News & Commentary

Nearly 50 New Pro-Life Laws Have Been Introduced Since President Trump’s Election

donaldtrump47The year 2017 already is bringing strong hopes for future babies in the womb.

World News Service reports state legislators have introduced almost 50 pro-life bills already this year that would increase protections for unborn babies and moms. Pro-life leaders said the November election results kindled new hopes that these protections will pass state legislatures and be upheld in the courts.

“With the election of a pro-life president, with all of the gains that we made across the different states with last year’s election, I think we are very optimistic in passing laws that protect the unborn baby and their moms,” Ingrid Duran of the National Right to Life Committee told the news service.

LifeNews has reported on many of the new bills, including measures that would prohibit brutal dismemberment abortions and late-term abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates babies can feel pain. Other bills would defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

In Missouri alone, lawmakers introduced dozens of pro-life bills this year, including prohibitions on sales or donations of aborted babies’ body parts, according to the report.

Kentucky lawmakers used the first week of their legislative session to pass two pro-life bills into law. The two new laws prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require women to receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to see it prior to having an abortion. The ACLU is challenging the ultrasound law.

Arkansas is another example. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law last week that bans brutal dismemberment abortions that rip apart babies in the womb and pull them out in pieces.

Some states previously had Democrat majorities in at least one house that blocked pro-life measures; but in November, that changed. Voters in Iowa and Kentucky, for example, elected new pro-life Republican majorities to both houses, which means pro-life bills are much more likely to pass.

Here’s more from the report:

Last year, lawmakers approved 60 new pro-life laws across the country, and leaders expect more of the same focus this year, simply with more energy.

Eric Scheidler, director of Pro-Life Action League, told me the surge of pro-life bills is a reaction to years of “elitist cultural bullying.” He pointed to President Donald Trump’s choice of pro-life advisers: Vice President Mike Pence, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

“It isn’t the person of Trump, but it’s the whole phenomenon and all the people around him and the people he’s appointed. That’s really what’s driving this optimism,” Scheidler said.

Denise Burke of Americans United for Life said there is a lot of hope that President Donald Trump will appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who will uphold these laws.

“I think there’s increasing confidence among many pro-life allies and legislators that Hellerstedt [the recent Supreme Court decision that struck down Texas abortion clinic regulations] may have a limited shelf life with the potential new Supreme Court,” Burke said. “So we’re seeing a lot of what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, but just with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.”

Trump is expected to announce his choice for the open U.S. Supreme Court seat on Tuesday. During the election, when asked what he would do to protect the “sanctity of human life,” Trump said it starts with the Supreme Court.

“I will protect it and the biggest way to protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people in the court — and actually the biggest way to protect is electing me as president,” he said.

Louisiana March is the Biggest One Ever as 9,000 Pro-Lifers Flood the Streets of Shreveport

louisiana9STATE ERIN PARFET JAN 31, 2017 | 2:44PM BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

A cool, crisp morning did not stop thousands of pro-life advocates from flooding the streets of Shreveport, Louisiana in the second of three similar weekend events in the Pelican State, KSLA-12 News of Shreveport reported.

“We want to fight for the silent, the ones that can’t speak for themselves,” said Mary Britt, who supported the Louisiana Life March North.

The Shreveport event follows a similar event in Baton Rouge the weekend before, and there will be a third and final pro-life march in Alexandria this weekend. Some estimated the march drew as many as 9,000 pro-lifers to the streets to march in defense of unborn babies’ right to life.

However, abortion supporters also showed up at the event.

“The funny thing is that there are no babies involved in abortion,” stated Debbie Hollis, Vice President for Louisiana’s National Organization for Women, according to KSLA. “The fetus is not even viable until 24 weeks gestation. And we do have a ban at 20 weeks here in Louisiana. So, no one’s killing babies.”

But Hollis’s pro-abortion semantics hide the truth. Whether called a fetus or a baby, the human being in the womb is a totally unique, living human being who deserves a right to life.

A Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics study demonstrates how premature babies born at 22 to 23 weeks LMP (20 weeks post-fertilization) are surviving at a greater rate than ever before. These very premature babies, when provided “active” care, survived 67 percent of the time until hospital discharge after active care, and 85 percent of them survived without severe complications.

Data released by the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrates how percentages of premature babies dying shortly after birth decreased with mechanical ventilation. Furthermore, mechanical ventilation also decreased the extent of neurophysiological impairment in those babies born prematurely when reassessed at 18-22 months of age.

At 20 weeks, a baby’s heart is beating and can feel pain. At 21 weeks, a baby is capable of swallowing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hair becomes visible at week 22, and footprints and fingerprints at week 23, the Mayo Clinic continues.

“With intensive medical care, some babies born this week might be able to survive,” said the Mayo Clinic of babies born at 23 weeks.

Yet, babies at this stage still can be legally aborted for any reason in many states across the U.S.

“Women do die when they don’t have access to safe, legal abortion,” Hollis continued. “We all know the horror stories that our grandmothers told us before the ’70s.”

This also is a manipulation of the truth. Though the birth process has been the same since the beginning, standards of prenatal care and hygiene have improved since the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Blood loss and infection, childbed fever, and postpartum hemorrhage were more common causes of death in generations of yesteryear.

This isn’t to say that some women may not die during childbirth, with a rate of 24 deaths per 100,000 live births, up from 19 deaths out of 100,000 for the years 2000-2014, according to Time Magazine citing the medical journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology. However, the report continues in stating that the World Health Organization determined half of these deaths to be preventable.

There also is evidence that legalizing abortion does not reduce maternal mortality rates. In countries like Ireland and Poland that largely protect unborn babies from abortion, maternal mortality rates are lower than neighboring countries where abortion is legal. Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. A study from Chile also found that maternal mortality declined because of better access to health care, not changes in the country’s abortion laws.

In the case of abortion, a life is lost 100 percent of the time: that of the child.

“There’s just absolutely no need in it,” said Betsy Henderson who supported the pro-life march. “There’s other places a baby could go. There’s women that are hurting and they want to have babies.”

 

Birth Control and Heart Disease- Go Red for Women

go redDid You Know?

According to a Royal College of General Practitioners study, women using oral contraceptives have a five times greater risk of death from cardiovascular causes. 1

Five of the pill’s many deadly side effects are pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, hypertensive disease, heart failure and stroke.

In 2004, in the U.S., there were a total of:

  • 3,565 recorded female deaths from pulmonary embolism;
  • 8,065 recorded female deaths from cardiac arrest;
  • 16,445 recorded female deaths from hypertensive diseases;
  • 13,748 recorded female deaths from heart failure;
  • 22,658 recorded female deaths from stroke. 2

How many of these women were on the birth control pill? That’s a good question. By looking at the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death, it does not ask if the deceased was using any form of birth control. It does, however, ask if tobacco use contributed to death, so why not ask about the pill?

This is an example of what the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death should look like; currently it does not include a question about the pill being a cause of death. 2

There are serious problems that women face because of the pill, and we must TALK about it and DO SOMETHING about it!

If you are taking the birth control pill or other birth control products you may have…

Increased risk of heart disease
The Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies at the University of Udine, in Italy, conducted a study in 2008 that showed the pill increases the risk of heart disease. Women on the pill were over four times more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) and 3.9 times more likely to have levels of CRP high enough to cause an “intermediate risk” for heart disease. 3

Increased risk of breast cancer
In her talk on “A New Beginning” at the 2006 Humanae Vitae Conference, endocrinologist Dr. Maria Kraw discussed the pill’s serious side effects. “Looking at 54 studies of the pill, she observed that researchers found that it caused a 24 percent increased risk of breast cancer.” 4

Increased risk of cerbrovascular disease and cervical cancer
A woman taking the pill is 1.9 times more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from cervical cancer. This came from a study that was published in 1999 in a British medical journal. “The 25 year follow-up study with 46,000 British women also notes that the enhanced risk of death lasts for 10 years after women have stopped taking the pill.” 5

Increased risk of plaque buildup in arteries
A study on 1,300 women aged 35 to 55 found that the women who take oral contraceptives may have more plaque buildup in their arteries. The study was done in Belgium by researchers at the University of Ghent. It was discovered that every 10 years of oral contraceptive use was connected with a 20–30 percent increase in plaque buildup. 6

Increased risk of raising your blood pressure
Studies done on 60,000 women, 35,000 of whom were taking birth control pills, showed that “a rise in blood pressure occurs in virtually all women who use OCs [oral contraceptives] for [six] months or longer.” The studies also showed an increase in heart attacks and strokes. 7

Increased risk of liver problems
Several cases of liver tumors were found in young women who had been taking oral contraceptives. These case studies took place in the U.S., Great Britain, Italy, South Africa and several developing countries, and they show a connection between tumors of the liver and the use of oral contraceptives. 8

http://www.thepillkills.org/pillkills_2.php

The 29 Most Lit Signs at the 2017 March for Life

http://22catholic.com/2017/01/the-29-most-lit-signs-at-the-2017-march-for-life/

On Friday January 27, well over half a million gathered in Washington to commemorate 44 years since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide. (2013 was 650,000 and regulars kept telling me this was the biggest crowd ever.)

Many people held printed signs with phrases like “I Am the Pro-Life Generation,” “Stop Abortion Now,” or “[Organization or Church] Supports Life.” But what always impresses me are the handwritten signs that show a personal conviction.

I spent much of the March taking pictures of homemade signs and posting them to Twitter. The morning after, I went through and found the best of those signs for this story.

Here are 29 that I think are totally LIT! Click any for full resolution.

MFL0

Unplanned Pregnancies can do great things!

MFL5

No excuse for killing a child

MFL4

The loving option…

MFL 10

Real social justice!

MFL1

Every group can be pro-life and this man is a great example of this. (And he shows intersectionality which is a very important concept now in social justice / rights.)

MFL 7

I’m with Both (mom & child).

MFL6

Whole life pro-life ethic.

MFL3

Another post with intersectionality pointing out the racist nature of current and historical abortion practice.

MFL2

Take your chances on life!

MFL 9

Simple.

MFL 8

These people came all the way from Scotland to March with us.

MFL 28

Jesus loves everyone, but the Gospels show a special love for those who’ve fallen.

MFL 27

Love all women!

MFL 26

A Down Syndrome diagnosis should not be a death sentence.

MFL 25

Every life is worth saving… from someone who is vocally pro-abortion.

MFL 24

People are willing to adopt.

MFL 23

Total Nerd. This is from Dr Who (a show involving time travel) if you don’t get it.

MFL 22

We are all former fetuses.

MFL 21

Here’s a real Feminist!

MFL 11

Let’s be there for every mother.

MFL 20

Women deserve better.

MFL 19

Protect all.

MFL 18

Every person is a person… no matter the size.

MFL 17

I am a CHILD.

MFL 16

Chick-fil-A almost got a product placement.

MFL 15

The true safe space.

MFL 14

This should be what people mean when they say All Lives Matter.

MFL 13

Accept the gift.

MFL 12

A prayer from John Paul II

To conclude, I want to make a few notes:

  1. I took every picture and I got permission for those of minors.
  2. Every picture is run through an HDR filter.
  3. You can reuse these pictures on a few conditions: you give me credit (@FrMatthewLC or Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC), send me a link via social media, and if you want to sell it or use it for advertisement ask me 1st as I want a cut.

Pampers’ astonishingly powerful new ad celebrating babies – born and preborn

(LiveActionNews) – This month, Pampers released a new ad: “A Newborn Journey of Firsts.” Pampers has been known in the past for its beautiful, visually stirring ads that broadcast a pro-life message. A previous ad called babies miracles who “deserve protection” and referred to a baby on an ultrasound screen as a “he” instead of an “it.”

This time, Pampers’s ad — which has already received over 860,000 views on YouTube — opens as a mother lovingly caresses her pregnant belly. The scene switches to an incredible ultrasound where a baby is moving in the womb and, as Pampers puts it, is giving her “first hello.”
Below the video, Pampers writes:

From the first scan to the first cuddle, every first is significant no matter how small they seem. For both baby and mom, it’s a journey full of firsts. And there’s nothing more rewarding than experiencing each and every one together.

And indeed, even though the moment of a baby’s first existence — fertilization — is so small that it can’t be seen by the naked eye, it’s incredibly significant. From that moment, a new, unique, living human being has been created. That human being will never exist again in a different body. All he or she needs is the opportunity to grow and develop. This is the same opportunity that a newborn, a preschooler, and an adolescent need.

Even the liberal Huffington Post agrees, in an article featuring the Pampers ad, that “as soon as fertilization occurs, your baby will begin undergoing thousands of changes over the next 40 weeks.” Note that “fertilization” is named as “your baby’s” first stage of life.

Celebrate, with Pampers, the journey of a baby’s firsts. And see the beauty of human life at its various stages. As the Huffington Post sums it up, “new parents and their babies are in this thing together.”
Yes, from the very first “first moment” of fertilization.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.

I had a plan and a baby wasn’t in it

A personal Testimony

Maria Garabis Davis
January 25, 2017

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/25/i-had-a-plan-and-a-baby-wasnt-in-it/#sthash.YTLsXSnU.dpuf

After 10 years of charting my cycles, I was a natural family planning fail. And I was furious.

I think I took five pregnancy tests that day. Looking back, it may actually have been seven.
I was chasing a toddler at Mass that bright Sunday morning when I was suddenly hit with the realization that I was off schedule. And by off schedule, I mean, way off schedule. My heart was instantly in my throat and I was in full panic mode by the time we gathered my little chickadees into the car and drove the mile and a half home from church. I didn’t even leave the car, hastily explaining to my husband that I needed to run a quick errand, and I was off to the first of three pharmacies I would descend upon that day.

Each time the test blared neon-light positive, I stared down in disbelief and took another. With each one I found myself more urgently pleading with God that the tests were a fluke, some crazy cosmic joke that would somehow have a different ending. When I was finally defeated, I sat on my bed and cried and cried and I continued to cry for the next few weeks.

I couldn’t have thought of worse timing. I was in the middle of applying for local jobs so I could stop my weekly Ohio-DC plane commute, which had become more and more of a burden to my marriage and children. We were financially strapped. I felt underwater with the kids that I had. And worst of all, six weeks earlier I had lost my beloved mother to a sudden and unexpected brain aneurism. Her death had left me reeling. Not only was I scrambling to secure the childcare she had provided, but I had lost my biggest fan. She was an irreplaceable support in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising a family as a working mother. What would I do with another baby?

This unplanned and unexpected pregnancy crushed me. I was confused. I was heartbroken. I felt let down by God. After 10 years of successfully monitoring and charting my cycles, I was a natural family planning fail. And I was furious.

So I moped. And I was cranky. And I cried. And I felt incredibly and insanely guilty because I knew I had nothing really to mope, cry, and be cranky about. Unlike others in unplanned pregnancy situations, I had a job with great benefits, a husband who was excited for another baby, a house full of baby accessories, and no health problems. And I felt guilty that I felt so terribly bitter about having a baby when I had so many close friends and loved ones who bore the heavy, heavy cross of infertility.

My darkness only lifted when someone finally had the guts to say to the moodiest pregnant woman in the world, “Why are you so upset about this? Isn’t this the point of natural family planning anyway — to leave room for God to work so that he can plan your family?”

And I realized it was true. This pregnancy blindsided me because according to my chart it was simply not possible. It wasn’t part of my plan for my life. But nothing is impossible with God and he knew what I needed. Without knowing it, what I needed was this baby.

My Zelie, now two years old, is my greatest source of joy. She has filled a void we didn’t even know existed and established a unique and irreplaceable place in my family. And I simply cannot imagine my life without her.

Through her, I learned that it’s OK to not be excited about an unexpected pregnancy. Because in the end, that pregnancy is not a “pregnancy”: it’s a bright, sweet, bouncing baby with a name.

Every night when I put Zelie to sleep I tell her the same story: Once my heart was broken and God loved me so much that he sent you to heal my heart and fill our home with joy and laughter. She smiles. And I smile too, content with the realization that God’s plan for my life will always surpass all of my expectations.

Maria Garabis Davis holds a Juris Doctor degree and a BA in theology. A former youth minister and now a practicing attorney, she is the founder and co-owner of the greeting card company Pio Prints (www.pioprints.com).  Maria resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and four children. 

‘Life is winning in America’: Thousands join March for Life in Washington

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article129167314.html#storylink=cpy

‘Greatest genocide in history’: Groundbreaking report finds 1 billion abortions in past 100 years

January 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A billion is an almost impossible number to comprehend. It’s a thousand million, or a thousand, thousand-thousands. One mathematician speculated that if one billion children made a human tower, it would reach beyond the moon. Counting to a billion would take almost 100 years. A time-traveler going back about a billion minutes would find himself in the time of Jesus.

Researchers released a first-of-its-kind report today estimating that one billion babies have been killed by abortion worldwide in the past 100 years.

They say their findings reveal the “greatest genocide in history,” estimating that about 12.5 million babies continue to be exterminated every year by abortion.

“First motivated by the moral crisis and information shortage represented by abortion, the research quickly became a sobering and sacred task of tabulating how many babies have been exterminated in the greatest deliberate slaughter of human beings in history, far exceeding all wars and democides of what was already the bloodiest century in history,” the researchers state.

Titled “Abortion Worldwide Report: 100 Nations, 1 Century, 1 Billion Babies” the report is the fruit of years of tracking international abortion statistics by Dr. W. Robert Johnston, who began such tracking in 1983, and Mr. Thomas Jacobson, who began in 2002. The report begins with data from 1920 when the former Soviet Union became the first country in the world to legalize abortion. Data came from 136 nations that currently allow a mother to destroy life within her womb.

The report is extensive, covering the history of infanticide and abortion, national policies, a compilation of abortion data, methodologies for estimating missing year data, and fact-based abortion numbers.

Researcher Jacobson, who is the executive director of the Global Life Campaign, defended in a press conference today the use of the word “genocide” to describe the bloodshed against the preborn.

“This is targeting a specific group of people,” he said.

“It is time to end this genocide and become people and nations again who highly cherish and protect innocent human life, pre-born and born, girls and boys, pregnant mothers, and every person until natural death. It is time to change course from being death-loving cultures to life-giving cultures,” he added.

Researchers took issue with abortion estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group and former arm of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, that 56 million abortions occur worldwide annually. They said the numbers were far too high, and “lacking in credibility.”

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International explained during a press conference today that abortion advocates deliberately inflate abortion numbers to compel leaders in developing countries to accept contraception handouts as a way to bring down abortion numbers.

“The money is not really in abortions,” he explained. It’s in big pharma companies doling out contraceptives to women in developing countries and making $500 a head, what amounts to a $60 billion industry, he said.

“We have to convince these countries using this weapon here, the Abortion Worldwide Report, [and] give them true and solid numbers on the numbers of abortions that are happening [so they won’t be pressured to accept contraception as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist],” he said.

Among their “general findings” related to the abortion data, they show that:

  • contrary to claims that legalized abortion can be “safe, legal, and rare,” “once a government authorizes abortion, it never becomes rare, unless they again prohibit or highly restrict it;”
  • contrary to claims that morality surrounding abortion cannot be legislated to effect change, “government policies, including both laws themselves and the level of enforcement, profoundly affect the level of abortion;” and
  • the highest levels of abortion ever recorded occurred in communist atheistic countries. In fact, the majority (73%) of known abortions were committed in such countries.

Researchers say the report will be useful in a number of ways.

It will help “nations who prohibit abortion, giving them an abundance of reasons why they should preserve their good policies protecting human life, and not make the same mistake as the United States and most other nations.” It will also be useful for nations that allow abortion, allowing them to see the wisdom in “restor[ing] lawful protection of human life from the moment of conception.”

The researchers make a number of recommendations, aimed at individuals, clergy, churches and synagogues, pro-life organizations, and the governments of nations. Some of these include:

  • Anyone who cherishes human rights and justice for all, even the least, should “seek to ultimately end abortion for all reasons except to save the life of the mother.”
  • Individuals should “encourage women who are considering abortion to cherish the life of the child within them. Many women are victimized by abortion, and do not adequately comprehend, at least until afterwards, that they actually took the life of their baby. Choosing life requires addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of women.”
  • Clergy should be “courageous to preach, teach, speak up, and stand for the sanctity of human life and for the protection of preborn children and pregnant mothers.” They should “deliver a sermon or message, or multiple ones, on these topics every year,” helping their “congregation to understand what the Bible says about the sanctity of life, the evil of abortion, [and] forgiveness available through Jesus Christ.”
  • Governments in nations banning abortion should “not yield to pressure from regional and international governmental organizations, and in every inter-governmental meeting, uphold the sanctity of human life and marriage whenever they are put to the challenge.”
  • Governments in nations allowing abortion should “recognize the innocent bloodshed on your land” and “reconsider your policy on abortion, abolish it, and restore your laws protecting human life [from] the moment of conception to natural death.”

Jacobson said that while it “may take many years, perhaps generations” to restore protection of preborn children and pregnant women in every nation, “that is the direction we should be moving.”

“The womb of a woman should be the safest place for a developing baby, not the most dangerous,” he added.

Trump didn’t just re-enact old ban on funding International Planned Parenthood – It’s now much stronger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump’s newly reinstated ban on funding to foreign pro-abortion groups is not just a repeat of old Republican policy it turns out. In fact, it is vastly stronger.

The “Mexico City Policy” has been enacted by Republican presidents since Reagan, and subsequently overturned by Democratic presidents. It bars U.S. taxpayer funding to organizations abroad that perform or promote abortions.

But Trump’s version of the executive order goes even further. Not only does it ban funding to notorious abortion providers such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, but it could even be used to cut off the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and one of the world’s leading opponents of population control, said it is “absolutely” more comprehensive than its predecessors, for two main reasons:

  1. It now applies to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies”—i.e., not just USAID family planning programs; and
  2. It now covers “involuntary sterilizations” in addition to abortion.

“It’s a wonderful policy,” Mosher said. “Trump is not just reverting to the policy of previous Republican administrations, but is actually going well beyond it.”

He said if properly implemented, the Trump policy will save more lives than past Mexico City Policies.

Mosher, more than any scholar in the West, has exposed the ravages of China’s forced “one-child” policy and the Communist regime’s forced sterilization of women. Both have been funded through international “family planning” agencies like the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), which in turn are funded in part by U.S. taxpayer dollars, especially during Democratic administrations.

Thank President Trump for defunding International Planned Parenthood. SIGN THE PETITION. Click here.

Many lives at stake

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its member associations alone performed 964,325 chemical and surgical abortions worldwide in 2015, according to PRI research analyst Jonathan Abbamonte. He told LifeSiteNews that various abortion-friendly, international “family planning” agencies across the world “collectively received nearly $90 million from 2013-2015 in global health assistance funding from the U.S. Government.”

For its part, IPPF said yesterday that it “will lose $100 million USD” under the Trump policy, which it denigrates as a “Global Gag Rule.”

“Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement [of the Mexico City Policy] will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost,” said the IPPF statement.

Defunding more agencies means stopping more abortions

Mosher told LifeSiteNews that by expanding the Mexico City Policy to include all international “health assistance” programs, it becomes easier to stop funding of international groups pushing abortion and sterilization.

“So many health programs are compromised by ‘family planning,’” he said. He cited the theoretical example of an aid organization that offers to provide mosquito netting to a foreign country on the condition that its people take part in programs that incentivize sterilization or promote abortion as part of “family planning.” “Now we get the blanket prohibition on any program that promotes involuntary sterilization.”

PRI’s Abbamonte expanded on the significance of the more comprehensive Trump policy:

This means that the new [Mexico City Policy] not only applies to funding through USAID and the Department of State as it did under the Bush Administration but will now also include global health funding coming from other sources like PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)—which President Bush had exempted from the [Mexico City Policy]—and various government departments like the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Mosher is bullish about Trump’s “very strong” Mexico City Policy defunding UNFPA, which he says has clearly promoted abortion and “involuntary sterilization” overseas, in places such as China and El Salvador. The UN agency, formed in the 1960s, has evolved into the world’s leading organization promoting liberal population control policies, including abortion and coercive sterilization.

“The UNFPA is telling El Salvador that they need to legalize abortion,” Mosher said, noting that this will disqualify it from receiving U.S. funds under the new Trump executive order.

Mosher said the new policy will also help stop abortion in situations where an international organization claims it does not promote abortion as family planning–so it can receive U.S. funds–when it actually does, which happened in the past with International Planned Parenthood’s Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR).

“They would not get away with it now,” he predicted.

Say good-bye to UNFPA?

Mosher explained how the comprehensive Trump Mexico City executive order essentially incorporates all the efforts by Republicans over the last 35 years to stop American funding of anti-life policies overseas. One of those reforms is the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, authored in 1985 by pro-life conservative icon Rep. Jack Kemp, R-NY, and Sen. Bob Kasten, R-WI.

Kemp-Kasten was a pro-life reform that banned U.S. foreign aid to any organization operating abroad found to be involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. The amendment essentially sought to correct loopholes through which coercive abortion and sterilization were funded through U.S. taxpayer funds.

From 1973 on, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has followed the Helms Amendment named after the late conservative stalwart Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC). It bans U.S. government funds for the use of providing abortions as a method of family planning worldwide.

Following the Clinton years, the George H.W. Bush administration determined that the UNFPA’s involvement with China’s abortion and sterilization practices under the Communist dictatorship’s “One Child” policy violated Kemp-Kasten, so Bush barred U.S. funding for UNFPA in 2002.

The renewed ban stood until Obama became president in 2009 and overturned the Bush policy, directing Congress to restore U.S. funding to the UNFPA.

But Trump’s beefed-up Mexico City Policy could end that funding, for at least four to eight more years.

“Kemp-Kasten [the 1985 pro-life appropriations amendment] is written into the [Trump] Mexico City policy,” Mosher said. “Now we have both in the same memorandum. I think this can be used to cut off [U.S.] funding  to the UN Population Fund.”

He added, “The UN is involved in [involuntary] sterilization policies everywhere,” citing China, Vietnam and North Korea as examples.

Pro-abortion fury

IPPF/WHR joined a pro-abortion coalition of nearly 140 groups in protesting the Trump Mexico City Policy and essentially swearing off U.S. funds due to the new restrictions.

IPPF/WHC complained that the new Trump policy “prohibits international organizations from receiving U.S. funding for contraception if they provide, counsel, refer or advocate for abortion services. The Rule prohibits these activities even if organizations carry them out with their own non-U.S. funding, and even if abortion is legal in their own country.”

The reinstated Trump policy retains abortion exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, according to PRI and other observers familiar with the history of the on-again, off-again Mexico City Policy.

Marie Stopes International, the UK-based “family planning” organization that admittedly commits illegal abortions in numerous countries, claimed NGOs could now be defunded merely for informing women that abortion is legal. They stated:

The Mexico City Policy, re-enacted today on ‘Day One’ of President Trump’s term of office, demands that all non-US international organizations in receipt of US Government funding neither perform nor ‘actively promote’ abortion. This effectively means NGOs forfeit all US aid if they so much as tell a woman abortion is a legal option in her country, refer her to another provider or advocate for abortion rights with their own alternative resources.

According to the organization’s financial statement, Marie Stopes received $1.6 million in non-UK and non-Australian “grants” funding in 2014, and $1.5 million in such grants for 2013. But those are classified as “other overseas” funding and do not reveal how much comes from the U.S. government.

“Exciting times”

Mosher, who sits on Trump’s Catholic Advisory Committee, said part of the reason the new president is bolder than other GOP leaders is that “he’s not afraid of anything,” including the media.

“These are exciting times,” he said. “Trump is going to govern as Trump. Who can get to him?”

Other pro-life advocates celebrated the quick action by President Trump to protect human life abroad, and set their sights on further pro-life reforms under the new administration, after an eight-year draught of abortion-affirming policies under Obama.

“Almost immediately, the Trump administration set to work building a different kind of wall: the one between taxpayers and abortion-on-demand,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Perkins highlighted White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s strong pro-life remarks in his first press briefing. “Not only does this help tear down the financial stronghold that groups like Planned Parenthood have on other nations, but it also sends a message to the world that America recognizes that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity.”

President Trump signs executive order defunding International Planned Parenthood

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits federal funding from going towards foreign nonprofit organizations that promote or commit abortions. The action comes just one day after the 44th anniversary of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion-on-demand in America.

The policy, which was implemented by President Ronald Reagan, will effectively defund International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. Trump, who has made promises to defund Planned Parenthood and make permanent the Hyde Amendment, took an important step to halt America’s hand in bankrolling abortion overseas.

SIGN THE PETITION: Click here to add your name to the petition to defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Michael Burgess, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, praised the move, calling it a crucial step in “advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

“Life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it. I applaud President Trump for taking this important action and look forward to continuing to work together in advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

Although nonprofit organizations can keep their funding by complying with the Mexico City Policy, International Planned Parenthood Federation gave up tax dollars when former President George W. Bush reinstated the policy.

One-Third of Colorado Hospitals Refuse to Allow Doctors to Kill Patients in Assisted Suicide

One-Third of Colorado Hospitals Refuse to Allow Doctors to Kill Patients in Assisted Suicide

Erin Parfet   Jan 20, 2017   |   3:38PM    Denver, CO

Hospitals and clinics throughout Colorado are refusing to comply with Proposition 106, Colorado’s newly passed legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide, StatNews reported.

Medical, disability rights, pro-life and religious groups all campaigned against the deadly measure. The Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado actively campaigned against the initiative, a parallel of Oregon’s doctor-prescribed suicide law, spending upward of $1.6 million in their effort to protect lives, the report states.

However, in November, the suicide measure passed in the polls by a two-thirds to one-third vote, and “victory” was declared within an hour of polls closing, the report continued.

“We are deeply disappointed and concerned about Colorado legalizing doctor-assisted suicide,” Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University, told the Denver Post. “The fight is not over.”

Indeed the fight isn’t over on the ground, for several of the largest healthcare systems in the state.

Centura Health, the largest hospital system in the Centennial State operated by a partnership between Catholic Health Initiatives and the Adventist Health System, stated it would “opt out” of performing assisted suicides, according to StatNews.

SCL Health, Colorado’s second largest hospital system and rooted in the Catholic faith, issued a statement that patients requesting physician assistance in suicide “will be offered an opportunity to transfer to another facility of the patient’s choice.”

HealthONE, which is not affiliated with any religious groups, also said it will not allow doctor-prescribed suicides in its eight hospitals, according to the report.

The Colorado legislation permits doctors, nurses and pharmacists to decline participation in assisted suicide, euthanasia and similar practices, based on an individual’s conscience, the report continued.

It is noted by StatNews that one third of Colorado’s acute care hospital beds are under the umbrella of various Catholic-based health systems.

UCHealth and Kaiser Permanente allow physician-assisted suicide in their practices and clinics as permitted by state law, the report continued.

“This is a historic day for all Coloradans, and an especially tremendous victory for terminally ill adults who worry about horrific suffering in their final days,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, Compassion and Choices Action Network President in a statement reported by 9News.

“We are delighted the significant investment paid off and are proud to have lent the expertise and resources to empower the voters of Colorado. We congratulate Colorado for becoming the sixth state where more people have peace of mind at the end of life and fewer suffer unnecessarily.”

However, Alan Rastrelli, medical director for Divine Mercy Supportive Care, a non-profit hospice service, expressed different sentiments in an editorial in the Denver Post.

“The harm of physician-assisted suicide to patients and the healing profession of medicine was lamented in 400 BC by the Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates when he wrote: ‘The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of my patients … and not for their hurt or for any wrong. I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such,’” Rastrelli wrote.

He continued: “The healing profession, with hospice and palliative care, is entrusted with the sacred privilege of assisting their patients compassionately through the dying process, ensuring that patients have the comfort and dignity they deserve. With ‘intensive caring’ we strive to ease their suffering, their fear of death — and their fear of living.”

Rastrelli emphasized that care, not killing, is the answer to help people who are suffering.

“Patients can choose to forgo life-sustaining interventions that may excessively burden them or prolong the dying process,” he wrote. “They can choose to allow a natural death in the comfort of their home, surrounded by loving caregivers. This is the difference between blowing out the candle vs. allowing it to flicker out on its own. Physicians and nurses are to help the patients as their life is ending, not end their life by an unethical act.”

 

These 13 States Would Immediately Ban Abortions if Roe v. Wade is Overturned

Donald Trump’s vow to nominate “pro-life” justices to the U.S. Supreme Court has abortion advocacy groups scared.

Trump promised several times to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence said those justices could pave the way to consign Roe to “the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

But overturning Roe would not immediately protect unborn babies from abortion; instead, it would return the power to legislate abortion to the states.

A new report from the abortion advocacy group NARAL predicts that 13 states immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe.

“This report paints a grim picture of the current status of reproductive freedom in the United States, and if Donald Trump succeeds in appointing Supreme Court justices who overturn Roe v. Wade, our data shows that women will be even worse off,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

The pro-abortion website The Frisky reports more:

The 50-state report points out that 11 states currently have laws on the books criminally banning abortion and two more have near-total criminal bans. That means if Roe is overturned after Trump puts an anti-choice justice on the bench, women seeking abortions in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia could be criminally punished.

This is just an estimate. Analyses vary about state abortion laws post-Roe. Back in 2012, NARAL itself presented a different estimate. Its 2012 report predicted that 17 states would ban abortions if Roe was overturned.

Another estimate by the Center for Reproductive Rights predicted that 31 states and the District of Columbia would ban abortions if Roe were overturned. But a third analysis by attorney Paul Linton in the journal “Issues in Law and Medicine” in 2012 put the estimate at between eight and 11 states, according to research by Dr. Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn.

Here’s more about the latest analysis:

Of course, the downfall of the law guaranteeing women have a right to abortion at least up until viability would drastically jeopardize women in every state’s access to the safe medical procedure, but these 13 states would be even worse. On top of just not being able to go to a clinic to end a pregnancy, women and doctors could literally be fined, go to jail, and/or have a criminal record if they attempt to get or perform the procedure.

This is only partially true. Historically, the pro-life movement and the U.S. legal system have not prosecuted women for abortions, even prior to Roe v. Wade.

While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement continuously has opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions. Current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.

The movement tends to view women, who frequently are pressured or coerced into having an abortion, as second victims of the abortion industry. That is how states viewed the issue prior to Roe v. Wade, too, according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.

In 2016, Forsythe wrote:

This political claim is not an abstract question that is left to speculation—there is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. To state the policy in legal terms, the states prosecuted the principal (the abortionist) and did not prosecute someone who might be considered an accomplice (the woman) in order to more effectively enforce the law against the principal. And that will most certainly be the state policy if the abortion issue is returned to the states.

He noted that California and 19 other states had statutes that technically made it a crime for a woman to participate in her own abortion; however, these were not enforced, and even historians who support Roe v. Wade admit this to be true.

 

The amazing true story behind viral photo of couple: ‘Our baby survived his abortion appointment’

January 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – You may have seen the viral photo on Facebook: a beautiful young couple with a baby that looks to be less than a year old, with the husband holding a sign that reads: “Our baby survived his abortion appointment.”

The photo was taken in 2014 at the West Coast Walk for Life, but went viral in the past few days on Facebook after LiveActionNews shared it on their Facebook.

Image

Clearly there is a powerful story behind the photo. Who is that couple? And how exactly was their baby snatched from the jaws of death?

There aren’t a lot of details available online, but a search found a video shot during the 2014 Walk for Life, with a brief interview with the couple. (The interview begins at about 5:22.)

The baby’s name is Cassius. His father is named Caesar, and his mother Selfa.

Caesar briefly recounted the story for the camera. “People tried to convince my wife to have an abortion and she almost did it,” he explained.

“She set an appointment, and the date that he was scheduled for his execution, for him to be aborted, she decided no, she didn’t want to do it.”

“So we continued on, and here we are, against abortion,” concludes Caesar. “This is our family. And we thank God for all the miracles and all the blessings.”

I’d love to find out more details about how Selfa was brought to decide to choose life.

However, theirs is a simple and powerful story of redemption. It is clear that Caesar and Selfa love their child. The evil advice of others, and the easy availability of abortion, could easily have led to a completely different outcome – one that left a dead baby, and bereaved and broken parents.

Hopefully their testimony will give courage and hope to others in similar circumstances. Don’t give in to fear! Don’t listen to the evil advice of others! Choose life. Choose hope. And you won’t ever regret it.

5 Facts Women Should Know About IUDs

http://verilymag.com/2017/01/what-to-know-about-getting-an-iud

iudAs a labor and delivery nurse, there are countless times I’ve talked with women about the dragging side effects of hormonal contraception. They agree that hormonal contraception is not the best choice, stating, “Oh, I don’t use hormonal contraception. I have an IUD instead.”

Yet the most popular implanted intrauterine devices—commonly known as IUDs—are actually laden with synthetic hormones, similar to the pill, that disrupt the body’s normal hormonal equilibrium and continuum. Copper IUDs also greatly alter the interior workings of the reproductive system.Women who use IUDs may only have a narrow view of the larger picture. Here are five facts about IUDs to know before making a decision that will greatly affect your health.

01. IUDs secrete copper or synthetic hormones into the body.

Let’s start with the basics. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is placed into the uterus by a trained health professional during an office visit. It provides continuous birth control for several years depending on which one is chosen.

There are two classes of IUDs: Copper (Paragard) and Hormonal (Mirena, Skyla, Liletta and the new Kyleena). These fall within a larger class of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). According to the CDC, use of these contraceptives have increased five-fold in the past decade among women aged 15-44 from 1.5% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2013.

Paragard is the only 100% hormone-free IUD. But don’t jump too hastily at this being good news. It works by constantly secreting copper into the uterine cavity. Paragard states that “it interferes with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and possibly prevents implantation” by creating an inflammatory reaction within the endometrial cavity of the uterus. The typical failure rate of a copper IUD is 0.8%.

Hormonal IUDs have a typical failure rate of 0.2%. According to Mirena’s website, it is the No. 1 prescribed IUD in the U.S. It is synthetically coated with 52 mg of the hormone levonorgestrel, a much higher dosage amount than the less popular Skyla that contains 13.5 mg. The newly launched Kyleena IUD contains 19.5 mg levonorgestrel and was created for women who have never had a child before. All three have several mechanisms to prevent pregnancy: thickening of cervical mucus to inhibit sperm passage and survival, and alterations in the endometrium (the lining shed during menstruation). It’s worth noting that the majority of levonorgestrel IUD users are affected by the same hormonal influences as women on the pill.

02. It’s a foreign object.

Our culture is obsessed with what we put in our bodies. From Non-GMO to organic, we all want to be fit, feel well, and be free from the threats of additives. An IUD is a foreign object inserted into the uterine wall that releases foreign chemicals. Most objects placed into the body are there to aid the natural processes of the body, like a heart pacemaker. But an IUD hinders the natural processes of a woman’s body: ovulation, fertilization and sometimes implantation.

Many women report discomfort upon the implantation—for some, it is severe. Cramping is considered par for the course, but in some instances women have reported nausea and dizziness or have even fainted. Another risk of using an IUD is infection. If the infection goes too long undetected, it could cause permanent damage like sterilization.

03. It triples the risk of mental illness.

In women who have had a child, most IUDs are inserted by the 6 week postpartum office visit. Mirena, for instance, is a popular IUD deemed compatible with breastfeeding. Postpartum depression (PPD) can be debilitating for a woman and her family. According to the CDC, about 1 in 8 women experience PPD. Some women struggling with PPD may really be suffering from the side effects of their IUD and may not know it.

Non-postpartum women are also at increased risk for depression. A recent Danish study concluded that “compared with nonusers, users of hormonal contraception had a 40 percent increased risk of depression after six months of use. Some types of contraceptives carried even greater risk. Women who used progestin-only pills more than doubled their risk, for example, while those who used the levonorgestrel IUD (brand name Mirena) tripled their risk.”

04. It creates a loss of hormonal equilibrium.

When asked about noticeable differences with an IUD, one Mirena user shares, “I mostly do not have periods with my IUD. In the rare occasions when I get a period, they are much lighter and shorter when compared to the flow and duration of my periods without the IUD. Pre-menstrual cramps are also much lighter.” The majority of side effects with levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs include changes in uterine and vaginal bleeding which occur about 52% of the time and cessation of menstruation which occurs at least 24% of the time.

Endometrium shedding (i.e., bleeding), increasing estrogen, ovulation, and rising progesterone are all necessary to our overall health. Estrogen, for instance, promotes bone growth while progesterone promotes bone maintenance. If these hormones aren’t reaching their optimal levels each month, over time, lack of estrogen and progesterone can lead to osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

05. The side effects of an IUD can mask underlying health concerns.

Sometimes IUDs are prescribed to “solve” heavy menstrual periods or debilitating cramps. But IUDs should not be the panacea for abnormalities because it doesn’t fix the underlying problems. Dr. Mary Kotob, a Board Certified OB-GYN in Newport Beach, California, specializes in gynecologic surgery. She has seen firsthand the side effects of IUDs in her patients.

Dr. Kotob notices the opposite outcome when using an IUD to alleviate period-related symptoms. She says “bleeding can increase and so can cramping with menses. I often see patients who have returned to their own doctor’s office requesting the IUD taken out only to be told by a nurse practitioner that they’re doing fine. No ultrasound is done. No labs. She is just advised to put up with it. The bleeding with an IUD can mask other problems such as pregnancy, thyroid disease, ovarian cysts, and precancerous lesions—further investigation is always warranted.” In fact, Human Reproductive Update found that many gynecologists concentrate on simply regularizing bleeding patterns without understanding the underlying hormonal environment.

A woman’s reproductive cycle is a collection of events that need sufficient quality and quantity to nurture and sustain her whole healthy self. It is interesting how gynecology is the only area of medicine where finding the root of the problem is the last answer and, instead, it is “cured” with unnatural remedies. All women deserve to know more about their cycle; only then will we be able to recover our health as it was intended.

Abortion: It’s a Sexual Crisis

23. Abortion: It’s a Sexual Crisis

In his letter The Gospel of Life, St. John Paul II’s “summa” of the Church’s prolife teaching, he took us to the root of the problem when he insisted that it “is an illusion to think we can build a true culture of human life if we do not … accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and their close inter-connection” (Gospel of Life 97).

In other words, it’s an illusion to think we will ever overcome the horror of abortion if we aren’t going to the root of the problem, and the root of the problem is that we simply have not “accepted and experienced” the true meaning of sexuality and love and how inter-connected they are with the whole of life.

At its root the abortion debate is not a debate about when life begins or the “rights” of women. At its root the abortion debate is a debate about the purpose and meaning of sex. The reason millions upon millions of children have had their lives ended in the womb is because we don’t understand the beauty and splendor of God’s plan for sex.

And I’m not just saying that the secular world “out there” doesn’t get it. The problem is right here in our own churches, in our own homes, in our own families, in our own lives. Polls of my audiences over nearly 20 years have shown only 1-2 percent of us have been raised with open, honest, normal, healthy conversation about God’s glorious, stupendous plan for sex. And when the hunger of our erotic desires is not fed from God’s banquet, we fill the void with junk food.

It’s time for a detox. It’s time for a new way of seeing, thinking and talking about sexuality. It’s time for healing and sexual redemption. This is why St. John Paul II gave us his Theology of the Body.

 

American College of Pediatricians warns: HPV vaccine causes ovarian failure

(NaturalNews) A new warning has emerged about the use of Gardasil, a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Gardasil (a four-strain HPV vaccine, or HPV4), is typically administered to both boys and girls as young as age 11 to prevent the sexually transmitted disease.

Developed by Merck, Gardasil received FDA approval in 2006. The disease did not become of concern until the 1980s, when research first suggested that there may be a connection between HPV and cervical cancer. However, whether this link actually exists has been a major point of contention. (RELATED: Learn more about the science fraud behind vaccine marketing at Vaccines.news)

As Natural News previously explained, the vaccine has reportedly been linked to severe complications such as cervical cysts, autoimmune diseases, and harm to women’s ovaries. Natural News has also detailed how one of the developers of the HPV vaccine has now disavowed the inoculation, given that that cervical cancer risk is extremely low in the U.S. and that 90 percent of all HPV apparently infections clear up on their own within two years.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix are all safe and effective.

The American College of Pediatricians apparently is apparently not so sure. In a statement primarily written by Scott S. Field, MD, the organization cautioned that there may be an association between the HPV vaccine and premature ovarian failure (POF), which is also known as premature menopause. The statement indicates that the POF cases are very rare, however.

“Since licensure of Gardasil in 2006, there have been about 213 VAERS reports…involving amenorrhea, POF or premature menopause, 88% of which have been associated with Gardasil,” the statement asserts. VAERS is the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation.

The statement also points out that family doctors are probably unaware of the possible link between HPV and premature ovarian failure and therefore may be not be reporting such cases to the CDC’s VAERS network, which could mean that the condition is more widespread.

The pediatricians’ organization statement also calls attention to the issue that before the vaccine was brought to market, “long-term ovarian function was not assessed in either the original rat safety studies or in the human vaccine trials.”

Another issue with Gardasil is a possible flaw in the pre-release safety trials in that the vaccine and the placebo both contained polysorbate 80. The placebo also contained aluminum adjuvant. “Therefore, if such ingredients could cause ovarian dysfunction, an increase in amenorrhea probably would not have been detected in the placebo controlled trials. ”

The College also noted that many of the young girls in the trials were on birth control, “which can mask ovarian dysfunction including amenorrhea and ovarian failure. Thus, a causal relationship between human papillomavirus vaccines (if not Gardasil specifically) and ovarian dysfunction cannot be ruled out at this time.”

The ACP statement calls for additional studies of the effects of Gardasil on rats, further CCD review of the appropriate VAERS reports, and alerting primary care doctors of the possible linkage between HPV and amenorrhea. The feds say that are monitoring the situation and plan to conduct additional safety studies.

As part of the draining the swamp effort, President-elect Trump has named Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vaccine skeptic, to a committee to study vaccine safety. The committee will have its hands full, in part because the mainstream media, or what Health Ranger Mike Adams calls the “fakestream media,” accepts everything from Big Pharma at face value.

Moreover, a movement appears to be underway for more states to require mandatory HPV vaccinations for pre-teens or teens. Against that backdrop, parents might be well advised to study the American College of Pediatricians statement and review the many articles here on the Natural News website to make an informed decision, along with their healthcare provider, as to what is best for their family.

Abortion rates plummet!

downward-graph-1-760x300

The last time the CDC recorded a lower abortion rate was in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right for women to have abortions. Abortion was legal in some states at that time.

Full history HERE

Implanon Lawsuits Allege Serious Birth Control Side Effects

January 13, 2017, 10:30:00AM. By Heidi Turner

Boston, MA Women are used to being given a long list of side effects linked to their birth control, so hearing about alleged Implanon side effects is likely nothing new. Some birth control comes with alleged risks such as blood clots, others may increase the chances of pseudotumor cerebri, still others can increase the risk of depression. For its part, Implanon reportedly carries an increased risk of device migration. As a result, Implanon is just the latest birth control to face lawsuits alleging women were put at risk of serious side effects.

Implanon Lawsuits Allege Serious Birth Control Side Effects Because it is a birth control implant rather than an oral medication, Implanon’s alleged side effects are somewhat different from those linked to pills. According to lawsuits filed concerning Implanon, women who have the birth control implant are at an increased risk of having the device migrate, making it irretrievable. This is a problem because some women may use Implanon in the short term but decide to have children later and have the device taken out. Further, Implanon is only meant to be implanted for three years.

If the device cannot be found, it cannot be removed. That puts women not only at a risk of not being able to become pregnant for as long as the device releases progestin in their body, it also means those women could be at a higher risk of side effects linked to the extended exposure to progestin or linked to having a device moving through the body. Among those risks are a reported increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and a risk of vascular damage. Merck’s own Implanon documentation notes that implants have been found in blood vessels, “including a blood vessel in the lung.”

Other side effects linked to Implanon, according to Merck, are mood swings, weight gain, and depressed mood. The drug maker notes that some women may require surgery to remove the implant, if the implant is not found at the insertion site.

“If the implant is not removed, then the effects of IMPLANON will continue for a longer period of time,” the drug label notes.

Merck, maker of Implanon, faces a lawsuit filed by women who allege they were not properly warned about the risks associated with using Implanon. They further allege that Merck and Organon designed and manufactured a defective device, fraudulently misrepresented the birth control implant and breached their warranty.

At What Stage of Development Does an Unborn Child Receive its Soul?

January 14, 2017 By

“The soul is present the moment the active and passive principles of germination coalesce to form a definite entity. We therefore say that from the moment of conception, the soul is present. Our very doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary implies that doctrine. For we say that, from the moment of her conception, her soul was preserved immaculate, or free from any taint of original or inherited sin. Her soul, therefore, was created by God at the moment of her conception and long before human activity in the sense of discernible physical movement.”

“In St. Luke we read that, when our Blessed Lady visited Elizabeth, the latter cried, ‘for behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy’ (Luke 1:44). Even before his birth, St. John the Baptist was able to know by revelation of the presence of the also yet-inborn Christ. And the souls of others are also created at the moment of their conception. The unborn child possesses an ‘earthly existence’ every bit as much as the child lying in a cradle or romping in the streets. It is a living human being from the moment of conception.”

— Fr. Leslie Rumble (1892-1975), pioneer Catholic radio apologist

Excerpt from Radio Replies: Classic Answers to Timeless Questions about the Catholic Faith

 

Dangers of Birth Control Pills

5 Dangers of Birth Control Pills, Plus Side Effects & Alternatives

BirthControl-2-01-768x2107

1. May Contribute to Nutrient Deficiencies

Most people don’t know that in order for the body to metabolize the pill, the liver requires extra amounts of the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. This means that if a woman has been on the pill for years at a time (as many American women are, starting in their 20s or even late teens), she is creating a situation where nutrient deficiency is more likely. Deficiencies, such as iron deficiency or magnesium deficiency, are some of the primary contributors to most disease (others being factors like diet, genetics, stress and toxicity). If you take the pill, consuming a nutrient-dense, healing diet is key for maintaining gut health and preventing deficiency side effects, like fatigue, indigestion, muscle pains and sleep troubles.

2. May Cause or Worsen Candida

While yeast (candida albicans) generally makes its home in the digestive tract, common lifestyle choices like use of birth control pills, taking antibiotics, a diet high in refined grains and sugar, and high stress levels often lead to a candida overgrowth that infiltrates other parts of the body and leads to candida symptoms.

According to the Healthy Women Organization’s website, yeast overgrowth has been closely linked to estrogen dominance in a woman’s body, which is highly influenced by taking the pill. Women who use hormonal birth control (not just the pill but also a patch or ring) may have more yeast infections than those who don’t. (6)

Toxins from yeast overgrowth can lead to a host of other problems, presenting themselves in a variety of manners far beyond the common vaginal infection. For example, symptoms like migraines, infertility, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, psoriasis, PMS, depression and digestive disorders have all been linked to candida yeast overgrowth. The evidence clearly shows that when you address the yeast overgrowth, the symptoms improve or subside. If you do choose to use birth control pills, try an oral contraceptive that’s a progestin-only pill, since these are linked with occurrence of fewer yeast infections. (7)

3. Often Causes Moodiness (Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression)

Does taking birth control pills cause depression or simply worsen moodiness and existing symptoms? There’s evidence that with estrogen and progesterone levels in the body out of their natural equilibrium due to taking the pill, the brain’s response system is consequently altered, leading many to experience psychological side effects. A proportion of women express concern about low sex drive, lack of appetite, helplessness, disinterest and an overall sad disposition while on birth control pills — yet often their doctors tell them, “It’s all in your head.”

A study conducted in Denmark involving more than 1 million women found a notable increase in depression rates among women taking birth control versus women who were not. Progestin-only pills, the transdermal patch and the vaginal ring were all especially tied to higher ratio of depression diagnoses and antidepressant prescriptions. (8) To be fair, however, other studies, such as one published in 2012 in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, have not found the same correlation, so there seems to be individual differences in terms of the pill’s psychological effects. (9) Some evidence now suggests that most of the side effects of hormonal contraception may actually be a result of a psychological stress response to the practice of contraception (wanting to prevent pregnancy despite having sex). (10)

4. May Increase Cancer Risk

The National Cancer Institute tells us that the risk of developing breast cancer is around one in eight for the general public. (11) But studies done by doctors, such as Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., from Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Penn., indicate that “women who took oral birth control before having their first child have a 44-percent increased risk of developing breast cancer.” If this is true, that would bring your risk of developing breast cancer to one in five, a staggeringly high risk.

According to the Breast Cancer Organization’s website: (12)

“There are concerns that because birth control pills use hormones to block pregnancy they may overstimulate breast cells, which can increase the risk of breast cancer. The concern is greater if you’re at high risk for breast cancer because of: a strong family history of the disease, past breast biopsies showing abnormal cells, or you or someone in your family has an abnormal breast cancer gene.”

There is lots of ongoing debate about the breast cancer-depression link. For example, one study published in Cancer Research found a higher risk for breast cancer among women taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills. A review of 54 studies in 1996 found that women have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer while they’re taking birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin and during the 10 years after they stop taking the pills. And results from the 2010 Nurses’ Health Study found that use slightly increased risk, especially among women taking triphasic pills, which alter doses of hormones over three stages of the monthly cycle.

Why doesn’t your doctor tell you about this? “There’s tremendous vested interested — drug companies with a lot of money, government agencies who give a lot of money for contraception. It doesn’t make people look good when a study like this comes out,” Dr. Kahlenborn said.

5. Increased Risk for Blood Clots (Pulmonary Problems, Embolism and Thrombosis)

The link between estrogen use and developing blood clots in the veins (called venous thromboembolism) was identified more than 20 years ago. Extensive literature has now been published describing how the risk for embolism increases as estrogen dosages increase. (13) When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it’s called a deep vein thrombosis, and if that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism, which is a serious condition (10 percent to 15 percent of cases cause sudden death). (14) Estrogen seems to increase clotting factors in the blood, making clots more likely.

It’s been found that combination hormonal birth control pills that contain the progestin called desogestrel increase the risk of blood clots more than birth control pills that contain other types of progestin. Birth control pills containing drospirenone are some of the most popular types available and include such brand names as Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Ocella and Zarah. (15)

Shortness of breath, chest pain (particularly with deep breathing), coughing up blood, persistent leg pain, or redness, swelling, or warmth in your lower legs are all signs of clots. The risk is highest among women with family histories of clots, those who smoke and those who are obese/sedentary — so if any of these apply to you, carefully discuss options with your doctor.

Abortion Advocates Call for Population Control in the UK, Tell Brits “Stop Having Children”

http://www.lifenews.com

Concerned about the impact of rising population numbers, a British environmentalist group is urging United Kingdom residents to have fewer children.

Breitbart reports a new report from Population Matters argues that the predicted population growth in the UK in the next 15 years will put a heavy strain on the economy. According to the environmental group, the expected 5.5 million-person surge could cost the UK billions of dollars for roads, infrastructure and more.

One of the group’s proposed solutions is to promote abortions.

Here’s more from Breitbart:

They claim drivers will waste an extra 12 hours a year on average in traffic delays by 2030, costing the average household £600 [ about $730] a year in lost working time, additional fuel, and the higher cost of delivering goods.

The group is lobbying the government to pour more public money into “family planning” to curb the population boom, including easy access to contraception and abortion. …

Reacting to the report, Chris Packham, the broadcaster and a patron of Population Matters, wrote in The Times:

“In the UK we already have the choice of how many children we have. If we want them to enjoy the natural world — to have a thriving, supportive natural world they will need to survive — we have to recognize that the more of them we have, the more difficult it will be for them to do that.

“We all need breathing room: animals, plants, human beings. We shouldn’t have to compete for it, and we don’t have to.”

Overpopulation fears have been around for hundreds years, coupled with dire predictions about huge populations depleting the world’s resources. These predictions largely have been proved untrue, but they still are being used as excuses to push abortions. In 2015, the New York Times even published an article admitting that overpopulation fears were unfounded.

Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute wrote at the time:

The article included a video interview with Paul Ehrlich, the author of “The Population Bomb.” He was the butterfly scientist from Stanford who scared tens of millions with the specter of overpopulation—and the population apocalypse that would supposedly result. He predicted that by the 1970’s the “population bomb” would explode—and hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in India and elsewhere. (India is still there, and doing quite well, thank you.)

But America’s “newspaper of record,” as it styles itself, failed to record the horrors themselves. It was woefully incomplete. There was no mention of the human costs when governments made population control a priority. No mention of the savage forced abortions and forced sterilizations that followed. No mention of the killing of baby girls through female infanticide and sex-selective abortion. No mention of the wasted money, the age and gender imbalances that continue to unfold and will take effect for years to come. No mention of how the overpopulation panic helped to fuel the rise of birth control use and abortion.

These horrors include coerced and forced abortions and sterilizations in China, India and other countries across the world.

Even if overpopulation was a problem, killing innocent human beings should never be the answer. The United States and the UK do not allow born children to be killed because of environmental or economic concerns, and they should not let children in the womb be killed either.

REVEALED: The most pro-life and most pro-abortion U.S. states. Where does your state rank?

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Oklahoma stands at the top and Washington ranks at the bottom of the Americans United for Life’s annual “Life List” released Tuesday that ranks the most pro-life and pro-abortion states in the U.S.

The rest of the top five behind Oklahoma, which was at the top for the second year in a row, in order, are Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona.

Washington remained the least protective state for the unborn for the eighth consecutive year. They are followed by California, Vermont, New Jersey, and Oregon.

2016 was a record-breaking year for pro-life legislation, with 43 states proposing more than 360 abortion restrictions, including tax funding for women’s health centers that perform abortions, limits on late-term abortions of viable babies, informed consent and ultrasound requirements, outlawing abortions on handicapped babies, banning aborted baby tissue trafficking, and prohibitions on sex-selection or race-selection abortions.

map

In a press release announcing the “Life List,” AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke denounced the abortion industry for “fighting the kinds of common-sense regulations that protect women.”

The “Life List” and its state-by-state details can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood-backed Guttmacher Institute gave a far more dismal year-end review. “2016 was a bad year for women’s health,” the Guttmacher report states, pointing out 50 new abortion restrictions in 18 states. “A total of 338 laws that restrict reproductive rights have been enacted since the Republicans took control of the majority of state governments in 2010.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights, while reporting on the pro-life gains, noted that the strongest pro-life bills were stopped by the courts. “State or federal courts ultimately blocked many of the onerous provisions, a circumstance that underscores how important the judiciary is in protecting women’s rights.”

The most devastating blow to pro-life laws in 2016 was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Texas’ safety regulations for abortion clinics, requiring emergency access, and hospital admission privileges.

Burke says, however, that the high court’s ruling is not insurmountable. “When the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ abortion safety standards, abortion advocates celebrated, but they ignored the fine print,” she said. “In fact, the Court found that such laws could survive a legal challenge if well-supported by medical evidence.”

AUL is working to provide that evidence, creating research statistics and pro-life resources for lawmakers to successfully make their case and win in court. The organization’s new and unique report, entitled, “Unsafe,” documents substandard conditions in abortuaries across the country.

“This groundbreaking report will equip legislators as they argue for better and more comprehensive pro-life protections,” Burke explained. Additionally, AUL has formulated model legislation for states that addresses the Supreme Court’s reservations.

The “Unsafe” report documents 227 abortion businesses in 32 states that were cited for more than 1,400 health and safety violations between 2008 and 2016. “Unsafe” also exposes more than 750 significant violations of state laws regulating abortion.

“Legislators … will be empowered in 2017 with new and updated model legislation, new analysis in Unsafe, and new tools for exposing substandard abortion care and remedying it through better inspections and more comprehensive health and safety mandates,” Burke said.  AUL has also drafted a model letter for lawmakers to call for inspections of abortion businesses in their states.

Ultimately, the tragic reality that abortion supporters will never view pro-life laws the same way those who value the sanctity of innocent human life do was summed up by Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky:

“The law does not value life,” the pro-abortionist said, “it (only) values birth.”

Parents wept as they pulled the plug, but now their daughter is thriving

CLACTON-ON-SEA, United Kingdom, January 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Bella  Moore-Williams is being hailed as “a Christmas miracle” by the headline-hungry British press. There is no question that the two-year-old’s survival last July is an answer to fervent prayer and has confounded medical expertise.

Now Bella is far enough along in recovery for her mother Francesca to tell The Daily Mail, “She made our family complete and it’s great to see how well she is doing.” Pictures show Bella standing on her own with a wide grin on her face, and beaming just as much in her parents’ arms. “When she says ‘Mama’ it just melts my heart.”

Diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in July after showing a steady decline in energy and motor ability, the second child of Francesca and Lee Moore-Williams of Clacton-on-Sea was first treated for asthma. But after the girl declined further while on a family holiday, doctors at a Colchester hospital told the parents their daughter had the degenerative genetic disease that would shortly lead to her death.

But mitochondrial disease is hard to identify, and an alternative diagnosis was proposed by staff – a long shot, but one with hope – which was that Bella had biotinidase deficiency. Only two cases a year happen in all of the United Kingdom, the family were told, but fortunately, one of the cases six years earlier was at Colchester and presented similar symptoms. The disease prevents cell growth.

The treatment was simple: injections of Biotin, or Vitamin H. After a month Bella was taken off her ventilator but had immediately to be reconnected. The treatment had not worked, making staff think that their original diagnosis was correct. “We were told three times that she’s not likely to survive, so every day we sat at her bedside praying,” her mother recalls.

The couple agreed to take no heroic measures to sustain their daughter and set the date of July 21 with hospital staff to take her off life support. The extended family gathered to say goodbye, one by one. On the appointed day, the Moore-Williamses posed with son Bobby for one last picture at their daughter’s bedside before giving staff the go-ahead to shut off Bella’s ventilator.

bella

bella_4Then came the answer to prayer. They thought they were watching her breathe her last breaths, and they wept. Instead, after 30 minutes, her oxygen levels were up to 100%, and she was doing it on her own. “It’s just amazing,” said Mrs. Moore-Williams. “It’s like we have won the lottery.”

The same hospital staff who had counseled them to prepare for Bella’s death now fought for her life. After three days, her energy was back to normal. After three weeks, she was ready to go home and after another nine to go off her infection-fighting medications. Now she takes four tablets of Biotin daily and will continue to do so, says her mother, “for the rest of her life.”

bella_3

Bella now

“She’s now learning to talk,” Mrs. Moore-Williams says, “and her hair is growing back and she’s even walking. She’s about eight months behind where she should be but doctors are confident she will pick up quite quickly. She’s at nursery and to look at her you wouldn’t think she’s been through what she has.”

Pro-Life Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

defundplannedparenthood5Congress approved legislation to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business last year only to see pro-abortion President Barack Obama veto it. Today, a leading pro-life me member f the House of representatives introduced a bill to yank taxpayer funding from the nation’s biggest abortion company.

This week a congressional investigation into the Planned Parenthood abortion business over its sales of body parts of aborted baby parts concluded. Lawmakers are suggesting that Congress defund the abortion company as a result of the problematic actions they uncovered.

New polling shows 56 percent of Americans in battleground states want Planned Parenthood defunded.

Pro-life Congresswoman a registered nurse and member of the recently concluded Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, reintroduced H.R. 354 today – the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017.

The legislation would prioritize preventive healthcare over elective abortion by placing a one year moratorium on all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, including its affiliates and associated clinics, until such time as Planned Parenthood certifies that it will not perform elective abortions or give funding to entities that do. The bill was introduced with the support of 127 cosponsors.

The legislation would instead redirect federal dollars to the more than 13,500 community health centers nationwide that provide a broader range of healthcare services to women (e.g., mammograms) and do not perform abortions. The bill provides $235 million in funding for community health centers, in addition to the funding that would be reallocated from Planned Parenthood.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately

Black released the following statement: “Planned Parenthood’s grand deception is quickly collapsing. For too long, this organization has cashed in on our tax dollars – to the tune of more than $550 million a year – all while performing more than 320,000 abortions during the same length of time. Abortion is not healthcare, yet it is the centerpiece of Planned Parenthood’s mission. What’s more, legitimate questions persist about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with federal law and regulatory guidelines, as evidenced by the work of our Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent decision to refer Planned Parenthood to both the Department of Justice and the FBI,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Our unified pro-life government is proof that Americans have rejected Planned Parenthood’s callous extremism. Now, it is our time to act. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards should consider the introduction of this bill as her notice: the days of her organization receiving a free ride from taxpayers and a blind eye from Washington are coming to an end.”

Black added,  “From my years on the frontlines of the pro-life movement, I know the scare tactics that Planned Parenthood will use when speaking about this bill, so let me be very clear: My legislation does not cut a single dime from public health funding. In fact, this bill provides an additional $235 million for our nation’s community health centers. For Planned Parenthood or others to claim that our legislation blocks access to preventive care is an outright lie. This is about promoting true women’s healthcare over elective abortion and honoring the conscience rights of American taxpayers who don’t want their tax dollars used to fund a scandal-ridden abortion enterprise.”

Leading pro-life groups that also support the reconciliation bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood include Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Family Research Council, March for Life, Concerned Women for America, Students for Life, Priests for Life, Operation Rescue, and American Life League, among others.

A new Congressional report finds that de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business — even for one year — would save “several thousand” unborn babies from the nightmare of abortion. The report also finds de-funding Planned Parenthood would save the federal government $235 million.

The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all eleven:

  • In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
  • In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
  • In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
  • In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
  • In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
  • In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
  • In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
  • In the eighth video: StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of” fully intact aborted babies.
  • The ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies — including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
  • The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies.The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.
  • Unreleased Videos: Unreleased videos from CMP show Deb Vanderhei of Planned Parenthood caught on tape talking about how Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliates may “want to increase revenue [from selling baby parts] but we can’t stop them…” Another video has a woman talking about the “financial incentives” of selling aborted baby body parts.
  • The 11th video: catches a texas Planned Parenthood abortionist planning to sell the intact heads of aborted babies for research. Amna Dermish is caught on tape describing an illegal partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term unborn babies which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Aborted Baby Parts

The full, unedited videos have confirmed that revelations that some aborted baby remains sold by Planned Parenthood go to biotech companies for the purpose of creating “humanized” mice. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has been exposed as having sold body parts from aborted babies for as much as 15 years.

Newborn Baby Boy Saved After He Was Abandoned in a Laundry Basket Inside a Catholic Church

baby69A newly-born baby boy was rescued by a Catholic church employee on Wednesday shortly before mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, Fox9 News reports.

“I am profoundly grateful that this beautiful baby is healthy and safe and whomever dropped him off at the Cathedral felt that this was a safe place where he would receive the care he needs and deserves as a child of God.” Father John Ubel, leader of the cathedral, told local media.

The baby had been wrapped in a green fleece blanket and left in a plastic laundry basket in a hallway of the church, Fox9 News reported. His faint cries alerted a church employee to investigate the basket. The baby was subsequently transferred to the local children’s hospital, and will be released to country child welfare officials following his hospitalization.

While waiting for the police to arrive at the church, the child was christened “Nathan John” by the local congregation and baptized, according to the report.

Unfortunately, there is no database or organization tracking the number of babies surrendered via Safe Haven laws, according to Fusion. These laws allow parents who feel they cannot care for a newborn to leave the baby at a police station, fire house or hospital without fear of recourse.

However, grassroots activists and other volunteers estimate 3,000 babies have been saved since the inception of the law in Texas in 1999, which has since been ratified in varying forms in each of the remaining 49 states.

Indiana recently developed the concept of “baby boxes” where mothers can anonymously drop off their newborn children in approved locations at local fire stations as an extension of the already existing Safe Haven laws, according to NBC News. The boxes include protection from the climate and the surroundings, and allow the mother the opportunity to uphold the law without having direct conversation with emergency, hospital or law enforcement personnel.

The St. Paul Police state that no crime was committed in leaving the child at the cathedral, despite it not being a traditional drop off site under Minnesota’s Safe Haven laws, according to Fox9 News.

Furthermore, the St. Paul Police used the situation to remind and encourage parents to call 911 or go to the local hospital if there are any concerns with the ability to care for the welfare of their children.

Contraception & Humanae Vitae: Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching

Contraception & Humanae Vitae: Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching

Common Statement

This statement in support of Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching on love, sexuality, and contraception, is entitled “Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.”  It was released at a press conference at the Catholic University of America on September 20, 2016.

We, the undersigned scholars, affirm that the Catholic Church’s teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception are true and defensible on many grounds, among them the truths of reason and revelation concerning the dignity of the human person.

Scholarly support for the Church’s teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception has burgeoned in recent decades. Moreover, institutes and programs supporting that teaching have been established all over the world. Even some secular feminists and secular programs have begun to acknowledge the harms of contraception.

These facts, however, seem to have escaped the notice of the authors of “On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives” (hereafter, the Wijngaards Statement) which urges the Catholic Church to change its teaching and issue an “official magisterial document [that] should revoke the absolute ban on the use of ‘artificial’ contraceptives, and allow the use of modern non-abortifacient contraceptives for both prophylactic and family planning purposes.” The Wijngaards Statement, unfortunately, 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 Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church. 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, rather than engaging recent scholarship in support of the Church’s teaching, misdirects the conversation from the start by claiming 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.

The points below briefly outline the true basis of the Church’s teaching that contraception is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. It also responds to some of the erroneous claims found in the Wijngaards Statement.

1. God is Love

The God who made this beautiful and ordered world is a loving and good God. All of His creation is a loving gift to humankind. Even after the Fall, God continued to reach out to His people, gradually revealing Himself and the depths of his love and mercy. God the Father’s gift of His Son Jesus, whose life was poured out on the Cross, was the ultimate and complete self-gift. This great and radical love is borne out in Scripture where the biblical authors in the Old Testament often speak of God in the image of husband and His people as His wife, and in the New Testament where Christ is described as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. Throughout the history of the Church, many have seen this spousal imagery as a key to understanding God’s relationship to every human soul.

2. Made in God’s Image

Because God is Love – a communion of Divine Persons– He made men and women in His image: able to reason and to choose freely, with the capacity to love and to be in loving relationships.

3. Gift of Self

God invites all people to share in His love. Every person, therefore, is beloved by God and made to be in loving relationships; every person is created to make a gift of self to God and to others. The gift of self means living in a way that promotes the good of everyone, especially those with whom one is in close relationship.

4. Marriage: A Unique Communion of Persons

Marriage was designed by God to enable a man and a woman to live out humanity’s core identity as lovers and givers of life, to enable the two to become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) and for that one flesh to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Human sexual relations fulfill God’s intent only when they respect the procreative meaning of the sexual act and involve a complete gift of self between married partners.

5: God’s Law, not Man’s

“The doctrine that the Magisterium of the Church has often explained is this: there is an unbreakable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning [of the marital act], and both are inherent in the marital act. This connection was established by God and human beings are not permitted to break it through their own volition.” (HV12) The teaching that contraception is always against God’s plan for sexuality, marriage and happiness is not based on human law: “The teaching of the Church about the proper spacing of children is a promulgation of the divine law itself.” (HV 20)

6. Faith and Reason

God has revealed the truths about sexuality to human beings through the biblical vision of the human person and has also made it accessible to our reason. Several well-argued versions of “natural law” defenses support the Church’s teaching that contraception is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. Each begins with different basic truths and thus each constructs its arguments differently.

7. The Theology of the Body: Saint John Paul II’s Contribution

Saint John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (virtually ignored by the Wijngaards Statement) provides a powerful defense of the view that contraception is not in accord with the understanding of the human person as conveyed by Scripture and sacred Catholic Tradition. He speaks of the “language of the body” and has shown that to violate the procreative meaning of the marital act is also to violate the unitive (the “commitment-expressing”) meaning of the marital act. There he demonstrates that our very bodies have a language and a “spousal meaning” — that they express the truth that we are to be in loving and fruitful relationships with others.

8. Humanae Vitae as Prophetic

Humanae Vitae speaks against the distorted view of human sexuality and intimate relationships that many in the modern world promote. Humanae Vitae was prophetic when it listed some of the harms that would result from the widespread use of contraception. 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.

9. A Practical Help to Husbands and Wives–FABMs

In order to live God’s design for married love, husband and wife need moral family planning methods. Fertility Awareness Based Methods of Family Planning (or FABMs, i.e., the many forms of Natural Family Planning) respect the God-given spousal union and the potential to procreate. FABMs are fully consistent with the Church’s teaching on marital chastity. Couples using these methods make no attempt to thwart the power of acts that could result in the procreation of new human persons. They respect God’s design for sexuality; they help individuals grow in self-mastery; they have the potential to strengthen marriages and respect the physical and psychological health of women. Moreover, science demonstrates that they are highly effective both in helping couples limit their family size when necessary and conceive when appropriate.

10. Respect for Cultural Values, Freedom

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. Governments and international organizations should make instruction in Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning a priority. 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.

11. Christ provides grace

Because of Original Sin, men and women became subject to temptations that sometimes seem insuperable. Christ came not just to restore our original goodness but to enable us to achieve holiness. The Catholic Church invites married couples to participate in the life of Christ, to participate in the sacraments, especially in Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. The Church asks the faithful to deepen their relationship with the Lord God the Father, to be open to receive the direction of the Holy Spirit, and to ask Christ to provide the graces needed to live in accord with God’s will for their married lives, even the difficult moral truths.

We, the undersigned Catholic scholars, hold that the Church’s teaching on contraception is true and defensible on the basis of Scripture and reason. We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness.

 

Mother Gives Birth to Miracle Baby After Doctors Insisted on Abortion

Johanna Morton was 12 weeks pregnant when she went in for an ultrasound anticipating good news, only to find out her baby’s heart was malfunctioning, Catholic Online report.

“I was 12 weeks gestation when we were told something was wrong with my baby’s heart. I was told she will not survive. ‘You will miscarry.’ I left the office in tears and heart broken,” Morton said on Facebook. “My baby fought her way to 18 weeks as her heart beat slower and slower. With each new appointment seemed to come another diagnosis, another heartbreak and a waterfall of tears.”

Morton’s GoFundMe page elaborates on her daughter’s diagnosis: congenital heart defect (CHD) and heterotaxy syndrome including a full heart block, atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, and valve defects. The prognosis was poor, according to doctors, who did not expect the baby to live past 18-20 weeks gestation.

Congenital heart defects affect nearly 1 in 100 children, according to the John Hopkins Heart & Vascular Institute. Over 75% of babies with critical CHD prenatally will be “terminated for medical reasons,” The Federalist reports. The New York Times recently covered the story of a California mother justifying the late term abortion of her child missing half his heart.

As in many instances of pediatric heart defects, doctors pressured Morton to abort the child.

“I was told ‘She’s going to be stillborn, Save [sic] yourself the pain,” Morton said on Facebook.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you come back next week, and have her stillborn.’ There was little to no hope for my baby. Even the number #1 children’s hospital, had not seen a heart like hers.”

Yet, Morton opted to give her baby a chance to live.

Baby Clara Ray Morton was born at 37 weeks, and underwent open heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, Catholic Online reported. Clara was able to go home with her family soon after, and has been thriving.

Despite oxygen tubes taped to her face, many photographs circulating Facebook and the internet show Clara’s face smiling in delight as she enjoys the view of the snow falling outside the window.

“This is her seeing her first snowfall,” Morton wrote. “She absolutely loved it. I can’t explain the emotions we felt, as we watched that smile come across her face. Pure. Joy.”

Fatima visionary predicted ‘final battle’ would be over marriage, family

.- Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who witnessed the Marian apparitions at Fatima, died in 2005. But before her death, she predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be over marriage and the family.

So says Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who reports that the visionary sent him a letter with this prediction when he was Archbishop of Bologna, Italy.

This reported statement by Sister Lucia, expressed during the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, was revisited earlier this year by the Desde la Fe (From the Faith) weekly of the Archdiocese of Mexico, in the midst of the debate generated by President Enrique Pena Nieto, who announced his intention to promote gay marriage in this country.

The Mexican weekly recalled the statements that Cardinal Caffarra made to the Italian press in 2008, three years after the death of Sister Lucia.

On February 16, 2008, the Italian cardinal had celebrated a Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, after which he gave an interview with Tele Radio Padre Pio. He was asked about the prophecy of Sister Lucia dos Santos that speaks about “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan.”

Cardinal Caffarra explained that Saint John Paul II had commissioned him to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. At the beginning of this work, the cardinal wrote a letter to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her bishop, since he could not do it directly.

“Inexplicably, since I did not expect a reply, seeing as I had only asked for her prayers, I received a long letter with her signature, which is now in the archives of the Institute,” the Italian cardinal said.

“In that letter we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ Don’t be afraid, she added, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Then she concluded: ‘nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head’.”

Cardinal Caffarra added that “speaking again with John Paul II, you could feel that the family was the core, since it has to do with the supporting pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman, between the generations. If the foundational pillar is damaged, the entire building collapses and we’re seeing this now, because we are right at this point and we know it.”

“And I am moved when I read the best biographies of Padre Pio,” the cardinal concluded, “about how this man was so attentive to the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of the spouses, even with justifiable rigor at times.”

CBA & Fargo Diocese file lawsuit against new mandates threatening religious freedom

fargohttp://www.lifenews.com/2016/12/29/obama-tries-to-force-catholic-groups-to-pay-for-abortions-now-theyre-fighting-back-in-court/

Yesterday, the Catholic Benefits Association and the Diocese of Fargo filed a lawsuit challenging federal rules that require Catholic hospitals and healthcare providers to perform gender transition procedures and abortions contrary to their own medical judgment and Catholic values.

The new rules also require Catholic dioceses, religious orders, and other Catholic employers to cover gender transition surgeries and their group insurers to cover surgical abortions in their health plans.  These rules are part of a multi-agency effort to redefine the term “sex” in federal antidiscrimination laws.

“For decades, Congress and the courts have understood the term ‘sex’ in federal law to mean biological sex – male and female,” explained Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA). “By redefining ‘sex’ to mean both ‘gender identity’ and ‘termination of pregnancy,’ the Obama administration is not only trying to sidestep Congress and impose radical new healthcare mandates on hospitals and employers, it is creating a moral problem for Catholic employers that must be addressed.”

Pope Francis has reiterated Catholic teaching on both the sanctity of life for all—including the unborn—and on the theories stating that gender is mutable or fluid.  Such “gender theory,” the Pope said last year, “does not recognize the order of creation.”

The lawsuit takes aim at regulations issued earlier this year by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring Catholic healthcare providers to ignore their own medical judgment and perform gender transition surgeries. Among the newly mandated procedures are a penectomy (removal of penis), metoidioplasty (creation of penis, using clitoris), vaginectomy (removal of vagina), and vulvectomy (removal of vulva).

“HHS’s own experts agree that these procedures can harm patients with gender dysphoria in ways that are often irreversible,” said Douglas Wilson, the CBA’s CEO, who spent decades in healthcare administration before joining the CBA last year. “So, even as HHS is requiring doctors to perform these surgeries, it has chosen not to mandate coverage of the same procedures in Medicare and Medicaid. This is blatant hypocrisy coupled with shoddy science.”

“Catholic hospitals provide compassionate care to everyone, regardless of status.  Patients experiencing gender dysphoria deserve no less,” Wilson said. “The prime ethic of any healthcare provider is do no harm.  These regulations do the opposite.”

Similar rules issued by HHS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) require employers to cover gender transition surgeries in their group health plans. None of the HHS or EEOC rules has a religious exemption or a grandfathered plan exemption.  This means that institutions across the Catholic spectrum–dioceses, religious institutes, private schools, colleges, hospitals, and closely held businesses–-are required to perform or pay for medical procedures that directly contradict Catholic teachings.

“This continued assault on religious freedom by the Obama administration is mystifying,” remarked Martin Nussbaum of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, CBA’s General Counsel, who is also representing the CBA in the lawsuit. “Even assuming the government has a sound basis for these rules – and it doesn’t – it can accomplish its objectives in other ways. HHS and EEOC shouldn’t be conscripting the Catholic Church to advance their political agenda.”

In the lawsuit, the CBA seeks to invalidate HHS regulations issued under Section 1557 of the Affordance Care Act and EEOC rules purporting to interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiffs assert violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and other federal laws. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in North Dakota.

The Catholic Benefits Association is a group of employers committed to providing life-affirming health coverage consistent with Catholic teaching. Directed by seven archbishops and four laypersons, it consists of over 880 Catholic employers (including hospitals, colleges, religious orders, businesses, and over 60 archdioceses and dioceses,) plus over 5,000 parishes, together covering over 90,000 employees and their families.

Pope Francis Slams Abortion in His Christmas Message: Respect Those “Not Allowed to be Born”

Home

Hearkening to the birth of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis used his Christmas message to urge Catholics worldwide to express compassion for those “not allowed to be born.”

Speaking to tens of thousands of Catholics in Saint Peter’s Square, the head of the Catholic Church asked worshipers to celebrate “the fragile simplicity of a small newborn.”

“Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons,” he said.

Referring to the meaning of Jesus’ birth, Francis said: “Today this message goes out to the ends of the Earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace.”

Earlier this  year, the Pope told the Polish people that “life must always be welcomed and protected. These two things go together – welcome and protection, from conception to natural death.”

During the pope’s speech, addressed to government authorities, Pope Francis encouraged the state to reach out and help expectant mothers.

“All of us are called to respect life and care for it,” he said. “On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the State, the Church and society to accompany and concretely help all those who find themselves in serious difficulty, so that a child will never be seen as a burden but as a gift, and those who are most vulnerable and poor will not be abandoned.”

During his visit, Pope Francis continued to demonstrated his pro-life convictions. On Friday, Pope Francis visited a children’s hospital. He met with 50 patients, their families and medical personnel at the Prokocim University Pediatric Hospital, according to Patheos.

During his brief address, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of government working to protect and help the disadvantaged.

“This is the sign of true civility, human and Christian: to make those who are most disadvantaged the center of social and political concern,” he said.

“Sadly, our society is tainted by the culture of waste, which is the opposite of the culture of acceptance. And the victims of the culture of waste are those who are weakest and most frail; and this is indeed cruel.”

In April, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s position on the sanctity of life for unborn babies.

On the subject of abortion, the document states the church’s commitment to its anti-abortion stance, adding that no woman’s “right to choose” over what happens to their own body can “justify terminating a life”.

It also states that healthcare workers in [facilities that perform abortions] should exercise their right to conscientiously object to abortion.

 

From an ultrasound technologist: the side I see

https://www.endthekilling.ca/blog/2016/12/19/ultrasound-technologist-side-i-see

Author anonymous due to workplace/patient confidentiality

I put my probe down, find the head, then slide down to the bum. Fortunately, the baby is in a good position. “It’s definitely a boy!” I tell the mom and dad, as they peer over my shoulder at the screen. I point out the very obviously displayed male anatomy. The dad’s face drops. “That sucks!” he exclaims. “I wanted to have a girl.” He continues to express his displeasure as I show them their child and take a couple more pictures for them to take home with them. He is still unhappy as I tell them I’m done and they can get the results from their doctor.

“Can we just end this and start over?” he says to his wife as they leave the room. She laughs nervously. He’s joking . . . I hope.

This is my both my least and most favorite part of my job as an ultrasound technologist. There is something indescribably beautiful about watching human life develop and grow at all of its stages. From the tiny flicker of the heartbeat at just six weeks’ gestation, to seeing the little bouncing 8-9 week old peanuts which (given a good scan) wave tiny little arms and legs. It only gets better from there on out as the baby gets bigger and is easier to see with my ultrasound equipment.

us

There are also the fun opportunities of telling good news and watching mothers’ faces beam as they get to see their child for the first time. Then there are the good news stories that warm your heart and put a smile on your face. There is nothing quite like telling the mother who thought she had a miscarriage several weeks ago that she is in fact still pregnant and has a bouncing, healthy twelve-week gestation baby. Not to mention finding live twins in a patient who had just had an ectopic pregnancy removed.

But this is only the happy side of the story. There is a sad side too. Like the countless miscarriages that we see day after day. Nothing is quite so disappointing as finding no heart heat and then trying to keep a neutral expression for the rest of the scan, knowing that when they get the results from their doctor their dreams and hopes will be disappointed.

Even that is still not the worst part of scanning pregnant females. The absolute worst is the unwanted children that you see. There is nothing so heart wrenching as the feeling of scanning and seeing little miracles that have been sentenced to die by the ones who are supposed to support and love them.

Scanning early pregnancies only so that some abortion provider knows how to best stop that little heart beat is one example. Another is guiding the needle in an amniocentesis procedure, knowing that the results of the test will be the determining factor of life or death for the baby whose heart rate is carefully recorded to see that they don’t show adverse effects from the procedure.

Then there was the young woman who was already more than twenty weeks pregnant but had decided not to continue the pregnancy. I had to scan her that same day so her doctor could still send her to a hospital that would do abortions up to twenty-four weeks (in the same building where NICU teams fight to save babies born earlier than that). Her baby was a little girl.

I have no words that I can say to my patients. I am not allowed to share my views or offer support. I can’t suggest pregnancy resource centers or tell them how wonderful adoption is. I am not allowed to explain to them exactly what abortion is or tell them about the struggles that other patients have told me that they have had afterwards.

I am not allowed to be a voice for the silent ones. I only have my machine. I can turn my screen and show them that little beating heart and those tiny little arms and legs, fingers and toes. I can show them and hope that they are seeing the same baby, the same human, the same life that I do.

Scanning pregnant ladies has taught me that children in our culture are conditionally loved and conditionally valued. If they are planned and expected or wanted, then I see excited parents and smiling faces. When things don’t go according to plan then I hear disappointment. There are still those that will face the unexpected and make it work, but there are so many who just get rid of the problem instead of accepting and working with it.

That’s why we need people on the streets. We need people to hear and see the truth of what abortion is and what it does. We need to show our culture that abortion does stop a beating heart and that it ends a life. I can only show one side of the story, but people need to know both.

Beautiful: See Christmas as never before, as told by children with Down Syndrome

This brings the Christmas message vividly and movingly to life. Patricia Heaton tweeted this Saturday, and it’s quickly going viral. Here’s a pro-life message to stir the heart.

Keep a Kleenex handy. You’ll need it.

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/beautiful-see-christmas-as-never-before-in-a-pageant-of-children-with-down-syndrome/#sthash.6gZEFMcE.dpuf

Kasich Vetoes Heartbeat Bill, Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban

http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/kasich-vetoes-heartbeat-bill-signs-20-week-abortion-ban/37652

oh

After the general assembly sent two pro-life bills to Governor John Kasich last week, opponents of abortion and abortion promoters held their breath to see what he would do.

Today, they had their answer.

If the governor had done nothing, both bills (one banning abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected, the other banning abortion at 20 weeks) would have become law.

Today Gov. Kasich signed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, the 20-week ban, and used his line-item veto authority to veto the Heartbeat Bill, which passed as an amendment to another bill.
Citing the probability of an expensive lawsuit over the Heartbeat Bill, Gov. Kasich wrote, “The State of Ohio will be the losing party in a lawsuit and, as the losing party, the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.

Furthermore, such a defeat invites additional challenges to Ohio’s strong legal protections for unborn life.”

Read the veto message here

I’ve done pro-life apologetics for years, but this time I realized it just wasn’t enough

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/bringing-beauty-to-berkeley

December 13, 2016 (Stephanie Gray) — On November 21 of this year, I returned to the University of California, Berkeley, to explain the pro-life view to one hundred students who signed up for the course, “Public Health 198.”  I would be presenting after their course’s sponsor teacher, Dr. Malcolm Potts (abortionist and first medical director of International Planned Parenthood Federation) gave his talk on why he believes abortion is right.

Having spoken to hundreds of his students the year prior, I listened to last year’s recording.  And when I heard myself, I felt I had relied too much on the intellectual case and not enough on stories that reach the heart.  So I began to pray about how I could better package the message this year.  Kneeling in one of my favorite chapels in Vancouver, I prayed for inspiration, and sensed that my message should focus primarily on beauty.

Without my notebook, I grabbed the next best thing—notepad on my phone, and began to type ideas.  I saw that on that same notepad entry, a couple weeks before while speaking in Guatemala, I had typed a note when I heard another speaker, Clay Olsen; he said, “Make it cool first and inform them second.”  That’s what I would do—share stories of beauty, of those who authentically live the pro-life message to show it is possible to do so, and only then segue into pro-life apologetics.

A beautiful family I met several years ago while in Denver came to mind—Brianna Heldt and her husband Kevin (whose story I share below).  I jotted that idea down.  I wrote, “They need Jesus”—which was a deep conviction I had while speaking to the students a year ago as I sensed a very broken and hostile crowd.  I further typed, “Give them Jesus in the faces of the HeldtsRyanLianna.”

In my 14-plus years of travelling the world, I have met the most incredible pro-life people whose inspiring life choices would move you to tears.  Having interacted with many hostile abortion supporters I have come to see that my experiences and theirs are very different.  They have not met the people I’ve met, not seen the things I’ve seen, not experienced the love I’ve experienced.  It is love and beauty that is at the heart of the pro-life message and this time at Berkeley I would introduce them to this other world.

After my opening, I addressed the “tough cases” people often raise to justify abortion.  I began with poor prenatal diagnosis and poured out the beauty: I told my story of meeting limbless inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic back in 2010, and spending time with him along with a then-2-year-old girl, Brooke, who was born without arms.  I talked about how Nick had contemplated suicide when he was younger, but he eventually realized that instead of focusing on what his disability prevented him from doing, he could focus on what it enabled him to do.  As this documentary shows, Nick lives a full and satisfying life, inspiring and motivating people all around the world.  I then told them about Brooke: her parents were offered an abortion when a routine ultrasound showed she had no arms.  But they rejected that, got connected to Nick, and now Brooke has also learned how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.  Abortion doesn’t have to be the answer; we can choose a better way.

Nick and Brooke’s lived experiences are really about perspective—that we can choose our response to situations we haven’t chosen. So I then shared the story of photographer Rick Guidotti who devotes his time and talent to use “photography, film and narrative to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences.”  I played a clip from this documentary featuring him, to illustrate a better response than abortion to poor prenatal diagnosis.

Image

Then I addressed the hard case of rape.  Besides playing the trailer of the powerful documentary “Conceived in Rape,” I told the story of my new friend Lianna, a fellow speaker I met in Guatemala.  I told the students that Lianna was raped at the age of 12 and became pregnant.  I read this portion of an interview with her:

“Lianna asked the doctor if abortion would help her forget the rape and ease her pain and suffering. When he replied ‘No,’ she realized that ending the baby’s life would not really benefit anybody.

“‘If abortion wasn’t going to heal anything, I didn’t see the point,’ she said.

“‘I just knew that I had somebody inside my body. I never thought about who her biological father was. She was my kid. She was inside of me. Just knowing that she needed me, and I needed her…it made me want to work, to get a job [to support her],’ she said.

“Rape caused Lianna’s life to become a living hell. No matter how many times she showered, she could not rid herself of feeling dirty. The idea of suicide seemed to offer the young girl instant release from so much misery, but she began to realize that she had to think not only about herself, but about the future of this little life that was blossoming within her body.”

I further told the students that Lianna says, “I saved my daughter’s life and she saved mine.”

But what if someone feels they can’t parent their child like Lianna did?  That brings me back to Brianna and Kevin, the couple I met in Denver a few years ago.  I infrequently speak about adoption, and decided to emphasize it in my talk at Berkeley.  When the Heldt’s first child was only one year old, they adopted two children.  They have since adopted two more children, both of whom have down syndrome and serious heart conditions, along with having 7 more biological kids (but tragically losing 3 of them to miscarriage).  Brianna wrote, which I quoted for the students,

“When we adopted my sons, we went from being a family of three to a family of five.  As one would expect, we got a lot of ‘Why are you doing that?’ and, when I became pregnant four months after my sons joined our family (taking us to a family of six), a lot of ‘Was this an accident?’  And when I answered no, a lot of dumbfounded looks.  What struck me most back then (and still does today) is that people were incredulous not so much because of the number of children we had, but simply because we were saying yes.  Being open.  Allowing love to grow and exponentially multiply, which it always does when a family is graced with new life. 

“Those early years of our marriage with four itty-bitty children were outright hilarious, but they were beautiful too.  If I could go back for a time, I would.  A three-year-old sister sneaking cookies from the pantry to distribute to two-year-old brothers.  Sloppy kisses and chubby hands welcoming a new baby sister.  Exhausted parents collapsing onto the couch at the day’s end, laughing at how ridiculously amusing our life was. 

“But there was love.  Always.”

I told the students that “suffering unleashes love” (one of my favourite quotes from St. John Paul II), and that while Dr. Potts is saying that the suffering in the world should unleash violence (i.e., abortion), I would like to propose—not impose, but propose (to borrow the phrase of the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus who I discovered was simply borrowing more great words from St. John Paul II)—that suffering unleash love.  I would like to propose that we follow in the footsteps of people who prove this is possible, people like the Heldt’s, Lianna, Nick, Brooke and her family, and Rick Guidotti.

There is much more that 50 minutes plus Q & A allowed me to share (that a brief blog post does not), but suffice it to say I sought to heed the words of Dostoevsky: “beauty will save the world.”

P.S., The good news?  One of the course organizers e-mailed me, “Based on our evals (we run a short iClicker evaluation) students overwhelmingly enjoyed your presentation. Since we didn’t have discussion sections due to the holiday, we weren’t able to get a full idea of their feedback, but students were happy to talk to us after and were very receptive to your message.”

Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony

Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony


picassistedsuicide32

Ohio has become the Fifth State in the past few years to strengthen protections in law from assisted suicide.

The Ohio Senate voted on House Bill 470, a bill that would make assisting a suicide a felony in Ohio on Thursday December 8. HB 470 had previously passed in the Ohio House last May by a vote of 92 – 5.
Jeremy Pelzer, reported for Cleveland.com  on November 7 before the vote that:

House Bill 470 … would make knowingly assisting in a suicide a third-degree felony in Ohio, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Currently, Ohio law only permits a court to issue an injunction against anyone helping other people to kill themselves.

If the Senate passes the bill on Thursday – expected to be the last day of the legislative session – it would head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. The measure passed the Ohio House 92-5 last May.
State Sen. Bill Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who authored HB 470, said the legislation mirrors Michigan’s 1998 ban on assisted suicide, which was passed in response to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s well-publicized campaign.

In the past few years Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, and Arizona have passed bills to strengthen protection from assisted suicide.

LifeNews.com Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.

11 reasons why large families are totally awesome

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/11-reasons-why-large-families-are-awesome

Hannah Kane

George Osborne’s ‘two-child policy’ made headlines this week, but it shows that a lot of people still don’t get why mums like me would choose to have more than 2 kids.
So, here’s my list of 11 reasons why large families are totally awesome:

1. You’ll all be healthier
Awesome fact #1: did you know that children with siblings have stronger immune systems? This means that your kids are better guarded against conditions like eczema and hay fever.
And medical research in recent years indicates that they may even be getting protection from food allergies, multiple sclerosis and some cancers!

2. Like, so much healthier
Major studies the world over show that children in a larger family grow up slimmer. That’s how to tackle child obesity! An US study even went so far as to calculate that each extra sibling meant that a child would be 14% less obese on average.
Likewise, children with brothers and sisters tend to enjoy better mental health. How cool is that?

3. Family team games are now a thing
Now you’ll always have enough people to play any game you want.
Football? Cricket? Touch rugby? Once you’re up to 4+ kids, suddenly all kinds of sports become possible.

4. It gets easier after the first one
Ok, so I’ll admit that having a baby for the first time can be tiring and stressful at times (although it’s definitely made up for by the new bundle of joy in your life)! But the weird thing you’ll find is that it gets easier for every new child you have.
After you have two children you’re already outnumbered, so why not go ahead and add a few more to the tribe?
In fact, as your kids grow up, it actually makes life easier – after all:

5. Many hands make light work
You’ll always have plenty of helpers around the house!

6. More birthdays = more parties!
And who doesn’t love a good party?

7. Learning to share
Let’s face it, when you grow up in a large family you have to learn how to share things from a very young age! All great training for later life – your kids will be perfect housemates at university.

8. Older children will learn to take care of their younger siblings
And that’s the coolest thing in the world.

9. You’ll never be bored again
Seriously, how could you ever be bored with jokers like these?

10. More children now = more taxpayers later
(That one’s just for you, George)

But most important of all:
11. You’ll always have friends
Reprinted with permission from Society for the Protection of the Unborn. 

Fatherhood: the antidote to the poverty problem

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/fatherhood-the-antidote-to-the-poverty-problem/19070

Timothy M. Rarick | Nov 29 2016 |
 United Nations officials have set a noble goal “to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030”—also known as Sustainable Development Goal #1.Is this goal well intentioned? Indeed. Is it attainable? That depends on how one makes sense of the problem,” says Dr Timothy Rarick in this essay from the e-book Family Capital and the SDGs, produced for the World Congress of Families. The second in this series on MercatorNet.

According to the World Bank, in the year 2015 the extreme poverty rate (less than $2/day) around the world allegedly dropped below 10% for the first time.1 Although this is good progress, extreme poverty, for 702 million people, remains an international crisis. We know that women and children are deeply impacted socially and academically by living in poverty.

Politicians, economists and other organizations have many ideas for solving this crisis. United Nations officials, for example, have set a noble goal “to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030”—also known as Sustainable Development Goal #1.2 Is this goal well intentioned? Indeed. Is it attainable? That depends on how one makes sense of the problem. Misdiagnosing the source of this poverty problem can lead to the wrong prescribed solution—no matter how well-intentioned.  

Symptoms vs infections

When a person is suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms it can be very difficult to discern the cause of these debilitating effects. Bacterial and viral infections can manifest very similar symptoms such as: coughing, sneezing, fever, inflammation, etc.3 However, the method for treating these symptoms largely depends on whether this is a bacterial or viral infection. Whereas cold or flu medicine can only treat symptoms, thankfully, antibiotics can rid your body of the bacterial infection, taking care of both symptoms and the problem.

In a similar way, we can approach the plague of poverty by setting goals and prescribing ideas that primarily treat symptoms . . . or we can see the bigger picture and find ways to root out the source of the problem. Some ideas may include simply raising the minimum wage and creating more stable, well-paid jobs—but they can only go so far in treating the symptoms of poverty. Besides, we need competent, educated individuals who can qualify for such jobs. The deeper poverty problem (or infection) may be rooted in the state of the family.  

The family: The cause and the solution

Renowned Russian developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner summarized his research, stating: “The family is the most powerful, the most humane, and by far the most economical system known for building competence and character.”4

Consider this powerful, evidence-based statement! Now consider how the current trends in out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce and cohabitation are threatening the power of the family unit. Furthermore, each of these threats produces a common result: fatherlessness. These infections, along with many others, have decimated stable homes and families for millions of children worldwide. Until we address the breakdown of the family— particularly the absentee father problem—there will never be a sustainable alternative to eradicating poverty.  

Fatherlessness

Current social science research powerfully asserts: “. . . there is a Father-Factor in our [world’s] worst social problems. In other words, for many of our most intractable social ills affecting children, father absence is to blame.”5 In the United States over 24 million children are growing up without their biological father; in the year 2014 nearly a quarter of children lived in father-absent homes.6 Dr. Pat Fagan writes: “The Index of Family Belonging for the United States is now just above 45%, which means that 45% of U.S. children on the cusp of adulthood have grown up in an intact married family.”7

This is, in large measure, due to the rise of divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births over the past 50 years. In 1960 only 6% of babies were born to unwed mothers in the United States.8 Thanks to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and the passing of no-fault divorce laws in many countries, that number has risen to over 40% today and continues to increase. Similar trends can be seen in countries around the world. Creating a worldwide culture that teaches sex is a deserved commodity and marriage is based in adult desires and emotions has done more damage to the family structure than almost anything else.

In the overwhelming majority of divorce cases in many countries, custody of the children is given to the mother.9 Although children who are victims of divorce still have a father, the severing of their parents’ marriage often severs the consistent influence from the father. This has had devastating effects—especially in the economic realm, as we will see in the next section.  

If one does not have a good grasp of economics and social science one might assume that poverty is driving the family breakdown rather than the other way around.

The vicious cycle of fatherlessness and poverty

 The positive impact that committed fathers have on women, children and society is staggering. For example:10

  • Infant mortality rates are nearly two times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.
  • Boys in households with a father present had significantly lower odds of incarceration than those in single-mother families.
  • Fathers raise their daughters’ chances of success in academics, earning potential and relationships when they are present and involved.11
  • Father involvement in schools is associated with greater academic success and achievement for both boys and girls.
  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44% of children in fatherless families.

Are we seeing the connection between fathers and poverty? Dads have the power to decrease the odds of poverty by over 30% and increase the earning potential for his children. One of the crippling effects of poverty is the cycle that is perpetuated throughout the generations.

This runs in parallel with the fatherless cycle. Just as children raised in poverty are likely to raise their own children in the same poor economic conditions, so it is with girls born to unwed mothers. Daughters born out-of-wedlock are much more likely to give birth to fatherless children.

The ‘Vicious Cycle’ diagram helps illustrate the connection between fatherlessness and poverty. Keep in mind, even though this cycle and its connections are based in research, it is important to note that none of these factors cause the others to happen. For example, a child who is born out of wedlock is not guaranteed to be poorly educated or live in poverty. Each preceding item simply makes the following factor much more likely to occur.

Education, skills and competence are keys to economic freedom and success. They are the antidote to poverty. A family headed by a married father and mother provides the best setting to not only succeed economically, but to raise confident, competent, well-educated children who can increase their earning potential and “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, . . . employment and decent work for all” (SDG #8). Social scientists claim:

An abundant social-science literature, as well as common sense, supports the claim that children are more likely to flourish, and to become productive adults, when they are raised in stable, married couple households. We know, for example, that children in the United States who are raised outside of an intact, married home are two to three times more likely to suffer from social and psychological problems, such as delinquency, depression, and dropping out of high school. They are also markedly less likely to attend college and be stably employed as young adults.12

Stable families will create a society and worldwide economy that is sustainable, because the intact family is the fundamental unit of society. As the families of the world thrive, so do the economies.  

Rethinking our approach to poverty

The first Sustainable Development Goal calls for governments to “help create an enabling environment to generate productive employment and job opportunities for the poor and the marginalized. They can formulate strategies and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth and reduce poverty.”13

This approach to government policy is necessary, to be sure. Job creation and government subsidies can help alleviate the symptoms associated with poverty, yet they cannot revive and sustain the socioeconomic status of an individual family—let alone a nation’s economy. Furthermore, girls — and by extension women — are much more empowered by having involved fathers than by any government policy or sexual rights agenda attempting to free them from the home. In addition to the SDG#1 proposal, we need governments to view everything through a “family-impact” lens in order to be effective over time.

In her book, Family Policy Matters, Professor Karen Bogenshneider put it this way:

Most policymakers would not think of passing a law or enacting a rule without considering its economic or environmental impact, yet family considerations are seldom taken into account in the normal routine of policymaking…Policymakers explain that they do not have the staff or time to gather all the relevant data on the complex issues that confront them. As a result, they rely on information from lobbyists and special interest groups that is often fragmented, parochial, biased, and less focused on family issues.14

Including creating an enabling environment for families to thrive, here are several ways to bring back fatherhood and promote sustainable economic growth for all:

  • Teach community programs to promote involved, responsible fathering. Research has shown if these programs are taught well and are evidence-based, they increase a father’s (both married and divorced) involvement substantially.15
  • Create educational and skill-based opportunities for fathers (and mothers) to get the training to lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.
  • Improve services and education related to: sexuality, caregiving, violence and parenting for boys and men.
  • Generate a true shift in policy (more than lip service) to focus on teaching all children from a young age about the value of, and their opportunity to be, both caregivers and professionals.
  • Utilize mass and social media outlets to produce and share positive messages about dads, rather than as the incompetent fools many television shows and commercials show them to be.
  • Inform the public about research on the harmful effects of pornography addiction. Porn has the power to destroy our most cherished relationships, thus removing fathers emotionally, physically and financially from the family.
  • Perhaps the most important of all: Re-establish marriage!

Graph: Marriage Foundation UK

The institution of marriage acts as culture’s chief vehicle to bind men to their children. The marriage gap between rich and poor exists in all 20 of the European countries. As Figure 1.2 indicates, 84% of parents who are in the top fifth of household income are married, as opposed to 42% of parents in the bottom fifth of household income. Marriage matters for men, women, children, and economies. But how do we re-establish marriage in the various cultures of the world?

Employers: Create policies and work environments that respect and favor the marital commitment.  

Social work: Within the limits of good practice, promote a culture of family formation.  

Marriage counselors: Begin with a bias in favor of marriage. Avoid being “value-free.”  

Teachers & education administrators: Minimize the implicit and frequently explicit anti-marriage bias prevalent in many schools’ curricula.16  

Strong fathers, strong economies: An auspicious cycle

Whereas fatherless children and poverty create a vicious cycle that perpetuates downward (see figure 1.1), the married, intact family with a hard-working, involved father creates an auspicious cycle that moves upward (figure 1.3).

Along with his wife, a father has the power to promote or increase the financial, academic, professional, and relational competence in a child. Being a responsible person is a matter of character, which is best built in the home. At a young age, boys can and should be taught by both parents—and the predominant culture—to be responsible with: their money, their education, their work, their sex drive and their future children. Boys and men need to learn there is more to life than self-centered, pleasurable pursuits. The values of hard work, integrity and responsibility will be perpetuated throughout generations and society.

Will this take time? Absolutely! Just as cold medicine gives immediate, temporary relief to symptoms, an antibiotic brings gradual yet permanent healing. Only with this kind of approach can the economies—and families—of the world be truly sustainable.

Let us bring back fatherhood and heal the plague of poverty.

Timothy M. Rarick is Professor of Family Studies at Brigham Young University – Idaho. His essay is reproduced with his permission and that of the editor of Family Capital and the SDGS, Susan Roylance.

Endnotes

1. Kottasova, Ivana. “World Poverty Rate to Fall below 10% for the First Time.” CNNMoney. October 5, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/05/news/economy/poverty-worldbank/.
2. “Poverty – United Nations Sustainable Development.” UN News Center. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/.
3. Ratini, Melinda. “Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments.” WebMD. April 10, 2015. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bacterial-and-viral-infections.
4. Bogenschneider, Karen. Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professionals Can Do. 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. page 52.
5. Mclanahan, Sara, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider, “The Causal Effects of Father Absence.” Annu. Rev. Sociol. Annual Review of Sociology 39, no. 1 (2013): 399-427. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071312- 145704.
6. Sanders, Ryan. “The Father Absence Crisis in America [Infographic].” The Father Absence Crisis in America. November 12, 2013. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.fatherhood.org/The-Father- Absence-Crisis-in-America. 7. Fagan, Patrick. “The Third Annual Index of Family Belonging & Rejection.” Marriage & Religion Research Institute. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://marri.us/index-2013.
8. U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.
9. Grall, Timothy. “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011.” United States Census Bureau. October 2013. Accessed July 10, 2016. https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60- 246.pdf.
10. “Statistics on the Father Absence Crisis in America.” Father Facts. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics.
11. Nielsen, Linda. Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2008.
12. Longman, Phillip and Paul Corcuera, Laurie Derose, Marga Gonzalvo Cirac, Andres Salazar,Claudia Tarud Aravena and Antonio Torralby, “The Empty Cradle—How Contemporary Family Trends Undermine the Global Economy,” The Sustainable Demographic Dividend, Social Trends Institute, 2010. http://sustaindemographicdividend.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SDD-2011-Final.pdf
13. “Poverty – United Nations Sustainable Development.” UN News Center. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/.
14. Bogenschneider, Karen. Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professionals Can Do. 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. page 4.
15. Cowan, Philip A., Carolyn Pape Cowan, Marsha Kline Pruett, Kyle Pruett, and Jessie J. Wong. “Promoting Fathers’ Engagement With Children: Preventive Interventions for Low-Income Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 71, no. 3 (2009): 663-79. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00625.x.
16. Popenoe, David. Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society. New York: Martin Kessler Books, 1996.

Professor Warns IVF is Producing a Generation of Infertile Children Prone to Cancer

Life News

Micaiah Bilger   Nov 28, 2016   |   7:22PM    Washington, DC

invitro11

The controversial infertility procedure in vitro fertilization may lead to a greater risk of infertility and cancer in children conceived through the procedure, an Australian researcher says.

University of Newcastle laureate professor John Aitken, a world-renowned expert on male fertility, warned about the negative effects of over-using in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to conceive, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In the past decade, couples experiencing infertility or waiting until later in life to get pregnant have increasingly turned to IVF to conceive. The procedure involves harvesting sperm and eggs and using them to create living, human embryos outside the womb; the embryos then are implanted in the woman’s womb.

One of the problems with the procedure is that most couples have more embryos created than they will use. Sometimes the leftover embryos are destroyed or donated to research. Others believe the procedure has commoditized human life.

Aitken said the children conceived through IVF and born also are being impacted. He said the infertility procedure, which is used by one in six couples in Australia, is producing a new generation of infertile children. He also pointed to research showing that male children conceived through IVF to aging fathers were more likely to get cancer.

“There is a negative pay-off,” Aitken said, citing new research in Belgium about male infertility. “If you have a son from this process, it is possible that he too will have the same pathology that you had.”

Studies also have linked IVF to Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. A 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control found an increased risk of birth defects among children conceived through IVF. The Mayo Clinic reports it also can increase the risk of multiple births, which can have negative effects on the babies, including premature birth and low birth weight.

Aitken expressed serious concern at society’s heavy reliance on assisted conception through procedures like IVF. In Australia, one in 25 babies are now born after being conceived through in vitro fertilization, according to the report. The rate in which couples use IVF is increasing in the U.S., too. Aitken blamed the infertility industry for ignoring that male infertility problems often are to blame, and that IVF should not always be the solution.

“Its an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next,” he said.

Another bioethics concern with IVF is the screening of eggs and embryos for health problems, as well as qualities desired by the couple. Some fear that couples are using the screening to pick and choose their child’s traits.

 

Targeting Adolescents as “Progress”

by

“For us to make real progress as a country, our interventions must target this group.”

— Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children, speaking of the need to target adolescent girls with contraceptives, at the opening of the Family Planning 2020 “Progress Report” conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this month.

Progress.

That is the word that the Honorable Ms. Mwalimu uses to outline the goal of getting Tanzanian girls under the age of 18 to start having sex and “protecting” themselves from its consequences with the drugs provided through the massive “Family Planning 2020” campaign. The stated goal of the Gates Foundation and its partners in this 2.6 billion dollar project is to get 120 million women in Africa and Asia to start using Depo Provera and other hormonal drugs. This, Ms. Gates told the New York Times again last week, will help women in developing nations “start to break the cycle of poverty.”

This is the technocratic case for “progress”: Get many millions of poor women with no doctors, no hospitals, no corner drug store, and little education and access to information to start using drugs that American women shun due to their serious health risks. And since Ms. Gates has such a knack for getting uncritical media coverage from such outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and even, sadly, the American Enterprise Institute, “FP2020” continues its philanthropic assault on millions of poor women who are literally being told that a shot in the arm is the key to getting out of poverty.

So FP 2020 is all about “progress” for poor women in poor countries. Hence, the great generosity of the Gates Foundation, Pfizer (the maker of Depo Provera, in which the Gates Foundation is a major stockholder), the United States and British governments, and a whole host of the usual suspects in the multibillion dollar “development” and “aid” industry. They’re here to help.

No doubt, Ms. Mwalimu does believe in the “health” initiative of FP 2020. But it is not her initiative. Nor was this massive project initiated in the dozens of other health ministries of African nations who have bought into this scheme. It was initiated in Seattle, New York City, Washington D.C., and London.

The New Colonialism

One of the great successes of the latest form of colonization lies in the redefinition of words like “progress” to mean something other than movement toward genuine human flourishing. Who could look at the last fifty years of “aid” to Africa and say that the goal was to secure genuine human flourishing? Who would dare say such a thing? No, if you want to see the goal of this “aid”, the “progress” it inflicted on Africa, look at the decrease in total fertility rate measurements over time, the only “success” of which this corrupt industry can boast.

To the “aid” industry, “progress” is getting Africans to internalize the corrupt values and priorities of powerful western elites, and lead their own people into further subjection, while thanking the donors for their generosity.

It is a massive export of the sexual revolution: get people to abandon traditional mores and have sex, supposedly without consequences. Break the natural, healthy, intrinsic link between sex and fertility and you have a people that are easy to control. Give them sex in their media, “comprehensive sex education” in schools that provide pornographic instruction with the façade of educational authority, and tell children they have the “right” to sexual pleasure. Then give them drugs and condoms to make them (here’s another word that has been redefined) “safe,” and when these things fail—as they do tens of millions of times per year around the world—you get a (demonic term) “unintended pregnancy.” Yes, their “education” leads to tens of millions of women every year to have “safe” sex and then wonder how they got pregnant and a sexually transmitted infection to boot.

Progress.

nocontroversy

Strategies at Home and Abroad

That’s what marketers call the “pull” strategy—create a demand for your product. Then there is the “push strategy”. For African adolescent girls, that means your governments and health ministers become advocates for dangerous drugs without ever mentioning the serious physical and spiritual side effects. Next comes abortion—something these ministers never saw themselves promoting even a short time ago. But once contraception is widespread, abortion becomes the next step in “reproductive health,” since behaviors and mores change, leading to many, many more unintended pregnancies.

This isn’t only in Africa; it’s well advanced here, as we well know. Thanks to the “progress” promoted in our schools and media by the “progressive” elite, our kids are regressing in intellect and maturity, and are increasingly reliant on the government for their basic needs and even their ideas. But they sure know how to put a condom on a banana, and their only marketable skill is throwing a tantrum, which apparently is a part time job for some lucky millennials in today’s progressive America.

We’re Not Enemies

I don’t say this to demonize health ministers or billionaire philanthropists. They are not the enemy. People can have good intentions that lead to bad things. Ms. Gates is a Catholic, and by many accounts a kind and generous person. There is a good chance she never heard a word from the pulpit about the Church’s beautiful and life-giving teaching on marriage and sexuality.

These health ministers and billionaire philanthropists are acting, one can imagine, in accordance with their consciences. They can mean well, even if what they mean to do is not at all good—that is, their consciences have not been formed in the truth. The fact that they follow the exact modus operandi of the racist eugenicists of the early 20th century probably has not occurred to them, nor do they think of themselves as participants in a new colonialism.

Still, even billionaires would have questions to answer if we had a functioning media industry.  When Family Planning 2020 was launched in July 2012 in London— exactly 100 years after the first London eugenics conference of 1912—Ms. Gates made it clear that Depo Provera was her preferred method of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). She said this despite the fact that her foundation had just funded a Lancet-published research project that again found that Depo Provera use correlated with a twofold increase in HIV transmission among women. Despite knowing this, as Ms. Gates must have, she and her collaborators pressed ahead with FP 2020, with Depo Provera as the primary method on offer.

Unusual Allies

Within the last several months, after more studies have been published supporting the case against Depo Provera, many organizations have surprisingly begun to distance themselves from the dangerous drug and its promoters. Pro-abortion and pro-contraception women’s health advocates have even publicly criticized the World Health Organization (largest funder: the Gates Foundation), for lowering rather than increasing its risk assessment of Depo Provera due to the growing amount of research pointing to its risks.

Well, if some women’s health advocates are starting to wake up, then that may be a step toward real progress. Again, many of these folks mean well, but were educated in an academic environment where sexual “health” and pleasure are the highest values, and pregnancy is a dangerous disease. We hope that Ms. Mwalimu and her fellow African health ministers start to ask questions. Among these should be questions about the true meaning of progress, and about whether those pushing destructive drugs as the key to poverty reduction have really thought things through.

Bill & Melinda Gates received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama, on 16 Nov 2016.

 

Terminally-ill teen girl chooses life for her preborn son

rihannaRihanna Truman is a young woman who will give birth in just one week to her first child. What makes her unique is not only that she is 16-years-old, but that she is also battling cancer.

At just 12-years-old, Truman was diagnosed with adamantinoma, a rare and slow-growing bone cancer. So rare that it only accounts for less than one percent of all bone cancers. She had the tumor removed from her leg, but the cancer never left her body. It is now in her lungs as well.

“Chemotherapy, radiation isn’t proven to work, so they’re trying to find a new drug so I can hopefully beat it,” Truman told NewsHub.

When she first discovered that she was pregnant, family and friends told her that she should abort her baby or place him for adoption. They were scared that having a child could kill Truman.
“Everyone was telling me to abort or adopt it out, but for me that was just not an option that I was willing to choose,” she said.

(Click here to watch video.)

“We got told that if I did have the baby that they don’t know what’s gonna happen to me by giving birth. So my family was quite scared that if I had this baby that I was gonna pass away. Ya know, I said that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I was scared, but now I’m not.”

Her baby has been growing as expected – a bit on the small side, likely due to his mother’s condition, but healthy. When he is born next week, he will have two parents who love him very much.
“If I die, I’m gonna die happy, and my son will hopefully be grateful that I chose to have him,” said Truman. “I want him to be proud of me as a mum.”

With the cancer having spread, Truman is living with holes in her lungs. In order to keep them from collapsing, her lungs have been essentially glued to her rib cage. Her fight to stay alive to raise her son is very real, but she is putting his life first.

“Before I was pregnant, every day I’d wake up and be like, ‘I don’t want to live here, I don’t want to be here,’” she said. “But ever since I’ve been pregnant, I knew that this baby was my reason for staying in this world.”

How to fix our broken sexual culture, according to Archbishop Chaput

By Matt Hadro

chaput

Baltimore, Md., Nov 16, 2016 / 05:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Infidelity, divorce, sexual violence, pornography, hook-up culture – all things that have both increased en masse in society over the last few decades, and have seared pain into the lives of individual men and women.

So how do we even begin to address the problem? By people – especially the youth – choosing to live in true, authentic and virtuous community with one another, says Archbishop Chaput.

“We’re getting a culture that’s just hugely preoccupied with sexuality, and being restrained sexually is not considered a virtue anymore, apparently. I think that’s very hurtful to everyone,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ working group on Amoris laetitia, told CNA on Monday.

The archbishop, who in a lecture in September noted a marked increase in the number and kind of sexual sins he had heard in the confessional throughout his priesthood, told CNA that young Catholics need virtuous relationships to live chastely in the midst of a promiscuous culture.

“I think it’s really important for us to encourage young people to form communities of young people, peers, who can give them support in the face of this culture of cheapening human relationships,” he insisted.

Archbishop Chaput spoke with CNA during the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14. He chairs the U.S. bishops’ working group on Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family.

The exhortation was the fruit of two synods on the family, which sparked controversy amid speculation over whether there would be a change in the Church’s practice that the divorced-and-remarried may not receive Communion.

Since Amoris laetitia was published, some of its vague language has inspired conflicting interpretations. Some have seen it as a break with the Church’s teaching tradition, others as not changing the Church’s teaching. Still others consider it a progression toward a new pastoral praxis, or that it need not be interpreted at all.

For his part, Archbishop Chaput noted in pastoral guidelines for his archdiocese that in putting Amoris laetitia into practice, “the Holy Father himself states clearly that neither Church teaching nor the canonical discipline concerning marriage has changed.”

Francis’ exhortation “should therefore be read in continuity with the great treasury of wisdom handed on by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church … and previous magisterial documents,” he said.

In his Sept. 15 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Archbishop Chaput had insisted that the task of rebuilding society comes from personal conversion, not politics. Even if presidential candidates might be unpopular and controversial, he noted, they came from a flawed culture and were nominated by the citizens.

As evidence of this cultural decline, he noted that over recent decades the number of sexual sins he heard in the Sacrament of Confession has increased, as well as their “scope,” “novelty,” “violence,” and “compulsiveness”:

“As a priest, what’s most striking to me about the last five decades is the huge spike in people – both men and women — confessing promiscuity, infidelity, sexual violence and sexual confusion as an ordinary part of life, and the massive role of pornography in wrecking marriages, families and even the vocations of clergy and religious.”

Even more women are now viewing pornography, he said.

All these sins “create human wreckage,” he added, and on a mass scale they bring about “a dysfunctional culture.” Thus, “as families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows.”

However, given that President-elect Trump has said lewd and degrading things about women, how can the Church begin rebuilding the culture after this election season?

It starts with community, the archbishop said. “I don’t think anybody can be chaste alone, so you need to pick a spouse who helps you to be that way.”

These virtuous communities are “really what the Church should be,” he added. “It should be a community of people who think like Jesus and want to act like He calls us to act.”

“So in some ways, that’s the foundational purpose of the Church, to provide us companions in virtue and worship, and care for the poor. We’re supposed to be companions that call one another to all those things that are essentially part of being a Christian,” he added.

The government has a role in protecting this culture, he said, but has abandoned its duty to protect children and families from the effects of pornography by allowing it in the name of “personal freedom.”

Archbishop Chaput also discussed with CNA how Catholics should react to the recent presidential election – with both “gratitude” and “concern,” he said.

“One, gratitude to God for the opportunities it’s going to give us to protect the Church on religious freedom issues,” he said, noting anticipated changes to the HHS birth control mandate. “And also on the life issues, it seems like there’s openness to supporting the Church’s position on life that wasn’t present before.”

However, serious concerns persist on issues such as immigration, he added, with “the possible deportation of people that will undermine family life in a very serious way.”

“There are a lot of people in my diocese who are very much afraid because of the things they’re imagining that’s going to happen. And that can be hugely disruptive and destructive of the life of families,” he explained.

“Fear is not a good way to live your life. And intense fear for children is especially disruptive. So I think sometimes because of our excitement about the pro-life positive news, we can be naïve about the dangers that exist.”

Ultimately, Catholics should be open to working with the Trump administration on areas of agreement with Church teaching, but must also be vigilant for other areas of policy that oppose Catholic social teaching.

“I think it’s really important to do our best to give the new administration the chance to develop its plan and support it in the good things that it proposes, and to express our concerns about the things that are worrisome,” he said.

“But it’s important for us to pray for government officials. The Scriptures call us to do that.”

Chemical Abortions on the Rise among U.S. Women

Chemical Abortions on the Rise among U.S. Women

Ifeoma Anunkor

According to a recent report by Reuters, abortion in America has reached a new turning point: Nearly half—43 percent—of abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics are now medication-induced rather than surgical procedures. It’s a sharp increase since 2010, when Planned Parenthood ended 34 percent of pregnancies chemically. At some point, chemical abortions could exceed surgical ones nationally. They already do in Michigan, at 55 percent, and Iowa at a whopping 64 percent.

What precipitated this spike? In March 2016, the Food and Drug Administration caved to pressure from drug companies, changing prescription guidelines so that the abortion drug Mifeprex—use of which the FDA hadn’t permitted after seven weeks of pregnancy—could now be administered up to 10 weeks. The FDA loosened restrictions further by cutting the number of required medical visits and even allowing non-physicians to dispense the abortion pill.

“Of the more than 2.75 million U.S. women who have used abortion pills since they were approved in 2000, at least 1 million got them at Planned Parenthood,” Reuters reports. The number is likely to increase as a result of the new guidelines. This, “despite concerns about the drug’s medical risks, including blood, psychiatric, immune, respiratory, cardiac, reproductive, and more disorders, as well as a handful of deaths,” warns Live Action.

Add to the increase the fact that contraceptives such as the morning-after pill—also known as Plan B—and others act as abortifacients by inhibiting implantation of a newly conceived embryo in the womb. Countless abortions are therefore going unreported as it becomes easy for a woman to have an early abortion without going to a clinic or hospital.

Women on Web is a digital community where women from most parts of the world can order abortifacients Mifepristone and Misoprostol online. Reuters reports that Gynuity Health Projects, a private technical institute working in conjunction with clinics in New York and several other states, sends abortion pills by mail to pre-screened women.

Early this year, many pro-life advocates celebrated declining abortion rates in the U.S. But it is very possible that the decline is not as steep as has been reported. Not only because of the abortifacient nature of some contraception methods, and that women are now ordering their abortion pills online without ever going to a hospital, but also because several state health departments, including the most populous, California, do not even provide abortion data.

‘They’re already born, but they might not know it yet!’: amazing video of newborn twins goes viral

Talk about heartwarming! A video of a set of newborn twins being bathed by a nurse in France has taken Youtube by storm, earning over 4.2 million views in the space of just a few days.

The nurse, Sonia Rochel, says the babies were only a few days old when she gave them a type of immersive bath using warm water that she says causes babies to move as they would in the womb.
When these twins were immersed in the water, they clung to each other in a tight embrace, their eyes closed peacefully.

“They’re already born, but they might not know it yet,” wrote Today Moms, which interviewed the nurse. 
The video has strongly resonated with viewers.

“Sweet baby Jesus. Words can’t even begin to explain the beauty in this video,” wrote one commenter.
“It breaks my heart when I watch this clip. It’s beautiful!” wrote another.

Dayton Abortion Facility Denied License Again

http://www.ohiolife.org/dayton_abortion_facility_denied_license_again

dayton

COLUMBUS, Ohio–In September, a hearing examiner at the Ohio Department of Health recommended that the license of a Dayton-area abortion facility be revoked for failure to meet the department’s health and safety standards. This followed a hearing in April in which the abortion facility, Women’s Med Center of Dayton, requested to maintain its license and stay open. In addition, in October, the Ohio Department of Health denied the facility’s request for a variance from the law for the fifth year in a row.

“The abortion industry’s repeated failure to meet basic health and safety standards is a concern that should alarm every Ohioan,” said Devin Scribner, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “Last summer, this same abortion facility performed an abortion on an incapacitated woman who was unable to consent. Enough is enough. Women’s Med Center’s repeated offenses need to result in its swift closure.”

Ohio law requires that all ambulatory surgical facilities, including abortion facilities, secure a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. If unable to obtain an agreement, the facility may seek a variance from the law. In June 2015, Women’s Med Center submitted a variance request to ODH. It cited three back-up physicians who would provide care in the event of an emergency and indicated that Miami Valley Hospital would continue to treat the facility’s patients through its emergency room. That same month, a woman exhibiting signs of recreational drug use arrived at Women’s Med Center for an abortion appointment. She was unable to walk or hold a conversation. Women’s Med Center consulted Miami Valley Hospital by phone. Despite the woman’s inability to provide consent, Women’s Med Center performed the abortion. According to the Department of Health’s hearing examiner, the following month, in a letter to the Ohio Department of Health, the president of Miami Valley Hospital objected to the use of its name in the agreement and requested that all references to its name be removed.

“As the traditional medical community rejects affiliation with this abortion facility, it’s time Ohio does the same,” said Scribner. “Women’s Med Center has failed to meet the Department of Health’s expectations for five years. In that time span, thousands of human children have lost their lives and the health of thousands of women has been jeopardized at this facility. If we take women’s health seriously, we simply cannot afford to have this facility continue operating in this reckless manner.”

Women’s Med Center of Dayton is operated by abortionist Martin Haskell who is known for popularizing the now-banned partial-birth abortion technique.

To view the hearing examiner’s report and recommendation to the Ohio Department of Health, click here.

To view the Department of Health’s 2016 denial of variance request, click here.

 

Hormonal Birth Control Is Too Dangerous To Dispense Without A Prescription

By Arina O. Grossu and Patricia Livengood

http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/10/hormonal-birth-control-dangerous-dispense-without-prescription/

bcp

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved hormonal birth control in 1960, it has been touted by some as the best thing since sliced bread. But a new landmark study has concluded that hormonal birth control carries significant mental health risks to women.

Newspaper headline writers appear surprised by the study, but they should not be. Hormonal birth control also has established physical health risks. Given what we now know about the health dangers of hormonal birth control, making it available without a prescription is a troubling public health policy driven by politics, not science.

Recall the Big Recent Study in Denmark

A recent Danish study at the University of Copenhagen revealed that using hormonal contraceptives, including the pill, injections, patches, rings, implants, and intrauterine devices, is correlated with clinical depression. This longitudinal study was conducted over the course of 13 years. Its subjects included one million women aged 15 to 34, pre-screened for depression and other medical and psychiatric disorders. Women who had a pre-existing condition of depression or were using anti-depressants were excluded from the trials.

These women were tracked for hormonal birth control use and psychiatric health. Results showed that the women on hormonal birth control were almost twice as likely to develop depression and be given a prescription to combat these symptoms. Teenage women, in particular, were most susceptible to these effects. Women aged 14 to 19 were 80 percent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants, especially if they were on the combined pill containing both artificial estrogen and progesterone.

Given the findings of this newest study showing the correlation between hormonal birth control and depression, women who are already susceptible to depression and who use hormonal birth control could put themselves at greater risk for self-harm or suicide. While correlation does not equal causation, these statistics are startling and should not be ignored, especially since 62 percent (11 million) of women of reproductive age in the United States use contraception.

We’ve Known about Negatives for Years

In addition to the mental health risks, hormonal birth control has various established health risks. Common side-effects include nausea, vomiting, cramps, weight gain, and acne, to name a few. Serious side-effects of hormonal birth control include blurred vision; severe stomach pain or headache; swelling or pain in the legs; chest pain; gallbladder disease; increased risk of blood clots cutting off blood flow to the heart or brain, increasing the risk of cardiovascular arterial disease, heart attack, or stroke; increased risk of liver tumors that can turn malignant; increased risk of cervical cancer; and increased risk of breast cancer.

Citing increased risk of cancer, the World Health Organization has classified hormonal contraception as a definite group-one carcinogen along with other harmful substances like asbestos, tobacco, mustard gas, engine exhaust, and outdoor air pollution.

In addition, hormonal contraception can cause an abortion when breakthrough ovulation happens and the egg is fertilized. Hormonal birth control changes the lining of the uterus and can act as an abortifacient if fertilization occurs, since the embryo would not be able to implant and receive nutrients. This is called a pre-implantation chemical abortion.

The new Danish study’s findings along with the previously established health risks must be taken into account when considering some Republicans’ legislative strategy to promote over-the-counter birth control in a misguided effort to fight the Left’s “war on women” narrative. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Cory Gardner proposed a bill (S.1438) with other Republican senators that would require the FDA to make hormonal birth control available over-the-counter for those over the age of 18.

This legislation will harm women. Women deserve to know the real health risks of hormonal birth control from their doctor in order to make an informed decision, not from a size-eight font warning label in the supermarket aisle.

Contraception Use Increases Abortion Rates

Some argue that decreasing the cost and increasing the accessibility of hormonal birth control would reduce abortions and unplanned pregnancies and help low-income women. However, studies such as this 2011 study in the journal Contraception show that contraceptive use correlates with an increase in unplanned pregnancies and an increase in the elective abortion rate.

Contraceptive use encourages sexual activity by setting up the false expectation that contraception makes one “safe” from pregnancy. When contraception fails, women who end up in unplanned pregnancies often get an abortion. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute reported that “more than half of women obtaining abortions in 2000 (54%) had been using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.”

First, scientists are discovering health risks that suggest dangers to women’s health and safety. Second, there is the real concern that over-the-counter contraceptives will increase unplanned pregnancies and abortion. Third, making hormonal birth control available over the counter without the oversight and care of her doctor endangers a woman and deprives her of proper informed consent.

As part of informed consent, doctors should share the findings of these health risks with women who are considering hormonal birth control and share information about natural, healthier, organic alternatives in family planning. These include fertility-awareness based methods, alternatives that have been found to be equally or more effective than hormonal based birth control. These methods empower women to make more informed choices about family planning and to teach them how to monitor and understand their own reproductive health, instead of using harmful means to suppress it.

Our public servants should do all they can to protect women’s health and safety. Politicians who push for making hormonal contraception, a group-one carcinogen and a known abortifacient, available over the counter are playing Russian roulette with women’s health and safety for their own political gain. Women deserve better.

Trump’s Catholic Coalition Could Have “Very Positive Effect” on Presidency

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson, says the President-elect has been a “very good listener” at meetings with a Catholic coalition of advisers.

Edward Pentin

President-elect Donald Trump has been a “very good listener” during meetings of a Catholic coalition group that he set up to advise him on the faith during his presidential campaign.

This is according to one of its members, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson.
Nicholson told the Register Nov. 10 that the newly elected President is not only an “intent listener” who heeded their advice in the lead up to Tuesday’s ballot, but also “asks very good questions”. He therefore believes the group could have a “very positive effect on President-elect Trump”.

Trump formally set up the body of 34 respected Catholics in September in a bid to allay concerns about his candidacy among some in the Church, and to attract more Catholic voters. Part of the Trump Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee, it was viewed as evidence of his commitment to protecting religious freedom and moral values.

“I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic,” said Nicholson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See during President George W. Bush’s first term before being appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2005 to 2007.
Trump pledged to continue communication with its members if elected president.

Nicholson further pointed out that Trump “carries the Catholic vote which is a large number”, adding that he has “a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City.”

Catholics were crucial to Trump’s election: he won 52% of the Catholic vote, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45%. 

In addition to Nicholson, the Catholic coalition group’s members include former US Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Ambassador Francis Rooney, Nicholson’s immediate successor as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and now newly elected congressman in Florida; and Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights and tireless defender of life at the United Nations.
Also in his comments to the Register, Nicholson spoke about his hopes for relations between Trump, the Holy See and Pope Francis, despite clear differences.   

Here below is the full text of Secretary Nicholson’s remarks to the Register:
“Secretary Nicholson, what are your expectations regarding Trump’s relationship with the Holy See?
I think it will be a good relationship. I’m delighted with the Trump victory because it’s a victory for working class people, for underemployed people and unemployed people — people for whom the Pope has great concern. So they have a great amount in common in their priorities.
 
The Pope has often spoken of his concerns about capitalism. Could this be a problem going forward in relations with a Trump administration?

They have differences in views but a great deal in common. They have a mutual concern for poor, a mutual concern for the foundation of the Catholic Church which is life. Trump is adamantly pro-life, as is the Pope. I think on matters like their view of capitalism and the free market and of course immigration, we should acknowledge differences.

That is going to depend a lot on how effective the ambassador that Trump selects to represent him at the Holy See will be. If he gets a very good, articulate interlocutor to explain what he wants to do and what his thinking is to the Holy See and to the Holy Father, it will go along way, because the Pope respects the rule of law, he respects sovereignty. So that’s a very important issue in the immigration debate.

The Pope is also concerned for the humanitarian aspects of people, migrant people, so those are issues that need to be discussed openly, a common set of foundational values about the dignity of people, their welfare.

Trump and I agree with him on this – that the best thing you can do is help people get a job, help them get on their feet, and get back to dignity of having a purpose in life. That has got to be very consistent with the Pope’s values at a human level. How that’s done on an economic level, they might not agree, so that has to be dealt with. I think Trump has a healthy respect for the Pope, he recognizes his moral authority, and I think it could be a very enduring relationship.
 
Regarding the Catholic coalition of advisors, how much effect and influence could it have going forward?
It can have a very positive effect on President-elect Trump. He carries the Catholic vote, it’s a large number and he has a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City. I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic.

Was he listening to what the group had to say before the election?
He was. In fact he’s a very good listener. He had a lot of bravado regarding the external part of his presentation which served him well on the campaign but when he gets into a meeting with us, he’s a very intent listener and asks very good questions.
 
Does Trump respect the Pope’s authority do you think, given their clash earlier this year?
Trump had the dust up with the “wall” [when the Pope said on returning from Mexico that we should build bridges rather than walls and that anyone who wishes to build a wall “is not Christian”]. What I think the Holy Father should have said, more appropriately, was that’s not a Christian way to act, but instead he branded Trump as not being a Christian. Trump retorted pretty robustly to that. It’s a two way street. I think that both of the world leaders recognize the external challenges they have in common, growing secularism and terrorism. They’ll find they can do so much by working closely together, even though they may have certain differences.

As an example, George W. Bush, my president, and Pope St. John Paul II worked together in spite of a very stark difference over Iraq, but they had so much in common, a values system, life, taking care of people in Africa with disease and suffering, starvation. Bush visited the Vatican three times, the most times any president has visited a pope in Rome. I think they’re both smart men and they’ll realize that there’s a lot to be gained by them working closely together than by not doing so, by stressing the important priorities they have in common rather than some important things about which they don’t agree.”

Cardinal Burke: Trump’s Victory a Wake-Up Call to US Political Leaders

<> on November 9, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin.

<> on November 9, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin.


The patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said Catholics need to continue to make their presence felt in the election process.

Edward Pentin

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cardinal-burke-trumps-victory-a-wake-up-call-to-us-political-leaders

VATICAN CITY —Cardinal Raymond Burke has said Donald Trump’s election Tuesday is a sign that the United States’ political leaders need to listen more to the people and return to safeguarding life, marriage, the family and religious liberty.

In an exclusive interview with the Register Nov. 9, the patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta said he was confident Trump would be able to help heal divisions in the country, that he has a “great disposition” to listen to the Church’s position on the moral law, and hopes he will “follow the principles and dictates of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” However, aware of inevitable areas of divergence with Church teaching, Cardinal Burke stressed the importance of Catholics continuing to make objections known whenever necessary.

Your Eminence, what is your reaction to the news of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president?

I think that it is a clear sign of the will of the people. I understand that the voter turnout was stronger than usual, and I think that the American people have awoken to the really serious situation in which the country finds itself with regard to the common good, the fundamental goods that constitute the common good, whether it be the protection of human life itself, the integrity of marriage and the family or religious liberty. That a candidate like Donald Trump — who was completely out of the normal system of politics — could be elected is an indication that our political leaders need to listen more carefully to the people and, in my judgment, return to those fundamental principles that safeguard the common good that were so clearly enunciated at the foundation of the country in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.

You’d say the silent majority has spoken?
Yes, that’s clear.

Some are calling this a golden opportunity for the Church, particularly because of Trump’s position on life issues and religious freedom.

Exactly; what he has said about pro-life issues, family issues and also issues regarding religious freedom shows a great disposition to hear the Church on these matters and to understand that these are fundamentally questions of the moral law, not questions of religious confession. They are questions of the moral law, which religion in the country, as the Founding Fathers understood from the start, is meant to support and to sustain. The government needs the help of religious leadership in order to hold to an ethical norm.

Do you think he’s authentic when he talks about these issues? Recently, for example, some were concerned that he waved a pro-homosexual rainbow flag at a rally.

Of course, after any election, this is the big question: Will the candidate be true to his word, follow through? We have to hope and pray that he does that. One thing I heard about him is that he tends to associate himself with very sound advisers, and I would trust that he will do that.

He appointed 34 prominent Catholics during the campaign to advise him on Church issues.

Yes, some of them are well-known to me, and they are very fine people. It is a hopeful sign.

His election also means it’s practically inevitable that the contraceptive mandate that the Obama administration tried to impose on EWTN and other Catholic organizations will be overturned.

I certainly hope so, because that’s certainly a question of a fundamental right of conscience. I trust that he will address the many moral problems with the health care mandate that was pushed during these last eight years.

In the lead-up to the election, 35 prominent Catholics signed an open letter before he was nominated, saying that Trump is “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.” They said: “His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country.” Should Catholics still be wary of these concerns?

Certainly, we must be alert to them, as we would be to any U.S. president, and be attentive to insist on what’s morally right. But I think a Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump because, in all that he said, at least there was a hope of advancing in some way the common good of the nation. But on these objectionable issues, when one votes in conscience for a candidate with whom one doesn’t share all the same moral principles, but certainly very important ones, then one makes clear his or her objections on positions that the candidate may have that are not correct.

But on the key one, the life one, although there were some earlier concerns (he had been pro-abortion rights in the past), he seems to be right?

Yes, on the life issue, he’s right on the money.

What about immigration, where his views diverge with the common position taken by U.S. bishops? Pope Francis also said, in comments perceived as criticism of Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants, that we should build bridges rather than walls.

I don’t think the new president will be inspired by hatred in his treatment of the issue of immigration. These are prudential questions — of how much immigration a country can responsibly sustain, also what is the meaning of immigration, and if the immigrants are coming from one country — questions that principally address that country’s responsibility for its own citizens. Those are all questions that have to be addressed, and, certainly, the bishops of the United States have addressed them consistently, and I’m sure they will with him, too. He has these Catholic advisers; and at least some of them, I know, are very well aware of these questions, and I can’t imagine that they’re not speaking up.

A Christian cannot close his heart to a true refugee, this is an absolute principle, there’s no question about it, but it should be done with prudence and true charity. Charity is always intelligent; it demands to know: Exactly who are these immigrants? Are they really refugees, and what communities can sustain them?

What is your opinion regarding other accusations of divisiveness and lowering the tone of political debate and culture? Some, particularly in the Clinton campaign, blamed Trump for that.

I don’t think that at all. I think the campaign itself, and that means both parties, contributed to that, and I believe, from what I’ve heard him say, although I didn’t hear his acceptance speech, that he will work to unify the country. But it has to be a unity that’s on a solid foundation, namely those moral principles that have to guide the life of a nation. So I believe that he will do that. I mean, you have to imagine, he’s not a stupid man; he realizes that it’s one thing to run for president, but it’s another thing to become the president, and that will certainly be in his mind — the heavy responsibility that he has, that’s on his shoulders.

Another fear that arose during the campaign, heightened by Trump’s opponents, was that giving him the nuclear codes would be dangerous.

I’m not afraid of this. I think the new president, in the long tradition of American presidents, will follow the way of cooperation and communication with foreign powers, and I highly doubt he will be able to take any unilateral action that would endanger the world. I am convinced he will deal with other countries on a wider variety of foreign-policy issues.

Overall, what are your hopes for this new presidency?

I hope that Trump will follow the principles and dictates of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — certainly, that he will turn out to be a good president and heal the divisions in the country (in fact, he has already said that it is a time not to be divisive) and that, therefore, there will be unconditional understanding, that is, unity among all American citizens.

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent

These Moms Found a Powerful Way to Give Unborn Children a Voice—and It’ll Stay With You

These Moms Found a Powerful Way to Give Unborn Children a Voice—and It’ll Stay With You

In the United States, when abortion became legal in 1973, the Supreme Court basically declared that unborn people don’t have constitutional rights like those of us that are out of the womb do. In further denying the “personhood” of unborn children, proponents of abortion insist on referring to a child in the womb as a “fetus” rather than a “baby” or a “child.” One of the great challenges of the pro-life movement has been how to give back this personhood to the little ones inside their mother’s wombs who have no voice that can be audibly heard yet.

In the powerful video below, you’ll see a group of women in Chile figured out a way to do just that. The pro-life femininist group Reivindica Feminist Movement staged a protest in Octobr to call attention to the personhood of unborn babies, and to let others hear “The Voice of the Heart.”

These women strapped fetal heart monitors with speakers to their pregnant bellies, then marched the streets of Chile with megaphones up to the monitors so that their unborn babies’ heartbeats – “the voice of the heart” – could be heard loud and clear by all nearby. They did not chant, cheer, or even carry signs as they marched together toward government buildings. They simply let their children’s voices, through their heartbeats, send a lesson about LIFE.

Unborn babies don’t get to choose whether or not they live or die. Although that is a decision that should only be left up to God, hundreds of thousands of expectant mothers make the choice to end their child’s lives before they are born each year. I love the powerful way that these feminists for life have chosen to speak out and show the world that they are carrying PEOPLE inside their wombs, not just “products of conception.”

If you believe in being a voice for unborn children, I hope you’ll share this post on Facebook!

WHY I AM VOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP AND URGING OTHER PRO – LIFE AMERICANS TO DO THE SAME.

Richard A. Watson, M.D

It has not been an easy decision. Many whose opinion I deeply respect have recommended strongly against my doing so. Not least among these are several members of my immediate family. My own children think that voting for Mr. Trump is, well, “deplorable.” Certainly, there are many reasons not to vote for Mr. Trump. I only wish that the man would not make a point of adding to them on an almost daily basis.

The option of either not voting at all or voting for a write in or for a third party candidate is a tempting alternative. Voting for a third party candidate or for any candidate that you truly respect is never “throwing your vote away.” It is a moral victory of one!

However, I have finally decided to vote for Mr. Trump on behalf of a special, undocumented American. She has not been in this country long enough to be allowed to vote. So I have decided to cast my ballot in her place.

Mr. Trump is, at his best, a very successful businessman and he certainly knows how to motivate a crowd. At his worst, he is huckster, a carnival sideshow barker. Hardly the ideal presidential candidate.

While Mr. Trump’s candidacy is dubious, Ms. Clinton’s presidency will be an unmitigated disaster. We have to choose between a clown and a cobra. As one pundit put it, “My trouble with Trump is that I do not know what he will do. The trouble with Clinton is that I know exactly what she will do!

Trump’s campaign consists largely of theoretical constructs. What he will actually do in Washington remains to be seen. Much of his rhetoric could be dismissed as bombast and vacuous campaign promises. On the other hand, there is nothing theoretical about the Clinton threat. The bloody reality of today is that 1.2 million abortions are now being performed in America every year. Ms. Clinton celebrates this reality and pledges to expand it to a spectacular extent. She envisions a single, federally mandated healthcare system in which tax funded abortion on demand will be freely provided universally. She has little patience with those in the healthcare system who have grave moral reservations. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals we, too, will have a right to choose either.

Beyond the transformation of our country into a power house of abortion on demand, Clinton envisions worldwide dominance of the abortion culture. Through the UN and through multiple US overseas programs, Ms. Clinton will ensure that abortion on demand is forcefully promoted and funded throughout the world. The rights of Catholic nations will be trampled just as surely as the rights of Catholics in the US will be disregarded. No one will long stand in the path of the Clinton’s pro abortion juggernaut.

Ms. Clinton declares that “deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.” The evil that President Clinton will achieve, even in four years, let alone in eight, will endure certainly past my lifetime. The appointment of pro abortion judges to the Supreme Court will insure that not even our Constitution will stand in the way.

The situation, with respect to the vice presidential candidate, is even starker from a Catholic standpoint. Mr. Pence is, by all measures, a soundly pro life Christian. Mr. Kaine is the worst of all possibilities. He is a proudly self declared Catholic and, at the same time, a 100% pro abortion advocate. He states that he is personally opposed to abortion. (However, it is not clear why he would be opposed “personally” to the exercise of an act that he believes to be a basic human right one which he now actively promotes as a US senator). More sadly still, Senator Kaine came into office as a prolife Democrat, but has since converted to the dark side. Planned Parenthood endorses his candidacy enthusiastically; he now has a 100% pro abortion voting record!

Senator Kaine was brought up as a Catholic and trained by Jesuits. He spent time working in a mission in Honduras. He took time out from that mission, in order to make a difficult pilgrimage to neighboring Nicaragua, where he met with a self declared Marxist priest, who was serving there as chaplain to a band of communist guerillas. Whatever inspiration Senator Kaine received from this Marxist guru, in terms of “liberation theology,” evidently did not extend to liberating from oppression the weakest and most defenseless of our little brothers and sisters those unborn children who are depending on us for protection in the wombs their mothers. It is bad enough to have an anti Catholic, such as Hillary Clinton, running for president. But to have a man, who claims to be a Catholic, teaming with her to turn America into an abortion powerhouse is truly deplorable. We have the possibility (albeit small) that Ms. Clinton would become the first president to be convicted of a felony. In any event, Vice President Kaine will be, for the next four years or more, one heartbeat away from becoming Commander in Chief. We would face the specter of a President who is, in this world, the most powerful Catholic on earth and, at the same time, the proud champion of the wholesale, murderous expansion of abortion on demand across America and throughout the entire world. Then we would face the possibility (albeit also very unlikely) of his becoming the first president ever to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Were that to happen, you could be sure that liberal Democrats and the media would lionize him for his courage the Patron Saint of Planned Parenthood. The Clinton/Kaine duo will truly mark our nation with the Sign of Kaine.

So there you have it. What a disaster for democracy this election seems to be! Two candidates for President of the United States in a mad race to the bottom! The goal for each of them seems to be, not so much to get their supporters to vote for them, as to convince supporters of their opponent to either stay home and not vote at all or to vote for a third candidate. The alternative is to “hold your nose” and vote for the less bad candidate. In ancient times, there was what was called the “War of Roses.” This election might be called the “War of Noses.

Well, I am not holding my nose. Rather, I am holding my breath in suspense and gasping at the thought of an America in which the Clinton presidency would cement and celebrate federally funded abortion on demand, worldwide, for the foreseeable future for the rest of my life and beyond. Whatever issues ‘The Donald’ has going against him, the issue of protecting all human life takes precedence. I guess you could So I am casting my vote for Mr. Trump for the sake of all America but especially for that undocumented American that I mentioned at the outset. Yes, as you have probably guessed, the undocumented young lady, on whose behalf I am voting, is a little unborn baby girl. Call me a radical, but I believe that dismembering her is wrong dead wrong! Where is the ‘women’s vote’ when this little lady really needs it? I am voting to safeguard for her a world in which being unwanted or inconvenient is no longer a death sentence, neither before nor after birth.

I will be casting my vote, not only for Mr. Trump, but also for all the other prolife candidates on the ballot. They will need support especially in this election. I will be voting, down the line, in full support of the Republican Party’s solidly prolife platform. Please join with me in doing the same.


Vote as if life depended on it because it does!

Is Resistance Futile?

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

resistance

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in “The Collective,” which acts in a hive mentality. They assimilate new species into the Collective thus adding the new acquisition’s intellect and abilities. As part of the Borg, those assimilated become a small part of The Collective, and lose all sense of individuality.

Sounds familiar? It should because this is the ultimate goal of the ideologies plaguing our culture today – individualism and cultural relativism.

The number of Catholics in the US hovers around 70 million. Many see the Catholic Church in the US as respected and influential precisely to the extent that we hobnob with the elite and get people to like us. That’s how we make ourselves relevant.

On this view, the goal is to “build bridges.” Anything distinctively Catholic and Christian can be set aside until later. Once we have enough influence and relevance, then we (someday) can bring Christ back into the conversation.

But after decades of this failed strategy, still many strive to blend into an increasingly hostile culture, and most Catholics have no idea what the Church believes anymore or what is distinctive about her. We have been assimilated, and our assimilation into “The American Collective” has been disastrous.

Supported by a steady and gradual death of conscience, Catholics in the US rationalize immoral behavior and the politics that flow from acceptance of this behavior that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and His Church. And still many are afraid to offend, setting Christ and His teaching aside in the search for relevance.

Over the last few weeks we have seen a number of articles from Catholic leaders concerning the upcoming elections. This is welcome and entirely appropriate, despite what some say. Yet, sadly, we are left trying to do in a couple weeks what many have set aside for decades and it will likely have little effect. We have done very little to influence the pool of potential candidates – Catholic and non-Catholic. Although there have been faithful and countercultural examples of courageous leadership in the Church all along, and it seems that pockets of resistance continue to grow, as a whole we have failed to authentically teach the Faith and reject assimilation into the culture. In the last few decades, Catholics as a bloc have become indistinguishable from non-Catholics, voting for some of the vilest opponents of Catholic teaching, especially concerning the sanctity of human life. Most notable was Barack Obama, who received a majority of Catholic votes in both presidential elections.

Catholics in the US are radically divided on the doctrinal and moral issues of contraception, abortion, same-sex unions, sex education, and gender ideology. Political candidates and their respective parties exploit this reality. Further exasperating the problem, many Catholics who rise to public service, instead of incorporating Faith into their leadership duties, have caused scandal and confusion by their dissent from Church teaching and endorsement of secular culture: Joe Biden, Anthony Kennedy, John Kerry, Tim Kaine, and Nancy Pelosi, just to name a few.

As a Catholic am I supposed to endorse the immoral laws and behavior of this nation carte blanche because we live in an imperfect culture among an imperfect people? Am I to ignore my identity as Catholic – a disciple of Jesus Christ – because it offends others? Am I to remain silent to the injustice done to the most vulnerable of our society – the unborn child – because my government says it is legal to kill the baby? Am I am to accept and pretend that the redefinition of marriage and gender ideology is morally sound?

It may seem at times that our efforts do not bear fruit. We see some victories, but overall it is clear that God is granting our nation its collective desire for a false “freedom” cut off from Him. But, my friends, resistance to evil and a refusal to be assimilated is never futile!

Consider a married Catholic couple I recently met. They told me they changed their circle of friends because their friends’ immoral behavior was harmful to their family life, especially for their children. At first they tried to patiently influence their friends, but when all attempts failed, they had to decide what was best for their family.

A medical doctor I recently met abroad was being persecuted because he will not write a prescription for contraception. He is being threatened with the loss of his license and potential livelihood. After numerous failed attempts to defend his freedom of conscience, he now is forced to move his family and practice to a new country.

Did this couple and the doctor make the right choices? Should the doctor have compromised – assimilated – and continued to partner with those he did not agree with because he could still do good work as a doctor – helping people in need? Should the married couple have maintained their friendship – assimilated – hoping that change would occur over time while tolerating the negative impact upon their children?

Keep watch over your manner of life, dear people, and make sure that you are indeed the Lord’s laborers. Each person should take into account what he does and consider if he is laboring in the vineyard of the Lord. – St. Gregory the Great

The command of the Lord Jesus, “You too go into my vineyard” is a universal call that echoes in every generation and is addressed to every one of us. Catholics in the US are not exempt from this duty in Christ, but as with every generation of disciples, the Lord Jesus is sending us out to the byroads and marketplaces to proclaim the Good News ­– Jesus is Lord and by His cross He has defeated sin and death!

We will shortly know the consequences of the elections, but no mater their outcome the task and challenge before us is clear – let us recommit ourselves to true and heroic discipleship, while at the same time defending life, family, the most vulnerable, and our Faith. Such a commitment allows God to raise people of virtue, good moral character, and skills worthy of leadership.

We have nothing to fear as long as we live and act with courage and in Faith. Resistance to evil is never futile; on the contrary, it is necessary.

 

Double Standard: Male Birth-Control Study Cancelled Due to Side Effects

by ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/441632/male-birth-control-study-cancelled-after-side-effects

A new study shows that a hormonal birth-control shot for males could effectively prevent pregnancy in female partners, but further studies were cancelled after the men involved in the study experienced side effects, primarily depression. The decision to curtail the studies is ironic, considering the growing evidence that hormonal birth control has similarly negative side effects for women.

The latest example is a recent study of over one million women, which showed that the birth-control pill greatly increases women’s risk of depression, exponentially so among teenage girls. It’s generally accepted — especially after reviewing the evidence gathered over the 55 years since the pill was first approved — that 20 to 30 percent of women on hormonal birth control have experienced depression severe enough to require anti-depressants. Contraception bears negative consequences for a vast number of women, compared to the depression experienced by a mere three percent of the 320 men who received the trial birth-control shot.

And depression is not the only possible side effect for women who take hormonal birth control. A number of studies have shown that women on the pill have a higher risk for developing breast cancer; the World Health Organization has classified many hormonal contraceptives as class-one carcinogens. There are reports that Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive that can function as an abortifacient, necessarily causes systemic side effects in every woman who takes the drug. Hormonal contraception clearly poses terrible risks to women’s health, risks much more serious those experienced by the men in this study.

“If anything, this may wake us up to finding out better hormonal contraceptives for women, right?” said Dr. Seth Cohen, a urologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Because certainly, I know that a lot of young women don’t get the type of counseling that maybe they deserve when it comes to contraception. Just a [prescription] and a visit to Duane Reade is all they get, and that may not be enough.”

It is disgraceful that the medical community would abandon male contraception due to mild side effects while at the same continuing to prescribe and advocate even more harmful methods of birth control for countless women. If feminists and “pro-woman” medical professionals actually cared about women’s health — as opposed to unequivocally defending Planned Parenthood, insisting upon abortion-on-demand, and advocating ubiquitous, government-funded contraceptives — they would expose this clear double standard that favors men’s health over women’s.

Pro-life advocates have an historic opportunity on Election Day. Will we seize it?

prolifeNovember 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In 1979 I arrived, elated yet diffident, in the Chinese village that would be my home for the next year. Within a few months of my arrival, pregnant mothers were being rounded up by local Communist officials and marched off to abortuaries. China’s one-child policy had begun.

As a visiting scholar from America, I insisted on being present when one of these sobbing mothers was forcibly aborted at 7 ½ months. It changed my life.

I was horrified to see the military doctors who had been brought in to perform this butchery actually cut open the mother’s body to get at the baby. The poor baby — I think she was a girl — was of course already dead, having been injected with poison in utero two days before. As the doctor reached in to pull out her corpse, I fled the scene.

But not soon enough.

The sight of the dead girl’s limp body being pulled from the ruined abdomen of her mother is burned into my mind. It is a nightmarish vision that I will carry with me to the grave. I have been uncompromisingly Pro-Life ever since.

I returned to the United States determined to fight for Life. I joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who had been selflessly giving of their time and treasure since 1973, when the Supreme had authorized this modern-day slaughter of the innocents. In my naiveté I anticipated a speedy victory. After all, we had the most pro-life president in modern American history, Ronald Reagan, in office and on our side.

I was wrong. Today, almost four decades later:

  • Abortion continues to be legal in the United States up to birth.
  • Planned Parenthood’s industrial-sized killing fields continue in operation.
  • Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into Planned Parenthood’s coffers.
  • The U.S. State Department continues to coerce foreign governments into legalizing abortion.
  • USAID continues to vigorously promote and fund population control programs.

To be sure, over the years we have won some victories. Thanks to President Reagan, in 1984 we were able to put in place the Mexico City Policy. This requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to certify that they will not perform, promote, or lobby for the legalization of abortion in other countries.

A year later, again thanks to Reagan, we were able to defund the UN Population Fund, an agency that was — and is — heavily involved in China’s program of forced abortions and sterilizations. I was proud of this victory. I provided much of the evidence.

We also cut back spending on population control and reduced Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies.

Yet with each new Democrat administration — first Clinton, and then Obama — these advances were undone. The pro-life movement was never politically strong enough to write these gains into settled law.

Legislative victories were few and far between, although there have been a few. We were, in 2003, thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Rick Santorum, able to prohibit a particularly horrific form of late-term abortion, partial birth abortion.

Moreover, we have been increasingly successful at the state level. After the Supreme Court in 1989 allowed states to pass reasonable restrictions on abortion, hundreds of pro-life laws have been passed by state legislatures. Dozens of states now mandate waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds and, in the case of minors, parental consent. Underlining the humanity of the unborn, dozens of states have also put “fetal homicide” laws in place.

Still, abortion remains legal throughout all fifty states. Decade after decade, the lives of more than one million unborn Americans continue to be wrongly snuffed out each year. This is without a doubt the greatest continuing human tragedy in American history.

Why have we not been able to stop this tragedy, which violates the very principles that America was founded upon? Why have we not been able to keep the promise of The Declaration of Independence that every American is entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?

The answer lies in the brilliantly designed system of checks and balances bequeathed to us by our Founders. Those who drafted the Constitution did not want to escape one tyrant only to fall into the hands of one of their own making, so they carefully divided power between three separate but equal branches of government. The legislature would pass laws, the chief executive would carry them out, and the judiciary would look over the shoulders of both, making sure that neither overstepped their bounds.

This worked pretty well for a couple of centuries, then the unexpected happened. An abortion case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. And a majority of justices decided that they would write their own prejudices into their ruling. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion, was careful to concoct a tissue of rationalizations to hide the fact that he and his colleagues were legislating from the bench. But it was clear to legal scholars what they were about. As my friend Judge Robert Bork often remarked, “Roe v. Wade was an act of raw judicial tyranny.”

This infamous act could have been overturned by the Congress and the President, or by the Supreme Court itself. This hasn’t happened, primarily because the American people, in their wisdom, rarely give the same political party control over the House, the Senate, and the White House. Since our two main political parties are on opposite sides of this issue — the Republicans are the Party of Life, while the Democrats are in lockstep on abortion — gridlock ensues.

In the Eighties the House Republicans were checked by the Senate Democrats, and little pro-life legislation wound up on President Reagan’s desk. In the nineties, the situation was reversed. The Republican House refused to go along with proposals that the Democratic Senate and a pro-abortion president, Bill Clinton, would have signed.

The Party of Abortion and the Party of Life have been in a political stalemate for almost four decades, preventing a legislative remedy to our national tragedy of abortion from emerging from the Congress and the White House.

The Supreme Court has been equally divided, due in no small part to the carelessness with which pro-life presidents have made their judicial nominations, and the carefulness with which pro-abortion presidents made theirs.

Since before World War II, the Democrats have consistently appointed only ideological soul mates to the Supreme Court. Their appointees, like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, invariably believe that the Constitution is a “living document” and that the law is a “social construct.” Thus they can be counted upon to reinterpret the Constitution at will to justify whatever behavior the liberal prejudices of the day approve of, including gay marriage, assisted suicide and, in this case, unrestricted abortion.

The Republican record on nominations is much more spotty. In addition to nominating brilliant conservative justices like Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist, President Reagan also brought the unreliable Sandra Day O’Connor and notoriously quixotic Anthony Kennedy onto the Court. The first President Bush, himself a latecomer to the pro-life cause, had an equally mixed record. Clarence Thomas, one of Bush’s nominees, has been one of the great pro-life justices of all time. But he also gave us David Souter, who sailed through confirmation and promptly took up residence on the Court’s left wing, where he has been a reliable vote for abortion on demand ever since.

Not once in the last 43 years have we enjoyed a solid pro-life majority on the Supreme Court.

Not once in the past 43 years have we ever had a pro-life President and a solid pro-life majority in the Senate and the House at the same time. We have always fallen short in one respect or another.

That’s why this upcoming election is so important for pro-lifers.

On November 8th, for the first time in a generation, we have an opportunity to elect not just a pro-life House, and not just a pro-life Senate. We have an opportunity to elect a President who has promised to implement pro-life measures, and a Vice President with a solid and longstanding pro-life record.

If this happens, a number of very good things will happen quickly. Planned Parenthood will be defunded, and a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks will be passed and signed into law. U.S.-driven population control programs will be shut down, and the State Department will be told to get out of the business of trying to impose abortion and other aberrations on the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court will follow, albeit more slowly.

First the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia will be filled — the list of possible replacements has already been released. Then we must wait until another elderly justice or two steps down, at which time a solid pro-life majority will be created.

Then and only then, Roe v. Wade will be decisively overturned. The issue of abortion will be sent back to the states, most of which have laws protecting Life already on the books.

This happy scenario, of course, depends entirely on the outcome of the election.

By the morning of November 9th, we will know the fate of our movement. We will either be savoring our electoral victory and the prospect of pro-life victories in the Executive, in the Congress, and in the Supreme Court.

Or we will be hunkering down to fight a desperate rearguard action against the most rapidly pro-abortion administration America has ever seen.

One thing is absolutely certain: It took 43 long years for this historic opportunity to present itself.

If we let this opportunity slip by, it may not come again in our lifetimes.

In the meantime, millions of unborn Americans will die at the hands of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists. Overseas the death toll will be even higher. Tens of millions will perish, condemned to death by a U.S. foreign aid establishment that is hellbent on eliminating the poor.

Seize the moment. Vote Pro-Life.

The babies can’t wait.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of the forthcoming, The Bully of Asia (Regnery).

Catholic Bishop: Support for Abortion “Should Disqualify Any Candidate From Receiving Our Vote”

bishopLess than a week before Americans cast their votes for president, Catholic bishops are urging their congregants to educate themselves about the candidates’ positions on abortion.

The next president could make a huge impact on the future of abortion in the U.S. through his or her nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court and other policies. And Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton specifically is touting a radical pro-abortion agenda that would force Americans to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.

On Sunday, Catholic Bishop William Murphy, head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, said in a letter at Masses that support for abortion “should disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote,” Newsday reports.

Murphy encouraged Catholics not to participate in the “division,” “mean spiritedness” and “intolerance” surrounding the presidential election. He urged them to make serious, educated decisions about who they choose as our nation’s next leaders, and he emphasized that abortion is the most “crucial” issue of all.

Murphy continued:

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, is the ultimate measure of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Every person is sacred and has inherent rights which political leaders must protect and serve. Those who do not are unworthy of our vote. Those who contradict themselves by saying one thing and doing another are unworthy of our vote.

Many issues are very important in our society today. But none of them can eclipse the centrality of human life, especially innocent human life in the womb or at the end of life. Above all and over all, the number one issue more fundamental and crucial than any other is abortion – that is the direct taking of innocent life, which is financed by government funds — the diversion of our tax dollars to abortionists like Planned Parenthood as well as government insistence that we Catholics like the Little Sisters of the Poor, violate our consciences to advance such programs.

Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote. Let me repeat that: Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.

Murphy did not name names, but Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, is a Catholic who supports abortions while claiming to be “personally opposed.” Kaine has flip-flopped several times on whether he will support Clinton’s plan to repeal the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to fund abortions.

In an interview with CNN in July, Kaine said: “On Hyde my position is the same I support the Hyde amendment. I haven’t changed that. As the vice president I have to get comfortable with the notion that I can have my personal views but I’m going to support the president of the United States and I will.”

As a U.S. Senator, Kaine has voted against the pro-life position every chance he got. Kaine took his most extreme pro-abortion action yet with his recent co-sponsorship of the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S.217), known to pro-lifers as the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.”

Every year, more than 1 million unborn babies are killed in legal abortions in the U.S., and the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, gets half a billion of our tax dollars. Pro-lifers of all faiths and no faith should weigh these facts heavily before casting their vote next Tuesday.

The War on Marriage and Family

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Contemporary culture is in a deep crisis regarding holy matrimony. Both the truth about the family and families themselves are being ripped a part by violent forces. Proponents of the Culture of Death know well the importance and centrality of the natural family; otherwise, why exhaust so much time, effort, and resources attacking it?

This doesn’t only weaken the family, it will weaken the nation. Indeed, throughout history, this has been a well known strategy for conquering opponents — attacking the most fundamental elements of language and culture. The renowned general, military strategist, and philosopher of ancient China, Sun Tzu (544-496 BC), laid out the strategy in The Art of War:

There is no art higher than to destroy your enemy without a fight by subverting anything of value in your enemy’s country.

Over time and with great diligence, promoters of sexual license, gender ideology, and the redefinition of marriage have radically changed the way we think of matrimony and family. Most no longer understand that basic truth that in its essence, marriage is one man and one woman in an indissoluble, exclusive, and fruitful union. Most people in our culture no longer understand the role of matrimony and family and are incapable of defending these sacred institutions, thus becoming easy prey to radical anti-marriage and family ideologies.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised that marriage and family are at the crux of the battle.

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head. — Sister Lucia, Visionary of Fatima

It has been so for nearly a century. On October 13, 1917, while the three seers of Fatima were joined by tens of thousands who witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, Russia’s October Revolution was underway. Its leader, Vladimir Lenin, was open about his attack on the family, and as prophesied by the Virgin Mary, Russia’s errors spread throughout the world, their destruction accelerated in part by how they have found purchase here in the United State.

The current US presidential and congressional elections are but one example of how the war on these institutions continues. With poisonous eloquence, political candidates and pundits defend same-sex unions, perverted sex education programs, sex and reproductive rights — contraception and abortion — and gender role confusion. These modern day pipers play their melodious tunes, leading all who listen to cultural and societal demise.

The attack on the family would not have so much success, even among Christians, without the misrepresentation of the role of conscience. The catchphrase “Follow your conscience” is used to justify one’s ability to do almost anything one chooses or believes is good. This misunderstanding of freedom of conscience is an exceptionally clever way of ending all discussion on what is morally good from evil: “Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot do?”

Try telling a judge or jury that your conscience allowed you to steal from your neighbor or kill your boss because he wouldn’t give you a raise. Try convincing a police officer that you ran the red light because you were “following your conscience.” It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous!

The weapons of this battle on marriage and the family, and our ability to use our conscience to do good, are the tools of propaganda and illusion aimed at transforming the minds and hearts. They use television, radio, film, the internet, and music as their primary media to promote a radical and distorted worldview. They further their grasp through perverted sex education programs imposed upon our youth, beginning as early as grade school. I recently witnessed an example of this in Guatemala City. One of the speakers showed a video depicting girls ages 6 and 7 being taught how to place a condom on a phallus. The video also showed young adolescents how to masturbate and be open to experimentation with other boys and girls. Under the guise of “comprehensive sex education”, these programs desensitize our young and pervert the moral and religious values being taught by their parents.

HLI’s global leaders see this all over the world. Emil Hagamu and George Wirnkar, our regional directors in Africa, have seen such programs firsthand. On a recent trip to Africa, I saw a textbook being used in many African countries to teach sex education. It was filled with pornography and images of children experimenting with different types of sexual activities. It taught African children how to use condoms and promoted gender role confusion.

The US government’s war on matrimony and family is upheld in its foreign policy. These policies demand and assure that any funding is directly connected to population control and the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights — contraception, abortion, sterilization, sex education programs and legalization of same sex unions. Through USAID and the UN’s Population (Control) Fund (UNFPA), such programs and policies are implemented. This directly influences cultures and their understanding of matrimony and family. The US does not use weapons of mass destruction to carry out its battle plans, but the destruction and devastation is the same, and its affects are generational.

Our nation, founded on the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is itself in crisis. We are divided because we no longer uphold objective truth. In his brilliant book God or Nothing, Robert Cardinal Sarah sheds a different light — the light of faith – on these same realities.

Without God, man builds his hell on earth. Amusements and pleasures can become a true scourge for the soul when it sinks into pornography, drugs, violence, and all sorts of perversions. There is great sadness in claiming to want to indulge in limitless pleasures, whereas the most beautiful joy is to remain simply with God, allowing him to clothe us in light and purity.

Our faith and resolve to bring about a cultural transformation is being tested.

What is our response to this war? Return to the Creator’s plan. Matrimony and family are God’s design, and as divine institutions they are not open to renegotiation or revision — there are no substitutions. Fundamentally, our global cultures and societies need a moral counter-revolution to replace the Culture of Death.

This is now up to us. Be Not Afraid!

You might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote right in November.

Fr. Michael Orsi

THE CATHOLIC VOTE IS SPLIT

Too bad. If united, Catholics could control the outcome of the election, protect the Church and move the country in a direction more attuned to the values of the Church. But we are split between Catholics who deem the sanctity of life as the pre-eminent issue (conservatives) and those for whom care for the poor, the vulnerable and the stranger among us is the more cogent concern (progressives). But there is an issue that should unite us. If ignored then both groups face persecution and neither will be free to carry out their mission.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING ACTUAL CASES

1) The Little Sisters of the Poor just want to take care of old people and practice their faith. Yet there are people in this country who would rather prevent them from doing the former than let them do the latter.
2) Catholic Social Services in Massachusetts took care of orphans for over one hundred years, but there are people who put them out of business rather than let them practice their faith which required not placing orphans with gay couples.
3) There are people who preferred to see Catholic Charities stop providing aid to refugees rather than let them do so without also providing contraception and abortion.
4) There are people who preferred to see a county clerk in Kentucky thrown in jail rather than figure out how to let her do her job in such a way as not to be cooperating with what she believed and what the Catholic Church teaches is grave sin.
5) There are people who have chosen to drive bakers in Washington out of business rather than allow them to commit the same “crime” of not cooperating with sin.
6) There are people who would rather see a military chaplain disciplined than let him provide spiritual advice that is not politically correct.
7) There are people who fired a football coach rather than let him pray voluntarily after a football game.
8) There are people who want men to be free to go into girls and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
9) And there are people who not only want to be free to kill babies until the moment of birth, and even during birth, but want all of us to pay for it.

A TWO PART PATTERN THAT’S HARD TO MISS

1) In each case above the Church and the faithful (both conservatives and progressives) are being prevented from carrying out their mission; and 2) The people who are taking away these freedoms all belong to the same political party. If you know which party that is, it proves the point.

Shouldn’t the issue of the freedom of the Church to carry out its mission and of the faithful to practice their religion in public be the preeminent concern for all Catholic voters and indeed all true Christians and Americans? We have every reason to unite in opposition to the easy to identify people who are perpetrating these injustices. If we don’t unite against these attacks by voting these people out of office, then we and our Church will soon no longer have the freedom to either battle the wanton destruction of human life called abortion, or to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the stranger among us.

YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE A CHURCH TO GO TO IF YOU DON’T VOTE THE RIGHT WAY IN NOVEMBER

Father Michael Orsi of St. Agnes Parish in Naples Florida and former chaplain of Ave Maria Law School, in reminding pastors that they are allowed to be political in church and in urging them to “speak truth to power”, told them, “You might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote the right way in November.” Was he exaggerating or was he right? Can we afford to vote the wrong way, or not vote at all, and find out?

Go to: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ news/priest-you-might-not-have-a-church-to-go-to-if-you-dont-vote-the-right-way

Clinton WRONG on Forced Abortion in China

Contact:            Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

Email:                  reggielittlejohn@gmail.com

Cell:                     310.592.5722

WEBSITE:              www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org

In the Presidential debate against Donald Trump tonight, Hillary Clinton made the following statement:

I’ve been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China . . . (emphasis added).

See, Trump, Clinton Spar Over Late-Term Abortions (at 1:00-1:05)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5177606697001/trump-clinton-spar-over-late-term-abortions/?#sp=show-clips

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “With all her experience as former Secretary of State, it is untrue and deeply disappointing for Hillary Clinton to put the Chinese government’s practice of forced abortion in the past.  If she thinks that China no longer forces women to abort babies, she should explain that to a couple, surnamed Zhong, who in August of this year were forced to choose between an abortion at eight months or the loss of both of their government jobs.   Or she should inform He Liping, who was forced either to pay an impossible “terror fine” of $39,000 or face abortion at six months.

Or perhaps she should read the May 4, 2016, BBC article entitled ‘Reinventing China’s Abortion Police,’ which discusses a small collaborative project by Stanford University and Shaanxi Normal University to repurpose 69 Family Planning Officials — apparently on the assumption that they are no longer needed now that China has moved to a two-child policy.” The article follows one Family Planning Official, Li Bo, who has been “reinvented” from “hunt[ing] down families suspected of violating the country’s draconian rules on how many children couples can have” into a rubber duckie squeezing, nursery rhyme singing “Chinese Father Christmas,” complete with “a bag full of toys and picture books.”

Has his job really been “reinvented,” or is he really a member of the womb police, masquerading as “Chinese Father Christmas” — the new face of China’s Family Planning Police?  Buried deep in the article is the following account of the dark side of Li Bo’s job – an important piece of original reporting by the BBC:

Since the start of 2016, all Chinese couples have been allowed two children.  But they can have no more than that unless they are from ethnic minorities – so Li Bo still spends some of his time working as a birth-control enforcer.  In the town’s health clinic he is busy screening local women.  All women of childbearing age have check-ups four times a year to ensure they’re healthy . . . and to see if they are pregnant. . . But Li is also a loyal Communist party official who believes the state knows best and society’s needs are greater than those of individuals.  So he is matter-of-fact about the unpleasant task of telling women who couldn’t afford the fine to terminate their pregnancies.  “People didn’t swear at us but they probably did behind our backs,” he says.  “It’s natural because we were carrying out the law and they were breaking it so it is just like the clash between a policeman and a thief.”  He adds that as long as restrictions are in place, such clashes will continue.

From these words, uttered by a Chinese Communist Family Planning Official, we learn that:

1)    Coercive pregnancy screening continues.  Under the Two-Child Policy, Family Planning Police continue to screen women of child-bearing age for pregnancy four times a year.

2)    Forced abortion continues.  It is still illegal for single women to have babies in China, and for couples to have third children.  It appears that some may be given an opportunity to pay a fine, but Li Bo tells “those who couldn’t afford the fine to terminate their pregnancies.”  In other words, if a woman is illegally pregnant and cannot pay the fine – which can be as much as ten times her annual salary – she is forced to abort.  Forced abortion, therefore, continues under the Two-Child Policy.

3)    Women pregnant without permission are considered criminals.  Li Bo’s statement that women who are pregnant without permission “were breaking it [the law] so it is just like the clash between a policeman and a thief” demonstrates that such pregnancies are still considered illegal; and illegally pregnant women are regarded lawbreakers deserving of punishment, just like thieves.

4)    Forced abortion continues to cause unrest.  Li Bo is correct in adding that “as long as restrictions are in place, such clashes will continue.”  This statement is an admission that these clashes – often resulting in forced abortion – continue to this day, due to the two-child restrictions.

Littlejohn concluded:  “The Chinese Communist Party has not agreed to get out of the bedrooms of the Chinese people, and Presidential candidates should not be stating or implying that they have.  We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated.”

Take action by signing WRWF’s petition against forced abortion in China.

Watch — Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/?nav=stop-forced-abortion

Related Links:

Reinventing China’s Abortion Police 5/4/16
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36203572

Guangdong Families Told to Have Abortion or Lose Job 7/22/16
http://www.sixthtone.com/news/guangdong-families-told-have-abortion-or-lose-job

Chinese Government Sources Admit Forced Abortion Continues Under Two-Child Policy  8/9/16

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/chinese-government-sources-admit-forced-abortion-continues-under-two-child-policy/

China:  Forced Abortion at Six Months; Pregnant Women Told They “Deliberately Broke the Law” 8/28/16

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/china-forced-abortion-at-six-months-pregnant-women-told-they-deliberately-broke-the-law/

Our choices end where another’s more fundamental right begins

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Our choices end where another’s more fundamental right begins

Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person.

In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged he was blessed with great Irish Catholic parents and grew up in a wonderful faith-filled family. He also mentioned proudly that he is a graduate of Rockhurst High School, crediting the Jesuits with instilling within him a desire for public service and a commitment to advocate for the poor. I wish that was the end of the story.

It was painful to listen to Senator Kaine repeat the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal. He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?

With regard to the imposition of religious beliefs, Senator Kaine appears to have no qualms with his public positions conforming with his religious beliefs with regard to such issues as the church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor. He appears not to be conflicted with our public policies mirroring the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.

The founders of our nation actually dealt with this issue 240 years ago in the Declaration of Independence, in which they articulate certain self-evident and inalienable rights that government does not bestow but has a responsibility to protect. Our founders actually believed that the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.

Of course, religion will speak about fundamental human rights issues. However, to understand that the government has a right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason. They do not require faith.

Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life? I hope in his science classes at Rockhurst he learned that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father.

It is difficult to imagine that Senator Kaine has not seen the ultrasound images of his children and grandchildren when they were in their mother’s womb. Is the senator unaware that abortion stopped the beating hearts of 60 million American children aborted legally since 1973?

If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin.

As far as Senator Kaine’s fear that if abortion is made illegal, our prisons will be teeming with post-abortive women, we actually have decades of legal history in our own country when this was certainly not the case.

Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.

Actually, I wish Senator Kaine would take the time to talk with some of the post–abortive women that are assisted by Project Rachel and other post-abortion ministries helping women and men find healing, hope and mercy after an abortion. Our current permissive abortion policies, placing the entire burden of responsibility for the abortion decision upon the mother, results in millions of women experiencing an inner imprisonment where the bars keeping them from freedom and happiness are the guilt and unresolved grief that inevitably ensues from abortion.

It is interesting that Senator Kaine expressed his personal anguish when as governor he enforced capital punishment sentences. He gave the impression that he attempted unsuccessfully to convince Virginians to abolish the death penalty. Yet, with regard to legalized abortion, I am not aware of Senator Kaine making a similar effort to convince his constituents to work for public policies that protect the lives of the unborn. Instead, he appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights.

It is ironic that Senator Kaine expressed such profound concern about imposing his religious beliefs on others, while supporting efforts: 1) to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans; 2) to put small business owners (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and 3) to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion.

This presidential election presents all Americans with a difficult choice. Both major political parties have nominated very flawed candidates. In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president. We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.

Finally, be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe. Unfortunately, the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fully embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.

New report reveals CRS/USAID dispensed millions of abortifacients and condoms

http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/catholic-relief-services-stored-dispensed-abortifacient-contraception-congo

WASHINGTON (Lepanto Institute) – An explosive new report by the Lepanto Institute reveals that the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops received and dispensed over 2.25 million units of abortifacient contraception and condoms for a government-funded project in Africa. From 2006–2010, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was an implementing partner for a USAID project called Project AXxes, and according to inventory reports contained in quarterly and annual reports for the project, CRS received, stored and dispensed millions of contraceptives, including condoms, oral contraceptives, injectable contraceptives, intra-uterine devices, and even surgical sterilization kits.

“The implications of this report could have far-reaching consequences for CRS,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “For the last six years, CRS has been dodging around revelations of its impropriety by telling bishops and faithful Catholics that it ‘never’ promotes, distributes or facilitates the distribution of contraception. We now have proof that CRS’s claim is completely untrue.”

The report by Lepanto Institute references section 3.4.1 of the Administrative, Financial, and Operations Procedures Manual for Project AXxes on physical inventory. According to the procedures manual, visual inventory was to be conducted each quarter, by “the administrator/manager of the project, the logistician and another member of the team,” and signed by each, as well as “by the owner and the person responsible for the inventory.”

“The most disturbing thing we discovered about Project AXxes is that the promotion of contraception was integrated into nearly every aspect of the project, even to the point that natural family planning was identified as an entry to introducing contraception,” said Hichborn. “And what’s really sad is that CRSintroduced this program to a people who had no previous access to methods of birth control.”

In relation to the report, the Lepanto Institute has launched a petition to the bishops of the United States asking them to forbid CRS from participating in any future PEPFAR or USAID programs. The petition can be found here.

Read the report: “Catholic Relief Services and the Distribution of Abortifacient Contraception in the Congo.”

The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40

By JANE E. BRODY OCT. 17, 2016

Many young women were understandably seduced by the once widely publicized message that if they chose to delay pregnancy and were then unable to conceive, they could still have babies through in vitro fertilization, also known as I.V.F.

Miriam Zoll was one of them. Married at age 35, she thought she had plenty of time to start a family. After all, she said, “My mother had me at 40, and since 1978, the fertility industry has been celebrating its ability to help women have children at older ages.”

When at 39 she and her husband decided to start a family, they discovered that nature refused to cooperate. Four emotionally and physically exhausting I.V.F. cycles (and two attempted donor egg cycles) later, they remained childless.

“What the industry didn’t say is that the success rate for older women is consistently low,” she said. “It focused on the 20 percent of women who succeed, not the 80 percent failure rate. The industry avoided saying that the technology hasn’t worked for an estimated 20 million women globally during the last 40 years.”

Women who did not have healthy babies with I.V.F. are far less likely to speak openly about the procedure than those for whom the technique was successful.

Shocked by what happened to her and realizing that so many other women faced similar disappointment, Ms. Zoll, who lives in Conway, Mass., decided to write a book, “Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies,” to put assisted reproduction on a more realistic footing and counter the rosy picture of I.V.F.

Her story prompted me to check the latest federally mandated statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease and Prevention from the nation’s nearly 500 fertility clinics on I.V.F. procedures done in 2013. Using fresh (that is, not frozen) eggs or embryos from women trying to conceive, at age 40 fewer than 30 percent undergoing I.V.F. became pregnant and fewer than 20 percent gave birth to live babies as a result.

The success rate was somewhat better when I.V.F. was done with frozen embryos from a woman’s own eggs: about 42 percent became pregnant and 30 percent delivered live babies.

Dr. Mark V. Sauer, former director of the I.V.F. clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center who has been using the technique for three decades, corroborated Ms. Zoll’s frustration with the industry’s self-promotion.

“Programs will brag that they are the best, with extraordinarily high rates of pregnancy even in women over 40,” Dr. Sauer said in an interview. “There’s hardly any age that the clinics now turn away.” He cited reports in both the lay and medical literature of even postmenopausal women giving birth through I.V.F.

On clinic websites, he said, “There’s a lot of massaging of the data, often combining data from several years to make the results look better. And clinical pregnancy rates do not necessarily reflect live birthrates. Live births are what really matter.”

Furthermore, he said, “The younger women are when they undergo I.V.F., the better the pregnancy rates,” adding that younger women are also more likely to have healthy pregnancies that end with the birth of healthy babies.

In a report he published last year in Fertility and Sterility, Dr. Sauer wrote that “advanced age” is a risk factor not only for female infertility, but also for “pregnancy loss, fetal anomalies, stillbirth, and obstetric complications.”

Although these risks have been known for centuries, “women are delaying childbearing to pursue educational and career goals in greater numbers than ever before,” he wrote. “Data from the United States demonstrate a dramatic rise in births to mothers once considered ‘elderly.’ This is particularly evident in women older than 40,” an age at which there is a significant rise in infertility, as well as higher rates of miscarriage among women who succeed in getting pregnant.

Dr. Sauer pleaded with doctors to “promote more realistic views” of the realities of pregnancy at advanced ages. He advised doctors to “actively educate both patients and the public that there is a real danger of childlessness if individuals choose to delay reproduction. It should be with guarded optimism that we promote delayed childbearing to our patients, because risks to both mother and child are invariably present; and because many failed attempts also occur, the risk of lifelong childlessness cannot be overstated.”

The doctor acknowledges the dilemma faced by women who seek higher education and want to become established in a career before attempting to start a family. And he realizes that “ideally pregnancy should also occur when they are settled with a life partner who will share the burden of raising offspring.”

Nonetheless, Dr. Sauer points out, the facts of biology are irrefutable. “Biologically speaking,” he wrote, “women are most fertile between the ages of 15 and 30.” Although from a career perspective, many are unwilling to start a family then, ages 35 to 45 represent the “terminal decline in normal fecundity,” as well as a greatly increased risk of producing eggs and embryos with chromosomal and other abnormalities.

Ms. Zoll’s devastating experience with I.V.F. changed her “from a trusting consumer into a person who now knows she has to do her own research — even before seeing the doctor — and has to ask lots of questions. I trusted what the doctors told me, and afterward was blown away by my own naïveté. Consumers should be saying, ‘Let me see the evidence.’”

After spending a significant amount of money (most, fortunately in her case, covered by insurance mandated by the state of Massachusetts) and seven years trying to have a baby, Ms. Zoll said she and her husband “moved very quickly into adoption, and within seven months of filing adoption papers, our son was placed with us.” She described their son, now 7, as “tenacious, smart and funny. I can’t imagine having anyone so close to my heart.”

Planned Parenthood’s 100th Anniversary: Cause for Celebration or Sorrow?

By Brian Clowes PhD

Planned Parenthood’s 100th: Cause for Celebration or Sorrow?

This Sunday, the glitterati will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Senate Democrats have introduced a resolution honoring PPFA. One hundred Hollywood stars have signed a congratulatory letter to the organization. Hillary Clinton herself has spoken repeatedly about how much she adores the abortion business’s founder, eugenicist Margaret Sanger. And, of course, we see in the media hundreds of fawning editorials singing the praises of the most corrupt business in the history of this nation.

If the proverbial Martian visited our planet right about now, he would assume from such coverage that Planned Parenthood is an organization composed entirely of saints whose lives are dedicated to the ideals of freedom, choice and human happiness while struggling valiantly against woman-hating terrorists.

However, if the Martian had the capacity for rational thought took the time to dig a little deeper, he would be horrified by what lies below the surface.
Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger was not merely friendly to the idea of eugenics, she was a eugenicist to the core. She wrote that the mission of her organization was “To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children ― a stronger, healthier and more intelligent race.”[1] Sanger followed eugenic reasoning to its logical conclusion ― that charity is “dysgenic,” leading to a degradation of the human race:

We are now in a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals, and even our drainage and sanitary equipment all tend to keep alive the sickly and the weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of degenerates.[2]

Of course, then as now, if the lowly do not embrace the Utopian plans of the elite, they must be whipped into line by greater and greater degrees of coercion. Sanger herself said that “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.”[3]

Contributors to Sanger’s The Birth Control Review especially loathed the Catholic Church, but they had plenty of contempt left over for minorities. Julian Huxley, founder of the World Wildlife Fund, commented in a BCR article that “There is, first, the mere question of quantity of population, quantity of Americans in the world versus the quantity of Englishmen, versus the quantity of Africans, versus the quantity of Chinese. If you have one race whose population is going down and another whose population is going up, there is always the possibility of race suicide ….”[4]

In an article entitled “God’s Chillun” in the special “Negro Number” of The Birth Control Review, Walter Terpenning wrote that “Many of the colored citizens are fine specimens of humanity. A good share of them, however, constitute a large percentage of Kalamazoo’s human scrap‑pile … The dissemination of the information of birth control should have begun with this [Negro] class rather than with the upper social and economic classes of white citizens.”[5]

At least we cannot accuse the contributors to The Birth Control Review of being inconsistent in their racism, because they held everyone in contempt who did not measure up to their Nordic ideal.

On Puerto Ricans: “He lives literally in chronic starvation, crowding his filthy scarecrow body into a hut where his female counterpart and their numberless wretched children almost always share at least one of his diseases.”[6]

On Italians: “Look over ‘Who’s Who in America’ for Italian names. They are conspicuous by their absence. …”[7]

On the Polish: “Polish men are often immoral because they have been born of too young mothers or preceded by many born before.”[8]

On Southerners: “The southern woman is fifty years behind the rest of the women in the country. She has no mind, no individuality, no initiative, and without question accepts all the absurd conventionalities that hedge her about and keep her a charming and useless dependent on her husband.”[9]

The result is inevitable: A staggering one-third of African Americans have been aborted.[10]

The American Birth Control League led the way in the 1920s, and its successor, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America leads the way now. The organization’s highest award is named for its founder, and they defend her legacy without qualification to this day.

Planned Parenthood Today

Planned Parenthood has never lost sight of Sanger’s vision, pursuing it with a single-minded fanaticism that boggles the imagination even if the organization’s targeting of minorities is no longer so overt. PPFA’s clinics and affiliates now perform one out of three abortions in the United States. Its abortionists have snuffed out the lives of 7.6 million unborn American babies, disproportionately those of poor and minority women. To give this some idea of scale, this is the fourth largest genocide in modern history, ranking behind only Hitler, Stalin and Mao. PP’s income since 1999 has been 20 billion dollars, much of which has been our involuntary contribution through our tax dollars.

But these numbers, as stunning as they are, do not even begin to properly describe the true legacy of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Its legacy is reflected in the desperate face of the teenage girl whose PP-supplied birth control failed her, an unfortunately common occurrence that, if many former PP employees are to believed, was part of a strategy to create abortion clients. It is in the face of the sex-addict furtively glancing both ways before opening the door of a run-down, tawdry “adult book and novelty shop.” It is in the face of the poor single mother who has embraced the Planned Parenthood gospel of free (but “responsible”) sex, who has had several abortions of children conceived by different men who abandoned her, and yet has not achieved “empowerment.” It is in the face of the homosexual man dying of AIDS at the age of forty because he took PP’s advice to “have as much sex as you want, but have it ‘responsibly.’”

It is no exaggeration to say that the “free sex” mantra of Planned Parenthood has destroyed and stunted millions of lives.

This, then, is the legacy of Planned Parenthood — not freedom for women, but slavery. Not happiness, but sorrow and guilt. Not choice, but coercion.

It has covered up for sex slavery. Its `counselors’ have told child molesters how to avoid detection. It has sold the body parts of its victims for profit. It has even produced a cartoon that shows pro-lifers being blown up, drowned and decapitated.[11]

The fact that Planned Parenthood is turning 100 is an indictment against our nation, not cause for celebration. Though babies, minorities, and women have been targeted most directly by its unrelenting assault on life, we have all been harmed by its being allowed to grow its grisly business funded by our tax dollars and allowed by our indifference. Let this anniversary be a reminder to all of us to increase our efforts in prayer and peaceful activism to end Planned Parenthood’s reign of destruction.

Endnotes

[1] Advertisement in the Birth Control Review, Volume I, Number 1 (New Series, October 1933), page 8. Another advertisement in this vein said that “THE AMERICAN BIRTH CONTROL LEAGUE. Its Aim: To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children ― a stronger, healthier, more intelligent race … and in order that those who are physically and mentally unsound may use birth control to have fewer or no children” [Membership advertisement for the American Birth Control League. Birth Control Review, Volume XVI, Number 12 (December 1932), page 319].

[2] Margaret Sanger. “Birth Control and Women’s Health.” Birth Control Review, Volume I, Number 12 (December 1917), page 7.

[3] Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, Volume V, Number 10 (October 1921), page 5.

[4] Julian Huxley. “Towards a Higher Civilization.” Birth Control Review, Volume XIV, Number 12 (December 1930), pages 342 to 345.

[5] Walter Terpenning. “God’s Chillun.” Birth Control Review, Volume XVI, Number 6 (June 1932, the “Negro Number”), pages 171 and 172.

[6] “Puerto Rico: Old Woman in a Shoe.” Birth Control Review, Volume IV, Number 5 (New Series, January 1937), page 6.

[7] Edward M. East. “The Fascisti on Birth Control; An Italian Problem: Reply to Count Cippico.” Birth Control Review, Volume IX, Number 9 (September 1925), pages 245 and 246.

[8] Rev. T.V. Jakimowitz. “A Priest on Birth Control.” Birth Control Review, Volume IV, Number 3 (March 1920), page 12.

[9] Bianca Van Beuren. “The Women of the South.” Birth Control Review, Volume II, Numbers 2 and 3 (February‑March 1918), page 7.

[10] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-19-04.XLS, “Analysis of United States Abortion Statistics, 1967-2013.”

[11] See “A Superhero for Choice,” available on YouTube.

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

DC_10-08-16.indd

 

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
unborn

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.

IsraelStinson2

Choosing to be Open to Life: On Having more Kids

on having more kids

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).

on having more kids2

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.”

Image
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).

Para español haga click aqui

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

Image

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.