live God’s plan for love and marriage

EDITOR’S NOTE: Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, a national education campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be observed July 24-30. For more information, visit usccb.org/nfp.

When learned well and embraced by a couple, natural family planning strengthens and protects the marital bond. As a pro-life physician who works with couples seeking to learn NFP, I have seen it bring both blessings and challenges. Like any worthwhile endeavor, it requires time and effort.

A husband and wife using NFP have a unique opportunity to learn more about the beauty of the female reproductive system. The intricate symphony involved in the monthly cycle is fascinating and illuminates God’s plan for procreation. A couple’s enhanced understanding should be an occasion to grow in love and respect for one another as they move forward in marriage.

Monitoring a woman’s natural fertile and infertile periods leads a couple to regularly communicate about such topics as family size, physical health, psychological outlook and the role of intimacy in their married life. They also are encouraged to pray together to discern God’s will.

Humanae Vitae, the prophetic 1968 encyclical on the regulation of birth by Blessed Paul VI, mentions four considerations couples may take into account in delaying conception: physical, economic, social and psychological. While Pope Paul VI outlined reasonable grounds for spacing births, he also warned against a mindset that would be closed to conception, calling children “the supreme gift of marriage [who] contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare” (8).

Thus, though couples may use NFP to delay conception for legitimate reasons, when touting the “effectiveness” of NFP we should never forget that children are a blessing.

In all cases, NFP differs from contraception, for it does not separate the unitive and procreative meaning of marital intimacy. Not only that, but NFP avoids the risks and side effects of ingesting chemicals to suppress one’s natural fertility. Invariably, there is a marked improvement in the health and well-being of women who stop using hormonal contraceptives. When they stop and learn NFP, women feel the difference in their daily lives.

There are other health benefits as well. Doctors who advocate NFP instead of contraception can more easily diagnose and treat underlying causes of infertility, and they can help women with irregular cycles by using natural therapies.

There are also challenges, which can become blessings when faced openly and with faith. When a couple uses NFP to delay conception, periodic abstinence is required during fertile periods. It is not uncommon for me to speak with women who become frustrated because their charting can reveal they must remain abstinent for long periods of time. Other women express a strong desire to have another child, yet their husband is not supportive. Practicing NFP can be difficult if a husband and wife are not on the same page.

Nonetheless, NFP can help by encouraging communication between spouses as well as prayer. There is a very beautiful and beneficial interplay involved that can bring a couple closer together; even periodic abstinence can lead them to desire each other more, especially if they work toward the same goal regarding conception.

Although everyone is different, and there is no one-sizefits- all method, all married couples of childbearing age can benefit from NFP. As they turn toward one another in openness to life, and see the love of God reflected in each other, they make for stronger marriages and happier families.


ANTHONY J. CARUSO, M.D., is an obstetrician/gynecologist and a member of Father Boecker Council 6090 in Lombard, Ill.

This article appeared in the July/2016 issue of Columbia magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Knights of Columbus, New Haven, Conn.

Contraception: An Alternative to Abortion?

Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Human Life International’s regional director of Asia and Oceania, gave an eye-opening talk at the tenth World Congress of Families in the Republic of Georgia in May. Her presentation on contraception was accompanied by HLI resources on the subject.

Dr. Acosta took her time deciding on a topic for this important conference. While reviewing the programs of previous WCFs, she noticed that the topic of contraception had not been given much attention. After talking with conference organizers about the need to discuss the demographic problems facing many Asian countries, she agreed to connect these issues with one of their most important causes, one often overlooked even by those who defend life. Dr. Acosta’s presentation moved the audience, many of whom considered contraceptives to be a safe way to prevent abortion.
Contraception-web
Contraception is Unhealthy and Unsafe for Women

Not only has the wide promotion of contraception not lowered abortion rates, Contraception is not safe. The World Health Organization classified contraceptives as carcinogenic in a September 2005 report. In spite of the carcinogenicity, WHO routinely makes the unsupported claim that “the health benefits clearly exceed the health risks.” Apparently the World Health Organization is not concerned that women are putting cancer-causing chemicals in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos in their bodies daily.

Side Effects of Contraception

What are the health risks that are supposedly outweighed by the benefits? Different forms of contraception from birth control pills to IUDs to vaginal rings share side effects ranging from headache to depression to death. None of these forms protect against HIV-AIDS or any other STDs, and some have been shown to substantially increase risk of HIV transmission in women. Deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, is one of the more dangerous side effects, which can lead to strokes even in young women. Other serious side effects include breast and cervical cancer, total or partial blindness, ectopic pregnancy, gallbladder disease, and depression and suicidal thoughts. Less serious side effects include acne, dizziness, diarrhea, and/or vomiting, weight loss or gain, nervousness, rash, and excessive sweating or body odor. Copper T IUD can cause an increase in menstrual cramping and bleeding. Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive that is very popular among population control organizations, has been given a “black box warning” from the FDA due to the fact that it can cause a loss in bone marrow density.

Contraception Does Not Prevent Abortion

There are two ways in which hormonal contraceptives cause abortion rather than prevent it. First, the term “contraceptive” (contra (against)- conception) is not entirely accurate. Most hormonal methods have three effects, only two of which actually prevent contraception by thickening cervical mucus or by preventing ovulation. Most of these methods, however, also act as abortifacients, ending the life of the unborn child at his earliest stage by preventing his implantation in the uterus. This has been known for some time: over 25 years ago, Planned Parenthood lawyer Frank Susman said, “The most common forms of contraception today—IUDs, low dose birth control pills, which are the safest type of birth control pills available—act as abortifacients.”[1] This is true for almost all hormonal contraceptives—the pill, patches, vaginal rings, and long-acting methods. The only contraceptive methods sure to not cause early abortions are surgical sterilization and barrier methods, such as condoms. Of course, these methods have their own problems, and neither of them prevents the spread of STDs.

The second reason that contraceptives cause abortion rather than prevent it is because of their higher-than-expected failure rate. Birth control pills need to be taken at the same time every day for peak effectiveness. Condoms can slip, break, or leak. Depo-Provera has a 6% failure rate, and is not recommended for long-term use (more than two years) due to the increased health risks for prolonged use. The effectiveness of all of these methods also decreases with time. Once a woman’s birth control method fails, she is likely to want to end the unwanted pregnancy in abortion. Former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Malcolm Potts, said in 1977, “As has been pointed out, those who use contraceptives are more likely than those who do not to resort to induced abortion.”[2]

According to former abortion mill owner Carol Everett, contraception failure is part of Planned Parenthood’s strategy to sell abortions. Everett has stated in several interviews that Planned Parenthood sells abortions to young girls by first giving them contraceptives that will eventually fail, such as birth control pills that need to be taken at the same time every day. “You know and I know, there’s not a teenager in the world who does everything the same time every day.” Once Planned Parenthood has girls using contraceptives, it is easier to get them to choose abortion.

HLI’s Fight against Contraception

Contraception has been sold as a “safe” alternative to abortion for over a century. In the December 1918 issue of Margaret Sanger’s “Birth Control Review”, the founder of Planned Parenthood states, “If [a woman] is denied the knowledge of the safe, harmless, scientific methods of Birth Control, she limits her family by abortion…the abnormal, often dangerous, surgical operation.”[3] This is interesting considering that Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 of these “abnormal, often dangerous, surgical operations” in 2013.

Human Life International, on the other hand, has been fighting the lie of “safe contraception” since our founding in 1981. When many in the wake of Roe v. Wade were claiming that birth control would decrease abortions, Father Paul Marx, HLI’s founder, was teaching (in agreement with Planned Parenthood’s Malcolm Potts) that increased demand for abortion is the result of the widespread use of contraception. “Abortion is the endpoint of the abuse of sex, which begins with the unleashing of the sexual urge by contraception,”[4] Fr. Marx writes in his book The Warehouse Priest.

It was the discovery of the truth about contraception that brought Dr. Acosta to the pro-life movement and to Human Life International. Dr. Acosta spent over 28 years promoting contraception and population control as an employee of the Department of Health in the Philippines. In 2004, she was assigned to be Program Manager for Natural Family Planning. As she began to learn more about NFP, she began to realize the miracle of reproduction. “I realized that God in all His wisdom and glory really placed a body clock inside the body of a woman, where you will know exactly when you are fertile and not fertile.” Through her research, she learned the horrible side effects of artificial birth control on a woman’s body, and the ultimate consequence for the child. She then spent a year studying the subject of contraception, reading material from HLI as well as others. “The more I read, the more I cried.” She realized that she had to quit her job. She has been working for HLI Asia since 2007, avidly opposing the movement she promoted for so long.

Continuing the Fight

Dr. Acosta’s commitment and dedication to the pro-life movement shone through her talk at the World Congress of Families. Several of those who heard her speak were deeply moved to oppose contraception, the root of the Culture of Death. After her talk, activists from both Belarus and London requested copies of the presentation to use in their countries. Dr. Acosta continues to give many talks weekly in her native Philippines and around Asia and Oceania, winning many to the cause of life and family.

[1] “Excerpts of Arguments Before Supreme Court on Missouri Abortion Law.” Washington Post, April 27, 1989, page A16.

[2] Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory, and John Peel. Abortion [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press], 1977, pages 491, 496, 498 and 526.

[3] Sanger, Margaret. “Birth Control or Abortion?” Birth Control Review (New York City), December 1918. Page 3-4.

[4] Marx, Paul. The Warehouse Priest. Gaithersburg, MD: Human Life International, 1993. Page 307.

New academic program teaches kids to defend life, family amidst hostile culture

June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A new academic program that can be integrated into any curriculum teaches students of all ages to understand and defend the sanctity of life, one of the program’s pioneers told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive video interview.

The American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program uses educational supplements to teach students in an age-appropriate way about the value of each human life.  This equips them to respond to the culture of death, which “plays on their emotions,” the program’s Educational Outreach Coordinator Mary Flores said.

“Young people today are very empathetic,” and the culture of death takes advantage of this, especially in regard to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, Flores said.

“One of the most important studies that we released actually last December was our first unit study for high school students, and that is on the difficult topic of euthanasia,” said Flores.  The study is called Euthanasia: An Introduction and is increasingly relevant as the practice is pushed across the United States and Canada and teenagers struggle to understand it, she said.

Flores told LifeSiteNews that even at pro-life conferences, she meets young people who are not well-educated on the issue.

Watch LifeSiteNews’ full interview with Mary Flores:

The euthanasia study is “very simple to follow” and it can make anyone “an instant expert” on the topic, Flores said.

The majority of the program’s creators are homeschooling mothers, Flores said, which has ensured that the content is age-appropriate and easy to incorporate into other curricula.

“The fact that we’re mothers gives us a really special angle,” said Flores. “We also work with pro-life experts from around the country to make sure that all of our unit studies, including the ones for younger children, are age-appropriate and also top-notch.”

Younger children learn about being made in the image and likeness of God “from the moment of creation” through the program’s beginning series of lessons, titled Life Primer. Middle school students “continue their studies of the basic principles of the gospel of life in the series Life Foundations by examining age-appropriate pro-life topics in literature, history, science, and religion,” according to program’s website.

And in high school, the program places more emphasis on evangelization and communication through critical thinking and hands-on activities in the final three series of studies: Life Quest, Life Lens, and Life Scope.

One of the studies for high school students includes a unit on Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and how she promoted artificial birth control across the country. The American Life League is currently hosting a kickstarter campaign to fund the delivery of this unit to supporters of the project.

One of the best things about the Culture of Life Studies Program is “that the materials can be easily worked into youth groups or religious education programs,” said Flores, which can reach public school students who typically do not receive this kind of information.

“I definitely see the Culture of Life Studies Program as an antidote to the many problems in our schools,” said Flores.

What a strong bishop can do

Attacking the bishop

As if only to prove him right, homosexual activists brought charges against Cardinal Cañizares for giving the homily. He was in a Catholic Church speaking to Catholics, yet he cannot (to listen to these activists) be allowed to defend Church teaching on marriage and challenge those who, well, threaten anyone who dare raise a voice in opposition.

We’re well past the point of “You can’t make this stuff up.” You don’t have to. The sense of entitlement the “gay empire” (to use the cardinal’s term) has to silence all opposition is limitless and is becoming totalitarian. They’ve had too many successes in just such cases, so it is heartening to see a victory for sanity.

Threatened with three years in prison, Cardinal Cañizares prevailed when a Spanish judge threw out the charges, finding truthfully enough that in the controversial homily in question, he was exercising his right to free speech and had no criminal intent or appeal to hatred or violence.

We have discussed many times in Spirit & Life how radical gender ideology has infected many institutions here and around the world, bringing its corrosive anti-reality and anti-God worldview to corners once thought immune to politics. Since the LGBT movement cannot defend its views with reason, it must appeal with raw emotion and project its own hatred onto its opponents and remove their rights to free speech, and increasingly, to any public endeavor whatsoever.

Bishops Standing Together

So to do what Cardinal Cañizares did takes courage and leadership, traits he shares with Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla, who also hails from Valencia but is now bishop of Alcala de Henares, Spain. HLI awarded Bishop Reig Pla the Cardinal von Galen award in 2013 for his courage in defending Christ and His Church. Spain has seen many hardships over the years, but with leaders like this they have greater hope.

Bishops should dedicate themselves to their apostolic office as witness of Christ before all men. They should not only look after those who already follow the Prince of Pastors but should also wholeheartedly devote themselves to those who have strayed in any way from the path of truth or are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and His saving mercy until finally all men walk “in all goodness and justice and truth (Eph. 5:9)” (Christus Dominus n. 11).

There are many good bishops out there, and we need to acknowledge their courage when we see it. All of our beloved shepherds deserve our love and prayers, and frankly deserve encouragement when they step into the breach and really lead in a difficult time.

Sometimes the attack comes from inside

This is especially true since there is so much to confuse the faithful coming from bishops. Last week we heard a bishop insist that the Church is somehow responsible for attacks on persons who identify as LGBT, repeating a key talking point of those who attack the Church unjustly and are trying to change her teaching on sexuality. This is truly disgraceful and deserves clear condemnation-when the Church is already under attack from powerful sexual radicals it is devastating to have a shepherd of the Church give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Yet, just when some are tempted to despair by such betrayals, we hear from Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez an eloquent defense of the Church’s teaching that life is the most important among many issues that concern Catholics in the public square. He has been a leader on many social justice issues for the Church, particularly on immigration, yet he knows that while some issues admit of a variety of solutions for faithful Catholics, life deserves a complete and unqualified defense in law, which is sorely lacking in the US and around the world today. And it is so for the exact same reason that a poor migrant family deserves our help: because every human person is made in the image of God, and deserves to live the life he already has been given as a gift.

In exercising their duty of teaching — which is conspicuous among the principal duties of bishops — they should announce the Gospel of Christ to men, calling them to a faith in the power of the Spirit or confirming them in a living faith. They should expound the whole mystery of Christ to them, namely, those truths the ignorance of which is ignorance of Christ. At the same time they should point out the divinely revealed way to give glory to God and thereby to attain to eternal happiness. (Christus Dominus n. 12)

Giving glory to God

Cardinal Cañizares and Archbishop Gomez are two of many within the Church doing the right thing by opposing the threat of gender ideology, and by pointing to the truth in Our Lord. So many in the Church are indifferent, which is almost an understandable tragedy given the many years of poor catechesis and compromise with a culture that is falling apart. We pray for the conversion of these brothers and sisters also, as the choices are made clearer by the hostility of the surrounding culture and a core group of faithful Catholics who remain strong and joyful. We pray every day that they will choose Christ and His Church and leave the untruths behind. We pray this for ourselves as well, since we don’t presume to have every answer. We just strive in love and truth to be faithful in small and large things.

Our shepherds and priests desperately need the prayers of the faithful. We need the strength to give ourselves anew to Christ through His Church every day. We can’t do it without your prayers.

Thank you for praying for me and for all priests and bishops, and for standing strong in the fight for life and family with us.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

Soccer and the Sacred Heart, The Rhythm of Spiritual Fatherhood

http://catholicexchange.com/soccer-sacred-heart-rhythm-spiritual-fatherhood?mc_cid=f59dff04e6&mc_eid=d96d44419d

By Dave McClow, June 21, 2016

June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Father’s Day also falls within the month, and spiritual fatherhood ties these two together.

The human heart always operates in two directions—the muscle contracts and then relaxes.  If this rhythm is disrupted, you have earned a trip to either the ER or the undertaker.  There is also a rhythm of Catholic fatherhood—the rhythm of loving, then challenging; of being tender, then tough.  Disruption of this rhythm can create major problems for kids.

Soccer

Chad played soccer.  His parents were highly successful professionals, trying to motivate Chad to pay attention and engage in the game with some intensity.  They were turning the situation into a life lesson:  “How do you expect to succeed if you can’t do this?”  There was a lot of criticism and pressure to perform.  Another team was using psych ops, trashing Chad and his team.  The way they talked, I would have sworn this was a U.S. Olympic competition, but Chad was in fourth grade! The parents assured me their behavior was mild compared to other parents.  Nevertheless, the results were predictable:  Chad was anxious, highly critical of himself, and impulsive, almost explosive at times.  He was performing to be loved, which left him only as good as his last performance.  The rhythm of Catholic fatherhood was broken, and they were all frustrated.

Sacred Heart and Spiritual Fatherhood

Jesus’ Sacred Heart teaches men a lot about this rhythm of fatherhood.  During his time on earth Jesus fathered no physical children (unless you believe the fiction writer Dan Brown).  But he was a spiritual father—a leader, mentor, and coach (and much more), to the twelve apostles and his other disciples!  He loved and challenged them.  It was the Heart of Jesus that revealed how his Father’s heart was turned towards his children—us—in love and mercy.  The Father’s heart is what we need to receive and what we are to give to others.  Scripture confirms the giving part, “The hearts of fathers will be turned back to the children” (Mal 3:24, 4:6; Lk 1:17; Sir 48:10).  Jesus actually became indignant, incensed, or irate at the disciples for hindering the little children from coming to him to be embraced, touched, and blessed  by him (Mk. 10:13-16).  He was tough on his disciples and tender towards the children in his spiritual fatherhood!

St. John Paul II reflected on the Sacred Heart quite a bit.  In talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit called piety (reverence, devoutness), he says, “the Spirit heals our hearts of every form of hardness, and opens them to tenderness toward God and our brothers and sisters” (May 28, 1989). From our sonship, tenderness flows toward God and is expressed in prayer that arises from our own poverty and void of chasing after earthly things, and then turns toward him for “grace, help, and pardon.” It is piety which directs us to trust God as “a good and generous Father” and to call him Abba (Gal. 4:4-7)!

This tenderness is manifested in meekness, a familial openness, toward our neighbor.  Meekness is not weakness!  Meekness is having the power to act or destroy, but not using it.  The Spirit infuses into us a new capacity to love others, making our “heart[s] participate in some manner in the very meekness of the Heart of Christ.”  Our spiritual fatherhood is made complete we when see others as part of the family of God, treating them with tenderness and friendliness.

Back to Soccer

I worked with Chad’s father to create new liturgies (rituals and routines) in their domestic church that communicated love to Chad.  He affirmed Chad as a son rather than just his performance.  And we shifted the focus from results, which Chad could not control, to his efforts—so while he might not always score a goal, he could always choose to play hard.  These changes made a huge difference.  Chad paid more attention, became more self-motivated, and everyone noticed the change.  In fact, in one game, he was playing hard, but they were losing badly.  He had put his shorts on backwards, and though it was not obvious, a friend started to harass him about it.  Normally Chad would have blown up, but instead he retorted, “Do you really think that’s the biggest problem we have here?”  I was amazed and laughed, saying, “I can’t even get adults to do this!”  Chad was feeling much more secure and loved.  The rhythm was back in right order:  love and challenge; tenderness and toughness. We had returned from Olympic tryouts to fourth grade soccer!

The Challenge

June is the month of the Sacred Heart.  It includes Father’s Day, which celebrates physical fatherhood.  But we must challenge all men to follow the Sacred Heart and be spiritual fathers, turning their hearts towards all fatherless children in tenderness, challenging them to be the best versions of themselves.  All men are called to reveal and relive the very fatherhood of God on Earth—this is spiritual fatherhood.

After a brutal rape, I became pregnant. Doctors told me to abort. My husband and I did this instead.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/pregnant-after-a-violent-rape-doctors-were-shocked-by-me-and-my-husbands-re

By Jennifer Christie

Last January, I was travelling on business, staying in a little hotel in a college town.  I like to think I’m usually more aware of my surroundings, but it was so snowy and windy that I wouldn’t have heard his footsteps even if he had he been stomping. It happened so fast. I got the door open, turned around to close it, and he was there – a huge man. My first instinct wasn’t fear, just confusion. In an instant, he punched me in the face. I don’t remember being dragged from the room, but I was found in the stairwell. I don’t know why — maybe I was trying to go for help.

The rape kit came back negative for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and dozens of other things I’d never heard of. God is gracious.

The following month, I was scheduled to work on a cruise ship. I was struck with dysentery on day two. But after not getting better with antibiotics, I was taken to what passes for a hospital when we docked in Cartagena, Colombia. Concerned about intestinal obstruction, I was given an ultrasound.  And we saw the pea — my son.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

Back on the ship, I told the doctors an abbreviated version of my story, which resulted in me being quarantined. Suicide watch? In danger of a psychotic break that will have me running naked across the shuffleboard courts? Who knows. What I know is that I spent the next week listening to a team of very well-meaning doctors and nurses console me with how “easy” it would be to “take care of it” – to kill the child. To start over. Easy?

There were a lot of things discussed over scratchy, tearful transatlantic phone calls home that week, but the possibility of “taking care of it” never came off my lips. Or my husband’s.  When I told him I was pregnant, he said with his voice calm and steady, “Okay.  Okay . . . all right . . . this is all right.” I asked him, “What do you MEAN this is all right?” “I mean we can do this. We’ll get through this. It’ll be okay.”  And, “I love babies. We’re going to have another baby. Sweetheart, this is a gift. This is something wonderful from something terrible. We can DO this.” And I began to feel the stirrings of joy for the new life in my womb, blossoming under my heart. That new love that would grow so fierce it overwhelmed any trepidation or angst. And my husband was right.  We could do it.

On my last morning aboard the ship, I said to this caring team, “If you ever think about this again, if you ever wonder what happened to me — I had a beautiful baby in October 2014.”  Their reaction…the looks on their faces…the doctor who had pushed abortion more vehemently than the others — she had tears in her eyes. For the first time, I thought of how God can use this, this nightmare I’d endured. Use me.

I live in North Carolina. My OB who delivered my last two children was running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. He talks to people all the time who challenge him with the “What about in cases of rape?” question. What about them? My son will have a voice. Until he can use it, it’s my responsibility — my privilege — to speak for him. That’s my story.

During my pregnancy, I was in and out of the hospital for a couple of months – more in than out. I had preeclampsia, high blood pressure and uncontrolled seizures. It was terrifying at 26 weeks when they admitted me saying they might have to deliver that night — terrifying because I desperately wanted my son to live! We got past that fear. I had strict bed rest, but was home. Every week we made it further was awesome, knowing how glad I’d be once he got here safely in my arms. Emotionally, I was doing very well.

We were working with a really godly team of doctors. It’s just a matter of trusting utterly. This wasn’t new. I’d felt completely out of control since the assault in January — not that “control” is ever anything but an illusion, but, you know. Eight and a half months ago the world upended and hadn’t righted since — until my son was born. It’s not a bad thing. It keeps me on my knees, keeps me from my arrogant, self-reliant “It’s okay, God. I got this” attitude, which I’m so quick to adopt.

Our little boy may have been conceived in violence, but he is a gift from God — a delicious gift that filled the hole in our family that we never realized was there. He made us complete.

I’m so thankful to have been connected to other mothers who became pregnant by rape as well. We are survivors. Not victims. My son has healed me.

The pressure to abort from the medical community was extremely eye-opening to me. So many times I was told how “simple” it would be and how quickly I could just “get on with my life” once it was over. It was heartbreaking to have to repeatedly hear it. Even some friends thought keeping the baby was a mistake — that I wouldn’t be able to handle things emotionally. Every time we, as rape survivor mothers, share our stories, we are strengthened as we strengthen others….And who knows what lives might be spared?

Jennifer Christie is a wife and mother of 5, and a blogger for www.savethe1.com.  She’s using her middle name in lieu of her surname in order to protect the identity of her family.

Birth Control in Drinking Water: A Fertility Catastrophe in the Making?

Fish struggle to fertilize eggs three generations after exposure to contraceptive hormone, raising questions about the effects on humans.

by CELESTE MCGOVERN

WASHINGTON — A recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found that birth-control hormones excreted by women, flushed into waterways and eventually into drinking water can also impact fish fertility up to three generations after exposure — raising questions about their effects on humans, who are consuming the drugs without even knowing it in each glass of water they drink.

The survey, published in March in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at the impact of the synthetic hormone 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), an ingredient of most contraceptive pills, in the water of Japanese medaka fish during the first week of their development.

While the exposed fish and their immediate offspring appeared unaffected, the second generation of fish struggled to fertilize eggs — with a 30% reduction in fertilization rates —  and their embryos were less likely to survive. Even the third generation of fish had 20% impaired fertility and survival rates, though they were never directly exposed to the hormone.

“This study shows that even though endocrine disruptors may not affect the life of the exposed fish, it may negatively affect future generations,” said lead author of the study Ramji Bhandari, a USGS visiting scientist and University of Missouri assistant research professor. “If similar trends were observed in subsequent generations, a severe decline in overall population numbers might be expected by the F4 generation.”

Conducted by scientists at the USGS and the University of Missouri, the research also examined the effect of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastics that has been implicated in breast cancer, which was similar to the contraceptive hormone.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that man-made endocrine-disrupting chemicals — those that affect hormone systems and numerous body functions, including conception — are damaging wildlife, wreaking havoc on reproductive, immunological and nervous systems.

 

Widespread Contamination

Scientists have known for more than 15 years that humans are excreting their prescription drugs into American sewers and that water-purification systems are not equipped to filter the chemical effluents from drugs, including anything from birth-control pills and painkillers to psychiatric medicines.

In a landmark 1999-2000 USGS survey, 80% of water samples from 139 American rivers and streams in 30 states were found to be contaminated with drugs, ranging from antibiotics and antidepressants to contraceptives and hormone replacements.

But scientists are particularly concerned about the contraceptive chemical EE2 because of its ability to “feminize” male fishes and its association with plummeting fish fertility. A landmark 2007 study, for example, described a seven-year whole-lake experiment in northern Ontario, Canada, in which tiny amounts of EE2 induced “intersex” male minnows whose testicles contained eggs, as well as altered egg production in female fishes; this ultimately resulted in the “near extinction” of the species from the lake, as well as a threat to larger fish populations.

Numerous subsequent studies across the globe have linked birth-control hormones to impaired fertility, “transgender fish” and reduced fish populations. Minnesota pollution researchers looking for the endocrine disruptors found them even in remote lakes thought to be pristine; and when they lowered cages of male lab minnows into the lakes, most of them were feminized within three weeks.

By 2009, USGS scientists found that one-third of 111 American waterways they tested contained some intersex fish, particularly male bass. A year later, scientists were reporting that 80% of the fish in the Potomac River — whose water is pumped into the homes of 4 million people — showed “intersex” features.

 

Mammals Affected Too

The impact of EE2 has been demonstrated experimentally in mammals as well. In one 2009 study, for example, newborn rats exposed to the hormone in the first days of life developed small and abnormal penises and lowered sperm counts, and they struggled to reproduce.

The researchers compared EE2’s effects to those of diethylstilbestrol (DES) —  a notorious endocrine-disrupting chemical given to pregnant women to prevent miscarriage. The women themselves had an elevated risk of breast cancer, but it was their children who developed rare vaginal and testicular cancers and other reproductive anomalies after they reached puberty; and those children were 40 times more likely to be sterile.

It’s a comparison that the current Scientific Reports study researchers make as well.

“EE2 use during pregnancy can cause the same type of disruption of development that the drug DES caused in millions of offspring of women given this drug during the 1940s to 1970, when it was banned for use during pregnancy,” Frederick vom Saal, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri and one of the authors of the study of medaka fish, told the Register.

“Also, male reproductive organs are sensitive to estrogens, which interfere with normal function — estrogens have a contraceptive effect in males.” EE2 has also been linked to testicular tumors.

Toxicologists have dismissed the comparisons of EE2 in the water supply to DES because the DES exposures were in larger doses. However, tiny doses of hormones can produce large effects.

“That this is considered controversial by toxicologists is considered laughable by endocrinologists,” said vom Saal. “EE2 can cause effects in human tissues at concentrations in blood below one part per trillion, so this is an extremely potent drug.”

The Canadian lake study, for example, saw near extinction of a fish species with EE2 given in “environmentally relevant” doses of five parts per trillion — the equivalent of five drops in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.

 

Unabsorbed Contraceptives

About 50 million women worldwide are taking contraceptive pills, and it is the leading form of birth control in the U.S., consumed by about 10.5 million women annually, according to the Guttmacher Institute.  Up to 68% of the contraceptive drugs being consumed are not absorbed, but excreted into sewage systems, according to the USGS study.

And according to one 2009 study of loss of fertility in rats due to EE2, about 3%- to 4% of women continue to take birth control inadvertently in the first trimester of pregnancy, raising concerns about their babies’ early exposure to endocrine disruptors, though it’s impossible to say how many babies and children are inadvertently exposed through drinking water and to what doses or what impact the hormones are having on adults, if any.

With unexplained soaring incidences of testicular cancer, infertility, childhood “gender dysphoria” in increasingly young children, who are confused about their sexual identity, and plummeting sperm counts, some scientists are asking if the fish in the study are like miners’ canaries: They are warning of a problem that has not yet been fully realized.

“Beyond the aquatic environment, the feminizing syndromes found in wildlife appeared to mirror reports of male infertility, genital abnormalities and testicular cancer observed in the human male population, collectively termed Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome,” recounted Susan Jobling, director of the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies at Brunel University, London, in a 2013 paper for the European Environment Agency.

But in the absence of public awareness and outcry, little has been done about the problem in the U.S. or elsewhere. As long ago as 2004 the Environment Agency of England and Wales had accepted the evidence of the environmental harm from EE2 as significant enough to warrant consideration of risk management, Jobling recounted.

In 2012, the European Commission proposed to regulate EE2 as a European Union-wide “priority substance” for legislation, but the proposal was later amended — mostly due to a consideration of the cost of removing trace amounts of chemicals from water — and a decision on a regulatory “environmental quality standard” was delayed until at least 2016.

 

Evidence Ignored

The Catholic Church has always taught that pharmaceutical contraception to prevent pregnancy is “intrinsically evil” and “contrary to the good of the transmission of life” (Vade Mecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997), even without considering its effects on the environment or public health.

The effects of BPA from plastics are well recognized, but the impact of birth control on the environment and fertility has been downplayed and dismissed — a reaction vom Saal thinks is not based on science. “Clear evidence for equal potency is ignored by the industry,” he said.

“It’s strange how even the most ardent environmentalists suddenly go silent when confronted with evidence of how birth-control pills harm aquatic ecosystems. Instead of angry calls for the regulation of a pollutant that is causing a  ‘silent spring’ of hermaphroditic fish unable to breed, we hear nothing,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. “The barren left is so wedded to contracepted sex that they will brook no criticism of the means they use to ensure their sterility, even though, as the science shows, they sterilize other species in the process.  Environmentalism meets the sexual revolution, and the sexual revolution wins.”

Celeste McGovern writes from Scotland.

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/birth-control-in-drinking-water-a-fertility-catastrophe-in-the-making/#ixzz4C9rMk6K

Keeping sex for marriage helps marriages last the distance

A new study confirms that virgin brides have the lowest divorce rates.

Carolyn Moynihan | Jun 13 2016

Virginity gets very little press or screen time these days and that’s a shame. As a new American study confirms, a woman who enters marriage as a virgin has the best chance of still being married five years later – and probably beyond that. In fact, the odds of her marriage lasting have got better over the last 30 years, as divorce rates for such women have dropped from 11 percent in the 1980s to 6 percent in the 2000s.

The likely reason for that, says the author of the study, University of Utah sociologist Nicholas H. Wolfinger, is religion –that other uncool topic. His data, taken from three waves of the National Survey of Family Growth, shows that women who marry as virgins are far more likely to attend church at least once a week. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer of them. Four decades ago 21 percent of brides had no previous sexual partner, but by 2010 that figure had dropped to 5 percent, representing the most religious women.

(By now you may be asking, Hey, what about the men? Wolfinger explains that “the NSFG doesn’t have full data on men’s premarital sexual behaviour, and in any event they recall their own marital histories less reliably than do women.”)

As you might expect, the next most likely to last marriages are those of women who have had only one sex partner previously – in most cases their future husbands. Their numbers, however, have dropped from 43 percent in the 1970s to 22 percent in the current decade.

Source: NSFG, 2002-2013
The stats for the 1970s may surprise us, as they did Wolfinger. Even though the sexual revolution was well under way, he notes, almost two-thirds of brides had at most one sexual partner before getting married.

“Even in the 1980s, slightly over half of women had a maximum of one sex partner before walking down the aisle. Things looked very different at the start of the new millennium.”

By the 2010s,the number of brides who had had multiple sexual partners had climbed significantly. Those who’d had 10 or more partners had gone from 2 percent to 18 percent. As you would expect, this group has the highest five-year divorce rates – but only since the 2000s. Prior to that, women with two partners prior to marriage had the highest divorce rates – around 30 percent – compared to those with more partners.

This again is surprising, Wolfinger admits. He suggests a couple of reasons:

* Women with two previous partners may already have a child from another relationship when they marry, and this is known to have a “profound negative effect on marital happiness” as well as carry a higher risk of divorce.

* “Over-emphasised comparisons”:

“In most cases, a woman’s two premarital sex partners include her future husband and one other man. That second sex partner is first-hand proof of a sexual alternative to one’s husband. These sexual experiences convince women that sex outside of wedlock is indeed a possibility. The man involved was likely to have become a partner in the course of a serious relationship—women inclined to hook up will have had more than two premarital partners—thereby emphasizing the seriousness of the alternative. Of course, women learn about the viability of nonmarital sex if they have multiple premarital partners, but with multiple partners, each one represents a smaller part of a woman’s sexual and romantic biography. Having two partners may lead to uncertainty, but having a few more apparently leads to greater clarity about the right man to marry. The odds of divorce are lowest with zero or one premarital partners, but otherwise sowing one’s oats seems compatible with having a lasting marriage.”

Well, lasting five years, at least. But this ceases to be the case (statistically) beyond 10 partners: “a lot of partners means a lot of baggage, which makes a stable marriage less tenable.” Wolfinger speculates further about whether this correlation is true or spurious, and notes that the difference between this group and the women with two premarital partners when it comes to divorce is not significant.

Bottom line, however: “The odds of divorce are lowest with zero or one premarital partners.”

Finally, Wolfinger notes that these findings remain substantially true after controlling for the effects of other social and demographic characteristics of women. Some of these factors, however, explained more than others:

“Aside from religion, race and family of origin accounted for the largest portion of the sexual partners/divorce relationship. Caucasian and African American women had similar premarital sexual behavior, but Latinas and members of the “Other” population group had notably fewer sex partners and lower divorce rates than either whites or blacks. Similarly, people who grew up without both parents had more partners and divorced more. Detailed psychometric data would be necessary to further explain the relationship between numbers of sex partners and marital stability.”

Perhaps one could conclude that the race factor is itself largely explained by family structure. It makes sense that coming from an intact family gives a person some protection against divorce. And religious practice makes that protection even stronger. That is not surprising, even if other aspects of the study are.

 

Doctors Want to Get More Organ Transplants by Euthanizing Patients and Taking Their Organs

Michael Cook   Jun 15, 2016   |   11:45AM    Brussels, Belgium

organSince 2005 about 40 people in Belgium and the Netherlands have successfully combined euthanasia with organ donation, according to an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics by ethicists and transplant specialists.

The [five] doctors are so enthusiastic about the procedure that they have proposed legal changes which will speed up the procedure and maximize the number of donations. Although the numbers are still low, the idea is becoming more popular in both countries, according to the authors.

(Not everyone – in fact, only a small proportion – of people who request euthanasia are potential organ donors. Most requests come from patients with cancer, which makes them unsuitable donors. Most of the Belgians who have already participated in the programme appear to have suffered from strokes or multiple sclerosis.)

However there are some legal and ethical wrinkles to be ironed out to make the transition from euthanasia to organ donation seamless.

Some regulations and laws are supposed to be safeguards, but they “slow” the procedure down. For example, in the Netherlands, euthanasia is not regarded as a natural death and so permission must be sought from the public prosecutor to dispose of the body. In Belgium (where euthanasia is regarded as “natural”), three doctors need to sign off on the procedure. …

Another consideration is whether informing euthanasia patients about organ donation puts pressure on them to agree. The authors believe that it doesn’t, provided that it is done tactfully.

According to the principles of the Hippocratic Oath, the authors argue, doctors may even have an obligation to inform patients because they will be saving lives of organ recipients. They also point out that “The patient could be very relieved discovering the existence of this option and receiving the possibility to give meaning to his or her own suffering, by potentially relieving the suffering of others.”

Until now, transplant protocols have specified a strict separation between organ donation and euthanasia. However, if the patient is [willing], this is not necessary. “As long as all due diligence requirements are fulfilled, it should not be an obstacle if euthanasia and donation are not fully separated,” the authors argue.

Finally, the “dead donor” rule is frustratingly inconvenient for organ donor euthanasia. Since the patient has chosen to die anyway, why shouldn’t it be possible, the authors argue, to have “a ‘heart-beating organ donation euthanasia’ where a patient is sedated, after which his organs are being removed, causing death”?

The authors conclude:

“Combining euthanasia and organ donation in a so-called ‘donation after circulatory death’ procedure seems feasible on legal, ethical or medical grounds, and is increasingly gaining social acceptance in both Belgium and the Netherlands. Since current legislation does not specifically focus on the—when drafted unpractised—combination, future redrafting may be necessary in perspective of the contemporary developments regarding occurrence of such combined procedures”

LifeNews Note: Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet where this story appeared.

Not just Catholics: Orthodox priest explains why all Christians once rejected birth control

CHICAGO, June 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics are not alone in holding that birth control is a sin against God.

Father Patrick Henry Reardon, pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Chicago, who’s also an author and senior editor for the Christian magazine Touchstone, spoke in a recently published YouTube video of how throughout history until the 20th century all Christians, not just the Orthodox, but the Church fathers and Protestants as well, regarded birth control use as immoral and a sin.

“Now it’s lost,” he states in the video. “And the Church really must not go with the flow on this matter. Because this really is an insult to God.”

Watch Father Reardon deliver his sound message with clarity on God’s gift of life and the consequences of separating procreation with the marital act:

A Revolution Based on a Lie

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

How much more bizarre can our society get? It’s a question that many have been asking for a long time, but these days it’s hard to keep up with the answers, which change hourly.

In Alaska, a boy who thinks he’s a girl is allowed to participate in the girls’ track meet, and he wins. The girls are not happy, but are not quite sure how to express their protest since they don’t want to be branded as bigots for calling a boy a boy when that boy wants to be called a girl.

There are a growing number of reports that the man formerly known as Bruce Jenner, who now goes by the name “Caitlyn,” is having second thoughts about “transitioning” to womanhood and is contemplating returning to identifying himself as what he still actually is, a man. This regret is actually common for people who adopt the appearance and lifestyle of the opposite sex. These reports have not been confirmed, but were this to occur, does anyone really think that the fascistic LGBT movement will support such a transition?

A famous homosexual couple has adopted children (apparently two men cannot naturally conceive a child) and projected a carefully cultivated image as a “happily” “married” couple with the help of media who desperately want to tell such a story. Yet as it turns out, their private lives are more sordid than the story allows, and the couple is suing to silence media who would report certain ugly and inconvenient facts, so that their adopted children would be spared the pain of knowing what their adoptive parents actually do.

The idea that the LGBTQQ… movement is about to implode has been discussed recently, and there are signs of sanity coming from progressives who have been supportive of the movement but are starting to recognize its totalitarian and anti-human nature. Better late than never, I suppose.

How much more bizarre can it get? I’m not sure the question is meaningful anymore, since all bets are off. There are many conversations going on about how we arrived here, with a great deal of interesting histories of cultural Marxism, Communism, feminism, and other anti-Christian ideologies whose goal has been to “liberate” men and woman from the oppression of religion, marriage, traditional roles of men and women, etc.

I’m not sure the girls in Alaska, Mr. Jenner, or the famous couple and their children feel all that liberated.

When your revolution is based on a lie, it will certainly fall, but it can do a lot of damage to nations, lives and souls before it does. We “got here” because we turned our backs on God. We happen to be living through a deluge of degradation almost unimaginable even a few years ago.

Except that the Church did imagine this collapse. Specifically, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, said something that could have been written yesterday, in 1984’s The Ratzinger Report (summarized by Christopher West):

What we are living through in our day is the result of an ideology that has completely severed body and soul. And that’s the very definition of death. Barring a divine intervention, we must now endure the full consequences of the “uprooting of the human person in the depth of his nature” – an uprooting that stems from the fact that “sex has remained without a locus and has lost its point of reference” since the cultural embrace of contraception (The Ratzinger Report, p. 84).

By detaching sex from procreation, the essential meaning and natural orientation of the gender distinction is lost and one’s sex is eventually “viewed as a simple role, interchangeable at one’s pleasure,” Ratzinger observed. From there, people end up demanding the right of “escaping from the ‘slavery of nature,’ demanding the right to be male or female at one’s will or pleasure” (p. 95).

Call this an update of Humanae vitae 17, in which Blessed Pope Paul VI famously predicted — against the spirit of the age — that the wide embrace of contraception would have a host of negative consequences. Those who dismissed Pope Paul, and later Cardinal Ratzinger, simply couldn’t imagine what we are actually seeing happen today, when we call evil good, and good, evil. When we don’t know God, how can we know ourselves?

I love serving a Church that knows the true nature of man and woman because she knows the One in whose image we are made. I love serving a Church that knows what is true and good, a Church that knows Christ because she was founded by Him. I am grateful for her social and moral doctrine, which are rooted in Holy Scripture, and offer true liberation by guiding all people of good will to live in love and truth.

If you are looking around for a rock to hold onto as the flood waters rise and currents seem to pull you away, know that you have it in the One, Holy, Catholic Church. Avail yourself of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and in His body and blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. Choose from among the many devotions available to the faithful and make your faith central to your life, and invite others to do the same. Be an example of joyful and intelligent faith, and a source of strength for your family and all whom you meet.

Don’t be afraid! Live with courage, faith, hope and love.

WATCH: Preborn children play first ever soccer game in hilarious viral video

June 10, 2016 (LiveActionNews) — Estudiantes De Caracas, a professional soccer team in Venezuela, wanted to encourage parents to enroll their children in their soccer academy, so they created the first ever soccer game to be played by preborn children.

The dads were on hand to watch the game and the parents celebrated the kicks and goals with cheers and excitement. They also showed disappointment when the other team scored. Estudiantes De Caracas calls it “the first football match played by kids who haven’t been born, yet.” And you can tell by the expressions on the parents’ faces that they are just as excited by this game as any game played by a child already born.

While babies are active through all nine months of pregnancy, right around the 20th week is when those kicks can be better felt to the mother and anyone who touches her belly. That makes the 28th week a great time to put these kicks to fun use, highlighting the humanity of the preborn – and what the team calls “the next generation of footballers.”

Preborn children the same age as the children in this video are targeted for abortion in this country, and groups like Planned Parenthood intend to keep the killing going. States across the country are moving to ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation based on the viability of children this age, as well as their ability to feel pain.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

US Senate bill would fine pharmacists $1,000 a day for refusing to provide Plan B

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that would impose crushing fines on pharmacists who refuse to personally dispense “emergency contraception,” a potential abortifacient, removing conscience protections from the law.

The “Access to Birth Control Act” (S. 2960), introduced on May 19 by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, would require pharmacists to provide “any drug or device approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent pregnancy.”

But the bill’s text specifically mentions “emergency contraception” – which often refers to Plan B, the “morning after pill,” or Ella, the “week after pill.”

The text specifically states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply.

“Access to legal contraception is a protected fundamental right in the United States and should not be impeded by one individual’s personal beliefs,” the bill states.

Violators will be fined $1,000 a day, or up to $100,000 “for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding,” according to the bill.

Emergency contraception may act to prevent fertilization, but it also acts to make the uterine lining inhospitable and sometimes prevents a newly conceived child from implanting in the womb.

While the Roman Catholic Church teaches that all contraceptive use constitutes a grave sin, evangelical Protestants object to providing any form of potentially abortifacient device. A 2014 study conducted by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that all forms of emergency contraception has the potential to cause an early chemical abortion. Plan B is more likely to induce an abortion than to prevent conception, according to a 2015 analysis co-authored by Dr. Christopher Kahlenborn for the Linacre Review.

A pharmacist may only refuse to fill a prescription based on his “professional clinical judgment,” not due to religious conviction.

If the customer’s preferred method is not in stock and the customer refuses to take a referral to another pharmacy (which is also mandatory for druggists per the bill), the pharmacist would be required to order it through “expedited ordering.”

A similar law in Washington state is being contested in court.

“No one should be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs,” said Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the group challenging the statute.

But lawmakers seem unmoved by appeals to conscience. “A pharmacist is free in their own life to live the way they want,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA, told local media.

Some pro-life advocates warn that pharmacists are all-too-eager to dispense Plan B, which is available without a prescription. Students for Life of America released a video showing a pharmacist selling the morning after pill to an adult male who said he was using the drug to cover up statutory rape.

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, blamed the bill on cultural degeneration. “We live in an age when sex is a god and respect for religious liberty is gasping for its final breath,” Brown, who lives in Virginia, told LifeSiteNews. “Given these two facts we are not at all shocked that the infamous pro-abortion U. S. Senator Tim Kaine would find it perhaps obligatory to assault the conscience rights of pharmacists who put good health and ethics before political correctness.”

The bill, which has 18 Democratic co-sponsors, has been assigned to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

In Poland, the government wishes to fund NaProTech rather than IVF

http://www.genethique.org/en/poland-government-wishes-fund-naprotech-rather-ivf-65384.html#.V1iP_Dbmpdh

In December, the new Polish Government[1] decided to terminate State funding of the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme with effect from mid-2016 (cf. Poland: the government announces cessation of IVF reimbursement). The Health Minister, Konstanty Radziwill, completed this announcement: He wishes to integrate a “national programme for procreation”. It will suggest NaProTech solutions “that don’t provoke as much controversy as in vitro fertilisation.

During a press conference, the Polish Health Minister gave more details concerning his projects: diagnosis, treatment of infertility, as well as preventive measures will be funded within the new programme announced. “Treating infertility cannot be limited to IVF, the government must be able to suggest other solutions, and fund them equally”. Konstanty Radziwill used the word “abuse” to qualify the fact of suggesting IVF to infertile couples without looking for the cause of their infertility. He wishes to develop NaProTech which is not only less expensive[2] and simpler but also more effective without bringing up ethical issues.

Short for Natural Procreative Technology, NaProTech was developed by the American Professor Thomas W. Hilgers, obstetrician-gynaecologist, specialist in reproductive medicine. While medically assisted fertilisation avoids the causes of infertility, NaProTech looks at treating the underlying causes of infertility and offers results that speak for themselves: women of about 35 years old who have been trying to conceive a child for 5 years have a probability of success between 40% and 50% thanks to this method. For couples experiencing repeated miscarriages, 80% can hope to carry their pregnancy to term.

[1] Elected in October 2015.
[2] The Minister for Health reminded the people that in Ireland, Slovenia, and Luxemburg IVF procedures are not reimbursed, although “these countries are richer than Poland”.

Groundbreaking method of natural family planning helped 90% of infertile couples conceive: study

June 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A study conducted by one of the pioneers of natural family planning found that there are inexpensive, highly effective ways for couples to achieve pregnancy without artificial fertility treatments.

Mercedes Wilson, a fertility expert and the president and founder of Family of the Americas, conducted the study, called Natural, Scientific and Highly Effective Treatment for Infertility, with Family of the Americas staff. Wilson has presented the study’s findings at medical conferences and the Pontifical Academy for Life, of which she is a member.

The study was conducted from January 2010 to April 2014 and outlines the effectiveness and simplicity of what Wilson calls the Ovulation Method, which teaches women to recognize natural indicators of their fertility in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy. Wilson’s study found that an overwhelming 90.74 percent of couples struggling to conceive who used her method, which emphasizes nutrition and a holistic approach to the woman’s health, were able to achieve pregnancy.

Wilson studied 54 couples whose struggles with infertility ranged anywhere from 1-12 years. Over the course of just over four years, 50 of the couples achieved pregnancy. The study stresses that the methods it used are essentially free and easy to learn, making them ideal for couples with limited financial resources. The only cost to the method is its educational component.

By contrast, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), an artificial method of combining egg and sperm in a Petri dish to create an embryo and then implanting it into the mother’s uterus, has a success rate of anywhere from 20 to 40 percent. IVF typically costs upwards of $15,000 per cycle. The procedure frequently results in the destruction of “extra,” unwanted human embryos or selective abortion if a woman becomes pregnant with multiple babies.

Natural, Scientific and Highly Effective Treatment for Infertility detailed how the Ovulation Method of natural family planning has been successful in helping couples conceive despite their sometimes past use of artificial contraception.

“Couples from low income brackets, particularly in the cities of poor nations around the world are not informed of the serious side effects of artificial methods of birth control, and its abortifacient effect,” the study notes. Low-income women are frequently pressured into using artificial contraception, the study says, which results in health problems and fertility issues.

One 33-year-old woman was “given the three month Depo-Provena injection after miscarriages, an unfortunate medical procedure.” The contraceptive injection caused her to bleed for 23 days. After taking vitamins and maintaining good nutritional intake, she ultimately was able to conceive and deliver a baby girl.

“Because the poor are humble, they are afraid to question the recommendation of the doctors who often do not instruct them on the serious side effects of such dangerous hormonal chemicals of birth control,” the study noted.

Another woman who had had one miscarriage and had never used artificial birth control was able to regulate her cycle by taking vitamins. She also conceived and delivered a baby.

The study outlines the positive effects on fertility that nutrition and decreased stress can have. Many times women who are overweight, underweight, excessively exercise, or excessively work have difficulty conceiving, the study said, and teaching them to naturally improve their health and monitor their bodies for signs of fertility is sometimes all that is necessary for them to conceive.

Although the study is small and will likely need to be replicated in order to solidify its authority to the medical community, the authors say it shows that artificial reproductive technologies and hormonal contraceptives are not the all-encompassing solution to infertility.

Lex Cordis Caritas – The law of the heart is Love

By Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, May 31, 2016

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Once again common sense has been turned on its head in our culture, this time by transgender activists agitating for people to be able to use the bathroom that they feel corresponds emotionally to their self-identified gender rather than the anatomical gender of their biological sex. The issue has emerged prominently in recent national and local news.

In North Carolina, in response to an ordinance adopted in Charlotte that would have allowed transgender people to use whatever bathroom they wanted, the state legislature passed a law in March blocking local governments from enacting rules that grant such privileges to transgender people. A similar law recently passed in Mississippi allows people to withhold services from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals on religious grounds. In response, President Barack Obama has said that these laws in North Carolina and Mississippi are “wrong” and “should be overturned.” The Obama administration used the Department of Justice to warn the state of North Carolina that its new law limiting bathroom access violated the civil rights of transgender people.

Here in Illinois, in response to a federal complaint, the Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 in suburban Chicago earlier this year granted a transgender student, who was born male but identifies as female, limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School. Similarly, a transgender student at a Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school has been granted access to a locker room designated for the opposite sex. The Chicago Public Schools have announced that their students, teachers and staff could use whichever restroom matches their self-selected gender identity.

Nearby in central Illinois, a transgender student at Williamsville High School who was born with female anatomy but identifies as a male recently resolved a complaint filed in October with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The school had previously provided a private bathroom for the transgender student, who complained that this was unacceptable, saying, “It made me feel like I was being treated differently and ostracized.” So now all transgender students at Williamsville High School will have access to the restroom and locker room facilities of the gender they identify with emotionally, not the biological gender that they were born with.

Earlier this month, a group of Illinois students and parents sued the Obama administration over its stance on transgender students’ access to school bathrooms and locker rooms, arguing that the U.S. Department of Education is illegally forcing local authorities to let children use facilities that correspond to their subjectively chosen gender identity. The complaint alleges that the federal government has violated students’ fundamental right to privacy and parents’ constitutional right to instill moral standards and values in their children.

The transgender activists would have you believe that their politically correct ideology is based on science; however, the American College of Pediatricians has pointed out that transgenderism is classified as a mental illness and therefore has warned legislators and educators that conditioning children to accept transgenderism as normal is child abuse. They advised, “When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.”

Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was so concerned about the psychological origins of gender-identity disorder that he halted the practice of sex-reassignment surgery at his institution. He concluded that the research demonstrated that Johns Hopkins should no longer participate in what he called “unusual and radical treatment” for “mental disorders.”

The Catholic Church has some clear teachings on transgender issues. Catholics are called to treat everyone with compassion. Yet the church maintains that people may not change what Pope Benedict XVI called “their very essence.” In a speech at the Vatican on Dec. 23, 2008, Benedict directly addressed transgender issues by cautioning Catholics about “destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices.”

Similarly, in his encyclical Laudato Si, issued last year on the environment, Pope Francis called for men and women to acknowledge their bodies as a gift from God which should not be manipulated. “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home,” the pope wrote, “whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation” (no. 155).

In his recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis warns that gender ideology “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created” (no. 56).

Here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, we ask that people respect these teachings of the Catholic Church in their use of facilities in our churches and schools. People who are confused about their gender identity — especially children and adolescents — should be treated with compassion and provided counseling rather than being further confused by activists promoting their political ideology.

May God give us this grace. Amen.

Time for healing, not lamenting

Bishop James Conley, Lincoln Nebraska, Tuesday, 17 May 2016

On Friday, May 13, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice issued a joint instruction, which they called “significant guidance,” to public school districts across the country. The guidance stated that in order to receive federal funds for education, every public school district must provide services, restrooms, and “equal access” to all students according to their stated gender identity.

The federal government has ordered that when any student and his parents tell the school that his “gender identity” has changed—if he was born a boy, for example, but considers himself a girl—the school must treat him, in every possible way, like an actual girl. The government declared that the boy who says he is a girl must be permitted to change in locker rooms with girls, to stay in girls’ rooms on overnight trips, and, very often, to participate on girls’ sports teams.

This “guidance” is deeply disturbing. In fact, the administration’s action is simply wrong. It is wrong to deny the fundamental difference between men and women; and to teach children that our identity, at its very core, is arbitrary and self-determined. God created us male and female, and policies like this deny the basic beauty of God’s creation.

Boethius, the 6th century Roman senator and Christian philosopher, was a thoughtful critic of disturbing trends he saw in Roman society. In his classic work, the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius criticized those evil spirits “who slay the rich and fruitful harvest of Reason with the barren thorns of Passion. They habituate men to their sickness of mind instead of curing them.”

We are living in a time when ordinary human reason is quickly being replaced by “the barren thorns of passion.” Our entire culture has been caught up in a kind of sentimentalized and relativized tyranny of tolerance: we vilify and condemn, ever more quickly, any sense of reasonable and ordered social policy. We have a vague sense that endorsing certain fashionable kinds of social and emotional disorders—including transgenderism—is a mandate of justice, or a victory for civil rights.

But the real victims of our culture of relativism are those who suffer from serious problems, and who need compassionate help. Pathological confusion about one’s own identity is a kind of illness. It brings tremendous personal and emotional difficulties. Transgenderism cries out for compassionate assistance. Pope Francis says that “acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital,” and “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary” for authentic human freedom.

But, as Boethius wrote, we “habituate men to their sickness, instead of curing them.”

Children and parents in very difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. The Church will continue to make every effort to assist those suffering gender dysphoria; in fact, we can improve our efforts in this regard in many ways. But the Church will not deny that God created us male and female. We will not confuse respect and compassion with capitulation to a tragic delusion. Our Catholic schools will continue to teach and live the truth, because of our care for every student. We can only help students grow in holiness when we help them to live in accord with the truth. We will continue to do that, no matter the cost.

The Obama administration’s directive is a sign of the brokenness of our culture; of our lost sense of the common good, of individual goodness, of true freedom, real rights, and authentic happiness.  Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts pointed out earlier this week that this directive is basically a kind of coercive opinion, which does not enjoy the authority of law. It is a form of bullying and, ultimately, it is a sad sign of how much we have lost our way; how little of the Gospel’s good news forms and shapes our culture.

This directive is a sign of a great tragedy.  We are living in an atheocracy: a society determined to stamp out every vestige of God’s plan for mercy, and justice, and goodness. We are living in a society ensnared by the evil of relativism, to which human flourishing, in this life and the next, poses a threat.

The Gospel is a threat to the forces of this world. And in such a circumstance, there is a great temptation, for all of us, to withdraw into our families, into our Catholic community, into those places which we believe are safe, places in which we think we might be spared from the evil of this world.

But facing an evil world, Boethius wrote that “it is time for healing, not lamenting.” Boethius was right. Our culture is in need of healing. The victims of relativism’s dictatorship—those who are harmed by false compassion and tolerance for evil—need our help. Only we can be the leaders who stand up in the face of the storms. The Lord calls us to leadership, and so do the victims of the culture of death.

We are called to stand up—right now, we must be committed to carrying the healing mercy of Jesus Christ to this world. And the fight is not easy. We will not likely fight on a battlefield, in a glamorous blaze of glory. Instead we fight by claiming our nation for Christ, by forming Catholic culture that welcomes others to real freedom, by speaking—heart to heart—with those who are in need of Christ’s healing. We fight evil by praying, and hoping, to win every heart, every soul, every life, for Jesus Christ; as missionaries and disciples of mercy.

We also fight evil on our knees. We fight evil through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We fight evil by invoking St. Michael the Archangel. We fight evil by consecrating our nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the fount of true mercy, and true peace.

All of us can read the signs of the times. We are living through a great trial and a great tragedy. Real people, about whom we care very much, are gravely harmed by the infiltration of evil in our world. We know that Christ will be victorious in the end. But we also know how urgently Christ is needed in this world. Only we can entrust this nation to Jesus Christ—especially his Sacred Heart—in our prayers. And only we can choose, in response to the urgency of the moment, to be active, joyful, faithful missionaries of Jesus Christ—declaring the Gospel, and inviting the world to mercy.

We live in a grave and serious time in history. But now is time for healing, not for lamenting.

Silent Action of the Heart

By Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, June 15, 2015

Fifty years after its promulgation by Pope Paul VI, will the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy finally be read? Sacrosanctum Concilium is actually not just a catalogue of “recipes” for reform, but a veritable Magna Carta of all liturgical action.

In it the Ecumenical Council gives us a magisterial lesson in methodology. Indeed, far from being content with a disciplinary, external approach to the liturgy, the Council wishes to have us contemplate what it is in its essence. The Church’s practice always results from what she receives and contemplates in revelation. Pastoral ministry cannot be detached from doctrine.

In the Church “action is directed to contemplation” (cf. no. 2). The conciliar Constitution invites us to rediscover the Trinitarian origin of the liturgical work. Indeed, the Council determines that there is a continuity between the mission of Christ the Redeemer and the liturgical mission of the Church. “Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles,” so that “by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves” they might “accomplish the work of salvation” (no. 6).

Carrying out the liturgy therefore is the same as accomplishing the work of Christ. The liturgy is essentially “actio Christi”: “the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God” (no. 5). He is the great high priest, the true subject, the true protagonist of the liturgy (cf. no. 7). If this vitally important principle is not accepted in faith, we run the risk of making the liturgy a human work, the community’s celebration of itself.

On the contrary, the Church’s real work is to enter into Christ’s action, to join in the work for which He has been commissioned by the Father. Therefore “the fullness of divine worship was given to us,” because “His humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation” (no. 5). The Church, the Body of Christ, must therefore become in turn an instrument in the hands of the Word.

This is the ultimate meaning of the key concept of the conciliar Constitution: “participatio actuosa”. For the Church, this participation consists of becoming the instrument of Christ the Priest, for the purpose of participating in His Trinitarian mission. The Church actively participates in Christ’s liturgical work insofar as she is the instrument thereof. In this sense, language about the “celebrating community” has its ambiguities and requires true caution (cf. the Instruction Redemptoris sacramentum, no. 42). Therefore this “participatio actuosa” should not be understood as the need to do something. On this point the Council’s teaching has often been distorted. Instead it is a matter of letting Christ take us and associate us with His sacrifice.

Liturgical “participatio” must therefore be understood as a grace from Christ who “always associates the Church with Himself” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). He is the one who has the initiative and the primacy. The Church “calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father” (no. 7).

The priest must therefore become this instrument that allows Christ to shine through. As our Holy Father Pope Francis recalled recently, the celebrant is not the host of a show, he must not look for sympathy from the assembly by setting himself in front of it as its main speaker. To enter into the spirit of the Council means, on the contrary, to be self-effacing, to refuse to be the center of attention.

Contrary to what has sometimes been maintained, and quite in keeping with the conciliar Constitution, it is altogether appropriate, during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, that everyone, priest and faithful, turn together toward the East, so as to express their intention to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This way of celebrating could possibly be implemented in cathedrals, where the liturgical life must be exemplary (cf. no. 41).

Of course, there are other parts of the Mass in which the priest, acting “in persona Christi Capitis” [“in the person of Christ the Head”] enters into a nuptial dialogue with the assembly. But the only purpose of this face-to-face is to lead to a tête-À-tête with God which, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, will become a heart-to-heart conversation. The Council thus proposes other means of promoting participation: “acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes” (no. 30).

An over-hasty and all-too-human interpretation has led some to conclude that it was necessary to make sure that  the faithful were constantly busy. The contemporary Western mentality, shaped by technology and fascinated by the media, tried to make the liturgy a work of effective, rewarding instruction. In this spirit, many have tried to make liturgical celebrations convivial. Liturgical ministers, prompted by pastoral motives, sometimes try to instruct by introducing profane, show-business elements into liturgical celebrations. Don’t we sometimes see a proliferation of testimonies, scenery and applause? They think that this will foster the participation of the faithful, whereas in fact it reduces the liturgy to a human game.

“Silence is not a virtue, noise is not a sin, it is true,” says Thomas Merton, “but the turmoil and confusion and constant noise of modern society,” or of some African Eucharistic liturgies, “are the expression of the ambiance of its greatest sins—its godlessness, its despair. A world of propaganda, of endless argument, vituperation, criticism, or simply of chatter, is a world without anything to live for…. Mass becomes racket and confusion; prayers—an exterior or interior noise” (Thomas Merton The Sign of Jonas [San Diego: Harcourt, Inc., 1953, 1981], passim).

We run the real risk of leaving no room for God in our celebrations. We fall into the temptation of the Hebrews in the desert. They sought to create for themselves a form of worship on their own scale and of their own stature, and let us not forget that they ended up prostrate before an idol, the golden calf.

It is time to start listening to the Council. The liturgy is “above all things the worship of the divine majesty” (no. 33). It has instructional value to the extent to which it is completely ordered to the glorification of God and to divine worship. Liturgy really places us in the presence of divine transcendence. True participation means renewing in ourselves that “amazement” that Saint John Paul II held in high regard (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 6). This sacred wonder, this joyful fear, requires our silence before the divine majesty. We often forget that sacred silence is one of the means noted by the Council for promoting participation.

If the liturgy is Christ’s work, is it necessary for the celebrant to interject his own comments? We should remember that, when the missal authorizes an intervention, this must not become a profane, human speech, a more or less subtle commentary on current events, or a worldly greeting to the persons present, but rather a very brief exhortation to enter into the mystery (cf. General Introduction of the Roman Missal, no. 50). As for the homily, in itself it is always a liturgical act that has its own rules. “Participatio actuosa” in Christ’s work presupposes that we leave the profane world so as to enter into the “sacred action surpassing all others” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). In fact, “we claim somewhat arrogantly to remain in the human sphere so as to enter into the divine” (Robert Sarah, God or Nothing [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2015], chapter IV).

In this regard it is deplorable that the sanctuary in our churches is not a place strictly reserved for divine worship, that people enter it in worldly garb, and that the sacred space is not clearly delimited by the architecture. Since, as the Council teaches, Christ is present in His word when it is proclaimed, it is likewise harmful that lectors do not have proper attire that shows that they are not pronouncing human words but a divine word.

The liturgy is a fundamentally mystical, contemplative reality, and consequently beyond the reach of our human action; even our “participatio” is a grace from God. Therefore it presupposes on our part openness to the mystery being celebrated. Thus, the Constitution recommends the full understanding of the rites (cf. no. 34), and at the same time prescribes that “the faithful… be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (no. 54).

Indeed, understanding the rite is not the work of unaided human reason, which would have to grasp everything, understand everything, master everything. The understanding of the sacred rites is that of the “sensus fidei”, which practices a living faith through the symbol and knows by being attuned more than through concepts. This understanding presupposes that one approaches the mystery with humility.

But will people have the courage to follow the Council this far? Such an interpretation, illuminated by the faith, is fundamental however for evangelization. Indeed, “the liturgy… shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations, under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together” (no. 2). It must stop being a place of disobedience to the Church’s prescriptions.

More specifically, it cannot be an occasion for divisions among Christians. Dialectical interpretations of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the hermeneutics of rupture in one direction or the other, are not the fruit of a spirit of faith. The Council did not intend to break with the liturgical forms inherited from Tradition, but rather intended to appreciate them in greater depth. The Constitution declares that “any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (no. 23).

In this regard, it is necessary that some should celebrate according to the “usus antiquior” [older usage] and should do so without any spirit of opposition, and therefore in the spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Similarly, it would be a mistake to consider the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as coming from some other theology which is not that of the reformed liturgy. It would also be desirable in a future edition of the Missal to insert the penitential rite and the offertory of the “usus antiquior” for the purpose of emphasizing that the two liturgical forms illuminate each other, in continuity and without opposition.

If we live in this spirit, then the liturgy will stop being a place of rivalries and critiques, so as finally to make us participate actively in that liturgy “which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle” (no. 8).

That time Cosmo admitted how horrible the Pill really is

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/blog/that-time-cosmo-admitted-how-horrible-the-pill-really-is/

On 05.25.16, In Contraception, by

Blood clots. Mood swings. Low sex drive. Migraines.

The list goes on and on.

At this point, it’s not really a surprise that shoving mega-doses of synthetic hormones into our systems year after year comes at a price. But for many women, the Pill still seems like the only option.

For years, it’s felt like Catholics have held the best-kept secret in women’s health – Natural Family Planning. A highly effective method of fertility monitoring without the need to pump your body full of artificial chemicals, it also boasts earlier detection for a whole host of diseases and disorders, and an overall understanding of your own health and fertility. Not to mention Catholic teaching that it’s the only moral method of family planning and allows you to be open to God’s will in a way that contraception does not.

But now, what was once viewed as a weird Catholic thing is becoming more and more mainstream. As people become increasingly conscious of what they are putting into their bodies, they are also realizing what it actually means to manipulate your body’s chemistry to the point that a healthy reproductive system no longer functions.

Even Cosmo has acknowledged that the Pill is pretty awful for women, and that natural fertility awareness methods may offer a better option.

In an article a while back (which was originally published in Elle and later run by Cosmo), the author explores the myriad side effects of the Pill – ranging from inconvenient to potentially deadly – and questions the prevailing mantra that the Pill is the best thing to happen to women since the 19th Amendment.

A few highlights:

To Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, prescribing the Pill for debilitating menstrual conditions, such as the endometriosis I suffered from, only masks the problem. “It’s like a mechanic putting a piece of duct tape over the indicator light on your dashboard and claiming he’s fixed your car,” she says.

The “fertility awareness method,” once the sole province of religions that didn’t allow other forms of contraception, has been newly embraced by holistic women’s health experts such as Northrup, who says it can be at least 95 percent effective when used correctly. She says, however, this requires that “women interact consciously with their fertility, and the reality is that many women still don’t have conscious dominion over their fertility.”

You can find the whole article here. Fair warning: it’s Cosmo. Some of the ads and language on the site are what my editor would refer to as “lusty smut.”

 

 

Vatican liturgy chief urges priests to celebrate Mass facing east

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/05/26/vatican-liturgy-chief-urges-priests-to-celebrate-mass-facing-east

by Staff Reporter, posted Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cardinal Robert Sarah made the comments in an exclusive interview with Famille Chrétienne The Vatican’s liturgy chief has called on priests to celebrate Mass facing east.

In an interview [http://www.famillechretienne.fr/vie-chretienne/liturgie/cardinal-sarah-comment-remettre-dieu-au-caeur-de-la-liturgie-194987#.V0bFpURrE2U.twitter] with the French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that the Second Vatican Council did not require priests to celebrate Mass facing the people.

This way of celebrating Mass, he said, was “a possibility, but not an obligation”.

Readers and listeners should face each other during the Liturgy of the Word, he said.

“But as soon as we reach the moment when one addresses God – from the Offertory onward – it is essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east. This corresponds exactly to what the Council Fathers wanted.”

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Cardinal Robert Sarah celebrates Mass in Haiti in 2010 (CNS) Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, rejected the argument that priests celebrating Mass facing east are turning their backs on the faithful “or against them”.

Rather, he said, all are “turned in the same direction: towards the Lord who comes”.

“It is legitimate and complies with the letter and spirit of the Council,” he said. “As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I wish to recall that the celebration versus orientem [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_orientem] is authorized by the rubrics, which specify the times when the celebrant must turn to the people. It is therefore not necessary to have special permission to celebrate facing the Lord.”

Cardinal Sarah’s remarks echo an article [http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3947/silent_ action_of_the_heart.aspx] he wrote a year ago for L’Osservatore Romano, in which he said it was “altogether appropriate, during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, that everyone, priest and faithful, turn together toward the East, so as to express their intention to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ.”

The cardinal added in the article that Mass facing east could be “implemented in cathedrals, where the liturgical life must be exemplary”.

Why does the Liturgy matters to One More Soul

By Steve Koob

It is my opinion that for priests to courageously preach and teach Catholic Church doctrine on contraception, they will need great Grace that can only come from the Source and Summit of the Christian Life—the Liturgy.

Furthermore, I think that this infinite source of Grace can only be tapped to a degree commensurate with the holiness of the Mass being offered, and that depends on many factors. Here we address only the orientation of the priest during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Father, why do you face the people when offering the Sacrifice to the Lord?”

“That is the way we were trained to say Mass in the seminary. I think it was initiated following Vatican Council II when many other changes were made, like removing the communion rail, and receiving Holy Communion in the hand while standing.” (Common responses)

Why were these changes made to the long tradition of the Church?

“I really don’t know; they were made really quickly.” “The Novus Ordo has completely disoriented Catholics. There needs to be a complete top to bottom re-catechizing on just what the Mass is about—worshipping God.” (Two priests)

Why are all the Advent Masses (2014 & 2015) at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln NE being said Ad Orientem? (Asked of Bishop James Conley)

“I was really introduced to the Novus Ordo, celebrated Ad Orientem (AO), in a monastery in France. That (AO) means towards the altar, towards the east.  In this case it was actually toward the geographical east; many places it’s not. But the idea, more importantly, is not the direction of east, but that the priest is standing facing the altar, facing God with the people so that he is standing there at the altar, representing the people and offering the holy sacrifice to God, as was the orientation of the priest for centuries. It was really only after the Second Vatican Council that permission to celebrate the Mass towards the people was allowed. And it’s interesting if you read the document [General Instruction of the Roman Missal], you can tell it wasn’t intended to be the norm. And the council fathers didn’t intend it to be changed that way, it was just allowed. Well, it became the norm, as we know. Very rarely do you find a place that celebrates the holy sacrifice of the Mass Ad Orientem, or towards the altar.” (Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln Nebraska, Radiomaria.us/ questforlife/ December 09, 2014 – Bishop James Conley on Liturgy, Synods and the Diocese of Lincoln)
Does Ad Orientem refocus the Mass on God and less on the people, and less on the celebrant?

“Well that’s it; I think that’s one of the reasons the orientation is so important not only for the people, but also for the priest himself. It’s less distracting for the priest, because he’s concentrating on the sacrifice and he does not have to keep eye contact with the people. Also for the people it’s sort of a signal to them that now we’re at the altar and in solidarity with the priest celebrant and we’re offering this sacrifice to God. It just seems to be more appropriate for that part of the Mass. And at that point in the Mass it just seems appropriate that we would all be standing together facing the Lord, and the priest representing the people, sacrificing at the altar, they would all be facing the same direction. I can really sense the power of the prayer of the people behind me as I’m offering the consecration for example. And I didn’t really sense that until I celebrated it.” (Bishop James Conley)

What did Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger say about Ad Orientem?

“On the other hand, a common turning to the east during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds to the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle but the common movement forward, expressed in a common direction for prayer.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy,  p81, emphasis added)

There is anecdotal evidence that priests who say Mass Ad Orientem (and may have instituted other traditional practices) do proclaim Church teaching on contraceptive use and thus have vibrant parishes with many families and lots of kids.

“We’ll never have a Culture of Life if we don’t get the Liturgy right.”

(Dr Lorna Cvetkovich, MD, 1999) Msgr Ignatio Barreiro put theological flesh and bones on Dr Lorna’s statement with “Sacred Liturgy and the Defense of Human Life”, presented at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, proceedings published as Sacra Liturgia, 2013, Ignatius Press 2014.

Msgr Barreiro’s paper is reprinted by One More Soul, with permission, and available at https://onemoresoul.com/catalog /sacred-liturgy-and-the-defense-of-human-life-p1233.html  .

Toddler spared as he’s airlifted out of hospital that wanted to remove his life support

SACRAMENTO, California, May 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The parents of a two-year-old California boy on life support have won a crucial interim victory in the fight to keep their son alive, the latest in a lengthy dispute over his condition and care.

Israel Stinson was airlifted to a hospital in an undisclosed location outside the United States on Saturday after weeks of searching for a facility that would provide him treatment in preparation for long-term care, in a case hinging on the contested issue of the legal definition of brain death.

The Sacramento-area Kaiser Permanente facility where Israel Stinson had been since mid-April had declared him brain dead shortly after his arrival, eschewing treatment since then and providing the child only minimal nutrition while acting to remove him from life support.

“Victory!” his Israel’s mother Jonee Fonseca said in a statement Sunday. “Israel Stinson was transferred out of Kaiser Permanente yesterday. He has been taken to another facility and is already receiving treatment.”

“It is remarkable that Israel was given more treatment in the first five hours at the new hospital than in more than five weeks at the Kaiser facility,” Life Legal Defense Fund (LLDF) Executive Director Alexandra Snyder told LifeSiteNews.

Fonseca said because of the sensitivity of her son’s case, the family is not yet prepared to release his location.

“But we can say this, in order for Israel to receive his badly needed care, he had to be transferred out of the United States,” Fonseca stated. “That’s right. After weeks and weeks of searching, no hospital facility in the United States would accept our son.”

The difficulty securing a facility to accept and treat Israel while the family sought long-term care stemmed from Kaiser’s doctors having declared him brain dead, despite the conflicting opinions of specialists retained by the family.

Snyder told LifeSiteNews that doctors at the facility where Israel is now have also said the boy is not brain dead.

“A neurologist and Israel’s pediatric specialist did an extensive examination and determined that Israel is not brain dead,” she said. “This doesn’t mean he is out of the woods, as he does have a severe brain injury. But at least he is being provided treatment and nutrition now.”

Israel’s mother celebrated the fact that her son is now being “treated like a patient” and receiving basic nutrition and care.

“Israel’s medical chart at Kaiser said he was deceased. But Israel is alive!” Fonseca said. “He is right now receiving nutrients and a treatment protocol for the first time in 6 weeks.”

Israel’s story began April 1 when he was brought to the Sacramento Mercy General ER with a severe asthma attack. After he was stabilized, Israel was moved to the pediatric unit at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he suffered another attack resulting in cardiac arrest. The toddler was put on a ventilator, and then transferred April 12 to the Kaiser facility for treatment at the family’s request due to concern over the handling of his treatment during the second attack at UC Davis.

Less than 24 hours after his arrival at Kaiser, the hospital performed brain function testing on Israel, without the family’s full knowledge or consent and against their wishes, prompting Fonseca to contact LLDF for help.

The legal battle began with a temporary restraining order enjoining Kaiser from removing life support to allow the family to find an interim facility for Israel, the ultimate goal being long-term care. The family was looking at New Jersey for this since its state law does not allow for a declaration of brain death in cases where the family members believe that life continues until the heart stops beating.

Fonseca and Israel’s father Nate Stinson have maintained throughout that Israel has been responsive to their touch and voices, as well as music, and they have relied openly on their faith to get them through.

LLDF has worked with Pacific Justice Institute as the case has wound its way through the courts to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it was again headed this past Monday before Israel’s transfer over the weekend from Kaiser.

While Israel’s situation has stabilized for the time being, his family’s Pacific Justice Institute attorneys say the little boy’s case broaches the issue of the state of California’s law regarding a determination of brain death.

“While an important goal of this case has been achieved, it has also raised serious questions about the constitutionality of the California Uniform Determination of Death Act,” Matt McReynolds stated in a report by The Sacramento Bee. “It has become clear that declarations of brain death do not always reflect medical consensus and do not comport with basic notions of due process. These legal claims have not been mooted, and we will be evaluating how best to pursue these important constitutional questions.”

Fonseca’s suit against Kaiser to prevent the facility from removing Israel from life support contended that the hospital’s declaration of brain death violated her constitutional rights of due process to determine her son’s care.

Pacific Justice Institute lead attorney Kevin Snider said the crisis in Israel’s case was over, but a reason and opportunity to challenge the law remains, and it will be up to Israel’s parents if they want to go forward with that.

After Israel’s transfer Saturday to a new hospital Fonseca thanked supporters on the family’s GoFundMe page, set up last month to help fund the toddler’s transfer to another facility. Donations on the page have reached $20,000, and Fonseca said that because of the support, “Israel was able to beat the odds and is now being cared for as a live human being.”

The prayers of supporters have “made all the difference,” Fonseca continued, giving her son the chance to recover. But with the quest to finally get him home still ongoing, she asked supporters to remain engaged in his case.

“We have a long road ahead,” Fonseca stated. “Our story is not yet over.”

Viral video is turning a third of “pro-choice” women against abortion

http://liveaction.org/press/viral-video-turning-third-pro-choice-women-abortion/

ARLINGTON, VA (May 24, 2016) — A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on abortion.

The women watched the D&E Abortion Procedures video, part of Live Action’s new “Abortion Procedures” video series, which features an OB/GYN and former abortionist using medically accurate animations to give viewers a window into the womb during an abortion and show how developed a baby is during the procedure. The videos were produced in conjunction with a team of OB/GYNs, former abortionists, and other physicians, and have been viewed over 42 million times to become the most-watched pro-life videos in history.

Live Action conducted an online video survey of 502 women ages 18-30 through independent polling company Survey Monkey, then analyzed the responses of a subgroup of 208 women who self-identified as “pro-choice” and watched the video. The results are below.

In addition to the survey, Live Action conducted a series of man-on-the-street interviews in Los Angeles, showing abortion supporters rejecting abortion after viewing the “Abortion Procedures” videos. The man-on-the-street video is here.

“Abortionists have worked for decades to keep women in the dark about how developed their preborn children in the womb are and what abortion procedures actually entail for both the mother and the child,” said Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action. “The more people learn about abortion, the more they see how barbaric and inhumane it is — whether the abortion is committed by depriving a preborn child of nutrients for days until she dies, or by ripping her limbs apart while she’s still alive, or by injecting her with a drug to induce cardiac arrest.”

Almost half of the pro-choice women polled — 46 percent — felt that the medical animations should be shown to high school sex education classes, and 39 percent felt that pregnant women considering abortion should watch them.

“Pro-choice women told us that young people and women considering abortion should have access to these facts about abortion, not just to the pro-abortion spin that seems to dominate media, entertainment, and politics today. The Internet allows us to spread the truth about abortion faster and farther than ever before, and the fact that these videos have already been viewed over 42 million times to become the most-watched pro-life videos in history proves it,” said Rose.

The Survey

Live Action conducted an online video survey during the weeks of May 9th and 16th that asked 502 women ages 18-30 to watch its D&E Abortion Procedures video and respond to a series of questions. The women were randomly chosen by independent online polling firm Survey Monkey from its universe of women 18-30 who self-identified their political leanings as moderately liberal, slightly liberal, slightly conservative, or neither liberal nor conservative. Of those women who self-identified as “pro-choice,” 208 watched all or most of the video. After watching the video, the 208 pro-choice women were asked:

Q. Did the video change the way you view abortion?
9.1% I view abortion much less favorably
25.0% I view abortion somewhat less favorably
62.0% I view abortion the same as I had previously
1.4% I view abortion somewhat more favorably
2.4% I view abortion much more favorably

Q. Under federal law, abortion is legal up until birth for any reason. Some states have further restrictions. After watching the video, do you think there should be more or fewer restrictions on abortion?
28.4% More restrictions
29.3% Fewer restrictions
42.3% Leave the current restrictions as-is

Q. Who do you think should see this video? (Total >100% because respondents could check as many as they wanted.)
46.6% High school sex education classes
42.8% College students
39.4% Pregnant women considering abortion
38.9% General public
26.0% Elected officials
34.1% None of the above

Vatican cardinal rebukes ‘demonic’ attacks on family at Washington breakfast

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Robert Sarah slammed gender ideology, same-sex “marriage,” and transgender bathroom policies at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, describing them all as demonic attacks on humanity.

Sarah, the prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, was the keynote speaker at the annual prayer breakfast, where he joined Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Sister Constance Veit, the director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Numerous Catholic bishops and members of Congress, including Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, were in attendance.

“The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge our world has faced since its origins,” Sarah told the crowd of nearly a thousand people. Catholics should follow the “courageous” example of St. John the Baptist, a martyr for the sanctity of marriage, Sarah said.

“Do not be afraid to proclaim the truth with love, especially about marriage according to God’s plans,” said Sarah. “In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, ‘proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.’”

Sarah blasted gender ideology as “ideological colonization” and lamented the “insidious” dismantling of religious freedom in the United States.

“Every human being, like the person of the Trinity, has the capacity to be united with other persons in communion through the…bone of charity of the Holy Spirit,” said Sarah. “The family is natural preparation and anticipation of the communion that is possible when we are united with God…this is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family. If the family is destroyed, we lose our God-given anthropological foundations and so find it more difficult to welcome the saving good news of Jesus Christ: self-giving, fruitful love.”

He continued:

The rupture of the foundational relationships of someone’s life—through separation, divorce, or distorted impositions of the family, such as cohabitation or same sex unions—is a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love [unto] death, and even leads to cynicism and despair.

These situations cause damage to the little children through inflicting upon them a deep existential doubt about love. They are a scandal—a stumbling block—that prevent the most vulnerable from believing in such love, and a crushing burden that can prevent them from opening to the healing power of the Gospel.

Advanced societies, including, I regret, this nation, have done and continue to do everything possible to legalize such situations. But this can never be a truthful solution. It is like putting bandages on the infected wound. It will continue to poison the body until antibiotics are taken.

Sadly, the advent of artificial reproductive technologies, surrogacy, so-called homosexual ‘marriage,’ and other evils of gender ideology, will inflict even more wounds in the midst of generations we live with.

This is why it is so important to fight to protect the family, the first cell of the life of the Church and every society. It is not about abstract ideas. It is not an ideological war between competing ideas. This is about defending ourselves, children, and future generations from a demonic ideology that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off entire generations from God.

Sarah warned that “today we are witnessing the next stage and the consummation of the efforts to build a utopian paradise on earth without God,” a “turmoil” about which Pope St. John XXIII alerted the Church when he announced the Second Vatican Council in the Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis.

This effort is in the “stage of denying sin and the fall altogether,” according to Sarah, and its fruits are the suppression of goodness, beauty, truth, and love.

“Good becomes evil, beauty is ugly, love becomes the satisfaction of sexual primal instincts, and truths are all relative,” said Sarah.

“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, but even promoted as a social good,” he continued. “The result is hostility to Christians, and, increasingly, religious persecution. Nowhere is [this] clearer than in the threat that societies are visiting on the family through a demonic ‘gender ideology,’ a deadly impulse that is being experienced in a world increasingly cut off from God through ideological colonialism.”

“I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers, lest you lose it,” the African cardinal advised the faithful. He cited international religious persecution against Christians and “political, ideological, and cultural” persecution that damages the Christian faith and leads souls astray.

“Do we not see signs of this insidious war in this great nation of the United States?” Sarah asked. “In the name of ‘tolerance,’ the Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality, and the human person are dismantled. The legalization of same-sex marriage, the obligation to accept contraception within healthcare programs, and even ‘bathroom bills’ that allow men to use the women’s restroom and locker rooms. Should not a biological man use the men’s restroom? How simpler can that concept be?”

Sarah offered the faithful three suggestions: be prophetic, be faithful, and pray.

“I am confident that your efforts will no doubt contribute to protecting human life, strengthening the family, and safeguarding religious freedom not only here in these United States, but everywhere in the world,” he finished. “For in the end it is ‘God or nothing.’”

Paul Ryan: ‘Religious liberty is going to make a comeback’

PR
In his address, House Speaker Paul Ryan told attendees, “We have an obligation to advocate for our faith.”

Although religious liberty in America is under assault, he said, “I actually think that religious liberty is going to make a comeback because there is a growing need for faith across this nation.”

Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, the former vice presidential nominee said that no matter one’s circumstances, the ultimate purpose of human life is contemplation of God.

Ryan noted that during his many meetings with individuals struggling with drug addiction, he noticed they often seem to “feel a deep, gnawing pain inside,” a lot of which “stems from loneliness.”

“We all feel loneliness at some level,” said Ryan. “We all feel that distance from God” and it is turning to God that consoles and heals us, he said.

And “when faith itself is ruled out of bounds, then happiness itself is being placed out of reach.”

“There is a spiritual void that needs to be filled,” continued Ryan. “Perhaps poverty is God’s way of leading us to contemplate something higher. The fight against poverty and the need for religious liberty go hand-in-hand.”

It’s not just enough to raise people’s wages and give them jobs, Ryan said. The spiritual void must be filled.

“When you meet people who have beaten addiction,” he continued, “most of them say something like this, ‘it wasn’t me. It was God’. … Every good work is the work of God. It is his grace working inside of us” and realizing that causes a loss of pride and a loss of any sense of despair.”

“There is nothing more life-changing than coming to know the Lord,” said Ryan.

Little Sisters of the Poor: We don’t have a ‘contingency plan,’ we trust in God

Sister Constance encouraged Catholics to be joyful and to view persecutors and adversaries as Christ would.

“Hate crucified love incarnate,” Sister Constance told the packed room. “The forces of death killed the Lord of life. So let us not be Christians who communicate Lent without Easter, but believers who know how to speak the truth in joy and love.”

sister

“Even our most cunning adversary is a person longing to love and be loved,” she said.

Sister Constance said that the Little Sisters of the Poor trust in God regardless of the outcome of their ongoing legal case against the Obama administration, which has been attempting to force them to violate their consciences by cooperating with actions that the Catholic Church considers intrinsically evil. On Monday, the Supreme Court chose not to rule on the case and punted the case to the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Pro-life groups declared this an initial victory.

“We have no contingency plan, because like [our foundress], we believe that God will never abandon us,” said Sister Constance. “I don’t say this because it’s a clever sound bite, but because I have deliberately chosen to believe it.”

Not a Pretty Sight: Obama’s (Latest) Gift to Planned Parenthood

http://www.humanlifereview.com/not-pretty-sight-obamas-latest-gift-planned-parenthood/

On March 30 Planned Parenthood got a big gift from the Obama Administration.

That’s the day the FDA rewrote the label on chemical abortion drugs. Now, the FDA regulations conform to what had long been the common off-label use of the drugs by chemical-abortion providers.

If that sounds like the tail wagging the dog, well, it is. The abortion industry is now setting standards for medical practice.

And if, as the year wears on, Planned Parenthood et al become concerned that a pro-life candidate might be headed toward the White House, they will no doubt get their government friends to make more executive-level changes that favor the abortion business.

But first, the March 30 action: Remember RU-486, the abortion-causing pill from France? The pro-life movement fought to keep it out of the United States, but in 2000 the FDA approved its use in a fairly strict regimen that included taking a second drug, misoprostol.

Today RU-486 is known as mifepristone—brand name Mifeprex. Mifepristone is a drug that blocks progesterone, a hormone necessary to sustain pregnancy. Taken in conjunction with misoprostol, which causes contractions to the uterus, it results in miscarriage.

The latest FDA action alters the chemical-abortion regimen the agency established back in 2000 in significant ways:
•It is now considered to be effective through 10 weeks of pregnancy, up from 7 weeks in 2000;
•The dosage of mifepristone, which was 600 milligrams in 2000, has been reduced to 200 milligrams;
•Women can now receive misoprostol—which is to be taken 24 to 48 hours after taking mifepristone—at their first doctor visit;
•In 2000, a woman had to be examined by a doctor 14 days after taking mifepristone. Today, no post-abortion examination is required, only an “assessment” between 7 and 14 days afterwards, just to make sure the “pregnancy has passed from the uterus.”

Why the changes? What do you think?

They can couch it in rhetoric about “current available scientific evidence and best practices” all they want, but the bottom line is: More customers for Planned Parenthood, which now gets an additional three weeks to enable a woman to kill her baby in her own home—with only one medical exam and one post-abortion “assessment” (a phone call?) required. Much easier, and cheaper (for Planned Parenthood at least) this way.

“Medication-induced abortions,” reported the New York Times on March 30,

made up as much of a quarter of all abortions in 2011 according to the most recent figures from the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks women’s reproductive health issues. Planned Parenthood said as many as half of eligible women in its clinics requested medication-induced abortions.

It’s the medically approved do-it-yourself abortion—for the independent woman. Its very convenience is part of its cruelty.

It allows a woman who is already going through the torment of an unwanted pregnancy to go through the agony of an abortion all by herself. With no need for someone to accompany her when she has an appointment with a chemical-abortion provider, she has no pretext to reach out to another human being as she destroys the life within her. And therefore little opportunity to hear the concern and support that others would be willing and eager to give her.

According to the FDA, between 2000 and the end of 2011 the number of women who had chemical abortions using mifepristone and misoprostol was 1.52 million.

What has their experience been like?

Miserable.

From the FDA’s own flyer “Questions and Answers on Mifeprex”:

Cramping and vaginal bleeding are expected effects of the treatment regimen. In some cases very heavy vaginal bleeding will need to be stopped by a surgical procedure . . .

Other common side effects of the treatment regimen include nausea, weakness, fever/chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness . . .

The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex and followed the regimen.

From the FDA’s Medication Guide:

Be sure to contact your healthcare provider right away if you bleed enough to soak through two thick full-size sanitary pads per hour for two consecutive hours or if you are concerned about heavy bleeding. In about 1 out of 100 women, bleeding can be so heavy that it requires a surgical procedure (surgical aspiration or D&C).

(One out of a hundred for 1.52 million = 15,200 more procedures. More business for a full-service Planned Parenthood clinic. Perhaps the anticipation of more of this kind of business could help explain why PP is shifting its business model to mega centers?)

If you have abdominal pain or discomfort, or you are “feeling sick,” including weakness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, with or without fever, more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol, you should contact your healthcare provider without delay. These symptoms may be a sign of a serious infection or another problem (including an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy outside the womb).

In the days after treatment, if you have a fever of 100.4F or higher that lasts for more than 4 hours, you should contact your healthcare provider right away. Fever may be a symptom of a serious infection or another problem.

If you are still pregnant [after Mifeprex with misoprostol treatment], your healthcare provider will talk with you about a surgical procedure to end your pregnancy. … The chance of birth defects if the pregnancy is not ended is unknown.

Mifepristone does not end a pregnancy outside the uterus, that is, an ectopic pregnancy. Unless there’s an ultrasound requirement to confirm pregnancy in the uterus, how would a woman know that she continues to be pregnant after going through all that? Yet the “reproductive freedom” lobby resists initiatives to require confirmation of pregnancy by ultrasound in the states where such measures are introduced.

What happens to women who will obtain the drugs on the internet and not bother to see a doctor? What happens to the girl who has von Willebrand’s Syndrome or another blood disorder but doesn’t know it . . . until she is bleeding to death in the privacy of her own home?

The FDA’s own adverse effects report, covering September 2000 until April 30, 2011, provides some unhappy answers: 2,207 cases of women suffering adverse events; 612 hospitalized; 14 deaths; 339 transfusions required; 256 infections; 58 ectopic pregnancies.

And those statistics are based only on cases in which a woman told someone she had taken the abortion drugs and that person reported it to medical authorities.

Not a pretty sight, the way modern reproductive medicine treats its victims.

Mum who rejected abortion displays quintuplet babies

https://www.spuc.org.uk/news/news-stories/2016/may/mum-who-rejected-abortion-displays-quintuplet-babies

An Australian mother who gave birth to quintuplets in January has released a photo shoot of her five new babies.

It took Kim Tucci, 26, just two minutes to give birth to the massive set of new arrivals – four daughters and one son – who were conceived naturally.

Doctors had advised Kim to abort some of her five unborn children on health grounds but she refused, going on to give birth to all five babies.

Surprised by Five

Kim and her husband Vaughn, who live in Perth, already have a nine-year-old daughter and two sons aged two and four. Now their family has expanded with the arrival of Tiffany, Keith, Penelope, Beatrix and Allie!

The odds of conceiving quintuplets naturally is approximately one in 55 million. Kim documented the story of her pregnancy on her blog, Surprised by Five.

She also described how doctors had recommended that she undergo a ‘selective abortion’ – i.e. abort up to three of her unborn children in order to give the others a better chance of survival.

Refusing selective abortion

On 26 September, 2015, Kim wrote:

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method [abortion] to give 2 babies the best chance in life … I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried, I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival?? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more.”

A team of 50 doctors and nurses assisted with the planned caesarean birth and all of the children were born healthy after spending 29 weeks in the womb.

Kim Tucci 2

Not always easy

Kim’s pregnancy with her quintuplets was often far from easy. She blogged about pain, extreme discomfort, sleepless nights, constant trips to the bathroom and a 6,000-calorie a day diet to sustain her five unborn babies.

But the mum-of-eight also said that all the aches and pains, the stretch marks and hospital stays were worth it, knowing that her babies are healthy. She also thanked her husband for his constant support through her pregnancy struggles.

Support

“My husband always reminds me I should wear my stripes with pride and that I should be proud of them and what my body has achieved. Without him I would have broken down a long time ago,” Kim wrote.

Now that the babies have come home, friends and family are organizing a fundraiser to help the Tuccis buy a car big enough to transport their entire family.

Photoshoot

Kim recently posted on her blog:

“50 fingers 50 toes, 6 hearts beating at once. My body fought the toughest of battles to get five babies here safely. Everything I did I did for them.”

Local business Erin Elizabeth Photography, which helped document Mrs Tucci’s pregnancy, organised a photoshoot for the quintuplets and their proud mum, which has since gone viral. You can see the rest of the pictures below:

Kim Tucci 1

How Children Bless their Parents

By Vince Sacksteder III, One More Soul, April 15, 2016

Children are treasures. 

Jason Adams, a One More Soul author and a friend of mine, once wrote: “Once I worried about what I would have to give up in having children; now I know there is nothing that I would not give up for my children. They are infinitely more valuable to me than anything I own.” My own experience confirms this. My children have proven to be more valuable than everything else I have. Children help us value the future.

Every child helps us look to the future.

Once we have a child, we start being concerned about how that child will be doing 5, 10, 20 years from now. We start making plans for the future, and we take steps to fulfill those plans. Children strengthen our hope for a great future.

Children open our hearts.

If we never concerned ourselves with mercy and compassion, or with trust and fidelity, suddenly these virtues become very important to us. Seeing our children grow up opens to us vistas of who we can be, vistas that were hidden before.

Children toughen us.

Maybe I was a whiner; maybe I couldn’t bear setbacks or obstacles; maybe I felt that life was too much for me. Now, with children, I have a motivation to just get over those things and press on with life. I have become a more solid citizen and more valuable to myself and to those around me.

Children show us new things.

Children have new eyes and new approaches to life. One of my daughters is an artist and is constantly finding new ways to make our home beautiful. One is a great organizer and frequently helps put family events together, to say nothing of organizing events of her own. Each has strengths that we as parents did not have and each contributes something fresh to the family.

Children help us treasure the present moment.

Little children live in the present and mirror to us just how valuable the present is. For them the thing they are doing right now is the most important thing in the world. What a lesson for us all.

Children become adults.

One of the most wonderful things about children is that they grow, and grow and grow. They become as large as we are and often larger and stronger, physically and spiritually as well. We learn to lean on them for many things we never could do, or can no longer do.

Children make wonderful friends.

A friend is glad to see us no matter what, and always glad to do something for us, if at all possible. Children are like that; they love us and are not afraid to show it.

Children teach us discipline.

When it comes to holding our temper, doing a task we really don’t want to do, or stretching ourselves a bit more than we would be inclined to, children excel, especially small children. New babies, particularly the first baby, make parents many times more patient, more loving, and more accommodating than they ever were before.

Children reflect God to us.

God’s presence shines from the eyes of newborns and radiates from the simplicity of small children. God is shared with us by the wisdom that comes to us from grown-up children, and also the wisdom that we share with them, wisdom that we didn’t know we had. God’s presence grows in the love that is shared between us and our children.

Why Are We Afraid to Tell the Truth?

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

I received a number of emails from friends after Respect Life Sunday saying that they heard little, if anything, about life and family from the pulpit. It is as if some pastors are afraid of preaching the Gospel of Life, or have something more important to talk about even when it is chosen as the day to preach on precisely these issues.

The failure to preach the Gospel of Life is not only a U.S. problem. During HLI’s conferences, I hear the same comments from around the world. I bring this up when I speak to seminarians, priests, and bishops – many times the only message the faithful will hear about these incredibly urgent pastoral and moral questions is at Mass.

Generally, Catholics might hear a homily on abortion once a year. They might hear an occasional reference to euthanasia – a subject some deem easier to preach about – but most usually never hear references to contraception, homosexuality, promiscuity, pornography, cohabitation or divorce.

It is also not helpful when Church leaders accept the false caricature that “the Church is always talking about these issues,” so it’s about time we talked about something else. Apparently “the Church” has not sufficiently talked about issues in a way that helps the political party that now treats abortion as a “human right.”

When one cardinal said two years ago that those Catholics who were in second civil unions without annulment of their marriages should not be expected to be heroes by being celibate, many couples who had been abstaining from sex felt like they had been punched in the gut. What had they been sacrificing for? Such a position makes it sound like Jesus’ teaching on marriage is just too hard to follow. We know better than Jesus. We are more pastoral. It is even more hurtful when the cardinal’s superior also seems to accept and repeat this characterization of Church teaching as being uncompassionate.

It is true that priests and bishops are people too. When they preach in a way that displeases people not only might they lose parishioners, they may also lose collection revenue and invite nasty e-mails and face-to-face conversations after Mass. Most of us know the risks too well.

But, my brothers, we have given our lives to a Man who submitted to a gruesome and humiliating death! We follow Our Lord, who died on a cross for us! If we love those whom we are given to serve in our parishes – let me choose my words carefully here – how the hell are we helping them if we do not tell them the truth – the Good News – about sexuality and marriage? These are pastoral issues, and cannot be reduced to some obscure teaching that was meant for another time! Pope Saint John Paul II knew this well:

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture. (Evangelium vitae 1)

My God, my God, why have we forsaken you? How did we let ourselves come to the belief that you, Our Lord, meant for our lives to be as easy as possible? That Your Law — what You told us is what those who love you will follow — can only be held up when it happens to find agreement with our fallen culture?

Why are we not protecting married couples from the violence of contraception — the divorce of unitive and procreative aspects of the beautiful gift of sexuality? Why are we afraid of helping our brothers and sisters to live in truth, according to their dignity?

What is our role and duty in Christ – in truth and charity?

No one has said that we must only preach about life and family issues. Anyone who claims differently is ignorant or is trying to manipulate the listener. As priests we must prayerfully discern how to bring the Word of God directly to those we serve in a way that they can hear. We absolutely must remind the faithful of their obligation to serve in solidarity with those in need, to be generous with their material gifts. We owe it to our congregations to remind them of the goodness of Truth and Beauty – the goodness of life, of God’s creation and our responsibility to be stewards of what we’ve been given. We have to remind people that our faith cannot be reduced to rules, but is based on Love.

But we must never accept the false representation of Church teaching on life and marriage as lacking compassion, or pretend it was made for another time. We must not be afraid to tell the truth about life and family, as there are no more immediate or urgent pastoral issues that our families are dealing with at home or in the public square.

Preaching on these issues on Respect Life Sunday is a bare minimum – a starting point. We are forming hearts and minds so that the faithful can in freedom choose wisely and lovingly when the moment of heroism – even everyday heroism for those with great challenges – comes their way. It is not “pastoral” to ignore the loving doctrine we have been given and offer solutions that soothe and confuse. This is not love.

Scientists say life begins at conception with a flash of light

May 3, 2016 (LiveActionNews) — Abortion advocates often claim as a defense of abortion that no one can really, truly define the moment life begins. Without knowing that, they say, there’s no real argument against abortion. Consider, for example, Melissa Harris-Perry’s insistence that life begins “whenever you feel like it does.” Obama famously said that the question of when life begins was above his pay grade. While the science of embryology has long been settled, it’s still not good enough for abortion activists.

But a new scientific breakthrough might go a long way towards changing hearts and minds: scientists have been able to capture the moment life begins, with a bright flash of light as a new life is conceived…

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

egg6-large_

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in…animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

The photos included were not of actual embryos being created — the scientists used a sperm enzyme to replicate the incredible moment that life begins.

Unfortunately, rather than using this discovery to defend life, scientists are using it to better discern which lives to destroy.

Researchers from Northwestern University, in Chicago, noticed that some of the eggs burn brighter than others, showing that they are more likely to produce a healthy baby.

… “This means if you can look at the zinc spark at the time of fertilization, you will know immediately which eggs are the good ones to transfer in in vitro fertilization.

“It’s a way of sorting egg quality in a way we’ve never been able to assess before. “All of biology starts at the time of fertilization, yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

So basically, the scientists are advocating for embryos to be created in order to facilitate IVF, and then destroyed if they don’t seem to be the healthiest, strongest embryos. The ones with a dimmer glow are deemed to be weaker, perhaps because of a genetic abnormality, and so after creating their unique lives, scientists plan to destroy them. This is even though science has also just confirmed that babies with abnormalities can self-correct while still in the womb. People who are undergoing IVF are often encouraged to destroy “defective” embryos, ending the lives that were just created, without giving the embryos any chance at all to grow and develop, and certainly without placing any value on the uniqueness of each human life.

As Secular Pro-Life pointed out:

[T]he article is refreshingly clear about conception being the point where life begins. There is no obfuscation. The very first line of the article is “Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.”

Which is why the rest of the article is so incredibly disturbing.

Agreed. It’s sad that such a life-affirming discovery is being used to further the culture of death.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

U.S. suicides are increasing at alarming rates: assisted suicide advocacy is at least partly to blame

April 26, 2016 (NationalReview) — There has been a huge and alarming increase in the U.S. suicide rate. From the CDC announcement:

From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006…

Suicide is increasing against the backdrop of generally declining mortality, and is currently one of the 10 leading causes of death overall and within each age group 10–64…

This report highlights increases in suicide mortality from 1999 through 2014 and shows that while the rate increased almost steadily over the period, the average annual percent increase was greater for the second half of this period (2006–2014) than for the first half (1999–2006).

Color me decidedly not surprised. We are becoming a pro-suicide culture.

I believe the assisted suicide movement bears partial responsibility. Suicides have increased at the very time the assisted suicide movement has been vigorously and prominently promoting self-killing as a proper means to alleviate suffering.

Moreover, assisted suicide is often portrayed sympathetically in popular entertainment and the media is completely on board the assisted suicide bandwagon. Don’t tell me that doesn’t give despairing people lethal ideas.

At the same time, suicide prevention campaigns usually ignore this toxic elephant in the room.

It is also noteworthy that the suicide rate increased faster after 2006–the very time when the assisted suicide movement has become the most vigorous and made its most dramatic advances.

There is no question that assisted suicide advocacy is not the only factor causing this alarming increase in suicides. But I am convinced that the correlation could also be at least a partial causation.

Look at it this way: If we say that suicide is okay in some circumstances–but not others–at best we are sending a mixed message, making it more difficult for the anti-suicide message to sink in.

In this regard it is like telling someone, “Don’t smoke, but if you do, use filter cigarettes.”

One study has already found a weak linkage. I would like to see a more concerted investigations that aren’t afraid of making a controversial connection.

Reprinted with permission from National Review.

Judge Gives Family Two Weeks Before This Boy’s Life Support is Yanked Without Their Consent

The name Israel means he who prevails with God. Right now, there is an emergency calling for the performance of God’s love and work here on earth. In no uncertain terms, prevailing in this instance means life and losing results in death.

Israel Stinson is a beautiful two-year-old boy with baby soft caramel skin and big brown sparkling eyes, the kind that penetrate through your chest and make you feel as if part of your heart is smiling. Israel’s mom uses her graceful fingers to comb Israel’s dark curls into a pile on the top of his head that gently rests on a white pillow case at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, California—the hospital determined to end Israel Stinson’s young life.

On Monday, May 2nd at 1:30pm, the parents of two-year-old Israel Stinson took the next steps in their battle against the hospital, currently housing their son, from carrying out its decision to end Israel’s life. Israel’s parents, with the help of their heroic attorneys from the Life Legal Defense Foundation, asked Judge Kimberly Mueller to restrain the hospital from unplugging Israel’s ventilator. A move, that the hospital knows, will kill two-year-old Israel by suffocation. The court gave Israel until May 11th.

Just one month ago on April 1st, Israel’s parents could not have imagined this fate. It was the week after Easter Sunday. Israel was running around like a normal, active two-year old. Israel was enjoying his role of responsible and loving older brother to his younger sister. Israel was laughing, sharing his contagious grin, and beaming with life and innocence. But then the protective shield a mother builds around her child was pierced as Israel’s mom found herself rushing into an emergency room. Israel was having trouble breathing; he suffered an asthma attack.

The physicians in the emergency room placed Israel on a breathing machine and took x-rays. Eventually, the physicians intubated Israel and transferred him to a different hospital with a pediatric unit. There, on the very next day, Israel’s tube was removed. The hospital declared Israel was stable and told Israel’s parents that they could probably go home the following day. This never happened.

About an hour and a half later, the relief of this news drained from the room as Israel began wheezing and gasping to breathe again. Instead of providing a breathing tube, physicians attempted other methods that proved unsuccessful. Israel’s body went limp, and the hospital eventually performed CPR to resuscitate Israel’s tiny body. Doctors placed Israel on life support but encouraged Israel’s parents that he was “going to make it.” Later, doctors shared that a possibility of brain damage existed due the lack of oxygen to Israel’s brain prior to connecting Israel to life support.

Three days later, on April 6th, doctors determined that Israel’s heart and lungs were functioning on their own. Then six days after that, doctors transferred Israel to yet another hospital, the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. It is here, within 24 hours of receiving Israel, that the hospital told Israel’s parents that they would likely withdraw life support. Indeed, just two days after being transferred to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, the hospital pronounced two-year Israel “brain dead.”

To the hospital, this pronouncement means that Israel’s parents no longer have the right to exercise any decision making authority regarding Israel’s placement on a ventilator. Simply put, the hospital can unplug the machine that is keeping Israel alive. Israel’s parents filed a petition with the state court, begging the court to order the hospital to continue treatment and give their son more time. The state court temporarily restrained the hospital from removing the ventilator for the family to make arrangements for their son to be transferred to another hospital.

Dr. Paul Byrne, a board certified neonatologist, pediatrician, and Clinical Professor, visited Israel and examined his medical records. Dr. Paul Byrne wants everyone to know: “Israel is alive.”

Dr. Paul Byrne is an expert in traumatic brain injury, like Israel’s. In 1975, Dr. Paul Byrne treated a young man that some physicians concluded was brain dead and was on a ventilator for 6 weeks. The young man eventually gained full consciousness and was weaned from the ventilator. The man went on to live a full life, is married, and has three children. Dr. Paul Byrne also treated Jahi McMath, whose parents also had to take hospital administrators to court in order to save the life of their child. Since being declared “brain dead,” Jahi has celebrated her 14th and 15th birthdays, and is constantly surrounded by the love of her family.

Dr. Paul Byrne discovered that the hospital was failing to give Israel the nutrients and treatments he needed to recover. The hospital refused to change their treatment at the request of Israel’s parents claiming that “they do not treat or feed brain dead patients” and that Israel’s parents no longer have the ability to make decisions over their son’s healthcare.

In the past week, Israel has shown improvement. Israel’s heart continues to beat on its own. Israel responds to his mother’s voice, took breaths on his own, and even lifted his arm. The hospital, however, refuses to back down and is fighting to remove Israel’s life support.

Israel’s family and legal counsel find themselves in a race against time. Unable to secure placement in a different facility before the expiration of the state court’s temporary restraining order, the family filed an emergency motion with the federal court last Friday to stop the hospital from ending Israel’s life and to obtain more time. Yesterday, the federal court restrained the hospital from removing life support until May 11th, giving Israel’s family a brief reprieve. The family hopes that May 11th does not come too soon.

Israel currently needs a hospital willing to accept him and a doctor who is board certified in California to perform a tracheotomy and insert a feeding tube for Israel to breathe and receive nutrients while in transport to a new hospital. Perhaps someone in a position to help might read this article and rise to the challenge of helping Israel.

Critics may say recovery is impossible. That Israel’s parents should just give up. But why should Israel’s parents be forced into blind obeisance to a hospital, especially when there are conflicting opinions about their son’s condition? And, above all, when doing so will result in the death of their beautiful, two-year old son? Both Israel’s legal challenges against the hospital and his physical recovery pose significant, seemingly insurmountable, battles. But maybe there are times in life when love and the will to live can decimate the impossible to nothing. And maybe the truly wise know that nothing—absolutely nothing—is impossible for God.

LifeNews Note: Erin Mersino is a pro-life attorney who has worked for the More Law Center and has been published by National Right to Life News, USA Today, Politico Magazine, American Thinker and others.

The “Multifaceted Gem” of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia

http://aleteia.org/2016/04/08/the-multi-faceted-gem-of-pope-francis-amoris-laetitia/
Karee Santos

Mining the theology of the Body-inspired wealth of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “The Joy of Love”

After nearly 18 months of speculation, the other shoe has dropped, and Pope Francis has finally issued his apostolic exhortation on the 2014-15 Synod of the Family. In true Francis fashion he has issued a document that he hopes will challenge everyone (para. 7). Against calls for “general rules” or “immoderate … change,” he instead articulates a philosophy of accompaniment, which depends not on rules but on relationships (para. 2). In particular he urges us to cherish the good in every family situation, no matter how irregular (paras. 77, 292).

Apart from sparking an inevitable firestorm of controversy around hot-button issues, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) also directs stirringly beautiful words of encouragement and inspiration to married couples in line with the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II. Commentators have long wondered and worried if the thoughts of John Paul II would be reflected in this newest Church pronouncement on the family. The reading guide for bishops, presented earlier this week, reassured clerics that Amoris Laetitia was heavily inspired by the Theology of the Body, the former pontiff’s groundbreaking discourses on marriage and sexuality.

Amoris Laetitia combines brilliant scriptural analysis akin to John Paul II’s with a healthy dash of Francis’ plain-spoken, homespun wisdom. Its praise of sexual and erotic love echoes Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est (God is Love). Pope Francis’ chapter 1 on the biblical basis of marriage tracks the journey of Adam and Eve from solitude to togetherness, and then to suffering and finally redemption through Jesus Christ (paras. 9-22), just as John Paul II did in the opening addresses of the Theology of the Body.

The two “central chapters” of Amoris Laetitia, and the ones in which Pope Francis speaks most directly to married couples, are chapters 4 and 5 (paras. 6-7). Chapter 4 leads us line by line through St. Paul’s much-beloved Hymn to Love in 1 Corinthians 13, while chapter 5 focuses on the fruitful love that is “a symbol of God’s inner life” (para. 11). These chapters offer the following strikingly practical insights on how to live the married vocation to the fullest.

See each other (para. 128). “We often hear in families: ‘My husband does not look at me,’” or “‘My wife no longer looks at me; she only has eyes for our children,’” notes Pope Francis. Husbands and wives must not withhold a “look of appreciation,” a gaze of “contemplative love,” even when our spouse has become “infirm, elderly or physically unattractive,” he continues. “Much hurt and many problems result when we stop looking at one another.”

Listen to each other (paras. 100, 137, 139). “How often we hear complaints like: ‘He does not listen to me,’” adds Pope Francis. Husbands and wives show love when we “listen patiently and attentively,” exercising “the self-discipline of not speaking until the time is right.” Our ability to listen depends on whether we cultivate “interior silence” and an ability to acknowledge the worth of the other person and their perspective. “The combination of two different ways of thinking can lead to a synthesis that enriches both,” he wisely observes.

And when we finally speak, “words should be carefully chosen,” he says. “Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement … not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.”

Touch each other (paras. 148, 157). Authentic married love will “welcome with sincere and joyful gratitude … a caress, an embrace, a kiss and sexual union,” says Francis. The search for sexual pleasure should not resemble an obsessive insatiability, however. “Excess, lack of control or obsession with a single form of pleasure can end up weakening and tainting that very pleasure and damaging family life,” the pope warns.

Let nothing rob you of the joy of parenthood
(paras. 168, 171, 179). “Don’t let fears, worries, other people’s comments or problems lessen your joy,” Pope Francis encourages us. Children are a gift from God, and the conception of each child marks a moment when “the Creator’s eternal dream [of that child] comes true.” The pope urges married couples, particularly those who struggle with infertility, to adopt or provide foster care, “offering the gift of a family to someone who has none.”

These nuggets of practical wisdom are a small fraction of the treasures to be found in Amoris Laetitia. The broad sweep of the document covers theological issues like the sacramentality and indissolubility of marriage, economic issues like migration and unemployment, and pastoral issues like marriage preparation, the training of priests and care for the divorced and remarried. With reason, Pope Francis refers to the synod proceedings as a “multifaceted gem” and asks us to devote more than “a rushed reading” to his post-synodal exhortation (paras. 4, 7).

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Women share birth control horror stories with #MyPillStory hashtag

April 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Accounts of the Pill’s negative side effects have been trending on Twitter, with a stream of women coming forward to share their chemical contraception horror stories gaining notice in the unlikely forum of the feminist press.

Women’s magazines have long championed the birth control pill as a liberator of women, but the #MyPillStory hashtag detailing the Pill’s medical downside has gotten coverage from a number of such outlets in the U.S. and the UK, such as Glamour, Huffington Post, and Stylist Magazine.

Twitter accounts of devastation from the Pill began March 31 and have continued since, one sharing, “T1Diabetic and the pill messed up my sugar levels so bad I developed an abscess, my sight damaged and had to leave college.”

The story took off after UK journalist Holly Brockwell tweeted her frustration over fighting with England’s National Health Service’s (NHS) to sterilize her, according to Glamour. She wanted the procedure because the pill caused her dizziness, vomiting, skin problems, bleeding and pain. Brockwell had either been told to take the Pill or that her boyfriend could have a vasectomy.

“Do you know what it’s like to bleed for a month?” Brockwell challenged a male on social media who questioned her effort to be sterilized. “Have you spent mornings off work because you’re throwing up from hormones you don’t need in your body? Have you called the NHS direct because your leg feels weird and you’re worried your high-risk pill has given you a fatal blood clot?”

“One pill made me bleed so much for so long that I was on iron tablets for months afterwards,” she’d also stated.

“I can’t take the pill because it gives me migraines, mood swings & weight gain,” was the reply from Kate Bevan, who came up with the hashtag.

Brockwell was clear in her posts she is not anti-pill; instead she opposes people telling her dismissively to take the Pill, particularly men.

But the campaign opened the door to the difficulties caused by chemical contraception, one Twitter user offering, “One pill I took … not only made my body feel alien but then started making me violently sick once every hour.”

The physical complications from oral contraceptives are well-documented, such as risk of blood clots, hair loss, greater chance of Crohn’s Disease and brain shrinkage, breast cancer, hardening of the arteries, increased risk of glaucoma and cervical cancer.

Some of the #MyPillStory posts demonstrated this, one stating, “Headaches, severe mood swings, nausea, vomiting and the autoimmune issues I have were all gifted to me from hormonal bc.”

But many also showed how the Pill is related to mental and psychological maladies as well.

“#MyPillStory depressed, lethargic, dissociated. sleeping for over 12 hours a day and still exhausted. reluctant to ever try it again,” one stated.

“I dealt with crushing depression and suicidal ideation for days in a row not realizing what was happening,” came from another, and still another saying, “On pill for a year before I realised it was why I was experiencing crippling gender dysphoria. By then I’d already quit my job.”

The disturbing accounts continued, showing a pattern.

“Took the pill when I was 18 cried everyday for a year, high anxiety, no libido, no idea what was going on until I stopped,” one person tweeted. Another said, “It made me lose my mind. I wasn’t myself. Suicidal and scared. Seems I’m not alone.”

Brockwell recently learned she will get her sterilization from the British government in the next few months, but her personal campaign to avoid pregnancy ultimately shed light on the dangerous chemical option millions of women use to achieve the same.

“This whole thing is straight-up terrifying,” one of her tweets stated. “Can’t wait to get off the pill.”

Pregnant Survivor of Brussels Terrorist Bombings Writes Touching Letter to Her Unborn Child

The world is reeling from the massive terrorist attacks last week in Brussels and Pakistan that killed dozens and left hundreds more wounded. But a pregnant woman who survived the Belgium attack walked away with a glimmer of hope amid the grief and destruction: Her unborn baby was safe.

The Telegraph reports the story of Sneha Mehta, 28, and her husband, Sameep, who had just arrived at the Brussels Airport last Tuesday when Islamic terrorists set off two bombs in the terminal. Terrorists also bombed the city’s metro system.

The couple said they had just walked off their flight from the United Arab Emirates when the bombs went off. Seeing the ceiling starting to fall down toward their heads, the couple rushed out of the building, according CNN. Though unharmed, the Mehtas grabbed a taxi and went to a nearby hospital to make sure their unborn baby was OK, the report states.

There on the ultrasound screen, the couple saw their 16-week unborn baby looking perfectly content sucking its thumb and moving around, according to the report. They do not know if it is a boy or girl yet.

When the couple finally got home, Sneha wrote a letter to her unborn child about her experiences on that terrible day. It reads:

“Hi Sweetheart,

“I don’t know if we already acknowledged this with you in person, but when you were 16 weeks old, mum and dad were in an explosion at Brussels Airport.

“And no matter where humanity is today, I just want to tell you that life is a wonderful thing, and the world is really full of remarkable people.

“You didn’t just give mum and dad faith and reason to live, you gave the awareness and presence of mind like never before.

“I felt more alive than I ever have, and I knew I had to protect you, so I was calm, composed and fully aware that we will survive.

“When we reached Sint-Augustinus emergency, and we saw you oblivious and sucking at your thumb at the ultrasound, and doing your general acrobatics, all the mistrust, hate and angst for the terrorist attack vaporized.

“I do hope with all my heart that you are born into a better world, and if not, then you do absolute best to make it that.

“You are absolutely precious to us, and have already been a hero today. I guess the world has sent so much love and hope your way, you owe your life to reciprocating that goodness.

“May you always be brave and healthy. We love you beyond words.

“Mum and Dad”

The expecting mother said she “knew for sure” that she would survive the attack. Her confidence came from her desire to protect her unborn baby, she said.

CNN reports the death toll from the Brussels terrorist attack is now 35, and approximately 300 others were injured. Another terrorist attack, apparently the work of the Taliban, occurred on Easter Sunday in a park in Pakistan where children and families were gathered, according to ABC News. About 70 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured, according to the report.

Amid such horrible acts of death and destruction, it is difficult to find hope for the future. But Sneha’s touching letter is a reminder that hope is renewed every time a new human life begins.

SnehaMehta

Delighted Pope, Equally Delighted Teens with Down Syndrome

http://aleteia.org/2016/02/16/watch-delighted-pope-equally-delighted-teens-with-down-syndrome/

You are hereby dared to watch this video and not smile at the clear delight His Holiness takes in greeting these two girls, and their happiness at being called to him. Hugs are exchanged, rosaries given. May these two young ladies wear those beads out; the prayers of the innocent are powerful, and people with Down syndrome — who are gifted with a huge, underappreciated capacity for love and nearly aborted into extinction — know how to pray with big, generous hearts.

Perhaps that’s why the Evil One would prefer not to see them born?

Dare I say that? Yes, I think I dare.

Peter walks — has always walked — among those whose “quality of life” seems dubious to the world, which wonders why some people are permitted to be born at all. He gives them a bit of time, a bit of “kindness therapy” and thus affirms to the world that they are indeed acceptable to God with the life they have; that the life they have is as valuable as anyone’s. Even the most beautiful and most celebrated.

In Mexico, as you can see above and here and here and here, Peter has been doing a lot of affirming.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …

Surrogate refuses abortion demand: parents threaten to withhold payment

THOUSAND OAKS, California, December 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Another surrogate carrier is fighting for the life of the child in her womb.

As LifeSiteNews reported, Melissa Cook in California is carrying triplets conceived by a Georgia man and a 20-year-old egg donor. Since all three survived and are growing in Cook’s womb, the Georgia man is threatening Cook with financial ruin if she does not abort at least one of the babies.

Now, surrogate carrier Brittneyrose Torres is being pressured to abort at least one of her triplets. She told The New York Post that the birth parents “knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t want to abort unless it was a life-and-death situation.”

Torres, 26, was initially implanted with two embryos in hopes that one of them would develop. It is the usual practice to implant more than one conceived baby because many do not survive the procedure. In Torres’s case, not only did both survive, a boy and a girl, but twinning occurred, giving Torres one girl and two twin boys.

Initially excited about triplets, the parental contractors later claimed increased risk of developmental disabilities and demanded that Torres abort the girl.

“I told her I couldn’t abort one of the children,” Torres told The Post. “I believe it will be killing this baby.” She even offered to adopt the girl, but the parental contractors refused.

“Reproductive technology has reduced each of the children in question to a commodity that can be traded, discarded, killed, or accepted, according to the whims of the parents who paid for the procedure,” Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews.

“It is clear that such technology breeds cavalier attitudes toward children who result from such practices,” Ms. Brown concluded. “As a result, the dignity that each pre-born child possesses is too easily ignored.”

“Torres’s decision to choose life for the triplets she was asked to carry for another couple speaks volumes to what is wrong with reproductive technology, and why the Catholic Church has been wise to teach that each child has a right to be created within the context of a loving marriage between a man and a woman,” the pro-life leader told LifeSiteNews. “This is very sad, and it calls us to remember that building a culture of life begins with accepting God’s plan for the procreation of children.

“No one has a right to a child, and surely no one should have the right to instruct a third party, a surrogate mother, to kill babies that they engaged the surrogate to carry for them,” the American Life League co-founder stated. “Thankfully, Britney has chosen to ignore the instructions of her triplets’ parents, and she will carry them to term.”

In both the Torres and Cook cases, the contract signed included a provision giving the parental contractors the legal right to order an abortion. In both cases, the parental contractors are withholding payments until the surrogate carriers abort.

“I want other women not to be put in this situation,” Torres said. “They shouldn’t be forced to do something they don’t want to.”

Depo-Provera contraceptive increases risk of HIV infection: new study

March 8, 2016 (POP) — A new peer-reviewed study,1 conducted in collaboration with the Population Research Institute (PRI), shows that women who use Depo-Provera are significantly more likely to acquire HIV.

Due to funding from organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agencies like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Depo-Provera is the most widely used form of birth control by women in Sub-Saharan Africa where HIV prevalence remains high.

The study found that Depo-Provera and other DMPA based injectable contraceptives increased women’s risk of acquiring HIV-1 by 49% compared to those not using hormonal contraception.

Depo-Provera, a pharmaceutical brand owned by Pfizer, Inc., is a long-term injectable contraceptive that prevents pregnancy for three months.

The active ingredient in Depo-Provera, and other injectable contraceptives like Depo Sub-Q Provera 104, is a progestin known as depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). DMPA based injectable contraceptives account for an estimated 70% of injectable contraceptives procured by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies, like the UNFPA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The study involved a meta-analysis of 23 articles from peer-reviewed journals, making this study the largest of its kind to date. The authors found consistent evidence that women using DMPA acquired the HIV-1 virus at significantly higher rates than the general population. In total, 88% of cross-sectional studies and 75% of longitudinal studies demonstrated a higher risk among DMPA users.

Joel Brind, Professor of Biology and Endocrinology at the City University of New York, Steven Condly, Research Psychologist at the U.S. Military Academy, Steven W. Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, Anne Morse, graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, and Jennifer Kimball, Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at the Ave Maria School of Law participated in the study.

The authors also delved into possible biological explanations for why DMPA increases the risk of HIV. Researchers found a number of studies showing that DMPA weakens the body’s immune system and thins natural epithelial barriers that prevent the HIV virus from infecting women.

While study after study has demonstrated a clear and strong association between HIV and DMPA, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gates Foundation and other interested parties involved in procuring injectable contraceptives worldwide have been less keen on the issue.

The WHO’s failure to acknowledge the associated risk has caused a controversy that has spanned political persuasions on both the left and the right.

A controversial statement released by the WHO acknowledges the evidence of an increased HIV risk. Yet, in spite of the associated risks involved, the WHO recommends that:

There are no restrictions on the use of hormonal contraceptives, including DMPA for women at high risk of HIV (MEC Category 1)

While scientists are still not certain why women who used DMPA were more likely to acquire HIV, a number of studies have found significant evidence of possible causal associations between DMPA and HIV transmission.

Huijbreghts, et al. (2013),2 for example, found in in vitro experiments that MPA decreased immune cell’s production of cytokines and chemokines essentially to the immune system and reduced the proliferation of T-cells. Others like Govender, et al. (2014),3 have shown that MPA, unlike endogenous progesterone, represses inflammatory cytokines by acting as a glucocorticoid receptor agonist.

In spite of the evidence, the WHO claims:

There is no evidence of a causal association between DMPA use and an increase in women’s risk of HIV acquisition.

It is unclear why the WHO continues to ignore the evidence of the associated risk of HIV. Some have suggested that the WHO and the U.N. are catering to some their largest donors. Up to 10% of the WHO’s annual budget is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. DMPA injectables are often appealing for population control programs because they are not subject to “user-error” and remain effective for long periods of time.

The WHO could also be turning a blind eye to the issue in light of the recent release of Sayana Press, Pfizer’s one-time use DMPA injectable intended for self-injection, which has been strongly promoted with the support of the Gates Foundation, USAID, and others. Trial introductions of the injectable in Africa have not relied on doctors and nurses but rather largely on unlicensed community health workers for distribution. A stronger statement from the WHO on recommendations for DMPA use would necessarily hamper efforts to widely distribute the new injectable contraceptive.

Depo-Provera is also one of Pfizer’s fastest growing products by total sales, with an almost 30% increase in revenue from FY 2012-2013. In 2014, Pfizer took in over $200 million in revenues from Depo-Provera sales

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With HIV prevalence rates exceeding 20% of the adult population in some African countries, the WHO offers condoms as a solution to any possible risk associated with the use of DMPA. According to the WHO:

Women and couples at high risk of HIV acquisition considering progestogen-only injectables should also be informed about and have access to HIV preventive measures, including male and female condoms.

As Brind, et al. (2015) includes both DMPA users who reported using and not using condoms, there is reason to doubt that the recommendation—that serodiscordant and high risk couples use barrier methods such as condoms for protection against HIV-1 transmission—will be effective. As condom failure rates for pregnancy prevention are 18-21% within the first year with typical use,4 failure rates for STI prevention are likely similar.

Areas where HIV prevalence is high are also areas where condom use is inconsistent and has high failure rates.

A large study in Uganda5 showed inconsistent condom use failed to protect against HIV acquisition. Inconsistent users were found to contract HIV at incidence rates higher than persons who reported not using condoms at all. Even as consistent usage was found to reduce the risk, almost four times as many persons who reported using condoms used them inconsistently rather than consistently. As Uganda ranked 10th in the world for HIV prevalence among adults of reproductive age in 2013, according WHO data, adopting a policy of recommending condom usage with DMPA could have disastrous consequences.

Conversely, Niger, a country with one of the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates in the world, has one of the lowest HIV prevalence rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prevalence of HIV among adults of reproductive age in Niger match those in Spain and are only 0.1% higher than HIV prevalence in the U.K. According to 2012 data from the U.N. Population Division, female contraceptive prevalence in the U.K. was second only to China.

It is not likely that advising women who use DMPA to also use condoms will have much effect. Even in the United States where contraceptive prevalence and education remains high, among couples who report using dual methods of contraception, over 40% reported using condoms incorrectly and half fail to use them on a consistent basis.6 As less than one-third of South African women using hormonal contraception reported using dual methods,7 it is irresponsible to counsel women to use condoms as an effective means of protection against HIV.

For more information about PRI’s new study and the promotion of injectable contraceptive worldwide, visit https://www.pop.org/depo-provera-hiv.

1. Joel Brind, Steven J. Condly, Steven W. Mosher, Anne R. Morse, and Jennifer Kimball, “Risk of HIV infection in depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) users: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Issues in Law & Medicine, 2015; 30(2):129-139.

2. Huijbregts, Richard P. H., E. Scott Helton, Katherine G. Michel, Steffanie Sabbaj, Holly E. Richter, Paul A. Goepfert, Zdenek Hell, “Hormonal contraception and HIV-1 infection: medroxyprogesterone acetate suppresses innate and adaptive immune mechanisms,” Endocrinology, 2013; 154(3): 1282-1295, doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1850.

3. Govender, Yashini, Chanel Avenant, Nicolette J. D. Verhoog, Roslyn M. Ray, Nicholas J. Grantham, Donita Africander, Janet P. Hapgood, “The injectable-only contraceptive medroxyprogesterone acetate, unlike norethisterone acetate and progesterone, regulates inflammatory genes in endocervical cells via the glucocorticoid receptor,” PLOS ONE, 2014; 9(5), doi:10. 1371/journal.pone.0096497.

4. Lisa B. Haddad, Chelsea B. Polis, Anandi N. Sheth, Jennifer Brown, Athena P. Kourtis, Caroline King, Rana Chakraborty, Igho Ofotokun, “Contraceptive methods and risk of HIV acquisition or female-to-male transmission,” HHS public access author manuscript, published in: Current HIV/AIDS Reports, 2014; 11(4): 447–458, doi:10.1007/s11904-014-0236-6.

5. Saifuddin Ahmed, Tom Lutalo, Maria Wawer, David Serwadda, Nelson K. Sewankambo, Fred Nalugoda, Fred Makumbi, Fred Wabwire-Mangen, Noah Kiwanuka, Godfrey Kigozi, Mohamed Kiddugavu and Ron Gray, “HIV incidence and sexually transmitted disease prevalence associated with condom use: a population study in Rakai, Uganda,” AIDS, 2001; 15:2171-2179.

6. Jenny A. Higgins, Nicole K. Smith, Stephanie A. Sanders, Vanessa Schick, Debby Herbenick, Michael Reece, Brian Dodge, J. Dennis Fortenberry, “Dual method use at last sexual encounter: a nationally representative, episode-level analysis of US men and women,” HHS public access author manuscript, published in: Contraception, 2014; 90(4): 399–406, doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2014.06.003.

7. Catherine MacPhail, Audrey Pettifor, Sophie Pascoe, Helen Rees, “Predictors of dual method use for pregnancy and HIV prevention among adolescent South African women,” Contraception, 2007; 75(5): 383-389.

Two women theologians take on Pope Francis’ in-flight contraception remarks

February 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Among the many reactions to Pope Francis’ interview on the return flight from Mexico last week are the thoughtful reflections of two female theologians of note. Both Professor Janet Smith, who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and Dr. Monica Miller, a Ph.D. in Theology from Marquette University and Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, took up Pope Francis’ answer to a question about the Zika virus, contraception, and the “lesser of two evils.”

When asked about the ‘avoiding pregnancy’ in areas at risk of Zika virus transmission, Pope Francis spoke of the supposed permission given by Pope Paul VI to nuns in Africa to use “contraceptives in cases of rape.”

“Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion,” he said. “In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.” The Pope also suggested that the question of “avoiding pregnancy” in Zika zones could involve a “conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment.”

Responding to a request from LifeSiteNews Dr. Monica Miller said:

It is interesting to note that the reporter never used the term “contraception”—only whether “avoiding pregnancy” was the “lesser evil.”  First, of all it is not necessarily an evil at all to avoid a pregnancy—as couples can certainly abstain from sex, or use Natural Family Planning when there is a serious reason to avoid pregnancy. Thus if the pope simply meant to say that the Zika virus threat was such a serious reason for couples to avoid pregnancy – with recourse to methods that are morally licit – the pope did not teach that there are circumstances when the use of artificial contraceptives can be morally licit.

However, the pope’s response is confusing, unclear and certainly people can come away from it thinking that His Holiness did endorse exceptions to the Church’s ban on the use of artificial contraception. Why? Because, number one—the reporter characterized “avoiding pregnancy” as an “evil”—albeit a “lesser evil” and everyone knows that the Church considers contraceptive use as a moral evil, whether they agree with that position or not.

Then Pope Francis made the statement that there was or could be a conflict between the 5th and 6th commandment—thus giving the impression that there was some kind of a moral quandary or tension between moral goods that perhaps can only be resolved by compromising with recourse to a “lesser evil” in order to secure or protect the greater good—in this case the good of life. It was a rather odd statement, and Catholic moral theology does not speak in terms of commandments being in conflict with each other. Then—when the Pope used the situation of nuns in the Belgian Congo being permitted to use contraception to thwart the effects of rape—the Pope certainly gave more than the impression that in difficult, crisis situations persons may licitly use artificial contraception—when indeed the Church is quite clear that such use is never morally licit as contraception violates the meaning of the conjugal act.

The problem, as usual is the use of imprecise language, improper characterizations of moral issues that lead to serious confusion. One has to wonder why the Pope did not immediately launch into an endorsement of Natural Family Planning as soon as he heard the reporter ask about the licitness of “avoiding pregnancy.” A missed teaching moment descended into confusion. Hopefully Pope Francis prays that prayer to Mary, the un-doer of knots—as there are a lot of knots here that need to be undone.

Dr. Janet Smith, writing in the pages of Catholic World Report said similarly:

The (Principle of Choosing the Lesser Evil) PCLE does not justify a woman using contraception to prevent a pregnancy because she fears the child may suffer some harm during the pregnancy. Here a woman is choosing to do something immoral to prevent harm. This choice violates the fundamental principle that we must never do moral evil to achieve good. She would be intending to thwart the purpose and meaning of the sexual act in order to protect any child conceived from harm, but she is doing harm—to the marital act and her marital relationship—by using contraception to prevent a pregnancy.

There are all sorts of “harm” that spouses may wish to attempt to avoid by using contraception. In fact, one suspects that there is always some harm spouses are trying to avoid by using contraception—harms such as financial stress, inconvenience, threats to the mother’s health, sexual frustration, etc. The Church has never taught that if the harms are serious enough, it is permissible to use contraception, for that would be choosing to do moral evil to avoid harm.

To suggest that some “emergency” or “special situation” would permit a person in conscience to use contraception does not align with Catholic moral theology. For spouses to use contraception is always wrong. How can any emergency or special situation justify what is always wrong? It is an improper use of conscience to use it to discern that it is moral to do what is intrinsically wrong in special situations. One job of the conscience is precisely to enable a person to honor moral norms in special situations. In emergencies or special situations we are not permitted, for instance, directly to kill innocent human beings even if great good could come from that death. Martyrdom is precisely a result of the refusal to do something that is morally wrong in an “emergency” or “special situation.”

Conflict between the Fifth and Sixth Commandments

Let us also consider the claim that there might be a conflict between the Fifth (“thou shalt not kill”) and Sixth (“thou shalt not commit adultery”) Commandments that would justify the use of contraception. What is the risk of violating one of those commandments by honoring the other? Is the reasoning here that those who conceive, for instance, a child with microcephaly are responsible for a kind of “killing of the child”? That is, their honoring their marital fidelity by having sexual intercourse open to life puts them in a position of endangering the life of a child conceived (a violation of the Fifth Commandment?). Or, if they refrain from sexual intercourse in order to avoid putting the life of a child at risk, is there the suggestion that that refraining is a violation of some kind of the Sixth Commandment?

This “conflict” seems to imply that to use contraception (which violates the Sixth Commandment) is a lesser evil than violating the Fifth Commandment and that spouses should be permitted to use contraception to avoid conceiving a child with microcephaly—seen as a kind of murder. But this reasoning is not sound for several reasons. First, to conceive a child with microcephaly is not a form of murder; life is always a gift, and even life as a person with microcephaly is a gift. There are undoubtedly serious challenges and difficulties in living with microcephaly and caring for someone with microcephaly, but one has not harmed a person by giving him or her life.

Moreover, spouses are not under an obligation to have sexual intercourse. If they believe their intercourse might lead to a problematic situation for which they are not prepared, they are free to abstain completely from sexual intercourse or abstain periodically. Spouses abstain for all sorts of reasons—because of physical separation, illness, and even such trivial reasons as a desire to watch sports on TV or to do the laundry. To abstain to avoid exposing a child to the danger of microcephaly would seem a respectable reason for abstaining.

These are some of basic principles that need to be kept in mind when assessing proposals to help women who live in areas where children conceived might contract lethal or disfiguring diseases. Contraception is not a moral solution. Use of a method of natural family planning is.

Read Dr. Smith’s full essay at Catholic World Report here.

When Angels Cry

American College of Pediatricians warns about link between HPV vaccine and premature ovarian failure

The American College of Pediatricians (the College), recently updated its stance on Gardasil, a vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), in wake of recent research about the virus and vaccine. The College acknowledged that HPV vaccines have been possibly linked to premature ovarian failure (POF), but quickly back peddled by stating that such side effects are rare.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted virus. According to the press release, approximately 14 types of HPV are believed to cause multiple cancers. The most common cancer that has been causally attached to HPV is cervical cancer.
Multiple concerns over HPV vaccines

  • The statement notes that there are legitimate concerns about the HPV vaccine that need to be addressed, including:
  • Long term ovarian function was not assessed in either the original rat safety studies, or in the human vaccine trial.
  • Most primary care physicians are probably unaware of a possible association between HPV4 and POF and may not consider reporting POF cases or prolonged missing menstrual periods to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
  • Potential mechanisms of action have been postulated based on autoimmune associations with the aluminum adjuvant used and previously documented ovarian toxicity in rats from another component, polysorbate 80.

Since licensure of Gardasil in 2006, there have been about 213 VAERS reports involving amenorrhea, POF or premature menopause, 88 percent of which have been associated with Gardasil.

“A Vaccine Safety Datalink POF study is planned to address an association between these vaccines and POF, but it may be years before results will be determined. Plus, POF within a few years of vaccination could be the tip of the iceberg since ovarian dysfunction manifested by months of amenorrhea may later progress to POF,” the press release reads.

Three vaccines intended to prevent cervical cancer caused by the HPV vaccine, have been licensed since 2006. More than a dozen girls in Europe have recently come forth, claiming to have experienced ill side effects from the vaccine.
Most HPV infections go away by themselves

But there are truths about Gardasil and HPV that the press release overlooks, including the fact that 70 percent of HPV infections in women will clear themselves in a year without treatment. In two years, approximately 90 percent of these infections will clear themselves. In three years, only ten 10 percent of women will have an HPV infection, half of which will have developed into a pre-cancerous legion.

The authors of the statement claim they have notified the makers of Gardasil, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about their concerns. The College went on to press that HPV vaccines should not be mandated by regulatory authorities.

“The College is opposed to any legislation which requires HPV vaccination for school attendance. Excluding children from school over refusal to vaccinate for a disease spread only by sexual intercourse is a serious, precedent-setting action that trespasses on the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children.”

St. Gianna’s daughter reveals the ‘secret’ of her mom’s holiness

ORLANDO, Florida, February 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — What was it that allowed St. Gianna Beretta Molla to choose the life of her child over her own life when faced with the decision? What allowed her to offer praise and thanks to God even though she would die days after delivering her healthy baby, leaving four young children and a loving husband?

The secret of St. Gianna’s holiness was revealed to LifeSiteNews in an interview with the very person the saint gave up her life for, her daughter Gianna Emanuela Molla.

Gianna Emanuela, 54 years old, said that if her parents’ lives have taught her anything, it’s that the “way of the cross” is “certainly the right way” that Christians must follow if they are “to be able one day to enjoy paradise joy in the sight of God, forever.”

She is not talking about a sad and sorrowful living out of the Christian faith, but a kind of living that brings one to the deepest and most profound — and very often unexpected — joy. How to accomplish these two seemingly irreconcilable things — embracing the cross and finding joy — is the “secret.”

Gianna Emanuela explained that for Christians, the cross does not have the final word, but becomes the source for the greatest transformation.

“The way of the cross, humanly [speaking], is the most uncomfortable and the difficult way to follow. But it is the only way that allows us to [find] a full and complete meaning to our lives,” she said.

“The way of the cross, as you know, is connected to the resurrection, as our Jesus teaches us. And, as our heavenly mother teaches us, this way of the cross requires our ‘yes,’ our continuous ‘yes’ to God’s will, always, even when we don’t understand God’s will. We have to say our ‘yes’ to God,” she added.

Gianna Emanuela sees in the example of her parents’ lives the joy that comes from embracing the crosses they encountered daily throughout life.

“Mom and dad’s lives teach me also that the way of the cross is the way of the joy, as well. Which kind of joy? The most perfect joy, the most great joy, the prelude to the greatest joy – to be able one day to have the joy of paradise, of being in God’s sight, forever,” she said.

“It’s possible to walk along the way of the cross and to live in the joy, if we have Jesus in our heart, if we see everything happening to us in the light of faith. And so, if we live in this way, we feel [inspired] to thank God continuously, as did my dad, for everything, for each of our breaths. We have to thank God,” she added.

That freely choosing to embrace the crosses in one’s life as God’s will and finding peace and joy in that action comes directly from Jesus himself. It was he who said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). In another place he says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30) He also said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (Jn. 15:11).

Gianna Emanuela will forever be grateful for her “Saint Mama” deciding to embrace the cross after discovering a life threatening disease while being pregnant.

Her mom, a pediatric doctor, was pregnant with Gianna Emanuela in 1961 when she learned she had a life-threatening tumor of the uterus. Doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy (which would also kill her baby), or surgical removal of only the tumor (less chance of success). With the life of her precious daughter in mind, the mom opted for the removal of the tumor.

But complications persisted. Facing a difficult delivery, she told doctors, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him.” She died seven days later on April 28, 1962, giving her life for her child, after repeatedly exclaiming, “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.” She was 39 years old.

Gianna Emanuela said that her Mom’s ‘yes’ to God amidst the complications and agonizing pain surrounding the pregnancy and delivery allowed God to raise up something beautiful from what most people would consider a hopeless situation.

“My Saint Mama saying her ‘yes’ to God allowed God to realize (bring to fruition) my own life in a complete way,” she said.

She said the key to successfully embracing the cross while turning it into a source of joy is to “continuously” thank God for everything, the good and the bad, that come one’s way.

“Mom and dad, both of them suffered a lot in their lives…And even if they suffered a lot, they had a great joy in their heart. They continuously thanked God, which was their secret. If we think that Jesus went on the cross, it is not possible to think of a different way for us [as Christians]. This way of the cross, is also the way of the joy,” she said.

Courageous Teen on the Way to Sainthood

http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=47121

A miracle attributed to the young Mexican martyr, Jose del Rio, has been approved by the Vatican, opening the door to his canonization.

Aleteia is reporting on the miracle which occurred in Sahuayo, Mexico to a baby girl named Ximena Guadalupe Magallan Gálvez – or “Lupis” as her family called her.

Lupis began fighting the odds even before she was born. Her mother, Paulina Galvez, had serious problems throughout the pregnancy, including placental abruption, a condition that can prove fatal to the unborn child.

It was during these early difficulties that Paulina began to pray to Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, known locally as “Joselito”, who was born in Sahuayo in 1913.

Lupis was born on September 8, 2008, on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, while Paulina was living in Los Angeles. A month later, she returned to Sahuayo, and shortly thereafter, the baby contracted pneumonia and tuberculosis. At four months, Lupis suffered a stroke, contracted meningitis and began to have epileptic seizures.

Gravely ill, she was transferred to an intensive care unit in Aguascalientes and underwent therapy and a series of tests. In an effort to stop her continuous spasms, doctors induced a coma.

The baby continued to decline until doctors determined that 90 percent of the baby’s brain was dead. They recommended that life support be removed.

Paulina agreed, but asked if she could hold the child in her arms for the last time.

“At that time I put my baby in the hands of God and the intercession of Joselito,” Paulina told the official Mexican news agency, Notimex.

Just then, Lupis “opened her eyes and smiled, looked at the doctors and started to laugh,” Paulina said.

Doctors were astonished, especially after CT scans and an EEG proved that Lupis’ brain had returned to normal.

The priest who baptized Lupis contacted Antonio Berumen, vice postulator of the cause of canonization for Blessed Jose and began the process of documenting and verifying the miracle. Seven years later, the Vatican approved the miracle.

Although Pope Francis will be visiting Mexico from February 12-17, it has not been announced if he will canonize Blessed Jose while there.

Sahuayo was the birthplace of Blessed Jose, who was martyred for the faith on February 10, 1928. Devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Guadalupe, he was only 15 years old when he joined the Cristeros, a rebel band of Catholics who were fighting the violent anti-Christian despot, Plutarco Calles. After relinquishing his horse to a General during a particularly fierce battle, he was captured and locked up in a church sacristy that had been made into a prison.

On February 10, 1928, his captors decided to make an example out of him by executing him. They marched him out to a local cemetery, whipping him with sharp machetes along the way. With each blow, Jose cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” which means “Long live Christ the King.” His captors also cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk on salt. Even though he screamed in pain, Jose would not give in to the soldier’s wishes that he forsake his God. When they demanded that he shout, “Death to Christ the King,” Jose shouted all the louder, “Long Live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!”

Enraged, the soldiers finally rushed upon him with their bayonets, piercing his body in multiple places, but he still would not be silenced. “Viva Cristo Rey!” were the last words he uttered on this earth before the commander pulled out a pistol and shot him to death.

He was declared a martyr for the faith and was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

His feast day is February 10.
– See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=47121#sthash.9SebxyzP.dpuf

The story behind that Doritos Super Bowl ad

If you haven’t already heard, the Doritos ad in the Super Bowl yesterday caused quite a stir.

The ad – which focused on an unborn baby wildly chasing after a cheesy chip that was being dangled over Mom’s tummy – attracted some harsh criticism from the pro-abortion group NARAL, which accused it of “humanizing the fetus.”

‏@NARAL
#NotBuyingIt – that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight. #SB50

Many Twitter users were quick to respond that NARAL is a bit out-of-touch with reality. It’s totally normal to go into a third-trimester ultrasound appointment and hear the doc say, “There’s your beautiful baby,” and see an ultrasound image that is very clearly a human baby. It’s not “humanizing the fetus”…it’s just real life.

Turns out, the image is more than just realistic. It’s actually real. (With computer-generated movement, of course).  On the Doritos’ Super Bowl campaign website, we find the backstory inspiring the creator, an Australian man named Peter:

“Peter recently had his second child, Freddy, who’s now nine months old. When he was with his wife getting an ultrasound during the pregnancy, an idea popped into his head – wouldn’t it be funny to have a little fun in the hospital room, where everyone is supposed to remain poised, calm and collected. The baby in the ultrasound image is Freddy himself – of course with the help of a little camera magic.”

So the fetus that NARAL accused the commercial of “humanizing” – that’s a little boy named Freddy.

Actual ultrasound image of Freddy from the Doritos commercial.

Commercial Stars Babies Born 9 Months After Super Bowl

“For Super Bowl 50 the NFL and Seal brought together some actual Super Bowl Babies to recreate one of the greatest love songs of all time to celebrate the greatest game of all time.” (Video via YouTube/NFL)

Some people go to Disney World after a big Super Bowl win. More of us head to the bedroom, at least according to the NFL. Though it doesn’t point to specific data, the NFL says winning Super Bowl cities see a baby boom about nine months after the big game. It spun that idea into a “Super Bowl Babies Choir” commercial that will run at the end of the third quarter in Sunday’s Panthers vs. Broncos match-up.

The already released spot breaks the mold in ESPN’s view, in that it’s actually “memorable”: It features groups of kids and adults—whose sheer existence is potentially attributable to their parents’ city’s win—singing a football-themed take on Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.”

Fox59 notes adults who came into this world after the Packers’ 1967 win are included, as are Super Bowl babies who owe a little something to the Steelers (1976), 49ers (1989), Cowboys (1993/1994), Buccaneers (2003), Colts (2007), Giants (2012), and Seahawks (2014). That final group tugged on America’s heartstrings, per CNN: “The combination of the adorable 2014 Super Bowl babies and cute lyrics left viewers praising the commercial,” which also stars Seal himself.

Knives are out again for Latin America’s unborn. But what’s behind this Zika virus story?

February 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)

The forces of death and misery of the pro-abortion industry are at it again, and they are doing their best to use a troubling item in the news to scare and intimidate strongly pro-woman and pro-child Latin American countries into loosening restrictions on abortion. The Zika virus scare is the tool du jour. In an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” published on January 30, 2016, reporter Lourdes Garcia-Navarro interviewed staff of a fertility clinic and abortion activists who decried the slowing down of in vitro fertilizations as women were afraid to become pregnant lest their child be born with birth defects and disabilities due to the Zika virus.

“The pro-abortion movement hasn’t been able to get much traction on the issue, and they’re hoping the debate around the suspected cases of Zika-related microcephaly will change that. Debora Diniz is a law professor and activist. She and other pro-abortion groups are going to petition the Brazilian Supreme Court,” recounts Garcia-Valls.

Never mind the facts.  Any and all excuses are valid in the minds of the pro-abortion activists to push for their desired end, free and unencumbered abortion rights.

But, what are the facts? Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?

According to the CDC and the WHO,  Zika is a mild virus that spreads exclusively through the bite of a specific variety of mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti. This insect is found in tropical climates and is rare in the United States, existing only in some areas of Southern Texas and Southern Florida. It is not transmitted from human to human except through a blood transfusion. It is possible that it may be transmitted sexually although the data regarding this mode of transition is scarce.

According to the WHO, “it causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days. ”

Many people, never even realize they have it. There are nearly no deaths associated with it, and the disease cannot brought into the colder climates by humans who are infected by the virus while travelling in affected countries.

The most potentially problematic side-effects appear to be to pregnant women.  Zika virus infection had been linked with an increased number of miscarriages and cases of microcephaly. But, according to the CDC, “Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with microcephaly, and in the current outbreak in Brazil, a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported. However, it is not known how many of the microcephaly cases are associated with Zika virus infection. Studies are under way to investigate the association of Zika virus infection and microcephaly, including the role of other contributory factors (e.g., prior or concurrent infection with other organisms, nutrition, and environment). The full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with Zika virus infections during pregnancy is unknown and requires further investigation.”

Contrast the troubling, yet unproven, effect of the Zika virus on unborn children and the very mild effects of upon the pregnant mothers with the well documented lethal effects of the seasonal flu and it becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world.

The CDC goes on to recommend that women who may be pregnant not travel in areas where there are known outbreaks of Zika, and that if they do, they take reasonable precautions such as wearing bug spray and light-colored, long-sleeved clothing.

The reasoned and calm directives from the CDC contrast sharply with the hysteria being fostered by the abortion industry lobbyists and their media accomplices… but that is not surprising.

Teenage girl died from blood clot after taking contraceptive pill

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teenage-girl-died-blood-clot-7216463

A teenage girl who was on the contraceptive pill died from an ‘extremely rare’ blood clot after returning home from a family holiday, an inquest heard.

Sophie Murray, 16, had been prescribed the pill for around eight months by the time she returned from Gran Canaria last September.

But two weeks later, the “happy and healthy” teenager, from Accrington, started complaining of breathlessness and chest pain.

Blackburn Coroners Court heard how tests by her GP confirmed she was suffering from exercise induced asthma (EIA), the Accrington Observer reported .

She was prescribed an inhaler, however it was ineffective.

Mum Shelley Crichton told the hearing how Sophie woke up on November 8 last year saying she couldn’t breathe and shortly after had a ‘fit’ and her ‘lips turned blue’.

She was rushed to hospital however passed away later that day.

Dr Richard Prescott said Sophie died of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a contributory factor was the oral contraceptive pill.

He told the hearing that the ‘large clot’ was 8mm in diameter and if it had been detected earlier she could have been given blood thinners and survived.

The inquest heard how Sophie was using the ‘common’ pill Microgynon and a leaflet accompanying the prescription warned how using it ‘increases the risk of developing a blood clot’ and in ‘very rare cases’ a blood clot can form but it is ‘very rarely fatal’.

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images A box of Microgynon contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pill: Sophie had been taking Microgynon for around eight months

Joanne Birch, a specialist nurse in sudden and unexpected deaths, said only six out of every 10,000 women on the contraceptive pill develop DVT, compared to only two in 10,000 without the pill, and that fatalities are ‘extremely rare’.

Shelley told the hearing how Sophie’s breathing had got worse since returning from holiday and she was struggling to walk to school, dance or enjoy exercise DVDs and complained her body was ‘aching’.

The inquest heard how Shelley and Sophie visited Dr Paramundayil Joseph at the Dill Hall surgery in Accrington on October 15 after feeling like she was ‘breathing through a straw’.

The GP said he ordered tests which later confirmed EIA and Sophie was prescribed an inhaler.

However she later returned on November 5 – three days before her death – to say it ‘didn’t do anything’ and was prescribed a different inhaler and a tablet to help with her breathing before exercise.

Dr Joseph said how he didn’t consider the diagnosis of DVT as she was young, not overweight or a smoker, had no family history and didn’t have any swelling or tenderness in her leg.

He said her breathlessness, which is a symptom of a pulmonary embolism, could also be the symptom of ‘many diseases’ and ‘can be similar’ to EIA.

He told the inquest that risks associated with the contraceptive pill usually occur after ‘many years of taking the pill and also when a woman is a lot older’.

He said: “It’s the most common combined pill. I have prescribed it for the last 31 years and this has never happened until now.

“She was very active and it’s very rare and very unfortunate.”

Assistant coroner Derek Baker recorded a narrative verdict and said it was a ‘tragic case’.

He said: “This tragedy has brought overwhelming grief to Sophie’s family.

“She was a young girl when she died. The cause of death pulmonary embolism is common enough but I have never seen it involving someone as young as this with no other problems.

“These conditions in a girl of this age are rare but they are a recognised side effect of the pill she was prescribed and can also be caused by long flights and the immobility associated. It’s not my role to blame but I must say Sophie’s mum did everything that could reasonably have been done. There was no delay, she took medical advice as the symptoms displayed themselves.

“Sophie herself was very stoic about it and I think you were both hoping the symptoms were relatively minor and would pass.

“If it was diagnosed and treated earlier she would have had a very good prospect of recovery.

“I acknowledge a tragedy of this scale is going to result in crushing, all-consuming grief.”

Sophie was a pupil at Accrington Academy and dreamed of being a paramedic.

A March They Will Never Forget

A March They Will Never Forget

On Thursday, January 21st, 2016, youth and young adults from Chicago began an adventure of the rarest kind. The “Crusaders for Life” participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every year, but this year would be different.
In the days preceding the trip, Father Nathan Caswell made a few remarks to the Crusaders at a planning meeting. He encouraged the youth to “Be present in a special way,” on the trip, emphasizing that “…when we go all out, when we really die to ourselves, we allow others to come out of themselves, too.” From the beginning, he and the other leaders set this challenge before the Crusaders: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:24)

However, as the 165 participants prepared for the trip in the following days, news of winter storm Jonas began to spread. Would they be able to go? The weather warnings loomed, the storm threatened to dump as much as two feet of snow on Friday night. Word came from organizers in D.C.: “The March for Life will not be cancelled.” Projected departure for home seemed promising. They would be just ahead of the storm.

The decision was made to go ahead. On Thursday morning after early Mass, 2 priests, 2 brothers, 160 youth and young adults from St. John Cantius in Chicago, St. Peter in Volo, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy in Rockford loaded onto three buses.


Celebrating Mass in Barnesville, Maryland the morning of the March


Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC prepares the Crusaders before the March for Life

More pictures and the beautiful continuing story —–>> http://www.cantius.org/go/news/detail/march_for_life_2016/

Mom of Quintuplets Rejects Doctor’s Abortion Suggestion to Kill Three of Her Unborn Babies

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/26/mom-of-quintuplets-rejects-doctors-abortion-suggestion-to-kill-three-of-her-unborn-babies/

They are a one in 60 million chance, and their mother making huge sacrifices to ensure their health and safety.

They are the Tucci quintuplets from Perth, Australia, and though they have not been born yet, they already are famous online. Their mother, Kim (pictured above), has been blogging about her pregnancy on Facebook ever since she discovered that she was naturally pregnant with five babies in September 2015. Tens of thousands of people are following the family’s journey through the blog and waiting for the arrival of the rare quintuplets.

Tucci and her husband have two young daughters, and last summer, they decided to try for just one more child, maybe a boy, they told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Not long after discovering they were pregnant last summer, the couple received the surprise of their lives. Kim wrote on her blog “Surprised By Five” on Sept. 21, 2015:

After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in… the sonographer told me there was multiple gestational sack but she could only see a heart beat in two!! I WAS SO EXCITED!! TWINS!!!

I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. she started to count ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR , FIVE!!! did i hear that correctly?? FIVE?? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh.. The sonographer then told me the term for 5 is QUINTUPLETS!! Time to call my husband…

When i called him from the ultrasound room i don’t think he believed me at first, he quickly drove down to the ultrasound place. I could see the excitement in his face he told me ” We can do this”

The Tuccis learned that conceiving quintuplets naturally was a one in 60 million chance. However, as is often the case with multiples, some did not treat Kim’s extremely rare quintuplets as unique individuals. Doctors advised Kim to abort up to three of her unborn babies.

On September 26, 2015, she wrote about the experience:

After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method [abortion] to give 2 babies the best chance in life… I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried, I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival?? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more.

For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy.

And it has taken a lot of sacrifice. Kim told the newspaper that she struggles just to walk and sleep. She said her skin is stretching and her belly feels “hot to touch.” At just 11 weeks pregnant, the mother said her stomach already looked like she was in the third trimester.

“Mummy guilt has kicked up a level! I’m trying to get through all the pain just on Panadol alone if I can help it, I can’t bare the thought of any drugs passing through to my babies,” she wrote on her blog on Jan. 17. “Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly.”

Doctors also recommend that she eat 6,000 calories every day just to sustain her five unborn babies, according to the report. The expecting mother said because her belly is so large and full already, she sometimes has to force herself to eat enough for her babies.

The Australian mom said all the aches and pains, the stretch marks and hospital stays are worth it, knowing that her unborn babies are healthy. She also thanked her husband for his constant support.

“My husband always reminds me I should wear my stripes with pride and that I should be proud of them and what my body has achieved. Without him I would have broken down a long time ago,” Kim wrote.

The babies’ due date is unclear, but some predict that Kim could give birth any day, according to the report. She is pregnant with four girls and a boy, the report states.

Elizabeth Hoskins, a local photographer who photographed Kim when she was 24 weeks pregnant, told the newspaper that the expecting mother looks radiant.

“She could not be more beautiful …” she said. “Her strength just shines through every image. A true goddess, indeed.”

elizabethhoskins

Can the birth control pill cause birth defects?

https://naturalwomanhood.org/can-the-birth-control-pill-cause-birth-defects/

by Gerard Migeon, Founder & CEO

As January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, you may have seen articles like this one in Time Magazine claiming that birth control pills are not linked to birth defects. It’s because a recent large scale study from Denmark just came out with these conclusions. But this study is not telling the whole story and the news distracts us from the real problem. In fact, it’s missing the mark on serious effects of the Pill’s chemistry on the fetus. Here is the rest of the story: babies whose mothers have been on the Pill and are thus exposed to synthetic estrogen may not show the birth defects researched in the Danish study, like a congenital heart anomaly or a missing limb, but are likely to suffer longer term effects such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, or low sperm counts. Yet there is a deafening silence and lack of research on this inconvenient truth.

Birth control pill and birth defects natural womanhood

Three years ago, our daughter created a very clever animation video as part of a communications project where she made a statement that the Pill was linked to prostate cancer, which at first glance sounds like an odd concept. Last summer, this allegation was clarified for me when I attended the Contraceptive Conundrum Conference in Washington DC and heard a presentation by Frederick Vom Saal, PhD. Dr. Vom Saal is a developmental biologist and professor of biology at University of Missouri-Columbia, Miss. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The National Institute of Health funds his research. He was interviewed by PBS in 1998 on his research showing the relationship between estrogen found in the environment and prostate diseases.

What history and world health data tell us

We must learn from history. Vom Saal’s introduced his presentation by reminding us of the DES scandal. Between 1940 and 1971, millions of women were prescribed a drug called DES as a way to prevent miscarriages. In 1971, this drug was found to cause a 40-fold increase in risk of vaginal or cervical cancer in the teen or adult daughters of these women. A major lesson from these tragic events was that when pregnant women absorbed certain forms of estrogen, they exposed their fetus to small amounts of the hormone and it would have grave and irreversible health consequences for their baby. It also showed that these consequences would only show up much later in the child’s life.

What happened to these women had been previously demonstrated on mice. “There was data that was ignored because it was animal research that wasn’t relevant to human health,” reports Vom Saal. But the reality of the syndrome showed the contrary: the animal research was predictive of the human impact. “We know that mouse cells are essentially identical to human cells in the way that they respond to these hormones,“ said Vom Saal. Such biological evidence allows him to correlate the results observed in his research on mice and what we all observe in public health statistics.

Indeed, if we focus only on men’s health, which is Vom Saal’s research field, we find two areas are of major public health concern:

  • The prevalence of prostate cancer: prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, accounting for 15% of the cancers diagnosed in men, with almost 70% of the cases (759,000 per year) occurring in more developed regions (which are also the main users of the Pill).
  • The alarming rate of decreased of sperm count, a major cause of infertility. This article presents the dramatic, accelerating drop in sperm count reported in some studies: 50% since 1950 and 25% just in the past 20 years. (read here for more on this topic)

DES birth control pills and birth defect natural womanhood

The science behind the facts

While traditional toxicology studies look at elevated levels of chemicals and their relationship to diseases during the lifetime of the person, Vom Saal research shows that in fact very small amounts of estrogen impact the fetus permanently, showing its effects during the rest of the person’s life, in ways that cannot be corrected. Further, he claims that such changes could be multi-generational.

Vom Saal observed that male mice from the same litter could experience very minor differences in estrogen hormone exposure during gestation that would lead to major differences in the fully developed mice: the size of the scrotum and the penis, the libido, and the size of the prostate were all clearly affected.

This discovery led to further research on mice. Vom Saal was able to show that by exposing the fetus to very small amounts of estradiol estrogen (also famously known as EE) at critical times of development, the resulting males’ prostates had doubled in size compared to the control sample. Later, when exposing the adults to normal hormonal changes due to age, 100% of these males got prostate cancer.

“We see dramatic change in the sprouting of glands within the fetal prostate. We see changes in testicular sperm production. We see changes in the structure of the endocrine control region in the brain, which is accompanied by changes in sex behavior, aggression, the way these animals behave towards infants, their whole social interaction, the way they age, the time that they enter puberty, the age at which they cease reproduction. It changes their entire life history, and these changes are capable of occurring at very low levels of hormones,” reports Vom Saal in his 1998 PBS interview about environmental EE. In this study published in the journal Human Reproduction, exposure to a small dose of EE (from 0.002 to 2 µg/kg/day) during the early phase of gestation led to an increase in the prostate weight, a change in its response to hormones, and a significant reduction in sperm count.

Vom Saal claims that the dose of EE in the Pill, which is about 0.3 µg/kg/day, has similar potential effects. Not only does it change the physiology of the person’s reproductive system, but it also affects the way the cells in the organs will respond to hormonal changes in the future. That’s where the higher risk of cancer comes from. That’s how the DES daughters syndrome happened. Could it be why prostate cancer is so prevalent or sperm count reaching crisis levels?  Vom Saal along with other scientists[i] are certainly making a strong case for it.

What is the exposure with the Pill?

The big question for women on the Pill is when does it likely happen, so that one would know when to quit hormonal contraceptives to minimize the chance of exposure? The answer is quite broad: before, during and after conception. According to Dr. Vom Saal, the impact can start as soon as the egg starts developing in the ovaries, which is 2 ½ to 3 months before conception: “you are at a stage of development of the ovocite when it’s absolutely clear that hormonal insults to the mother can impact that process.” Exposure during conception is pretty common. About 9% of women on oral contraceptive pills get pregnant. In the US, it represents about 1 million babies a year. Worldwide about 10 million. To make matters worse, it takes at least a couple of weeks for a woman to know she is pregnant, and some women won’t realize they are pregnant for some time simply because the pill is already suppressing their periods, which will potentially extend the duration of the exposure.

Dr. Vom Saal’s focus is on the male reproductive system. There are other areas and organs that are very likely affected in a similar fashion. The same process applies to female breast tissues and their response to estrogen, which can lead to breast cancer later in the life of babies exposed.

The CDC provides a list of measures to prevent birth defects, from eating healthy and avoiding harmful chemical substances to taking folic acid supplements. But they don’t warn about EE exposure from birth control. There is a deafening silence on these questions. “If anybody was looking, which the medical community does not want anybody to do because there is just panic over this, you would see the same kind of data. There is a massive uncontrolled experiment going on and nobody is collecting this data,” stated Dr. Vom Saal. Before we hurry and say it’s safe, have we really made sure?

Be safe,

Gerard Migeon

 

[i] Estrogenic chemicals in plastic and oral contraceptives disrupt development of the fetal mouse prostate and urethra. Communicated by Howard A. Bern, University of California, Berkeley, CA, March 28, 2005 (received for review November 2, 2004)

TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES 112(2), 331–343 (2009) Mal-Development of the Penis and Loss of Fertility in Male Rats Treated Neonatally with Female Contraceptive 17a-Ethinyl Estradiol: A Dose-Response Study and a Comparative Study with a Known Estrogenic Teratogen Diethylstilbestrol. Ensa Mathews et Al

BMJ Open 2011 Occupational & environmental medicine, Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: an ecological study, by David Margel, Neil E Fleshner. See also the correction here

The Inside Story on the Turnpike Mass, From the Priest Who Led It

https://churchpop.com/2016/01/25/turnpike-mass-inside-story-priest-interview/
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You’ve probably heard the basic story by now: busses full of students heading home from the March for Life in Washington D.C. got stuck on a highway because of a blizzard, and while they were waiting they constructed an altar out of snow and held Mass on the side of the highway. Amazing!

ChurchPOP tracked down the priest who presided over this historic Mass, Fr. Patrick Behm, and interviewed him about his experience.

“It was incredible,” Fr. Behm told ChurchPOP, “easily one of the highlights of my time as a priest.”

[More coverage: The Best Photos of the Historic Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

[More coverage: Watch Worshippers Receive Communion at the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016]

[More coverage: Watch Pro-Lifers Pray “Our Father” As Snow Falls in the Turnpike Mass]

[More coverageHere’s a Video of the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

Fr. Behm is the parochial vicar of All Saints’ Parish in Le Mars, IA as well as parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Parish in Akron, IA, and the chaplain of Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars. He was chaperoning five students from the high school.

According to Fr. Behm, his group plus several other big groups from other schools got stuck near the mile marker 133 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They were there for approximately 22 hours! The cause of the jam, Fr. Behm was told, was an accident involving two tractor-trailers that blocked all of the westbound lanes of traffic. In the time it took to clear this accident, the snow in turn rendered the road impassible and the vehicles immobile.

He couldn’t claim credit for the idea of having Mass: “I was the principal celebrant of the liturgy,” he said, “but credit for the idea, and credit for building the altar, and credit for going around to the various buses inviting people to join them belongs completely to the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, particularly Mr. Bill Dill, their youth minister.”

It was those students from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who built the snow altar: “Those Minnesotans apparently know how to build stuff out of snow!”

The now famous Mass was a powerful spiritual experience for Fr. Behm and everyone else involved.

“It left me with many impressions, but among them was the fact that Jesus enters into the storm. Jesus comes to us, in the storms of our life, and enters in to be with us. He desires to be with His people, and if we respond to this invitation to let Him in, then the message is profound hope and joy.”

Fr. Behm praised everyone for responding positively to such a hard situation: “Everyone on that turnpike had a choice: to respond with joy and a positive outlook, or to respond with negativity and anger. Neither approach would have gotten us out of there any faster. But, one approach at least made the waiting more bearable and tolerable.”

Further, he saw God reap spiritual fruit from the event: “God, in His providence, used this event to share the Gospel with scores of people who may never hear the Good News.”

Lastly, wanted to express an immense gratitude to all the workers who helped them: “the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Highway Patrol, the Pennsylvania DOT, local law enforcement, and the local fire department. It was a massive undertaking, and these first responders did a remarkable job.”

[More coverage: The Best Photos of the Historic Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

[More coverage: Watch Worshippers Receive Communion at the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016]

[More coverage: Watch Pro-Lifers Pray “Our Father” As Snow Falls in the Turnpike Mass]

[More coverageHere’s a Video of the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

Here’s our full interview:

Q: Have you ever done this before? How did you get the idea to build a snow altar have Mass outside on the side of the highway?

No. This was definitely a first for me. And, it wasn’t my idea at all.

I’m kind of being attached to this story, as I was the principal celebrant of the liturgy, but credit for the idea, and credit for building the altar, and credit for going around to the various buses inviting people to join them belongs completely to the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, particularly Mr. Bill Dill, their youth minister.

Q: Who built the altar? Was it just snow?

Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. And yes, it was completely made out of snow. Those Minnesotans apparently know how to build stuff out of snow!

Q: Did only people from your group participate in the Mass, or did other people stuck on the turnpike also participate?

It was far more than our group. The groups that I know were in attendance were from Dioceses from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In addition, there may have been others who got out of their vehicles and joined us. I’m not sure about that though.

Q: How many people participated approximately?

The number I’m being told is approximately 500.

Q: Do you have any stories about how this positively affected people spiritually?

Overall, I’d say it certainly raised the spirits of all those in attendance. It brought the light of Christ to a very bleak situation, and helped continue to spread the message of the Gospel of Life, that all life is sacred.

Q: What was it like? What impression did the event leave you with?

It was incredible…easily one of the highlights of my time as a priest. It left me with many impressions, but among them was the fact that Jesus enters into the storm. Jesus comes to us, in the storms of our life, and enters in to be with us. He desires to be with His people, and if we respond to this invitation to let Him in, then the message is profound hope and joy.

Everyone on that turnpike had a choice: to respond with joy and a positive outlook, or to respond with negativity and anger. Neither approach would have gotten us out of there any faster. But, one approach at least made the waiting more bearable and tolerable.

Q: What’s been your reaction to the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the event on social media?

I’m stunned, actually. I’ve been trying to deflect credit and praise away from myself and on those who truly deserve it, Mr. Dill and the ASPM pilgrims. I never would have envisioned that it would receive the type of coverage it has.

But, God, in His providence, used this event to share the Gospel with scores of people who may never hear the Good News.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about it?

Just to thank people for their prayers, and to thank everyone who helped us: the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Highway Patrol, the Pennsylvania DOT, local law enforcement, and the local fire department. It was a massive undertaking, and these first responders did a remarkable job.

Wife Cares for Husband in Coma for 33 Years, Staying Right by His Side

Few take the marriage vows “in sickness and in health” as seriously as Bernadette Adams.

 For the past three decades, she has dedicated her life to taking care of her husband, former French soccer player Jean-Pierre Adams, who is in a coma, according to the Catholic News Agency.

In 1982, Jean-Pierre had routine knee surgery to repair a sports-related injury, but never woke up from the anesthesia; he was 34 years old, according to the report. The family later won a lawsuit against the medical staff who botched the procedure, the report states.

Bernadette, now 72, spends every day by her husband’s side at the home in Nimes, France. Jean-Pierre will be 68 in March; and his wife refuses to put him in a nursing home, according to the report.

“I talk to him all the time — about TV, what’s in the mail, anything!” Bernadette told CNN. “There is always movement around him. He is always next to us.”

The report continues:

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well,” Bernadette told CNN in a recent interview, saying he can still breathe on his own but needs round-the-clock attention.

Bernadette and Jean-Pierre met at a dance in the 1960s. As an interracial couple, the two grew in resilience through the challenges they faced and married in 1969. Not long after, Jean-Pierre was playing first division side football as the “garde noire” alongside some of the best in the world.

“He was the ‘joie di vivre’ embodied in human form – a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” his wife told CNN.

That all changed on March 17, 1982 when the understaffed hospital botched Adams’ intubation, causing a heart attack, brain damage, and an eventual coma. The surgery was ruled as an “involuntary injury” and the medical workers were found guilty seven years after the incident.

Jean-Pierre, now 68, is cared for daily by his faithful wife Bernadette. She feeds him, talks to him, clothes him, and still buys presents for him to open on his birthday.

“I’ll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent. He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favorite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior,” Bernadette told CNN.

The couple has been married for 46 years. The first few years of their marriage were filled with Jean-Pierre’s rise to fame as one of the first black players for the French national soccer team, according to the report.

“He was the ‘joie de vivre’ embodied in human form — a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” Bernadette said. “Really, a smile was always bursting out. He loved the good life and was loved by everybody as well.

Then the tragic incident occurred, leaving Jean-Pierre in a coma. Though some have suggested euthanasia, which is legal in several European countries, Bernadette refuses to consider it. She still believes Jean-Pierre’s life is valuable, and hopes that he could get better.

“What do you want me to do – deprive him of food? Let him die little by little? No, no, no,” she said. “If one day, medical science evolves, then why not? Will there be a day when they’ll know how to do something for him? I don’t know.”

CNN reports more about the couple’s life together now:

Bernadette looks after her husband with an unfailing love — dressing, feeding and bathing him, turning him over in his bed to avoid sores, and often losing her own sleep to ensure he gets his.

It’s a measure of their bond that on the rare occasions Bernadette spends a night away from home, Jean-Pierre’s carers notice his mood seems to change.

“He senses that it is not me feeding him and looking after him,” says his wife of 46 years. “It’s the nurses who tell me, saying he is not the same.

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well.”

Though many would have given up on Jean-Pierre long ago or even thrown away his life by euthanasia, Bernadette perseveres in caring for him each and every day. And that is a true love story.

Jean-PierreAdams

She Took the Abortion Pill, But Months Later Her Baby Survived

Weeks ago, I walked into our crisis pregnancy center and witnessed a miracle. I have been volunteering as a counselor for over 7 years now and never before have I seen this. I was honored to see God’s handiwork up close—watching the face and eyes of the woman who received a redemptive gift.

If you aren’t familiar with the abortion pill RU-486, I would like to introduce you before going any further. RU-486 is not a contraceptive. RU-486 kills an unborn baby (typically within 5-7 weeks of conception) whose heart has already begun to beat.

RU-486 is an artificial steroid that interferes with the action of progesterone, a hormone crucial to the early progress of pregnancy. Progesterone stimulates the increased development of the uterine lining, which nourishes the developing child. It also suppresses normal uterine contractions, which could dislodge the child implanted and growing on the wall of the mother’s womb.

This abortion-inducing procedure RU-486 fills the chemical receptor sites normally reserved for progesterone and blocks the progesterone signal. Failing to receive that signal, a woman’s body shuts down the preparation of the uterus and initiates the menstrual process.

The pre-born child, deprived of necessary nutrients, starves to death.

The baby’s heart—which has already begun to beat at least since 4 weeks old—stops beating. This is the only purpose for which the sponsor of RU-486 ever sought U.S. government approval: the stopping of a human heart. The baby then detaches and is swept out of the body along with the decayed uterine lining.

But that’s not all. A chemical abortion via RU-486 involves a second drug, misoprostol. By itself, RU-486 is able to induce an abortion only between 64% and 85% of the time—a percentage abortifacient researchers consider inadequate for general clinical use.

So two days after taking RU-486, a woman takes a prostaglandin, usually misoprostol, to induce powerful uterine contractions to expel the baby’s shrunken corpse. What does this part of the two-part pill abortion mean to the woman’s body? You will have severely heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting and painful uterine contractions before and after the baby exits the body.

TIME Magazine describes this as “A painful, messy, and protracted” process. In its trial testing, two percent of women hemorrhaged while more than 1 in 100 required hospitalization. And this was when RU-486 was under constant trial supervision. Complications greatly increase when the woman is given the pills at abortion centers and sent home with instructions—no supervision and no follow up.

Can they really call this health care? (Let it be noted: Surgical abortions, though completely different in procedure, are just as dangerous to undergo.)

Having explained RU-486 and its process, let’s move on to that incredible evening at the crisis pregnancy center. In walks a young woman who had discovered she was testing positive on her home pregnancy test. She came into our clinic to follow-up and make sure the tests were correct.

She thought she felt movement inside of her, but wasn’t so sure it wasn’t in her head. She explained she had taken an RU-486 abortion pill some months prior and thought she might be imagining a baby moving. We naturally assumed that perhaps she was pregnant again, as a woman’s chance of pregnancy after a womb-loss is high.

She was tested and, sure enough, she was positive for pregnancy. I prayed as we waited to find out what was going on. The nurse took her into the ultrasound room to check her womb, since her claims of movement had left us stunned. Long after the clinic hours were passed, they emerged from the ultrasound room.

Ultrasound - woman - pregnancy
Photo for illustration only: Daniel Hoherd / Flickr

In her hand were 5×4 photos; I had to hold back my tears. The smile on her face was hard to miss, and I asked her how it went. She joyfully told me that she was 21 weeks pregnant and then asked me if I wanted to see. Ummm, yes! I thought. Please let me lay eyes on this miracle baby and never forget. There the baby was, sucking on a thumb. Beautiful. Perfect. Saved.

She was relieved and began telling me her crazy journey the last few months and how this had to have happened for a reason. I echoed, “God protected your baby. This is a miracle from Him.”

The young woman, who had only a few months prior decided to end her baby’s life, was now telling me she was going to decide whether to give the gift of adoption or parent. And she added that she would tell everyone never to take RU-486—it was traumatic and painful.

Asking her about that experience, I learned that she had visited the Tuscaloosa abortion center: West Alabama Women’s Center, Inc. They had given her the RU-486 pills and sent her home. The only information they gave her was that “there would be some bleeding and cramping.” She experienced severe bleeding and pain for days.

Did I mention there was no follow-up or continued care given by West Alabama Women’s Center? None. Thankfully due to their procedural negligence, she went on with a miracle pregnancy. However, many women suffer near-death hospitalizations due to this same negligence.

I’ve prayed outside this same abortion center before. While we were praying there, a song my husband and I had written from Psalm 27:5-6 came to my mind. It was written from the perspective of the baby in the womb facing their death by abortion:

“For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.”

That prayer and that song came to my mind as I meditated on God saving this miracle baby. I feel a confidence in my soul that God honored those prayers to Him outside that abortion center. And I was blessed to see the living fruit!

Another incredible part of this miracle was that the young woman came in with a friend, who was also testing positive for pregnancy and was abortion-minded. After seeing her friend’s live ultrasound, she decided to keep her baby! She said that she couldn’t wait to see her baby, too.

I am privileged and humbled to see God’s redemptive plan for these women, as I’ve never witnessed before. God’s plans for us and our families cannot be controlled like we so naively think. Ever so often, He will reach beyond our own limiting perspectives and fill our ill-thought-out decisions with His grace and mercy—His Sovereignty cannot be thwarted. I’m so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who moves in the midst of our desperate sin.

Her smile was evidence of the healing power of life. Her smile was proof of relief. And her smile was a confirmation of the beautiful choices that are now brilliantly before her.

Note: If you have recently started the RU-486 process within the last 48 hours, there is an effective process for reversing the abortion. Medical professionals are standing by at (877) 558-0333 or find more information at AbortionPillReversal.com.

LifeNews Note: Natalie Brumfield, chapter leader of Bound4LIFE Birmingham, serves at local crisis pregnancy center Sav-A-Life and at her local church. This Bound4LIFE article has been reprinted with permission.

It’s All About Contraception

http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/its-all-about-contraception?mc_cid=9df15c3950&mc_eid=9ed5db84d9

Ending contraception is the only way to end abortion.

It’s time once again for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of well-intentioned folks come to protest the slaughter of little children, demanding the law be changed. But how did it come to pass that killing children in the womb is now protected by the law?

Like everything, you have to go back to the beginning to get the full picture. Owing to massive movement of soldiers, the U.S. Civil War had given rise to the first large-scale beginnings of pornography as an industry. Pornographic materials and literature, such as they were in the post-Civil War era, had begun a lessening of morals.

In 1873, the U.S. Congress passed a law called the “Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” It was championed by Anthony Comstock and thereafter was called simply the Comstock Law.

It was a federal law, but over half the states adopted it as well. Among other things, Comstock outlawed abortifacients and contraceptives. Comstock was essentially the law of the land for nearly a century; but it began drawing heated opposition in the early 1900s from the burgeoning birth control movement largely spearheaded by women.

In 1961, Estelle Griswold opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven, Connecticut and was eventually convicted for dispensing birth control to married women. She lost every appeal of her conviction except the only one that mattered: the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 7, 1965, four years after opening her clinic, in a 7-2 decision, the justices ruled that married couples have a constitutional right to contraception. They cited the Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments as the basis for their ruling.

In the majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas said that a right to contraception among married couples exists owing to “penumbras” and “emanations” in the fabric of the Constitution. Those are legal terms meaning, in short, things you can assume and interpret in a manner that will allow more than the actual law says. The Griswold case also established a right to privacy — and now you can see where this is all going to arrive.

In 1972, in another Supreme Court case, Eisenstadt v. Baird, the case was argued and eventually won that it is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to allow married couples to use contraception and deny that “right” to unmarried couples. The vote of the Justices was again 7-2.

Exactly 10 months to the day after the Eisenstadt ruling, the same justices voted — again 7-2 — that the same arguments to allow contraception also allow a woman to kill the baby in her womb.

Everything about abortion is about contraception. Almost half of women who get abortions do so because their contraception failed, a little-realized point that keeps Planned Parenthood and its allies constantly pushing contraception. Failed contraception leads to unintended pregnancy, which leads to abortion in half the cases.

Contraception establishes a thought process in the minds of people that sex doesn’t necessarily relate to conception — which is where the word contraception comes from. A person — especially a Catholic — cannot decry abortion while permitting, supporting or ignoring contraception.

Yet many people do, even those at the heart of the self-styled pro-life movement. If you are against abortion but permit contraception, then you are not pro-life. All you are is pro-birth. That is not Catholic, and no amount of pretense will make it so.

Tomorrow, a look at some of the bigger names that will be present at the March for Life on Friday, and how they do against this litmus test. Are they really pro-life? Or are they just pro-birth?

Medical holograms

Father Fredy Angel

https://www.catholicextension.org/about-us/lumen-christi-award/2015-lumen-christi-award-finalists/fr-fredy-angel-building-mission

Father Fredy Angel, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, serves as pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in Lakeland and of the parish’s mission in nearby Ray City. In the Diocese of Savannah in southern Georgia, only 3 percent of the population is Catholic.  When he began his term as pastor in 2008, there was only a small group of parishioners attending Mass. Today Sunday Masses in the Lakeland church draw so many area Catholics that the congregation is spilling out of the church and into the street. Originally founded to serve a small population of African-American Catholics, the parish today is racially diverse and serves whites, African-Americans and the growing Hispanic population in the area.

Despite many difficulties early on in his pastoral appointment—Father Fredy had to travel more than 150 miles each week to celebrate up to eight Masses in four different locations, and he had to live in a run-down rectory—he persevered and has poured his heart and soul into turning this previously struggling small Catholic parish into a thriving, dynamic and growing multi-ethnic community. He has established religious education programs that draw both children and adults to the parish. Many Catholics who had previously stopped attending church have come back to worship, not only because of his outreach and dedication to the community, but also because of his charismatic personality and passion for his ministry. He has also earned the respect and admiration of many Protestants in the two towns, who see him as a leader of their community.

Today there are 100 children enrolled in the religious education classes. In the seven and a half years of being their pastor, Father Fredy has celebrated 32 marriages. In the 19 years prior to his time there, only 19 were celebrated. He has brought 154 people to celebrate their first Communion, when in the past 29 years, a total of only 140 people did so. His flock continues to grow, and with Father Fredy as their shepherd, it is easy to see why.

He has led his parish by example, always the first to pick up a mop to clean the buildings or lend a hand in washing the dishes. His congregation has seen how he cares for the sick. They have seen how he has bridged the long-standing gap between English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners. They have seen how he has hosted potlucks after Mass. They have seen how he has worked outside of the church walls to help them with daily struggles such as family problems, counseling needs, social services and the many challenges the area’s young people are facing. This kind of devotion has brought more life back to the church, as well as people.

As the parish has continued to grow, Father Fredy has had to realize that a new and larger church needed to be built. He is now leading and involving his congregation in building that new church in a centralized location—within 20 minutes of driving for any of the parishioners from the three towns it will serve. The new parish, to be named St. Anthony of Padua, is scheduled to be dedicated in early 2016 and will have enough space for every religious education class to have a single classroom, rather than the current situation of combining groups in one classroom, or being forced to use the kitchen as a substitute classroom. In addition, it will include soccer fields and the parish also owns a property across the street where Father Fredy hopes to one day build a parish school.

Father Fredy is a priest in the Pope Francis mold, a shepherd who, in the pope’s memorable expression, is “living with the smell of his sheep.” His perseverance, commitment to his community, his leadership in bridging the various ethnic communities, and his close collaboration with Bishop Gregory Hartmayer to build a sustainable new church for the parish are just a few of the ways he is bringing the “light of Christ” to the people in the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia.

Judge: Catholic hospital must not be forced to sterilize people

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/judge-catholic-hospital-must-not-be-forced-to-sterilize-people

SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A San Francisco judge dealt a Catholic hospital a victory in its fight for religious conscience rights last week.

Forcing Mercy Medical Center to sterilize a female patient is a violation of its religious freedom, Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled last Thursday.

“Religious-based hospitals have an enshrined place in American history and its communities, and the religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts at this moment in history,” his ruling said, according to a New Boston Post report.

Rebecca Chamorro, who was originally scheduled to have a C-section February 4, had requested a tubal ligation after her delivery at the Redding, CA hospital because she and her husband did not want more children.

Mercy refused based upon its guiding principles for health care provided in accord with the Catholic Church’s teaching, known as Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs).

The Catholic directive pertaining to sterilization states:

Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit in December on behalf of Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health, challenging the hospital’s use of the ERDs to refuse tubal ligations, naming both the hospital and Dignity Health, its parent company and the state’s largest hospital provider.

The ACLU had alleged sex discrimination with the reasoning that prohibiting sterilization disproportionately impacts women, a report from The Guardian said, also claiming that Mercy arbitrarily allowed some women to be sterilized while refusing others.

However, Goldsmith discounted the ALCU claim in his decision, stating that the hospital’s sterilization policy applies equally to men and women.

“The religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts,” Goldsmith said in a hearing January 14. “There’s no law that says that hospitals are mandated to perform sterilizations.”

Goldsmith also ruled that Chamorro could have the elective sterilization in another hospital and found insufficient evidence that Mercy permitted other female sterilizations strictly for contraceptive purposes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates some 15-plus percent of U.S. women of child-bearing age use sterilization as birth control.

Chamorro, whose delivery is now scheduled for January 28, criticized the judge’s decision, saying, “It’s unbelievable that the hospital where my doctor has admitting privileges is denying him the ability to provide a safe, legal and common procedure, especially considering that Mercy is my only real option.”

Chamorro’s physician, Dr. Samuel Van Kirk, is also the OB-GYN for two other female plaintiffs for ACLU legal action against Mercy Redding.

Van Kirk stated in a court declaration that Mercy denied his request to perform sterilization on women an estimated 50 times in the last eight years.

Chamorro’s ACLU attorney is considering appeal.

“Catholic hospitals have been aggressively expanding over the past 15 years, and as our client is experiencing, they’re the only option for care in a lot of cases,” Elizabeth Gill stated.

Dignity Health’s counsel said Mercy Redding was within its rights to refuse the sterilization.

“This is a request for a Catholic hospital to forsake ethical and religious directive,” Barry Landsberg said. “This is a private Catholic hospital. It’s not the public library. It can make decisions about the services it provides.”

Landsberg also said Van Kirk should have anticipated the denial of Chamorro’s sterilization because he agreed to be bound by the ERDs when he applied for hospital privileges at Mercy.

Goldsmith recognized the implications of the ALCU’s action against the Catholic hospital as it relates to religious conscience.

“I’d have blinders on if I ignored the essence of this lawsuit,” he said last Thursday. “It’s about church and state. It’s about exercise of religion and to what extent it can be regulated by a court.”

The ACLU taking legal action against Catholic health care providers or other Catholic entities for upholding Catholic teaching is nothing new.

The civil rights advocacy group also sued a Michigan Catholic hospital last year for refusing to sterilize a woman after her C-section and sued Trinity Health in Michigan, also in 2015, for its refusal to provide abortions.

In December, the ACLU contacted drugstore chain Walgreens to express concern over its partnership with Providence Health, worried the store might no longer provide contraception and abortifacients, or euthanasia drugs in states where they’re legal, also questioning how Walgreens would treat LGBTQ customers in the wake of the partnership.

Back in 2013, the ACLU sued the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which produced the ERDs, claiming the directives amounted to medical negligence.

At-risk kids losing American dream because ‘we’re too politically correct’ to defend family: Rick Santorum

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/at-risk-children-losing-the-american-dream-because-were-too-politically-cor

NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina, January 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Americans are allowing a generation of at-risk children to lose their chance at the American dream, because we are “too politically correct” to say that the intact, traditional family is best for society, Rick Santorum said at last night’s Republican presidential debate.

The undercard debate, which began at 6 p.m., featured Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina.

Moderator Trish Regan asked Santorum about the role “family formation” plays in economic development. Currently, 40 percent of all children are born out-of-wedlock. “That’s twice as high as reported back in 1980, and it’s 11 times as high as in 1940,” she said.

The former Pennsylvania senator said he has been surprised to direct his audiences to “a book written by a liberal Harvard” social science professor: Robert Putnam’s Our Kids.

“He wrote this book, I think, ostensibly to support the Democratic argument that the middle of America’s hollowing out, and income gap is widening, and rich are getting richer,” Santorum said.

But when Putnam “studied all the information…he realized that the biggest reason that we’re seeing the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the American family.”

“The reality is that if you’re…a child of a single parent, and you grew up in a single parent family neighborhood…the chance of you ever, ever reaching the top 20 percent of income earners is three percent in America.” “That’s not good enough,” Santorum said passionately. “And we have been too politically correct in this country, because we don’t want to offend anybody, to fight for the lives of our children,” he concluded to applause.

A wealth of social data support his conclusion that being reared by both parents greatly increases the chances of success.

Growing up with both parents “is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women,” a study conducted in October 2014 by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman for the American Enterprise Institute concluded.

The two found the benefits trickle down through the generations. Being raised in an intact family “increases your odds of becoming highly educated, which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels,” they found.

“Indeed, men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry enjoy an especially high income as adults,” they wrote.

They found the “premium” of education and increased lifetime economic earnings applies to all ethnicities, as well.

Being raised by both parents also decreases numerous social pathologies. Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation found, “Teens from intact, married families are less likely to be sexually active and also less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, exhibit poor social behaviors, or participate in violent crimes.”

Economically, an intact family saves society a hefty sum in social spending.

Torre wrote, “Of the more than $450 billion spent on means-tested welfare for low-income families with children, roughly three-quarters goes to households led by single parents.” A 2008 study found family breakdown cost taxpayers $112 billion a year, the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand.

“The substitutes to the family are expensive and ineffective, and taxpayers end up paying the price,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute during a lecture at Acton University.

Not everyone would be happy to see traditional families flourish. NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted:

National Right to Life revealed that 85 percent of all abortions are performed on single women in its third annual “State of Abortion in the United States” report, which was released on Thursday.

The flagging fortunes of the family is an issue close to Santorum’s heart. He raised the theme himself during the last Fox Business debate in November and introduced the notion to Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.

In addition to Putnam, AEI scholar Charles Murray came to similar conclusions about the importance of the intact family for social and economic advancement in his 2012 book, Coming Apart.

Wilcox and Nicholas Wolfinger will explore the theme further in their forthcoming book, Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos.

The consequences of hormonal birth control are leading women and physicians to discover healthier choices

http://kofc.org/un/en/columbia/detail/contraception-aftermath-alternatives.html

by Meg T. McDonnell

Contraception: Aftermath and Alternatives
Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, medical director of the Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas, and a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 5967, is pictured with his wife, Heather, and their daughter. (Photo by Jody Horton Photography)

In the 1960s, legalized access to hormonal contraception promised to bring women freedom: freedom to limit family size and freedom to have sex without the “worry” of conception. Today, proponents promote another line: contraception as preventative health care, with some groups going so far as to pathologize women who don’t have access to contraception as “at risk for unintended pregnancy.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 62 percent of U.S. women ages 15-44 are currently using some form of contraception or sterilization. Though multiple forms of birth control exist, the pill remains the most popular, more than 55 years after it was introduced.

Absent from nearly all of the public campaigns in support of contraception, though, are its health risks, which can be life-threatening. Adding to the concern about side effects, some of which are more troubling than others, is the reality that most women are simply not informed.

“Women have a right to know,” said Vicki Thorn, who recently organized a conference titled “The Contraceptive Conundrum: Effects and Side Effects” at Georgetown University. The founder of Project Rachel and the National Office for Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, Thorn has for years collected research about the detrimental effects of chemical contraception.

“Contraception is hardly benign,” Thorn said. “Most forms use steroidal hormones that impact the pituitary gland, which is the master gland in the body, and there’s much fallout in terms of health issues.”

CALCULATING RISKS

The side effects of the pill and other forms of hormonal contraception can range from blood clots, headaches, weight gain, nausea, and irregular or diminished periods, to mood swings, loss of libido, depression and other psychological repercussions. Some of these side effects can significantly alter a woman’s lifestyle — leaving her feeling helpless and confused at her inability to control her emotions and even her physical appearance.

Some potential side effects are particularly alarming. Studies dating back to the 1990s have shown increases in breast cancer related to the pill. A study published in the journal Cancer Research in August 2014 suggests that use of some types of oral contraception within the past year increases breast cancer risk by 50 percent. Pills containing higher doses of estrogen lead to even greater risk.

While some side effects are rare, many are not, explained Dr. Marguerite Duane, adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University and a family physician.

“You can go onto any Facebook page or any groups for birth control and see many women complaining about all the awful effects of the birth control pill: mood swings, weight gain and the psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Duane, who assisted with the “Contraceptive Conundrum” conference.

The purpose of the conference, which was hosted at Georgetown’s Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics in August, was to educate attendees about contraception from a scientific perspective. Topics ranged from a pharmacist discussing nutrition deficiencies caused by the pill to a post-doctoral researcher discussing how contraception affects women’s brains. Other speakers noted that the side effects of contraception are not limited to women’s health; they include behavioral changes as well.

Participants included doctors, researchers, graduate students and even a number of parents of women who had died due to contraception. Among them were the parents of Erika Langhart, who died in 2011 at age 24 due to pulmonary embolisms caused by NuvaRing, one of the more recent and controversial forms of hormonal birth control.

Karen Langhart, Erika’s mother, told Vanity Fair in a January 2014 feature story that her daughter was meticulous about risks, but was unaware of the risks of this device. And her story is not unique. NuvaRing has been the subject of high profile class action lawsuits and cited as the cause of numerous women’s deaths.

The Huffington Post reported in 2013 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had advised Organon, a pharmaceutical company manufacturing NuvaRing, to warn users of the drug’s serious risks.

“Organon executives adamantly opposed such a statement,” the article said. “An elevated [blood clot] warning label would have been a huge blow. Such a warning might have discouraged women from using NuvaRing and made doctors less inclined to prescribe it — significantly cutting into the potential return on investment.”

Pharmaceutical companies that produce contraception are financially motivated to influence medical education as well, explained Dr. Duane.

“The reality is,” she said, “if millions of women started learning how to chart their cycle and fertility, and stopped using hormonal contraceptives, pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose billions of dollars.”

According to Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, medical director of the Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas, women are often prescribed contraception instead of receiving the medical care they need.

“Over and over again, I find women frustrated with the fact that what they thought was being treated is actually not being treated at all by hormonal contraception,” Dr. Kalamarides said. “They come in and say, ‘Can you please give me something different?’”

For Dr. Kalamarides, a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 5967 in Austin, his interest in contraception alternatives started when he and his wife were preparing for marriage in 1994.

“I was thrown for a loop by the fact that [the reproductive system] is the only system in the human body that we turn off when it’s working correctly,” he said.

A biology student at the time, Kalamarides’ interest in the topic led him to become an OB-GYN. He then studied NaProTechnology at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb., and established a medical practice that does not prescribe contraception.

AN EDUCATION IN FERTILITY

Beyond the potentially dangerous side effects related to women’s health, hormonal birth control has resulted in a number of sociological consequences as well.

“The pill was a technological shock that profoundly altered the mating market by lowering the ‘cost’ of sex,” explained Dr. Duane, pointing to research done by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

At the Austin Institute and elsewhere, sociologists have argued that sex has become a nearly universal precondition for being in a romantic relationship in modern society; contraception’s ability to “safeguard” against pregnancy has made it so.

“It’s been well documented in particular how women date and how men date because of contraception,” said Dr. Kalamarides. “It contributes to young people getting married later in life and social distortion in the premarital process.”

A growing body of research indicates that contraception even alters a woman’s ability to choose a more genetically suited spouse.

A 2011 Wall Street Journal article noted, “The type of man a woman is drawn to is known to change during her monthly cycle — when a woman is fertile, for instance, she might look for a man with more masculine features.”

But contraception suppresses fertility and its corresponding hormones, which can lead to a woman choosing a different spouse than she would otherwise. Conversely, a woman does not attract the same men when her fertility is suppressed.

“Women tend to exhibit subtle cues when they are ovulating, and men tend to find them more attractive at this time,” the WSJ article explained.

For years, Thorn has shared the findings of this research in talks to young people. “This is a big deal,” she said. “If you’re serious about marriage, then both men and women should know this.”

Of course, proponents of contraception do not think that any of these risks warrant giving it up — since unintended pregnancy is a “risk” to be avoided.

Still, no matter how “protected” people think they are from pregnancy, contraception is not foolproof. Since the legalization of birth control, the sexually permissive culture that contraception has facilitated has contributed to a rise in the nonmarital pregnancy rate from 5 percent in 1960 to 40 percent today. Additionally, more than 85 percent of abortions performed in the United States involve single mothers.

And not only does contraception facilitate relationships that make abortion more likely, but hormonal contraception itself can have an abortifacient effect; by thinning the lining of the uterus, it can prevent a newly conceived embryo from being implanted.

“Everyone knows that conception is the moment when sperm and egg unite, but for utilitarian purposes, some professional groups associate ‘pregnancy’ with implantation,” Dr. Kalamarides explained. “Many doctors don’t go over informed consent about how birth control works. But when women find out that it can potentially cause very early miscarriage, most are sincerely not interested anymore, or at least would like to try something else.”

Many are skeptical, however, that viable alternatives to hormonal contraception exist.

“The problem is,” Dr. Duane said, “there is this presumption that if you’re not on birth control, you will be pregnant.”

As a result, relatively few women ever learn how to read and understand when they are fertile. To help bridge the knowledge gap, Dr. Duane co-founded and serves as director of FACTS — Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science of fertility awareness-based methods.

“Our mission is to educate our medical colleagues about the evidence-based fertility awareness methods, because medical students, residents and physicians are not learning about them,” Dr. Duane said. “When women who are interested in these methods go to doctors who don’t have information, they stop talking to their doctors about this very important part of health care.”

Nonetheless, the science of fertility awareness, including NaProTechnology, continues to advance and become more widely known.

“Nationally and in the Church, we have not done enough to promote alternatives,” Dr. Kalmarides said. “But I see a lot of hope, because there is a growing number of doctors who are receiving training and using natural family planning in their practices.”

The fact remains, Dr. Kalmarides added, that teaching modern fertility awareness methods serves patients much better than both contraception and assisted reproductive technology.

“It is better, and it will help more people, whether you are avoiding pregnancy temporarily, trying to achieve pregnancy or treating underlying conditions,” he said. “And when women gain understanding of their fertility, they feel an enormous sense of relief and are empowered. That is what happens when you keep love and life together.”

MEG T. MCDONNELL is executive director of the Chiaroscuro Institute and a journalist in Washington, D.C.

 

Doctors Told Her She Would Never Have Children, But God Had a Different Plan

MICAIAH BILGER JAN 13, 2016

As a young adult, Lisa Duffy experienced one heartbreak after another: miscarriage, infertility, divorce.

Married at 26, Duffy and her first husband lost three children to miscarriage, one at almost 20-weeks gestation. Later, she went through a surgery that was supposed to help her carry babies to term – but ended up reducing her chances of getting pregnant instead. Then, her husband divorced her.

The Catholic writer recently shared these early life struggles in a column for Aleteia. Duffy said she wants to encourage other women who have experienced loss that there is hope.

She wrote:

The doctors were never able to figure out what was causing these miscarriages until that final pregnancy. My uterus had widened enough for them to detect the problem, which was a malformation that made it impossible to carry a child to term.

My OB/GYN was hopeful. He said if I had come to him with this problem a few years before, he wouldn’t have been able to help me, but now there was a groundbreaking surgery that could correct my problem. So I signed up and went under the knife. The outcome was successful. Sort of.

The surgeons had been able to fix the problem as they’d hoped, but the procedure was so invasive, it left me sterile. In fact, the odds of my ever conceiving a child were now fewer than 1 percent. I was heartbroken and angry, to say the least. Then my husband left, never to return.

The next several years were dark with the weight of her grief. Duffy said she let her anger and pain become excuses to “behave badly at times” and gave up hope of ever having children.

Eventually, Duffy said she met her husband Jim, who helped pull her up out of her misery. She said she began to find hope and happiness again as she worked to repair her relationship with God.

A month after she was married, Duffy said she joined a group of women on a week-long silent retreat in Bethesda, Maryland. On the second day, she began to feel a terrible but familiar experience – morning sickness.

I wanted to jump up and run out to tell the other women — one of whom was my new mother-in-law— but I couldn’t. It was a silent retreat. I didn’t have a cell phone back then, so I couldn’t call Jim. And then it dawned on me, the brilliance of what God was doing. It almost felt deliberate that he was the only one I could share my joy with for the next four days. He wanted me to recognize the miracle he had brought about and how great his love for me was. Despite all the doctors had predicted, I was going to have a baby!

Weeks later, as I sat in my doctor’s office, she said to me, “I hope you realize what a miracle this is. Someone with your history should not be able to get pregnant.” She didn’t have to tell me, I knew better than anyone. And today, I have three healthy, happy miracles who are the joy of my life.

Duffy ended her story with words of hope and encouragement for women who are struggling. Though Duffy experienced losses through infertility and divorce, her words also could apply to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or grieving after an abortion.

“Stay close to [God] in your struggles, and trust him with your future,” Duffy said. “Your plans might look different from his, but he ultimately knows how to make you happy.”

Planned Parenthood is trying to Force These Pharmacists to Dispense Abortion Drugs, They’re Refusing

By Marissa Poulson Jan 11, 2016

In 2007, the Washington State Pharmacy Commission decided to make it illegal for pharmacists to live consistent with their religious beliefs by continuing to refer customers seeking abortion-inducing drugs, like Plan B, to other nearby pharmacies.

The burden of this unconstitutional law has been swift and severe for the Stormans Family—owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, a small local grocery store in Olympia, Washington. They, along with two other Washington-based pharmacists,

Margo Thelen and Rhonda Mesler,filed a lawsuit challenging the law, after facing formal complaints brought by the State and pro-abortion activists that threatened their pharmacy license.

Despite winning their case after 12-day federal trial when the court found that the state’s law was “aimed at” conscientious objectors, the Stormans Family has been embroiled in an 8-year legal battle for their freedom. Today, ADF asked the United States Supreme Court to hearthe Stormans’ case and uphold this family’s freedom and the freedom of all pharmacists in the state to live by their conscience, instead of forcing them to violate their beliefs.

Here are four reasons the Supreme Court should take their case:

1. Washington is the only state that doesn’t allow referrals to other pharmacies for conscience reasons

In 49 states in the U.S., it is standard practice to allow licensed pharmacists to refer a patient for all kinds of reasons—business, economic, convenience, and yes, religious or conscience-based reasons. In fact, major health organizations, such as the American Pharmacists Association, the Washington State Pharmacy Association, and over 30 other professional pharmacy groups, recognize and support these conscience-based referrals.

2. The state’s radical stance was driven by a controversial organization’s agenda

It raises the question: What made the state take such a radical stance on referrals? Why would the Washington State Pharmacy Commission choose to discriminate against religious pharmacists and their conscience-based reasons for deciding to refer customers to other local pharmacies for certain drugs?

Two words – Planned Parenthood.

Washington’s referral law is based on rules drafted by Planned Parenthood at the request of former Governor Christine Gregoire. In 2005, Planned Parenthood and Gregoire began pressuring the Commission to prohibit conscience-based referrals for Plan B, threatening the members with personal liability under anti-discrimination laws if they voted to allow conscience-based referrals.

After the state’s Pharmacy Commission voted unanimously against the law, Gregoire replaced two Commission members. In 2007, the Commission enacted the Governor’s rule requiring pharmacies to dispense Plan B and making conscience-based referrals illegal, despite continuing to allow pharmacies to refuse to stock it for other reasons.

3. The law is not only an extreme abuse of power by the State of Washington, but it completely disregards the established standard of care and the professionals who have dedicated their lives to improving patient health.

As the American Pharmacists Association, Washington State Pharmacy Association, and thirty-three other pharmacy organizations have explained, the regulations are “truly radical” and “grossly out of step with state regulatory practice.”

4. Allowing pharmacists to make conscience-based referrals does not impede women’s access to abortion-inducing drugs.

The State of Washington has even admitted this fact. But instead of honoring decades of settled pharmacy practice, they still chose to single out religiously-motivated pharmacists, at the urging of a billion dollar organization that kills over 300,000 unborn babies a year, and force them to participate in what they consider to be an abortion.

“The state allows pharmacies to refer for all kinds of reasons. In practice, it only bans religiously motivated referrals,” said Kevin Stormans. “With more than 30 pharmacies stocking the drug within five miles of our store, it is extremely disappointing that the state demands that we violate our conscience or jeopardize our family business. All we are asking is to be able to live out the beliefs that we hold, as Americans have always been able to do, and to be able to refer patients for religious reasons, as the medical and pharmaceutical associations overwhelmingly recommend.”

Please Keep the Stormans Family in your Prayers

Eight years is a long time, but the Stormans Family has remained steadfast, relying on their faith and each other in the midst of an intense legal battle. Please keep them in your prayers and be praying that the Supreme Court will hear their case.

Marissa Poulson writes for Alliance Defending Freedom.

[Please copy for your pharmacist, or forward this to him or her, or send the link—-> http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/11/ planned-

parenthood-is-trying-to-force-these-pharmacists-to-dispense-abortion-] drugs-theyre-refusing/

Angel on board? See the ultrasound photo that made one mom a believer

http://www.today.com/parents/angel-board-see-ultrasound-photo-made-one-mom-believer-t65306

After an imgur user posted an ultrasound photo this week that appears to show a demon looking over an unborn baby, a mom from Wales decided to balance the scales of good and evil a bit by sharing her own ultrasound image.

Lewis’ ultrasound, performed in 2012, showed an image of what appears to be an angel in her womb with her unborn child.

The image, shared first with The Mirror by 26-year-old mom Kelly Lewis, shows what looks like an angel, watching over Lewis’ baby, Harper, in utero.

Harper is now three years old, and Lewis told TODAY Parents that she didn’t notice the angelic presence when the image was initially captured in 2012.

“It was when I showed my friend later that day — he pointed it out to me. From then on, everyone has been fascinated with it,” said Lewis.

Lewis says her daughter, Harper, now three, is her little angel.

Lewis points out that Harper’s name means, “someone who plays the harp,” instruments often attributed to angels.

“Harper is a very well-behaved little girl,” said Lewis. “She has a warmhearted, caring, and helpful personality — always polite and kind, and very sweet and innocent. She also has the sweetest smile — it’s very angelic. I am truly blessed to have her.”

“She has a warmhearted, caring, and helpful personality,” said Lewis of her daughter. “Always polite and kind, and very sweet and innocent.”

So, does Lewis believe that an angelic being was visiting her unborn daughter on that day in 2012?

“Yes, I’d like to believe that this is an angel,” said Lewis “It’s a nice thing to believe and a lovely thing to have.”

How my life changed forever after I got the Depo Provera birth control injection

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/how-my-life-changed-forever-after-i-got-the-depo-provera-birth-control-inje

I had been putting off this visit for quite some time. I guess I really didn’t want to even think about it, and figured that maybe if I ignored it, it would just go away. Unfortunately, that isn’t reality.

So I sat there on the exam table answering questions about our presidents, reading letters off a card to check my vision, and listing off my health history for the past five years (that was the last time I saw a neurologist).

Are you willing to lose your vision in order to prevent pregnancy? Are you willing to develop osteoporosis in your 20s because of your “need” to be on birth control? Are you willing to have a stroke at 30?

I got married to Doug in 2005. I knew that we wanted to delay having children for a while, and I had tried pretty much every hormonal birth control method under the sun. I had not, however, gotten the Depo Provera birth control injection. It seemed like a pretty worry-free method. You only have to get a shot once every three months and most women didn’t even have a period on it. It sounded pretty good to me. I received my first injection just a few months before our wedding date.

About a week after getting the first injection, I started getting these debilitating headaches. And I mean, they were really BAD. I could hardly work. It was interfering with my job, my sleep, pretty much everything. After about of week of this, I made an appointment with my family doctor. I told her about my symptoms and she totally blew me off, saying, “Well, some people just get bad headaches.” Um, no they don’t…not like this.

My mom suggested that maybe it had something to do with my vision. I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist looking for an answer. It was time for my annual eye checkup anyway, so I just kind of figured that my vision must have changed. As soon as he sat down and pulled his fancy eye looker machine up to my face, he backed away from it, switched the light on and asked, “Have you been having really bad headaches?” Why yes I have. I knew it. Mom was right. My vision must have changed.

Here’s how the rest of the conversation went:

Doctor: “Your optic nerves aren’t pulsing. You will need to be seen by a neurologist immediately.”
Me: “A neurologist? Why? Don’t I just need a different contact lens prescription?”
Doctor: “No. This has nothing to do with your vision really, except that if they continue to lay dormant, you can go blind. Many times this means that your spinal pressure is very high, which could mean that there is a tumor in the brain.”
Me: “A tumor?”
Doctor: blah, blah, muffled sound, blah, blah (I heard nothing he said after the word “tumor”).

I suddenly felt hot and sick to my stomach. A brain tumor? Possible brain surgery? They will have to shave my head. I will look terrible bald. Am I going to die from this?

About three days later I was sitting in a neurologist’s office. A couple days after that, I was getting my first lumbar puncture. About a week after that, I was getting my first MRI. Then came another lumbar puncture and another MRI.

The results were all in and they had a diagnosis: Pseudotumor Cerebri, otherwise known as Intercranial Hypertension. Basically, I have increased spinal fluid pressure because of swelling in my brain. I also have reduced vein size because of the swelling. I would be on medication the rest of my life. And if I wasn’t diligent about taking my medication, my spinal pressure would become high resulting in debilitating headaches…and/or I will go blind…or anything in between.

I thought for a long time that my headaches must have been related to my Depo Provera use, but I didn’t have that confirmation until I was diagnosed. My neurologist told me that he very often saw this condition manifest after women took hormonal birth control…particularly birth control containing progestin. So I had to deal with the fact that because I was so desperate not to get pregnant, I put something in my body that gave me a life-long disorder, and could make me go blind.

I MEDICATED A PROBLEM THAT WASN’T THERE AND NOW I TRULY DO LIVE WITH THAT CONSEQUENCE EVERYDAY.

Like I said in part two of this series, when we use birth control we are taking medication in order to “fix” something that isn’t broken. I had done just that and now I was living with putting the pieces back together. Now I do have something to fix…something I never would have dealt with if I had never taken hormonal birth control.

I live everyday with the reality that I could permanently lose my vision. I live with very serious headaches, even though I am on daily medication. A medication, by the way, that costs me almost $500.00 per month.

The sad part is that I am not alone. We know the risks of birth control and yet we continue to pump it into our system as if we have no choice. So here are my two questions, ladies.

IS IT WORTH IT? HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO RISK?

Are you willing to lose your vision in order to prevent pregnancy? Are you willing to develop osteoporosis in your 20s because of your “need” to be on birth control? Are you willing to have a stroke at 30? Are you willing to increase your risk of cancer by 30 percent? Are you willing to develop deadly blood clots because you just can’t be a mom right now? Are you willing to risk a hysterectomy because that IUD looks so appealing? Are you willing to have a heart attack just so you can “fix” your unbroken fertility? If you are a married woman, are you willing to completely lose the desire to have sex with your husband?

How much are you willing to risk? The good news is that you don’t have to risk a thing in order to space your children and avoid pregnancy. There are other, natural options available that give you control over your body. Birth control does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. It doesn’t control birth. It doesn’t control anything. It actually takes your control away.

If you want to truly stand up for women’s reproductive rights, then stand against birth control. Because nothing says anti-woman more than birth control. Any drug that is pushed upon women in order to simply prevent a natural part of a woman’s cycle is one that needs to be outright rejected.

For more information about your other fertility options, please visit www.iusenfp.com or www.naturalwomanhood.org.

If you have been diagnosed with PTC after taking hormonal birth control and would like to talk to an attorney about your situation, please visit http://www.schmidtlaw.com/pseudotumor-cerebri-lawsuit/. Getting these dangerous drugs off the market is one of the best things we can do for the safety of women. Thousands of women, including myself, have now come forward in hopes to do just that.

“A Call to battle”

http://www.intothebreach.net/a-call-to-battle/

Porn. Fornication. Prostitution. Loving and leaving. Creating children and then abandoning them. Is this the greatness of men? The answer is a resounding ‘no’ according to a powerful short film titled “A Call to Battle” which was released yesterday by the Catholic bishop of Phoenix.

The short film, created by Blackstone Films, outlines how an epic battle is being waged for the souls of men. At stake is love and relationships, the family, and the very survival of society itself.

Drawing upon his landmark letter issued last September on the same topic, Bishop Thomas Olmsted is specifically summoning the men of his diocese to become the men that God created them to be and to “stand in the breach” against a raging enemy seeking to destroy.

“Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you,” Olmsted encouraged in his September Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men.

This Amazing Couple Already Has 8 Children, But They Opened Their Home to Terminally Ill Kids

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/04/this-amazing-couple-already-has-8-children-but-they-opened-their-home-to-terminally-ill-kids/

As a hospice nurse, Cori Salchert began to notice a heartbreaking practice. Some terminally ill babies were being abandoned by their families and left to die alone.

 The Wisconsin mother of eight told the Sheboygan Press that she often would cradle terminally ill infants and children so “no one had to die alone.”

“There was no judgment on my part that the parents should just be able to deal with the circumstances,” Cori said. “But I thought, ‘Wow, I would really like to take those kiddos and care for them.’”

And that’s exactly what the Salchert family is doing. Cori and her husband, Mark, have taken in three terminally ill infants since they decided to pursue foster care less than five years ago, according to the report.

On Dec. 18, the family adopted a little boy named Charlie who has severe neurological impairments that force him to depend on a tracheostomy, ventilator and feeding tube, according to the report.

“He will die; there’s no changing that,” Cori said, brushing away a tear. “But, we can make a difference in how he lives, and the difference for Charlie is that he will be loved before he dies.”

“God is love, and He loves this little boy, and He loves us to love him,” Mark added. “Charlie is truly an amazing individual; he’s made us richer — more alive, in a sense.”

The Salcherts decided to begin fostering these vulnerable, sick infants after they experienced a tragedy of their own. Five years ago, Cori was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that caused gastrointestinal distress. Faced with multiple surgeries and constant illness, Cori left her job as a perinatal hospice nurse, according to the report.

“My prayer at that time was asking how God could possibly use this for good,” Cori said.

The news report continues:

As fate would have it, Cori’s circumstances opened up the time for her to pursue the Salcherts’ dream of becoming foster parents to hospice infants. They connected with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s treatment foster care program, which matches families with children who have significant to severe behavioral or medical challenges.

The Salcherts brought home Emmalynn in August 2012. She did not have the left or right hemispheres of her brain, only the brain stem. She lived 50 days. Emmalynn passed away tucked into Cori’s fuzzy green robe “like a kangaroo” while foster mother and daughter sat alone at the kitchen table one night.

The Salcherts’ next foster child was Jayden, who was able to overcome his medical challenges to become a thriving toddler. He was ultimately adopted by a cousin of his biological parents.

With Emmalynn’s passing and Jayden leaving the home, the Salcherts were heartbroken. Cori recalls turning to Mark and saying she was done with treatment foster care, but her husband encouraged her that “this is what she was meant to do.”

With their biological children in full-support, Cori and Mark persevered. That’s when they received Charlie, who now is officially a member of their family.

The family said they enjoy cuddling, watching movies and taking walks with Charlie. Their local fire department also made Charlie an honorary fireman, the report states. Charlie’s life is making an impact on people in their community. His father said Charlie “really brings out the nobler parts of a community.”

This amazing family humbly told the newspaper that they are far from perfect. Cori refused to accept the label “supermom,” the report states. But the Salcherts truly are extraordinary people in a culture that often devalues terminally ill people by suggesting that their lives be destroyed by abortion or doctor-prescribed suicide.

“These children need nurses, but the overarching thing is, they need moms,” Cori said. “Too many people never do anything because they can’t do everything and can’t save everyone. For me, even though I can’t help every child, I’m happy to make a difference in the lives of a few.”

salcherts

FDA Blasts, WHO Downplays, Risks of Depo-Provera Contraceptive

https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/fda-blasts-who-downplays-risks-of-depo-provera-contraceptive/

By |

A week before a huge global family planning conference in Indonesia, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a short statement reiterating its position that injectable contraceptives are safe – for any duration – even for adolescents despite being linked to progressive bone density loss and other harmful side effects.

It came shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), widely regarded as the “gold standard” on drug safety, rejected a petition to remove its strong “black box” warning label and reiterated its concerns about the contraceptives’ long-term effects on women’s health.

Women around the world who want to postpone or avoid pregnancy cite health risks as one of the most prevalent reasons for not using modern contraceptives.

Their concerns are backed by science. In this case, injectable contraceptives containing depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), also known as Depo-Provera, have been linked with decreased bone density, increased risk of certain cancers, and increased risk of HIV.

Last year the drug manufacturer Pfizer, the Gates Foundation, USAID and other groups announced a major collaboration to increase use of injectable contraceptives among poor women in developing countries using a single-use syringe called Sayana Press.

Mindful of the global push for Depo-Provera and the weight that FDA warnings carry, two doctors submitted a petition in 2013 urging the FDA to remove the “black box” warning, claiming that it “has harmed public health in the United States and around the world.” One doctor is a consultant for a company that markets Depo-Provera and the other is an outspoken abortion advocate who asserts that abortion is safer than childbirth.

The petition says the warning label is “inconsistent with the assessment of major medical and public health organizations around the world,” citing WHO in particular.

The FDA denied the petition in no uncertain terms. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of drug evaluation and research, stressed that “[a]lthough FDA considers the opinions and analyses of other reputable health bodies, in the end FDA relies on its own independent review of the available data to make regulatory decisions.”

Woodcock strongly disputed the claim that FDA was harming global public health by highlighting the risks of Depo-Provera. If the warning label has led to decreased use of the drug, she wrote, “we believe lower prevalence of prolonged DMPA use is a public health benefit.”

The FDA expressed concern “about the fact that adolescent users were losing bone density at a time in life when they should be experiencing significant increases” and that recovery of bone density after discontinuing use of Depo-Provera was slow and may not fully occur at all.

The FDA stressed that since Depo-Provera has not been on the market long enough to determine its long-term effects on women past menopause, the time of life when women experience the most serious effects of osteoporosis, its most serious health risks may not yet be known. Given that the regions of the world targeted for the highest marketing and use of Depo-Provera are also areas with the least available data on osteoporosis – and the least access to medical care – the FDA’s warnings are particularly timely as aging emerges as an important issue worldwide.

Governments, UN agencies and family planning groups which are spending millions of dollars to distribute Depo-Provera in developing countries may ignore the FDA’s warnings and take cover from the WHO’s claims about its safety.

Most Babies Diagnosed With Down Syndrome are Aborted, But to His Mom Elijah is Perfect

INTERNATIONAL MICAIAH BILGER DEC 28, 2015 | 12:09PM WASHINGTON, DC

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/12/28/most-babies-diagnosed-with-down-syndrome-are-aborted-but-to-his-mom-elijah-is-perfect/

Wendy Puckrin admits that she may have been persuaded to abort her unborn son if she had known he had Down syndrome before he was born.

“On the day my little man was born, I was informed he had Down’s syndrome. I was not only surprised, I was shocked, scared – in fact basically terrified,” Puckrin told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Had I found out while I was pregnant, there is a very good chance he would not be here today. It pains me to say that, but the negativity in the media, my own preconceptions and the way that a diagnosis can be handled by medical professionals would have left me feeling like I had little choice.”

Now, the British mother is on a mission to show people that her son, Elijah, 2, and others like him with Down syndrome are valuable human beings.

Puckrin said many people don’t question the negative connotations about the genetic condition in today’s culture and assume parents will have an abortion. She said some wrongly believe people with Down syndrome can’t lead normal lives.

“The phrase I hear most of all from parents with Down’s Syndrome is ‘if I knew then what I know now there would be no tears, no worries and no fears,’” she said.

The report continues: Wendy is particularly keen to dispel the myth that people with Down’s Syndrome won’t amount to anything.

She said: “That is simply not true. There are many who have gone on to become councillors, models, actors, business owners etc.

“With the right environment and the right encouragement, any child can accomplish their dreams.”

Next month Elijah will start nursery at Coppice Valley, where Wendy says he will be treated like any other child.

With support from staff, including his special educational needs co-ordinator, he will be encouraged to use sign

language designed for young children to help them communicate.

“Elijah already knows some signs, including cat, dog, milk, biscuit, food and bottle,” said Wendy.

“He’s doing really well developmentally and his childminder has scrapped the developmental chart for children with Down’s.

“The only thing he is behind with is walking, but he’s getting there, and his speech, although he can say the odd word like mummy and I’m not terribly concerned.”

Elijah also has a hectic social life and enjoys riding at Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group and swimming.

A single mom, Puckrin is actively involved with the Down Syndrome Association. She set up a Facebook page, This is Elijah, to encourage other parents of babies with Down syndrome, and she also talks to student midwives at Leeds University about the condition, the report states.

When ever she can, the proud mother shares the special moments and memories that she and her son have together – like wrapping presents for Christmas. “My son is determined, intelligent, curious and downright beautiful,” she said. “He is my teacher, my inspiration and my guiding star. He is as perfect as I could have hoped for.”

Though Puckrin described herself as pro-choice, she expressed concern about the extremely high number of babies like her son who are aborted. Studies found that about 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. She said these discriminatory abortions could rise even more now that a new non-invasive pregnancy screening test is available. Puckrin said she wants to make sure parents are fully informed about Down syndrome before they make a decision about aborting their unborn child.

“If you had told me three years ago I would single-handedly be raising a child with special needs I would have probably laughed. He’s not what I expected but he’s more than I deserve.

Fascinating Video Shows Conception to Birth Visualized

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/06/top-ted-talk-of-2013-will-make-you-marvel-conception-to-birth-visualized/

 

Did you know a baby develops hands and arms just 32 days after conception?

That’s just one of the amazing discoveries made by Alexander Tsiaras, founder of thevisualMD [http://www.thevisualmd.com/].

Tsiaras said the ultra-complex formation of a human being is full of mystery, magic and divinity. He was an associate professor of medicine and chief of scientific visualization at Yale University in the department of medicine when he had to write many of the algorithms and code for NASA to use for virtual surgery in preparation for the astronauts going deep into space using robotic pods. We’re talking more complex than rocket science.

“Using new kinds of scanning technology allowed us to see things about the body that just make you marvel,” said Tsiaras of his research. ”Even though

I’m a mathematician, I marvel as these instruction sets do not make mistakes as they build what is us.”

Here are some spectacular facts about the developing human body during birth:

  • 24 hours: the baby’s first division
  • 25 days: heart chamber is developing
  • 32 days: arms and hands are developing
  • 36 days: Most rapid development – if the baby continued to grow at this speed for the entire 9 months, it would be 1.5 tons at birth
  • 45 days: baby’s heartbeat is twice as fast at the mother’s
  • 52 days: developing retina, nose and fingers
  • The baby’s continual movement in the womb is necessary for muscular and skeletal growth
  • 9 months: baby has 60,000 miles of vessels bringing nutrients and taking waste away
  • Birth: mystery, magic and miracle.

Tsiaras sums up the early stages of the pregnancy, as the baby’s development in its mother’s womb seems to say, “I’m here to stay; plant me.”

In the video below, Tsiaras uses art and technology to visualize the miracle of the unseen human body. True to the slogan of TEDTalks

http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized], this is definitely an idea worth spreading.

[Editorial Comment: As we await the virgin birth of Jesus, this video helps us visualize the wonder of God’s design of the human being, including Jesus the God-Man.]

When I found out my wife was pregnant with our 9th, I wasn’t happy: then something happened…

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Amid all the joyful bustle of family preparations in anticipation of the holy day of Christ’s birth, Christmas time always brings to my mind the deep regret that I feel over the one child my wife and I lost due to miscarriage, because it reminds me that at the time I was like the Bethlehem innkeeper who said there was no more room.

I was having a lot of trouble accepting that my wife was pregnant with our ninth child.

It’s not that we were against having children – we had eight boys already – but when Theresa told me she was pregnant again, something inside me rebelled against the thought of another baby.

You know: “Oh no, another mouth to feed; our house is too small, and full to the rafters, literally, with kids; we’ll have to build an addition; we can’t afford this; I’m already the brunt of tacky jokes (don’t you folks in the country having anything else to do?); I can’t take this … there’s just no more room!”

You can see where this was going – from a lack of trust in God’s purposeful generosity, to a miserly outburst of selfishness.

Most of Theresa’s pregnancies were planned, some were surprises, and although much to my later shame I once added my name to a “zero population growth” petition while at university (ah, how foolish I was when I was young!), we welcomed each baby as he came along.

And when things got out of hand, as things with piles of children often do, I reminded myself that they were, after all, God’s children first, and given to us to look after the best we could for really only a short while, if you consider the reality of eternity.

But with this pregnancy something in me didn’t rejoice.

I worked myself up to such a state of negativity that I began saying “Why me Lord?” while I brooded over the new life that was growing in Theresa’s womb with misgiving rather than hopeful expectation. “Isn’t eight enough Lord? How could You do this to me?!”

Then without warning – Theresa was always so healthy when she was pregnant – I got a call while at work that Theresa was taken to the hospital, bleeding.

The next days were a blur of frantic prayer, tears, uncertainty and dread, and then the final reality that we had lost him. We named him Stephan.

In the midst of trying to be strong and supportive for Theresa in our grief, I was overwhelmed with guilt. It seemed to me that my lack of acceptance of Stephan was the cause of his death – like God saying, “you don’t want him? okay, I’ll take him back.”

We buried Stephan’s remains (there wasn’t much, he was in the first trimester) in a garden behind our home where we have a statue of Our Lady, and planted a rose bush over him.

Then God in His mercy let something change in me again.

Through the tears of sorrow and guilt I began to understand the reality of the wondrous, almost unimaginably generous gift from God that every child is.

A gift that is given to parents to love and nurture and enjoy, certainly, but also a gift to all of humanity in that the future is held in the tiny hands and minds and souls of the children that parents, with God’s help, bring into the world.

Of course with such an awesome gift also comes an awesome responsibility, and God never said raising children was supposed to be easy.

I sometimes ponder on God’s judgment of me when I die, and always come round to a scenario where the Lord looks at me with love and compassion, and then says, “Lets talk about how you did with the children I gave you … ”

I have come to a deeper understanding that God does in fact give us exactly what we need, just when we need it, to live out the responsibilities that we have. But implicit in this is TRUST.

The reality finally dawned on me that there is always room for one more child, because if we trust in God’s providence, then we trust that He will give us the grace we need to persevere. A wise man once described this as the “grace of state” we are freely given and can freely accept, simply by virtue of being parents, and trying to live out God’s will in our lives.

Every child conceived is loved into existence by God and wanted by God, even if we choose not to want that child.

What changed in me after Stephan’s death was that I felt a grateful joy the next time we were pregnant that was somehow so much more profound than anything I had experienced before. I knew our little Stephan was praying for me in heaven, and I knew that however many children God sent us, we would always have love and room for them.

After Stephan we were blessed with four more wonderful sons, and two absolutely gorgeous daughters. We are also now blessed by 32 grandchildren with one more on the way, so far …

So now when we gather for Christmas at home we are always packed to the rafters, but unlike the inn in Bethlehem, there is always room for one more.

Dear friends of LifeSiteNews, I wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas. May this joyous season of Jesus’ birth be a time of wonder and renewal for all of us.

May I offer you a Christmas gift of a prayer, adapted from “Blessing Prayers: Devotions for Growing in Faith” by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., that speaks profoundly of Christ’s coming to us as a baby born in a stable and the Father’s love and care for us all:

O Emmanuel,
may the assurance of your unfailing Presence
be for me the source of unending peace.
May I never fear my weakness, my inadequacy, or my imperfection.
Rather, as I gaze with faith, hope, and love upon your incarnate littleness,
may I love my own littleness, for God is with us.
Endow my life with a holy wonder
that leads me ever more deeply into the Mystery of Redemption
and the meaning of my vocation and destiny.

May I make of my life a total gift of self.
May my humble worship of your Nativity
manifest how much I seek the Father’s Kingship
and his way of holiness.
The beauty of your holy face bears the promise
that your Father will provide for us in all things.
This Christmas, I renew my trust
in God’s goodness, compassion, and providence.

Why believing Genesis’ creation account is essential to defending life

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula

December 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – To defend life and marriage in their integrity we have to uphold and believe in the immediate creation of man and all that is substantially taught to us by God in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. That man was created by a special intervention of God in His image and likeness. We have to hold in accordance with the teachings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1909 that the first three chapters of Genesis are primarily historical and are foundational of Christian doctrine; they are not a compilation of mythical narratives or only “true” in a vague “religious” sense. The Genesis account of the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms, the liturgy, and in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 288). The Church in her Magisterium teaches that, “The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject” (CCC 287). So this important statement reinforces our belief in the historical nature of the Genesis account. With the beginning of creation God established a historical sequence of events. The first three chapters of Genesis have to be read “in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the ‘beginning’: creation, fall, and promise of salvation” (CCC 289). Creation is the first gift of God, His primary miracle. First we have the creation of spiritual creatures, then the material world designed to serve mankind as our habitat, and finally He crowned His work with the creation of man and woman.

Man’s creation

All forms of evolutionary theory require a complete rejection of God’s revelation about the creation of Our First Parents. Genesis speaks of God forming Adam’s body from the slime of the earth and breathing into it the breath of life. It also speaks of God forming Eve’s body from Adam’s side and presenting her to him as his help-mate. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held that God created the body of Adam together with his soul. Summarizing the patristic doctrine, St. John of Damascus wrote: “From the earth He formed his body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image . . .” (St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith 2:12). The Magisterium of the Church is very clear in affirming the common origin of all the human race, interpreting in a literal way the teaching of Acts, “from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth” (Acts. 17:26, C.C.C. 360-361). As a consequence this teaching totally rejects the theory of polygenism that proposes that man has many different ancestors. As St. John Chrysostom eloquently shows, man is at the center of creation at how for his redemption he did not spare His own Son (Cf. St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. sermo 2, 1: PG 54, 587D-588A).

The acceptance of the theory of evolution leads us to consider that the newly conceived human passes through different stages of development that parallel the ones of which are described by this theory as the evolution of living beings and only at the end of this process the human embryo becomes human. This position leads to the acceptance of abortion in the first months of pregnancy. It is totally unacceptable because Jesus Christ who was the model that Christ had in mind when he created Adam was fully human at the moment of His incarnation. St. Maximus the Confessor held (in II Ambigua 42) that Jesus was a man like us in all things but sin and that therefore His assumption of our humanity from the moment of the Annunciation signified that we, too, become fully human from the moment of our conception.

If the humanity of Christ was the model of our first parents that should lead us to set aside the opinion that the body of our first parents was the body of a primate that “evolved” in such a way that it could “receive” a human soul. It is far more reasonable to believe in accordance with the teaching of Genesis that God created a special body to receive the human soul. Man is radically different from animals. The fact that he shares some elements with them only serves to mark the abysmal differences. These differences and the superiority of man are underlined in Genesis when he is given dominion over all the creatures that populate the Earth (Gn. 1:26-27).

The First Vatican Council teaches that God creates to manifest His perfections through the benefits He bestows on His creatures. It is evident that the main beneficiary of creation is man, so through his experience of the perfections of creation he would raise in adoration to God so that one day he would join in the unending heavenly liturgy.

Marriage and Creation

In the Genesis text of marriage we have a basic revelation on the indissolubility of marriage. After presenting Eve to Adam and hearing His response the Lord states “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gn. 2:24). Jesus will comment later on this text in an authoritative way against those who favored divorce, stating that, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt. 19:4-6).

We have to understand well that marriage “is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives” (Humanae Vitae, 8, July 25th, 1968).

The Fall

It is important to understand the central nature of the foundational doctrine of the tragic fall of our first parents: “the Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ” (CCC 389). In the same way we cannot tamper with the revelation that we have received on creation. Our First Parents were the first ones to fall into the trap of negative liberty, they ill used freedom to separate themselves from God’s loving plans. They desired to be like God, becoming the ones to determine what is good and evil, of what is just and what is unjust. This is perhaps one of the main problems of contemporary society which wishes to replace the objective law of God with a subjective approach to reality that calls good what is evil and unnatural. Modern liberty can defined as a Luciferian liberty, the liberty of the enemy of mankind that refused to serve God. But after the Fall God did not leave man with hope he promised a redeemer in Genesis 3:15 which is considered by the Fathers of the Church the first Gospel.

Conclusions

The effort to reach some sort of accommodation with evolution theories comes from a naturalistic approach that seeks to decrease the miraculous interventions of God in history. If the creation story is a myth compiled from different mythological stories and lacks a historical value, the main grounds to proclaim human dignity which is its creation on the image and likeness of God collapses. Also as consequence confusion over man’s origins leads to confusion over man’s destiny, undermining the whole edifice of the faith.

My ‘crisis pregnancy’ turned 15 today, and he saved me

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa
http://liveactionnews.org/my-crisis-pregnancy-is-15-today-and-he-saved-me/

The panic is temporary. The fear is temporary. The crisis is temporary. The days when you wake up thinking “how did I make such a huge mistake” are so few in retrospect.

You have nine months for all that, but then it gets good. Still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but so so good…

My “crisis pregnancy” turned 15 today. He’s just a year shy of the age I was when I got pregnant with him (a thought that terrifies me, trust). However, he’s anything but a mistake.

He’s the other half to all my inside jokes. He’s the best person I’ve ever known. He’s the one who binge watches Doctor Who with me and teaches me about robots and video games. He’s the reason I started New Wave Feminists. He’s the owner of a pure heart, swiper of my favorite CDs, and contributor of copious amounts of laundry. He’s the kid who still has me hanging around skateparks a decade and a half later. He’s often my (much needed) filter, because he’s a stereotypical naturally mature firstborn, and the last one to ever let me down. He’s the kid that I didn’t really raise at all, but instead grew up alongside. He’s my heart and soul.

I didn’t know it at the time, but choosing life for him would give me a life that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

See, you don’t realize how temporary the “crisis” is when it’s consuming your every waking moment, but as soon as you get beyond that… Such beauty can be born from that which we never planned.

Fear is temporary, but the courage you gain facing it lasts forever. Panic subsides, but the strength you find in the midst of the crisis endures. Perhaps the most amazing thing though is how the love you feel for this new life, whether it was intended or not, suddenly turns a “mistake” into a miracle.

I didn’t save my son by “choosing life.” He saved me.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on the New Wave Feminists’ Facebook page on December 13, 2015, and is reprinted here with permission.

Atheists force Minnesota town to pull Nativity scene: residents’ response is epic

Fr. Mark Hodges, Dec 16, 2015

WADENA, Minnesota, December 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – After an atheist group forced one Minnesota city to take down its Nativity scene, residents took matters into their own hands, blanketing the town with nativity scenes in response…hundreds of them.

Wadena officials were forced to take down a Christmas display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which threatened to sue the city. After forty years of displaying the Nativity scene, Wadena officials sold the figures to the Wadena Ministerial Association for $25, who displayed it on private property.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue commented, “It is entirely legal to put a manger scene on public property, as long as it is privately paid for and it is a public forum, i.e., an area that is open to art displays, concerts, rallies, and the like.”

“For the past twenty years, the Catholic League has erected a life-size nativity scene in Central Park,” Donohue noted. “The New York City Parks Department grants us a permit every year. All that needs to be done is to apply for a permit.”

Disappointed Christians responded to the Wadena city council decision in various ways. Brady Folkestad applied to use a bandstand in a city park that has been designated for public discourse for his family Christmas gathering, in which he would like to display Christmas decorations and a Nativity scene.

The city officials denied his request.

Folkestad then contacted the American Center for Law and Justice, which reviewed the city’s bandstand usage policy and gave advice about equal access to public facilities for religious use. He resubmitted his request, this time tailored to the city’s policy, which says nothing can be left overnight.

This time, city officials agreed to let him put up his display for his family gathering.

Others have followed suit, renting the bandstand for a day to put up their Nativity scene and take it down when evening comes.

The bandstand is now booked throughout the holidays.

Other folks began to buy and put up Nativity scenes on their yards and in their shop windows. Hundreds of them. There are four sets in a craft store window, three at a local café, two at the local bookstore. Some stores painted their display windows with the Nativity scene.

Wadena resident Dani Sworski started a Facebook page filled with pictures of the manger scenes all over town. “Let’s shower the town with Nativity scenes, let’s share our faith!” she declared.

Minneapolis’s Star Tribune reports, “Holy families are starting to outnumber the 4,000 residents of this central Minnesota railroad town.”

“The whole community has come out to support this,” An Open Book bookstore owner Gillette Kempf said. “It’s an expression of who we are as a community and what we believe. We believe in the Nativity.”

Mayor George Deiss said, “I’m hoping we lit a little spark and the rest of the nation will catch on.” Deiss himself has at least eight Nativity scenes on display outside his home, and he estimates that Wadena residents have put up at least one thousand.

Offers have come from as far as St. Paul, 160 miles away, to donate Manger sets to anyone willing to display them.

The American Center for Law and Justice told LifeSiteNews, “We’re very pleased that the residents of this Minnesota city are sharing the true meaning of Christmas through these displays, which are constitutionally protected speech.”

The Freedom From Religion group said they are fine with private Nativity scenes, as long as government does not sponsor them.

This country banned abortion and now, abortion promoters can’t believe their eyes!

Personhood USA.

“Outlaw abortion and abortion won’t stop. Women will just do it illegally and women will die!”

Or so the argument goes… But facts are pesky things, and they show that the opposite is true in Chile.

According to new research from the MELISA Institute, since Chile’s ban on abortion, not only has maternal health improved but the number of women seeking illegal abortion has plummeted!

Since Chile banned abortion in 1989, the number of maternal deaths decreased from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 women (69.2% reduction). That puts Chile in second place for the lowest maternal mortality rate in the Americas (that’s right, even better than the United States).

Image

Prof. Elard Koch, a molecular epidemiologist and lead author of the study, says educating women enhanced their ability to access existing health care resources, and since those resources included skilled attendants for childbirth, that directly led to a reduction of maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

As Dr. Koch explains, “it is a unique natural experiment conducted in a developing country.” During the fifty-year period under study, the overall maternal mortality rate dramatically declined by 93.8%, from 270.7 to 18.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, making Chile a leader in maternal healthcare outcomes in the Americas.

Image

But wait. If abortion is legally banned, wouldn’t we expect to see the number of women hospitalized due to illegal abortion procedures increase? Aren’t women just seeking abortions outside of proper healthcare facilities?

No. Not only is Chile one of the safest places in the world for women to give birth, but the number of women actually seeking abortion is also declining. According to data from the Chilean Ministry of Health, the country displays a continuous decreasing trend of hospital discharges due to complications of abortions suspected to be illegally induced at a rate of 2% per year since 2001. In contrast, a decreasing trend was not observed in hospital discharges due to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, which have remained constant during the same period.

Dr. Koch’s research also found that a large sample of abortion-minded women in Chile displayed a vulnerability profile marked by coercion and fear, which accounted for nearly 70% of the reasons women considered abortion. Moreover, the research indicated that support programs directed to vulnerable women can prevent most illegal abortions, with an outcome of live birth (with or without adoption) ranging between 69% and 94% depending on the risk group.

It’s not sheer coincidence that Malta, The Republic of Ireland, and Chile, all of which have prohibited abortion, have lower maternal mortality rates than the United States. In Africa, where 56% of all maternal mortalities occur, abortion-related maternal mortality is less than half what it is in developed countries. Yet there are more restrictions on abortion in Africa than in developed countries! So what’s the deal? In countries with higher abortion restrictions, fewer women have to seek treatment for “unsafe abortion” than in countries where abortion is “safe and legal.”

The result’s of Chile’s natural experiment is bad news for the pro-abortion lobby. But it’s great news for mothers and the unborn!

Mom With Cancer Who Put Off Treatment to Save Her Unborn Baby Dies Three Days After Birth

LifeNews.com

NATIONAL STEVEN ERTELT DEC 11, 2015

When St. Louis mother Cara Combs was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma while she was pregnant with her fourth child, she was given the choice of having treatment or saving her own life. She chose to save her baby. She decided to put off treatment in favor of giving birth at the 28th week to give her baby girl a chance to live.

Sadly, Combs died Tuesday morning — three days after giving birth.

In deciding to reject treatment, Combs posted the following on Facebook:

I feel it’s time to post this because I know a lot of information is going around. Last week I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. I am also 25 weeks pregnant. I can’t begin treatment while pregnant so I have some tough decisions to make. Against the advice of my oncologist, I am choosing to delay my treatment for three weeks in order to get the baby to 28 weeks. There is no good decision here. We will both be fighting for our lives and I feel incredibly guiltily about that. I saw a dermatologist last year and she didn’t find anything concerning. Even my oncologist can’t find the source. At 38 you don’t expect to find out that you are dying. It definitely puts things into perspective. All I can say is enjoy every minute with your kids and don’t stress about little things. The baby will probably be born the first week of December and I will start treatment 48 hours later. I know we are in for some big upcoming battles. Thank you for all of the support we have received so far. It is very much appreciated!

Tragically, Roy Combs had to post the message on the family’s GoFundMe page this week about losing his wife:

I wanted to let everyone know that we lost Cara Walters Combs this morning. I don’t have to tell you how great of a person she was. She will be missed by all. I always knew she was destined for greater things. We all have a perfect angel looking over us. She was the strongest person I ever met and the best wife and mother. She sacrificed everything so her legacy could live on. Thank you all for your support and prayers. She was my everything and always will be.

In similar cases, doctors often suggest an abortion, but, as studies show, there is typically no need for women to destroy the life of their unborn child to save their own. Her story story confirms what research has shown: women who are pregnant and battling breast cancer don’t need to have an abortion.

LifeNews previously covered a collection of stories from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal,  showing pregnant women don’t need to have an abortion in order to get treatment for cancer. The information shows chemo treatment does not harm the unborn baby and mothers can treat themselves for cancer without worrying about effects on the unborn child.

In 2009, LifeNews.com reported on a new study showing doctors don’t need to suggest an abortion to pregnant women who want cancer treatment. The study involved a concept called pregnancy associated breast cancer — breast cancer that is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant or within a year after delivery.

The mainstream media highlighted the study as if it showed a new concept, somehow finally dismissing the notion that pregnant women undergoing breast cancer treatment should have an abortion. But Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor says studies have shown that for decades.

“Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years,” Brind explained.

“Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930’s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely,” he said.

Brind says that a 1976 review of all studies published to that point, conducted by French doctor P. Juret, reported that, “The futility of therapeutic abortion is now certain.”

Although the study isn’t the revelation the mainstream media claimed, Brind says it is quite useful.

“What the new story out of MD Anderson shows is that women in this particular situation — which are only about 3% of all breast cancers — have no worse a prognosis than women with the same stage of breast cancer who are not pregnant,” he said.

“But what is most important about the current report is the absence of any data about abortion, i.e., a difference in prognosis as a function of whether or not the pregnant patient aborts the baby,” he explained. “To their credit, doctors at MD Anderson have, for at least the last several years, been very good at treating both patients: Mom and her unborn child.”

“Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’” he told LifeNews.com.

caracombs

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a light for human dignity in the face of a culture of death

OLG

December 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the greatest Christian communicators in American history was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Trained in top level theology, he chose to use his talents to convey the complex truths and deep human insights of Catholic thought to a wide American public. In the 1950s, his prime-time TV religious show (imagine that!) “Life Is Worth Living” had higher ratings than its rival, “The Milton Berle Show,” a fact which Sheen attributed to his fine top-notch Jewish writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

One of the most profound reflections Sheen ever offered was about the tragic gulf that exists between the person each of us should be, and the person we really are. As he wrote in The World’s First Love:

God, too, has within Himself blueprints of everything in the universe. As the architect has in his mind a plan of the house before the house is built, so God has in His Mind an archetypal idea of every flower, bird, tree, springtime, and melody….

But it is not so with persons. God has to have two pictures of us: one is what we are, and the other is what we ought to be. He has the model, and He has the reality: the blueprint and the edifice, the score of the music and the way we play it. God has to have these two pictures because in each and every one of us there is some disproportion and want of conformity between the original plan and the way we have worked it out. The image is blurred; the print is faded. For one thing, our personality is not complete in time; we need a renewed body. Then, too, our sins diminish our personality; our evil acts daub the canvas the Master Hand designed. Like unhatched eggs, some of us refuse to be warmed by the Divine Love, which is so necessary for incubation to a higher level. We are in constant need of repairs; our free acts do not coincide with the law of our being; we fall short of all God wants us to be. St. Paul tells us that we were predestined, before the foundations of the world were laid, to become the sons of God. But some of us will not fulfill that hope.

There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what He wanted her to be and what she is, and that is His Own Mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the Heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The Ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was foreseen, planned, and dreamed.

Sheen speaks of Mary as she is seen in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, free of any personal sin, perfectly pleasing to God in all the decisions she has made, through the saving grace of Christ. Hence Mary is simply the perfect Christian, the one merely human being whose earthly image is exactly what God had in mind for her. She is in that sense a window into the very mind of God.

And that window pours light out for the rest of us, stumbling in our uncertainties and sins. Over centuries, Catholics have believed that Jesus has sent His mother from time to time to appear to certain people, to offer encouragement, or a warning, or to call us to more fervent prayer. Typically, these “apparitions” have been to the poor, the weak, the forgotten in society, but the words of the mother of God have sometimes changed the fate of nations. That is what happened in Mexico, in early December 1531, when an Indian peasant named Juan Diego, one of the few who had followed the Spanish missionaries who had accompanied the conquistadors into that country, was climbing the hill of Tepeyac. At the top

he saw a brilliant light on the summit and heard the strains of celestial music. Filled with wonder, he stopped. Then he heard a feminine voice asking him to ascend. When he reached the top he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing in the midst of a glorious light, in heavenly splendor. The beauty of her youthful countenance and her look of loving kindness filled Juan Diego with unspeakable happiness as he listened to the words which she spoke to him in his native language. She told him she was the perfect and eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, and made known to him her desire that a shrine be built there where she could demonstrate her love, her compassion and her protection. “For I am your merciful Mother,” she said, “to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. Therefore, go to the dwelling of the Bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire.”

Mary did not speak Spanish, or wear the courtly clothes of the conquerors. Instead she appeared as a woman whom Juan Diego might have seen in any village. But she spoke of the love of God for the Mexican people, in a way that no foreign friar could hope to do. So Juan Diego dutifully marched off to the bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, who heard Juan Diego’s case, but did not believe him. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill to pray, and Mary sent back to bother the bishop. At the second meeting, the bishop suggested that Juan Diego ask for some sign of proof. A few days later, the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego and told him to gather roses and bring them to the bishop. Juan Diego was astonished to see, in the midst of winter, an explosion of unfamiliar flowers all around him. He gathered them in his humble tunic (called a “tilma”) and carried them to the bishop’s palace.

Bishop Zumarraga was stunned by the flowers, of a breed which grew only in his native region of Spain. He was even more taken aback by what had happened to Juan Diego’s tilma: It bore a magnificent, mysterious image of the Virgin Mary, pregnant with Jesus. He was convinced. So were the native people of Mexico, who hearkened to the story and flocked to the shrine that Bishop Zumarraga built in Guadalupe, which enshrined the mysterious tilma—an ordinary garment, made of cheap materials that typically decay in just a few years, which has never aged or lost its luster over the next 500 years.

The Image of the Image of God

That’s a lovely story. But it is much more than that. The image of Mary and Jesus that appeared on that tilma is in fact a kind of book—a theology text that teaches us critical lessons that modern man has forgotten. First of all, the image teaches about human dignity, and where it comes from. If Mary is a perfect reflection of God’s vision of her in his own mind, then in this supernatural portrait we have a picture of how God sees mankind: More important than all of nature, since Mary stands on top of the moon, is backlit by the sun, and clothed in the stars of heaven. The human person, which our Culture of Death treats as a means to pleasure and power, is in fact much more important than the rest of the created universe.

What gives us such dignity and importance? Only the grace of God. Mary’s head is not turned by her glory; in fact it is bowed in prayer. She knows that all her importance derives from her Son, that all her virtues are only the fruit of His grace. We only fully retain our dignity when we unite our will with God’s, and obey His plan for us. It is perfect obedience to the promptings of grace, not power, learning, or knowledge, that elevates a person. When we try like Satan to rise against God’s will, we degrade ourselves—as our culture today has diminished the sanctity of life and the value of self-sacrifice, pretending to elevate man while in fact reducing him to the level of just one more primate.

This message might seem abstract, or unconvincing to modern people. But remember the original audience to whom the Virgin appeared in Mexico: The Indian people of Mexico had for centuries been subject to the brutal regime of the Aztecs, who believed in a cult of dark and desperate gods, that could only keep themselves and the universe alive if they were fed by human sacrifice. When the bold Spanish explorer Cortes landed in Mexico, he found an Aztec nation engaged in its own culture of death. Every month, thousands of people from conquered tribes would be dragged up Mexican temples and have their hearts ripped out of their chest—to “feed” the gods and the Aztec upper class, who had come to rely on the sacrifices as a key source of protein. (We have still have some of their ghoulish recipes for cooked human flesh.) With only a few hundred troops of his own, Cortes turned to the tribes that fed the sacrifices, who allied with him to obliterate the Aztec kingdom and close its temples.

This was the pagan despair that lurked in the background when the Virgin appeared in Mexico. Few Indians had dared to accept the new and gentle creed of Christ, a God who accepts no sacrifices, but offers Himself for us. It seemed too good to be true. But when they saw clothed in their own garments and speaking their own language a Lady who reflected God’s love for them in particular, the Mexican people gained the courage to hope. The faith of the Mexican people in Christ can be traced to the tilma of Juan Diego, and it has never failed despite the fiercest persecutions.

In our own age of pagan despair, we look to icons of courage and grace to remind us that goodness is possible. We read the lives of men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of women like Mother Teresa, and we search out the people who today are standing for life in the face of death—especially those in the pro-life movement, who face down the law and the media, the courts and the social elites, to defend the weakest, most vulnerable images of God’s most precious creation.

18 Years Ago She Gave Birth to Septuplets. You’ll be Surprised to See What They Look Like Now

www.lifenews.com

Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey’s four boys and three girls became the first known set of surviving septuplets in the world.

The seven siblings defied the odds in more ways than one. Families like the McCaugheys are sometimes pressured to “selectively reduce,” or abort, babies who are multiples because doctors claim it can increase the chances that the other babies will be born healthy. The McCaugheys gave all of their babies a chance to live.

Today, all seven of the septuplets are seniors in high school and preparing for college. The siblings turned 18 on Nov. 19.

Many people saw the septuplets as babies on TV and the cover of Time magazine, but the family has been keeping a lower profile since then – no reality shows or on-going camera appearances for them. The family returned briefly to the spotlight this fall to celebrate the septuplets’ lives after they defied all odds.

“We wanted to be a normal family,” their father, Kenny, told The Today Show in a new interview.

“The memories, the joys, the heartaches that have happened, it’s very special,” their mom, Bobbi, added.

The family received a lot of help from family and friends after the septuplets were born – help with food, diapers, potty training and much more; but most of all, the family’s faith has helped them throughout the years, Bobbi said.

mccaugheyseptuplets2

“We have a super-strong faith that is the rock we’ve had to stand on,” Bobbi said.

When asked about the worst part of being a septuplet, the teens couldn’t come up with an answer.

“I’ve enjoyed all of it,” said Kelsey, one of the sisters. “There hasn’t been a worst part.”

“[The best thing is] just having a big family, a lot of brothers and sisters to hang out with you,” said one of the brothers, Kenny. “You’re never alone. There’s always someone to talk to and hang out with. That’s what I think is the best.”

Watch the family’s endearing new interview below:

Christmas Newsletter

long header OMS

From the Director

I am conflicted because I am FULL of JOY and SADNESS. Joy-filled for the pending birth of Jesus and the many blessings in my life—family, Faith, One More Soul, a slowly expanding Culture of Life—the list is endless. But my joy is tempered by sadness—also an endless list, including the growing Culture of Death. To say all I want to say would take many more pages than are available here.

I believe that One More Soul IS the leading edge of the Culture of Life. I have FAITH that more capable organizations will join us. I HOPE that what you find in this End-of-Year newsletter will warm your heart, challenge your thinking, and increase your pride in One More Soul as we step forward with new efforts to encourage new life.

Our cupboard is bare—REALLY bare. We really need your CHARITY. Please pray for us. Please order our resources and distribute them in your parish and at other opportunities. We have great materials to encourage purity and chastity, marriage and openness to children, and acceptance of God’s direction in our lives.

Thank you for your generosity. May God bless you, your family, and those who care for you.

I also have HOPE and FAITH that you will support us with your CHARITY. One More Soul is a charitable organization and tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code We are eligible to receive your tax-deductible contributions. Thanks!

Welcoming the Christ Child

Each Christmas we recall the birth of the Christ Child who came to dwell among us. At the same time the secular community enters a seasonal nostalgia of childhood in movies, plays, and productions. Although this is often for business purposes, it is an open door. Let’s seize that cultural moment of openness to children and joyfully promote the culture of life in simple, easy ways. First ask yourself, “What can I do to show my joy in the gift of children?” Well, how would you welcome the Christ Child? You’d smile, so smile at children and wave to them. Coo at babies; tell parents how beautiful their baby is. Encourage harried mothers with a good word and offer a helping hand, especially at the grocery.

Now look around, for nearly everyone of childbearing age is pressured by our culture to contracept. People simply don’t know the dreadful things contraceptives do to human bodies and relationships. How can you help? Sow seeds of truth and speak about the blessings of children. The light of your gentle witness is needed in our dark world. Build strong relationships with those around you and at the right moment, speak the truth in love. Our website has abundant life-affirming resources and OMS is glad to assist you in spreading truth.

Finally, look at organizations. Newspapers, churches, and schools offer wonderful opportunities to share the message that children are a gift and contraceptives cause harm. So whenever the newspaper runs a pro-contraceptive piece, write a rebuttal telling the truth. When the news reports the horror of a young mother abandoning or harming her child, write a letter recounting the supreme gift children are to all. Do what it takes to elect government officials who act according to truth, not whims. Support organizations such as Knights of Columbus and others who spread the message of life.

Mary Joseph Baby

Yes, the task can be huge but an old adage applies: “Inch by inch life is a cinch, yard by yard it’s very hard.” There are many of us, and we are able to do many good deeds large and small. Inch by inch, and smile by encouraging word, we can all impact those around us. Through the grace of God we can sow seeds of truth and transform our culture to once again value children. So smile, and welcome the Christ Child in our midst.

To read more articles in our newsletter click below:

Baby Given No Chance of Survival Beats the Odds After Her Parents Reject Abortion

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/12/02/baby-given-no-chance-of-survival-beats-the-odds-after-her-parents-reject-abortion/

Micaiah Bilger Dec 2, 2015
Little baby Naomi captured the hearts of pro-lifers recently after the tiny preemie defied doctors’ dire predictions and lived.

Naomi Bakker was born 15 weeks premature, and doctors told her parents that her “chances of survival without health complications were less than one percent,” National Right to Life News reported recently. But the “feisty” baby girl fought for her life for five months in a Reno, Nevada hospital and now “Naomi is healthy and ready to graduate from the NICU with few complications,” according to Fox 28 reporter Elizabeth Faugl.

Live Action News reports more on the family’s story:

At 23 weeks gestation, Angela Bakker and her husband, Michael, were devastated to learn that their baby girl was not going to live. A routine ultrasound revealed that she was measuring much smaller than she should be, and she was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. The placenta had not grown into the uterus properly and the little girl was not receiving adequate nutrition. The doctor told the heartbroken parents that their daughter would likely die in the womb.

Concerned for their daughter, the couple decided to get a second opinion, and they left their home in Reno, Nevada, to head to the University of California at San Francisco to meet with experts in their baby’s condition. Unfortunately, those doctors confirmed the diagnosis, and they told the Bakkers that there was the option to terminate.

Doctors repeatedly encouraged the Bakkers to abort Naomi, but they refused. They said if their daughter was going to die, they were going to let her die on her own time, according to the article.

“There were four hours left until the abortion cut off,” Angela said. “But they told us that in cases like ours they make exceptions. They said, ‘The law doesn’t even apply to you. That’s how bad your case is.’ She started kicking, and I thought, that’s her little voice. That’s all she can say.”

Just one week later, Angela’s life also was threatened by preeclampsia, and she was sent to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Baby Naomi was not expected to survive, but doctors agreed to try to help her if she did, the article states.

On July 1st, baby Naomi Joy was born, and miraculously she was breathing on her own, something the doctor said he had never seen happen with a baby that tiny.

She was so tiny, her eyes were still fused shut, and though she was born at 25 weeks, she was only the size of a 19 week preborn child. She weighed just 364 grams. According to the doctors, babies need to weigh at least 450 grams to survive.

Her tiny life kept stunning doctors. First, she had a procedure done twice to repair a hole in her bowels, and the incision healed on its own. Then, doctors feared she could have brain bleeds and gave her medication to help; she never experienced the problem. And although she has chronic lung disease, doctors believe it will heal within the next two years, Live Action News reports.

Naomi arrived home in time for Thanksgiving with her big brother, Nathaniel. Doctors and her family will continue to monitor her health and growth closely from home, according to the report.

“It’s been quite a journey and so far it’s had a good ending,” Angela said. “These babies don’t get a chance because parents do end up terminating a lot of the time. It’s not been easy. It’s been difficult and heart-wrenching, and every day you wonder if your baby is going to live. … It was a shock that this happened, but our faith and trusting that no matter what, it’s taken care of, is a big part of it.”

To read the full story, find the Bakkers’ on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/NaomiJoyBakker].

Taking good care of the environment

waterPope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si  invites us to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and reminds us of our responsibility to care for the environment. The Holy Father draws attention not only to current environmental issues but also human ecology issues such as abortion, population control, experimentation on embryos, and other offenses against the sanctity of life.

Although people are very concerned about protecting the environment and humans from genetically modified crops, pesticides, and other hazards, there is very little concern about contamination of the body and the environment with potent steroid hormones (such as those in birth control pills).

Where are the hormones coming from?

Xenoestrogen, or hormones that imitate estrogen contaminate the environment from many sources such as plastics, detergents, fertilizers, and phthalates. Ethinyl Estradiol (EE2) is a potent synthetic estrogen used for birth control pills, rings, shots, and patches. It is excreted through urine to sewage treatment plants and is contaminating tap water world wide. Comparing all sources of estrogen, EE2 activity poses the greater ecological risk.

According to the most recent data available, 9 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 use the pill. Countries with the highest prevalence of pill use—over 40 percent—include Algeria, Czech Republic, France, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Zimbabwe. Researchers have found that synthetic hormones can be transported considerable distances from the source of pollution.

How estrogen affects humans and the environment?

Natural estrogens produced in the human endocrine system enter the cell and activate receptors triggering processes in the cells such as gene expression. Natural estrogens have a short life, do not accumulate in tissues, and are easily brokeestradiol-synthetic-naturaln down in the liver. In contrast, synthetic hormones such as EE2 are more stable, remain in the body longer than natural estrogen, and tend to accumulate in the fat and tissues of animals and humans. Synthetic estrogens can disrupt the cell’s natural hormonal processing, mimicking, blocking or cancelling natural estrogen’s effects.

What are the effects on the human body and the environment?

Excess estrogen (natural or synthetic) in humans has been related to infertility, breast cancer, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, prostate cancer, and early puberty.

Genetic alterations caused by synthetic hormones present in the aquatic environment have also been found in wildlife. Researchers have found that caged adult trout exposed to synthetic estrogen were half as fertile as fish kept in clean water. Exposure of zebra fish to low doses of EE2 has produced persistent changes in their behavior and fertility. Even the next generation of fish not directly exposed to EE2 was affected by their parents’ exposure. Toxicologists have also found that the presence of synthetic hormones made the male species less male in frogs, river otters and fish, thus affecting their ability to reproduce.

vida nuevaWhat we can do?

Elimination of synthetic estrogen in water treatment plants is complicated and very expensive. Upgrades to the waste treatment plants in Britain to remove EE2 could cost up to $46 billion and another $960,000 per year to operate the system. A much easier and effective solution would be to educate everyone to stop polluting the water with hormones. Education on breastfeeding and fertility awareness methods for spacing children would help women appreciate their fertility and take good care of God’s creation.

“The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all.” Pope Francis

References:

Barel-Cohen, K., Shore, L. S., Shemesh, M., Wenzel, A., Mueller, J., & Kronfeld-Schor, N. (2006). Monitoring of natural and synthetic hormones in a polluted river. Journal of Environmental Management, 78(1), 16-23.

Maqbool, F., Mostafalou, S., Bahadar, H., & Abdollahi, M. (2015). Review of endocrine disorders associated with environmental toxicants and possible involved mechanisms.

Margel, D., & Fleshner, N. E. (2011). Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: An ecological study. BMJ Open, 1(2), e000311-2011-000311.

Parry, W. (2012). Water pollution caused by birth control poses dilemma. Life Sciences

Tavares, R. S., Escada-Rebelo, S., Correia, M., Mota, P. C., & Ramalho-Santos, J. (2016). The non-genomic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on mammalian sperm. Reproduction (Cambridge, England), 151(1), R1-R13.

Tompsett, A. R., Wiseman, S., Higley, E., Giesy, J. P., & Hecker, M. (2013). Effects of exposure to 17alpha-ethynylestradiol during larval development on growth, sexual differentiation, and abundances of transcripts in the liver of the wood frog (lithobates sylvaticus). Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 126, 42-51.

United Nations, Department of Economic Affairs Population Division

World contraceptive use (2011). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/contraceptive2011/wallchart_front.pdf

Volkova, K., Reyhanian Caspillo, N., Porseryd, T., Hallgren, S., Dinnetz, P., & Porsch-Hallstrom, I. (2015). Developmental exposure of zebrafish (danio rerio) to 17alpha-ethinylestradiol affects non-reproductive behavior and fertility as adults, and increases anxiety in unexposed progeny.
Hormones and Behavior, 73, 30-38.

Leelo en Español  Aquí

Paris and the Pill

http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vort-2015-11-17

TRANSCRIPT

As authorities sift through the rubble and bodies in Paris, many questions which need to be asked directly involving the attacks are being asked. But some questions are not being asked.

For example, is there something wrong with the thinking and actions, the attitudes ,on the part of western societies that might have contributed to this horror? This is not a “blame us” examination which the progressive elitist crowd always seems to trot out — you know, the “It’s our fault in the West because we have done such horrible things in the Middle East and should feel guilty” mindset, the logic there being: “We did it to ourselves because of our greed” — the same stuff that came flying out of the mouths of crazy liberals in America in the aftermath of 9-11, and like the idiotic liberal publication Salon did over the weekend. Typical.

No. This report is definitely not of that variety. But something does seriously have to be looked at regarding how Western societies live. Many of these types of killers come into Western nations, cross the borders, as part of a kind of open-door policy because Western nations need to shore up their flagging numbers. Their numbers are flagging because of low birth rates due to the widespread acceptance of contraception and abortion.

The same thing is happening here in the United States and still happens today. Sixty million Americans are not here today because the culture approved of their murders in the womb — many of them because the contraception failed. Who knows how many more tens of millions are not here because the contraception worked? A shrinking population — as is the case with various nations in Europe — actual declining numbers, as in, for example, next year there will be fewer Italians on the planet born in Italy then this year. Same in Greece and France and Spain and Portugal and Germany.

Shrinking populations like that mean governments have to step in and do something before the economic chaos sets in. Many of them have. Various European countries, led by Germany, are growing more desperate about the soon-to-be-felt fallout from their aging and shrinking native populations. So they have instituted a variety of laws actually paying for women and/or families to have children in the form of cash payouts, tax rebates and so forth. Part of their bag of tricks has also been to open up the borders and liberalize their immigration policies in an effort to stem the demographic winter so closely approaching.

France, for example, now boasts the largest Muslim population in all of Europe, and 20 percent of immigrants to the country each year come from countries with predominant Muslim populations. Germany, too, sees indications that pockets of Muslim immigrants — or the sons of Muslim immigrants, who, like in France, have not assimilated — also pose a threat to peace and security.

Regardless of the reasons of these increased numbers of violent scenes in London, Madrid, Paris, Germany and threats in Rome, immigration policies cannot be discounted as a precipitating factor. And the immigration policies were put in place because the Pill had become accepted. In the rush to have no restrictions on sexual license and no consequence for unintended pregnancies, Western societies forgot that there are consequences for unbridled sexual liaisons, particularly on such a huge scale as the cultures accepted and practiced it.

A wise old seminary professor once said something I’ve never forgotten. Monsignor William Smith — God rest his soul — of St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York once said, “God is forgiving, but nature isn’t.” The West happily accepted and advanced contraception and child murder as standard and has become awash, drowning in sexual immorality. This has resulted in a precipitous decline of the population and a now-dire threat to economic stability. To shore themselves up and avert such a demographic and economic disaster, these nations have thrown open their borders and invited in immigrants, some of whom are rightfully disgusted and repulsed by the sexual liberty that rules the day. Many of these immigrants directly or indirectly — and as we see, it doesn’t take many — feel perfectly fine about killing at will and creating mayhem in a culture they have no intention of assimilating into — quite the opposite; they are spurred on by terrorists in their ranks who inspire them to remain outside the culture of the Great Satan and overrun from within, by whatever means works the best — including mass homicide.

Anyone who thinks this kind of evil is going to lessen doesn’t understand the world situation. Christ will reign on the earth, either by His presence shown forth by His peace, or by His absence shown forth in chaos. Until the world comes to embrace God and bow under His mighty and loving hand and live by His decrees, men will continue to think that they have all the answers and can solve every problem — and the folly of man will be clear for all to see.

Let us pray for not only the souls of the dead in Paris, but most especially for the souls of nations and peoples everywhere. There is no peace without God — and God cannot co-exist with sin enshrined as law.

It is God’s law or man’s law. Just as in eternity there is no middle ground, so in the lead-up to eternity on this earth, there is no middle ground.

Why I never should have had eight children

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/why-i-never-should-have-had-eight-children

A few months back, I told my readers on my blog how to raise eight children without even trying. Today, I’m going to tell you why I never should have had eight children in the first place: had I listened to the devil and modern conventional wisdom, that is.

When I was a happy mother of four, seriously considering and deeply desiring another child, an odd feeling overcame me. Over several days, my excitement at the idea of a new little soul became mixed with feelings of discouragement and fear. It began to dawn on me that I was barely good enough “mommy material” for the four treasures I already had, and that any further parenting would be irresponsible. It came to a head one evening: I remember standing in my kitchen, full of fear and anxiety, telling myself that I had no business – no business! – having another baby. Not now, not ever.

All my shortcomings and sins came to the forefront of my mind, and I stood there reeling from the truth of it:

I can’t cook.
I can’t grocery shop.
I can’t bring the kids out alone without help.
I have nooooo patience.
I am not crafty in the least.
I can’t sew.
I can’t throw a party.
I’m not athletic or outdoorsy.
I don’t know how to make a pretty home.
I don’t know how to make anything fun.
I am lazy and a procrastinator.
I’m used to being served, not serving.
I am sarcastic and cranky.
I am a complainer.
I like to be alone.
I hate to be interrupted or inconvenienced.
I am not particularly good with children.

In that moment, I knew all of these things. And I was discouraged. Any one of these reasons could be enough for a woman to convince herself that it’s imprudent to have another child. In fact, you might just be saying to yourself now, “My gosh, that woman shouldn’t have one child, much less eight!”

But see, there’s the thing: Moms of big families are told constantly by other women that “I couldn’t do what you do!” or “You must have so much patience!” or “You must have a real way with children!” They think we were given a special gift or have a mutant gene that they do not possess. But they have no idea how much we are just like them. In fact, most of the women who say those things to me are better suited to raise a large family than I.

As I stood there in the kitchen that night, a moment of grace overtook the moment of discouragement. How many times had I told others, “Discouragement is not from Christ, as Christ only encourages. Discouragement is from the devil!” I remembered it then, and my fears and anxieties were banished. Only the devil himself, the one who hates human beings to his rotten core, would taunt me with the notion that my lack of gourmet skills should preclude new life in my marriage. I saw the evil of it then, and I called him out. I still cussed a lot back then, and I am pretty sure I told the devil what he could do with his putrid flood of discouraging thoughts. Yeah, that was a good moment.

Since that day, five eternal souls have been created in our family, four of whom my husband and I have the privilege of raising on this earth. And, while I can’t claim to have conquered all the deficiencies and vices on my list (not even close! drat!), the existence of all my children has moved me along the path of holiness. Because that’s how it works: The souls in your life are gifts, each of whom is meant to sanctify you in a particular way. My little sanctifiers are the artisans who change and mold me in all the ways God knows I need, and they are their father’s and their siblings’ artisans, too.

That my family exists as it does is living proof that “with God, all things are possible” – even Leila Miller mothering eight great kids.

Deo gratias.

Mom with cancer who refused abortion and chemo gives birth to healthy twins

Manchester, England, November 12, 2015, LifeSiteNews

A young cancer-stricken mother who refused to abort after receiving her pre-natal diagnosis has given birth to healthy twins.

Doctor’s identified Holley Tierney’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when the Manchester, England, mom was 23 weeks pregnant. They advised her to abort and begin chemotherapy.

But at this point in her pregnancy the 25-year-old mom was able to feel the babies kick inside her womb, and even though facing cancer while pregnant was her worst nightmare, she said she simply couldn’t deny her unborn children life.

“I knew there was no way I could terminate my pregnancy when I felt them kick, my maternal instincts had already kicked in,” Tierney said. “It was the happiest day of my life when my babies were delivered safely, it was definitely a risk worth taking, all I cared about was their health.”

Tierney was resolute in postponing the drugs until after her babies were born, according to a Daily Mail report.

“Once doctors realized I wasn’t having a termination they kept pushing for them to be born premature but I wanted my twins to reach 30-weeks before I had a caesarean,” she said.

However, at 29 weeks doctors told her she shouldn’t wait any longer because the cancer could spread, resulting in Tierney’s son Harlow and daughter Havana arriving via C-section 11 weeks early.

“My babies were delivered safely in August and taken straight to intensive care, they weighed almost 3lbs each,” Tierney recounted. “Seeing them for the first time was the best feeling in the world, I couldn’t believe they were mine.”

When the twins were a week old she started chemotherapy, encountering its accompanying side effects, including nausea and losing her hair. And at the same time as her babies were embarking on an 11-week hospital stay, and she began her cancer fight, Tierney had to ponder the possibility of her children growing up without their mother.

“It was bittersweet as I kept thinking I would never have chance to watch them grow up,” she said.

The twins recently made it home and are settling in, and after five cycles of chemotherapy Tierney has just one left before starting radiotherapy after the New Year.

Before her initial diagnosis, Doctors had thought her chest and arm pain were due to a pulled muscle. So as she moves forward with motherhood and her cancer battle, Tierney is also speaking out about her situation in hopes that other pregnant moms will be aware of potential problem symptoms.

“It was heart breaking but I knew I needed to stay strong and positive for my babies,” said Tierney. “They had fought to stay alive and now I needed to fight for my life and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Pill could harm future fertility

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-207039/Pill-harm-future-fertility

by ISABEL OAKESHOTT, Evening Standard

The contraceptive pill could damage fertility, according to new research.

The powerful hormones could upset the reproductive system for months – or even years – after women stop taking it.

Women who have used the Pill are twice as likely to have problems conceiving later.

The findings are the first to suggest a link between oral contraceptives and infertility, and come despite repeated assurances from manufacturers that there are no long-term effects.

Today fertility experts described the research as “highly significant” and said Pill users must be told about the possible risks. But family planning groups urged women not to panic – stressing that most women had no problem conceiving after they stopped taking it.

The link emerged in a study of more than 2,200 women attending UK antenatal clinics. More than 40 per cent had taken combined oral contraceptives – the most common form – while 19 per cent had used condoms.

Five per cent had used other types of Pill, 13 per cent had used no contraception at all, and the rest had used hormonal implants, coils, or other methods.

On average, the women had been using contraceptives for three and a half years before trying for a baby. Overall, two thirds became pregnant within six months.

On average, however, former Pill users took twice as long to conceive than those who had used condoms. The longer they had been on the Pill, the longer it took to conceive.

The study, led by gynaecologist Stephen Killick at Hull Royal Infirmary, says: “In all, 6.5 per cent of previous combined Pill users took more than two years to conceive, compared with 2.6 per cent of condom users.”

The risks appear to be even greater among women who are over 35, or obese, or suffer from irregular periods. Over-35s who had taken the Pill took two-and-a-half times as long to conceive as those in the same age bracket who had used condoms.

Although 70 per cent of former Pill users became pregnant within six months, the researchers believe the hormones may take time to wear off among some women, in whom they may stop the ovaries releasing eggs normally.

Around three million women in Britain are on the Pill, most taking the combined as opposed to the progesterone-only version. It appears the impact of the combined Pill on fertility wears off after two years at the most.

Drawn to Maria Goretti

http://catholicexchange.com/drawn-to-maria-goretti

I love devotional Catholicism.  By this I mean making pilgrimages to shrines and praying at the tombs of saints.  I frequented the tomb of St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, the Palestinian Carmelite, while I was in Bethlehem for three weeks in 2014.  In January 2015, I prayed for my (then) upcoming ordination to the priesthood at the tomb of St. Damien of Molokai in Leuven, Belgium.  I find these spiritual practices and devotions to be beneficial.

With that being said, I must confess that when I heard about the Pilgrimage of Mercy, in which the relics of St. Maria Goretti would travel throughout the United States, I thought it was weird.  It struck me as Catholicism meets the Antiques Roadshow.  Not only that, but my pessimism wondered whether or not the story of Maria Goretti would attract any interest among American Catholics.

My devotionalism and curiosity got the best of me.  I was intrigued by St. Maria Goretti’s Pilgrimage of Mercy, and so on October 16, 2015, after going back and forth interiorly whether or not I should make my own pilgrimage to venerate her relics, I buckled into the driver’s seat of my Ford Fusion and hit the road toward Madison, to a parish named after the Church’s youngest saint.  It was at this parish that Bishop Robert Morlino presided over a Mass honoring St. Maria Goretti at 7pm.  In a filled to capacity, standing room only church, Mass commenced and by the Ite, Missa Est, the entire congregation came to know the story of St. Maria Goretti.

I remained in the church following Mass for about an hour to pray.  During that hour people kept coming.  And as I exited the Church, I was amazed to see that the line extended outside, into the frigid cold.  As I headed home, I could not help but ask myself: Why were so many people drawn to the relics of Maria Goretti?  After all, this form of devotionalism, is not expressed all that often in the States.  But there was something about this teenage saint that drew massive amounts of people.  I realized that America needed the story of Maria Goretti, her witness, and her prayers.

We Admire Her Chastity

Why were people drawn to Maria Goretti?  It’s because we admire her chastity and purity.  Maria Goretti’s story challenges our American culture to a greater appreciation of these virtues. It was Maria’s resistance against her attacker which brought about her death.  She reminded Alessandro that what he was trying to do was a sin.  Not only did she care about her purity, but she was concerned about the soul of her attacker.

We live in a time marked by sexual promiscuity.  Why do thousands of people line up to see Maria Goretti?  Because they want their hearts to be like the heart of Maria.  They want to grow in chastity, and so they look to her story and ask for her prayers. They desire a pure heart.

All we have to do is turn on the television and our purity is assaulted.  We watch television shows that glorify the very cause of Maria’s death.  Our entertainment, be it television or movies, highlight rape, its victims, and the quest to solve these crimes.  We live in a sexually indulgent culture because of the easy accessibility of contraception.  Teenage pregnancies are on the rise.  People “hook-up” in our culture and search for one night stands.  Many turn to pornography as a way to fill a void of love in their life.  Sexuality is no longer valued as a gift from God, mirroring the love of Christ and His Church, but rather as something to be taken advantage of, at any opportunity.

People form lines and pass by the relics of St. Maria Goretti because they are wounded by their sinfulness.  Many are enslaved to sexual sins.  They look to Maria Goretti and ask her to pray for them, so that they can turn to God, and like her, be a defender of that gift given to them by God.

We Admire Her Ability to Forgive

The story of Maria Goretti does not end with her defense of purity.  After being stabbed fourteen times, Maria, while on her deathbed, forgave Alessandro.  As an American people we admire Maria’s ability to forgive.

We struggle to forgive in our American culture.  Not only can we not forgive ourselves for things we have done in our life (e.g. impurity), but we find it extremely difficult to forgive other people.  Many people, including myself, are holding grudges against those who have offended us.  It is hard to forgive other people.  Even more, it is difficult to forget what people have done; the memories of hurtful words are actions remain.  But our God calls us to forgive those who have hurt us.  We must forgive our family, coworkers, and friends.

People form lines and pass by the relics of St. Maria Goretti because they know there are people in their lives they need to forgive and need divine assistance in doing so.  As they touch the glass case, they ask Maria Goretti, who forgave the one who hurt her, to help them forgive the people in their lives.  And they ask for the grace to forgive themselves because in time, Alessandro was even able to forgive himself, after Maria came to him in a dream and gave him 14 es.

A Saint for the Year of Mercy

Maria Goretti is an appropriate saint for the Year of Mercy.  Her story challenges all sinners in their struggles with the flesh.  She is one of their patrons and intercessors in whatever struggle they face.  Like Alessandro who turned to God for mercy, we must seek out Christ’s mercy in the confessional.  But even more so, Maria is a living witness of forgiving offences willingly, one of the spiritual works of mercy.  Just as Maria forgave Alessandro, she inspires us to reach out and extend mercy, forgiveness to the people in our lives who have hurt us.  After all, Jesus told us to petition the Father in this way, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  For whatever wrong the eleven year old Maria Goretti did, she surely experienced God’s forgiveness, for she heroically forgave the one who trespassed against her, who ended her life too soon, taking her from her impoverished family, her friends, and the Church.  Now, as one of the blessed in Heaven, she intercedes for us, praying that her story can inspire us to a greater love of purity in our lives and lead us to forgive our family and friends.

College Professor: You Have No Right to More Than One Child

Just days after China announced it is converting from a human rights-abusing one-child policy to a human rights abusing two child policy, the National Catholic Register reports on a college professor who thinks couples have no right to more than one child. Apparently, forced abortions and gendercide is a-okay to enforce such an idea.

Sarah Conly, a professor a ultraliberal Bowdoin College, where students shell out tens of thousands of dollars a year to be spoon-fed such poppycock, think families should have no more than one child.

As NCR reports:

A philosophy professor at Bowdoin College, Sarah Conly, really misses China’s One-Child policy. I mean, really misses it.

She even wrote a book called “One Child: Do We Have a Right to More” because I don’t want to financially support garbage like that. I’m not going to buy that book but she was kind enough to write a column in the Boston Globe putting her anti-human kookiness on display for everyone to see.

In it, she bemoans China ending it’s one-child policy and asks “Is this really a good thing?” She thinks not.

She writes, “the idea that people should limit the number of children they have to just one is not, I would argue, a bad one, for the Chinese or for the rest of us.”

Then you get a lot of blah blah blah nonsense about overpopulation and all that. But then you get to the moral case. She posits that YOU have no right to have more than one child.

Given the damage we are causing, and the suffering we foresee for all those who live after us, it is clear that having more than one child is just something that none of us — Chinese or American — has a moral right to do. We have no right to cause great harm to others when we can avoid this without great loss to ourselves.

At this point, uncontrolled fertility is likely to have worse consequences than the false cry of “fire!” Even having two children — the replacement value for the population — as the new Chinese policy allows is likely to be too many children. Due to what specialists call “demographic momentum,” the population will continue to grow for quite some time even if we all cut back now to two children. By the time the birthrate stabilizes, the global population will be at an unsustainable level. So, we don’t have a right to have so many children.

Why is it that some of the most wacky, hairbrained ideas come from the ivory tower elite — the folks who are supposed to be the smartest of the smartest. Perhaps because they are elite, some of them don’t want more people in the world challenging them or their nutty theories.

Right to choose? Yeah, right.

The Contraception-Divorce Connection

 hands-together

“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Mk 10: 9

The Bible Says

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Mk 10:7-9

Jesus spoke these words in response to the Pharisees’ questions about divorce—in particular Moses’ allowance of a decree of divorce. The 40-50% divorce rate in the USA indicates that Jesus’ teaching that “no human being must separate” husband and wife is largely ignored.

“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1: 27-28

“Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them.” Mk 10:14

The joining of love and life in marital sexual intercourse—the marriage act—is a second God-ordained joining not intended for Man to separate by contraception.

Divorce & Contraception Violate God’s Plan

US Catholics divorce and contracept at about the same rate as non-Catholics. Annulment application is commonly offered in response to divorce. For most Catholics, their teaching on contraception has been nil. It is estimated that 60-90% of annulments world-wide are granted in the USA. Also studies indicate that almost all Catholic couples contracept before and during some part of their marriage.

What the Chart ShowsUS Fertility & Divorce Chart REV for web

The enclosed Total Fertility & Divorce Rates chart demonstrates a strong correlation between family size and divorce. Why did family size begin a steep decline in the mid-1800s? Andrea Tone, in Devices and Desires, A History of Contraceptives in America, describes how Charles Goodyear’s 1839 invention of rubber vulcanization transformed a small but thriving side-line to sausage making into a lucrative condom manufacturing industry that continues into the 21st Century. Contraceptive use is the only feasible explanation for the rapid decline in Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Note that TFRs dropped by almost half in each Century, and they have hovered a little below 2 during the 21st Century.

The Pill Effect

The Divorce Rate increased 2.5 times following wide acceptance of the Birth Control Pill in the early 1960s. No-fault divorce laws and legalized abortion were further consequences of over 10 million women being on the BCP and millions more continuing to use barrier and other means to limit child-bearing.

Marital Sexual Intercourse

In God’s first words to us, He commanded us to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth”—a single command stated three times. He must have thought it pretty important. In humility and trust, He surrendered to His creatures the duty and power to initiate a new human life, while retaining His right to allow that initial effort to succeed. We call that sacred act of initiation “marital sexual intercourse”.

The “marital” adjective is important because it sets marriage as the legitimate condition for use of sexual intercourse. This is based on marital sexual intercourse’s essential purpose to populate Earth and Heaven—its procreative purpose. To guarantee that we would engage in marital sexual intercourse, God added a unitive second dimension by making marital sexual intercourse delightful, enjoyable, exciting and mysterious. The unifying dimension cleverly encourages the marital sexual intercourse-performing couple to stay together for their continuing pleasure AND for mutual support in raising their children—and also God’s. Thus a family is formed!!

Why Marriage

Marriage publicly identifies the family as an institution formed by a man and woman engaging in sexual intercourse, and children that result from their union. Thus marital sexual intercourse is referred to as the “marriage act” or the “procreation act”—recognizing its essential and unique purpose of creating new human life with God. It is these procreative and unitive ends that “God has joined together [and] no human being must separate”.

Why is this so?

If the act which is primarily intended for procreation is counterfeited (neutered) by contraception, the act cannot achieve its intended and natural purposes—neither procreative nor unitive. A holy act has been hollowed out and made intrinsically evil. It should be expected that contraceptive-using-couples will feel dissatisfied, incomplete and expectant of something more. That missing more may be sought in another relationship, pornography, or other addictions. The stage is thus set for divorce.

Conclusion

The cultural chaos caused by divorce is due in large part to the effect of contraception on marriage. Separating the unitive and procreative ends of sexual intercourse redefines and destabilizes marriage. In God’s perfect plan for us, there would be no contraception, the average family would include many children, and divorce would be rare.

Has there ever been a time in history (or a culture) when both contraception and divorce were absent? What was that society like? Can a contraceptive and divorce free society be created? Can we humbly set aside our plan, and accept God’s plan for love, marriage, sex and children?

Conclusions Suggested by the Chart:

1. The “natural” Total Fertility Rate (TFR) may be as high as 7. With limited availability of contraception, the average American woman of the early 1800s birthed 7 children. Is that what God planned for average family size? The corresponding “natural” divorce rate is essentially zero.

2. The vulcanization of rubber by Charles Goodyear in 1839 jump-started the contraceptives industry with condoms and diaphragms. As contraceptives began to be readily available in the mid-1800s, TFRs rapidly declined.

3. The low TFRs during WWII (1941-1945) were followed by a jump in TFRs as millions of soldiers returned to marry and start families in 1945-1960. High divorce rates during and after WWII may be a result of long separations and mental and physical health problems of returning soldiers.

4. The advent of the Birth Control Pill (BCP) in the early 1960s and the universal acceptance of all forms of birth control soon fixed TFRs at about 2 (or less) for the 40+ years from 1970 to 2014. Divorce rates increase as TFRs decrease.

5. Rapid acceptance of the BCP in the 1960s corresponds with divorce rates more than doubling in 10 years.

6. While TFRs have held steady near 2 for the past 40 years, divorce rates have steadily declined to 1960’s levels possibly due to slow economic growth, fewer marriages reducing the pool of potential divorces, and aging couples’ greater tolerance of a less than ideal marriage.

7. Contraceptive use destabilizes and redefines marriage.

 

Source fertility rate data: http://www.gapminder.org/data

Source divorce rate data: U.S. Census Bureau: Statistical Abstract of the United States for 2001 (Table 117), available online at www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/statab.html; Current Population Report for 2000 (Table 3), available online at www.census.gov/cps; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data” for 2000 (in National Vital Statistics Report 49) and 2009 (in NVS Report 58) (Table 2), available online at www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm

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Life-Limiting Prenatal Diagnosis: Hard Cases Close to Home

“Every mom I know in anencephaly groups who has carried to term has no regrets, while there are so many who regret early induction/ termination. It is truly amazing (and not distinctly related to the parent’s religion).”

-The mother of Baby Joseph

 

Best Choices for Families Dealing with Adverse Fetal Diagnosis

Discovering one’s child has a serious medical condition is always devastating, whether it occurs at twenty years old or twenty weeks gestation. Among the many disorders that usually shorten a child’s lifespan dramatically, causing death within the first few months of life, are various Trisomy conditions, Potter’s Syndrome, and anencephaly (a neural tube disorder). Many families confronted with an adverse prenatal diagnosis have experienced a lack of resources, information, and support, and often face unwelcome pressures as well, but those who carry to term usually find peace nonetheless.

Dum Vivimus Vivamus

“Dum vivimus vivamus…While we live, let us live” is a fitting motto for families who give their babies a chance to survive, contrasting sharply with many historical and current medical prac-tices. What follows are four stories from a limited geographical region (western Ohio) representing hundreds of regions across the country; your own communities; your own hospitals.

The life of Joseph

Diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks; lived 37 weeks in the womb and 88 minutes after birth.

The ultrasound doctor who diagnosed anencephaly gave Joseph’s parents one option: “we could induce early (like next week!) and then we wouldn’t have to go through the rest of the pregnancy…I thought to myself: If my firstborn, was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had only 4 months to live, would I ask the doctors to end her life right now, or would I love and cherish every moment until God called her home? Thinking of it that way, the answer was clear. It was obvious it wasn’t a choice at all. I was incredibly sad and discouraged having to be in this position, but the only possible choice we could live with is to just love this baby as long as we can.” After their initial office visit, they were fortunate to experience the support of family and friends, as well as that of their trusted family physician, who “grieved with us, prayed with us.”

The life of James Thomas

Son of Ben and Lynn, diagnosed with Potter’s Syn-drome at 22 weeks; lived 36 weeks in the womb and 90 minutes after birth.

James’ mom shared their experence, “At the initial appointment [22 week check up] when we discov-ered the Potter’s Syndrome, the first words from the doctor’s mouth were: ‘If you choose to terminate, you need to do so by the end of the week.’ ” James’ parents were “surprised, angry and hurt by this recommendation.” So much so that, at their request, the ethics board of the hospital has changed their guidelines for doctors, instructing them to present, in a compassionate manner, a full range of options to clients. James’ parents wondered, “Why was this the first option given to us?” The only risk factor for James’ mom was a previous history of pregnancy hypertension unrelated to Potter’s Syndrome. It was treatable and only a concern closer to term when James would be viable outside the womb.

Fortunately family and close friends were very supportive. Yet “lots of other people questioned the decision. No one could give any rationale for terminating, but the gist was ‘why would you want to continue with the pregnancy [considering it an inconvenience] when you know he is going to die anyway?’ ” The response of James’ parents was, “Why not? Why not give him the best chance at life that we could?”

The lives of Elizabeth and Jacob

Children of Scott and Julie, both diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome at around 20 weeks gestation, with different outcomes.

Elizabeth and Jacob’s parents had a significantly different experience with their first child diagnosed with Potter’s syndrome than with their second. Elizabeth and Jacob’s stories are a poignant illustra-tion of the contrast between two different decisions. With Elizabeth, their first child with Potter’s, they followed advice from doctors and other counselors, undergoing “early induction” at 23 weeks. Doctors had avoided the word “termination” so they didn’t realize the implications—until later—nor the deep regret that came with “early induction” of an essen-tially non-viable baby. Nor would they have chosen that route had they been better informed. When Jacob came along, diagnosed with the same condi-tion, they knew they didn’t have to “induce early.” This time, “we were more at peace because we had given him every chance to live.” Monitoring vital signs closely, they carried Jacob as close to term as possible, birthing him at 37 weeks after discovering he passed away in the womb. Their only living child was almost 3 as they said their goodbyes to Jacob at the birth. With both Elizabeth and Jacob, pictures from the day of birth are precious memories, even though the children had not survived. A deeper regret lingers, however, with regard to the short time leading up to Elizabeth’s last day of life: “We feel like we weren’t given time with Elizabeth like we were with Jacob between diagnosis and birth. With Elizabeth we had a week and a half to make a decision and prepare. That wasn’t enough time and made everything harder after.” They had hoped for a live birth with both children, even if the time with them alive would be limited. In both cases it was not as they had hoped, but with Jacob they were grateful for those extra 14 weeks they had with him alive in the womb. “Doctors are afraid of giving false hope,” they added, “but parents need hope. The hopes are not naive; they give parents the opportunity to try to do something to help their child.”

Safeguarding Women’s Health and Applying Moral Principles

The short lives of the children introduced in this brochure deeply touched their families, calling them to love. All of these families experienced many blessings from choosing to carry their babies to term. They were fortunate to have access to information beyond the limited options given at the hospital, and to have ample support for their decisions from friends and family. These life-lim-iting prenatal conditions primarily affect the babies, not posing serious risk to the mother.

The hypertension that doctors feared for James’ mom didn’t result from Potter’s Syndrome; she also developed it during other pregnancies. Joseph’s mom had concerns about polyhydramnios (swelling from excess amniotic fluid) but the primary concern with that (besides discomfort) is early labor or stillbirth, which again concerns the baby, not the mom. Elizabeth and Jacob’s mom did not experience complications, but was told infection could follow if the baby died in the womb. All of these complications are manageable; none are life threatening or permanently damaging to the mother. In cases such as these, some try to use the princi-ple of double effect to justify actions that end the baby’s life. But double effect can only be invoked when the primary intended effect is not morally wrong. The intended effect of “early induction” (or “termination”) is to shorten the pregnancy by birthing a non-viable child. It may be a well-mean-ing attempt to minimize the parents’ grief, but it actually does nothing to take away the pain of infant loss. Early induction does directly result in the baby dying earlier rather than later and this is the primary intended effect of the procedure, not merely an unfortunate secondary result.1 In this case, “early induction” is not the only conceivable means of relieving grief, and is mostly ineffective. In fact, there is ample evidence that abortion often causes additional emotional complications, both from the grief of loss and from disrupted hormonal balance.2 The drastic hormonal shifts have also been shown to cause dramatically increased risk for disease, notably breast cancer.3 In addition, there is evidence that termination of pregnancy (abortion) can have a traumatic effect on those involved, including medical personnel who participate or witness the event.4 In any case, what if the diagnosis was wrong, which has been known to happen?

Why Couldn’t We…?

It’s natural for parents to ask if there is anything they can do to help their child survive as long as possible. With anencephaly and Potter’s Syndrome, possibilities are extremely limited because vital organs are severely affected. Unfortunately, possibil-ities are further limited by the hopeless practice of early induction. Since Potter’s Syndrome involves inadequate amniotic fluid, most parents ask the obvious question: “Can’t we try to inject synthetic amniotic fluid into the womb as needed?” Parents are told, “No.” Yet in 2013, a US Congresswoman, Jamie Herrera Beutler, and her husband wouldn’t take no for an answer. They found a team of doctors willing to try the injections. Their daughter Abigail became the first known survivor of Potter’s Syndrome, receiving a standing ovation on the House floor a year after her birth. Abigail’s dad, Daniel, said in a Today Show interview, “There are no guaranteed solutions…for [Potter’s Syndrome], but don’t be satisfied with one opinion because there are a lot of intelligent doctors with different perspectives and experiences and opinions, so work to find one who will partner with you to find anything possible.”5

Citations

1. Principle of Double Effect, download at Catholics United for the Faith: www.cuf.org/FileDownloads/doubleeffect.pdf

2. Afterabortion.org lists physiological effects of abortion.

3. The Breast Cancer Prevention Inst. (bcpinstitute.org) presents the physiological explanation and statistical correlation of abortion to breast cancer.

4. Many former abortion providers share their stories at ProLifeAction.org/providers and ATTWN.org (And Then There Were None.)

5. Steven Ertelt, “Congresswoman’s Miracle Baby Still Doing Well After Doctors Said She’d Die,” LifeNews.com, September 6, 2013.

Text by Anne Schmiesing Right to Life—Shelby County, OH

This brochure is not intended as a resource for medical information about the conditions mentioned. Note that although Down Syndrome is included in the list (as Trisomy 21), children with Down Syndrome have a much higher chance of survival than children with the other conditions named in this brochure. The life expectancy for all of these prenatal conditions increases with advances in medical knowledge and technology.

Information for stories was collected from personal interviews and with permission from a blog about Joseph. More information from the interviews is available at ShelbyCountyRTL.org. For additional stories and resources, see PrenatalPartnersForLife.org and SufficientGraceMinistries.org.

The book, I Will Carry You by Angie Smith chronicles the creative ways one family found to spend time with their child in her short life. This is a helpful resource for families faced with a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis.

Benjamin Hartings, father of James Thomas, has written a book about his experience. Return to the Altar: A Sacred Journey through Grief and Joy is the story of a family’s loss, a death of a son, and how it transformed their view of the world. What brought the family back to the Altar was not an experience that was expected, but one that was accepted as God’s plan.

Doctors Said He Was “Incompatible With Life” But He Just Turned Two and Said “Mommy”

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/10/28/doctors-said-he-was-incompatible-with-life-but-he-just-turned-two-and-said-mommy/

With all of the depressing news about abortion and the shocking things the Planned Parenthood abortion business does to sell aborted babies and their body parts, there’s a palpable need for good news that is uplifting.
Today, a British newspaper is reporting on a little boy who doctors said was “incompatible with life.” Because his courageous mother didn’t give up on him when doctors said he would die immediately after birth, little Aaron just turned two and said “Mommy” for the first time.

When she was pregnant, 24-year-old Emma Murray heard from doctors about her son’s condition. Aaron was diagnosed with rare health disorder called holoprosencephaly and he was born with a brain stem so can move and breathe but not a full brain. Physicians told Murrary Aaron could die in minutes and helped arrange a baptism for him.

Now, two years later, Aaron has amazed doctors – and has spoken his first word. Aaron is not only alive but enjoys giggling and clapping his hands with his big brother, Jack, aged three.

As the London Daily Mail reports:

Emma said: ‘When Aaron was first born, I was told there was no way he could survive. I was told he might live for three minutes, three hours or three days.

‘The doctors told me if it had been any of his other organs which had failed to grow, they would have been able to do something but they couldn’t grow him another brain.

‘But right from the very beginning, Aaron proved he is a real fighter.

‘And I was saying “mummy” to him recently and clapping my hands and he was giggling away.

‘He looked at me, and said “mummy”. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been told my son would only live for a few minutes, but now here he was saying ‘mummy’ which is something I never thought I would ever hear.’

That good news is a stark contrast to what happened after he was born.

Emma said: ‘I was absolutely heartbroken. He was hooked up to every machine and had a hat over his head so we couldn’t see the size of it. I just sat by his cot rubbing his little hand. I was in total shock.

‘Everything had happened so fast – I didn’t even know I was pregnant, I’d given birth and been told my baby was going to die all in the same 24 hours.’

Hospital staff helped Emma organise a baptism for her son, but within hours, Aaron’s condition started to improve and they realised he could even breathe unaided.

Emma said: ‘For the first few days of Aaron’s life, it felt like everyone was just waiting for something bad to happen but Aaron had other ideas.
Thankfully, Emma and her little boy are moving forward and focusing on embracing life a day at a time.

She said: ‘Some days, we take one step forward and two steps back – but since he turned one, we have been taking more steps forward than back.’

And the most emotional moment came just six weeks ago when Aaron amazed Emma by saying ‘mummy’ for the first time.

She said: ‘I was just playing with him in my front room. He was lying on his back on the carpet and I was leaning over him clapping my hands, and saying “mummy” to him over and over, really drawing out the sounds.

‘He was giggling, and then he said “mummy”. He had literally copied what I was saying. I just stared at him in shock, and then I just burst into tears. It was such an emotional moment.

 

The Government is Paying for 10 Year Olds to Get Implanted Birth Control?!?!

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bristolpalin/2015/10/the-government-is-paying-for-10-year-olds-to-get-implanted-birth-control/

Why CMP Undercover Journalist David Daleiden Saw the Face of Evil in a Late-term Abortionist

By Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue, October 16, 2015

David Daleiden is the Director of the Center for Medical Progress, an organization that was known only to a handful of people prior to July 14, 2015, when he released the first of 10 summary videos that were part of his jaw-dropping 30-month undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood’s participation in the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts that has dramatically changed the abortion debate in America.

Recently, David was interviewed on camera by The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, who posted a fascinating clip from that interview. In that clip, Beck asks David about whether he ever realized the powerful evil that with which he had embedded himself.

“At some point, you guys had to have walked out of those [meetings] just shaking and thinking, A: ‘I can’t believe the evil I just faced,’ and B: people die for stuff like this. I mean, we’re going up against evil, and very powerful evil. Did that ever hit you while you were doing these things?”

David then related his encounter with late-term abortionist Shelley Sella, an abortionist conducting the latest of abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy who currently works at Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time of David’s encounter with her, she was a contract abortion provider with Planned Parenthood in Concord, California.

 

David described a meeting where he was laughing and joking with Sella after a showing of the independent film, “After Tiller.” But for a moment, their eyes locked, and he saw a change come over her.

“All of a sudden, her eyes looked really hard and mean and aggressive, and for the first time during this entire project, I felt really afraid – like an actual fear — fight or flight kind of response,” David related. “I felt very exposed, felt like she knew everything about me.”

But then her face changed again and she was back to laughing and joking with him.

“I talked to several people about that afterwards, and some people have kind of a spiritual interpretation of that event and there’s a more subtle interpretation. But on some level, we feel like that was the predator — the predator look or the predator instinct that you see in someone who is accustomed to killing people. This is a late-term abortion doctor who has terminated many, many, many big babies over the years,” Daleiden told Glenn Beck, who sat enthralled by the power of the moment.

Spiritual battle

I completely understood. For me, it was a real “Lord of the Rings” moment. I could imagine David as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo laid bare before the all-searching Eye, with only the thinnest of veils keeping him from being discovered by the wicked Sauron, who was bent on the destruction of man-kind.

My faith informs me that there is a spiritual battle that interacts with our realm of reality, where angels and demons continuously fight for supremacy until the Final Day. Had David caught a glimpse of a demonic force that somehow sensed something about him for a brief moment in a similar way that Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths sensed the presence of Frodo, the Ring Bearer?

I am very familiar with this particular abortionist since she was one of three that were employed by the infamous George Tiller at his late-term abortion mill in Wichita, Kansas, who has aborted hundreds, if not thousands, of babies in the late second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

While my relationship with Sella has been more adversarial than David’s over the years, I have felt that same sense of evil, especially one day in June, 2008, when a licensed practical nurse walked into our office and unburdened her heart about her experiences working at Tiller’s abortion clinic. A story she related to us about Sella was one of those surreal moments when the evil hits home.

35-week born alive baby

Tina David was a slender older woman with short-cropped blonde hair who had worked assisting Tiller’s abortionists with the very late-term abortions for which he was so famous. But the work tormented her. She found it difficult to sleep at night. She began losing a dangerous amount of weight and ground her teeth down to the point that she required extensive dental work to correct.

Tina and I sat down in Troy Newman’s office with a digital audio recorder running. As Troy began to question her, Tina began to open up.

One day, she said, she was assisting Sella with the abortion of a 35-week baby.

“Well, my job was to hold the [woman’s] leg and count the parts, if it was in pieces,” she said. “And this was, um, maybe 35 weeks?”

“That’s a pretty big baby!” I responded.

“It was a big baby,” she affirmed. “And the baby came out and it was moving. I don’t know if it was alive or if it was nerves? I have no clue. But Dr. Sella looked up right away at me and took a utensil and stabbed it right here and twisted. And then it didn’t move anymore.”

Tina pointed to her right-side, just under the rib cage to show where there baby was stabbed.

It’s shocking to hear someone describing a murder. It’s almost like you can’t believe what you are hearing and it takes a few moments for the reality to sink in. There was no reason to doubt her story. We were also able to verify other information she gave us, giving her account of this baby’s death even more credibility.

When a 35-week baby comes out moving, that isn’t an abortion. It’s a live birth. I consulted an attorney friend of mine in California, and was advised that Troy and I had an obligation to report the matter to local law enforcement.

We turned over the raw, unedited audio file to the police. Detectives with the Wichita Police Department immediately picked up Tina and questioned her.

As much as David Daleiden reminded me of the Ring bearer, Frodo, Tina reminded me of another Tolkien character, a creature with a double-personality who was nearly consumed by darkness as Gollum, but in which there remained a nagging shred of conscience that manifested infrequently as Smeagol.

It was her “Smeagol” persona who shared with us in Troy’s office, but it was the “Gollum” part of her that was interviewed by police. Tina squirmed under questioning and recanted her ever-changing story, telling police she didn’t want to get involved. She sought to save herself from any implication in that cold-blooded murder.

There wasn’t much the police could do. Tina was an unreliable witness. The physical evidence held in the remains of the nearly full-term murder victim had been destroyed in the industrial crematorium that Tiller had installed in his clinic many years before.

Still unaccountable

I have often thought that if Pennsylvania’s late-term abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of first degree murder for stabbing babies born alive at his “House of Horrors” abortion mill, had owned such an incinerator, he would still be on his serial-killing spree today. It was the bodies of his victims that testified against him every bit as much as the witnesses that took the stand.

Unfortunately, Sella was never held accountable. Just months after the stabbing incident, Sella cancelled her Kansas medical license and relocated her late-term abortion practice to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where there are no laws to restrict abortion even until the day of a baby’s expected birth.

I continued to work with pro-life activists Tara and Bud Shaver, who once served as interns at our Wichita headquarters. Tara had obtained a number of 911 calls originating from Southwest Women’s Options.

One stood about above the others.

On May 12, 2011, a 911 call was placed by an employee of Southwest Women’s Options seeking emergency transport for a late-term abortion patient.

“The doctor’s concerned that we have a uterine rupture during a late-term abortion procedure. A patient with a previous C-Section. The patient’s stable at the moment, but. . .” the caller’s voice trailed off.

Documents revealed that Sella had indeed ruptured the uterus of a 26-year old patient who was 35 weeks pregnant – the same age of gestation as the baby that Sella stabbed in Wichita five years earlier — and that the clinic was ill-equipped to handle the life-threatening medical emergencies that can and do take place during risky late-term abortions.

Tara and I both filed complaints against Sella with the New Mexico Medical Board, which initially charged her with four counts of gross negligence. Medical boards rarely bring such charges if they are not positive they can prove the malfeasance. I had though we finally had Sella. She may have gotten away with that baby’s murder in Wichita, but she would not get away this time.

But unfortunately, the New Mexico Medical Board voted to absolve Sella, buying her specious argument that obstetrical standards of patient care should not be applied to late-term abortions, and that a much lower standard should be acceptable.

Today, Sella continues to conduct the latest of abortions in Albuquerque and has become famous as one of the most experienced late-term abortionists in America. According to a consent form obtained by the Shavers, the remains of babies aborted at Southwestern Women’s Options, are automatically used in research. Since the “consent” for research is buried in the same consent form for the abortion, it is doubtful many women even realize their babies are being turned into fodder for laboratory experimentation.

Changing times

Now, thanks to David Daleiden’s brave undercover journalistic study, a new day has dawned in American’s abortion wars where the public is finally confronted with the evil of child-killing in a way that has never been done before – in a way that could finally, eventually, lead to an end of the evil of abortion.

As Gandalf, another of Tolkien’s amazing characters, once said, “Dawn is ever the hope of man.”

Ignoring a Breast Cancer Link

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign that began in 1991 to raise awareness about this disease. Although the campaign promotes regular self-breast exams, doctor visits, annual mammograms, and provides data on recurrence, preventable risk factors for breast cancer are not emphasized.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk factors for breast cancer include: older age, genetic abnormalities, hormonal therapy, radiation therapy to the chest, alcohol and obesity. Although it has been demonstrated that hormonal contraceptive use increases breast cancer risk, this risk factor is virtually ignored during the campaign.

Synthetic estrogen was classified by the World Health Organization in 2005 as “Group 1 carcinogen”. Hormonal contraceptives contain synthetic estrogen and increase the risk of not only breast cancer, but also liver and cervical cancer. According to a meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic journal, women who have used hormonal contraceptives for four years before first full-term pregnancy, have an increase of 52% in breast cancer risk.

Another study  funded by the National Institutes of Health found that the use of oral contraceptives for one year or more was associated with a 4.2-fold increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer for women 40 and under.

Another preventable risk factor that is not mentioned in the breast cancer awareness campaign is that due to induced abortion. Recent studies published in India and Bangladesh; report that induced abortion increases the risk of breast cancer 6-20 times in these populations. Although 53 studies (out of 73 worldwide) confirm the association between breast cancer and induced abortion, medical and government organizations continue to claim otherwise.

It is known that induced abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy alters the maturation of cells in the breast, which may trigger the development of cancer cells. Full term birth and lactation, mature breast cells and help to protect women from breast cancer.

How common is the problem of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In the U.S, 1 in 8 women have the chance of developing this cancer. According to statistics reported by the CDC, 211,731 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States during 2011. Of those women 40,676 women died from this cancer resulting in one death for every five cases diagnosed. In some countries, this cancer survival ratio is lower. For example in India, 115,000 new cases of breast cancer were reported along with 53,000 deaths from this cause in 2008. In this case, there was one death for two newly-diagnosed cases.

Can breast cancer be prevented?

There are some breast cancer risk factors that you cannot modify such as age, being a female and the genetic predisposition. Some lifestyle changes could reduce the breast cancer risk. Regular exercise, healthy diet, and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, and radiation therapy on the chest may reduce the risk of the disease.

Another important measure to decrease the breast cancer risk is to avoid the use of potent steroids in hormonal birth control and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Natural family planning is a safe, healthy, and effective way to plan your family. Having children, and breastfeeding them offer an additional protection against breast cancer. There are alternatives to HRT such as bio-identical hormones and natural therapies. For single women, abstinence is the only way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortion.

One More Soul joins Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign to educate women and girls about the link between hormonal contraception, abortion and breast cancer. Visit our online store to see the wonderful resources we have on this subject. Please consider ordering some of our brochures and books for yourself or to share with your family, doctors, and friends about these preventable risk factors for a disease that is becoming epidemic.

One More Soul Resources:

KBCLm

Breast Cancer, Abortion and the Pill booklet presents the summary, conclusions, and recommendations from Chapter 17 of Dr. Kahlenborn’s book Breast Cancer, Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill. This is a great resource for explaining just how dangerous abortion and contraceptive pills are.

This pamphlet presents information from the book Breast Cancer, It’s Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, in a short and highly persuasive format. From the time it was first published we have received letters and phone calls about babies saved from abortion when their mothers read this pamphlet and the number continues to grow. Praise God!!. – See more at: https://onemoresoul.com/catalog/breast-cancer-risk-from-abortion-p321.html
BBCL
Based on six years of study and a meticulous analysis of hundreds of scientific papers and other sources, Dr. Chris Kahlenborn documents the effect that abortion and hormonal contraception have on breast cancer, as well as uterine, cervical, liver, and other cancers, and even the transmission of AIDS! Hormonal contraceptive use before first full term pregnancy is found to increase risk of breast cancer by at least 40%. The book gives special attention to black women, to various populations of the world, and to effective steps for prevention. This is a very timely and powerful work. –
Revised and updated. How the Pill increases the risk of breast cancer, and effective strategies for prevention. Women who take contraceptive pills before their first full pregnancy are 44% more likely to develop breast cancer before menopause. This is a real eye opener for people who thought the Pill was harmless. – See more at: https://onemoresoul.com/catalog/the-pill-and-breast-cancer-p711.html

Large families are happiest, Australian study shows

http://www.mercatornet.com

BY CAROLYN MOYNIHAN

Here’s something we missed in August: large families are the happiest, according to an Australian study.

Dr Bronwyn Harman of Edith Cowan University spent five years interviewing hundreds of parents from a range of family set-ups to ascertain what life is like for different families, and how resilience, social support and self-esteem contribute to parents’ happiness.

Parents with four or more children were the most satisfied with their lot, enjoying, rather than feeling overwhelmed by, the chaos of a big family.

Although they said they have to deal with comments such as “are they all yours?” or “do they all have the same father?”, large families benefit from lots of support from each other, and are rarely bored. Children learn responsibility from an early age, and older ones help out with their younger siblings.

“[The parents] usually say they always wanted a large family, it was planned that way, and it was a lifestyle they’d chosen,” Dr Harman said.

The study found that same-sex parents were the next happiest, and that single dads were the least happy, which is not surprising, given that they are usually separated from their children.

Dr Harman talked about her findings to the Sydney Morning Herald, but it appears that the details of the study have not yet been published. It will be interesting to read more about it in due course.

A black mark for the SMH, though, which ran a tasteless, not to say offensive cartoon with their report. Evidently  the results were not to the editor’s liking.

Pope leads prayer vigil ahead of Synod

St. John Paul II, Our Lady of Medjugorje and Three Babies

http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/

By June Klins

In 1999, my son and I were blessed to have traveled to Medjugorje and then to Rome. When we went to the Wednesday audience with Pope John Paul II, I took some of the religious items I had bought in Medjugorje so that they could be blessed by the Pope. Of course I did not know at the time that in less than fifteen years, he would be canonized a saint, but I did think the medals of Our Lady of Medjugorje, blessed by Pope John Paul II, were special.
Over the years, I was pretty selective of the recipients of these special medals, so in April of 2014, when Pope John Paul II was canonized, I still had some left. I decided that I would give each of the members of our mailing staff a medal to thank them for their long hours of dedication each month. They thought it was so special to have a medal blessed by a saint!
One of our helpers, Diane, has a niece, Theresa, who wanted to have a child, but had been told she would never be able to conceive a baby, due to scar tissue left by a serious disease and its treatment. The doctors gave Theresa and her husband, Brett, the options of in vitro fertilization or adoption. Just like many Catholics, Theresa and Brett were not aware of the teachings of the Catholic Church on in vitro (usccb.org/upload/lifegiving-love-age-technology-2009.pdf), so they chose that option. Twenty-one weeks later, in March of 2014, Theresa miscarried two girls and a boy. Theresa herself almost died at the time, due to an infection. Diane wrote, “They were devastated! There really are no words to console a couple who has gone through so much. Prayer is all that really got us through.”

Carter

      Diane gave Theresa her medal blessed by St. John Paul II, on May 30, with the following instructions: “I am lending you this blessed medal of Our Lady of Medjugorje, and you are to return it to me at the Baptism of your baby next year.”
Diane said, “These words were Spirit-driven – they were not the words I had in mind. All I wanted to do was to give her something to just make her feel a little better and give her a little hope.”
Diane was so excited a few months later when she told me that Our Lady and St. John Paul II had interceded and Theresa had conceived naturally! Diane related, “The doctor told her this is a high-risk pregnancy and they would do everything possible to get her to at least 24 weeks gestation. Then the baby would have a chance of survival.” She later added, “When 24 weeks came, they gave her steroid injections to help the baby’s lungs develop. The baby was doing well and so was Theresa. 28 weeks came and the doctor said, ‘Any day now.’ Theresa and the baby were showing some signs of early stress. 32 weeks came and the pregnancy continued. Because of losing the triplets less than a year ago, the doctor was sure Theresa wouldn’t be able to carry this baby longer than 36 weeks. But she did! At 39 weeks gestation, the doctor told her he would induce labor on his scheduled day for deliveries.”

Joseph

      Carter was born on March 25, 2015. Diane was ecstatic that he was born on the feast of the Annunciation. She exclaimed, “This was confirmation from Mary that Carter is a gift from the Lord by Her intercession and that of St. John Paul II, who had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and interceded many times on behalf of couples who were not able to conceive and have children on their own.”
Another member of our mailing crew, Kathy, gave her special medal to her daughter, Ashley. In January of 2014, Ashley had had an ectopic pregnancy. Ashley wrote, “After having the ectopic, we had to postpone attempting pregnancy for a while, in order to heal and have testing done. We were then devastated to find that I had lost a tube, due to damage from the ectopic. The doctors scheduled surgery, but gave me one more month to try.”
Around the same time that Kathy gave Ashley the medal, one of Ashley’s friends, who had just returned from Medjugorje, gave her a prayer cloth that she brought back. Ashley slept with the prayer cloth on her lower belly/ pelvis area. Ashley said, “I used the medal and cloth, then found out I was pregnant the week before I was scheduled for surgery!” Joseph Daniel was born during the Easter Octave, on April 7, 2015. “We feel so blessed,” Ashley beamed.

Maggie

      In the meantime, I had been in touch with my cousin, Mary Jo, whose daughter-in-law had had multiple miscarriages since their first child was born seven years ago. Jenn and her husband, Chris, longed to have a second child. Whenever Jenn would get pregnant, Mary Jo would call me for prayers. But, it didn’t seem long before Mary Jo would be telling me that Jenn had miscarried again.
In August of 2014, my aunt, who is Mary Jo’s mother, told me that Chris and Jenn had decided to adopt. I wrote to Mary Jo and told her that was wonderful that they had decided to adopt, but I also shared that I had just read in the book, Saint John Paul the Great – His Five Loves by Jason Evert, that “one of the most common themes of the letters [regarding the intercession of St. John Paul II] is thanksgiving from couples who were previously unable to have children.” I offered her the last available medal I had, to give to Jenn.
About a month or so later, Mary Jo called me to say that Jenn was pregnant again. Mary Jo called me a couple of months later and told me that Jenn had made it through the risky time when she usually lost the babies, and wore the medal to her first sonogram. Mary Jo kept me updated as the pregnancy advanced.
Jenn was scheduled for a C-section on June 3, but God had other plans. Margaret (called Maggie) was born on May 31, 2015, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. But, May 31 is a Marian feast when it does not fall on a Sunday – the feast of the Visitation – when Mary went to visit her cousin who had had trouble conceiving! What an awesome day to be born!

     “Today I call you to place more blessed objects in your homes and that everyone put some blessed objects on their person” (Our Lady, July 18, 1985).
We thank Our Lady of Medjugorje and St. John Paul II for their intercession for these three beautiful babies.

Five Reasons the Pope’s Visit Helps the Pro-Life Cause

Posted By Father Frank Pavone on Sep 30, 2015

Pope Francis has completed his visit to the United States. He came as a pastor for the whole church and a prophet for the whole world, and therefore his message and his ministry are far reaching, embracing a wide variety of needs and issues confronting the human family. Here I want to comment on the impact of his visit on one of those needs and issues which is at the foundation of all the rest.

How did the Pope’s visit help this greatest human rights cause of all time?

1. The Pope encouraged families, which are the sanctuaries of life.
The original purpose and reason for the Holy Father’s visit was to be part of the World Meeting of Families, an event sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family every three years. Having worked for the Pontifical Council for the Family, I helped to organize the Second World Meeting of Families in Rio back in 1997. The vision for these meetings, initiated by Pope Saint John Paul II, embraces and extols the interrelated themes of family and life. The family, by definition, is “the sanctuary of life.”

This was reflected in the theme of this year’s World Meeting of Families: Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. As the Pro-life Symposium which Priests for Life sponsored as part of the World Meeting emphasized, the family cannot be fully alive unless all its members are protected.

The affirmation of life, therefore, is integral to understanding the very reason the Pope came.
One of many babies kissed by Pope Francis on his trip to the United States.

One of many babies kissed by Pope Francis on his trip to the United States.

2. The Pope’s words announced the foundation of the pro-life message.
When Pope Francis speaks about the pro-life cause and the issue of abortion, he does so in a way that emphasizes how it is integrally connected with every other issue of human rights. He speaks to the foundation, both of human rights and of the Faith, so that nobody can come away with the impression that the church’s opposition to abortion is simply a temporary, changeable, or accidental appendage to her life, teachings, and mission.

Consider his words at the White House that we must build a society that is that is “truly tolerant and inclusive to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to reject every form of injustice and discrimination.” A nation that holds the “the word person…does not include the unborn” (Roe vs. Wade) has ceased to be tolerant and inclusive and has embraced instead a deadly form of injustice and discrimination against its youngest children.

Again at the United Nations, the Pope warned against “a relentless process of exclusion.”
150926-pope-philadelphia-child-mn-1115_db03287935dba90190790162ee9607ed.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

Pope Francis kisses Michael Keating.pope and Michael

3. The Pope again displayed the spirituality of being with the vulnerable.
Pope Francis showed once again his desire to be with those who are disadvantaged in various ways, as he went out of his way to embrace the disabled boy at the airport, and visited an inner city school and a correctional facility. This conveys a spirituality and approach that strengthens the pro-life cause, which maintains that abortion is not an abstract issue, but involves real people who suffer physically, and with whom we are called to be present in their need. Our presence at abortion facilities, where these children are carried to their death, is an expression of this very same spirituality.

4. The Pope told the bishops not to be silent.

Few concerns within the pro-life cause are expressed more frequently than the need for leadership among the clergy. To the U.S. bishops gathered in Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, the Pope listed, again, a wide range of victims, including “the innocent victim of abortion,” and declared, “It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent.”

5. The Pope rejected the narrow territorialism that so often interferes with pro-life work in the Church.

In his final homily in Philadelphia, the Pope said,
Kristin Keating cries as Pope Francis blesses her son, Michael Keating, who has Cerebral palsy, upon the pontiff’s arrival at Philadelphia International Airport.

Kristin Keating, mother of Michael Keating, her son with cerebral palsy.

“Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Here is the surprise: Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! . . . The temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected . . . Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!” To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not “part of our group,” who are not “like us,” is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!”

So many initiatives in the pro-life cause are stifled due to precisely this narrowness, to turf wars, and to the temptation within the institutional Church to think we are self-sufficient and do not need “outside groups.”

May the example, teaching, and spirit of Pope Francis continue to bless America and the pro-life cause!

Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!”

‘Family is factory of hope’ agrees mom of 5

http://chnonline.org/news

Editor’s note: Gina and Joseph Loehr were part of a panel presentation, “How Precious is the Family: Advice from Pope Francis on How to Love,” at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on Sept. 25.

“It was like Catholic Disneyland.”

That’s how my friend, Rachel Bond, described the exhibitor plaza at the World Meeting of Families which she attended with her husband and two young daughters.

Nearly 500 Catholic organizations, ministries, companies and communities set up booths at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Some 20,000 attendees visited these vendors between the densely packed schedule of Masses, keynote addresses and breakout sessions – close to 100 talks in the course of four days.

It was a whirlwind week of Catholic formation and celebration that culminated in the visit of Pope Francis to the Festival of Families Saturday night.

My husband, Joe, and I missed out on most of this. With a delayed flight that didn’t get in until Thursday night, our panel presentation during the final Congress session on Friday morning, and our flight home Saturday afternoon, we were only able to attend one talk.

We didn’t even get to step into the exhibitor plaza, which the Secret Service suddenly shut down just before we arrived, nearly 24 hours ahead of schedule.

We did get our World Meeting of Families “pilgrim packs,” complete with program booklet, hat, poncho, water bottle and a ton of advertisements and brochures. We also went through a lot of security measures as we moved among hotel, meeting spaces and the city center.

We even got to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father from about 30 yards away when he arrived at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Saturday morning. However, we missed the chance to participate in most of the week’s events.

But that didn’t seem to matter.

Just being there amid thousands of Catholic pilgrims, just experiencing the jubilant and faith-filled atmosphere, just witnessing the coming and going of so many families from so many places was worth as much as hearing any inspiring talk or participating in any special activity.

We were among friends – strangers, yes, but also friends. There was a spirit of fraternity and camaraderie among people that was like a little foretaste of heaven. Here we were together, the church universal, with all of our diversity beautifully melding into a true unity.

As the parents of five young children, Joe and I sometimes feel a bit countercultural. When I’m out and about with the kids, people are forever making wry comments about how I have my “hands full.” (“Full hands, full heart,” I like to reply.)
But in this crowd, nobody was astonished or exasperated by the sight of multiple siblings being together. On the contrary, even though not all the families present were “big,” even though many attendees were priests or nuns or interested adults on their own, the love and appreciation everyone had for the gift of family life was tangible.

Simply put, it was encouraging to be in Philadelphia. It was refreshing to be in the company of tens of thousands of people who agree with Pope Francis’ comments Saturday night that “the family is a factory of hope,” and that children “are the future, the strength that moves us forward.”

Perhaps the best part of the trip was coming home. The time we spent in the presence of our global Catholic family helped me to appreciate our little domestic family

Here in our home, we have the privilege of living out the noble mission of Catholic family life.

“How precious is the family,” says Pope Francis.

Indeed, being part of a family is one of the greatest blessings that God the Father gives to us, his beloved children.

(Joseph and Gina Loehr, parents of five children, are members of Shepherd of the Hills Parish, Eden. Joseph is partner-owner of Loehr Dairy, LLC, a 700-acre dairy farm that has been in his family for 130 years and Gina is an instructor of theology at Marian University of Wisconsin. A freelance author and speaker on topics including marriage, women’s issues, and spirituality, she has also served as a delegate for the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s recent study seminar during which she met Pope Francis.)

Religious-Freedom Message: Pope Makes Surprise Stop at Little Sisters of the Poor

‘This is a sign, obviously, of support’ for the nuns’ HHS mandate court case, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi affirmed at an evening press conference.

09/23/2015 
Courtesy Little Sisters of the Poor

Pope Francis converses Sept. 23 with Sister Marie Mathilde, a 102-year-old member of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s community in Washington.

– Courtesy Little Sisters of the Poor

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis paid a short visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor community in Washington on Wednesday to support them in their court case over the contraception mandate, the Vatican’s spokesman revealed.

It was a “short visit that was not in the program,” Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said at an evening press conference during the papal visit to the nation’s capital.

“This is a sign, obviously, of support for them” in their court case, he affirmed.

The sisters had filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for its 2012 mandate that employers provide insurance coverage for birth control, sterilizations and drugs that can cause abortions employee health plans. The sisters have maintained that to provide this coverage would violate their religious beliefs.

After the Obama administration modified the rules as an “accommodation” for objecting organizations, the sisters held that even under the revised rules they would have to violate their consciences.

The majority of a three-judge panel for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the Little Sisters of the Poor did not establish that the mandate was a “substantial burden” on their free exercise of religion, and thus ruled they still had to abide by the mandate.

“The Holy Father spoke to each of us individually, from the youngest postulant to our centenarian, and then he spoke to all of us about the importance of our ministry to the elderly,” Sister Constance Veit, communications director for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said following the visit. “We were deeply moved by his encouraging words.”

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters of the Poor in their court challenge against the mandate, said in a email statement, “Today, after Mass at the basilica, the Pope made an unscheduled visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor, where he spoke to each of the sisters privately and encouraged them in their vocation to serve the elderly and the poor. Earlier in the day, at the White House, the Pope expressed his support for religious liberty when he stated: [We] all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

 

‘An Important Meaning’

The papal visit was not on the official schedule for Pope Francis’ Washington visit, which included Wednesday visits to the White House, a midday prayer service with the U.S. bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and the canonization Mass for St. Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

It was a “little addition to the program, but I think it has an important meaning,” Father Lombardi said.

He added that the visit “is connected” to “the words that the Pope has said in support of the position of the bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama and also in the speech to the bishops.”

Pope Francis, with President Obama at the White House, called religious freedom “one of America’s most precious possessions” and hearkened to the U.S. bishops’ defense of religious freedom. “All are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” he had said.

In response to the news of the visit with the sisters, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, said that he was “so pleased” to hear of the visit.

“As you know, the last thing the Little Sisters of the Poor want to do is sue somebody. They don’t want to sue in court,” he insisted. “They simply want to serve people who are poor and elderly, and they want to do it in a way that doesn’t conflict with their beliefs.”

The archbishop had previously warned against “interpreting freedom of religion in a very narrow way” in the press conference and emphasized that religion is not something practiced just for an hour on Sunday, but something lived out. To prove his point, he used the Little Sisters as an example.

Added Archbishop Kurtz, “We need to make room within our nation for people who have deeply held religious beliefs not to be forced to do that.”

Register staff contributed to this report.

Pope held sick baby, what happened next is amazing

PHOENIX — “The Pope healed our baby’s heart.”

Lynn Cassidy has no other words to explain what happened to her 3-month-old daughter Ave. Ave was born with Down syndrome, eye problems and hearing complications. Most concerning were the two holes in her heart.

“It seems like it was really meant to happen,” Lynn said. “And it’s as close to a miracle as we’ll ever see, I’m sure.”

In Easter of 2014, the family planned a Rome trip to see Pope Francis in person during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII.

“It was raining,” Lynn said. “We were told that if we stood on a barricade in St. Peter’s Square, the metal fences in front, the Pope would come by in his ‘Pope’-mobile.”

The Cassidy family waited for hours at the barricade. When the motorcade turned into the square, Lynn’s husband Scott held Ave up in the air.

“It was like the Lion King,” Lynn said. “The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, ‘How old is she? What’s her name?’ He told (the Pope) she has two holes in her heart. When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size.”

This mom was in a coma. Then her newborn baby cried. What happened next was beyond amazing.

CONCORD, North Carolina, September 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Shelly Cawley, a nursing student, and husband Jeremy Cawley, a YMCA director, weren’t trying to get pregnant, but they weren’t trying not to.

When Shelly found out she was pregnant with their first child, she and husband Jeremy were very excited. “Having a child with the person you love is such a big deal,” Shelly said.

The couple planned a natural delivery, and they attended weekly classes on natural childbirth. “We knew what we were going to do,” Shelly explained, but “then, all of the sudden that plan was taken away from me.”

At eight months’ gestation, doctors discovered a blood clot in Shelly’s leg, so they began giving Shelly blood thinners.

Eventually, Shelly’s water broke, and Jeremy took her to the hospital.  But labor did not progress.

Shelly had preeclampsia, a disorder characterized by high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine. Preeclampsia, if untreated, can lead to liver and kidney dysfunction, and fluid in the lungs. Shelly was also diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening condition involving the rupture of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and a low platelet count.

Doctors told Shelly her baby had to be delivered immediately by emergency C-section.

Going in for an emergency delivery, Shelly had “a premonition.” “I was telling the doctors that I was scared I wasn’t going to wake up,” she said.

She didn’t.

The C-section was successful, and Rylan Grace Cawley was born. But Shelly failed to recover. As Jeremy was holding his newborn daughter, doctors informed him that Shelly’s lungs were filling with fluid and she was having trouble breathing on her own.

Eventually, Shelly fell into a coma. Physicians later discovered that the baby inside her womb had been holding Shelly’s blood clot in place and, when Rylan was delivered, the clot migrated to Shelly’s lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.

Shelly’s blood pressure was 60/40, and her heart rate was over 180 beats a minute. She was hooked up to what doctors called “the last-chance ventilator,” pumping air into her lungs so violently that it rattled her hospital bed, husband Jeremy said.

Doctors were convinced they could only wait and see if Shelly would wake up from the coma. “The doctors had done all they could and it was clear, they absolutely thought they were losing her at this point,” Jeremy said.

That was when the doctors decided to bring the family together. “We didn’t know how she was going to make it,” nurse Ashley Manus told the Washington Post.

The medical staff at Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast use the “skin-to-skin” method to strengthen the mother-baby bond. The physical touch stimulates the newborn’s brain development, stabilizes heart rate, and helps maintain body temperature. Nurse Manus suggested to lay little Rylan on Shelly’s chest. “If that was going to be it for her, we wanted to be able to tell the baby: ‘Your mom held you,'” she reasoned.

“Maybe somewhere in Shelly’s subconscious, she would hear her baby was calling out to her,” Manus said. “We just thought, it can’t hurt, [so we] might as well give it a try.”

Nurses brought little newborn Rylan into Shelly’s room. “I was hoping somewhere deep down, Shelly was still there and could feel her baby, hear her baby and her mother’s instincts would come out,” Manus anticipated.

Jeremy explained that the “hope was that if Shelly could smell the baby, feel the baby, hear the baby – even in the coma – it would give her a reason to fight. They needed her to start to fight.”

They put the newborn on her mother’s chest, but tiny Rylan went right to sleep. “We pinched Rylan and tickled her a little bit so that Shelly would hear her cry,” Jeremy shared.

And then, little Rylan – on her mommy’s chest – cried.

As soon as her baby cried, Shelly’s vitals jumped.

Jeremy said Rylan made the difference in saving her mother’s life. “All the doctors said there’s no way they would have gotten to that point if Shelly hadn’t made it through [that] night,” he said.

Doctors kept Shelly in her coma so that she could get the care she needed, including 21 units of blood, ventilators, and a heart-and-lung bypass machine. As the week-long ordeal continued, Jeremy put Rylan in a t-shirt of Shelly’s, so Rylan could smell her mother. He even learned how to pump his wife’s breast milk. “It was such an emotional and spiritual journey for our family while she was gone,” Jeremy said. “God’s hand was all over everything.”

Finally, Shelly awakened. Jeremy first asked her “if she knew who I was…, if she knew my name – and with the most breathy voice she said my name,” Jeremy Cawley said. “It was just such a huge thing.”

Then, Jeremy brought one-week-old Rylan in to her mother. Shelly “still couldn’t move,” Jeremy explained, “but you could see her eyes – as soon as I brought in Rylan, her eyes locked on Rylan. She just stared at her. And I laid Rylan on her chest.”

As the Washington Post reports, Jeremy brushed the hair from Shelly’s forehead and asked her a question: “Are you happy?”

Shelly nodded yes.

“I’ve got stories to tell you,” he said.

What causes the worst carbon footprint of all? It’s definitely not fossil fuels

September 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — If you still have your children in a public school, you might want to have a talk with your child about the true meaning of “sustainability.”

Or you may want to call your kids who are off at college. Will any of those university courses on their “green” campuses assign students a project to evaluate the carbon footprint of a “gay pride” parade? Or an abortion clinic?

As Obama continues to exalt the climate change agenda above actual global crises, the tragedy is that sexual anarchy will never be objectively measured for its profound contribution to human rights abuses.

You know this word, “sustainable.” The Common Core school framework is full of sacrosanct “sustainable” propaganda, much of it built on the unsustainable quicksand of shifting politics, Marxist economic redistribution schemes, and population control.

But one lesson that’s omitted is the high-risk and low-return of homosexuality, gender-switching and sexual promiscuity. Sexual sin, it turns out, is an unsustainable human activity of the first order.

The reality is, the sexual anarchy movement is unsustainable.

Real humans are damaged and destroyed. Disease, emotional trauma, mutilation, family division, domestic violence and self-harm follow in the wake of “LGBTQetc.” identities and “reproductive rights.” There’s no way to disguise or adequately manage the wreckage left in the wake of these unnatural, life-rejecting behaviors.

And this global movement demands the revocation of freedom, productivity and sustainability for anyone who doesn’t cooperate. Think of the people out of work because of “gay” bullying– Kim Davis (for a few days– and who knows what the future holds?). Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. Craig James. The list is expanding.

Anyone care to estimate the environmental waste of the entire “gay rights” political movement, from lobbying for harmful laws to parent school protests, to unneeded media coverage? The list goes on.

The Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals alarming sexual trends among youth. For instance, nearly 6% of students surveyed reported sex before age 13. Yet also deeply troubling, there is no indication these children were asked the obvious follow-up questions: “Who did you have sex with? What was the age and relationship?” Our sexualized culture surveys kids, then tosses them aside without addressing their actual needs. And we wonder why they begin to exhibit odd, even dangerous behavior?

And sinful sexual conduct is unnecessary, avoidable, and changeable, not healthy for children and other living things and we should be discouraging it in policies and programs.

A recent article in USA Today entitled, “Transgender People Face High Risk of Suicide” describes several gender-confused people who, when faced with taunts and rejection, attempted suicide. Of course, this is especially tragic among youth. But self-harm doesn’t just “happen” to people. While we must diligently teach kindness, a truly sustainable culture would also guide children away from adopting bizarre and self-destructive identities.

Still, your kids are being taught to be global citizens in a collectivist, sexually reckless, “sustainable” world.

Impossible.

What “sustainable” means is something that lasts, that can be maintained over time at a certain positive level. Christianity actually fosters that kind of culture, one we experienced in America until leftist revolutionaries gained positions of authority and began a long-term campaign of human destruction, using the rhetoric of freedom to cover the reality of bondage.

Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a 2010 Sustainability Summit: “A well educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways that endanger the next.”

Then why on earth is the USDOE pushing “transgenderism” on local schools, where kids are sold the idea of mutilating healthy bodies to satisfy a mental delusion?  And why is the USDOE equating the embrace of sodomy as an aspect of school “safety” despite the CDC’s findings that 94% of HIV among American youth under age 24 involves male homosexual sex?

If “LGBT” behaviors were self-evidently glorious, our kids back at school would be happily opening their restrooms, locker rooms and showers to the opposite sex.

Of course, this is the fantasy world of leftist change agents, some of whom are school administrators. Most girls are actually outraged by boys invading their restrooms, and good for them.

AT Hillsboro High School in Missouri, over 150 students protested Lila Perry’s demand to use the girls’ restroom. “Lila” is a guy who angrily told the media “she”[he] thinks their protest is all about bigotry, pure and simple.

No, it’s actually about common sense, pure and simple. Sex masquerades, like boys trying to morph into girls, are not sensible, are impossible and therefore, not sustainable.

There’s also that privacy thing. And that selfishness thing. Being concerned only about your own irrational “rights” is totally unsustainable. Where’s the community, the tolerance? Where’s the embrace of the authentic instead of the phony?

Where is truth? Lies are not sustainable, either.

Human sexual excess consumes vast amounts of energy. And what’s the return? Once we account for the clean-up, the management, the waste, our culture’s current embrace of sexual license is an environmental disaster. The Gulf Oil spill is pond scum in comparison.

Sexually transmitted infections are at epidemic levels among American youth, the “gay” positive, hook-up generation. Only later does the tragic outcome become evident: disfigurement, infertility, sometimes death. Related health costs alone are unsustainable.

Just think about the lost human potential of aborted babies. And infertility means population reduction, less human capital, a less productive society…. waste.

And pornography? It’s the kerosene on this smoldering fire, a hidden public health crisis everyone pretends is not destroying families and children.

Devolution, not evolution.  Regress, not progress. It’s ancient tribalism with Twitter and I-Phones, instead of the careful but rewarding outcome of real, enduring –“sustainable”– relationships.

There’s one other element critical to actual progress, actual sustainability —- doing the will of God.

What has God said about sexuality? It’s reserved for man/woman marriage, and that’s the framework for the most sustainable human relationship of all time.

Linda Harvey is founder and president of Mission America, is a radio talk show host in Ohio and a weekly columnist for WND.com.

Catholic hospital agrees to sterilize women to appease liberals destroying religious freedom

(NaturalNews) In the age of authoritarian political correctness, it has come to the point where even threats of legal action are enough to cause targeted entities to surrender basic beliefs and values, even at the cost of violating centuries-old tradition.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the American Civil Liberties Union has managed to compel a Catholic hospital in California to sterilize a woman with just the threat of a lawsuit, even though such procedures contravene church teachings about the preservation and sanctity of life.

The hospital, Mercy Medical, located in the liberal bastion of San Francisco, is operated as a subsidiary of Dignity Health, California’s largest private health care provider. Rachel Miller, a woman who is scheduled to give birth by C-section in late September, also wanted her doctor to perform a tubal ligation following her birth, a procedure that would render her infertile.

However, Mercy hospital staff initially refused, explaining that as a Catholic institution, such a procedure violates centuries of belief and tradition.

It should also be noted that under the Constitution’s First Amendment protection of religious liberty, the hospital – like most other Catholic hospitals around the country – has a right to act on its beliefs. Catholic dogma teaches that sterilization and other forms of birth control are sinful because they deliberately sabotage the procreative aspect of human sexuality, which is a violation of natural law.

Religious freedom doesn’t apply any more

In addition, the hospital’s policies reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings; doctors there are not permitted to perform abortions and do not engage in in vitro fertilization.

None of this mattered to Miller or the ACLU, which is supposedly a legal organization that supports constitutional rights.

Miller says that without Mercy’s authorization for the sterilization procedure, she would be forced to travel 160 miles in order to get it. Instead, she sought the ACLU’s intervention; in a letter to the hospital, ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill argued that denying Miller’s procedure was a violation of California law (sex discrimination) and as such, the organization was prepared to file a lawsuit against Mercy for refusing to provide “pregnancy-related care.”

It should be noted that in most cases, women (and men) opt for sterilization procedures after the birth of their children because they have decided that they don’t want to have any more kids. There is no “medical necessity” there in the real sense of the term (as in “to save a life”). Moreover, in the modern era, Catholic institutions’ decisions to not provide sterilization and abortion services dates back a hundred years. Why is such a refusal on religious grounds now “illegal?”

We may never know the answers because the hospital has caved to the threat of a suit rather than opting to stand up for its principles. As noted by The Daily Caller:

In a post on the group’s website, ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill said she’s happy the hospital will comply with Miller’s request, but that the group won’t be satisfied until all hospitals are forced to stop following Catholic doctrine.

“Rachel is lucky — she stood up for herself, and she is getting the health care that she and her doctor have decided is best for her,” Gill said. “But as long as Catholic hospitals are allowed to apply the ethical and religious directives, many women will be denied care because Catholic bishops are telling medical professionals how to operate.”

Culture of depopulation and death

Actually, the centuries-old Catholic doctrine guides such decisions; bishops are merely the human conduit through which doctrine is administered and preserved.

None of this matters to the liberals, who continually seek to deny some Americans fundamental rights they don’t agree with using the color of law, the courts, or a presidential executive order while claiming to be upholding the fundamental rights of others.

The fact that the issues of sterilization and abortion excite liberals does not come as any surprise, however, given the Left’s vehement support of Planned Parenthood’s grotesque, Nazi-like exploitation of aborted human babies; it’s as though liberal dogma includes the concept of depopulation.

For example, as Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported in November 2014, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, a pro-vaccine organization, found that tetanus vaccines given to millions of young women in Kenya had been confirmed by laboratories to contain a sterilization chemical that causes miscarriages.

Abortion and sterilization on demand. Waging war on Christian religious faith and doctrine. Violating centuries of dogma and the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of narrow liberal pro-death policies.

Does this sound like the America our founders fought and died to create?

Pope: Marriage Is for Procreation

VATICAN CITY, September 11, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – The family “as God wants it” is under attack. That’s the warning from the Holy Father yesterday to the international marriage group Equipes Notre Dame (END), or Teams of Our Lady.

Pope Francis told the END couples to defend traditional marriage. He said that today’ “the family — as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses and also the generation and education of children — is deformed by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization.”

Equipes Notre Dame was formally established in 1947 by Fr. Henri Caffarel in order to help married couples achieve holiness by “belonging to a team within a Christian community.” Today, they exist in 48 different countries around the globe according to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Pope encouraged END couples to live the spirituality of their movement, stressing that married fidelity is a gift from God.

Pope Francis warned that amid the modern, busy, individualistic world, spouses must go against the current and take the time to “sit down” and talk with each other to strengthen their marriage. He also stressed the central role of prayer within the family, describing it as “a beautiful and necessary tradition that has always supported the faith and hope of Christians, and unfortunately abandoned in many regions of the world.”

Besides maintaining their own integrity, His Holiness said that families must reach out to other families, particularly those who are wounded and vulnerable through personal and social problems. “We must have the courage to enter into contact with these families in a discreet but generous way.”

His Holiness noted that the END group’s visit to Rome comes just before the Synod on the Family. Calling the family the “vital cell of our societies,” he said that Christian couples must strengthen and encourage other families by announcing Jesus to them. He told the END couples that families must witness and announce the joy that the Lord enables families to experience “so that others may take the same path.”

“It is necessary, therefore, that you bring your witness and your experience to help Christian communities to discern the real situations in which these people find themselves, to welcome them with their wounds, and to help them to journey in faith and in truth,” he admonished them. “Nor must you forget the unspeakable suffering of the children who experience these painful family situations: you can give a lot to them.”

New study reveals adverse outcomes from fertility treatments

Children born after Artificial Reproductive Treatments have a greater risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and extended newborn hospital stay according to a recent study of perinatal outcomes.

Dr Joseph Stanford, MD, from University of Utah, with his colleagues, analyzed the adverse perinatal outcomes associated with Artificial Reproductive Technologies compared to outcomes from spontaneous pregnancies in Florida, Maryland and Utah.

The authors analyzed data from a population-based surveillance system designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and monitor maternal health and perinatal outcomes.

The study represented 1,022,597 women with live births between 2004 and 2008. Women who received treatment with assisted reproductive technology (ART), intrauterine insemination with ovulation stimulation (IUI), and ovulation stimulation alone (OS) were compared to women who never used fertility treatment and subfertile women who conceived without any treatment.

The authors of the study found that premature birth, very premature birth and low birth weight are six times greater amongst women who undergo ART in the conception cycle compared to all women trying to conceive in the population of the study. Also the newborn hospitals stay of 1 week or longer were three times higher for all ART pregnancies compared with women who never used fertility treatment.

Indeed, it was discussed that much of this risk comes from multiple gestation pregnancies, but even singleton pregnancies achieved by ART had higher risk of complications. Among births of a single baby, and compared with women who never used fertility treatments, women who conceived with ART were three times more likely to experience preterm birth (<37 weeks the due date)

Another finding of the study was that the use of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ovarian stimulation increased 2 times the risk of prematurity (<34 weeks before the due date) compared with women who never used fertility treatments.

Although preterm birth and low birthweight, were associated with ART, subfertility status itself was significantly associated with very low birthweight.

The authors explained that in contrast, there was a protective association of ‘other various’ fertility treatment on very low birthweight, compared with subfertile women who conceived without treatment. Subfertile couples could achieve pregnancy using fertility treatment protocols, such as Naprotechnology, that are less likely to result in adverse perinatal outcomes that cause long hospital stay for the newborn such as preterm birth or low birthweight.

Hormonal Birth Control And HIV Risk: Some Contraceptives Alter Vaginal Immune System, Increasing HIV Risk

http://www.medicaldaily.com

A recent study may have found a biological explanation for why certain types of injectable and oral contraceptives can put women at increased risk of HIV infections. The study suggests these medications may suppress the vaginal immune response in certain women, a finding which sheds new light on the possible impact hormonal contraceptive methods can have on the vaginal environment.

Over the years, different studies have produced conflicting results on whether or not a relationship between hormonal contraceptives and HIV infection risk actually exists. However, the new study, published in the journal mBio, will hopefully set the record straight. According to lead author Dr. Raina Fichorova in a recent statement, the link does exist and the reason for previous inconsistencies in research “lies in the microbial communities of the reproductive tract.”

For the study, Fichorova and her fellow researchers analyzed cervical swabs and data from 823 HIV-negative women between the ages of 18 and 35 who had been enrolled in family planning clinics in Uganda and Zimbabwe. The women were divided into three groups: those who used injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera or DMPA), those who used estrogen-progesterone oral contraceptives, and those who used no hormonal contraceptives. By the end of the project, around 200 of the original group of women had contracted HIV. The medical history of those who contracted the virus has given important insight into the role that hormonal contraceptives play in a women’s natural immunity.

An individual’s risk of contracting HIV heavily depends on their method of exposure. Blood transfusions have the highest risk of HIV transmission followed by receiving anal sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission risk for women who have vaginal intercourse with an HIV-positive man is about eight every 10,000 exposures. Of course, this number does not take into account factors that may increase transmission risk (such as already having an STD) or those that may decrease the risk (such as using a condom, which reduces the risk by up to 80 percent). Part of the reason why a woman is not guaranteed to contract HIV after exposure is because the vagina’s immune system provides a natural defense against infections and helps to form a protective barrier of mucous between a woman and potential pathogens.

The study’s results revealed that both DMPAs and oral contraceptives inhibited the vagina’s natural defense and thus put the women at an increased risk of contracting the viral and bacterial pathogens. However, this risk increase does not extend to all women taking these forms of contraceptives. According to the authors, the effects of hormonal contraceptives on cervical immunity “depend on the genital tract microenvironment,” and “a weakened mucosal barrier against HIV” may result from the combination of both hormonal contraceptive use and pre-existing infections.

Women who had vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis or disturbed microbial environments in their vagina were observed as being most at-risk for HIV infections. For example, results showed that women who had herpes or disturbed vaginal microbiota and took levonorgestrel-containing oral contraceptives were more likely to have increased levels of proteins that attract HIV host cells. Also, DMPA appeared to suppress a woman’s immune responses to Trichomonas vaginalis, a widespread parasite that aids HIV infection.

Along with clarifying the link between contraceptive use and HIV, the findings also highlight the importance of further investigating the possible effects that hormonal contraceptives can have on female reproductive health.

“Studies of new contraceptive methods should evaluate how they impact the microbial environment and how they act in concert with preexisting, treatable microbial disturbances, to weaken the mucosal barrier against HIV and other infections,” Fichorova explained in a statement.

According to Fichorova, the ultimate goal is to prevent the unwanted side effects of available hormonal contraceptives and improve the lives of millions of women throughout the world. “Women deserve to know more so that they can make informed choices about birth control.

Source: Fichorova RN, Chen P, Morrison CS, et al. The Contribution of Cervicovaginal Infections to the Immunomodulatory Effects of Hormonal Contraception. Mbio. 2015.

The Rigging of a Synod? – The Betrayal of our Families

September 6, 2015 (Voice of the Family) – A new book, The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?: An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, will shed much light on allegations that the Extraordinary Synod, held in Rome last October, was subject to manipulation. The book has been written by highly respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin and carries the endorsement of Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban. Cardinal Napier is one of the fifteen members of the permanent council of cardinals and bishops overseeing the Synod of Bishops, he attended the Extraordinary Synod and was a member of the committee that drafted the final relatio synodi of that Synod.

In this brief review we would like to draw attention to a few of the key examples of the manipulation that is alleged to have taken place at the Extraordinary Synod. We encourage readers to consult the book itself to make themselves aware of the full extent of the concerns raised and of the serious questions that now need to be asked in light of the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family. Voice of the Family has already drawn attention to the instrumentum laboris of that Synod, which, our analysis asserts, “threatens the entire structure of Catholic teaching on marriage, the family and human sexuality.”

Cardinal Napier told Edward Pentin that a few months before the Extraordinary Synod an official at the Synod Secretariat had come to see him to share serious concerns. The official told Napier that he was “very disturbed” by what he had witnessed and commented that “this thing is being manipulated, it’s being engineered. [They] want a certain result.”

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Vatican journalist Ed Pentin

The Synod Secretariat is managed by the General Secretary of the Synod, Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri (pictured above). The organisation of the both Synods on the Family has been the responsibility of Cardinal Baldisseri, though the cardinal has stressed the close involvement of Pope Francis at every stage of the process. In an interview given in January 2015 he said:

“Pay attention, as this is something one really should know. The pope is the president of the synod of bishops. I am the secretary general, but I don’t have anyone else above me, such as a prefect of a congregation or a president of a council. I don’t have anyone else above me, only the pope. The pope presided over all of the council meetings of the secretariat. He presides. I am the secretary. And so the documents were all seen and approved by the pope, with the approval of his presence. Even the documents during the synod, such as the Relatio ante disceptationem, the Relatio post disceptationem, and the Relatio synodi were seen by him before they were published.”

Cardinal Baldisseri was publicly implicated in the manipulation of the synod on September 20 2014, in accusations made by Vaticanist Marco Tossati in La Stampa, which alleged that a cardinal had been heard explaining  how he would manipulate the synod fathers. Pentin’s book identifies that cardinal as Baldisseri.

The manipulation seems already to have been well advanced by this date. Pentin recounts that some months before the Extraordinary Synod the Synod Secretariat had contacted the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, known for its fidelity to Catholic moral teaching, to recommend experts to participate in the Synod. The Secretariat had made the same request to certain institutes of the Roman Curia. In the event none of the experts recommended by these institutes was invited participate in the Synod. A high-level Vatican source has stated that the opinion of these institutes was sought in order that the Secretariat could ensure that orthodox experts could be excluded from participating in the synod. It is also alleged that an official of the Synod Secretariat was told to go through a list of potential experts and exclude all those who were “conservative” and retain all those who were “progressive”.

The manipulation of the synod came to public attention following the release on 13th October 2014 of the interim relatio post disceptationem. This document, which purported to represent the contributions of the synod fathers, is alleged to have seriously misrepresented the views of the assembly. Cardinal Pell called it “tendentious, skewed” and said that “it didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers”. Cardinal Napier alleges that the document contained opinions that were never expressed by any of the synod fathers. Pentin writes:

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Cardinal Napier remembers a synod father saying he had put his name to the document, but it was not what he had written. “Others asked: How then could this be stated as coming from the synod when the synod hasn’t even discussed it yet?”

Another synod participant added his voice of concern, saying, “there are things said there about the synod saying this, that, and the other, but nobody ever said them. So that’s when it became plain that there was some engineering going on”, the South African cardinal recalled.

The document caused great controversy because it undermined Catholic teaching on key points of doctrine, including the indissolubility of marriage, cohabitation and homosexual unions. The manipulation surrounding the creation of this interim report is discussed at length in the book. More surprising, because previously unreported, is the manipulation involved in the drafting of the final report.

Pentin sheds light on other controversial events that took place during the synod, giving a detailed narrative of events surrounding the removal of a book co-authored by, among others, five Cardinals, from the mail boxes of the synod fathers in the synod hall. Pentin reports that Cardinal Baldisseri said that the sending of the books was not “opportune”. Many readers will ask: how could the mailing of books upholding Catholic teaching on the very point of doctrine under discussion not be considered “opportune”? Only, it would seem, if anything which would derail the previously laid plan for the synod was considered inopportune.

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? provides a great deal of insight into the theological views of Cardinal Baldisseri. Pentin writes that:

“a sense of alarm was experienced among many holders of traditional Church doctrine and practice in May 2014, when, in an interview with Belgian Church newspaper Tertio, Cardinal Baldisseri said it was time to update the Church’s doctrine on marriage—for example, in connection with divorce and the situation of divorced persons and those who are in civil partnerships. ‘The Church is not timeless, she lives amid the vicissitudes of history, and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today’, Cardinal Baldisseri said. ‘The message should be in the present, with all respect for the integrity of the one who receives that message. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family, and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.’”

In January Cardinal Baldisseri told a conference organised by Pontifical Council for the Family that “there’s no reason to be scandalized that there is a cardinal or a theologian saying something that’s different from the so-called ‘common doctrine’”. “This doesn’t imply a going against” he said, rather “it means reflecting, because dogma has its own evolution; that is a development, not a change.” He added: “Everything that we know today is a mystery, and since we are standing before a mystery and a mystery is not immediately known, we advance in our understanding. We need to keep this in mind. And so [Kasper’s proposal] should be welcomed as a contribution.” These comments were made in despite of the fact that Cardinal Kasper’s proposal directly contradicts the teaching of the Church as expressed most recently by John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio in 1981 and in official documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1994 and 1998.

There is good reason to believe that Cardinal Baldisseri’s theological views have had a very great influence on the synodal texts. One of the most shocking passages in Pentin’s book is an account of Baldisseri’s attempts to alter the content of the pre-synod report, by placing pressure on Cardinal Erdö. These revelations alone would be enough to make the book one of the most important contributions in the lead-up to the next Synod.

Voice of the Family has drawn attention to the “many problematic texts on the subject of the natural law” in the instrumentum laboris of the Extraordinary Synod and the omission of any reference to natural law in the relatio synodi of that Synod. It would seem, in the light of information presented by Pentin in the book, that this may be another example of Cardinal Baldisseri’s damaging influence.

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, under Cardinal Baldisseri’s leadership, produced documents that undermined Catholic teaching on a whole range of issues relating to human sexuality, marriage and the family. The instrumentum laboris of the Ordinary Synod extends the assault on Catholic doctrine to an even wider number of areas. The Synod Secretariat’s grave failures have real implications for real families, struggling as they are in a society ever more hostile to authentic moral principles and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Catholics at all levels of the Church should be extremely concerned both by Cardinal Baldisseri’s theological opinions and by the well-grounded accusations of manipulation contained in this book. It is difficult to see how Catholics can have any confidence in the synodal process while he remains General Secretary of the Synod.
This article was originally published on Voice of the Family and is re-published with permission.

Pro-Life, Married, and Contracepting: Is There a Problem?

http://www.patheos.com

In light of the recent Planned Parenthood videos, I’ve been thinking about a group of pro-life friends who don’t fit the Catholic categories. These are staunchly pro-life Christians who believe sex should be saved for marriage, that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman, but who take contraception as the ‘default mode’ for marital relations, and sterilization as an acceptable way to avoid pregnancy indefinitely.

There are variations within that broad definition, but that’s the gist of it.

When Catholics talk about the connection between contraception and abortion, these couples do not quite fit the pattern. They use contraception (or sterilization) the way Catholics use NFP: If a pregnancy should result despite the couple’s attempt to avoid conceiving, they chalk it up to the will of God and joyfully accept the bundle of surprise happiness.

Why do these couples contracept? Because they’ve been told to, mostly. Keep in mind that even Catholics virtually never speak of the question, and we have Humanae Vitae. Christians of all brands tend to assume that if there is vast pastoral silence on a matter, then whatever the culture is saying must be right.

Thus these couples take what their pastors do have to say about love and marriage and sex, then fit the cultural norms into the gaps.

Do we have a problem?

I am not writing here a full argument against contraception. You can get started on that here, or here, or here. What I want to talk about is the one weird trick contraception plays on marriage, and how that trickles down to everyone else.

When we talk about contraception, especially methods with no abortifacient potential, people tend to say, “Well, NFP is the same thing. You’re preventing births. You’re just using time, rather than a physical barrier, as your thing to avoid pregnancy.”

This gets a little comical half a second later, when you say, “Gosh, if they are the same thing, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t switch.”

They are most definitely not the same thing. Choosing to abstain is radically different from choosing to have sex. It is much harder to play Scrabble while having sex, for one thing.

The whole point of contraception is that you intend to have sex but don’t want the consequences that might follow. The whole point of NFP is that because you are concerned about the consequence, you choose not to have sex.

What does this do to you as a person? To you as a couple? To you as a member of society?

The thing that contraception does is that it turns sex into something you are convinced that you need.

This is a problem because it is a lie, and a deadly one.

How To Kill A Marriage Quick

I’m a fan of the marital act. Not only can I show the goods to back up that claim, but longtime readers can attest that one of my intermittent themes is airing my suspicions about that handful of Catholics who fear that someone, somewhere, is abstaining for the pure pleasure of it.

The precise manner and frequency of intercourse is something each married couple has to work out for themselves, but two things tend to screw up a marriage fast. The first is a spouse who is resentful of the other person’s interest in them (a real problem for some, but not the topic of this post). The second is a spouse who is resentful of the reality that even married people can’t just drop their pants any time they want.

Related posts you might want to pause and peruse right now:

Will Suffering Make Your Marriage Better or Worse?
Is Abstinence Hard on a Marriage?

I am under no illusion that abstinence is easy, see “fan of the marital act,” above. Contraception first slid into the Christian world in response to that challenge: Maybe there’s a way that couples can make necessary abstinence easier by, you know, not abstaining.

We could argue that this (immoral) shift was merely a case of looking for a way to mitigate a difficult situation. Christians, after all, do like to relieve suffering when we can.

Perhaps so. But since that time, the availability and widespread use of contraception has persuaded couples that the devices aren’t merely a convenience but a necessity. We have become convinced that because abstinence is difficult, it is dangerous. We have become convinced that abstinence is a threat to our happiness, and thereby a threat to marriage. We are persuaded that if there exists a sexual drive, that drive must be satisfied. Self-denial is the new cyanide.
Marriage Really Is the Bedrock of Society

If abstinence is deadly to married people, the logic follows, then it must be bad for everyone.

Whereas NFP always reminds you that abstinence is a part of life we must make peace with, contraception says no, don’t make that peace. Very quickly we become persuaded we must have this thing that we want, because it is a necessity.

Thus the spiritual fruit of marriage extends outward to the wider society: If married people have to indulge-or-bust, then surely the same applies to engaged couples? To people dating seriously? To those who are just lonely and want some affection? To those who have no prospect of marriage, but have a sexual drive all the same?

After all, there is nothing different, biologically or psychologically, between a married person and everyone else. If a married person is going to combust for lack of intercourse, it follows that others might too. If a married person is incapable of maintaining healthy, balanced, rewarding relationships unless the sex drive is perpetually sated, it follows that others have the same need for satiation.

And if the married person, who has the advantage of a dear friend on hand for companionship and assistance and warmth and kindness, is unable to experience depth and emotional intimacy and chaste physical touch unless sex be a part of that relationship, it follows that others desiring close human connections have no hope — unless they, too, get the sexual gratification that is apparently necessary if there is to be any happiness.

These are lies of course. You won’t combust for lack of sex. You can have close, warm, satisfying relationships without having to include the sexual act in those relationships.

But these are the lies that contraception teaches us, whether we are intending to learn them or not.

Not Just Same-sex Marriage: Other Unions Will Be Imposed Upon the American People

http://www.nomblog.com

Now that the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been arrogantly dismissed by the Supreme Court, other groups are looking to have their unions included in the “marriage” category. One such example is polygamists, led by the reality stars from the series ‘Sister Wives.’ The Blaze reports that these ‘Sister Wives’ stars are invoking same-sex marriage legalization in an attempt to overturn Utah’s polygamy ban.

Brown and his wives, Robyn, Christine, Janelle and Meri — the stars of “Sister Wives” — are asking judges to reject an appeal by Utah of a judge’s 2013 decision to strike a portion of the state’s ban on polyamorous relationships, KSTU-TV reported.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the law’s ban on cohabitation among individuals who are not married runs in contrast to the First and 14th Amendments, and essentially violates Brown’s religious freedom.

“From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions,” Jonathan Turley, an attorney for Brown, wrote to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court in Denver. ”This case is about criminalization of consensual relations and there are 21st century cases rather than 19th century cases that control.”

Brown has maintained that the legal battle is not about forcing acceptance of bigamy or challenging the rights of states to preclude individuals from holding multiple marriage licenses, but that it is, instead, about battling back against criminalization.

The state, though, maintains that polyamorous relationships are harmful to women and children.

“By only striking the cohabitation provision, the District Court left Utah with the same law maintained by most states in the Union prohibiting bigamy,” Turley wrote. “What was lost to the state is precisely what is denied to all states: the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens.”

When marriage is no longer protected as the union between one man and one woman, society opens itself up to harmful unions that not only further damage the institution, but also work to destroy the family.

Given that the family is the building block of society, our government should be looking to protect marriage and the family — not redefine and destroy it.

For Year of Mercy, pope extends possibilities for absolution

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion and has decreed the full validity during the year of the sacrament of confession celebrated by priests of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

“This jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” the pope wrote in a letter to Archbisho