News & Commentary

Harvard legal journal just shattered arguments for legal abortion

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, June 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – “Unborn babies are constitutional persons,” the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy stated in a remarkable release last month.

The nation’s “leading forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship,” according to its website, said in its report that unborn children do in fact fall under the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections.

The Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1868, holds that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The question of whether “life” includes unborn life has been the crux of the pro-life debate carried out in the courtrooms for years.

Harvard Law student Joshua Craddock challenged the premises of both the pro-abortion and pro-life sides of the debate in the article.

Since Roe vs. Wade, the court’s abortion-friendly decisions have basically been predicated upon the assertion that it is unknown if the unborn child constitutes life, The Stream reported, so the court has typically said “no” it does not.

Similarly, Craddock’s argument also challenges the conservative – often originalist – position that the Constitution does not deal with the nature of the unborn person.

Craddock believes both are wrong and that the “original” meaning of the Constitution includes the unborn child’s right to life.

He argues through three premises that the amendment includes the unborn: What the word person meant when the Amendment was crafted, the anti-abortion laws of the time, and what the people who wrote the amendment said about it.

The article states in part:

One might look to dictionaries of legal and common usage, the context of the English common law tradition, and cases that attempted to construe the meaning of the text in a manner consistent with original meaning. Using this methodology, it is reasonable to construe the Fourteenth Amendment to include prenatal life. The structure of the argument is simple: The Fourteenth Amendment’s use of the word “person” guarantees due process and equal protection to all members of the human species. The preborn are members of the human species from the moment of fertilization. Therefore, the Fourteenth Amendment protects the preborn. If one concedes the minor premise (that preborn humans are members of the human species), all that must be demonstrated is that the term “person,” in its original public meaning at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s adoption, applied to all members of the human species.

Craddock concluded that states allowing abortions violate the Constitution and that a higher authority must act to protect the lives of the unborn.

If Craddock is correct, The Stream report said, the Supreme Court may finally base its rulings upon what the Constitution supposes about the unborn. “The Fourteenth Amendment,” Craddock stated in conclusion, “was to be a new birth of freedom for all human beings.”

I’m pro-life. And that means I’m against contraception and gay marriage. Here’s why

CLAIRE CHRETIEN

June 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – When I first became pro-life, the solution to ending abortion seemed fairly obvious: just give people condoms so that there won’t be accidental pregnancies.

I chuckle when I think about that now. But at the time it made perfect sense. I had yet to realize the deep relationship between the bioethical issues surrounding sex, procreation, and the human person.

The phrase “seamless garment” to most people means the “consistent life ethic,” a philosophy that equates moral issues like abortion and euthanasia with war and poverty.

I would like to propose a different kind of “seamless garment”: the garment by which abortion, contraception, pornography, and distortions of human sexuality are all woven together.

Typically, shortly after a country legalizes and spreads contraception, it legalizes abortion. Why? Contraception can fail, but it gives couples the impression that they’re “protected” from the natural result of sex, offspring. If contraception fails, abortion is a back-up.

Why are couples contracepting in the first place? Perhaps they’re unmarried and uninterested in a long-term future together.

Why are they hooking up? Well, why not? Perhaps their sex ed classes, or parents, or friends and favorite television shows and magazines and celebrities told them sex is rather meaningless. If you feel like it, just go ahead.

Of course, these lessons weren’t complete unless they included instructions on how to best eliminate the chances of pregnancy.

“Here’s how babies are made, but don’t worry, we’ve got a great way to prevent that from happening.”

Is it easy for anyone who’s undergone years of public (or sadly, perhaps “Catholic”) school sex education to even imagine sex that is “safe” unless it involves latex or hormonal distortion? No, of course not. And it’s not their fault. It’s something they were taught their entire lives, something reinforced by the media, the abortion industry, and many who think they’re doing good by promoting contraception.

It was difficult for me to fathom that there were actually people out there who had sex without some form of contraception on purpose. But, it turns out there are lots of those people (and I’m grateful to the one who argued with me about contraception long enough to eventually change my mind).

Such people have usually learned, either from a solid foundation, personal experience, or friend or loved one’s experience, the pain and emptiness that so often accompany such a sterile view of sex and the human person.

The world basically says:

  • Your mind and body are separate, and there’s no real meaning to your body.
  • It’s important that sex be procreation-free and consensual.
  • Contraception and abortion are necessary for a sexually active society.
  • No one is harmed if you watch a girl be subject to sex that would make E.L. James blush, because you’re just watching it on your computer. In fact, this is probably better than going out and trying that on someone in real life (and there’s no risk of an assault charge either).
  • Since your body has no meaning, it doesn’t matter if you castrate yourself or “marry” someone of the same sex.
  • Freedom means having the right to be able to do whatever you want.

All of these notions support each other, and each one persists because the others persist.

For example, contraception, which attempts to remove the procreative purpose of sex, fuels abortion, pornography, and same-sex unions. They all remove the procreative purpose of sex in one way or another. Pornography distorts sex, just like sodomy and contraception do.

Countless marriages have been wrecked, young children robbed of their innocence, girls and boys pressured to do things they don’t want to sexually, babies aborted, and souls deeply wounded due to this prevailing ideology.

The antidote to it is simple: the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church and the healing power of the Sacraments.

To the world’s culture of death ideology, the Church responds by saying, essentially:

  • You are body and soul.
  • Sex is beautiful and awesome and so meaningful. You are made for love and to be loved, not to be used by someone or to use another. Your body was designed to be a gift to another. God made fertility for a reason; it doesn’t need to be suppressed. Of course sex needs to be consensual – in fact, it needs to be way more than that.
  • Abortion and contraception aren’t necessary for a sexually active society. But they certainly help make society miserable.
  • Turning in on oneself closes us off from God. You don’t need pornography to be happy.
  • Your ears are for hearing. Your feet are for walking. Your body is designed the way it was for a reason.
  • Freedom means the capacity and ability to choose what is good and right.

Coming to understand this “seamless garment” is a process. Many people begin this when they experience horror at the injustice of abortion, and then gradually come to agree with Church teaching on other issues. Anti-abortion beliefs are a gateway that can lead to chastity, greater respect for self and others, and authentic human freedom.

With God’s grace, may we realize that the Church teaches what it teaches because it’s true, and because it wants what’s best for humanity, and that the culture of death teaches lies because it wants the worst for humanity.

Unborn babies can recognize FACES from inside the womb

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by:

 (Natural News) If you’ve ever spent time around a baby, you have probably noticed that he or she seemed fixated on your face. No one would blame you for assuming that babies develop this fascination as a result of early interactions and bonding experiences with their mothers, but new research has shown that babies might develop the ability to recognize human faces while they are still in the womb.

Researchers at Lancaster University shone dots of light through the uterine wall of expectant mothers when they were 34 weeks pregnant. When the dots were arranged in a formation that made them look like the eyes and the mouth of a human face, the babies turned their heads to face the light, but they did not have this reaction when the dots were arranged in another shape that did not resemble a face. The babies were seen moving their heads more in order to track the stimuli when the lights were shown in the face-like arrangement. Overall, the babies were four times more likely to show a response to the face-like pattern than other patterns.

The scientists used high-quality 4D ultrasounds to monitor the babies’ reaction to the light, and they used computer modeling to get an idea of how the light would change once it has passed through their mother’s abdomen. They used red light because previous studies showed that third-trimester fetuses are able to see light in this hue.

Babies have long shown a preference for looking at human faces over all other stimuli. Past studies have demonstrated that babies prefer to look at dots of light arranged in this manner after birth, and now it appears that this preference starts in the womb.

Study co-author Kirsty Dunn remarked that the babies’ response in the womb was very similar to that of infants. Moreover, the babies appeared to blink in the ultrasound scans despite the fact that it is believed that their eyes are normally closed for much of the time. She said it was the first time fetal vision had been explored in the womb, although other senses like smell, taste, hearing and touch have already been studied.

Scientific discoveries like this one continue to dispute the notion embraced by abortion activists that a fetus is an unfeeling and dispensable ball of tissue.

New insight into visual development

Professor Vincent Reid, the psychologist who led the study, theorizes that babies in the womb could already be hardwired to recognize human faces, but he believes it’s more likely that their experience while in the womb is what primes them to recognize face-like shapes. He thinks this preference could be triggered by the patterned light that babies are exposed to in the womb and is due to prenatal visual experiences. For example, he posits that their mother’s rib cage might create variation in the light that penetrates the womb, spurring this preference.

He also says the results imply that upper visual fields are more advanced developmentally and more sensitive than lower visual fields. This would mean that light exposure inside the womb might be just as important to human eye development as it is after birth. Nevertheless, Professor Reid advised expectant mothers against shining bright lights through their abdomens as they could inadvertently damage their baby’s eyes. He pointed out that the study used controlled conditions and a very low level of light.

Babies in the womb are already known to respond to sounds like music and the voice of their mothers, and this groundbreaking new study shows that they do have some visual abilities. The researchers believe this could lead to further discoveries about fetuses.

Reid has already used this technique in studies that suggest fetuses have the ability to differentiate between varying numbers of objects. Next, he’d like to find out if the fetuses have the ability to associate particular light patterns to other types of stimuli, like a specific nursery rhyme. This would provide some clues as to how early the brain can integrate information across senses.

Marriage isn’t about God. It’s about kids.

by | Jun 12, 2017

I recently spoke with a bright college student fresh from her Gender Studies class who wanted to know why Christians were trying to “force their morality upon a secular society” by supporting traditional marriage.  It’s a good question, and one that we should be ready to answer.

From a Christian perspective sex is relational, covenantal, intimate, fruitful, selfless, complex (involving the mind, soul, and body), complimentary and symbolic- that is, giving us a picture of the union of Christ and the church. But I’m certain she couldn’t care less about my well-churched rhetoric because from the secular perspective, sex is about fun.

From an evolutionary standpoint however, sex is for one thing and one thing only: baby-making. The problem is that this baby-making activity demands much more from women than men.

It is the woman whose body will be burdened and stretched (literally) for nine months of pregnancy.  She will have to endure labor and delivery. She will be vulnerable and dependent as she recovers and meets the demands of a helpless and needy infant. Her availability to work and provide for herself and her child is hindered for several years as the child grows. Her anatomy demands that she be present for the birth of the baby.  And after delivery, her brain and body are wired for infant attachment- making it highly unlikely that she’ll abandon her child.

The problem is that biology does not demand anything more of the man than, on average, a 2-3 minute contribution.

Every culture and religion throughout history has understood that when the father is absent, the child, the mother, and by extension all of society, suffers as a result.  Whether in 200 B.C during the Han Dynasty or 2017 America, children who grow up fatherless (and their mothers) are more vulnerable to poverty and exploitation.  They are more likely to be involved in criminal activity and less likely to become responsible citizens, not to mention a host of other risks. Therefore, every community throughout history has wrestled with the same problem: How do you require of men what biology makes optional? 

Interestingly, nearly every religion has come up with the same answer: society-wide expectations that a man commit to a woman prior to sex and remain committed to her, and only her, throughout his life. And up until the last ten minutes of history, we have all called this “marriage.”

The five major religions of the world disagree about:

  • The nature of God
  • The nature of man
  • The problem in this world
  • The solution to this problem
  • The nature of the afterlife

And yet each faith encourages monogamy, complementary, and permanence in sexual relationships.  Each faith independently developed these marital norms because they recognized that it was good not just for men, women and children, but for society at large.

What does that tell us?  That marriage has much more to do with being human than it does with being Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Christian.  A Buddhist teen, a Hindu sixth-grader, a Sunni boy, a Jewish girl and a Lutheran adolescent may have little in common when it comes to their religious life.  But I guarantee that if those kids are being raised by a single mother, they all have laid awake at night wondering “Where is my father?” and “Does he love me?” But don’t take my word for it. Why don’t you ask several fatherless children of various faiths that you know whether or not they wish they had a dad and let me know what they say.

Except you wouldn’t ask those questions because you know the answer will be one of pain and heartache, if they are able to choke words out at all.  All the “sex-positive” cultural messaging is powerless in the face of a child who has had to pay for their parents belief that they had a “right” to sexual expression, freedom, and pleasure.

The issue of marriage, especially civil marriage, has less to do with religion and everything to do with biology. Primarily, the fact that children need both of their parents so that they can mature and thrive.  But that means demanding that adults channel their sexual behavior into faithful life-long marriage. Without the society-wide expectation that men commit prior to sex, there is little protection for women from whom biology demands so much. And there is no provision, protection and involvement from the men for whom children so desperately long.

After we talked through the statistics on fatherless children, the complementary nature of mothering and fathering, and the power of biology in parenting, I asked my young college friend this question. “Given that no-fault divorce removed the expectation of marital permanence, and same-sex marriage has removed the expectation of a father or mother’s involvement, how can we encourage men to make this costly life-long sacrifice to women and children?

As I mentioned, she is a smart woman. Smart enough to know there was no good answer.

Why Education Is Key to Protecting Life, Marriage and the Family

Edward Pentin

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, Italy, has a key message to deliver: Great efforts must be made in Catholic education and catechesis if the Church is to combat today’s attacks on marriage, life and the family.

In a May 19 interview with the Register in Rome, the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, also called on Catholics to be present in the public square and to call things by their real names. “Error is error,” he says. “There is no peace between truth and error.”

One of the four dubia cardinals, he preferred not to discuss that topic in the interview, but warned about a current trend in the Church of separating doctrine or theory from pastoral practice, ostensibly to be more pastoral and compassionate. “Theory without praxis is like a wheel without an axis,” he says. “Praxis without theory is a blind man on the road. To give primacy to praxis: First of all, this is theologically false.”

Your Eminence, much is said about the importance of the family. But what does the Church have to do to defend it against gender ideology and other attacks?

I think that the first choice has to be a very clear, very complete and very profound proclamation of the gospel of marriage and of the family, because the situation has now already reached the extreme point, even of putting into question the definition itself of marriage.

Humanity has always defined marriage as the legitimate union between a man and a woman, with a view to procreation and education. Today that definition has been put into question; some juridical laws have even put in place another definition of marriage. It was in this sense that I said that we have arrived at an extreme point. Therefore, the Church needs to say to man: “This is what God had in mind for marriage; this is what Christ has done — because marriage is a path to salvation for a man and a woman who marry.”

The gospel of marriage has two great chapters: The first is the good of marriage in creation; the second is the announcement of the salvation of marriage, which Jesus came to bring forth, both in words and behavior.

We must not forget that the first miracle brought about by Jesus was in favor of two spouses during the marriage banquet. So that is the first thing that the Church needs to do. The second thing, no less important, is the need for great efforts in educating the young generation, because the heart of every boy and every girl desires to love and be loved, in the truth. Otherwise, after a while, the thing becomes boring because it was not what the heart wanted.

So this desire, it is necessary to say, is inscribed, sculpted in the heart of every man and woman. Education is needed to liberate it from all that impedes it, so that this desire is fulfilled.

I’ll give you an example: If there is a stone covering a spring of water, the spring continues to exist, but the water doesn’t flow. I have to get rid of the stone; then the true spring gives all of its wealth of water. It’s as if a stone is covering this human desire, and the Church, with its educational work, needs to remove it.

How can the Church better resist the current crisis she is facing within?

I believe — I’ll say this right away — the point at which we have arrived is a station at the end of a long process. I am speaking of the West and a process that has lasted centuries. It would, therefore, be naïve to think that in a few years — at times, I think, in a few generations — one could correct this process, turn it around. This must be said as a premise. It’s not as if St. Benedict saw immediately the consequences of the communities he founded in the woods around Rome. It was necessary to have a whole process of civilization. We have to always remember this in order not to be naïve.

Coming now more precisely to address the question, I believe there is, above all, a swift-acting strategy, and it is this: We cannot continue to let ourselves get used to this real absence of lay Catholics from places where juridical norms, laws are formed. So there should be a strong presence of Catholics, for it’s not just a good for the Christian; on the contrary, it’s a good that pertains to creation, marriage and the family. However, laws by themselves don’t resolve the problem. Therefore, the more long-term strategy is to busy ourselves in a great educational work.

Third, St. Thomas, at the beginning of the Summa, says that antithesis cannot exist together. He gives an example: He says the doctor, by the fact that he wants the sick person to recover, fights against the illness. Wanting one [the person’s health] means he doesn’t want the other [the illness]. Thomas continues: The wise man seeks the first principle, God the creator; therefore, he fights the error which obscures the truth he is seeking.

Augustine is even stronger: For he says, love the one who errs, but persecute the error. The corresponding Latin verb is one grammarians call emphatic. It doesn’t mean tolerate the error, but tear it out and to show its insubstantiality.

Therefore, there are three things: laws, the presence of Christians in parliaments, public institutions; second, a great work of instruction; and, third, call things by their real names. Error is error. There is no peace between truth and error.

Is the problem today that people do not speak out strongly enough against sin?

Yes, in places of learning. Thomas’ strategy at the beginning of the Summa against the Gentiles [of calling out sin] is not followed. On the contrary, it is even belittled.

I also often saw this when I was the titular pastor in Bologna. In my opinion, in the places of learning, there’s also no education of true love of the truth anymore. On the contrary, many people teach the young that the search for the truth is a sad and useless passion that can breed only intolerance. At this point, the human person is lost and finds himself, the famous philosopher would say, before paths that don’t lead anywhere.

What is your view of Amoris Laetitia in this regard?

First of all, there is a whole chapter on education, which, for me, is very important. Second, the initial chapter is supposed to, through commenting on a Psalm, describe marriage and family life in the light of God’s plan. These are, with regard to Amoris Laetitia, the second part of Familiaris Consortio — all the great catechesis of John Paul II on marriage and the family.

We have a wealth [of teaching] that can help us at this difficult moment. But, says a great German poet, where the danger increases, there salvation increases

Looking back at your time with the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, what, according to you, should be its priorities?

With regard to the institute, I believe I can say it was one of the things dearest to John Paul II. I can show this with numerous proofs. The priorities, the motives, for the research are written in the apostolic constitution, which direct the institute.

Every great pastoral program for marriage and the family points to, and therefore requires, a true knowledge of marriage and the family. It is not the case that, in diminishing the doctrinal dimension, one becomes more pastoral. One becomes more ignorant. In medieval times, they said that theory without praxis is like a wheel without an axis. Praxis without theory is a blind man on the road. To give primacy to praxis: First of all, this is theologically false.

It’s a false compassion.

Yes, I’ll return to this afterward. Because every praxis presupposes an intellectual project. The second reason is that the basis of the Christian life is not charity; charity is the perfection of the Christian life. The foundation is the faith.

A Christian life without faith is like the house, which Jesus talks about, built on sand. It’s no longer built upon the word of God, so it doesn’t stand. To put charity before the faith through the category of compassion brings us to a street that does not have an exit, if you stop only with compassion. The Samaritan did not stop just to say: “Poor devil, look how they treated him,” and then went on his way. No. He who is truly compassionate takes care of the person, using the adequate instruments, or how do you take care of a person if you don’t know what a person really needs?

The result is disorder.

Yes, there we are. Certainly this is true. Aristotle said there is nothing greater than teaching a man philosophy. But if you come across a man who is hungry, don’t teach him philosophy first. Feed him first, and then teach him philosophy.

Thomas quotes this text approvingly. It’s evident that you need to feed a hunger, without which man is no longer a man — he loses his dignity. However, these are not the only needs of man. A great medieval theologian, St. Albert the Great, says that the needs of man are two: in dulcedine societatis inquirere veritatem — “in the sweetness of a good life with others, seek the truth.” This shows us the greatness of the man.

Is the problem that, in the Church, we have lost sight of heaven, that there’s too much attention paid to this world and not the next?

I would say when you speak of the Church you are speaking of such a vast reality. But I would say we’re running a risk of doing this; we are in danger of doing this, forgetting that the Church, at her base, is not an NGO or an emergency room of the International Red Cross. The Church exists, above all, to free man from sin and to accompany him into eternal life. This is the purpose of the Church.

Jesus taught us nevertheless that this implies, also, attention to the human person and his needs. Around Jesus, there were always sick people. Jesus cured them. Jesus found himself before a hungry crowd. Jesus multiplied the loaves. Jesus knew well who Zacchaeus was, that is, a collector of unjust taxes, because taxes can also be unjust.

But he cured him of this profound sickness of the heart. As I was saying before, this is the ultimate end of the Church.

 

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent

How millennials are impacting the pro-life movement

June 12, 2017 (Priests for Life) — Millennials have a bad rap. They’re labeled as crybabies, snowflakes, fragile, spoiled, and entitled. They’re told they want safe spaces, participation trophies, and handouts. They’re accused of wanting the most benefits for the least work, and the list goes on and on. I feel kind of bad for them. I suspect that every new generation of young adults that pops up gets some flack, but I don’t ever remember having it as bad as Millennials. If there is one thing that gets most overlooked within their cohort, it’s that they are the most pro-life generation yet. And they deserve a thumbs up for that.

In the 2016 March for Life, the youth made up 80 percent of approximately the half-million marchers. The pro-life movement is mostly a youth movement. As the most tech savvy of all the generations, they are perhaps the least likely to be fooled by pro-abortion rhetoric. Their first baby pictures were most likely sonogram images or even 3D ultrasound pictures. They have access to YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, VSCO, Instagram, etc. and they know how to use it. There is no topic they don’t know how to Google search within seconds for answers.  They know what abortion is and they don’t like it.

It’s easy to understand why. This generation is not just standing up for babies in danger of being aborted — they are also standing up for themselves. They understand that they are survivors. They know that when they were in the womb, they were not protected. Millennials experience “survivor syndrome,” like soldiers back from the war in which their comrades were killed. In fact, during the gatherings of the Silent No More campaign (a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life), we have a growing awareness of siblings holding signs that say, I mourn my aborted sibling.

The sense of being an abortion survivor is a big part of what motivates young pro-life activists today. In fact, when I am asked to encourage parishes and pro-life organizations to focus more on recruiting youth, it’s not a difficult task. Millennials understand the pro-life message better than older generations, and the most common response they give to the question, “Why are you involved in trying to stop abortion?” is “Because it could have been me.”

I often point out that our youth are not simply the “future leaders” of the pro-life movement. They are leaders here and now, in more ways than one. They have a lot to offer to their peers, as well as to the rest of us. Those of us who have been in the movement longer need to understand what will happen when we recruit more youth into the pro-life effort. They will challenge us. They will remind us of things that we have perhaps forgotten, and will even be able to teach us a new way of activism, and even a new way of thinking. We’ve all seen the edgy, in-your-face activism of Millennials. It’s void of any pretense. That’s refreshing.

Straightforwardness is a characteristic of young people when confronting fundamental moral issues like pro-life. They think in straight lines. Unaccustomed to the layers of complication that years of enduring resistance from opponents can bring, young people can frame certain questions with a simple and direct clarity. And while they always need to be open to learn from those with more experience, they also need to be listened to. We need to let them shape our own thinking.

When made aware that killing is taking place in the building down the street, they will ask, “Well, let’s go down there and stop it! We should go there and tell them we are not going to leave until the killing stops! If that’s where the babies are that we need to save, what are we doing here?” Or, when told that a particular candidate for office is in favor of keeping child-killing legal, our youth will declare, “Well, we have to tell people not to vote for that person!” When they understand the clarity of Gospel teaching about the sanctity of life, they will say, “All the pastors need to preach about this and sign their people up for pro-life activity! It’s more important than anything else!”

Is there not truth in this “straight-line thinking?” We can learn something from them and refocus our attention and energy on fundamental things which, in the end, simply have to be said and done. Maybe we’ve become too complicated and are too quick to say, “it’s not so simple.”

I rejoice in the pro-life commitment and involvement of our youth — so much so, in fact, that while I am committed to training them for the battle, I am not going to “hand the battle over to them.” The time to end abortion is now, not in another generation or two. Rather than “handing the baton” to our young people, let’s take their hands, and let’s march together into the promised land of victory for the unborn!

Fr. Frank Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life, the world’s largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.

Orthodox leader: Gay marriage laws should be compared to Nazi laws

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, May 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The leader of Russia’s 150 million Orthodox Christians says homosexual “marriage” is unnatural and contrary to the conscience of every human being, which is why so many people resist its normalization for the same reason that people resisted fascism and apartheid.

In an interview at Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, His All-Holiness Kirill was asked about same-sex “marriage.” The Patriarch, who is well known for opposing sodomy, referred to legalized gay unions as false, “so-called” marriages. He then flatly stated that they are a threat to family values because homosexuality is a “complete break with the moral nature of man.”

The Russian government and its people have been under severe criticism from leaders in the West for standing against the normalization of homosexuality. “When laws are detached from morality, they cease being laws people can accept,” Kirill explained.

The Christian leader then said something immediately pounced upon by Western pro-gay mainstream media.

People resist the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” the Patriarch commented, “for the same reason that they resisted both fascist laws and the laws of apartheid — (because) such laws break with morality.”

Hence, the Western headlines:

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Says Gay Marriage is Like Nazism”

Same-Sex Marriage as Immoral as Nazi Laws: Russian Putin Ally Says

Head of Orthodox Church Compares Homosexual Marriage to Nazism”

Russian Orthodox Leader: Gay Marriage Advocates, like Nazis, Promote Immoral Laws”

Head of Russian Orthodox Church Compares Same-Sex Marriage to Nazism

“Patriarch Kirill’s statement will probably garner a lot of criticism with the gay pride folks,” Fr. Johannes Jacobse, founder of the American Orthodox Institute, told LifeSiteNews, “but he’s pointing out a fundamental truth: Gay ‘marriage’ is a creation of the state. Natural marriage, on the other hand, conforms to nature.”

“When the state affirms natural marriage, it merely recognizes that which already exists across cultures and time,” Fr. Jacobse explained. “When the state deems that homosexual marriage should exist as part of the social order, however, it declares that the state is source and judge of what qualifies as legitimate human relationships.”

“The state has assumed an authority it legitimately does not have and becomes the enforcer of a new social order,” Fr. Jacobse concluded.

“The moral code reflects the natural law, which is ingrained into our very being,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia explained.

“We have an innate sense of right and wrong, which is the voice of our conscience,” the Metropolitan continued. “Fascist, communist, and apartheid laws violate our fundamental sense of freedom.”

“The validation of gay ‘marriage,’ so-called, distorts the natural mode of relationship between the sexes,” His Beatitude said. “It fundamentally distorts the nature of the family. Thus, many people will reject it as unnatural.”

Kirill was presenting his book, Freedom and Responsibility: A Search for Harmony. The point His All-Holiness wanted to make was that homosexual behavior comes out of “an emphasis on freedom with complete disregard for moral responsibility.”

“The forced imposition of homosexual marriage will be met with resistance just like other contrived orderings enforced by state authority, like fascism and apartheid were,” Fr. Jacobse elaborated. “New social orderings that go against nature universally oppress the human spirit.”

“We see the early stages of this conflict with the state driving people out of business who resist the attempts to define homosexuality as a natural expression of human sexuality,” Jacobse pointed out. “Clear thinkers will discern the totalitarian spirit behind the enforcement and reject it, regardless of the reasoning used to justify it.”

In a 2016 interview, the Patriarch said same-sex “marriage” laws “are at odds with the moral nature of human beings” and are “a significant threat for the existence of the human race.”

In that interview, he compared pressure to normalize sodomy as “very reminiscent of what was happening under Soviet totalitarianism.”

In 2013, His All-Holiness said homosexual “marriage” was “self-destructive” and a “very dangerous and apocalyptic symptom” of the end times.

Last year, Kirill shared his view that many young men are drawn to Islamic radicalization because of the extremist, unnatural liberalization consuming the West. He speculated that some youth who join ISIS are misguided, “honest people” who join out of “truly religious grounds” because of the moral morass the West is sinking in.

“It’s not the same thing, of course, but we could compare this to an extent to the apartheid in Africa or Nazi laws – when the law went against inherent moral values, people rebelled,” he said. “They knew it wasn’t right; it was artificial; it was part of some ideology and not in sync with their moral nature.”

Kirill emphasized, however, that those who have fallen into the pernicious sin of same-sex attraction or homosexual behavior should not be criminally punished.

“The Church can never approve of this, but we don’t condemn people who have homosexual tendencies,” he said at a meeting with Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. “It’s on their conscience and it’s their business, but they shouldn’t be discriminated against or punished, as used to be common practice in some states.”

In 2013, Russia passed a law banning the distribution of gay propaganda to children and teen minors.

“You can sin if you want to, but you will answer to God,” the Patriarch said. “However, if you are trying to propagate your sin by seducing and degrading people, society must oppose it.”

Metropolitan Jonah reasoned that the church opposes the normalization of homosexual behavior out of love for the sinner.

“On a spiritual level, unnatural relationships are profoundly unhealthy,” he explained. “They isolate people rather than build a real community that will last.”

Silence and the Meaning of the Mass

Robert Cardinal Sarah’s recent book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise explores a number of themes both theological and spiritual, all centering around the unhappy role that noise has come to play in our culture and more specifically in the Church. His observations are most trenchant in regard to the liturgy, which should come as no great surprise, given his role as head of the Vatican Congregation devoted to liturgy and sacraments. As I read the sections of his book dealing with the importance of silence during Mass, I often found myself nodding vigorously.

I came of age in the period immediately following the Second Vatican Council, when an enormous stress was placed, quite legitimately, on the conciliar call for “full, conscious, and active participation” in the Mass. That famous phrase, derived from the ground-breaking work of the theologians of the liturgical movement of the early and mid twentieth century, was a clarion call to the laity to assume their rightful role as real actors in the liturgy and not mere spectators. But in its practical application this came too often to imply that the laity must be continually stimulated into action during the Mass: processing, standing, singing, responding, clapping, etc. It was as though the directors and leaders of the liturgy felt they must be constantly grabbing the congregation by the shoulders and shaking them into conscious participation.

Silence, accordingly, tended to be construed as the enemy, for it would lull the people into inattention and boredom. Hardly anyone in the post-conciliar liturgical establishment appreciated that silence could be a sign of heightened, even enraptured, attention on the part of the congregation, a deeply contemplative entry into the mystery of the Mass. And what several decades of this in turn has produced, especially among the young today, is the impression that the Mass is a sort of religiously-themed jamboree, during which our fellowship is celebrated and at which lots and lots of sound is indispensable. I will confess that during many years as a priest, and now as a bishop, I have often wondered whether our hyper-stimulated congregations know exactly what they are participating in. They know that they are active, but active precisely in what?

The Mass is the act by which the Son of God, in union with his mystical body, turns toward the Father in worship. Through our full, conscious, and active participation in this right praise, we become more rightly ordered, more completely configured to Christ and more thoroughly directed toward the Father. We do indeed experience heightened fellowship with one another during the Mass, but this is because we are realizing, not so much our mutual affection, but our common love of a transcendent third, to use Aristotle’s language.

In this regard, one of the most illuminating rubrics under which to read the Mass is that of call and response: Christ the head, through the priest who is acting in Christ’s person, calls out to the members of his mystical body, and they respond, somewhat in the manner of the lovers in the Song of Songs. At the very commencement of the liturgy, the priest (again, operating not in his own name but in persona Christi) says, “The Lord be with you,” and the people respond, “and with your spirit.” The spirit in question here is the power of Christ dwelling in the priest through the sacrament of Holy Orders. This exchange continues throughout the Mass, Head and members conversing with one another and solidifying their communion. Jesus speaks his Word in the Old Testament readings and in the Pauline epistles, and the members of his body sing back to him in the responsorial psalm; Jesus announces himself in the Gospel, and the people chant back, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ;” Jesus breaks open the Word through the preaching of the priest, and the people respond with the Creed, a signal of their faith.

Having prepared the gifts (presented by the people), the priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Father almighty.” This line is of great significance, for it signals the moment when Christ and the members of his body are turning toward the Father in order to perform an act of sacrifice and thanksgiving. How beautifully the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer expresses this dynamic: “Lift up your hearts!” says Christ to his people; they respond, “We lift them up to the Lord,” and then Jesus, through his priest, says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.” What follows is the magnificent Eucharistic Prayer, directed toward the Father and prayed by Head and members together, the latter’s many sacrifices—small and large—subsumed into the former’s definitive sacrifice on the cross. At the conclusion of the liturgy, Christ sends his mystical body, now more perfectly ordered to the Father, back into the world to effect its transformation.

Cardinal Sarah imitates his master Joseph Ratzinger in insisting that silence rightly asserts itself throughout this entire process. The silence of gathering, recollecting, listening, praying, offering, etc. There is plenty of sound in the Mass, but unless silence is cultivated therein as well, we can easily lose sight of what we are doing in this most sublime of prayers.

Could ‘flushing’ fallopian tubes displace IVF?

Michael Cook

If a couple is having trouble conceiving after a year, or even as little as six months, they often head off to an IVF clinic.

However, as advocates of natural family planning have been saying for decades, the costly, emotionally draining and ethically contentious process of IVF many not be necessary.

And now the fertility industry could have another strong competitor. A cheap, simple, time-tested fertility remedy has been proved to be even more effective than IVF.

For a hundred years, doctors have checked whether a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked by flushing them with iodised poppy seed oil. Although the test is purely diagnostic, many women claimed that it helped them to become pregnant.

And now a team of Dutch and Australian researchers has shown that it really does help.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared the benefits of flushing the fallopian tubes with either an oil-based or water-based solution in 1119 women.

The procedure, known as hysterosalpingography (HSG), is a dye test of the fallopian tubes conducted under X-ray. The procedure was first carried out in 1917, and since the 1950s both water-based and oil-based solutions have been used.

“Over the past century, pregnancy rates among infertile women reportedly increased after their tubes had been flushed with either water or oil during this X-ray procedure. Until now, it has been unclear whether the type of solution used in the procedure was influencing the change in fertility,” says Professor Ben Mol, a Dutch doctor at the University of Adelaide, in South Australia. He himself was conceived after his mother underwent such a procedure.

“Our results have been even more exciting than we could have predicted, helping to confirm that an age-old medical technique still has an important place in modern medicine,” he says. Almost 40 percent of infertile women in the oil group and 29 percent of infertile women in the water group achieved successful pregnancies within six months of the technique being performed.

“This is an important outcome for women who would have had no other course of action other than to seek IVF treatment. It offers new hope to infertile couples,” Professor Mol says. Writing in The Conversation, he noted that the technique has some big advantages over IVF:

Tubal flushing has several advantages over IVF, including that the benefit persists over time, while IVF only helps for the current cycle. Tubal flushing also helps achieve an otherwise natural conception, and its costs are around A$600, a fraction of the cost of a A$10,000 IVF cycle. IVF also has a heavy impact on emotional wellbeing and sometimes causes medical complications.

In our study, 40 percent of women undergoing HSG with an oil-based contrast achieved a successful pregnancy within six months. That’s 40 percent of couples with unexplained infertility who could avoid the huge financial and emotional costs associated with undergoing IVF treatment.

Until he embarked on this study, Professor Mol had no idea that he himself was the result of a successful pregnancy following such a procedure. In the 1960s, after being considered infertile for nine years, his mother underwent an HSG which, coincidentally, also used the poppy-seed oil. “It was only after I started researching this technique that my family told me what had happened,” Professor Mol says.

“My mother went from being infertile for many years to becoming pregnant, and I was born in 1965. I also have a younger brother. So it’s entirely possible – in fact, based on our team’s research, it’s highly likely – that my brother and I are both the result of this technique helping my mother to achieve fertility.”

A leading Australian IVF practitioner, Dr David Molloy, dismissed the news, saying that IVF patients have more complex fertility issues. “They are totally different populations of patients,” he told the ABC. “One is a low-risk group starting out at the very start of their infertility journey that have got virtually nothing wrong with them, and our IVF patients are a higher risk group.”

Scepticism about procedures which threaten the status (and profitability) of IVF is to be expected. But a big dollop of scepticism about IVF is needed, too.

IVF was adopted after the birth of Louise Brown in 1978 without the randomized control trials that doctors expect of nearly every other treatment. And ever since, according to research published earlier this year in a leading academic journal, Human Reproduction, “IVF patients are routinely offered and charged for a selection of adjunct treatments and tests or ‘add-ons’ that they are told may improve their chance of a live birth, despite there being no clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of the add-on.”

Fertility experts often exploit women’s longing for children by offering “new, improved” IVF techniques with little or no proof. One hundred years of proof backed up by formal research published in the world’s leading medical journal is worth investigating.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/will-flushing-fallopian-tubes-displace-ivf/19838#sthash.30Jgwhhm.dpuf

Dr. Paul Byrne: From preemies to end-of-life issues, one man has made a difference

By Rob Sample – MAY 25, 2017

 

The dedication and legacy of a prodigious pro-life hero

When five-year-old Lilliana Dennis was born in February 2011 in Indianapolis, doctors informed her mom and dad that she suffered from a rare genetic condition that was “incompatible with life.” As Lilliana approaches her sixth birthday, she continues to defy the odds and prove conventional medical wisdom both wrong and wrongheaded.

Lilliana has Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome. As with Down syndrome, such babies are born with an extra chromosome, resulting in heart defects, respiratory problems, and finger and toe abnormalities. Most die before their first birthday, the doctors said, and there was little the Dennises could do to stop that eventual outcome.

Fortunately, the Dennises did some of their own research, which contradicted what they had been told. In fact, one child graduated from college and lived to the age of 42. The Dennises also befriended Dr. Paul Byrne, a retired neonatologist, longtime pro-life activist, and founder of the Life Guardian Foundation (LifeGuardianFoundation.org). He recommended heart surgery for Lilliana, along with other life-saving measures, and although the road has been difficult, Lilliana’s prognosis continues to improve.

Dr. Byrne is no stranger to death-and-dying issues and the challenges posed by both preemies and babies with congenital illnesses. In 1963, he established the neonatal intensive care unit at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Though he no longer makes hospital rounds, he stays very, very busy working on behalf of the preborn, sick newborns, the disabled, the elderly, and people with illnesses deemed “terminal.”

“Not only do we have a culture of death in our society—it is a System of Death,” Dr. Byrne says. “We have to work hard to protect life from its beginning until true death. That’s why Life Guardian Foundation was founded.”

“I retired a few years ago after practicing medicine for 55 years,” Dr. Byrne adds. “Yet, instead of a retirement party, I asked my family to have a ‘redirection party.’ My work has not stopped—in fact, I’m busier than ever! People have a way of finding out that I can help them in the cause for life and in their own difficult situations.”

Small beginnings

To get a sense of how Dr. Byrne’s passion for saving lives all began, it’s helpful to go back to the very beginning, when he was a young doctor practicing at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in the mid- 1960s. There, Dr. Byrne established the hospital’s very first special care nursery for at-risk infants.

“Back then, there were no treatments for preemies and low-birthweight babies, the kinds of things we take for granted today,” he recalls. “I went to the administrator at Cardinal Glennon with the idea of creating a center where we could find ways to treat these babies. She said, ‘OK, let’s try it for a year.’”

After that first year, Dr. Byrne’s efforts had saved the lives of 30 babies. “How?” you might ask. For starters, he partnered with engineers working nearby on the space pro-gram. They had developed a plastic cuff to fit around the fingers of astronauts, enabling their blood pressure to be monitored during space missions. Together, they developed a spinoff that fit around the arm of a tiny baby: Before this invention, there was no way to monitor a baby’s blood pressure.

Dr. Byrne and his team also pioneered new techniques for feeding these babies intravenously as well as specially designed ventilators to augment their respiratory function. All were instrumental in helping such infants survive. Since preemies are so small, new, highly sensitive measurement protocols were also necessary to track their health.

“For instance, premature infants have very small total quantities of blood,” Dr. Byrne notes. “That required development of micro techniques to analyze blood for indicators of health or disease. These micro-techniques that were developed for sick babies are used for everyone. It was exciting for me to be able to participate in the development of what was then a brand-new field.”

Signs of life

It was also heartening for him to witness babies who had been deemed hopeless develop into healthy children and adults. The birth of Joseph in 1975—at a mere 24 weeks’ gestation— was one such miracle. “He had a flat electroencephalogram or EEG—in other words, no brainwaves,” Dr. Byrne recalls.

The EEG is a common method of measuring brain activity at any age. The flat EEG of Joseph was interpreted as “consistent with cerebral death.” “Nonetheless, Joseph went on to be a straight-A student in school, build a brilliant career, and he’s now married and the father of three kids.”

While considered breakthroughs in their day, many of these developments are now commonplace in both neonatal intensive care units and medical care as a whole. Plastic cuffs are routinely used to measure blood pressure of patients.

“My medical philosophy is that the best doctors are the ones who work the hardest on the people who are the sickest,” he says. “What you try to accomplish for those sickest people first will ultimately have a beneficial impact on the rest of humanity.”

Darker trends

During the early 1970s, Dr. Byrne witnessed a trend he found troubling: the increased acceptance of brainwave cessation as a legally acceptable marker of death. This occurred even before abortion became legally available in most states, and it owed in part to new ways to artificially resuscitate patients to keep a person’s heart beating with circulation and respiration. It also followed the world’s first heart transplant in 1967, after which organ transplants became common practice in a short amount of time.

“The push to accept ‘brain death’ has a lot do with the concurrent push for viable organs for transplants,” says Dr. Byrne. He noted that, following that first heart transplant, the medical community began lobbying elected officials for new laws that first codified “brain death” in the US.

This had practical reasons. Dr. Byrne points out that to transplant a heart or a liver, the donor’s heart, circulation and respiratory processes must be kept functioning for healthy vital organs to be removed. Organs from a cadaver are useless, he notes, because organs begin to decompose immediately after those functions cease.

“Now, when someone suffers a head injury or is deeply unconscious, there is a shift of emphasis from helping that patient to harvesting his or her organs for transplantation,” he says. The fact that viable organs are very valuable to the organ transplant industry can add a monetary incentive to the push to declare patients legally dead.

Forty-seven US states have passed the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) that presumes everyone is an organ donor. This is in addition to those who have willingly registered as organ donors on their drivers’ licenses. This often creates a conflict, when the same individuals have also filed advance DNR (do not resuscitate) directives. In such situations, that previous DNR order will be overruled and the patient will be resuscitated in order for their vital organs to be usable for transplantation.

It could happen . . . to anyone

This isn’t all just academic. In 2007, 19-year-old Gregory Jacobs sustained a severe head injury while skiing and died at a Pennsylvania hospital less than a week later. In a lawsuit, his parents maintained that their son “experienced neither a cessation of cardiac activity nor a cessation of brain activities when surgeons began the procedures for removing his vital organs.”

The Jacobs case was the subject of a CBS News report, and the elder Jacobses ultimately won a $1.2 million settlement in 2012. More recent is the case of the now-16-year-old Jahi McMath, who had severe sleep apnea and on which Dr. Byrne is a medical advisor.

Jahi underwent a tonsillectomy at a California hospital, which aimed to improve her ability to sleep at night. She later hemorrhaged and went into cardiac arrest. Physicians declared her to be “brain dead” and ordered the removal of life-support systems.

Jahi’s mom, Latasha Winkfield, disagreed and filed a lawsuit seeking to keep her on life support. A death certificate was issued for Jahi in California before she could be moved to a New Jersey hospital. She later was moved to an apartment with her mom, where she continues to live on life support.

Incidentally, Dr. Byrne was instrumental in getting a new law passed in that state, which gives parents or caregivers the ability to object conscientiously to such orders from a physician or hospital. A similar regulation, though not as strong, now exists in neighboring New York.

“Jahi McMath is very much alive . . . but a death certificate was issued in California!” exclaims Dr. Byrne. “She has had three birthdays since being declared legally dead.”

A broadened focus

Dr. Byrne is a steadfast pro-life advocate and supporter of American Life League (ALL). His knowledge and guidance shaped ALL’s policy on euthanasia and brain death; he is the author of our materials on the subject. Most recently, he played an important role in the development of a study guide on euthanasia for ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program. In addition to supporting ALL and other organizations, Dr. Byrne saw a need for another organization focusing attention on end-of-life issues. That led to the founding of the Life Guardian Foundation in 2007.

The organization’s website offers a rich repository of resources that helps people understand the controversies that now surround the end of life. Besides the moral and ethical implications, there’s a lot of practical value as well. Many of us now must deal with the treatment of elderly parents, and the use of feeding tubes is often taken to mean that their lives are at the end. Not necessarily so, says Dr. Byrne.

“People on a feeding tube don’t always have to remain on a feeding tube,” Dr. Byrne says. Noting that it’s not always easy, there are ways to treat such patients that can improve their outlook and lead to a time where a feeding tube can be removed. Similarly, severe head injury often leads to a grim prognosis— yet treating the patient with thyroid medications can greatly improve patient prognosis.

Poke around a bit more on the website and you’ll uncover other fascinating information. There are more than 30 disparate sets of criteria. You can be declared “brain dead” by one but be alive by others. The Uniform Declaration of Death Act (UDDA) now on the books in all 50 states mandates that the determination be “in accordance with acceptable medical standards.” The patient who is declared “brain dead,” whichever criteria are used, always has a beating heart with circulation and respiration, albeit on a ventilator.

The procedure of an apnea test (not a test for sleep apnea) is part of every set of “brain death” criteria. The patient is taken off the ventilator for 10 minutes. Carbon dioxide and acids accumulate. This makes the brain swelling worse. Everyone must learn to instruct No! to the apnea test. It can only cause the patient to get worse.

“If you end up unconscious and on a ventilator, the doctors at the hospital treating you will declare that your death is imminent, and by law, they have to notify the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO),” says Dr. Byrne. If you don’t want that to happen, Dr. Byrne strongly urges you to explicitly document your refusal in writing.

The foundation website offers three key directives that can help you accomplish that objective: a healthcare power of attorney directive, a directive to protect and preserve life for a dependent minor or mentally incapacitated person, and an organ donation opt-out form that can be carried in your wallet or purse.

“Very often I work with parents of students who go away to college, get into a car accident, and end up at the mercies of a medical system that wants their organs for a transplant patient,” he notes. Since few people have taken the time to study the issue, and since parents are often bewildered and grief-stricken at such times, it can become a complex battle to receive any form of life-extending care for such patients.

A modest hero

Upon being reached by phone for an hour-long interview, Dr. Byrne was quick to shift the emphasis away from himself and to his large family. He’s the father of 12 children. He also has 33 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He’s proud that he has reared a pro-life family.

He’s especially proud of the pro-life poems that his son, Mark, wrote from his heart in the eighth grade—and as Providence would have it—his granddaughter Kaitlyn, Mark’s daughter, recently wrote from her heart in the eighth grade as well. Celebrate Life has happily agreed to publish each poem in its entirety!

More critically, he pointed out the clarity by which young people often view the world around them, and the crystal-clear viewpoints they often form on issues that bedevil their elders, provides a lesson for the rest of us. Both pieces speak right to the heart, he says.

“If you read Mark’s and Kaitlyn’s poems, you can see how they recognize just what is at stake: that we must value life,” Dr. Byrne says. “Most importantly, they show us what we need to do to think correctly about life.”

Poems

Temptation ruled like an evil dictator,

destroying the hope of everyone around,

clouding the decisions people make every day,

where is our dignity?

Adultery shatters a marriage like a plate dropping,

broken vows scattered all over the ground,

lost faith with the cheating partner,

where is our trust?

Abortion killing like a gun,

helpless baby taken away from its needs,

one murder for one act of lust,

where is our compassion?

Lost in the web of your secrets,

dragged under by all the lies,

suffocated with dishonesty,

where is our humanity?

Humiliated by how wrong I was about you,

drowned by my own tears,

trembling in doubt,

where did I go wrong?

Honesty swept away like crumbs on the floor,

pushed aside for others’ happiness,

walked on by those who can’t help me,

where will I get put next?

Loyalty buried like an old treasure,

possibly will never see the light again,

overlooked by mislead eyes,

where is my search party?

Misguided by all your sweet talk,

lost in the sound of your lies,

let down by the hope in your eyes,

will we ever be the same?

Avoided like a bad mistake,

praying for help every day,

helped by the Lord every day,

does free will make or break us?

Chastity helps us every day,

protecting us from evil’s way,

respecting our bodies each day,

teaching those who might not know,

guarding us from harm’s way,

limiting the sins on our way,

saving lives day by day.

Chastity is the way,

that helps me every day.

—Kaitlyn Byrne

 

What I think of when I hear the word Life

When I hear the word Life

I think of birds flying gaily through

the sunlit light blue sky.

I think of fish swimming freely through

the refreshingly cool water.

I think of a fully blooming flower with

a touch of dew on its petal.

Waiting for the moment to spring

a new bud, but

when I hear the word Life—

I mostly think of a baby.

A baby who is playing gaily with its toys.

A baby that is laughing happily at

something that amuses it.

And then you hear a cry which tells

you the baby is part of a new world,

a new beginning.

And most of all the baby now has

God’s most precious gift to us,

The gift of Life.

—Mark Byrne

Abstaining from sex during fertile time…another way to love my wife?

June 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — My wife and I had trouble conceiving when we were first married in 2004. After our daughter came two years later we again had trouble conceiving. Being open to a larger family, we went to a healing service to ask the good Lord for his help.

It came our turn to be prayed over. We told the priest we were having trouble conceiving and wanted more children. As he was praying over us, he started smiling. Then he started laughing. I asked him what he was laughing about. “The Lord has much in store for you,” he said. “You have nothing to worry about.”

Shortly thereafter we conceived our second daughter. In less than a year after she was born we had our third. Then came our son, another daughter, another son, another son, and three miscarriages in between.

Yup, our fertility had clicked. It seemed that all I had to do was look at my wife and she became pregnant. Now I knew what the priest had been laughing about.

While my wife and I dearly love our seven living children and our three little blessings in heaven, we realized that we needed more space in between births. My dear wife needed time to recuperate and build up her body after the exhausting months of nursing day and night. The baby just born also needed time to be loved and nurtured before another baby became the priority. We saw these as serious reasons.

My wife and I don’t believe in using pills or plastic to block the gift of fertility. We actually see contracepted sex as morally evil. Yeah, I know, sounds crazy. Let me explain.

We believe God made sex for the purpose of making babies and bonding with your spouse. Contraception essentially poisons both of these. It blocks the baby-making purpose of sex by rejecting fertility. By rejecting fertility, one spouse is basically telling the other that there is a part of them that they want nothing to do with. And out the window goes that unconditional self-giving and receiving-of-the-other in love that marriage needs in order to survive.

So, my wife and I didn’t want to poison our love with any kind of contraception. Our only options to postpone pregnancy for a time were to completely abstain (a struggle for any man) or to only come together when my wife was not fertile.

So, we learned a fertility awareness method.

A rather significant problem arose when it turned out that my wife had various fertility signs during many days of her cycle, not just around the days of ovulation. Bummer. This meant waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the right signs that would permit us to come together during the infertile time. And added to this is that she sometimes has a cycle length that is longer than for most women.

Ok, I’ll be honest. I usually find these times of waiting a trial. And no, there can’t be any kind of cheating during this time. No masturbation, single or mutual, since the former is a selfish perversion of the sexual act, and the latter really amounts to contracepted sex (see above).

The only real option to safeguard the beauty and holiness of the sexual act during this time of abstinence was self-mastery. And yes, self-mastery is difficult, a big learning curve.

If I wasn’t going to wallow in self-misery or fantasyland during this time, I had to learn to control my impulses and desires. And this is where I would sometimes fail, pushing past a boundary that we had set so as to not reach the point of no return. Or, me anticipating so much the time when we could finally come together that I would fail to find joy in the time that we had together right here and now.

One thing that I’ve found is that abstinence during fertility signs becomes a kind of mirror that shows me things about myself that I don’t really like to see. Ugly things. Such as how selfish I can be. How little I can control my impulses and desires. And how easily I can lose focus on what’s really important in our relationship, like the fact that we’re together, that we’ve been faithful and true to one another all these years, and that we’re still crazy-mad in love with one another.

I can just imagine people scratching their heads, wondering why my wife and I put ourselves through this struggle when there are such easy alternatives out there that make it possible for a man to never have to deny himself.

I’ve thought about this very question long and hard. I probably don’t have the perfect answer yet, but I know it has something to do with love being about denying oneself for the sake of the one you love.

I truly do love my wife. I have no doubt that contraception would poison our love. So, if we’re going to space our children, we have to abstain during the fertile times. This means that love demands that I not only deny myself during fertile times, but that I learn to find peace and even joy in it. Yup, that’s a tall order for any man, but I really think it’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Don’t laugh at this, but my wife suggested that we both make a little daily sacrifice with the intention of helping us be victorious during these times. I’ve found this has made a rather significant difference for me. It’s pretty amazing to know that I have my wife’s prayer support to back up my own (often pitiful) efforts at mastery of self.

Jesus said something about this denial thing too. He said that those who wish to be his followers must deny themselves and take up their cross. Sometimes prolific fertility can seem like a cross, but when I really think about it, I realize that it becomes an occasion during our child-spacing times to show my wife how much I really love her. And every man, including me, loves to show his wife how much he loves her.

What’s wrong with prisoner euthanasia?

Michael Cook | Jun 6 2017

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are only legal in a handful of countries, but their supporters are already thinking of creative ways to integrate them into the economy and social life. Doctors in Belgium and the Netherlands are using organs from people who time their euthanasia for organ donation programs, for instance.

And recently an American law journal has published a study of euthanasia for prisoners serving life sentences. This is not a new idea. Australian activist Dr Philip Nitschke described it in his book Killing Me Softly as the “last frontier in prison reform”.

The article in the latest issue of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law takes a serious look at the hurdles such a scheme would encounter in Europe and in the United States. The authors are an Estonian Fullbright Scholar, Kärt Pormeister, and two officials at Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas and one of the largest in the US. They conclude that

Where there is no feasible chance of the prisoner regaining freedom during their lifetime, [physician-assisted suicide] as a means of mercy could provide relief to suffering prisoners and closure to victims’ loved ones, while also enabling more efficient allocation of resources.

The springboard for this frank discussion of the merits of allowing lifers to kill themselves is a case in Belgium, where euthanasia is legal. In 2014 a man convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, Frank Van Den Bleeken, applied for euthanasia in accordance with the law. He was not ill, but he claimed that he was in a state of unbearable psychological anguish. He preferred to die with dignity rather than spend the rest of his life behind bars. A Belgian court granted his request, but at the last minute he was transferred to a more modern facility in the Netherlands where he could be better cared for.

Although Van Den Bleeken’s euthanasia never happened, his case was an instructive precedent for the authors. He was not seeking death as an end to unbearable physical pain, but as a “mercy”. Could this be incorporated into European and US legal systems?

It certainly is different from euthanasia for terminally ill patients. They typically ask for death because of a diminished quality of life. However, the whole point of prison is to diminish quality of life. Euthanasia is often described as the ultimate exercise of autonomy, but prison is an environment in which autonomy is severely limited in many ways, physical and psychological. In fact, the authors point out that “penal institutions might be inclined to maintain or even create harsher environments to encourage recourse to PAS” as a cost-saving measure.

So there are tricky legal issues to work through in both Europe and the US. In Europe prisoner euthanasia might be regarded as a revival of the death penalty, which is banned nearly everywhere. In the US, it might violate constitutional protections of people who are in the custody of the state, including self-inflicted harm. The victims and their relatives might think that escaping life imprisonment is unfair.

Although the difficulties in making a legal case for prisoner euthanasia are substantial, there are persuasive arguments for it, according to the authors.

The first are financial. There would be real benefits for society:

First, the choice of PAS as a means of mercy as an alternative to life in prison would eliminate costs of incarceration that accumulate during a prisoner’s lifetime … Second, allowing PAS as a means of mercy could influence society to move towards the abolition of the death penalty …

Thus, PAS as a means of mercy would enable tax revenue to be used in ways more beneficial to society than keeping someone in prison for their entire lifetime or executing them for retributive purposes. Instead, money could be reallocated to further help those prisoners who still stand a feasible chance of rehabilitation to become productive members of society again. Alternatively, such funds could be used to support the families of the perpetrator’s victims.

From another angle, it could be argued – as Frank Van Den Bleeker did – that a life sentence is a kind of torture.

considering the limited resources to offer proper psychiatric or other complex care to inmates, not offering PAS as a means of mercy to people serving life sentences could, in rare cases, constitute torture or cruel or inhuman treatment which is prohibited in both the U.S. and European human rights systems.

It’s not difficult to imagine courts accepting these arguments if euthanasia were already legal.

The conclusion reached by the authors is far from a ringing endorsement of prisoner euthanasia. They concede that there is a risk of coercion by prison officials and that drafting regulations would be difficult. But it could be “a viable option in rare cases”.

Coming from writers who are involved in shaping health care policy (Ms Pormeister works in the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia), the arguments in the journal article are alarming.

The experience in Belgium and the Netherlands is that supporters of euthanasia keep widening the boundaries. At the beginning, it was meant only for people who were terminally ill and in great pain. Now it is available for children of all ages in Belgium and for the mentally ill. Euthanasia for prisoners in a few exceptional cases is certain to expand to all prisoners who demand it. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of prison life, it could become an epidemic, like tattooing or drugs.

And the idea will have a seductive attraction for politicians who have already reconciled their consciences to euthanasia for free citizens – the dregs of society find relief and the state is relieved of the cost of their care. What’s not to like?

The answer is given in the paper: prisoners are amongst the most vulnerable people in society. Their crimes notwithstanding, they deserve to be treated with dignity and helped to discover a meaning in their lives – not helped to kill themselves.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/careful/view/whats-wrong-with-prisoner-euthanasia/19923#sthash.pJ0TWqX0.dpuf

“My Unborn Baby Saved My Life”

Micaiah Bilger   Jun 5, 2017   |   1:26PM    London, England  | LifeNews.com

Just one week after Chelsea Nally and her husband, Daniel, were married, the newlyweds discovered they were pregnant.

For some, the news may have brought thoughts of abortion, but the British couple said they were excited about their unplanned pregnancy. They did not know that several weeks later, a serious discussion about abortion would come up when Chelsea found a cancerous tumor in her left breast, The Sun reports.

The Nallys chose life for their baby boy, Finley, and today the mother and son are doing well. Chelsea said Finley saved her life because the pregnancy helped her find the cancer sooner.

“Finley saved me before he was even born,” she told The Sun. “He’ll always be so special to me for that reason.”

Chelsea Nally said she found a lump on her left breast about 10 days after they learned she was pregnant – barely a month after their wedding. A few weeks later, doctors confirmed that she had stage 3 breast cancer, according to the report.

“When I heard the words’ breast cancer’ I reeled,” Nally remembered. “In six weeks, I’d gotten married, found out I was pregnant and was diagnosed with cancer. Medics weren’t sure of the prognosis. They had no idea if the baby was at risk.

“The doctors told me that it was unusual for a lump to move in a breast, but said that had my breasts not changed with the pregnancy, I might never have found the lump,” she continued.

Initially, doctors discussed the possibility of Nally having an abortion; but when further testing revealed that her cancer was limited to her left breast, they did not push the idea, according to the report. Nally said she felt relieved because she did not want to abort her unborn son.

“I was determined to fight the disease for the both of us,” she said.

After undergoing surgery to have the tumor removed, Nally went through multiple rounds of chemotherapy. She said she constantly worried about how it would affect Finley.

“With every scan, Daniel and I would hold hands watching the monitor, desperately hoping to see a sign our baby was growing,” she said.

Here’s more from the report:

Medics told Chelsea the swelling of her breasts had moved the lump in her breast closer to the skin where it could be detected – saving her life.

Incredibly, on March 19 this year, baby Finley was born healthy, weighing 5lbs 3oz.

Speaking from her home in Woodbridge, Suffolk, she said: “Battling a deadly illness while growing new life inside of me was indescribable.

“The chemo was tough but it was nothing compared to the fear that my baby might not survive the treatment.

Nally said she felt so relieved when she heard Finley cry for the first time. Even more relief followed when doctors told her that Finley was healthy.

“Holding him in my arms for the first time I felt like my biggest battle was over,” she said. “I couldn’t believe we had both survived pregnancy and chemo. He is my hero, even before he was born he had saved my life.”

Recent studies indicate pregnant women who undergo cancer treatments do not put their unborn babies at significant risk. A 2015 study published in the highly reputable New England Journal of Medicine concluded, “Prenatal exposure to maternal cancer with or without treatment did not impair the cognitive, cardiac, or general development of children in early childhood.”

Based on these findings, lead researcher Professor Frédéric Amant said women should not abort their unborn babies based on fear that their cancer treatment could affect their child.

Our present situation: the battle between Our Lord and the reign of Satan

address was given by His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Caffarra on 19 May 2017 at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, which is organised by Voice of the Family.

“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” [John 12, 32]. “The whole world is under the power of the Evil One” [1 John, 5, 19].

Reading these divine words gives us perfect awareness of what is really happening in the world, within the human story, considered in its depths. The human story is a confrontation between two forces: the force of attraction, whose source is in the wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One, and the power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.

The area in which the confrontation takes place is the human heart, it is human liberty. And the confrontation has two dimensions: an interior dimension and an exterior dimension. We will briefly consider the one and the other.

  1. At the trial before Pilate, the Governor asks Jesus whether he is a king; whether – which is the meaning of Pilate’s question – he has true and sovereign political power over a given territory. Jesus responds: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” [John 18, 37]. ‘Jesus wants us to understand that his kingship is not that of the kings of this world, but consists of the obedience of his subjects to his word, to his truth. Although He reigns over his subjects, it is not through force or power, but through the truth of which he is witness, which “all who are from the truth” receive with faith’. [I. De La Potterie]. Thomas Aquinas puts the following words into the mouth of the Saviour: “As I myself manifest truth, so I am preparing a kingdom for myself”. Jesus on the Cross attracts everyone to Himself, because it is on the Cross that the Truth of which he is witness is resplendent.

Yet this force of attraction can only take effect on those who “are from the truth”. That is, on those who are profoundly available to the Truth, who love truth, who live in familiarity with it. Pascal writes: “You would not seek me if you had not already found me”.

He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies. Jesus says of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [John 8, 44].

The wording is dramatic. The first proposition – “He was a murderer from the beginning” – is explained by the second: “and he does not stand in the truth”. The murder which the devil performs consists in his not standing in the truth, not dwelling in the truth. It is murder, because he is seeking to extinguish, to kill in the heart of man truth, the desire for truth. By inducing man to unbelief, he wants man to close himself to the light of the Divine Revelation, which is the Word incarnate. Therefore, these words of Jesus on Satan – as today the majority of exegetes believe – do not speak of the fall of the angels. They speak of something far more profound, something frightful: Satan constantly refuses the truth, and his action within human society consists in opposition to the truth. Satan is this refusal; he is this opposition.

The text continues: “because there is no truth in him”. The words of Jesus go to the deepest root of Satan’s work. He is in himself a lie. From his person truth is completely absent, and hence he is by definition the one who opposes truth. Jesus adds immediately afterwards: “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. When the Lord says “speaks according to his own nature”, he introduces us to the interiority of Satan, to his heart. A heart which lives in darkness, in shadows: a house without doors and without windows.

To summarise, this therefore is what is happening in the heart of man: Jesus, the Revelation of the Father, exerts a strong attraction to Himself. Satan works against this, to neutralise the attractive force of the Crucified-Risen One. The force of truth which makes us free acts on the heart of man. It is the Satanic force of the lie which makes slaves of us.

Yet, not being pure spirit, the human person is not solely interiority. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in construction of the society in which he or she lives. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in culture, as an essential dimension of human life as such. Culture is the mode of living which is specifically human.

Given that man is positioned between two opposing forces, the condition in which he finds himself must necessarily give rise to two cultures: the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.

There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].

  1. In this second section, I would like to respond to the following question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? My response is affirmative, and there are two developments in particular.
  • The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well. I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.

What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of abortion? Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man. As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6]. The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation”. By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein.

St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being” [Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417]. At the moment at which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation – the human person – is desecrated

  • The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.

The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape his original solitude.

One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.

In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness”. The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar.

At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation”.

This is the frightful strategy of the lie, constructed around a profound contempt for man. Man is not capable of elevating himself to the splendour of the Truth. He is not capable of living within the paradox of an infinite desire for happiness. He is not able to find himself in the sincere gift of himself. And therefore – continues the Satanic discourse – we tell him banalities about man. We convince him that the Truth does not exist and that his search is therefore a sad and futile passion. We persuade him to shorten the measure of his desire in line with the measure of the transient moment. We place in his heart the suspicion that love is merely a mask of pleasure.

The Grand Inquisitor of Dostoevsky speaks thus to Jesus: “You judge of men too highly, for though rebels they be, they are born slaves …. I swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined him to be! Man is weak and cowardly.”

  1. How should we dwell in this situation? In the third and final section of my reflection, I will seek to answer this question.

The reply is simple: within the confrontation between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to TESTIFY. This testimony is our mode of being in the world.

The New Testament has an abundantly rich doctrine on this matter. I must confine myself to an indication of the three fundamental meanings which constitute testimony.

(i) Testimony means to say, to speak, to announce openly and publicly. Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly. The March for Life is therefore a great testimony.

(ii) Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the divine Revelation, which involves the original evidence, discoverable only by reason, rightfully used. And to speak in particular of the Gospel of Life and Marriage.

(iii) Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the Gospel of Life and Marriage as if in a trial [cfr. John 16, 8-11]. I will explain myself. I have spoken frequently of a confrontation. This confrontation is increasingly assuming the appearance of a trial, of a legal proceeding, in which the defendant is Jesus and his Gospel. As in every legal proceeding, there are also witnesses in favour: in favour of Jesus and his Gospel. Announcement of the Gospel of Marriage and of Life today takes place in a context of hostility, of challenge, of unbelief. The alternative is one of two options: either one remains silent on the Gospel, or one says something else. Obviously, what I have said should not be interpreted as meaning that Christians should render themselves… antipathetic to everyone.

St Thomas writes:  “It is the same thing, when faced with two contraries, to pursue the one and reject the other.  Medicine, for example, proposes the cure while excluding the illness. Hence, it belongs to the wise man to meditate on the truth, in particular with regard to the First Principle …and to refute the opposing falsehood.” [CG Book I, Chapter I, no. 6]. In the context of testimony to the Gospel, irenics and concordism must be excluded. On this Jesus has been explicit. It would be a terrible doctor who adopted an irenical attitude towards the disease. Augustine writes: “Love the sinner, but persecute the sin”. Note this well. The Latin word per-sequor is an intensifying verb. The meaning therefore is: “Hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality”.

I CONCLUDE with a quotation from a great confessor of the faith, the Russian Pavel A. Florenskij. “Christ is witness, in the extreme sense of the word, THE WITNESS.

At His crucifixion, the Jews and Romans believed they were only witnessing a historical event, but the event revealed itself as the Truth”. [The philosophy of religion, San Paolo ed., Milan 2017, page 512].

“WHEN I AM LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, I WILL DRAW ALL PEOPLE TO MYSELF” [John 12, 32].

 

New secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

The Brazilian priest Alexandre Awi Mello, the National Director of Brazil’s Schönstatt Movement, will serve as the new secretary for the the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. He was born Rio de Janeiro in 1971, and was ordained a priest in 2001.

Since 2002, he has been a professor of Pastoral Theology in several Brazilian universities. In 2007, he collaborated in the Aparecida Conference. He also directs the magazine “Tabor,” and has published several articles in magazines specialized in catechetical and pastoral works.

He studied Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Santiago de Chile and later moved to Germany to continue his studies. He holds a PhD in Mariology from the University of Dayton in the United States.

The Vatican announced the creation of the new Dicastery for Laity Family and Life in June 2016 and began operations on September 1 of the same year.

This new department absorbed the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family, which ceased to function as of that date.

“The discourse is competent in those matters which belong to the Apostolic See for the promotion of life and the apostolate of the lay faithful for the pastoral care of the family and its mission, according to the design of God and for the tutelage and the help of human life, “the Vatican reported on that occasion.

Birth Control and Catholic Priests

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head:

The effect of birth control and a contraceptive culture has altered our world in ways we could never have expected.

Think for a moment about the effect contraception has had on the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

First of all, if a family has ten kids it is more likely that they are going to be happy for a few of them to pursue the priesthood or religious life. Mothers will quite happily send a few off to the seminary or monastery. If she has ten she can spare a few.

But if the neat and tidy suburban career woman only has two she is going to treasure them that much more. The idea that one would become a priest would be a shocking idea, but there is another more subtle attitude shift beneath this.

When mother and father decided to limit their family to two children by artificial means they usually do so in order for the woman to go back to work. The silent statement is, “What is most important to this family is to have as much income as possible.” and “The career. The career is everything! It comes first. Children? Meh.”

This attitude is then transmitted to the children who also put career first. Will there be any vocations from a home like that? Probably not.

Think further of the effects of this revolution in family life on the question of vocations. Before the invention and acceptance of artificial contraception a young man considering the priesthood would look around and weigh up his option.

Let’s say he lived in Philadelphia in the 1950s. He came from an Italian American family. He sees his Dad, his uncles, his grandfather. They are working class. They sweat in dangerous jobs to support their large families. They come home to a little house full of kids. Its a good life, but its a hard life.

The priest, on the other hand, doesn’t have his own wife and family, but he’s in Philadelphia. He gets sent to St Anthony of Padua parish. He’s surrounded by a big extended Italian family. He has status. He’s the priest. He gets an education. Maybe he travels to Rome. He lives in a big house with maybe three or four other priests. They have a nice Italian mama who cooks and cleans and looks after them.

The point I’m making is that, from a human point of view, the young man’s choice is fairer. With a wife and family he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices. With the priesthood he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices.

You pays your money and you makes your choice.

But think of the young man’s choice in today’s contraceptive culture. To be married and have a family doesn’t seem to require any sacrifices at all. Indeed, it seems like the passport to perfection. You get married. You eventually have two nice trophy children. Your wife continues her education and career. You’re both earning enough money to have everything. No sorrows. No sacrifice.
Of course I know it doesn’t always pan out that way, but that is what seems to be on offer.

On the other hand, for a young man to be a priest? He’s faced with a life of loneliness–stuck in Rectory by himself with onerous duties and little reward.
Again–I know it is not really like this, but this is what it may very well appear to be.

What’s to be done?

I happen to feel optimistic about the problem because I think the pendulum is going to swing back. I think an increasing number of young people are going to reject the contraceptive culture and choose a life giving alternative, and with that will be an increasing number of young men and women who choose a religious vocation, and they’ll be choosing for all the right reasons.
Why do I think this? Because a lie cannot sustain itself. All that is false eventually implodes. It can’t last.

On the other hand, all that is beautiful, good and true will always be attractive. Like fresh shoots on a tree that has been felled, it will spring back.

Teenagers and the STD nobody is talking about

Meg Meeker | May 31 2017

I am often asked to speak about sex to high school students. Many adults shudder at the thought of talking to kids about sex, but I love it. First, I have a captive audience, and second, I get to talk about two things that I am very passionate about: the dangers of teen sex and the joys of sex in marriage. Many adults worry that kids will be too shy to ask questions but on the contrary, I have found them eager to have ever their questions answered in an honest, upbeat manner.

I do not take the topic of teens and sex lightly. I have seen the pain of STDs in 13- and 14-year-old children in my office along with other serious health issues caused by sex.

Most people are aware of the physical repercussions of sex:

  • We now have 35 known STDs. In 1960, we only had two.
  • Teenagers make up one-third of the U.S. population, but they carry 50 percent of STDs.
  • One in four teens has an STD. (Over 80% of those infections have no symptoms, so they can go undetected, which is dangerous for the teen, their future sexual partners and their future children.)

You may be familiar with those numbers, but few are aware of the emotional repercussions teen sex can have.

For the thousands of teens I’ve treated and counseled, many of them—yes, teen boys too—have depression related to sexual activity. You rarely hear the correlation made, but I consider depression an STD with effects as devastating as HPV, chlamydia or any physical infection.

Depression related to teen sex can be as devastating as any STD 

Consider these numbers:

  • In 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents age 12 to 17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year—that’s about 12.5% of all 12 to 17 year olds.
  • From 1999-2014, the suicide rate in girls age 10 to 14 tripled.
  • About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.

I believe it is no coincidence that as STDs have become an epidemic in teens, so has depression. The correlation is startling.

Depression in a teen occurs on a biochemical as well as psychological level and the two are linked. We know that the levels of specific hormones in the cerebral spinal fluid of depressed teens are different from those of non-depressed teens.

We know that depression occurs when a teen experiences un-grieved losses—hurts that have been buried in their psyche, festering like abscesses. When a teen doesn’t deal with a traumatic or hurtful event, he ends up stuffing it and the negative emotions come out sideways. He becomes angry, withdrawn and depressed.

Teenagers don’t have the maturity to handle sex

Think about a 17-year-old boy who has had multiple sexual partners (as most 17 year old boys these days are encouraged to do.) He has sex because he believes this is what he must do to be a “man”. However, not all of those sexual encounters go well. He is too ashamed to admit this to his friends and knows he can’t talk to his parents about it, so he pretends like everything is fine, stuffs his feelings and continues having multiple partners.

Or consider a 15-year-old girl who feels pressured to have sex with her boyfriend. She finally does and two weeks later, he breaks up with her. She can’t explain to her parents why the break-up is so upsetting (she may not even know why herself), so she tries to find consolation in the next boy she dates, starting an unhealthy cycle and not dealing with the grief and the loss.

Teenagers don’t have the psychological or cognitive maturity to handle sex, regardless of what adults in our culture say. And they certainly can’t handle sex with multiple partners. Depression occurs by un-grieved losses and the truth is, sex for teen boys and girls causes many losses on many levels.

The misconceptions many parents have about their teenagers are these: that teen boys are nothing more than vats of hormones, that girls want to be sexually active in high school and college because that’s what girls do, and that sex is really fine for kids if they use “precautions” and stay “safe.” I discuss the dangers of both of these misconceptions, as well as the link between teen sex and depression in a recent episode of my Parenting Great Kids podcast.

First, boys have minds, hearts and spirits and treating them otherwise is wrong. Second, most girls don’t want to be sexually active but have no one to counsel them how to postpone sex. Finally, terms like “precautions” and “safe” are meaningless. How is a teen to avoid hurt if he has sex, bonds to a girl and then breaks up? And studies show that condoms don’t protect equally against different diseases, so being “safe” is nonsense.

I can’t tell you how many 16- and 17-year-old boys come up to me after I’ve spoken at their school to talk about the emotional scars they have from sex.

Parents, make sure your teens understand the mental and emotional connection of sex

This is why simply talking to your child about “safe sex” (a phrase that even the CDC won’t use anymore) is not enough. It’s your job as your son or daughter’s parent to help set them up for a lifelong, monogamous relationship and to get them there as emotionally unscathed as possible; not to simply cross your fingers and hope your child doesn’t get one of the over 35 STDs.

Do more than teach your child about the physical harm that can result from sex. Talk to them about their feelings and make sure they understand the emotional and mental connection that sex has. You need to be the person to tell your child this and know that they want to hear what you have to say. Work very hard to protect their hearts and minds as much as their bodies because trust me, nobody else is going to help teach them what you will.

Dr Meg Meeker is a US pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books. She is a leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health. This article is republished from her blog with permission. Refer to the original article for promotions and other information.

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/teenagers-and-the-std-nobody-is-talking-about/19892#sthash.bJ4bufSW.dpuf

Theologian: Church must ‘prioritize’ procreation in marriage to combat abortion, gay ‘marriage’

ROME, May 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — There is a need to “prioritize” procreation as the primary end of marriage today, because when this “distinctive” and “proper” purpose is questioned or doubted, the “marriage institution itself — and society thereafter — begins its slide down the slippery slope,” the head of Human Life International’s (HLI) Rome office told an international gathering of pro-life and family groups there today.

Father Francesco Giordano speaking at the 2017 Rome Life Forum.

Father Francesco Giordano, a professor in Rome who addressed the fourth annual Rome Life Forum today, said that a de-emphasis of procreation within marriage has not only resulted in legalized abortion, but homosexual “marriage.”

To illustrate his point, he presented the main argument behind the U.S. Supreme Court 2015 decision that legalized same-sex “marriage.”

We read in a Catholic World News article from the day: “Claiming that the institution of marriage has “evolved over time,” Justice Kennedy wrote that the essence of the marital bond is a sharing of intimacy, which does not require partners of opposite sexes. He argued that the plaintiffs in the Obergefell case were not undermining the institution of marriage, but showing their respect for that institution by seeking to participate in it. The majority opinion reasoned that the ability to marry would help to stabilize same-sex unions, and benefit the children raised by homosexual partners. Justice Kennedy explicitly rejected the notion that marriage is intrinsically oriented to procreation, writing: “An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any state.”” With the stress on the end or good of union, we are seeing these sorts of results, so it only confirms me in stressing the procreative end as the proprium of marriage.

Giordano noted how Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae, which outlined the moral evil of contraception, was a “novel” approach to conjugal relations in that it “placed the unitive end of marriage at par with the procreative end.”

He said that while the unitive purpose of the conjugal act “works with the procreative end in harmonizing the love between the parents” it is the procreative purpose which makes the act “unique” when compared to any other human act.

“The telos [purpose by nature] of the union between man and woman is generative. It is the proprium of marriage after all. It is the first end of the sexual act to be intimately united to the second end, but we have to prioritize the procreative end of marriage because it is the distinctive, proper and privative end of marriage,” he said.

He went on to quote the first account of Creation, including that God created man in his image, created them male and female, and told them: “Be fertile and multiply.”

“So it is clear that the first duty of the first family was to generate children,” he said.

Not only is this the Church’s teaching, he said, it is substantiated by natural law, not something we just follow in an abstract way.

“We adhere to a teaching because of its compelling truth,” Giordano said, “a truth which the Church naturally defends.”

Giordano’s presentation comes days after rumors began circulating in Rome of a secret committee set up by Pope Francis to study Humanae Vitae. Francis’ position on contraceptive practices — which the Church has always taught to be gravely immoral — remains sufficiently ambiguous to be interpreted as lending support to the use of contraception and condoms, in certain cases.

In a March 2014 interview with Corriere della Sera, Francis said that the question of birth control must be answered not by “changing the doctrine” but by “making pastoral (ministry) take into account the situations and that which it is possible for people to do.”

During a November 2015 press conference on his return flight from Africa, Francis, when asked if it was time for the Church to allow the use of condoms to prevent HIV agreed that condom use is “one of the methods,” but that it brought into conflict the fifth and sixth commandments.

And during his February 2016 return flight from Mexico, Francis said that contraception may be the “lesser of two evils” for parents wanting to avoid conceiving a child in areas affected by the Zika virus. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed the pope’s words the following day, stating: “The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of ‘discernment’ in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said.”

Giordano also outlined a number of threats facing the family, including gender ideology and transhumanism.

“The end of man is the adoration of God. The end of gender ideology is the adoration of the body,” he said.

Giordano also discussed how the negative social changes resulting from the family’s decline, including the breakdown in the understanding of the human being as male or female, are now being advanced by a transhumanist mentality.

“Unlike animals, men can truly shape their lives, and this the transhumanists understand. However, what the transhumanists do not seem to understand is that there are limits posed by our nature on what we can do to shape our lives,” he said.

“In order to bring about the reduction of human identity to a freely chosen, mutable sexual orientation and avoid its formation in the countless influences besides sex, the elimination of these other influences—such as family, culture, and religion—are necessary [for the transhumanists,]” he said.

This mentality represents a sign of man’s demise, he said, “and the only response to all of these threats is found in strong traditional family units.”

Giordano went on to explain how the transhumanist movement is based on the belief that man is a failed experiment, and its assumption that man can come to salvation by knowing or doing something particular displays elements of the Gnostic-Pelagian heresies.

As man moves further away from human nature today, and we also see an increase in barbarous acts, it shows rejection of God and His law, said Giordano.

Conversely, he said, “When we search for that which is most elevated, dignified, and noble, we inevitably find God who is Truth, Beauty, and Goodness itself.”

“The Magisterium in the papal teachings on Marriage and the Family has been attentive to the family seeing it as a real jewel of a social institution to be protected for the greater common good of society and each man,” stated Giordano.

“If the family unit is hurt, man is ultimately hurt, and the results are evident all around us that there is indeed an abolition of man in course. If instead, the family unit is united and faithful to God, focused on Our Lord, then there is order in its life and that of its members,” he added.

From ‘us to ‘me’

In discussing the importance of marriage, Giordano said emphasis has shifted from the family to the individual since the time of the French Revolution.

The family is understood as an institution that is beyond social functions, however, the priest said. And he told the forum “the family is very much under attack, starting with the very sacrament that is its foundation: marriage.”

He explained how problems have emerged from the center of work being moved from the household to outside the home since the Industrial Revolution.

Further, divorce has come about from many social, economic and political issues. Giordano cited the sexual revolution, the move to an industrial society over the last 200 years, and the way governments have interfered in marriage, being agents of divorce.

“We know from our fight with the abortion industry just how important legalization of such matters is in influencing the mindset,” said Giordano.

A long time coming

A look at the works written by the popes since the 19th-century on the subjects of family and marriage show they were already addressing the crisis then, he continued, citing Benedict XIV, Pius IX and Leo XIII.

“The popes were very conscious of the fact that the Church’s role was to protect sacred matrimony from all sorts of confusion because both the Church and society as a whole would suffer,” Giordano stated.

“Marriage is not merely a convention which the State can decide upon at whim,” he said, quoting Pope Leo XIII’s Arcanum divinae Sapientiae. “Marriage was established by God after the creation of our first parents so that they would transmit the life that He had given to them.”

“Marriage sanctifies the union of man and woman, and in these two accounts we see two ends of marriage clearly identified: procreative and unitive,” explained Giordano. “Through marriage, there is a remedy in store for man’s wounded nature.”

He told the forum that the Congregation for Rites having inserted the Feast of the Holy Family in the Calendar of the Roman Rite in 1921 upon the directive of Pope Benedict XV, while not the beginning of the devotion to the Holy Family, displayed the deep concern of the Holy Father for the breakdown of the family.

“Each time I read documents from the early part of the 20th century I notice that many good Catholic writers were lamenting the breakdown of the family and society back then, and I wonder: what would they say today?” the priest queried for those in attendance. “In many ways, they predicted what is happening today.”

Regarding gender, Giordano discussed St. Thomas Aquinas’s definition of man as a composite of body and soul; the two are not separate.

He explained how a number of subsequent modern philosophies reject this. And also that disruption of the natural order of man’s make-up, whether material, physical, spiritual or psychological, can have devastating effects on the whole.

These can lead to gender confusion and transhumanism.

“In a time when nature itself is questioned,” Giordano said, “when its goodness is doubted and reproduction altered, when it is no longer considered enough in itself, and attempts are made to go beyond it in the realm of transhumanism, St. Thomas’ insights are now quite valuable to consider.”

“St. Thomas teaches that even in the state of being separate, the soul is inclined to being united to its specific body,” he told the forum. “It is in this union that we see how maleness and femaleness characterize the whole person, uniting the body’s biological structure to the soul.”

“Even if this can be a debated position,” said Giordano, “we affirm that the soul is itself not a gender, or else the distinction between men and women would make them different species. The gender is in the body, but the soul is not immune from its influence since it is so integrally united to the body.”

Further, he said, if gender deals with the whole person the way that the soul does, then sex-reassignment surgery really cannot change one’s gender.

According to St. Thomas, the common end between male and female is the procreative end, he said. The particular material ends between male and female, though, are complimentary, but different.

Editor’s note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report. 

Bishop Schneider: Catholic family is the first defense against our current ‘great apostasy’

Editor’s note: This address was delivered by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, on 19 May 2017 at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, which is organised by Voice of the Family.

May 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The family has been created immediately by God, so the Magisterium of the Church teaches us.[1] Pope Leo XIII says in his magisterial encyclical on marriage and family: “Marriage has God for its Author, and was from the very beginning a kind of foreshadowing of the Incarnation of His Son; and therefore there abides in it something holy and religious; not extraneous, but innate; not derived from men, but implanted by nature. Innocent III, therefore, and Honorius III, our predecessors, affirmed not falsely nor rashly that a sacrament of marriage existed ever amongst the faithful and unbelievers.”[2]

“The family therefore holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring, a right inalienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and therefore inviolable on the part of any power on earth.”[3] Parents are therefore under a grave obligation to see to the religious and moral education of their children.[4]

Pope Leo XIII gave us a very concise explanation about the original and first duty of parents concerning the education of their children, and in the first place concerning the education in the Catholic faith. This duty has its foundation in the natural order of the Divine creation: “The common sense of mankind is in such complete accord, that they would be in open contradiction with it who dared maintain that the children belong to the State before they belong to the family, and that the State has an absolute right over their education. Untenable is the reason they adduce, namely that man is born a citizen and hence belongs primarily to the State, not bearing in mind that before being a citizen man must exist; and existence does not come from the State, but from the parents. The children are something of the father, and as it were an extension of the person of the father; and, to be perfectly accurate, they enter into and become part of civil society, not directly by themselves, but through the family in which they were born.”[5] “And therefore,” says the same Pope Leo XIII, “the father’s power is of such a nature that it cannot be destroyed or absorbed by the State; for it has the same origin as human life itself.”[6] Pope Leo XIII declares in another memorable encyclical, where he thus sums up the rights and duties of parents: “By nature parents have a right to the education of their children, but with this added duty that the education and instruction of the child be in accord with the end for which by God’s blessing it was begotten. Therefore it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.”[7]

Already more than seventy years ago Pope Pius XII made an appeal to the Christian families to be new crusaders in spreading and defending the true Catholic faith in midst of the general and heavy torpor into which the drugs of false ideas, widely diffused, have sunk the human family in the twentieth century. This diagnosis, which Pius XII made about the spiritual health of his time, is fully applicable to our times and it became even much worse. Pius XII said: “It is for the best and most distinguished members of the Christian family, filled with the enthusiasm of Crusaders, to unite in the spirit of truth, justice and love to the call; God wills it, ready to serve, to sacrifice themselves, like the Crusaders of old. If the issue was then the liberation of the land hallowed by the life of the Incarnate Word of God, the call today is, if We may so express Ourselves, to traverse the sea of errors of our day and to march on to free the holy land of the spirit, which is destined to sustain in its foundations the unchangeable norms and laws on which will rise a social construction of solid internal consistency.”[8]

The first and most holy goal and end of matrimony and family consists in giving birth to new citizens of heaven. Pope Leo XIII said: “By the command of Christ, it not only looks to the propagation of the human race, but to the bringing forth of children for the Church, ‘fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God’;(Eph. 2:19) so that ‘a people might be born and brought up for the worship and religion of the true God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Catechismus Romanus, cap. 8).”[9] The family is therefore the first and original place, where the integrity and the beauty of the Catholic faith should be taught to the children, and by this way handed over to the future generations. Indeed from this transmission of the faith depends the spiritual health of a nation as taught Pope Pius XII: “The family is holy. It is the cradle not only for the children, but the entire nations. Man and woman should pass on the torch of the physical and also spiritual, of the moral and of the Christian life to the future generations.”[10]

From the early centuries of Christianity the family was seen as the Church “in miniature,” and the Church itself was called the “family of God”, especially the Christian community gathered for the celebration of the sacred liturgy was called the “family of God”, as we can often read in the liturgical texts, so for example in the Canon of the Mass. It was especially the Second Vatican Council, which reminded us of this ancient truth. In the Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium” the Council teaches: “The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care a vocation to a sacred state.”[11] Pope John Paul II, the Pope of the family, made this famous affirmation: “In the future, evangelization will depend largely on the domestic church.”[12] The same Pope said: “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.”[13]

So great and splendid is the educational ministry of Christian parents that Saint Thomas has no hesitation in comparing it with the ministry of priests: “Some only propagate and guard spiritual life by a spiritual ministry: this is the role of the sacrament of Orders; others do this for both corporal and spiritual life, and this is brought about by the sacrament of marriage, by which a man and a woman join in order to beget offspring and bring them up to worship God.”[14]

Pope John Paul II gives to the catechesis in family the priority over all other forms of catechesis, when he says: “Family catechesis, therefore, precedes, accompanies, and enriches all other forms of catechesis. Furthermore, in places where anti-religious legislation endeavors even to prevent education in the faith, and in places where widespread unbelief or invasive secularism makes real religious growth practically impossible, ‘the domestic church’ remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis. Thus, there cannot be too great an effort on the part of Christian parents to prepare for this ministry of being their own children’s catechists and to carry it out with tireless zeal. Encouragement must also be given to the individuals or institutions that, through person-to-person contacts, through meetings, and through all kinds of pedagogical means, help parents to perform their task: the service they are doing to catechesis is beyond price.”[15]

One of the main causes of the moral, spiritual and religious crisis of the current time consists in the religious ignorance, in ignoring the truths of the faith and in an erroneous knowledge of the faith. Pope Pius X very rightly observed this connection, saying: “The enemy has, indeed, long been prowling about the fold and attacking it with such subtle cunning that now, more than ever before, the prediction of the Apostle to the elders of the Church of Ephesus seems to be verified: ‘I know that . . . fierce wolves will get in among you, and will not spare the flock’ (Act 20:29). Those who still are zealous for the glory of God are seeking the causes and reasons for this decline in religion. Coming to a different explanation, each points out, according to his own view, a different plan for the protection and restoration of the kingdom of God on earth. But it seems to Us, that while we should not overlook other considerations. We are forced to agree with those who hold that the chief cause of the present indifference and, as it were, infirmity of soul, and the serious evils that result from it, is to be found above all in ignorance of things divine. This is fully in accord with what God Himself declared through the Prophet Osee: ‘And there is no knowledge of God in the land. Cursing and lying and killing and theft and adultery have overflowed: and blood hath touched blood. Thereafter shall the land mourn, and everyone that dwelleth in it shall languish’ (Osee 4:1-3).”[16] And Pope Benedict XIV wrote: “We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”[17] For this reason the same Pope Benedict XIV said: “There is nothing more effective than catechetical instruction to spread the glory of God and to secure the salvation of souls.”[18]

The beauty of the Catholic faith manifests itself in a special manner in large families. We possess one of the most striking and illuminating affirmations of the Magisterium on this theme in the following words of Pope Pius XII addressed to the Associations of Large Families: “Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church. […] The brows of the fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness, Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren. Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them. And the hopes soon become a reality when the eldest daughter begins to help her mother to take care of the baby and on the day the oldest son comes home with his face beaming with the first salary he has earned himself. […] Children in large families learn almost automatically to be careful of what they do and to assume responsibility for it, to have a respect for each other and help each other, to be open-hearted and generous. For them, the family is a little proving ground, before they move into the world outside, which will be harder on them and more demanding.”[19]

The beauty of the Catholic faith manifests itself in the fact that it is precisely the family which is the first breeding ground and the first seedbed for the priestly vocations. The Second Vatican Council spoke about the family as the first seminary in the process of fostering and training priestly vocations.[20] History has given proof that the majority of priestly vocations come from large families. Pope Pius XII highlighted this interrelationship saying: “With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten. Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values.”[21]

The supernatural spirit of love and of self-sacrifice of the mother (and oftentimes of the mother of a large family) is the very foundation of a priestly vocation and of the fruitfulness of the priestly life of her son. The following moving example illustrates this truth in an impressive manner: “In the city of Zaborze in Upper Silesia is a grave which is frequently visited by pilgrims. Above the grave rises a Lourdes grotto. At the foot of the statue of the Immaculate Conception, in a little glass case, lies a myrtle wreath. Here is the story of the myrtle wreath. A priest is buried in the grave at the foot of the grotto. He was the youngest of ten children. As a young man he worked very hard to earn enough money to study for the priesthood, because his parents were poor. After his ordination he went as a missionary to India where he worked for many years. When he died they buried him in his home town of Zaborze and erected a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes above his tomb because he had always fostered a special devotion to Mary Immaculate. Some time after the burial of this zealous priest, a little box was found among his possessions with a note pasted upon it: ‘To be opened after my death.’ The box contained a myrtle wreath and this note: ‘This is my mother’s bridal wreath. I have carried it with me to various countries, on my journeys over land and sea, in memory of that sacred moment when my mother vowed not only fidelity but also uprightness at the altar of God. She has kept that vow. She has had the courage to have me after the ninth child. Next to God I owe her my life and my vocation to the priesthood. If she had not wanted me, I would not have become a priest and a missionary; I would not have been able to work for the salvation of souls. Place this wreath, my mother’s bridal wreath, into my grave. This I ask of the one who finds it.’ When they found the wreath, the grave had already been closed, so they placed it at the foot of the statue of the Im­maculate Mother to whom he dedicated his life.”[22]

As another example we could mention the mother of Saint Pius X, Margherita Sanson. She raised up ten children. She taught them to pray first thing in the morning, communicate with God throughout the day, and to end each day with prayer, bringing the family together for an examination of conscience. The well-known story of the wedding ring of his mother remains always inspiring: Following her son’s episcopal ordination and placement in Mantova, the future Pope Pius X visited his old mother to thank her. After kissing his episcopal ring, she showed him her wedding ring and said, “Your ring is very beautiful, Giuseppe, but you wouldn’t have it if I didn’t wore this my ring.” I know the following story: A priest came to the mother of a priest to congratulate her with the episcopal nomination of her son. To this congratulation the mother replied: “This does not mean this much. The most important thing is, that my son remain always faithful to Jesus”. And each time when this bishop phones his mother, before hanging up the telephone receiver, she says to her son: “You remain faithful to Jesus!” To remain faithful to Jesus, means to remain faithful to all of His commandments and to all of His Divine teachings, and to prefer temporal disadvantages and disdain, even on the part of ecclesiastical persons, rather than to make compromises regarding the teaching and the observance of His commandments and teachings.

When parents impart to their children a truly Catholic education in faith, they lay the foundation of the faith of the future priests and bishops. Usually the uncompromising and life-long fidelity to the integrity of the Catholic faith on behalf of a priest and of a bishop, is a fruit of the education which he got in his family from his father or from his mother or from both, or from his grandmother.

The truth which says that the family is the original place of the beauty of the Catholic Faith we can see also in the following edifying witness in the autobiography of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus: “Feast days! Those words conjure up more wonderful memories! I did so love them and you were able to explain so well what they were all about. That again was a foretaste of Heaven. But the procession of the Blessed Sacrament was what I loved best, for I could scatter flowers beneath the feet of God! I used to throw them up high into the air before they fell and when my rose petals touched the monstrance my happiness was complete. The big feasts did not come along so often but there was one most dear to me, and it came every week – Sunday, Our Lord’s own day, a wonderful day, a day of rest. We all went to the High Mass, and when it was time for the sermon, I remember we had to leave our place because it was so far away from the pulpit and go all up the nave to find places nearer. This was not always easy to do, but everyone seemed quite ready to find room for little Thérèse and her father. Uncle, especially, seemed very happy when he saw us Coming; he used to call me his little ray of sunshine and say that the sight of this venerable patriarch hand in hand with his little daughter always touched his heart. The fact that all this drew attention to us never bothered me; I was far too interested in what the priest was saying. The first sermon I really understood was one on Our Lord’s Passion, and I was very much moved by it; that was when I was five and a half, and from then on I could take in and appreciate all that was said. If ever St. Teresa was mentioned, Father used to bend down toward me and whisper: “Listen, my Little Queen, he is talking about your Patron Saint.” Then I would really listen, but I am afraid I kept my eyes on Father far more than on the preacher because I could read such a lot in his noble face. Sometimes his eyes would fill with tears he could not keep back, and when he was listening to the eternal truths, he seemed to be already in another world and no longer in this. He was then a long way from his journey’s end, however; long, sad years had yet to pass before he opened his eyes on Heaven’s loveliness and Jesus wiped away His faithful servant’s tears” (Story of a soul).

In those times, the Eucharistic liturgy was not celebrated in the vernacular and without explanatory remarks and commentaries. However, Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus and her father Saint Louis Martin had a very intense active participation in the liturgy of the Holy Mass, an active participation, which was marked with silence, as recommended also by the Second Vatican Council.[23] Undoubtedly, their participation in the liturgy was more active, that means, more conscious, attentive and pious than that of many Catholics in our days, where the liturgy is celebrated entirely in vernacular and where active participation is realized in playing an exterior liturgical role, against the prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council.[24] Recently Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, made the following apt observation on this issue: “Most of the faithful—including priests and bishops—do not know this teaching of the Council. […] As Benedict XVI often emphasized, at the root of the liturgy is adoration, and therefore God. Hence it is necessary to recognize that the serious, profound crisis that has affected the liturgy and the Church itself since the Council is due to the fact that its center is no longer God and the adoration of Him, but rather men and their alleged ability to ‘do’ something to keep themselves busy during the Eucharistic celebrations.”[25]

The present situation of the world and partly of the life of many Catholics and ministers of the Church could be characterized as a great apostasy, an apostasy from the faith in the true Divinity of Christ, from the faith in the unique way of salvation through Christ and an apostasy from the faith in the perennial validity of the Divine commandments. Such an apostasy signifies ultimately to renounce Christ and to accept the spirit of the world, diluting Christ in a gnostic manner into the materialistic, naturalistic and esoteric spirit of the world. Recently Cardinal Robert Sarah made the following striking statement on the real current spiritual situation inside the Church: “Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots. But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church. […] While more and more voices of high-ranking prelates stubbornly affirm obvious doctrinal, moral and liturgical errors that have been condemned a hundred times and work to demolish the little faith remaining in the people of God, while the bark of the Church furrows the stormy sea of this decadent world and the waves crash down on the ship, so that it is already filling with water, a growing number of Church leaders and faithful shout: Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise! (‘Everything is just fine, Milady!’)”[26] These words reflect perfectly the analysis of the modern world made by Saint Pius X already a hundred years ago: “The great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. […] Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.”[27]

The Catholic family is the original place of the experience of the beauty of the Catholic Faith. The Catholic family represents the first bulwark against the current great apostasy. The two most efficient weapons against the modern apostasy outside and inside the life of the Church are the purity and integrity of the faith and the purity of a chaste life. The admonition which Saint Louis IX, King of France, left to his son, remains always valid: “My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin. […] Work to remove all sin from your land, particularly blasphemies and heresies” (Letter to his son).

Once a member of an anti-christian movement, who later converted to the Catholic Church, said to Fr. Mateo Crawley, the Apostle of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart: “We have only one goal in mind: to dechristianise the family. We leave to the Catholics gladly the churches, the chapels, the cathedrals. For us it is enough to have the family in order to corrupt the society. If we have control over the family, our victory over the Church is guaranteed.”[28] True Catholic families – and desirably large families – will strengthen the Church of our days with the beauty of the Catholic Faith. From that faith will come out new Catholic fathers and mothers, and from them there will come out a new generation of zealous priests and intrepid bishops, who will be ready to give their life for Christ and for the salvation of the souls. Christianity was born out of the family, the Holy Family, so that the family may be born again out of Christianity. The first fruit of the redemption is the Holy Family, just as the first blessing of the Creator was given to the family. Indeed, what the current world and the Church mostly need, are true Catholic families, the original places of the beauty of the Catholic Faith.


[1] cf. Pius XI., Encyclical Divini illius magistri, 12.

[2] Encyclical Arcanum Divinae, n. 19, 10 February 1880. Concerning Innocent III, see Corpus juris canonici, cap. 8, De divort., ed. cit., Part 2, col. 723. Innocent III refers to 1 Cor. 7:13. Concerning Honorius III, see cap. ii, De transact., (op. cit., Part 2 col. 210).

[3] Pius XI, Encyclical Divini illius magistri, 32.

[4] CIC 1917, can. 1113 and CIC 1983, can. 793

[5] Encyclical Rerum novarum

[6] Ibid.

[7] Encyclical Sapientiae christianae

[8] Christmas Message of 1942

[9] Encyclical Arcanum Divinae, 10

[10] Radio message on 13 May 1942

[11] Lumen gentium, 11

[12] Address to the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, January 28, 1979

[13] Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, 86

[14] Summa contra Gentiles, IV, 58

[15] Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendae, 68

[16] Encyclical Acerbo nimis, 1, 15 April 1905

[17] Instit., 27:18

[18] Constitution, Etsi minime, 13

[19] Address to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy in January 20, 1958

[20] cf. Decree Optatam totius, 2

[21] Address to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy in January 20, 1958

[22] Lovasik, L.G., Treasury of Catechism Stories, Tarentum PA 1966, nr. 386

[23] cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 30

[24] cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 28; 36; 56

[25] Address to the Colloquium “The Source of the Future” on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI, March 29 – April 1, 2017, Herzogenrath, Germany

[26] Address to the Colloquium “The Source of the Future” on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI, March 29 – April 1, 2017, Herzogenrath, Germany

[27] Encyclical Notre Charge Apostolique

[28] Freundeskreis Maria Goretti e.V. (ed.), Familie und Glaube, München 2001, p. 146

Catholic institutions vulnerable to sexual “identity” discrimination lawsuits

Anne Hendershott

http://www.catholicworldreport.com

In an attempt to continue her desired “transition” from female to male, Evan Michael Minton was scheduled by her surgeon to undergo a hysterectomy at Dignity Health chain’s Catholic Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, California last summer.  The surgery was denied by the Catholic hospital’s policy.  And, although Minton was able to have the surgery at another Dignity Health chain hospital in September, she told a reporter for the Sacramento Bee that she was “devastated” by the denial. Claiming that the hospital’s unwillingness to perform the surgery caused such “frustration and disappointment,” the American Civil Liberties Union has now stepped in to file a lawsuit against the hospital last week on his behalf.

Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the ACLU lawsuit claims that Minton was “discriminated against” when she sought a hysterectomy as part of her transition from female to male.  Spokeswoman Melissa Jue, of the Mercy San Juan Medical Center, told reporters that “sterilization procedures, such as hysterectomies or tubal ligations are permitted by Catholic hospitals only to cure or alleviate a serious pathology.”  She pointed out that Dignity Health officials helped Minton obtain the hysterectomy the following month at one of Dignity’s non-Catholic hospitals, Methodist Hospital of Sacramento.

Minton’s surgeon, obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Lindsey Dawson, told reporters: “I don’t blame the administrators.  I blame the (Catholic) doctrines.”  Minton has already had a double mastectomy and a phalloplasty in her quest to become a male.  The hysterectomy was the final step in Minton’s journey to “be able to be congruent with who I am.”  Telling reporters that “When I got my complete body, the rest of my life starts here,” Minton added that: “I don’t want it to affect my transgender brothers and sisters the way it affected me…No one should have to go through that.” That is exactly what should concern all Catholic institutions—including Catholic colleges and universities—as they are all vulnerable to transgender discrimination lawsuits. Minton’s suit is a cautionary tale for Catholic institutions.

All of this is emerging from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule issued on September 8, 2015, by the Obama administration.  The rule is really a new interpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to extend Title IX’s definition of “sex” to include gender identity. The Rule was published as final on May 18, 2016, and it expanded the HHS definition of gender identity even further from the proposed definition to mean an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female. HHS stated in the new rule that “gender identity spectrum includes an array of possible gender identities beyond male and female,” and individuals with “non-binary gender identities are protected under the rule.”  This means that doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers—including those receiving nursing or medical training on Catholic college campuses—may not “deny or limit treatment” to those seeking sex reassignment procedures, even when those procedures run contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs and medical judgement.

Religious institutions have attempted to fight back. Last August, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court on behalf of a coalition of religious healthcare providers, charging that Obama’s Health and Human Services Administration “overstepped its bounds” by requiring medical providers to participate in sex-reassignment procedures—including sex reassignment services and procedures on young children.

More recently, on November 7, 2016 the Beckett Fund filed yet another lawsuit—this time including a Catholic college in the lawsuit—against the federal government’s HHS mandates on behalf of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the University of Mary. The State of North Dakota also joined Becket’s legal challenge. According to the complaint, Becket points out that the HHS mandate forces healthcare professionals and the University of Mary to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.  One of the plaintiffs, the University of Mary, maintains that the Catholic school “infuses Benedictine values throughout its educational experience, including its premier nursing program,” yet will be forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs by participating in what the Catholic Church teaches are “harmful medical transition procedures.”  The regulation also requires that they pay for these same medical transition procedures in their health plans on pain of massive financial liability.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed inclusion of gender identity in federal health care laws barring sexual discrimination.  In a November 6, 2015 letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the bishops claimed that “that medical and surgical interventions that attempt to alter one’s sex are, in fact, detrimental to patients” and “are not properly viewed as health care because they do not cure or prevent disease or illness. Rather they reject a person’s nature at birth as male or female.”

As the Sisters of Mercy/University of Mary lawsuit points out, since the Sisters of Mercy Health System provides hysterectomies to some patients, such as those diagnosed with uterine cancer, the HHS Regulations force the Catholic health care providers to provide a hysterectomy and remove an otherwise healthy uterus for a medial transition—notwithstanding the serious potential harm to the patient, and the violation of the religious beliefs of the providers.  The Becket complaint also points out that the Regulations require Plaintiffs to “compel the speech of healthcare professionals” (including Catholic university nursing students) in several ways—mandating revisions to healthcare professionals written policies, requiring them to promise to provide transition related procedures, and requires healthcare providers to use gender-transition affirming language in all situations regardless of circumstance.

Unless President Trump actually repeals the Affordable Care Act—including its religious liberty destroying mandates surrounding gender identity—the Catholic Church is likely in for a long battle.  The Church cannot change her teachings on non-negotiable issues such as the nature of man and woman.  Pope Francis has already joined his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in condemning contemporary gender theory as denying “the order of creation.” In a Christmas-time homily on December 23, 2008, Pope 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.”  Likewise, Pope Francis rejects the social constructionist view of gender as fluid and changeable, maintain that gender is God-given.

The Church understands that there are several dimensions to gender dysphoria—including a sociological dimension and a psychological dimension—that gender transitioning procedures cannot begin to treat.  UCLA and the National Foundation for Suicide Prevention data reveal that more than 41 percent of those identifying as “transgender” or gender nonconforming have attempted suicide, compared with only 4.6 percent of the overall U. S. population who report a lifetime suicide attempt.  It is also higher than the 10-20 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults who report ever attempting suicide.  This data come from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and UCLA’s Williams Institute, which analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.  More than a dozen other studies since 2001 have found similar results for the alarmingly high rates of suicide for transgender individuals.

In 2013, a 44-year old Belgian female-to-male transsexual chose to die by euthanasia after expressing her unhappiness with her sex-change operation.  Claiming that the surgery had turned her into a “monster,” doctors assisted her in ending her life on the grounds of “unbearable psychological suffering”.  While progressives insist that the reason for the high suicide rates for the LGBT community is due to the stigma and discrimination they have historically faced, the reality is far more complex.  In fact, the prevalence of suicide attempts is actually elevated among those transgendered individuals who are open about their transgender identity.  Those who disclose to others that they are transgender have the highest rates of suicide (50%).

The Obama administration’s HHS mandate seems to ignore the documented evidence of the risks associated with medical transition procedures.  Yet, as the November 2016 Becket Fund lawsuit points out, “HHS’s own medical experts recently wrote, ‘Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria.”  Some of the best designed studies have reported serious harms.

Unless the Trump administration is willing to repeal the HHS mandates that violate the religious liberty of all Catholic institutions—including Catholic colleges and universities—these  institutions will continue to be vulnerable to costly lawsuits for “discriminating” against transgendered individuals desiring transition procedures.

I was always pro-life, but when I was raped by my fiancé, I had a choice to make

March 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — I had always dreamed as a little girl of Prince Charming, castles, and fairytale endings. But what took place exactly one week before my birthday in September 2009 was no childhood dream, but an evil nightmare filled with pain and utter disbelief.

When I was violently raped by my fiancé, my dreams were dashed. My world came crashing down. That violent act shattered my very core.

I’m often asked when sharing my story how a fiancé could be guilty of rape.

What some people fail to understand is that when a girl says “No,” she means “No,” regardless of whether or not there is an intimate/sexual relationship. Yes, we were engaged, but this does not mean we were having sex. In fact, we weren’t. We had decided as followers of Jesus Christ that we would wait until we got married to have sex.

My fiancé had even said, “It will be difficult to wait, but it will be worth the wait!” I had no idea that the man who vowed to always protect me was capable of hurting me so much. How could the man who planned a future with me, who prayed with me every night for our future children, and who read and quoted scriptures to me be the same man who could cause me such harm?

It was through this situation that I had a true understanding of the meaning behind the phrase “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Not only had my body been violated, but also my heart had been betrayed.

I had been visiting him out of state. There was no family around. After he violated me, I called my sister and asked her what to do. I was in pain. She suggested I go to a hospital for urgent care, though I was still very much in denial with all that had just happened. My fiancé’s actions were, for the first time, the opposite of his words, and it was a lot to process.

After I relayed every harrowing detail of the traumatic event to the urgent care doctor, he sat on his spinning chair in front of me and told me by law he had to report it to authorities. He gave me the choice to make the call to the police and turn in my own fiancé for rape, or else he would.

All I could do was cry. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

The doctor said he would make the call and would come back once the police arrived. Meanwhile, my family and friends were hundreds of miles away as I sat by myself in the urgent care room, wondering how my happily ever after had turned so dark and violent. This was not at all how I expected to spend my weekend: Raped, then in urgent care with a doctor turning my fiancé in for rape, then having the rape kit (to collect evidence of sexual assault) performed on me as the police searched for my now ex-fiancé.

It was a woman’s worst nightmare. I went from being blissfully in love to feeling like the most unloved and alone woman in the world.

Most are unaware of the logistics of what a rape kit involves. It is horrifying to have it performed, but it is made even worse when you are so scared and facing so many unknowns. I found myself lying down in that hospital room as the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) nurse performed the rape kit on me, all while a SART nurse-in-training looked on.

How did I get here? I was terrified and an emotional wreck. I couldn’t help but sob and feel so utterly alone, as my future now looked so bleak.

Now, I’ve been pro-life all my life. As the painful rape kit was performed on me, one thought that went through my mind was that I finally understood why some rape victims would be tempted to have an abortion. And that thought deeply disturbed me because of the strong pro-life beliefs I have always stood for. Yet, I could not bear the thought of becoming pregnant with the child of my rapist.

Just then the nurse asked me, “Do you think you could be pregnant?”

Her question made me want to crawl out of my skin and scream. The nurse discussed with me the timing of everything and determined that I was likely pregnant.

She then told me she was going to give me the “Morning-After” pill. I lay there crying, pleading with God to let me somehow die or escape this nightmare.

I knew the purpose of the Morning-After abortion pill was to terminate a pregnancy, to destroy the life of another human being. There are three ways the Morning-After Pill operates: 1) If a woman has not yet ovulated, it prevents ovulation. 2) If she has ovulated, but has not conceived, it prevents conception. 3) If she has conceived, it prevents the tiny baby (referred to as a “blastocyst”) from implanting in the uterine wall, which causes the baby to die because he or she cannot receive the nutrients needed to survive.

The SART team deceives a raped woman if they tell her that the Morning-After pill does not “terminate a pregnancy.” If she is pregnant, the pill does kill.

As I lay there crying and in pain, I knew in my heart that a life, no matter how it is conceived, is still a precious gift created by God. It is a gift that I knew I had no right to destroy, regardless of the trauma I was now experiencing. No pre-born child deserves capital punishment for the sins of the father. So, I knew, as I sobbed while they took the most graphic pictures of my injuries, that regardless of the future, I would choose life.

That night I not only declined the Morning-After pill, but I refused to take any of the STD emergency antibiotics, not sure which pills the SART nurse might slip in if I took any. So, I took the risks with my health and trusted God.

I have since learned that it is standard practice that while the rape kit is being performed, not only is the Morning-After pill given to victims of rape, but also emergency antibiotics to combat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including AIDS, just in case the victim has been exposed. All the pills are usually administered together. There is no way for a girl to know which pill is what.

Even though I had declined the abortion pill, the nurse continued to strongly advise that I take it, saying, “Who would want a baby out of rape?”

I was shocked and saddened by her comment. I felt very much like the nurse was trying to manipulate me into doing what she wanted me to do, not what was in the best interest for a potential pregnancy, or for me.

I eventually was released from the hospital and drove home throughout the night, not knowing what the future held. But I knew who held my future: my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The next few weeks were physically painful and ridden with anxiety as I waited to see if the pregnancy tests I took would either show one line or two. But the tests were only showing one line. I was surprised when a doctor confirmed that I was not pregnant.

Tests that I took six months later also showed that I had not been exposed to any type of STDs.

As I reflect on that low valley I walked through in 2009, I am able to say that, regardless of what the pregnancy tests revealed weeks after my rape, I did choose life under the most unthinkable and traumatic circumstances while facing a world of unknowns. It’s a choice I would make again.

Since my rape, I have forgiven my rapist. I have become an advocate for abuse victims, speaking about rape, choosing life, and domestic violence. I have found hope and healing through God. Today I am an advocate for the pre-born.

I refused the Morning-After pill after rape because I am pro-life. It is deeply woven within the very core of who I am. My choice for life has helped make me into the woman I am today.

Editor’s Note: Witlee Ethan’s story is used here by permission from the author. It has been edited. Witlee can be reached on twitter: @VoiceUrRights

Meet the Catholic mother raising 15 children alone

When I get in touch with Rosa Pich by Skype during Holy Week, I discover that she is on holiday with 12 of her children in Torreciudad, a shrine dedicated to Our Lady in northern Spain. “We are trying to return to normal life,” she says, following the death of her husband, Chema, of liver cancer little more than a month earlier. “We have cried a lot, we have prayed a lot, but life continues,” she says. “I have come to see that when God gives you a cross to carry, he always gives you the grace you need to bear it.”

Rosa is a supernumerary member of Opus Dei and is the ninth of 16 siblings. Chema Postigo, who also belonged to Opus Dei, came from a family of 14. They got married young and aspired to have a family as large as those they came from. Their first child, however, was born with a congenital heart defect and was not expected to survive for long (although she actually lived till the age of 22). The second and third children died in infancy. It was then that a doctor advised the couple not to have any more children.

But after much prayer and discernment they decided against this advice. “Nobody other than the spouses should enter the marriage bed,” she explains, “not the doctor, or one’s mother or mother-in-law, or the priest.” Rosa and Chema resolved not to give up on their dream of a large family and went on to have 15 more children, all alive to this day, aged now from 25 down to seven. They became the parents of Spain’s largest family and have appeared in documentaries in several countries including one made by the BBC.

How did they manage? They lived in an apartment in Barcelona with five bedrooms: two for boys, two for girls and one for the couple. In one of the boys’ rooms, there is a four-level bunk bed and another two-level bunk bed with a spare bed for guests, since their children are positively encouraged to bring their friends home to play and to stay the night.

Each of the older children is assigned a younger sibling to look after, ensuring that they make their bed, eat enough, do their homework, clear their toys and get their clothes ready for the next day. Chores in the house are distributed monthly according to a schedule which is agreed by all. This allowed Chema to have a full-time job and Rosa to work part time in the mornings, while they spent many weekends travelling the world to help other couples make their families a success through a programme developed by the Family Development Foundation (FDF).

Rosa’s daily schedule entails getting up early to go to Mass, then on to work as a sales executive in a textile firm, getting back home for lunch. Meanwhile, the children help each other to get up, have breakfast, and travel to school and university.

Their dining table is round, with room for 20 people. This allows everyone to see and hear everyone else as the conversation around the dinner table is always very animated.

“We have three rules about our meals,” Rosa tells me. “First, you need to ensure the person to your right and to your left are served before you start eating. Secondly, when you get the tray of food, you should choose the worst for yourself, leaving the better portions for your siblings. And third, all of us, including mum and dad, should aim to do one small sacrifice in each meal.”

This sacrifice could be as simple as taking a bit more of what you don’t like or a bit less of what you like, or delaying drinking the glass of water till the end of the meal – something small that shows solidarity with those who don’t have enough to eat or are otherwise suffering.

These and many other experiences are collected in a book that Rosa wrote in 2013 and has now been translated into 10 languages, including Chinese. It was published in English by Scepter Publishers in New York this year, with the title Rosa, What’s Your Secret?: Raising a Large Family with Love.

But isn’t it very expensive to have such a large family? The Postigo-Pich family consumes 1,300 biscuits, 420 pints of milk and seven lots of a dozen eggs per month. But they are extremely careful where they buy their provisions, searching for the biggest discounts they can get. Every day one of the children walks to a bakery 15 minutes away from home because each loaf is 20 cents cheaper. This adds up to a saving of many euros per month. Sometimes the fridge becomes empty before the end of the month, so they have to skimp and make do with the basics until the next salary comes in.

In the last four months of Chema’s life the couple were able to travel to six countries in three different continents to promote FDF courses: South Korea, China, Ivory Coast, Portugal, Italy and Belarus. In the latter they had the distinct feeling they were being followed by KGB-type secret police who were about to deport them. But all was fine, and in fact they appeared in the main news programme in Minsk.

Chema felt ill during these months, losing almost two stone in weight. Eventually he went to hospital to have a number of tests. In late February, he was diagnosed with aggressive liver cancer with a metastasis in the lungs. Clearly he was not going to live much longer. He then called all his children together.

“Jesus is very good. He loves us a lot,” he told them. “He took Javi and Montse to himself when they were young and Carmina when she was 22. Now it is my turn.”

He then spoke to them one by one. Less than two weeks later he died.

The funeral was held in the largest church in Barcelona and was attended by more than 4,000 people from all over the world. At least 30 people told Rosa that Chema was their best friend. Each person who attended was given a rosary in a little pouch prepared by the children the day before. One of the people who came to the funeral said that “in the midst of the pain, these days we have touched heaven.”

Their son Gaby, 17, went to Rome for Holy Week and was able to greet Pope Francis personally after the Wednesday audience. Chema had written to the Pope, who had answered by sending his prayers and blessings. Gaby told the Holy Father that his father had died recently: would he have a message for his mother? Pope Francis said: “Tell your mother to always look up to heaven, as your father looks at her from there.”

How can Rosa cope as a young widow with so many children? Yet it is precisely having so many children which allows her to live surrounded by love. The week after the funeral there was a family meeting at which all the jobs done by Chema up to then were distributed among the family members. Rosa admits that dealing with banks is not her forte and is happy that one of the older children has taken that on. As she puts it: “In a large family, joys are multiplied and sorrows are divided.”

Recently she spotted her 10-year-old reading the newspaper, something he had never done before. When she asked him, he said that dad would always explain the news to him every night but that now he had to find it out by himself.

Rosa knows she will never be alone. “The problem today in developed societies is loneliness,” she says, “something we have never known in our families.” She adds that, although having small children takes a lot of time and effort, the years of looking after them pass quickly, and then you have around you “these wonderful human beings, who will exist forever, forever, forever”.

Each child was a gift of God and there was nothing like it: “I have many friends,” Rosa says, “who later in life have one regret: not having had more children.” She believes this is the best present parents can give to their older children.

At school, many of the boys and girls want to be friends with her children because they are used to being generous and sharing their lives with others. “I believe in this house they are getting the best possible training to run multinationals,” she says, “because they learn to negotiate, to spot the needs of others, to make the case for their suggested course of action, to give in when needed, to ask for forgiveness when they make a mistake.”

What is the most important thing in a family, I ask her as we are finishing our conversation. She does not hesitate: “That the mum and dad love each other. Everything else comes from that.”

Jack Valero is the press officer of Opus Dei UK and a founder of Catholic Voices

This article first appeared in the May 19 2017 issue of the Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here

This new technology could produce babies from skin cells

http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=15601

Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to manipulate skin cells into creating a human baby.
However, this groundbreaking research has caused push-back from some critics, like Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who says IVG would turn procreation into a transaction.

“IVG extends the faulty logic of IVF by introducing additional steps to the process of manipulating the origins of the human person, in order to satisfy the desires of customers and consumers,” Fr. Pacholczyk told EWTN News in an email interview.

“The technology also offers the possibility of introducing further fractures into parenthood, distancing children from their parents by multiplying the number of those involved in generating the child, so that 3-parent embryos, or even more parents, may become involved,” he continued.

IVG has been successfully tested by Japanese researchers on mice, which produced healthy babies derived from skin cells.

The process begins by taking the skin cells from the mouse’s tail and re-programing them to become induced pluripotent stem cells. These manipulated cells are able to grow different kinds of cells, and are then used to grow eggs and sperm, which are then fertilized in the lab. The resulting embryos are then implanted in a womb.

Although similar to in vitro fertilization, IVG eliminates the step of needing pre-existing egg and sperm, and instead creates these gametes

But many experts in the reproductive field are sceptical of its potential outcomes and ethical compromises.

“It gives me an unsettled feeling because we don’t know what this could lead to,” Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis, told the New York Times.

Knoepfler noted that some of the potential repercussions of IVG could turn into “cloning” or “designer babies.” Other dangers could include the “Brad Pitt scenario,” in which celebrity’s skin cells retrieved from random places, like hotel rooms, could be used to create a baby.

Potentially anyone’s skin cells could be used to create a baby, even without their knowledge or consent.

In an issue of Science Translational Medicine earlier this year, a trio of academics – a Harvard Law professor, the dean of Harvard Medical School, and a medical science professor at Brown – wrote that IVG “may raise the specter of ‘embryo farming’ on a scale currently unimagined, which might exacerbate concerns about the devaluation of human life.”

They added that “refining the science of IVG to the point of clinical use will involve the generation and likely destruction of large numbers of embryos from stem cell–derived gametes” and the process “may exacerbate concerns regarding human enhancement.”

Fr. Pacholczyk also pointed to further concerns, saying IVG disrupts the uniqueness of every individual’s sex cells.

“I.V.G raises additional concerns because of the way it manipulates human sex cells. Our sex cells, or gametes, are special cells. They uniquely identify us,” Fr. Pacholczyk stated.

“It is most unfortunate that overwhelming parental desires are being permitted to trump and distort the right order of transmitting human life,” he continued.

Fr. Pacholczyk said that processes like IVG “enable a consumerist mentality that holds that children are ‘projects’ to be realized through commercial transactions and laboratory techniques of gamete manipulation.”

The Catholic Church teaches that IVF and similar reproductive technologies are morally illicit for several reasons, including their separation of procreation from the conjugal act and the creation of embryos which are discarded.

Pope Francis recently spoke out against the destruction of human embryos, saying that no good result from research can justify the destruction of embryos.

“Some branches of research use human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction. But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves – such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society – can justify the destruction of human embryos,” the Holy Father said May 18.

Although IVG has proven successful in mice, there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out before it is tested on humans, and will entail years more of tedious bioengineering.

However, Fr. Pacholczyk hopes that potential parents will come to realize that children should not products that can be ordered or purchased by consumers, and should rather be seen as a gift.

“Turning commercial laboratories to create children on our behalf is an unethical step in the direction of treating our offspring as objects to be planned and created in the pursuit of parental gratification, rather than gifts received from the Lord.”

Why Fatima matters in the battle for life and family

The message of Fatima is, in its basic nucleus, a call to conversion and repentance, as in the Gospel. This call was uttered at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it was addressed particularly to this present century.  … The call to repentance is a motherly one, and at the same time it is strong and decisive. (Pope Saint John Paul II, homily given in Fatima on May 13, 1982)

May 15, 2017 (HLI) — On Saturday the universal Church remembered and celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the miraculous events at Fatima, recalling the wondrous appearance of Our Heavenly Mother and the life-giving message she brought. In considering the meaning of her message as it pertains to us today, I am reminded of something Sister Lucia wrote in a letter to Cardinal Caffarra:

[T]he 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… however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.

In my many travels, I experience firsthand the prophetic words of Sister Lucia concerning marriage and the family. These sacred institutions are at the heart of the battle because they touch upon the very pillar of creation, which is the truth about the relationship between man and woman, who are made in the likeness and image of God. If these heavenly created institutions are compromised, then the entire building collapses.

We should not view the message of Fatima as merely a historic moment, but rather as a living message purposely spoken to this age. The moral crisis we see in the world demands continued prayers, penance and sacrifices. Our response to the perverse secular culture is our ongoing conversion and spiritual renewal. We are being called to holiness.

We are prompted by the example of the visionaries, Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, to offer acts of mortification with heroic virtue. At the height of their innocence, the two younger children, Francisco and Jacinta, offered themselves as expiatory victims. Sister Lucia, told she would live a long life, would exhaust her life in the service of prayer and mortification for the salvation of souls. Lucia asked Our Lady if she would take them to heaven. Our Lady answered:

Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by me before His throne.

When Lucia asked if she were going to be left alone, Our Lady responded:

No, my daughter. Does this cause you to suffer a great deal? I will never leave you, my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.

Our Lady’s appeal for prayer and penance made to the children, to which the children responded with joy and complete obedience, also applies to us. Striving for holiness and mortifying our senses enables us to be fervent in prayer, gives us interior strength in resisting temptations, helps us to detach from worldly concerns, and unshackles our hearts from earthly vanities and attachments. Seeking holiness increases clarity of thought, making us more sensitive to the discernment of what is holy and what is abomination.

The evil one also knows the significance of marriage and the family. This is why he attacked our first parents and continues his assault today upon marriage and family. Marriage is the only institution that unites parents with their children, that recognizes the natural right of a child to have a mother and father. The family is the first cell of society, the domestic church, first government, first school, first hospital, first economy and the first mediating institution of society. Within this primary school, children learn moral and gospel values, which ultimately give shape to our cultures and societies. After all, society passes through the family, the first school.

Defending the truth about life, marriage and family is costly. The visionaries of Fatima suffered greatly because of the apparitions. Family and friends who failed to understand what the children received from Our Lady persecuted them. Newspapers waged a bitter campaign to discredit the apparitions and the visionaries. Despite all the ill treatment, the children bore it all with patience and charity, always mindful of Our Lady’s request to offer their sacrifices for the sake of poor sinners.

As we enter the good fight in the battle over marriage and family, we know that we too will be besieged by hatred and rejection. Our Lord reminds us, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). We stand before two opposing views; one set upon a path of obedience and life and the other upon disobedience and death.

We also know that the attacks against God’s divine plan for marriage and family do not come only from outside the Church but also come from within – born of sins from disobedience, dissent and rejection. This is why the Church, the people of God, needs the message of Fatima to be a constant reminder as to the universal call for repentance conversion, and renewal. Only in this spirit, renewal of heart and soul, can we be the leaven in the dough. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…(1 John 4:18) We draw strength and comfort from Our Lady of Fatima who reminded Sister Lucia that she was not alone in this great battle – in her Immaculate Heart we find refuge.

There is still much for us to learn from Our Lady of Fatima. Her message is a sign of hope to a world torn by strife and discord. The answer to the attacks on marriage, family and society is the same today as it was 100 years ago – repent and be obedient to the will of God.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

 

If Contraception, Why Not Gay Marriage?

In his book Heretics, G. K. Chesterton writes,

There are some people — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long run, anything else affects them.

Chesterton is making the point that one’s general system of values is an all-important factor in the choices he makes. For example, someone who subscribes to Ayn Rand’s “philosophy of selfishness,” or to Peter Singer’s judgment that infanticide is permissible because of utilitarian values, or to Christopher Hitchens’s view that religion is the most dangerous thing on earth, or to theologian Rev. Richard McBrien’s claim that popes have no authority in morals, can be expected to act in certain ways and take certain positions when confronted with choices. If we know their world view, we do not have 100 percent certainty about particular choices they might make under particular circumstances — but we do have high probability.

The Catholic analytic philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe (1919-2001), whose 1958 article “Modern Moral Philosophy” instigated new movements in “virtue ethics” and renewed interest in natural law, astonished her academic colleagues at Cambridge University in 1979 by publishing Contraception and Chastity, a defense of the Catholic Church’s position on contraception. Anscombe’s influence is still being felt in the United States via the Anscombe Society at Princeton University.

Analytic philosophy is famous for investigating logical connections, even in ethics, and Anscombe draws out the inescapable deductions that can be made from a value system accepting contraception:

If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery, when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)? … But if such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example. I am not saying: if you think contraception all right you will do these other things; not at all. The habit of respectability persists and old prejudices die hard. But I am saying: you will have no solid reason against these things. You will have no answer to someone who proclaims as many do that they are good too. You cannot point to the known fact that Christianity drew people out of the pagan world, always saying no to these things. Because, if you are defending contraception, you will have rejected Christian tradition…. For in contraceptive intercourse you intend to perform a sexual act which, if it has a chance of being fertile, you render infertile. Qua your intentional action, then, what you do is something intrinsically unapt for generation (emphasis added).

In other words, Anscombe is saying that, if you believe you have a right to non-procreative sexual intercourse, you have no right to criticize non-procreative sex by others — for example, by a gay couple. You may justify your personal practices on the basis of your genuine mutual love and commitment to lifelong fidelity. But homosexuals may be even more intensely in love with each other and even more firmly committed to mutual fidelity. They may even be more open to procreation than you are, through adoption or through in vitro fertilization. To want to have sex without the possibility of offspring, and condemn others for similarly non-procreative sex, would be blatantly inconsistent.

According to polls, more than 80 percent of Catholic married couples are using various kinds of contraceptives in order to prevent or separate births. But there is no necessary connection between control of births and contraception. Natural family planning (NFP), which is approved by the Church and often used by couples who want to identify a woman’s fertile periods in order to have children, can also be used to space out births without contraceptives. NFP has been shown in various studies to be just as effective as the contraceptive pill. Systematic development and improvement of the Billings method of NFP over the years has been carried out at Creighton University. The Pope Paul VI institute at Creighton has a good history of assisting married and unmarried women with irregular cycles and other problems.

A variety of objections to gay marriage have been offered. Some oppose it because it arbitrarily redefines marriage, or because it is not suitable for children to have gay parents, or because it will involve greater taxpayer burdens for Medicare and Social Security down the line, and so forth. But if we are part of that 80 percent of Catholics who are also involved in non-procreative sex, we cannot take the “high road” and be opposed to gay marriage because of “immorality.” At the very least, Catholics who choose artificial contraceptive methods, in the interests of consistency, should modify their opposition to gay marriage. If and when they follow the Church’s teaching on contraception, which has not changed over two thousand years and was reiterated by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, they will have a more secure moral justification for their opposition.

Contraceptive Implant Embolism Into the Pulmonary Artery


Nexplanon, a contraceptive implant promoted as Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive, is a single-rod, progestogen-only implant measuring 4 cm in length and 2 mm in diameter. It is not biodegradable, and it contains 68 mg etonogestrel.

Nexplanon should be placed subdermally at the inner side of the upper nondominant arm.

Subdermal contraceptive implant embolism to a pulmonary artery is an emerging iatrogenic condition.

This case was reported in  The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

An 18-year old woman underwent a voluntary termination of pregnancy in July 2014 and had a concomitant subdermal contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) inside her left upper arm.

During the procedure, the performed an inappropriate movement of flexion of her elbow. Because the gynecologist could not feel for the device to ensure that was placed correctly, a nonhormonal birth control method was advised and upper arm roentgenography was prescribed to check the device location. As the patient presented with no symptoms, she did not attend the outpatient clinic until March 2015. At that time, she asked for the removal of the device because of unfavorable change in her menstrual bleeding pattern. Examination and roentgenology of the patient’s arm failed to localize the implant, and it was deduced that it had migrated elsewhere. Chest radiography and computed tomography confirmed that the device was lodged in a subsegmental branch of the left lower lobe pulmonary artery.

The implant was removed from the pulmonary artery thoracoscopically, thereby avoiding the need of thoracotomy or lung resection.

Pope John Paul II’s Mother Rejected Doctor’s Abortion Suggestion

Maria Gallagher   May 17, 2017   |   3:59PM    Washington, DC

A champion of life—that title expertly captures the work and legacy of Pope John Paul II. More than a decade after his death, the author of Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) remains one of the greatest heroes of the pro-life movement, respected by people of all faiths and all walks of life.

The story of Pope John Paul II’s life is filled with suspense, heroism, and intrigue. What is particularly striking is the number of times during the course of his long life, he escaped death. His life hung in the balance when he was hit by a vehicle in his youth. His life was certainly at risk when the Nazis invaded Poland. In 1981, after assuming the Papacy, he nearly died from an assassin’s bullet.
In the new book The Pope and the President, author Paul Kengor paints an intriguing portrait of the lives of pro-life stalwarts Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. The two have been credited with playing key roles in the breaking down of the Berlin Wall, a long-standing symbol of Communism. The two also shared a passion for defending innocent human life and played hugely instrumental roles in combating what the Pope memorably described as a “culture of death.”

The Pope and the President notes that the future Pope’s life was at risk even before he was born. Kengor points to a report that the Pope’s mother “was in such precarious health that her doctor advised her not to continue her pregnancy.”

According to Kengor’s account, the doctor told Emilia Wojtyla, “You have to have an abortion.” The physician’s rationale was that Emilia’s life was at stake and that she should abort her child to preserve it. The Vatican Insider said of the incident, “John Paul II was in danger of not being born.”
But Emilia proved the doctor wrong. She came through the pregnancy and childbirth and delivered a baby Kengor described as “healthy and strong as an ox.” Emilia predicted that Karol Józef Wojtyła, who would become John Paul, would be “a great man someday.”

A great man who could have easily lost his life to abortion.

Ponder for a minute how different the world might be had this champion of life never entered into it.
His absence would have created a vacuum that no one else could fill—because no one else was quite like him.

And therein lies one of the great tragedies of abortion. It creates a dark abyss where our heroes might have stood.

With the birth of Karol Wojtyla, history changed—so very, very much for the better. May all of us, of all faith traditions, live out his legacy by defending mothers and their children from the scourge of abortion.

The Quiet Courage of Cardinal Robert Sarah

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured at the Vatican in this Oct. 9, 2012, file photo (CNS); right: Monastère de la grande chartreuse, in the Chartreuse Mountains, France (Wikipedia)

About 365 miles south-east of Paris, high in France’s remote Chartreuse Mountains, lies one of the world’s most well-known monasteries. Since its foundation in 1084 by the religious order that would become known as the Carthusians, La Grande Chartreuse has been characterized by a daunting quietness. This was famously captured and brought to the world’s attention in the award-winning 2005 documentary Into Great Silence. The power of that silence forms the backdrop to a new book, La Force du Silence, by Cardinal Robert Sarah, the African-born Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who first came to the universal church’s attention with his best-selling God or Nothing (2015).

On many levels, this is a very different book to God or Nothing. The latter is about a journey of faith of a poor boy from an impoverished and obscure rural village in the then-colony of French Guinea to one of the highest offices at the Holy See. Cardinal Sarah’s new book, however, is a spiritual testimony to that faith: the type of witness that more of the Church’s prelates should—but often don’t—provide as successors of the Apostles. Working again with the distinguished French journalist Nicolas Diat, Sarah focuses the reader’s mind upon something easily trivialized in an age preoccupied with equality. And that is the sheer grandeur of God. To grasp this unfathomable depth, Sarah urges us to be mastered by a silence which liberates us from the Babel of distractions surrounding us.

Silence functions as a metaphor for many things in this book. It evokes the wonder that anyone should experience in God’s presence. But the silence of which Sarah speaks also embodies fidelity, humility, charity, and the clarifying light of reason. Noise, for Sarah, concerns the confusion and sentimentalism of unreason; the bombast of those who scorn the faith of the simple and the saints, and the unfaithfulness of those who would sell out the Church to the applause of the world—primarily a Western world—that tries to disguise its abandonment of God with the type of franticness that’s a sure sign of superficiality.

Pascal’s way

Having described the nature of the noise that surrounds us, Sarah illustrates how God’s silence speaks to humanity. He then turns to that most difficult of questions: God’s apparent silence in the face of unspeakable evil. The last chapter consists of a three-way exchange in which Diat poses questions to Sarah and the current prior of La Grande Chartreuse and minister-general of the Carthusian order, Dom Dysmas de Lassus. Sarah and de Lassus take turns to explore how silence reveals not only our need of God, but also sheds light on what isn’t essential as we seek this God who is beyond historical contingency and yet always with us.

Sarah’s approach throughout this book is reminiscent of the posthumously-published Pensées penned by the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Like the Pensées, each numbered paragraph in La Force du silence may be read as a stand-alone counsel upon which readers can reflect. The similarities do not end there. Sarah references, for example, numerous Church Fathers and saints. Among others, these include Jerome, Ignatius of Antioch, Maximus the Confessor, John of the Cross, Teresa of Calcutta, Thomas More, and Thérèse of Lisieux. Yet, like Pascal, the life and thought of Saint Augustine looms large throughout Sarah’s reflections and Diat’s questions.

Pascal and Augustine were not shy about naming the problems they regarded as characterizing the Church of their respective times. Nor is Sarah. The noisy sophistry of many contemporary Western theologians (particularly that, some might add, presently emanating from the German-speaking Catholic world) is named for what it is: a prattle which reflects a lack of humility and a disinterest in truth. More generally, Sarah suggests that the propensity of many Christians to talk endlessly about that which is peripheral to the faith reflects their loss of a sense of who God is.

So too does a tendency that Sarah singles out for particular criticism: those forms of activism which marginalize the truths proclaimed by the Church and the life of prayer in the name of “relevance”. In this connection, Sarah points out that saints who were especially immersed in the hustle and bustle of the world, such as John Bosco, John Paul II, Thomas More, and Josemaría Escrivá, maintained especially intense prayer lives, much of which was characterized by silent adoration. This is a reminder that, without regularly immersing ourselves in quiet contemplation of Christ, God’s presence in any Christian’s life will inevitably fade. That is how a church starts collapsing into being just another activist group or NGO.

Into the Darkness

Addressing these contemporary matters, however, don’t preoccupy the bulk of Sarah’s reflections. Far more attention is expended on some of the hardest questions with which every person—Christian or non-Christian, believer or atheist—wrestles. Why was God silent, for example, in face of the genocide of European Jewry? Where was God when seven Trappist monks from the Tibhirine monastery in Algeria were beheaded by Islamists in 1996? How could God not save those who remain his Chosen People? Why did God not stay the hand of jihadist executors?

The problem of evil—not mere discomfort or inconvenience, but evil—has long preoccupied Jews and Christians. They have also produced answers that many find intellectually convincing and to which atheists don’t have especially convincing rebuttals. Yet these Jewish and Christian responses can’t provide by themselves immediate or even long-term release from bewilderment and pain. Intellectual certainty is one thing, the experience of suffering is quite another.

Like any good bishop, Sarah patiently outlines some of the theological and philosophical responses to the problem of evil. Here he draws upon Catholic and Protestant theologians such as Maurice Zundel (1897-1975) and Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) as well as the German Jewish philosopher Hans Jonas (1903-1993) and his famous 1968 essay, The Concept of God after Auschwitz. But, Sarah cautions, there is a limit. The existence of evil doesn’t disprove the existence of the rational and loving God revealed in the Scriptures. Nonetheless, Sarah warns, evil “is a mystery that humanity can never completely comprehend.” Part of the genius of Sarah’s meditation is how he uses the motif of silence to illuminate this darkness.

For Sarah, it is important that humans resist and combat evil. He himself had no hesitation in denouncing the crimes and terrorism of Sékou Touré’s Marxist regime in Guinea—the same Communist dictator who imprisoned Sarah’s predecessor as Archbishop of Conakry in a concentration camp for eight years and placed Sarah himself on a death-list. That said, Sarah states, we need to remember two things.

First, God’s silence reflects the truth that he is working through time to renew all things, often in ways that we often cannot understand, precisely because we are not God. That’s not a call to be passive. Rather, it’s a caution against imagining that we can master evil in a god-like fashion.

Second, we cannot contest evil, Sarah holds, unless we are willing to quieten ourselves, enter into God’s presence, and meet his silence. In this context, silence implies neither a deaf and mute God nor a master-watchmaker God who does nothing except set time in motion. Instead, God’s silence serves to shed light upon the truth and thus the nature of the injustice and the identity of its perpetrators. Christ himself, Sarah points out, is silent before his accusers. Yet Christ’s stillness discredits the false accusations made against him. More than any words, it convinces Pilate that he’s being asked to sentence an innocent man to death. Likewise Christ’s silence on the Cross testifies to God’s willingness to let himself be humiliated and sacrifice himself in reparation for the evils we have all done. Only the one true God could do this.

Silence and the interior path to God

Silence, however, concerns not only that which is exterior to us. For Sarah, it’s also indispensable if we really want to come to know the God who would allow himself to be nailed to a tree to atone for our sins.

Sarah recalls that as a young priest and archbishop, he often retreated into the Guinean desert to find the solitude and silence he needed to find God. In doing so, he sought to create what he calls “an interior desert”. The models Sarah has in mind are Biblical figures such as Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Christ himself—all of whom took themselves into the wilderness to contemplate God. Entering into this silence, Sarah maintains, helps us to strip away those exteriorities that prevent us from encountering the hidden presence of God which Augustine discovered after his conversion to Christianity. Experiencing that presence, Sarah says, can be “terrifying” and “destabilizing”. Those who choose to embark on this path therefore need enormous courage to do so. Yet at the end of the quest, Sarah promises, we will find true life and true peace.

And that is ultimately where Cardinal Sarah’s at-times mystical reflections on silence are meant to take us: the place of true joy in which the silence no longer frightens us because we are alone with the God who is Love—the Love who is the only alternative to Nothing.

La Force du silence: Contre la dictature du Bruit
by Cardinal Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat
Fayard, 2016
Paperback, 374 pages

Related at CWR:
 “Cardinal Robert Sarah on ‘The Strength of Silence’ and the Dictatorship of Noise”(Oct 3, 2016): An exclusive English translation of a wide-ranging interview by Cardinal Sarah with the French newspaper “La Nef”.

Culture spotting: the celebration of new life

Patrick F. Fagan | May 15 2017
https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/culture-spotting-the-celebration-of-new-life/19796

Greek Orthodox baptism. By Nek Vardikos [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimendia Commons 

Culture is a society’s way of joyfully guiding itself into the future, a future made most visible in its ever-repeating cycle of celebrations.

When you cut to the quick on that future the child emerges.  Looked at differently, our culture is our way of collectively guiding ourselves to guide our children along certain paths, as elegantly as we can, to ensure as good a future as we can for them.

Why the emphasis on elegance?  Because culture is a common enjoyment.  It is “beauty for everyone”.

Culture is a people giving themselves a little bit of heaven while here on earth: enjoying the beauty we have created for ourselves as a people.  Thus special days are celebrated as beautifully as we can: birthdays, weddings especially — a high point of culture, as are all the key steps leading up to it: the patterns of romance and of engagement.  So too are a peoples big festivals honoring its history as a people and so too are its big religious holidays made to be enjoyed (even the somber ones).

Thus we can also admire and vicariously enjoy other peoples’ cultures: the Italians as they celebrate in their very Italian way all sorts of feast days; Indians of India with very different religious feast days and holidays; Chinese in their ways, Japanese in theirs.  And so it goes on, all around the world.

There are common elements in all cultures: birth, marriage, death and funerals, courtship, birthdays, high religious feast days. They exist all over the globe for all peoples in all places.  Life has the same common “critical tasks” no matter what nation or people we are.

For us in the US the question today is “What do we celebrate together now?”  With birth a suspect thing (thanks to abortion and out of wedlock births), with romance dying (given contraception and the hookup culture), with weddings only for some and far fewer, and with the afterlife non-existent for an increasing number, lots of the reasons for elegant celebration or mourning are gone.  The building of elegance around these milestones in the life can no longer be a common project for present America.  We do not have a culture war. Instead, through shared embarrassment, we have a culture starvation.

Some of our states have even eliminated death as a stage – it has now become a choice!   But who can celebrate an assisted suicide.  Can anyone envisage great art being inspired by such?  A new Mozart Requiem that brings us deep within ourselves even as it brings us up to the heavens?  For suicide?

We are a people who no longer have a common project of shepherding the child onto a life path that leads to the “good life” (or a “good enough” life) and finally into the afterlife.  We no longer have such a common project to which to commit.  Hence we can have no culture.

But the America that will survive will build its own new culture and it will come, it can only come, from those who love bringing new life into existence, for without the baby there is no cycle to repeat.

Out of the ashes of present post-modernity will spring the new American culture – probably already well underway but not visible through the mainstream media whose energies are fixated elsewhere.  Our new America will be one with ways of moving through the stages of life with the elegance that “Joe the construction worker and his wife Jane” are quite capable of expressing when they get together with their families and friends at community celebrations.

I predict that the dominant color in the new patterns being woven into the cultural fabric of the new America, the one that not only lasts but thrives, will be  the celebration of new life, and in the tapestry of this culture the thread of the Fatherhood of God will be visible.  We will find an American way to do this.  We will be a people who celebrate four beings, the new baby, the couple who co-created this new life, and God the creator.  This is the culture that will emerge, likely already is emerging.  The logic of reality makes it so.

We have lots to look forward to. Culture spotting will be the new enjoyment.

Pat Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI). This article is republished from the MARRI blog with permission.

Of the fluidity of motherhood

posted on May 13, 2017 by Cassie Moriarty      

Of the fluidity of motherhood

Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s the mom who sat through hours of blood tests, chart analyses, and waiting rooms. The one who saw countless negative pregnancy tests and was crestfallen every time. There’s the mom who only saw one positive pregnancy test, you know the one I’m talking about. The unexpected one. The test that made the room spin and her ears ring a little. The mom who tried, the mom who took her pill loyally every night by the bedside. There’s young moms, older moms, moms of many, and moms of one. Single moms, moms with little ones whose lives were lost far too soon, and moms who didn’t birth a child, but still give out love like it’s limitless.

Mother and child by Graham Crumb

Mother’s Day is a loaded holiday, that’s for sure. Everyone’s journey to motherhood looks a little different, but every mother holds a love like no other for her children. American culture frequently talks about entering motherhood and family planning as if it’s a play book. Each couple chooses their plays and goes about their life. But in actuality, family planning is about as fluid as…well, cervical fluid. Constantly changing. Constantly ebbing and flowing. Might be one thing one week and another, another week. Couples who use fertility awareness methods are generally more in tune with this ebb and flow. I mean literally, but also emotionally. Each cycle is a new chance to deliberate the playbook.

Fertility Awareness Methods are anything but set it and forget it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It puts you in touch with your fertility every cycle, and quite intimately. I think that’s a really cool part about it. I get to make decisions, but also work with the many moving parts of deciding when or if to grow my family.

But we don’t always get a say – life sometimes has its own plans. Infertility, miscarriage, unplanned pregnancy, they happen. Family planning isn’t always so planned. And maybe that’s a beautiful thing. No matter how many childbirth ed classes you take, no matter how many parenting books your read, we can only control so much. I’m so grateful that using fertility awareness as a method of family planning allows me to be flexible.

So this Mother’s Day, we want to honor everyone’s journey to motherhood. It’s the most common and somehow unique job in the world. No two moms’ journeys are alike. What a shame that parenthood gets placed into two boxes, planned and unplanned. Sometimes life happens and sometimes we just need a support system to help us through. Be it miscarriage, infertility, unexpected pregnancy, and all the things that happen after birth that we simply can’t plan for.

To every mama, we see you and we are ever grateful for the tireless work, the sleepless nights, the early mornings, the playdates, the many doctor’s visits, and the tears (often your own). You’re rocking it.

Posted by Cassie Moriarty
Cassondra Moriarty is a filmmaker and fertility charting instructor in training based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband. She is currently screening Miscontraceptions around the city and working to promote Fertility Awareness. She has trained with the Couple to Couple League and is in the process of getting her FEMM certification.

Cardinal Sarah reveals the surprising cause and remedy for the fears and anxieties of our time

Steve Jalsevac

Note: numbers before quoted paragraphs are as published in Cardinal Sarah’s book.

May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Why have we seen such a dramatic increase in anxiety, fear, personal disorientation, irrational anger and forced imposition of political correctness over the past 50+ years in developed nations? Have you noticed how many now reject reason and sound arguments and accept only “facts”, “evidence” or “studies” that agree with what they desire – no matter how pathetically flawed their supporting items are? There is a surprising cause for most of this and an ages-old, surprising remedy.

We are in an age of increasing social madness. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his new book, The Power of Silence, reveals this to be symptomatic of a widespread spiritual illness in modern Western culture. This illness, according to him, is largely caused by an absence of crucially needed, God and truth-revealing periods of silence of the ears, of the eyes and of the heart in the life of modern men and women.

Image

Yes, silence. Sarah shows the way out of the tyranny of destructive external and internal noise and the incredible power and necessity of silence, which he proclaims is “more important than any other human work.”

Reading the comments under LifeSite’s well-researched and written reports, we are frequently struck by the inability of so many to calmly think and reason and to appreciate the implications of what the news reports reveal. Reason, facts, solid research – are all given much less importance, if any, these days than politically correct and especially emotional considerations. Modern man allows feelings and images to dominate and enslave him, much to his personal and social detriment.

Cardinal Sarah warns us that,

47. Humanity itself has returned to the sad prophecy of Isaiah, which was repeated by Jesus: “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with heart, and turn for me to heal them”. (Mt 13:13, 15) p.44

Because of all the noise experienced by our eyes, ears and hearts, modern man no longer hears, experiences and knows God. He is unable to comprehend the purpose and even the value of his life and the lives of others. Hence the acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenerism and many other anti-human perversities. Today’s men and women and youth are lost and swirling in a downward spiral of self-destroying anxieties, fears, vulgarity, disorientation and violence.

Sarah goes so far as to proclaim that, “In killing silence, man assassinates God.” p.57

Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet

Let me further quote liberally from Cardinal Sarah and the astonishing insights in his book:

74. Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds fourth in an unending monologue. Postmodern society rejects the past and looks at the present as a cheap consumer object; it pictures the future in terms of an almost obsessive progress. It’s dream, which has become a sad reality, will have been to lock silence away in a damp, dark dungeon. Thus there is a dictatorship of speech, a dictatorship of verbal emphasis. In this theatre of shadows, nothing is left but a purulent wound of mechanical words, without perspective, without truth, and without foundation. Quite often “truth” is nothing more than the pure and misleading creation of the media, corroborated by fabricated images and testimonies.

When that happens the word of God fades away, inaccessible and inaudible. Postmodernity is an ongoing offence and aggression against the divine silence. From morning to evening, from evening to morning, silence no longer has any place at all; the noise tries to prevent God himself from speaking. In this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies, and fears. In order to get out of these depressing tunnels, he desperately awaits noise so that it will bring him a few consolations. Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. P. 56

Those are powerful, perceptive words! Much of the chaos that we report every day in LifeSite stories is reflected in those two preceding paragraphs. Cardinal Sarah does not “beat around the bush.” He gives it to us straight so that we might be able to fully understand and respond to our illness. That is what a genuine doctor of the soul must do. This is not facile “accompaniment,” but rather true shepherding and acceptance of the call to be a prophet for our time.

The silence of the eyes

Sarah carefully explains that the silence he is talking about involves much more that what enters the ears. Everything that enters the mind and heart through the senses, emotions and memories can create howling internal “noise” and greatly disturb our internal equilibrium, sense of being and relationship to our Creator.

I have never heard the term, “silence of the eyes,” but Cardinal Sarah explains it well, especially as it applies to our modern culture:

46. The silence of the eyes consists of being able to close one’s eyes in order to contemplate God who is in us, in the interior depths of our personal abyss. Images are drugs that we can no longer do without, because they are present everywhere and at every moment. Our eyes are sick, intoxicated, they can no longer close. It is necessary to stop one’s ears too, because there are sonic images that assault and violate our sense of hearing, our intellect, and our imagination. P.44

43. For some years now there has been a constant onslaught of images, lights, and colours that blind man. His interior dwelling is violated by the unhealthy, provocative images of pornography, bestial violence, and all sorts of worldly obscenities that assault purity of heart and infiltrate through the door of sight. P.42

44. The faculty of sight, which ought to see and contemplate the essential things, is turned aside to what is artificial. Our eyes confuse day and night because our whole lives are so immersed in a permanent light. In the cities that shine with a thousand lights, our eyes no longer find restful areas of darkness, and consciences no longer recognize sin.

Negative impact on the conscience

All this external and subsequent internal “noise” has had a profoundly negative impact on the consciences of modern men and women. Our otherwise natural perceptions of right and wrong are suppressed or confused. Modern man can’t comprehend the reality of moral absolutes and instead wallows in ever-changing, emotionally self-serving and personally destructive moral relativism.

Cardinal Sarah continues,

To a large extent, humanity has lost an awareness of the seriousness of sin and of the disorder that its presence has introduced into personal, ecclesial, and social life. More than 50 years ago, in his homily on September 20, 1964, Blessed Paul VI stated this tragedy in these terms:

In the language of respectable people today, in their books, in the things that they say about man, you will not find that dreadful word which, however, is very frequent in the religious world – our world – especially in close relation to God: the word is “sin”. In today’s way of thinking, people are no longer regarded as sinners. They’re categorized as being healthy, sick, good, strong, weak, rich, poor, wise, ignorant; but one never encounters the word sin. The human intellect having thus been detached from divine wisdom, this word “sin” does not recur because we have lost the concept of sin. One of the most penetrating and grave words of Pope Pius XII, of venerable memory, was, “the modern world has lost the sense of sin.” What is this if not the rupture of our relationship with, God, caused precisely by “sin”.

Those words were written by Paul VI in 1964, but so much has happened since then that we can confidently say that the word “sin” is no longer even “very frequent in the religious world.” Pastors, bishops and even the current Pope don’t like to inflict guilt on the flock, and especially on those engaged in immoral behaviours, by using the word “sin”. If any sin is mentioned at all it is often in relation to supposed “sins” against the environment or economic or other worldly issue “sins” or the sin of being too “rigid” and faithful.

Sarah next presents a poetic and powerful quote from Saint John Paul II in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitencia dated December 2, 1984 (no. 18).

45. Far from God and from the lights that spring from the true Light, man can no longer see the stars, cities have become such flashlights the dazzle our eyes. Modern life does not allow us to look calmly at things. Our eyelids remain open incessantly, but our eyes are forced to look at a sort of ongoing spectacle. The dictatorship of the image, which plunges our attention into a perpetual whirlpool, detests silence. Man feels obliged to seek ever new realities that give him an appetite to own things; but his eyes are red, haggard, and sick. The artificial spectacles and the screens glowing uninterruptedly try to bewitch the mind and the soul. In the brightly lit prisons of the modern world, man is separated from himself and from God. He is riveted to ephemeral things, farther and farther away from what is essential. P.43

I have so far only read up to page 56 in the The Power of Silence, but already Sarah has given a few prescriptions here and there on how to overcome this tyranny of noise.

He quotes Mother Teresa who wrote, “silence of speech, gesture, or activity finds its full meaning in the search for God. This search is truly possible only in a silent heart.” Sarah says that “This nun did not like to speak and fled the storms of worldly noise.”

“Silence needs meekness and humility”, writes Sarah, “and it also opens for us the way to these two qualities. The humblest, meekest, and most silent of all beings is God. Silence is the only means by which to enter into this great mystery of God… In silence, man is absorbed by the divine and the world’s  movements no longer have any hold on his soul.” There is the solution.

I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of The Power of Silence. There is no doubt that many LifeSite readers would also benefit from obtaining and reading this timely, exceptionally insightful book.

The contagious joy of baptism

Aleteia . | Abr 29, 2017

Never like now a beautiful scene of a baby, his family and the experience of faith is conquering smiles and tenderness in social networks: the baptism of little Gustavo, a Brazilian baby who literally “found grace” in the middle of baptismal font!

During the ritual of baptism by immersion, the celebrant priest immerses the baby three times in the baptismal font while pronouncing the formula “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” After the first partial immersion, Gustavo releases an enormous and spontaneous laughter, of the type that only the babies manage to give, infecting the whole church with his joy.

To complete this true feast, the new baptized clap his hands together with the assembly, who applauded him by welcoming him as a Catholic! The contagious joy of baptism, in a video that will not leave you indifferent.

Moms are turning ‘extra’ embryos into jewelry. It’s not just barbaric, it’s demonic

Judie Brown

May 9, 2017 (ALL) — The latest fashion news from Australia is truly demonic: “Human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, as well as other bodily parts and fluids, can be transformed into jewelry.”

Baby Bee Hummingbirds, the company manufacturing these trinkets, is known for creating keepsakes containing such things such as breast milk and umbilical cords. Its latest product, the “leftover” human embryos from a couple’s IVF cycle, is, according to company founder Amy McGlade, a work of art. McGlade stated: “I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world.” McGlade says that this pioneering art of embryo jewelry is her way of giving couples “the everlasting tangible keepsake of a loved one that you can have forever.”

Naturally, many people find this disturbing. Writer Simcha Fisher is as disturbed about this latest Australian fad as we are, and in response to McGlade’s sentimental query “What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?” wrote:

Well, you could let him live, I suppose. You could allow him the basic dignity of spending time in the womb of his mother, to live or not, to grow or not, but at least to have a chance. You could celebrate the life of your child by giving him some small gift of warmth and softness, however brief, rather than letting him travel in an insulated pouch from lab to lab, frozen and sterile from beginning to end. You could conceive a child so as to give him life, and you could rise like a human should above the blind proliferation of biology.

Precisely!

Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network expressed her disgust as well: “It’s so undignified that these embryos have been destroyed to become jewelry. . . . I thought, ‘My gosh, it really has hit rock bottom.’”

But what many people apparently do not see is that the floor—or should I say the underside—of rock bottom where the synergies of evil reside is the practice of IVF itself. That is where the lack of respect for the dignity of human beings actually begins.

The Catholic Church has long held that, from a merely humane view of the child, we must realize that nobody has a right to a child. We must also understand that every child has the right to be procreated within a marriage and to have a stable family from the beginning. And certainly no child should ever be strung around someone’s neck in a piece of jewelry.

During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the document Dignitas Personae in which it stated: “The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act: human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure—in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction—leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being.”

There is no doubt that the progeny of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies has done nothing to restore respect for the dignity of the human person. On the contrary, it has contributed to a cultural attitude that the human embryonic child is a thing, a possession, and a biological sample that can be accepted, destroyed, or frozen in time in a piece of jewelry.

Business enterprises like Baby Bee Hummingbirds gain traction in society because the bearing of a child has become nothing more than a mechanical function. And that, my friends, has taken the jewelry business to a new hellish low.

Reprinted with permission from American Life League.

 

Why was Our Lady of Fatima so concerned about Russia?

John-Henry Westen

May 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — As I’ve been researching Fatima for several speaking engagements this year, I was confronted over and over again by Our Lady’s insistence on Russia’s consecration. That after it was done, as well as the practice of the First Five Saturdays of reparation, Our Lady promised Russia would be converted and a period of peace would be given to the world. If not, the Queen of Heaven warned, Russia “will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” She added, “The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she said. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Of course, St. Pope John Paul II entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart in 1984, but we still await that period of peace. We have seen more war, massacres, martyrs, and abortions in the last half century than ever before. Ominously, we have not yet seen the annihilation of various nations. But what does all this have to do with Russia?

Russia, in the minds of most people, is the originator of communism – thought mainly to be an economic system competing with capitalism. However, when we really comprehend communism, the spread of Russia’s errors becomes recognizable.

“The Naked Communist” is the most concise and straightforward source outlining communist goals and ideology. It was written by W. Cleon Skousen, a former FBI agent who used many original sources, and the best intelligence of the FBI during its investigation of communist infiltration into the United States. The book is recorded in the Congressional Record and President Ronald Reagan commented on it saying: “No one is better qualified to discuss the threat to this nation from communism.”

A selection of the goals of communism listed by Skousen serve to illustrate its spread to all nations, especially the West:

  • Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  • Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion.
  • Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
  • Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation, and easy divorce.
  • Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute ”prejudices, mental blocks, and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.”

Beyond communism, however, another of Russia’s errors has spread throughout the world – abortion. Abortion was first legalized in Russia in 1920. To this day, Russia has the highest abortion rate in the world per capita. With a population of 143 million, there are 1.2 million abortions per year.

There is no doubt Mary’s predictions and promises will come true. Our Lady of Fatima predicted the Second World War and even noted a warning sign that would precede it. She warned of the massive plague of impurity that has infested the planet. She gave the faithful tasks to fulfill in order to see the Triumph her Immaculate Heart and she will be faithful to those prophecies too.

So, as we honor our own mothers this month, let’s examine again the requests of Our Blessed Mother and put them into practice. She asked for prayer, particularly the Holy Rosary and the devotion of the Brown Scapular. She urged reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against God’s Grace and blasphemies against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, especially with the practice of the First Five Saturdays. And finally, she asked for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both on a personal basis and, publicly, that of Russia by the Pope and all the world’s bishops.

Almost all of those matters are within our personal control. There is no better time than this year, especially during the season of the Resurrection, the season of Easter, to implement these practices in our lives. Let us take up the weapon of the rosary – our umbilical cord to Our Heavenly Mother. Let us make the First Five Saturdays devotion and teach them to our children. Let us consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart as St. Louis de Montfort taught and St. John Paul called “indispensable to anyone who means to give himself without reserve to Christ and to the work of redemption.”

Mother Gives Birth to Healthy Conjoined Twins After Refusing Abortion

  MICAIAH BILGER   APR 27, 2017   |   11:42AM    WASHINGTON, DC

When doctors told Chelsea Torres that she was carrying conjoined twins, they warned her that the babies probably would not survive past the first trimester.

Doctors encouraged Torres and her husband, Nick, of Blackfoot, Idaho, to consider having an abortion, The Daily Mail reports. They refused.

The Idaho parents now are so thankful that they did not listen to their doctors’ advice. Their twin girls, Callie and Carter, were born in January, and they are doing well, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

Callie and Carter are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which make up less than five per cent of conjoined twins.

This means they have just two legs and one pelvis between them, but have two separate torsos that face each other.

The girls do not appear to share any vital organs.

Today, the girls are three months old and healthy. The family said Callie and Carter are doing so well that doctors do not recommend separating them.

Daily living is more difficult with conjoined twins. The twins require a lot of custom-made things, like car seats and clothes. Chelsea said she sews clothing together to fit the twins.

She said a few people stare when they see the twins, but most are very supportive.

“I’m so happy I didn’t terminate Callie and Carter, they are amazing,” their mother told the Mail. “I knew termination would not happen and I’m glad that little speck of thought I did have, I pushed away.”

Research from the University of Maryland indicates that between 40 percent and 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn.

But the length of a child’s life inside or outside the womb should not justify killing them. Too often, parents are pressured to abort their unborn babies because of a disability or a short lifespan.

In the case of Callie and Carter, the odds were against them; but because their parents chose life, they are alive and well today. Stories like the Torres family’s demonstrate why every unborn baby deserves a chance to live.

Newborn Clutches the Contraceptive Coil Meant to Prevent His Birth

MICAIAH BILGER MAY 4, 2017 | 10:15AM MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Baby Dexter was not supposed to be.

His mother, Lucy Hellein of Fort Mitchell, Alabama, was using a supposedly highly effective birth control device when doctors believe she conceived Dexter, according to the Daily Mail.

And when Dexter was born on April 27, the IUD coil that was supposed to prevent his life from being conceived came out, too. A photo of the newborn grabbing the contraceptive device has been catching people’s eyes on the internet. More than 70,000 people have shared it on Facebook, the report states.

Mirena, the contraceptive coil, or IUD, that Hellein used, is advertised as 99-percent effective.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “A T-shaped plastic frame that releases a type of progestin, Mirena thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. Mirena also thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation.” Some think the IUD also may act as an abortifacient by preventing a newly-conceived unborn baby from attaching to the womb.

Hellein told the Metro that she had the Mirena inserted last August, and then discovered she was pregnant with Dexter in December. Doctors said she likely conceived him just a few days after she had the device inserted.

“I assumed I was only a few weeks along, but the ultrasound confirmed that I was already 18 weeks along,” she said. “My Mirena was nowhere to be found on ultrasound so my OB assumed that it had fallen out, but I wasn’t convinced.”

The news of an unplanned pregnancy often is followed by suggestions of abortion, but Hellein chose life for her son.

“Dexter was definitely meant to be,” she said. “Although he wasn’t planned, my family and I feel incredibly blessed.”

When Dexter was born last week, doctors found the IUD behind Hellein’s placenta, according to the report.

It is believed that nurses posed newborn Dexter with the contraceptive device in the hospital to highlight his unplanned — but not unwelcome — life. Hellein later shared the image on Facebook, where tens of thousands of people have viewed it.

Pro-lifers take varying positions on artificial contraception. Some argue that birth control can help reduce abortion rates by preventing unwanted pregnancies, while others argue that it leads down a slippery slope to abortion.

No matter what their position on birth control, pro-lifers agree that every baby’s life, planned or unplanned, is worth celebrating.

Why birth control affects some women more than others

Scientists discover estrogen-heavy pills hamper memory and increase anxiety in females with a certain gene variant

  • Estrogen alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant
  • When women’s estrogen levels were maniupulated, there was activity in the hippocampus while performing a working memory task
  • However, during such tasks, activity in this area is typically suppressed
  • The researchers say this explains why women are affected differently by the pill as well have differences in their menstrual cycles

Birth control pills can seem like a lottery.

Some say it gives them mood swings, stress and even depression. Others insist it clears their skin and balances their emotions.

According to a new study, it could all boil down to your genes.

Although studies have long shown estrogen-heavy pills ease depression symptoms, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found it has the opposite effect in women who carry a certain gene variant.

Brain scans revealed modified activity was linked to changes in the sex hormone in women with the gene while they performed a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task).

The researchers say their findings not only shed light on individual differences in the menstrual cycle but also mechanisms underlying differences in the onset, severity, and course of mood and anxiety disorders.

A new study has revealed that the hormone estrogen - found in many oral contraceptives - alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant, while performing a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task)

A new study has revealed that the hormone estrogen – found in many oral contraceptives – alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant, while performing a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task)

The authors, from the National Institutes of Mental Health in Maryland, say that prior to the study, there was little evidence from research that might account for individual differences in cognitive and behavioral effects of sex hormones.

‘Why do some women report that estrogen replacement improved their memory, whereas large studies of postmenopausal estrogen therapy show no overall improvement in memory performance?’ they wrote.

The study hypothesized that estrogen alters circuit function by interacting with a gene that codes for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a key protein in brain plasticity and acts on certain neurons to help support the survival of existing neurons and promote the growth and development of new ones.

Researchers experimentally manipulated estrogen levels in healthy women with one or the other version of the BDNF gene over a period of months.

Brain scan showed activity in the hippocampus, or the brain’s memory hub, in response to estrogen in women performing a working memory task – if they carried the gene variant.

However, activity in this area is typically suppressed during working memory, causing the researchers to conclude that the gene-hormone interaction affects thinking and behavior.

There is mounting evidence that sex steroids, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, play an important role in a number of serious mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Women who have episodes of depression associated with reproductive events (premenstrual or postpartum) are prone to them because of a heightened sensitivity to intense hormonal fluctuations.

While estrogen is an ‘upper’ when released naturally during the menstrual cycle, at high doses it has the opposite effect, according to Dr Deborah Sichel, a psychiatrist specializing in female mood disorders.

Estrogen induces side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and lower libido.

‘Women may not notice their negative mood because they have been on the pill for so long, they don’t know what their mood would be like if they were off hormones,’ Dr Sichel told Shape.

‘These are all real biochemical disorders that can and should be treated.’

 

Catholic Psychiatric Hospital is Planning to Allow Patients to be Euthanized

MICHAEL COOK   MAY 2, 2017   |   5:45PM    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

One of the last substantial barriers to increasing the number of euthanasia cases for non-terminally-ill psychiatric patients in Belgium seems to have crumbled.

A religious order in the Catholic Church, the Brothers of Charity, is responsible for a large proportion of beds for psychiatric patients in Belgium – about 5,000 of them. The international head of the order, Brother René Stockman, is a Belgian who has been one of the leading opponents of euthanasia in recent years.

Nonetheless, in a surprise move this week, the board controlling the institutions of the Brothers of Charity announced that from now on, it will allow euthanasia to take place in their psychiatric hospitals.

In a statement posted on their website the Brothers of Charity explain the policy shift. “We take seriously unbearable and hopeless suffering and patients’ request for euthanasia. On the other hand, we do want to protect lives and ensure that euthanasia is performed only if there is no more possibility to provide a reasonable perspective to treat the patient.”

Euthanasia for psychiatric patients has already happened dozens of times in Belgium. But from now on it will probably be easier for people suffering from schizophrenia, personality
disorders, depression, autism, or loneliness to access it. In fact, it will be hard to find an institution in Belgium where euthanasia is not being offered as an option.

Brother Stockman was stunned. “We deplore this new vision,” he told the media.

Nursing homes and hospitals opposing euthanasia have been under even more pressure after a court fined a Catholic nursing home a total of €6,000 last year for blocking a resident from accessing euthanasia.

However, Stockman felt that this was not an open and shut case. “I am confident that we have the right to refuse euthanasia,” Stockman told De Morgen. “We want to take seriously the needs of the patients, but the inviolability of life is for us an absolute. We cannot accept that euthanasia is carried out within the walls of our institutions. “

The leading figure in Belgian euthanasia, Dr Wim Distelmans, was delighted. Fifteen years after legalisation, he wrote in a newspaper op-ed, the Brothers of Charity have finally admitted that they had excluded the democratically approved policy of euthanasia from their institutions and forbidden doctors to follow their conscience and professional judgement.

Rubbing it in further, a member of the Belgian Parliament, Jean-Jacques De Gucht, summed up the situation: “the last relics of the paternalism of the shepherd have been replaced by individual self-determination”.

The chairman of the board, Raf De Rycke, an economist who has worked with the Brothers of Charity for years, denied that the ethos of their hospitals had changed “We have not made a 180 degree turn,” he told De Morgen newspaper. “It is not that we used to be against euthanasia and now suddenly are for it. This is consistent with our existing criteria. We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia.”

Although this seems odd for a Catholic group, especially when the Pope has been outspoken in denouncing euthanasia, De Rycke believes that the inspiration of the Belgian Brothers of Charity fundamentally remains the same. “We start from the same basic values: the inviolability of life is an important foundation, but for us it is not absolute. This is where we are on a different wavelength from Rome.”

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet where this story appeared.

 

 

17-year-old ballerina’s death caused by birth control pill, doctors believe

MANCHESTER, England, April 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Maria Santa, a healthy and gifted 17 year-old ballerina from Romania, died unexpectedly from a blood clot that doctors believe was caused by taking oral contraceptives.

Maria, who was studying in England on a scholarship at Manchester’s famous Northern Ballet School, went to a walk-in medical facility complaining of severe headaches, her father Robert Santa explained.  No testing was done to see what was wrong, and Maria was sent home with antibiotics.

But Maria only got worse “day by day,” her father said.  A second visit to the doctor did not help, either.

Maria began vomiting every hour, without eating or drinking.  Going to the healthcare center for the third time last fall, she said she found it difficult to stand or sit;  all she wanted to do was lie down.  She was again given pills and sent home.

Two days later, on November 11, Maria complained that it felt like her head was going to explode, and she couldn’t feel her right leg.  She was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Mr. Santa shared that when the doctor came into her hospital room, Maria “could speak, then when he came back and asked where the headache was, she couldn’t speak.”

“The doctor told us not to worry because she was tired,” Mr. Santa said.  “She didn’t speak any more, and she needed help with everything.”

Later that morning, Maria’s boyfriend found her unconscious at their apartment.

Maria was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital, but never regained consciousness.  She died two days later.

The doctor who treated Maria at the hospital, Dr. Jonathan Greenbaum, said, “She was a fit, young woman, and the only risk factor was being on the oral contraceptive pill.”

He explained that the risk of blood clots with oral contraception is “very low, but if you take the pill then your risk is slightly increased.”  He said identifying a medical risk is difficult, “because it’s so rare and the symptoms can be non-specific.”

Maria’s case, he said, was “just unfortunate and bad luck.”

“In Greater Manchester, I would guess we would see three or four patients a year with this problem,” Dr. Greenbaum estimated.

Dr. Piyali Pal, a pathologist, said Maria’s cause of death was blood clots in the brain.

“Causes could be dehydration, malnutrition, blood clotting disorders or somebody who had taken oral contraception pills. There was no underlying pathological cause,” he said. “It’s very very rare for someone so young to have this condition. One woman who was a similar age was also on some form of oral contraception.”

Coroner Simon Nelson recorded Maria’s cause of death as “natural causes.”

Mother Makes Ultimate Sacrifice for Unborn Child

DAWN SLUSHER   MAY 1, 2017   |   5:39PM    WASHINGTON, DC

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”

In a society where preborn children are treated as disposable property, and disregarded in the name of cold, sterile, euphemisms such as “reproductive rights” and “choice,” it’s rare to find a mother who actually does the opposite of putting herself above her child.

But in April 27th’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, we got to see that rarity played out in a heart-wrenching yet inspiring storyline.

Patient Veronica is in the ER at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital for back pain. She’s almost 35 weeks pregnant and her body is riddled with cancer. She decided to forgo cancer treatment because, as she put it, “I didn’t want to microwave the baby.”

The storyline is a continuation from earlier this season when Veronica refused to abort her baby despite pressure from Doctor Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) to kill her child to begin treatments for her terminal pancreatic cancer. (See previous article for factual information on cancer during pregnancy as well, as this episode did not accurately reflect the truth on the effects of chemotherapy and radiation on a preborn baby.)

The prognosis isn’t good, as was expected, and as Veronica planned for. The doctors give her two months at best left to live, as the cancer has spread even further and is compressing her spinal cord. And they tell her that they must deliver the baby that day..

“All right. Let’s cheer up, everybody. We’re having a baby,” Veronica announces optimistically, looking forward to having two months to spend with her baby and the baby’s father.

But during the C-section, things take a turn for the worst:

Amelia: Heart rate’s up to 130. Veronica, how’s your breathing?

Veronica: It’s fi– um, it’s a little tough.

Jeremy: What’s happening? What’s going on?

Veronica: Hey, Jer, come on. Look at him. He has the sweetest eyes.

Arizona: Her sats are dropping. She’s persistently tachycardic.

Amelia: Let’s put her back on high-flow oxygen. It could be an embolus.

Veronica: Time to get him out of here.

Alex: Yeah, in a minute.

Arizona: If it’s an embolus, we don’t have a minute.

Alex: She did all this so she can meet the baby. Just give them another damn minute.

Veronica: Jer, can you take him?

Alex: He needs to go to the NICU now.

Jeremy: And, uh, what — what about Veronica?

Alex: She’s in good hands. She’ll be just fine. I’ll take good care of her.

Veronica: Jer, you stay with him. You promised. I’m counting on you.

Jeremy: But I don’t —

Veronica: Go on. Stay with him. I’ll see you in a little bit.

Amelia: Are we pushing heparin or going straight to thrombolytics?

Arizona: Thrombolytics are contraindicated. We need to do an embolectomy, and let’s get an ivc filter.

Amelia: Veronica, you’ve thrown a blood clot, and it’s traveled all the way to your lungs. It’s very serious. We need to remove it immediately, so we’re gonna need to put you under and open up your chest.

Veronica: Is that… Uh… Uh, will that work?

Amelia: The procedure will only last about a half an hour.

Veronica: Will it work?

Amelia: There’s no guarantee you’d survive it.

Veronica: And what if we didn’t do anything?

Arizona: Veronica, we need to do this procedure. If we don’t, you might not make it off this table today.

Amelia: Okay, pressure’s dropping. Get a cart ready!

Veronica: No. I signed that dnr for a reason.

Arizona: You can rescind. Let us help you.

Veronica: I did what I wanted. My baby’s…okay. It — I’m so tired.

Amelia: I know. I know.

Too bad Dr. Miranda Bailey wasn’t around to see that beautiful baby alive and well thanks to his mother not listening to her pro-abortive advice.

Later, we see Veronica in her last moments and realize even further what an amazing mother she was to give up her own life for her child’s:

Amelia: What do you want? What do you need right now?

Veronica: I’m so cold.

Amelia: I’ll get a warming blanket.

Veronica: No! No. Can you — Will you just hold me? We did good? The baby’s good?

Amelia: Baby’s good.

Yes, Veronica, you did good. And your baby is so very good because of your beautiful sacrifice.

LifeNews Note: Dawn Slusher writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared.

greysanatomy

FDA Reports 10,000 Essure Injuries and 30 Deaths

Elizabeth Bradley on April 21, 2017

The FDA received 5,016 medical device reports involving Essure in 2016, plus another 6,176 reports in 2015, and 30 reports of deaths. The deaths include four adult women, 18 pregnancy losses, two infants who died after they were born, and a possibly stillborn baby.

 

Many reports listed multiple side effects. The most common problems with Essure included:

Pain/abdominal pain (10,746)
Heavier menstrual bleeding or irregularities (5,377)
Headache (4,396)
Fatigue (3,560)
Weight changes (3,270)
Patient-device incompatibility, such as nickel allergy (2,402)
Pregnancy (1,113)
Migration of Essure (1,485)
Broken Essure (617)
Pregnancy losses, ectopic pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage (474)
Essure difficult to remove (304)
Malposition of Essure (261)

The FDA update also provides new details on an ongoing Essure safety study that will compare 1,400 women who are sterilized with Essure against 1,400 women who have a traditional “tube tying” sterilization.

So far, the study has not shown any new safety problems or an increased risk of problems since Essure was approved. The researchers are investigating side effects like chronic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, allergic reactions, hypersensitivity to nickel in Essure, autoimmune diseases, follow-up surgery, pregnancy, and effectiveness.

However, other recent studies have already shown that women who choose Essure are 10-times more likely to need another surgery compared to women who have a laparoscopic tubal ligation.

Essure is a metal coil that is permanently implanted in a woman’s fallopian tubes, where it causes irritation and scar-tissue growth. Essure is supposed to block the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. Instead, many women got pregnant or developed severe side effects.

In November 2016, the FDA added a “Black Box” warning label to Essure, which is the strongest label the FDA can require on a device. The FDA also created a checklist to better inform patients about the potential side effects.

The problem is that Essure is marketed as a 30-minute non-surgical outpatient procedure for busy women, with less pain and a faster recovery time than tubal ligation. Lawsuits have been filed by women who accuse manufacturers of downplaying risks and violating approval requirements to get Essure on the market without adequate safety studies.

Source: Reviewing Ongoing Clinical Study to Gather More Information on Essure Benefits and Risks

Study finds the birth control pill has a pretty terrible impact on women’s wellbeing

https://www.sciencealert.com/major-study-finds-the-pill-has-a-pretty-crap-impact-on-women-s-wellbeing
FIONA MACDONALD
20 APR 2017

A new study has reinforced what many women have been saying for years – the oral contraceptive pill is associated with reduced quality of life and wellbeing in healthy women.

The double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial found that healthy women reported reduced quality of life, mood, and physical wellbeing after taking a common birth control pill containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel for three months.

The findings reinforce earlier research and anecdotal claims that women are struggling with the side effects of the contraceptive pill.

But there was no significant evidence that the contraceptive increased depressive symptoms in the latest study… so, there’s that.

Surprisingly, this is one of the most rigorous studies to date to look into the impact of the pill on women’s quality of life.

“Despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills we know surprisingly little today about the pill’s effect on women’s health,” said lead researcher Angelica Lindén Hirschberg from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

“The scientific base is very limited as regards the contraceptive pill’s effect on quality of life and depression and there is a great need for randomised studies where it is compared with placebos.”

To fix that, her team took 340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35 and gave them either placebo pills, or contraceptive pills containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel over a three-month period.

Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel-containing pills are among the most common form of combined oral contraceptive pills around the world because they’re the least associated with a risk of blood clots, and they include brand names such as Levlen, Microgynon, Portia, and Alesse.

The study was double blind, which meant that neither the researchers giving out the pills or the women taking them knew whether they were getting a placebo or not.

At the start of the study, the women had their general health measured, including weight, height, and blood pressure.

They also filled out two well-known surveys on general wellbeing and depressive symptoms – the Psychological General Wellbeing Index and the Beck Depression Inventory.

They then went through the same tests at the end of the three months so the researchers could compare the results.

The women who were given contraceptive pills reported that their quality of life was significantly lower at the end of the study than those who were given placebos.

This was true for general quality of life and also specific aspects of wellbeing, such as self control and energy levels.

No significant increase in depressive symptoms was observed.

While it’s an interesting first step towards better measuring the pills’ side effects, the researchers caution that the changes were relatively small so we can’t read too much into them just yet. And we can only apply these findings to ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel-containg pills.

Also, the study only looked at women over three months – it will require longer monitoring to get a more accurate idea of how the contraceptive pill affects women.

“This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills,” said one of the researchers, Niklas Zethraeus.

“This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception.”

With recent research also providing insight into why periods can be so damn painful and heavy, it seems scientists are finally starting to take women’s reproductive health and contraceptive side effects seriously.

And we’re getting some male options too – scientists are making progress with a hormonal contraceptive injection for men, as well as a reversible, condom-free gel that blocks sperm.

More research is needed before we can identify more accurately how the pill impacts women, but these early results are reassuring for many women who’ve struggled with side effects while on the pill.

The research has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Cardinal Sarah: Church is facing ‘grave risk’ of schism over morality

NEW YORK, April 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Robert Sarah warned that the Church’s unity is being threatened by influential leaders within the Church who “insist” that national churches have the “capacity to decide for themselves” on doctrinal and moral matters.

“Without a common faith, the Church is threatened by confusion and then, progressively, she can slide into dispersion and schism,” he said.

“Today there is a grave risk of the fragmentation of the Church, of breaking up the Mystical Body of Christ by insisting on the national identities of the Churches and thus on their capacity to decide for themselves, above all in the so-crucial domain of doctrine and morals,” he added.

Catholics profess every Sunday in the Nicene Creed that the Church is “one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.” These are often called the four “marks” of the one true Church.

Sarah, who comes from Guinea, made the comments when asked in an April 18 interview with the charitable organization Aid to the Church in Need about the relationship between the “African Church” and the “Universal Church.”

The Cardinal, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that, strictly speaking, there is no such reality as the “African Church.”

“The Universal Church is not a sort of federation of local churches,” he said. “The Universal Church is symbolized and represented by the Church of Rome, with the Pope at its head, the successor of Saint Peter and the head of the apostolic college; hence it is she who has given birth to all the local churches and she who sustains them in the unity of faith and love.”

Sarah’s remarks will be seen by some as opposing a push by Pope Francis to give bishops’ conferences in individual countries more power, even to settle doctrinal and moral disputes.

In his 2013 Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis called for a “conversion of the papacy” that would help him “exercise” the Petrine ministry. He criticized in the same document “excessive centralization” of power in the office of Peter, suggesting that bishops’ conferences should be empowered with “genuine doctrinal authority.”

Francis also wrote about a decentralized Church in his 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. He wrote: “I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium…Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs.”

According to Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, the Pope told Polish bishops last year that a decentralized Church would be able to interpret papal encyclicals and to solve contentious issues, such as giving Communion to civilly divorced and remarried Catholics.

In the interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Cardinal Sarah said that the Church will grow throughout the world only if it is united by “our common faith and our fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, in union with the Pope.”

“As Pope Benedict XVI tells us: ‘It is clear that a Church does not grow by becoming individualised, by separating on a national level, by closing herself off within a specific cultural context, by giving herself an entirely cultural or national scope; instead the Church needs to have unity of faith, unity of doctrine, unity of moral teaching. She needs the primacy of the Pope, and his mission to confirm the faith of his brethren,’” he said.

Later in the interview, Sarah said the Church would be “gravely mistaken” to think that social justice issues such as combatting poverty and helping migrants were her real mission.

“The Church is gravely mistaken as to the nature of the real crisis if she thinks that her essential mission is to offer solutions to all the political problems relating to justice, peace, poverty, the reception of migrants, etc. while neglecting evangelisation,” he said.

The Cardinal said that while the Church “cannot disassociate herself from the human problems,” she will ultimately “fail in her mission” if she forgets her real purpose. Sarah then quoted Yahya Pallavicini, an Italian and former Catholic who converted to Islam, to drive home his point: “If the Church, with the obsession she has today with the values of justice, social rights and the struggle against poverty, ends up as a result by forgetting her contemplative soul, she will fail in her mission and she will be abandoned by a great many of her faithful, owing to the fact that they will no longer recognize in her what constitutes her specific mission.”

Serena Williams Writes to Her Unborn Baby: “I Can’t Wait to Meet You”

Although many in the media praise abortion, some Hollywood and sports stars are starting a new pro-life trend: celebrating their unborn babies on social media.

Serena Williams is the latest to join the team. On Monday, world-famous tennis player posted an Instagram picture of herself lounging at the beach. In the caption, the 35-year-old penned a heartfelt message to her unborn baby:

My Dearest Baby,
You gave me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you…. once again today. On @alexisohanian bday. from the world’s oldest number one to the world’s youngest number one. -Your Mommy

By “@alexisohanian,” Williams meant her fiancé, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.

Last week, Williams revealed her 20-week pregnancy on social media platform Snapchat. As her fans calculated, that means Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant with baby number one.

What a wonder woman.

LifeNews Note: Katie Yoder writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared.

A vending machine at the UC Davis campus dispenses Plan B

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) Students at UC Davis can now press A4 for Plan B.

A new vending machine in a University of California Davis study room traded the usual Hot Cheetos and Red Bull for condoms, tampons, pregnancy tests, Advil, and the morning after pill (or Plan B). They call it the “Wellness To Go” Machine.

Stocking contraception rather than caffeine may seem out of place in a study area, but to former UC Davis student Parteek Singh it makes total sense.

Although the Wellness To Go machine was installed in early April, Singh spent two years working to make it happen.

“The more skeptical and negativity I got from people like ‘oh it’s not going to happen,’ kind of pushed me more,” Singh told CNN affiliate KTXL.

Plan B and other contraceptive methods have had their ups and downs. In 2013, Plan B was made available to women without a prescription. But the Trump Administration has threatened funding for Planned Parenthood.

With a nation divided on the issue comes a campus divided as well.

“It is promoting like ‘Oh hey, go and have unsafe sex because then you have a backup option and it’s gonna be cheaper than if you just wanna go to a drug store,'” UC Davis student Jordan Herrera told the affiliate.

But other students come to its defense.

“It’s a great thing for women,” student KC Cui said.

CNN has reached out to UC Davis and is waiting on a response.

Fatima is the solution to the mayhem in the Vatican today

(Editor’s note: The following is a slightly edited version of the editorial of the April issue of LifeSite’s Faithful Insight magazine. Those interested in subscribing to the monthly Catholic news magazine may do so here.)

April 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Mayhem. That’s the only word to describe what is taking place in the Church today. Remember the archbishop who released a scandalous Vatican sex-ed program at World Youth Day in Krakow? He was appointed as the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Rome’s John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. Both institutions have now been stripped bare – the Academy of all its members and the Institute of its most conservative faculty.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia recently gushed praise for one of Italy’s leading proponents of abortion, same-sex “marriage” and restriction on religious freedom. More than that, prior to his Vatican post he commissioned a homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in which he had included an image of himself.

Another Vatican bishop in charge of two Pontifical Academies is responsible for bringing into the Vatican, to speak at his conferences, some of the most anti-life, anti-family people in the world. Those supporting forced abortion and forced sterilization are finding themselves at home in a new Vatican where the lovers of life and family are increasingly alienated and ostracized. A Vatican where fear among the orthodox rules and in the words of retiring Archbishop Luigi Negri – the only Italian bishop to go to the Rome March for Life – those who are normally papal critics, “for a time have become hyper papists for their own ends.”

The only solution to this mess is Divine intervention. And in this year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima, it is time to beg for that intervention and to do what we can to bring it about.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI himself hoped that such an intervention would happen shortly. “May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity,” he said in a homily on May 13, 2010. “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete,” he said.

The October 13, 1917 Fatima miracle of the dance of the sun was witnessed by 70,000 people with coverage in all the secular papers at the time. It was the most spectacular public miracle of all time. What was it that heaven was trying to communicate with this stupendous event?

Our Lady showed the three shepherd children hell. “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go,” she told them. “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

What did Our Lady ask for to bring about the triumph of her Immaculate Heart? First prayer, most particularly the Holy Rosary, and the devotion of the Brown Scapular. Second, she called for us to make reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against God’s Grace and blasphemies against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Thirdly, she asked for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both on a personal basis and, publicly, that of Russia by the Pope and all the world’s bishops.

Our Lady warned that if Russia was not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. We have seen atheistic communism spread throughout the world. But most don’t realize that legalized abortion began in Russia and this global atrocity has cost more lives than all wars combined.

Our Lady warned specifically that if Russia was not consecrated there would be “wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

She predicted the Second World War, and it happened. She predicted “fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Woe to women lacking in modesty.” And it happened like never before in the history of the world. She predicted wars, and there have been more wars in the last 30 years than ever before. We have not yet seen whole nations annihilated.

Many have said her wish for the consecration of Russia was accomplished in 1984 when Pope St. John Paul II entrusted the world to Our Lady. Let’s skip the debate over it and do it again, but this time mentioning Russia specifically, as was requested by Our Lady. Poland was blessed greatly each time they consecrated their nation to Our Lady.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she promised. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” We await that peace eagerly both in the world and in the Church.

But Our Lord warned Sr. Lucia in a vision in 1931, expressing dismay that the Pope would not carry out the consecration of Russia as requested. “Like the King of France, they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread its errors in the world.” He added, “Make it known to My ministers, seeing that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My demand, they will also have to follow him into misfortune.”

That warning has a severe implication for our days. The mention of the King of France by Our Lord refers to the request He made of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. On June 17, 1689, He asked her to have the King of France consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. For 100 years, the Kings of France failed to make the consecration.

On June 17, 1789, 100 years to the day of the request, the King of France was stripped of his legislative authority and four years later executed.

Let us play our part in hastening the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Let us pray the Rosary, wear the Scapular, make the First Saturdays devotion and request the explicit consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

An Agonizingly Cruel Death Sentence

Physician assisted suicide legislation has been making the news recently. Legalized euthanasia in Canada, Netherlands, Belgium and other European nations have also generated headlines.

However, a silent, rampant killer is intentionally claiming lives of far more patients each day in America’s medical facilities.

This quiet, legal killer is taking the lives more Americans than all the assisted suicide deaths combined. It’s the withdrawal of food and water from patients whose lives are deemed “futile” by hospitals, nursing homes and hospices throughout the nation.

Food and water delivered by tube instead of mouth was once deemed “basic and ordinary care” but is now viewed as “extraordinary medical treatment.” Further, it’s legal in all 50 states to withhold food and water when it will directly result in the death of a patient.

Terri Schiavo was denied food and water. It too her 13 days to die.

So how many patients is this likely affecting? According to the American Hospital Association and the Centers for Disease Control, there are nearly 35,000 hospitals, nursing homes and hospices operating in the USA — 1.3 million patients in hospice alone. After doing the math it’s easy to assume that every day patients are being “put down” using an agonizingly cruel, drawn-out death sentence.

Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network and brother to Terri Schiavo, saw this horror play out in a very personal way with his sister. It took her 13 excruciating days to die. A time period he appropriately describes as a nightmare for Terri and her family.

“My sister’s lips were horribly cracked to the point they were blistering. Her skin became jaundice with areas that turned different shades of blue. Terri’s breathing became rapid and uncontrollable. Her moaning, at times, was raucous, which indicated to us the insufferable pain she was experiencing. Terri’s face became skeletal, with blood pooling in her deeply sunken eyes and her teeth protruding forward. What will be forever seared in my memory is the look of utter horror on my sister’s face when my family visited her just after she died.”

Death with dignity?

How did a compassionate and progressive nation like ours resort to such a barbaric practice in the name of medicine? So-called bioethicist Daniel Callahan planted the seeds of what can be considered “medical cleansing” in 1983. “A denial of nutrition may in the long run become the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patents actually die. . .it could well become a non-treatment of choice.”

Brutal and prophetic.

Don’t think you’re immune to the risk of death by dehydration. Laws in 46 states already allow the medical provider—not the patient or family—the right to refuse life-saving or sustaining treatments, including food and water.

Over the years laws have quietly been enacted that prioritize the financial standing of insurance companies and medical facilities over patient autonomy and well-being. Ending the life of a costly patient by dehydration and starvation is an economic no-brainer in this day and age of demanded profitability within medical care. Obamacare has expedited this process.

We have seen examples of patients like Stephanie Packer, California mother of four, denied life-saving treatment where physician assisted suicide is legal, while being offered coverage for a lethal prescription to end her life.

Hospital ethics committees routinely assume full decision-making authority over the treatment of patients when family members disagree on how to proceed. And medical facilities have effective methods of “treatment” for the biologically tenacious who simply refuse to die.

Ethicist Wesley Smith calls it “termination without request or consent.” It involves offing “futile” patients via the denial of food and water or by using terminal sedation, which administers a heavy dose of morphine or other pain killer, whether it’s needed or not, to slow respiration and cause an early death.

Bobby says the best way to protect yourself is to have a legally designated advocate as your power of attorney who will vigorously fight for you. Visit our website for free resources that can help protect you and your family.

Defending innocent human life,

Bradley Mattes
President, Life Issues Institute

Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education. For 25 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

Vatican’s doctrinal chief: Church hasn’t changed teaching against contraception, divorce, homosexuality

April 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Church under Pope Francis has not changed her teaching on the immorality of cohabitation, adultery, divorce, or homosexuality, and she has certainly not opened the door for civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller in a new book-length interview published April 1.

Muller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in the 240-page book, titled The Cardinal Muller Report, that Catholics must not fear “confessing our faith.” The book was dedicated to Pope Francis.

In the interview, conducted about a year ago but only made available in English this month, the Cardinal said that it would be a “false concept of God” as well as a “false interpretation of mercy” to allow civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion.

In “immoral relationships” such as cohabitation and divorce-and-remarriage, he said, “the seeds of the Word [of God] do not abide in [these] sinful situations.” In these situations, he added, “despite the fact that it might seem otherwise, there can be no authentic dynamic of love but, rather, only a serious obstacle to the ability to grow in humanity.”

Muller said that the 2015 Synod on the Family insisted that “given the intimate nature of the sacraments and the character of the indissolubility of marriage as divine law, it is not possible to admit to the Eucharist divorced people who have remarried civilly.”

Any pastoral accompaniment for those in irregular situations, he said, must “always be rendered according to conscience and the teaching of the Church.”

“Saint John Paul II warned that being pastoral does not mean a compromise between the doctrine of the Church and the complex reality of daily life but, rather, leading individuals to Christ,” he added.

The Cardinal said that Pope Francis’ much used statement that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” is often mistakenly interpreted. He maintained that it does not mean that “anyone can come to receive the Eucharist even though he is not in grace and does not have the required state of mind, just because it is nourishment for the weak.”

He noted that access to the Eucharist comes with necessary preconditions.

“Certainly access to Eucharistic Communion presupposes a life of grace, presupposes communion in the Body of the Church, and also presupposes a life ordered in conformity with the Body of the Church so as to be able to say the ‘Amen’ to which you referred before. Saint Paul insists that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord,” he said.

To go to Communion without being in the required state of grace and with the assumption that God “grants me privately the forgiveness of my sins” is a “false concept of God; this is tempting him,” he added.

Muller said that Pope Francis’ famous statement “Who am I to judge,” often repeated by those who are hoping to see a “change of direction” in the Church on homosexuality, does not mean the Church has suddenly become “less dogmatic” on the issue.

“The concept of the intrinsic disorder of homosexual acts, because they do not proceed from a genuine emotional and sexual complementarity, stems from Holy Scripture,” he said.

And yes, he said, the Church “with her Magisterium, has the power to judge the morality of specific situations,” such as sexual acts.

“This is an undisputed truth: God is the only judge who will judge us at the end times, and the pope and bishops have the obligation to present the revealed criteria for this Last Judgment which our moral conscience already anticipates. The Church has always said ‘this is true, this is false,’ and no one can live by his own subjectivist interpretation of God’s commandments,” he added.

The Cardinal warned against “new anti-family ideologies” that have arisen that “attempt to redefine what is human, based, not on the truth, but on individual feeling and social utility.”

He specifically mentioned the danger of “gender ideology.”

This ideology, he said, “does not respect the reality of things and that ultimately denies the Creator and man’s condition of having been created.” It “affirms that man’s identity does not depend on nature, with a body that is limited to a masculine or feminine sexuality” and “makes use of medical advances to use the body as an area of experimentation, viewing a change in sex as a simply biological operation,” he said.

Muller said that lurking behind gender ideology is the manmade “idol” of “our own liberty, of our own wish, proposing to be, ourselves, those who determine what is good and bad.”

“Was this not the substance of the first temptation of Adam and Eve? Is it possible to build a society without respecting the fundamental difference between a man and a woman?” he added.

The Cardinal concluded his interview by proposing how the Church can help modern man find “peace and reconciliation with himself.”

“There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today,” he said.

Other topics Cardinal Muller addressed in his interview (paragraphs not necessarily linked in original): 

Islamist terrorism

More deeply, I believe that we have here a path out of the phenomenon of Islamist terrorism: we should not favor a separation of society as a whole from God, but should instead, on the contrary, harness the power of religion as a social relationship that reinforces living together, peace, and therefore progress for all.

Priestly celibacy

Priestly celibacy, which is being challenged so much today in certain ecclesiastical quarters, is rooted in the Gospels as an evangelical counsel, but it also is intrinsically related to the ministry of the priest.

We cannot break unilaterally from the series of declarations by a long line of popes and councils and from the steady and continuous adherence of the Catholic Church to the image of the celibate priest.

Women priests

This is not a legitimate issue, because it touches on a subject that has already been decided. Pope Francis has made it clear, as have his predecessors: in that connection, I remember that Saint John Paul II, in number 4 of his Apostolic Exhortation Ordinatio sacerdotalis of 1994, reinforced with the use of the royal “we” (“declaramus”), the only document in which that pope uses that verb form, that it is a definitive doctrine infallibly taught by the ordinary universal Magisterium (CIC, can. 750 §2) that the Church does not have the authority to admit women to the priesthood.

It is the province of the Magisterium to decide if a question is dogmatic or disciplinary: in this case, the Church has already decided that this proposition is dogmatic and that, because it is divine law, it cannot be changed or even reviewed.

[Male-only priesthood] can be supported with many reasons, such as fidelity to the example of the Lord or the normative nature of the centuries-old practice of the Church.

I would not want to leave it unsaid that there is an essential equality between male and female, in nature and also in the relationship with God through grace (see Gal 3:28). The priesthood, however, implies a sacramental symbolism of the relationship of Christ, the Head or husband, with the Church, the Body or wife.

Married priesthood (viri probati)

A vocational crisis cannot be dealt with by addressing only its symptoms and not its real cause. What has given rise to the vocational crisis? I believe I can say that it is a matter of a crisis of faith, which in turn is a result of a long secularization that has dried up what was once fertile soil and has scorched the earth.

Are we aware that a massive inclusion of viri probati, which is especially foreseeable in countries where Catholicism is expanding and there are not many priests, would unquestionably mean the end of celibacy?

We cannot solve such big problems through compromise solutions or half-measures.

Catholics and Protestants

Strictly speaking, we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture in Western Christianity. If we are convinced that revelation has been preserved, in its entirety and unchanged, through Scripture and tradition in the doctrine of the faith, in the sacraments, in the hierarchic constitution of the Church by divine right, founded on the sacrament of holy orders, we cannot accept that there are sufficient reasons to separate from the Church.

Indissolubility of Sacramental marriage

We therefore have to take as our premise that she will never have the authority to dispense with the divine commandments, in the name of a supposedly compassionate and loving vision, in situations that do not conform to the Word of God. She cannot, for example, grant a second marriage while a first spouse of a sacramental marriage, consummated or unconsummated, is still alive. In certain difficult family situations, the Church can allow an interruption of marital life together, but she cannot break the sacramental bond.

Population control

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Based on catastrophic predictions that have never been borne out, rooted in neo-Malthusianism (for example, Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb), some international organizations have recently exacerbated the problem, proposing a “responsible parenthood” that implies reducing the birthrate, by whatever means, for a better distribution and optimal use of resources.

In that regard, we must clearly denounce as having no scientific basis the claim that the alleged current population explosion has caused global economic impoverishment: if two thousand years ago the world had an estimated two hundred million inhabitants, and it took fifteen centuries to double that population, in the last two centuries the world population has multiplied by six, surpassing six billion inhabitants, while real GDP worldwide has multiplied by fifty. It is no surprise, then, that the anti-birth theories based on the myth of population’s geometric progression while the means of subsistence have grown only in arithmetic progression (Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population), should be more and more discredited among the scientific community, which now leans more and more to the conclusion that people, when they are seen clearly, unclouded by erroneous ideological distortions (Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit), end up resolving the problems themselves thanks to human creativity.

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Large families

Large families are an expression of the superabundance of love. They are a great yes to life. Several children are a great gift not only for their parents but also for the Church and all of society. Lumen gentium (no. 11) speaks of Christian parents as those who in a certain way bestow their children on the Church.

Humanae Vitae / Contraception

The encyclical Humanae vitae had many difficulties in its reception, as much for its underlying anthropology— especially regarding its proposal on the experience of love and sexuality—as for its clarification of the intrinsic morality of the methods of birth control. The indiscriminate attacks to which it was subject from the outset caused it to be marginalized and forgotten, despite its richness in inventively and prophetically posing the reality of love, of marriage, and of the beauty of married life.

Today, almost fifty years later, we see much more clearly that Pope Paul VI was right in everything that at the time he had the courage to make clear. Ahead of his time, this humanist pope had the courage to offer this document to the Church and to society, denouncing with an accurate analysis what ended up happening. Are we not, indeed, witnessing a pandemic of divorce? Have we not, just as unmistakably, turned sex into a trivial reality devoid of feeling? And is it not as patently clear today that Western societies, having radically separated the unitive function from that of procreation, have a true problem in their birthrate? The situation is one of authentic demographic involution that carries grave consequences, considered both synchronically and diachronically, if we examine the present moment and the foreseeable possibilities for the near future.

But the problem, I repeat, is not only demographic but rather, above all, one of meaning: I mean the question of the identity and vitality of marriage. Perhaps five decades ago it was not so evident, since the institution of the family was still strong: in fact, it was not yet foreseen that there could be so many broken marriages in our own families, with so many children who could not enjoy a father and a mother living under the same roof or so many adolescents initiating themselves at a young age in a life of frivolous sex. Yes, we are much more able today to grasp the negative impact of a mistaken conception of sex, valued only for the gratification it brings and not for the gift that it makes possible. We understand better today the perverse effects of artificial birth control, as a simple means toward the worry-free enjoyment of sex, without wanting to see the consequences for physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Moral problems demand moral solutions. We must humanize sexuality, which is at the service of the personal union of spouses, making it possible for each to be a gift to the other and not only a means for satisfying their desire. We must explain to new spouses the goodness, for example, of natural methods that, based on abstinence from sexual contact during the fertile days, foster dialogue, mutual respect, and understanding in the couple.

Divorce

In the East, for example, after the separation of those ecclesial communities from the Cathedra Petri, an increasingly liberal praxis or “right of consuetudinary origin” was accepted, under which—after a period of penitence—a second marriage was allowed, even in the case of a valid first marriage and with the first spouse still living, and participation in Communion, as a life preserver that enabled “salvation”, was allowed at the same time. As a result, the Orthodox Churches, by the principle of oikonomia or pastoral condescension (called the “pastoral approach of tolerance, clemency, and indulgence”) went on to justify a multitude of reasons for divorce. Considering the words of Jesus concerning the indissolubility of marriage, I do not see how this practice can be derived from the will of God.

The Church lives by God’s truth and therefore is responsible to man for it. She bears witness to it with humility and with the strength that the Lord gives her, without allowing herself to be cowed by the world’s accusations. On marriage and the sexual morality that she has received from God, she must remember the substantial unity of man in spirit, soul, and body, his relationship with the community, the truth about the totality of the gift required for sexuality to be human, the intergenerational responsibility, the identity as man and woman in their essential mutual reference.

These principles are not just an ideal, because love is never just an ideal, or even just a beautiful concept; it is instead a concrete dedication of life and the deep-rooted availability that opens the horizon of hope in individuals’ daily lives.

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater closeness to and mercy toward the sinner.

We know, for example, that marriage is indissoluble, that the union of a man and a woman has “forever” as an essential and unforsakable characteristic, and that spousal love is therefore so deep and so beautiful. So in a traumatic situation where a woman has been abandoned by her husband, in the context of a sacramental marriage, whether consummated or unconsummated, it would not be permissible to say “let us be merciful and allow her to contract a new marriage with another man.” This would not be true mercy but, instead, a failure to take her personal travail seriously, besides favoring sin and mocking God and his commandments.

Sex-education / parental rights

Throughout my years of priestly ministry, however, I have been able to see that what young people want is precisely to discover the meaning of sex, its relationship to love, its opening to the future. For that reason, emotional-sexual education is a duty that begins at the first moment of the child’s life and that, unavoidably and definitively, falls on the parents. They can be supported, but they cannot be supplanted, by school and other educational institutions like the parish.

Mercy

I said before that mercy cannot consist in relativizing God’s commandments but must, rather, make possible the encounter with God’s love, which renews and changes our life. Mercy consists in recognizing that the truth, the truth of love, will make us free (see Jn 8:32).

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater close- ness to and mercy toward the sinner.

I think, first, that sacramental confession is the most paradigmatic expression of God’s mercy.

Hell

Hell, certainly, is not just a rhetorical and pedagogical tool with which to frighten sinners: it is a real possibility.

The Cross

How can modern man find peace and reconciliation with himself ? There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today.

Pro-Life Victories: Several Bills Attempting to Legalize Assisted Suicide Have Gone Down in Defeat

Eric Metaxas   Apr 12, 2017   |   11:42AM    Washington, DC

A funny thing happened on the way to our supposed brave new world of assisted suicide.

 Proponents of assisted suicide would have us believe that legalized killing is an unstoppable freight train and that those who oppose it are going to get run over. And no wonder. Last year Colorado and the District of Columbia legalized it, while California enacted a bill that had been passed in 2015. They joined Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana where this great evil is now legal.

That’s why I’m very pleased to tell you that reports of the demise of a culture of life have been, to borrow a phrase, greatly exaggerated. We’re starting to win again. No, this doesn’t mean we can relax, but it’s really good news—and frankly, we could use some.

Bills to legalize euthanasia “have done very poorly” in 2017, Rita Marker, executive director of the Patients Rights Council, told Baptist Press. “That has been a shock to those who are in favor of it because they thought that all of [a] sudden the dam had burst and everything would happen for them.”

So far, that has not happened. Bills to advance the idea that some lives aren’t worth living have gone down to defeat in Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Tennessee. Also in New Mexico, the state senate voted 22-20 against a bill to legalize assisted suicide for people expected to die within six months. It was a bipartisan vote, with 7 Democrats joining 15 Republicans.

Similar bills stalled in Hawaii, Maryland, Utah, and Wyoming, Marker said, although it’s always possible they could be brought back. In Hawaii, a House of Representatives committee unanimously decided not to advance a proposal allowing physicians to prescribe lethal drugs on the same day a patient is diagnosed as terminally ill.

Eva Andrade of the Hawaii Family Forum said that Hawaiians should “say a prayer of thanksgiving” while remaining vigilant—because when it comes to assisted suicide bills, death is never final. “Although this may seem like the battle is over, please be advised that the battle is not over until the last day of session,” Andrade said. “And even then, the bill is still alive for next session. Even now, proponents are most likely regrouping.”

Dauneen Dolce, executive director of the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico, told the American Family Association that assisted suicide legislation likely will be introduced next year. Therefore, she said, those opposing the culture of death must remain “actively involved in some way,” by “educating yourself, or giving support to the organizations that are educating others, or [being] involved in the political arena. If you don’t do that,” she added, “you are handing over our state [and] our laws, and the culture of death will come to us—and that’ll be from apathy.”

The job is immense. According to a 2016 survey by LifeWay Research, 67 percent of Americans say it is morally acceptable for terminally ill patients to ask their physicians to help them end their lives. We must not only work to change—or block—laws in the political and legislative realms. We must also work—and pray—to change hearts and minds in our neighborhoods, in our social and work circles, and across society.

Apparently most Americans see pain and suffering as the ultimate evil and personal autonomy as the highest good. What I can only call this “sub-Christian worldview” completely misses the truth that God can and often does use the things we’d rather avoid in our lives—even at the end of life—to draw us closer to Himself.

Remember, when it comes to assisted suicide, apathy is deadly. So let’s educate our fellow Americans about the beauty and dignity of life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Remember as well: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

LifeNews Note:  Eric Metaxas is best known for two biographies: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce. He also wrote books and videos for VeggieTales.

This column originally appeared at Breakpoint.

 

 

Pope will canonize Fatima visionaries in May

VATICAN CITY, April 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto, the two siblings who witnessed the Virgin Mary’s appearances at Fatima, during his upcoming visit to the site of the apparitions on May 13.

The pope convened all of the resident cardinals of Rome on Thursday to officially establish the canonization date for more than three dozen new saints, according to Rome Reports, including two of the three child seers of Fatima.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recounted some aspects of the Fatima siblings’ lives for the gathering.

“They attended little school, and they were practically illiterate,” he said. “They learned the catechism at home, along with their cousin Lucia.”

Pope Francis announced the date of the canonization in Latin, as prescribed by ecclesiastical tradition.

“May the Blessed Francis and Jacinta Marta be canonized on May 13, 2017,” he said.

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to the Fatima shrine in Portugal on May 12-13 for the centenary celebration of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady.

The April 20 announcement took place in the course of an Ordinary Public Consistory, a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally concludes the sainthood process.

A year after the Fatima apparitions, both Marto siblings became ill during a European flu epidemic. Francisco died April 4, 1919, at age 10, and Jacinta died almost a year later on February 20, 1920, at age 9.

Francisco and Jacinta’s cousin, Lucia Santos, became a Carmelite nun and passed away in 2005 at age 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and has advanced to the Vatican for study.

The pope also announced at Thursday’s consistory that he would canonize 34 others on October 15.

Among them are:

The 30 martyrs of Natal, Brazil, including Jesuit Father Andre Soveral; diocesan Father Ambrosio Francisco Ferro; and layman Mateus Moreira, along with 27 others murdered in 1645 by Dutch soldiers;

The child martyrs of Tlaxcala, the first martyrs of Mexico, named Cristóbal, Antonio and Juan, who died in 1527 and 1529;

The Spanish Piarist Faustino Miguez, who founded the Daughters of the Divine Shepherd Institute in 1855, a school for girls;

Religious priest Father Angelo da Acri (formerly known as Luca Antonio Falcone) of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood

Tightening of laws in other countries fuels U.S. market, but not all states are relaxing statutes OSV Newsweekly

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood  Modern technology for nearly two decades has made it possible for infertile couples to use the wombs of other women, known as surrogates, to have their biological children. But cultural changes, a crackdown in international surrogacy and high-profile endorsements from celebrities experiencing fertility issues, including Kim Kardashian and Tyra Banks, have resulted in increased demand for surrogacy in the United States.

Surrogacy involves contracting with a woman to carry a child conceived through artificial means, such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Many fertility companies recommend gestational surrogacy, where couples have their own IVF-manufactured embryo implanted into a surrogate mother, in order to decrease her likelihood of forming an attachment to the child she carried.

Patchwork of laws

International surrogacy arrangements have been popular because of the inexpensiveness of the procedure, compared to the United States. Whereas a surrogate pregnancy can cost $100,000 or more in the United States, similar arrangements would cost a third or less in countries like India or Thailand. In 2012, an estimated 20,000 children were born through international commercial surrogacy.

But beginning in 2015, the most popular countries for international surrogacy banned the practice: Thailand, Nepal, India and Mexico all issued instructions to prevent foreigners from using their citizens as surrogates. As these countries enacted new regulations, though, other countries, like Cambodia, become hubs for surrogacy tourism.

But the uncertainty of international surrogacy has made the United States a more attractive location for couples, despite the high price tag for an American surrogate. Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, told Our Sunday Visitor that the closure of other countries to international surrogacy has “most certainly” led to an increase of the industry in the United States, because “we have very favorable and friendly laws here.”

Church’s Concern For Those Seeking Parenthood
The suffering of unanticipated childlessness is real. Spouses may feel they have somehow failed, that they are inadequate in a basic aspect of their marital life. Their pain may even be aggravated by regret or guilt over past contraceptive use, sterilization, abortion, or other factors that can contribute to infertility. The sight of other couples’ children may make them yearn for a child all the more and add to their distress. Infertility can affect a couple’s sexual relationship and the stability of their marriage. It may even affect relationships with parents and in-laws who express disappointment at the absence of grandchildren. Catholic couples may feel this pain even more deeply as they hear the Church praise family life and teach that children are “the supreme gift of marriage” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 50).

In addition, Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a right to marriage for same-sex couples, has removed in many states the barriers to these couples being listed as legal parents of a child, and many fertility clinics target their services to gay men looking to hire a surrogate.

The domestic fertility market, which the investment bank Harris Williams & Co. estimated at a value of $3-4 billion, lacks a coherent legal framework in the United States. In contrast to other western nations, there is little federal or state oversight of the industry, and laws vary among states.

“The surrogacy laws around the country are kind of a patchwork quilt,” Jason Adkins, executive director for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, told OSV. While some states like Indiana or New York prohibit surrogacy agreements because they are contrary to the public good, others like California enjoy a booming business in surrogacy.

Other states have recently passed legislation allowing for gestational surrogacy. Last year Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who identifies as pro-life, signed legislation recognizing surrogacy contracts for married, heterosexual couples. New Hampshire has passed even less restrictive legislation, as has the District of Columbia.

Fertility clinics thrive in states where surrogacy agreements giving all parental rights to the contracting couple can be enforced in court. In such an arrangement, the contracting couple are listed as the parents on the birth certificate, and not the surrogate mother who delivered the child.

Pushing back on surrogacy

In states like Minnesota, where the law has not explicitly guaranteed the parental rights of a contracting couple, the fertility industry has repeatedly sought “enabling legislation, not regulations of surrogacy,” Adkins said.

If states “create a legal mechanism by which contracts are honored and enforced, it really creates a legal framework for the surrogacy market to flourish and grow.”

As states continue to pass legislation supportive of surrogacy, Minnesota represents a rare bright spot for those opposed to contracting women to carry children. Adkins credits the state’s success to stepping back from an emotionally fraught legislative environment.

“You’re not going to have rational discourse in the context of a heated legislative environment in which people need to take votes,” said Adkins.

The state created a bipartisan commission to hear evidence on the issue during several months of meetings, and it issued its report in December 2016. While a bill to enforce surrogacy contracts was sponsored in the 2017 legislative session, it died in committee.

Adkins told OSV that while “the moral teaching is clear” from the Church on surrogacy, the issue fails to attract the same attention or coordination of resources as abortion and assisted suicide do, even though abortion frequently plays a role in surrogacy, through selective reduction of implanted embryos or requests by parents to abort children with birth defects.

“Sometimes we overlook the key life and bioethics questions that aren’t directly related to abortion,” he said, “and that’s a significant deficit in the national Church.”

Pastoral care needed

The desire to have children propels the surrogacy industry, which presents the Church with the challenge to do more to recognize and address the particular role that infertile couples have. Timothy O’Malley, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and founding editor of Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization, told OSV that the Church is not providing enough pastoral care in this area.

“If you’re infertile as a couple, the only advice you’re going to get is from your doctor. No one in the Church is there for you, except for a couple of resources you might find online,” he said.

For O’Malley, infertility can serve as a charism of authentic marriage because “in the Catholic imagination, marriage is not reducible to having children, but is really a conjugal bond of love shared between husband and wife.” While children are often a gift of that love, “there are a variety of gifts that are not reducible to having children, and the infertile can have these gifts whether or not they have children.” O’Malley said that parishes and dioceses can value the marriages of the infertile in the pulpit, but also address their needs through diocesan support groups.

“It’s not just saying, well, let’s fix it for you, it’s saying that not being able to have children can become a particular icon of love for the Church, and it can lead to adoption, it can lead to foster care, but it can also lead to other spiritual gifts and renewal that can take place.”

Nicholas W. Smith writes from New York.

Be men and women of life, Pope Francis says Easter Monday

.- On Easter Monday, Pope Francis stressed that Christ’s resurrection calls each of us to bring the message of Easter – a message of hope and life – to the world.

“There is life!” the Pope said April 17. Now, following the Resurrection, “we will be resurrection men and women, men and women of life.”

We are called to show solidarity, welcoming, and peace to people “in the midst of events that afflict the world – there are many today – in the midst of worldliness that is distant from God,” he said.

These are only human signs that we can give, he continued, but “inspired and sustained by faith in the Risen Lord,” we can gain effectiveness “well beyond our capacity.”

Pope Francis gave his message Easter Monday before leading pilgrims in the Regina Coeli prayer from a window overlooking St. Peter’s square.

It is customary for the Pope to lead this traditional Marian prayer on the Monday following Easter Sunday, also sometimes called the “Monday of the Angel” for the angel which announced Christ’s resurrection to the women at the tomb.

During the fifty days of Easter, the Regina Coeli will replace the usual recitation of the Angelus on Sundays.

In the message of the Angel to the women on Easter morning, “Go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead,’” we hear our directions as well, Pope Francis said. The angel invites us as well to “act quickly” and to go “proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope.”

This message is hopeful because on the dawn of the third day, Jesus was risen from the dead, therefore “the last word is not death, but life! And this is our certainty. The last word is not the grave, is not death, it is life!”

And our Mother Mary can help us to live this out, Francis said.

“The Virgin Mary, silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus, helps us to be clear signs of the risen Christ among the events of the world.”

“Those who are in distress and difficulties,” he explained, can “find in us so many brothers and sisters who offer them support and consolation.”

“And this is so because Christ is alive and active in history through his Holy Spirit, redeems our miseries, reaches every human heart and gives hope to anyone who is oppressed and suffering,” he said.

“Our Mother, help us to believe strongly in the resurrection of Jesus: Jesus is risen, he is alive here, among us, and this is a wonderful mystery of salvation with the ability to transform hearts and lives,” he prayed.

“And intercede in a particular way for the Christian communities persecuted and oppressed as they are today, in many parts of the world, called to a difficult and courageous witness.”

Catholic Cardinal Robert Sarah Calls Abortion the “Greatest Tragedy of Our Time”

A leading Catholic Cardinal says abortion is “the greatest tragedy of our time.”

The comments from Cardinal Robert Sarah came during an event commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the death of Dr. Jerome Lejeune. He was the physician responsible for discovering the genetic chromosome that leads to Down syndrome. Dr. Lejeune was a pro-life advocate who believed that life begin at conception and his opposition to aborting babies with Down Syndrome ultimately cost him a shot at a Nobel Prize.

Cal Catholic has more on Cardinal Sarah’s comments concerning abortion and how he calls it a life-and-death battle that pits the spiritual forces of God and Satan against each other.

Cardinal Robert Sarah says abortion is the “greatest tragedy of our time,” and the pro-life cause is “part of the final battle…between God and Satan.”

In the worldwide battle against abortion, what is at stake is the “survival of humanity itself,” Cardinal Sarah said.

“The ‘infernal red-fire dragon with seven heads’ — a prototype of the culture of death denounced by St. John Paul II in his teaching — stands before the pregnant woman, ready to devour her child at birth,” he said.

“Yes, it is a battle … of life or death,” he said.

He pointed out how the battle rages against even the smallest of human beings, the tiny embryo, an “innocent and defenseless” human life, that he said must be protected if civilization is not to revert to “barbarism.”

Loss of the “sacred respect of human life,” said the cardinal, coupled with advances in the science of genetics, has led man to the false notion that he is now the master of life who can “manipulate” it as he pleases.

Awesome pro-life ad from major financial corporation attracts over 1.5 million views

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A poignant pro-life message from an unexpected source in a recent television commercial has grabbed some attention.

The one-minute “Graduation” spot from Principal Financial Group shows how an unexpected pregnancy doesn’t have to mean life isn’t worth living. It is moving and effective, and has more than a 1.5 million YouTube views.

The ad chronicles the story of a young couple that meets, start a relationship, become unexpectedly pregnant, and then make life changes to keep their baby. It quite successfully captures the struggles and joys of parenthood and life in 60 seconds.

A key component is the child’s father forgoing school to support the family. The commercial ends with a touching payoff for the viewer.

“Life doesn’t always go according to plan,” Principal’s ad states at the end. “We can help you plan for that.”

Incorporating a pro-life message in its marketing strategy isn’t hurting the global financial investment management company’s stock returns, Media Research Center’s NewsBusters pointed out in a recent article.

MRC links to a NASDAQ report on Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal shares having just under a 60 percent gain in the last year.

This isn’t the first time Principal has employed a pro-life message in its advertising.

Another Principal commercial released last year was titled “Adoption” and took a similar approach. That ad had also topped one million views.

National Hotlines Helps 28,000 Women in March With Abortion Alternatives. Here’s One of their Stories

For the second time in the past three months, Option Line—a 24-7 pregnancy helpline operated by Heartbeat International—is celebrating a high-water mark, having reached 28,414 women with life-affirming help in the month of March.

Far outpacing the previous single-month record of 24,000, set in 2008, over half the women and men who reached out to Option Line during March did so over the phone, connecting with a professionally trained consultant in real time.

In January, Option Line’s 23,660 contacts marked the highest single-month total since 2008 and what was then the second-busiest month in the helpline’s 14-year history.

While virtually everyone who contacts Option Line is encouraged to contact a specific pregnancy help center, medical clinic or nonprofit adoption agency near them, Option Line consultants were able to directly schedule appointments at local centers for over 300 women throughout the month.

“We celebrate each of those women and men who contact us for help” Nafisa Shamsher, Option Line’s director, said. “We have every confidence that they’ll be in the best position to make a true choice with the support Option Line and pregnancy help organizations in their own communities.”

One woman, “Sarah,” was in hysterics when she called Option Line’s toll free number (1-800-712-HELP) for help during her unexpected pregnancy in March. Sarah already has a son, and she’s recovering from drug addiction.

Though she’s remained sober since she was pregnant with her first son, the new pregnancy threw Sarah into a panic. By the time she called Option Line, she felt that abortion was her only option—particularly since she’s unemployed and having trouble making ends meet as it is.

On the phone, the Option Line consultant listened as Sarah said, between sobs, that she didn’t have the strength to go through another pregnancy. The Option Line consultant then reminded Sarah of all that she’d been through, pointing out that she’d already shown so much courage, and assuring her she was strong enough to overcome this new challenge and welcome a new child into the world.

Finally, the Option Line consultant referred Sarah to a local pregnancy center, where she was able to find the information, help and support she needed.

“An unexpected pregnancy is such a vulnerable, sensitive time in a young woman’s life,” Shamsher said. “What most women need, and what Option Line offers, is another person to help them sort through their thoughts to make a safe, healthy decision.”

Overall, more than 2.6 million women and men have contacted Option Line since 2003, while OptionLine.org has attracted upwards of 4 million visitors during that same timeframe.

Option Line is the first and only fully staffed 24-7 helpline in the U.S., and answers an average of 650 direct contacts each month.

LifeNews Note: Jay Hobbs writes for PregnancyHelpNews, where this originally appeared.

 

How Can Anyone Think That Roe V. Wade Is “Settled”?

Clarke Forsythe
Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life

It’s a tragedy for the Supreme Court and the American people that Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been so terribly skewed for 45 years by undue emphasis on one case, Roe v. Wade.  We should hope that one day Roe v. Wade is overturned, and the abortion issue returned to the people, so that the range of important constitutional and federal issues can be given proper treatment in the assessment of Supreme Court nominees. But that is not where we are today.

In her opening statement on day one of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) singled out Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion for any reason, at any time, in every state—as the most important Supreme Court decision that she wanted the judge to keep, saying it was “super precedent” because it had been affirmed in 39 cases.

That false claim cobbles together cases in which Roe was merely cited or applied, not reaffirmed on the merits. (The actual number of decisions in which Roe was “reaffirmed” is 3, not 39.)  More importantly, Senator Feinstein’s claim ignores many other factors that show that Roe is the most unsettled constitutional decision of the past 50 years.

Roe is unsettled by the Justices’ own inconsistency in their application of Roe’s abortion doctrine, and its detailed standards, over the past 44 years. That, in turn, has sown inconsistency and confusion among the lower federal courts.

In fact, Roe 1.0—the original opinion including the original rationale for Roe—is defunct, discarded in the Casey decision of 1992.   The historical rationale for Roe—the legal justification for its connection to the Constitution—was replaced by a new sociological rationale created in Casey—the assumption that women have come to rely on abortion as a back-up to failed contraception.

Roe is unsettled because the original opinion and rationale have never been persuasive. The Court abandoned the original rationale by 1989.  Abortion-rights activists have spent the past 44 years looking for a new constitutional hook for Roe—the equal protection clause? the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the vote in 1920? Or (my favorite) the cruel and unusual punishment clause?

Roe is unsettled in public opinion.  Public opinion polls periodically show majority “support” for Roe, but only when Roe is intentionally distorted and mischaracterized as only legalizing abortion in the first three months of pregnancy.  A majority of Americans oppose abortion after the first trimester.

A February 2017 poll, commissioned by the Human Family Research Center and conducted by the Polling Company, found that Americans were almost evenly divided when they were told that overruling Roe would leave the abortion issue to the states (45% reconsider, 49% continue to follow, with 5% undecided).

The abortion rate, according to 2014 figures, has dropped to its lowest level since 1973.  Women still seek approximately 900,000 abortions or less a year, but more than half of these are repeat abortions, and millions of women haven’t had an induced abortion and never will.  If women “rely” on anything, it’s contraception, not abortion.

Roe is unsettled in medical practice.  Ultrasound came on the commercial market a few years after Roe and permanently changed medical practice and public understanding.

Roe is unsettled because American doctors have abandoned abortion.  Few will do it. Women go to an abortion provider for an abortion but another gynecologist for everything else.  It’s long been a myth that abortion is “between a woman and her doctor.”

Roe is unsettled by its extremely narrow focus.  It has nothing to do with contraception (which is independently protected by other decisions of the Court) or with women’s health care.  It’s about a “right” to “terminate pregnancy” and nothing more.

Roe is unsettled by state protection for prenatal human beings in property, prenatal injury, wrongful death, and fetal homicide law.  Despite Roe, the states have moved ahead with state legislation and judicial decisions that treat the unborn child as a human being from conception, creating considerable schizophrenia.   Twenty-five states now have a fetal homicide law that treats the killing of an unborn child (outside the context of abortion) as a homicide—from conception.

Roe is unsettled by a growing body of international medical data finding increased risk of pre-term birth, mental trauma, and breast cancer after abortion.   And, in recent years, statistical studies from Ireland and Chile have provided evidence that abortion prohibitions do not compromise women’s health and that legalizing abortion does not positively impact women’s health.

Roe is unsettled because the Justices cannot perform their self-appointed role as the national abortion control board, created when the Justices in Roe drafted a new, detailed national abortion law, which binds every state and local government in the country.

Roe is unsettled because other nations have not followed its sweep.  The U.S. is one of only 4 nations of 195 across the globe which allows abortion for any reason after fetal viability, and one of only 7 that allows election abortion after 20 weeks.

The mere passage of time does not settle a Supreme Court decision. Roe is 44 years old.  But Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) (which affirmed racial segregation) was 58 years old when it was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Several other decisions were older when they were overturned.

Roe is unsettled in politics.  One major party has opposed the decision in its party platform since the 1970s.  And just last year, the nation elected a presidential and vice-presidential candidate who promised to appoint “pro-life” justices and to “overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Dozens of other decisions by the Supreme Court were not mentioned during the Gorsuch hearings because they are so unquestionably settled that no one needs to raise the question. To ask the question, “Is Roe settled?” is to answer it.

Clarke D. Forsythe is Acting President & Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life and author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade (Encounter Books 2013).  

False Abortion Scare: Only 10% of Pregnant Women With Zika Had Babies with Disabilities

Micaiah Bilger   Apr 5, 2017   |   10:55AM    Washington, DC

New evidence about the Zika virus and the potential link to defects in unborn babies came out this week.

A new Centers for Disease Control report found about 10 percent of pregnant women who showed signs of the Zika virus had unborn babies with neurological defects linked to the virus.

The CDC tracked more than 1,200 cases involving pregnant women in the U.S. who showed signs of the virus. However, the cases with laboratory-confirmed evidence of Zika were much smaller.

The CDC confirmed 250 cases of a likely Zika infection with laboratory testing, and 10 percent, or 24 unborn babies, in those cases had birth defects.

Researcher said women infected with Zika during the first trimester of pregnancy appear to be at a greater risk of having a child with birth defects. In the cases of 60 babies whose mothers had confirmed evidence of Zika during the first trimester, 15 percent had birth defects, according to the CDC.

Almost all of the cases in the CDC report involved women who contracted the virus outside the United States.

TWC News reports more about cases in Texas:

Here in Texas, at the end of March, 181 pregnant women had shown signs of a possible Zika infection — 67 of those babies were born.

According to the Department of State Health Services, seven babies were born with birth defects that could be Zika-related.

Three of those seven are confirmed cases of the virus.

That’s about 10 percent of those babies have shown signs of possible Zika infection which is on par with the national average.

Abortion has become a major issue related to the Zika virus because of the possible link to birth defects. Abortion advocates have been using the virus as an excuse to push for more abortions on babies with disabilities. Some pro-abortion groups even have been scaring women into aborting their unborn babies without knowing if they have Zika or if their unborn baby has a disability.

The most common defect linked to Zika is microcephaly, a brain disorder that causes babies’ heads and brains to be abnormally small. The condition has a range of severity. Some people who have microcephaly require daily care, while others live independently and have jobs.

Some have speculated that other factors may be responsible for the disabilities, rather than the virus. Some research suggests the virus may not be to blame for the uptick in birth defects in certain areas of South America affected by Zika; however, research is on-going.

The Associated Press previously reported on various research estimating between 1 percent and 15 percent of pregnant women who contracted Zika in the first trimester had babies with birth defects.

Scientists also are working to develop a vaccine for Zika. In Mexico, university researchers developed a 3D printed valve to help treat unborn babies who develop microcephaly, one of the birth defects linked to the virus.

However, some research efforts were blocked by Planned Parenthood supporters in the U.S. House and Senate last year. The pro-abortion legislators blocked an aid bill for Zika prevention and research because it did not give money to a few Planned Parenthood facilities in Puerto Rico.

The abortion chain has been heavily involved in Zika-related politics in the U.S. Last summer, Planned Parenthood sent staffers to knock on women’s doors in Miami, Florida to talk about the Zika virus, according to the Miami Herald. They also gave pregnant women “Zika kits” and informational fliers.

Last spring, a Planned Parenthood activist said women who are pregnant and contract the virus ought to be able to abort their potentially disabled babies. The abortion activists called killing such babies a “human right.”

 

 

Tulsa Teen Comes Home From School With Contraceptive Implant

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In a shocking case coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mother who consented to what she was told was a “field trip” discovered that her 16-year-old daughter had been taken — by representatives of a local clinic and with the consent of school officials — to receive the Norplant contraceptive implant.

The girl — whose name is being withheld because she is a minor — is a student at Langston Hughes Academy, an arts and technology charter school located in North Tulsa. Her mother, Miracle Foster, told FOX23 that she was blindsided when her daughter came home with the implant. “Had I known that this field trip was to get that done, I would not have allowed her to go,” Foster said, adding, “I just feel like my rights as a parent were violated.”

While it is obvious to any right-thinking person that Foster is correct in her assertion that her parental rights were violated, the overreaching federal guidelines in the Title X Family Planning Program serve to give Uncle Sam’s stamp of approval to that violation. Because of the overreach of the federal government — and the acquiescence of state governments addicted to federal monies — parental rights have come under increasing attacks in the past few decades. According to interpretations of Title X, children as young as 12 years old are allowed to receive contraceptives without a parent’s consent.

While the report from FOX News makes it appear this was a recent event, Foster’s daughter actually received the implant in November. When her daughter told her about it that evening, Foster cried. In an interview with The New American, Foster said, “It’s like they take the parental control away. These are children who cannot make decisions.” She added that children need their parents “to nurture them” and “to protect them.” She also said that by taking the place of the parent, the government school system deprives those children of that nurturing and protection.

At least one Oklahoma state legislator agrees with Foster. Dr. Mike Ritze spoke with The New American about the issues surrounding this case. Dr. Ritze is well qualified to speak to this issue. He is a family physician who has delivered around 2,000 babies. He is also the chairman of the Oklahoma House Public Health Committee and a ranking member of the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee. He told The New American, “If the mother [had given her] permission, I would disagree with her, if she was not properly informed of the dangers of Norplant,” adding, “Norplant can cause strokes, blood clots, migraine headaches and other side effects.” But since Foster did not consent to her minor daughter receiving a hormonal implant, Dr. Ritze pointed out the duplicity in the way the law deals with this issue. “A school official cannot give a [minor] student an aspirin without the parent’s consent, but can take them out of school to get contraception.” Or an abortion.

Dr. Ritze said it may be “legally wrong” for the school to have allowed the student to be taken to the clinic to get the implant without her mother’s consent. He added that — either way — it is certainly morally wrong. “The government shouldn’t have anything to do with promoting anything but abstinence,” he said. He added that abstinence is not just the best method for avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; it is the only method that always works. But because government schools have been drinking at the poisoned well of of progressive liberalism, Dr. Ritze said the attitude of the government schools seems to be “We know students are going to be promiscuous — like monkeys — so let them go out there and use a condom or other birth control or get an abortion if they get pregnant.” He added, “The truth is that they (the students) are not monkeys; they are people, made in the image of God, and when they are given the right information about their choices and the consequences, they can make better choices — like abstinence.”

Those are some pretty serious risks for a 16-year-old girl to take — especially since it seems that she was never even made aware of them. Foster said her daughter was not given any information about the dangers of Norplant. She said her daughter told her “the lady told her about the different choices she had” but did not discuss side effects or risks.

Foster knows her daughter. Granted, her daughter made a decision without talking it over with her, but that seems to be a mark of teenagers. This writer asked Foster if she thought her daughter would have had any type of medical implant — for any reason, contraception or otherwise — that carried those risks if she had been educated about them. “No, no. She would not agree,” she said, “I think that would have scared her. I know for sure she would not have.” She added, “I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how much information they gave her. I don’t know if there was pressure there — I don’t know.”

And because the government school system and the clinic can hide behind Title X, Foster may never know. After all, the only reason she knows about the Norplant implant in the first place is because her daughter told her.

Laws are supposed to protect minors. Because society recognizes that young people do not always have the best judgment, they are protected from those who would prey on them. That is why minors cannot enter into many legal contracts without parental consent. For instance, minors in most states are protected from incurring debt by not being able to get credit cards. But the way Title X is interpreted, as soon as a child is at “reproductive age” (as young as 12), he or she can be exploited by the contraception industry.

Let that sink in: A person whose judgment is rightly considered underdeveloped to the point that he or she cannot make decisions about the ramifications of incurring debt is considered wise and experienced enough to make decisions about having sex, receiving contraception, or getting an abortion. The parent cannot object because the parent doesn’t even have to be told.

Oklahoma’s government school sex-education curricula (like all government school curricula in the state) has to be approved by the legislature. Currently, it favors an approach toward teaching abstinence. But as Dr. Ritze explained, “What is happening with the advent of Planned Parenthood and some of the other more progressive and liberal elements is that they have tried to introduce legislation year after year” to include what he called “how-to” education. “It’s like the failed DARE program [which ostensibly was a drug use prevention program] that turned out basically to be a ‘how-to’ course on drug experimentation — teaching kids how to use drugs.”

In fact, a bill “masquerading as a bill about HIV and STD prevention”— authored by Representative Emily Virgin — introduced this legislative session would have placed sex education curricula under the control of the State Department of Education. Dr. Ritze said, “several of us rose to the concern in the debate that that was morally wrong and something we couldn’t agree with because that is our job as legislators to spell out what they should do and not do in education on such a critical subject.” The progressive liberals in the legislature objected, saying that the legislature didn’t have the expertise to address those issues. “I rose again to remind them of my credentials — and there’s another physician in the House who has credentials on teaching all about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Dr. Ritze said that while speaking out against the bill on the floor of the House, he asked Representative Virgin about what kinds of condoms she would want to recommend to students, since her bill would have allowed that to be taught as part of the “how-to” sex education class. He told The New American, “She said, ‘Well, that’s a very sensitive subject. I don’t think we should be discussing that.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute. You’re wanting to teach children — seventh graders and on — how to use condoms, but you don’t want to discuss that amongst adults on the floor of the House and let parents know what we’re going to be teaching?’ and she got embarrassed and didn’t want to go any further when she realized the bill was headed for defeat.” The bill was defeated, but it — or something much like it — will likely return.

Reintroducing bills — time and again — seems to be a favorite tactic of those whose agenda it is to reshape the very fabric of American society by attacking basic morality. And schools seem to be one of their favorite points of attack. Even as they seek legislation on the one hand, they rely on overreaching — and largely unknown or misunderstood — interpretations of federal guidelines on the other hand.

That can be illustrated by Foster’s experience. She told The New American, “The day it happened, I contacted the school.” She spoke to Assistant Principal Mario Choice. “He said he was going to contact the organization that picks up the children and that he would call me back.” Because this was the week of Thanksgiving break, she didn’t get that call until the next week. She said Choice told her that the representative at the clinic — Youth Services of Tulsa — that he spoke with said that because of Title X, “the kids didn’t have to have consent to get any type of birth control.” Foster added, “To me that just didn’t sound right, because I’ve never heard that before. Like I said it was a school field trip, so I didn’t know anything like this could happen. Had I known, I wouldn’t have given consent for her to go on the field trip.”

Foster said she thought the reason for the field trip to the clinic was to get information that her daughter could bring home for them to discuss as mother and daughter. “We have our own doctor. We have a relationship with our doctor.” She added that contraception is something she and her daughter have discussed. “In October we talked about birth control.” But because Foster — as a parent — wanted to be a part of that decision, she was shocked to hear that the school and the clinic had circumvented her parental authority and responsibility by removing her entirely from that decision-making process.

A statement released by the school echoes Choice’s words to Foster:

This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.

Next, Foster reached out to the school board. She told us, “I went to the school board before I went to the news.” She added that the school board admitted to being ignorant of the situation. “The school board didn’t know about it.” She said the school board asked questions — such as “How did this happen?” and “Was the disclosure out there?” and “Who is this organization?” — of the school principal, Dr. Rodney L. Clark. She said the principal “didn’t know that this could be a possibility for them [the students] to get anything done” at the clinic.

But in the end, the only answer Foster got was that — because of Title X — no one had any obligation to get her consent or even to inform her. When asked how she feels about it even all these months later, she told The New American, “I’m p***ed! Quote that. I’m p***ed off.”

And, who can blame her?

Because the girl is a minor, the school is legally obligated not to “release information about” her. This magazine is not publishing the girl’s name out of a moral responsibility because of her age. It is a bizarre situation when everyone seems to agree that the girl — based solely on her age — deserves to be protected by not having her name and information published, but the school and school board cannot see that she needed protection from being exploited by the contraception industry.

Foster is not alone in her concern about the direction government schools are taking to supersede the authority of parents. Casey Polczynski, who lives in Central Virginia, is a mother of two children. Last year, her daughter — who, at the time, was in kindergarten and not yet six years old — came home and announced she wanted to marry her friend when she grows up. Her friend is also a girl. Polczynski asked her daughter why she thought she could do that. She said her daughter told her, “My teacher said boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.” Polczynski explained to her daughter that the teacher was mistaken.

This year, because of that episode opening her eyes, Polczynski is taking a more proactive approach. While visiting the school last week, she asked the school nurse about any programs that may be coming up that she would need to know about. She told The New American, “I asked what programs I needed to know about to make sure my rights as a parent were being protected.” She said the nurse was taken aback by the question and answered that Polczynski’s son’s fifth grade class would be having the “boys talk” but there was nothing to worry about because “this is not the sex education talk, it’s just about things like hygiene and wet dreams.” If classroom discussion about “wet dreams” is not “the sex education talk,” one wonders what subject matter will be taught in sex education.

Polczynski told the nurse that she would not want her son in that class and was informed that a consent form would be sent to her and unless she signed it, he would not be in the class anyway. If that is true, it’s likely because her son is shy of his 12th birthday and not yet considered of “reproductive age” by the prevalent interpretation of Title X. Next year, Polczynski will probably not be involved in that decision. In fact, if the trend continues, her son may well be taken off campus to a contraception clinic and sent home with a box or three of condoms.

As the government school system continues down into the sewer, concerned parents who care about their children’s moral formation are seeking solutions. As Dr. Duke Pesta, Director of FreedomProject Academy, explained in an interview with The New American:

For years, we at FreedomProject Academy have been fighting this [the immoral agenda of the government school system]. I’ve given hundreds of talks all over the country about this. What’s happening here — and this is a symptom of a larger problem — the federal government has taken control over America’s public schools. And they have decided that the primary purpose of public schools is to serve as surrogate parents. It is not to educate your kids; it is not to make your kids college-ready; it is not to prepare your kids to be entrepreneurs or business owners. The primary purpose of America’s public schools now is social justice education. That means that teachers, school nurses, school administrators, are assuming almost every aspect of parental responsibility — from your kids’ health-care to your kids’ birth control choices to how young they’re going to teach your kids about sex and homosexuality.

Dr. Pesta added, “They are doing this whether you want them to or not.” When asked what parents whose children are in government schools can do to fix this, Dr. Pesta said, “There’s no way you’re going to fix this because control has now been ceded to the federal government.” As Foster’s story illustrates, Dr. Pesta is correct. Local, city, county, and state schools and school boards will simply hide behind Title X and keep on keeping on with the immoral agenda of — as Dr. Ritze said — treating kids like promiscuous monkeys.

‘Matty was dead, and now he’s perfect:’ Incredible story of a toddler brought back to life

BAKER CITY, Oregon, March 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Matt and Elsa Cunningham thought they’d lost their young son in a drowning accident earlier this month. But 22-month-old Matty made it through the terrible ordeal with no medical complications.

The toddler should not have survived. His case has defied the laws of nature and science. And the Oregon family wants to share the joy of their miraculous experience, which they attribute to the power of prayer.

“Our Catholic faith is at the center of our lives,” Matt Cunningham told LifeSiteNews. “But I never knew that we’d be blessed this richly. It’s more than we could have ever asked for.”

Elsa expressed confidence that her son’s survival is due to a miracle, and how his very presence every day is an even greater testament to the miracle of life than it was before.

“Because you know when you wake up and he’s alive,” she told LifeSiteNews.
It couldn’t happen without God

Many human hands helped to save Matty, and the Cunninghams are grateful to them.

But it was also a stream of apparent Divine Interventions that led to Matty’s survival.

They are grateful to God, to the venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and St. Joseph, Matt’s late mother and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The couple prayed to God and His saints throughout Matty’s plight, but especially upon the horror of finding him in the water. And it was Archbishop Sheen, the revered pioneer of modern evangelization, that Matt thought to turn to at that moment.

“Archbishop Sheen was the one I screamed to,” Matt recounted in describing the 911 call, which was a mingling of his cries to Heaven to save his son and communicating with EMS.

The family had been praying a morning devotional with Archbishop Sheen each day in the month leading up to the accident. They were enamored of the prospective saint’s teaching. He has stood out among those they invoked to intercede on Matty’s behalf, and they think he had a hand in Matty’s survival.

“The Church is our life,” said Elsa. “If we could give credit to one saint, it would be Archbishop Sheen, but there were so many.”

“The crazy part is, Matty was dead, and now he’s perfect.”

Without knowing whether their situation would ever qualify for a miracle, the Cunninghams nevertheless now feel an affinity with the family whose child is at the center of the first approved miracle in the cause for Archbishop Sheen’s canonization. The stillborn baby was resuscitated after medical professionals worked on him for just over an hour.

“I feel for those parents who waited for 61 minutes for their child to come back,” Elsa said.
What happened that day

Thursday, March 9, was a mild late winter day that found the Cunninghams anticipating spring and working in the yard of their home seven miles from Baker City.

The homeschooling family had recently seen the first bluebird of the season, so Elsa was cleaning out a birdhouse for the birds to nest. The family had a litter of a couple-months-old puppies, and Matt was building an extension to their dog kennel.

Their oldest, Johnathan, 17, was inside working on school. Shane, 14, was not at home. The rest of the kids, Daniel, 11, Isabel, 9, and Abigail, 7, were outside helping their parents, along with Matty.

They don’t know when, but Matty wandered away on his own. They think he may have been following one of the puppies and fell into the pond about 100 yards from where they were working.
A string of miracles begins

But the pond is on a neighbor’s property behind a tightly spaced barbed wire fence that Matty shouldn’t have been able to get through. So it didn’t dawn on them at first to even check the pond, but as they realized he was missing, something took them there.

“The Holy Spirit led us, we believe,” Matt said.

The first miracle was not just that they were led to him, he said, but also that Matty was floating on the surface instead of sinking, despite his being dressed in a heavy winter coat and boots.

Elsa went through the barbed wire fence, tearing her clothes, and Matt went over the top.

“Whatever we had to do,” Matt told LifeSiteNews. “Elsa dove in with all her clothes on. Every second counted.”

Elsa started chest compressions and Matt performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
A parent’s worst nightmare

No one knows how long he’d been in the water, but they thought for sure they’d lost him.

Matty was blue, unresponsive, not breathing.

“We thought he was dead,” Matt said. “There was no movement in his limbs. He looked like he’d been there all winter.”

“Every parent knows the terror we felt,” he said. “It was pure hell.”

Still, Matt said they would try to resuscitate him “until they pried him away from us.”

Matt screamed to the 911 dispatcher on the phone as they also cried out to God. The other children immediately fell on their knees and prayed, Cunningham told LifeSiteNews, and John called 911 too.

Archbishop Sheen was on the tip of Matt’s tongue when it came time to beseech God to save Matty. He can be heard invoking him on the 911 tape.

He is grateful for the family’s daily devotional to the venerable prelate.

“I believe that was the Lord’s way of preparing us for that morning,” said Matt.

He remembers jumping out of the way as soon as the EMTs touched his shoulder, knowing they needed to work.

They detected a faint heartbeat at the scene, but Matty was still not breathing.
A friend jumps to action

Local sheriff Travis Ash, a family friend, had arrived on the scene apart from EMS, having also heard the call.

Ash instinctively ran to the ambulance, ahead of everyone else running, and jumped in to drive. Matt Cunningham doesn’t know why, but it’s another thing he considers the foundation of a miracle.

Ash was compelled to action, taking the driver’s seat, and driving such that the EMTs told him to take it easy. Ash continued at top speed, and the ambulance made it across the nearby railroad tracks in time to avoid a train that would have cost them valuable time.

“His haste gave Matty precious moments of needed care in the hospital,” Matt said. “It was all hands on deck, something that restores your faith in humanity.”

When Matty got to the ER at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City, an estimated 17 minutes after the first 911 call was placed, his body temperature was 84 degrees.

Matty’s initial blood work was that of a dead baby in Baker City, Matt told LifeSiteNews.

The staff had to administer two bone IVs in his calves because he was too cold to get a regular IV started. They performed blood work and other tests to assess his condition, the implication being there would be permanent damage assuming Matty survived.

They intubated Matty with a mobile ventilator and tried to warm him.

As the staff worked, Elsa prayed quietly to herself, Matt said, “I just spent most of the time on my knees.”

During this time, he had an experience that convinced him that Bishop Sheen was interceding on their behalf for Matty.

As he prayed, Matty cried out every so often while the hospital staff tried to revive him.

“Every time I kept imploring Archbishop Sheen, those were the two or three times I heard him cry,” Matt said.

He’d been told it was likely just a physical reaction his son had been making. The sound had him alternating between hope and fear.

People that they knew, and many they didn’t, stood in prayer in the parking lot, Matt recalled.

Everyone who was either at the scene or in that hospital knew how hopeless and tragic the situation was, he said, “how it was sure to end later that day with the planning of our son’s funeral.”

Matty was then airlifted the 125 miles to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise and would later be transferred to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, also in Boise.
A mother’s plea to God

Elsa rode in the helicopter as Matty was life-flighted to Boise. Matt followed by car with a family friend.

“I had the 50-minute helicopter ride from hell,” she told LifeSiteNews.

It was raining, there was turbulence, and she needed an airsickness bag handy nearby.

“But I’m just praying,” Elsa said, praying that God will allow her to keep her son.

Elsa, like many women, has miscarried, in her case three times.

Naming one of her other babies, she told LifeSiteNews that she thought as she prayed, “He has Michael (and the others).”

She prayed to God in the helicopter, “I want this one. I don’t know if we can live through this” (losing Matty).

Another sort of miracle Matt described was when they raced past a highway patrolman on the normally two-plus-hour drive to Boise, the officer simply waved at them, despite their speed.
Care, with prayer

Then, the experience with first doctor they encountered out of the helicopter at St. Alphonsus, Dr. Adrian John Curnow, also seemed in line with their impending miracle.

Curnow was willing to pray for their son.

“He grabbed me by the shoulder and told me, “God loves your son more than you do, and he’s going to be OK,” said Matt.

Curnow wasn’t the only medical professional to pray.

“All along the way, person after person and physician after physician prayed with us, and over our son,” Matt said. “This doesn’t happen in a secular world, but again, God allows small miracles to form the foundation of one large miracle.”

The doctor explained to the Cunninghams how Matty’s temperature would come up and then could spike, which would be dangerous.

He had a line put in through Matty’s nose to the boy’s stomach, and with a large syringe, taking water in and out of the line, he moderated Matty’s core temperature.

Curnow then rode in the ambulance with the Cunninghams to St. Luke’s, continuing the water-cooling procedure and staying with them after they arrived at the new hospital.

Matty remained heavily sedated there, until he could have an MRI to determine damage from the accident.

As the family waited the few days for Matty’s MRI, fellow parishioners at the Cunninghams’ parish of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City and many others prayed.

Their doctor at St. Luke’s was another beacon of faith, Matt told LifeSiteNews.

Between his manner, praying and using scripture with them, Dr. Derrick Dauplaise really embodied Christ to them, Matt said. He always came to them in a reassuring way, no matter what.

“He laid hands on Matty and prayed,” Matt recalled. “He then said God was going to take care of all of us.”

“He was the doctor to us just as much as Matty,” he said. “He was so loving, this man, we could just tell God was with us.”
An outcome with no medical explanation

The MRI took longer than expected, and likewise, the wait for results was difficult. The staff was taken aback by what they found. They wanted to be sure before they brought the Cunninghams the news.

Matty’s MRI results were absolutely normal, defying medical explanation.

When the Cunninghams were told there was no sign of brain damage, despite the specifics of Matty’s case, they couldn’t believe it.

“We just wept,” said Matt, “and I just fell on my knees and prayed to God. Thank you God, Archbishop Sheen and all the saints and angels.”

Prayer had been the key, prayer in the face of fear, and faith in God’s plan, no matter what, where or when.

At one point in the middle of the night during Matty’s hospital stay, Matt said, he wanted to pray the rosary, but he’d forgotten his rosary at home in the rush for the hospital.

So in the quiet of the night in Matty’s room, Matt used his son’s 10 toes in place of the 10 Hail Mary rosary beads to pray for the Blessed Mother’s intercession for his son.

“So I used his toes,” he said. “I just thought it was a great thing to do.”

After the MRI, things went quickly. Matty’s sedation was stopped and his breathing tube removed once he came to.

Within an hour, he knew who everyone was and called his siblings by name, Matt said. “He was just perfect.”

The first sound Matty actually made when he awoke was barking like a dog, as if nothing had happened.

“It was the greatest thing he could have said,” his father stated. Matty had been often mimicking their puppies before the accident. And this was just him picking up where he’d left off.

Matty didn’t skip a beat after waking up, Elsa recalled, and he was running around in no time.

Elsa stayed with him that night in the barred hospital crib before Matty was released the next day to go home.

Photos of Matty from the time of his waking show a healthy, happy child.
There’s more

The miraculous events didn’t end with Matty’s physical revival.

After they began to settle in at home, Matt and Elsa came together at one point, each wondering, “Have you noticed anything different about him?”

The couple had individually seen the same things; Matty’s eyes were brighter, almost as if they were bigger, and he was using bigger words.
Image
Matty heads home.

Matt said his son was always beautiful and bright-eyed, but now Matty is just more so. He doesn’t know how else to explain it.

“They’re just wider and brighter,” he said of Matty’s eyes. “He’s just wide-eyed and bright.”

Elsa can tell as a mother.

“You know when we’re smiling at him,” she said.

“We firmly believe it’s because he’s seen the Lord,” said Matt.

Matty was a late talker as compared with his siblings, they said, and since the accident he has been using phrases they’d never heard from him before.

An example of this, which also suggests a miracle, involves a photograph that hangs in their house of Matt’s mother, who died shortly before Matty was born.

Virginia Cunningham’s love for her children was unmatched, Matt said, and the example she gave through her suffering makes her the closest thing to a saint without a formal declaration. Matty only knows his grandmother from the picture and when they talk about her.

One day soon after he was home from the hospital, as they happened to be contemplating the picture of her in the hallway, they asked him, “Have you seen Grandma?”

Matty replied matter-of-factly, “Yes, I have.”

“He’s never said, Yes I have, ever,” Matt explained. “We firmly believe this has a miraculous explanation.”

Another instance involved an appointment the Cunninghams had scheduled before Matty’s accident with a buyer for one of their dogs. It had been set for soon after they returned home from Boise with Matty. Elsa said that despite the timing they went ahead and kept it since it would be easier to follow through than to cancel.

She explained to the wife of the couple who’d driven 2 1/2 hours to buy the dog how they’d been tied up with Matty’s situation and were just getting settled.

The woman shared that they had a similar experience with their son, who was now 10 and doing fine as well. She told Elsa she’d been thinking her husband didn’t need another dog and wanted to discourage the purchase.

But if she had done so, the two women would not have met.

The woman advised Elsa that it will take awhile for things to get back to normal for them. A happy miracle is not necessarily without some human fallout.

This paralleled the doctors’ advice, which cautioned the Cunninghams against being overprotective of Matty, and to monitor themselves for Post Traumatic Stress. It was especially powerful, though, coming from another family who had experienced it.

“God put her there for me,” Elsa told LifeSiteNews. “I know the stress is real, and I know Jesus will carry us through.”
“It’s a miracle”

Matty’s main doctors from the Boise facilities have said his case is a miracle.

Elsa recounts what Dauplaise told them the day they took Matty home.

“If you’re not open to the fact that it’s a miracle, then you can’t receive the gift,” he said.

Curnow called Elsa’s cell phone a little more than a week after they brought Matty home.

Elsa remembers, “He said, ‘Matty was beyond what we could do. This was a miracle. God must have great plans for him.’”

Curnow also told Elsa they should read Psalm 112, verses 1 and 2.

“He said that they remind him of our family,” she recalled.

The Scripture verses state:

“Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

Elsa found the implications with Matty’s experience to be powerful, stating, “It’s awesome and heart wrenching at the same time.”
Life goes on

The family continues to get back to normal. Matt has since spoken to a Catholic men’s group to share their experience. Elsa said Matt’s witness stirred the emotions of the men there.

Matty will turn two years old on April 26, 10 days after Easter.

The Lord’s death and resurrection will have additional significance this year for the Cunninghams.

The Baker City Herald ran a letter Matt wrote about Matty’s ordeal, which he titled “A love letter to the city with a heart of gold.”

In it, Matt wrote:

“Our son has been raised from the dead. Thanks be to God, and to all of you for begging and helping him on our behalf. He, in His mercy, heard and answered, and we will never be able to thank you enough.”

The family maintains their devotion to Archbishop Sheen and they are convicted in the belief he interceded on Matty’s behalf.

“I know he was involved,” Matt said. “I know it.”

“The Lord is the Lord of life, and life just perpetuates itself,” Matt continued. “God is bringing us more life with him than we could have hoped.”

“God is amazing,” Elsa told LifeSiteNews. “He’s so good.”

“The biggest thing is this wasn’t just a miracle just for us,” she said. “He answered everybody’s prayers.”

The (still) unexplained breast cancer epidemic

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/the-still-unexplained-breast-cancer-epidemic/19577

Carolyn Moynihan | Mar 30 2017

Yesterday the Planned Parenthood Federation of America arranged a Pink Out Day on social media to promote their brand in the face of calls to defund the organisation and an unsympathetic Trump administration. What impact their noon “thunderclap” had is not clear, but there is no doubt that PPFA has many supporters who defend its claim to be an important women’s reproductive health provider.

However, the literal meaning of “reproductive health” is incompatible with two of Planned Parenthood’s main activities: abortion and the provision of hormonal contraception. For at least two decades researchers have been tracing a link between these birth control methods and the rising incidence of breast cancer – a link denied or ignored by the scientific and medical establishment.

But the international evidence continues to mount. A new British study by Patrick S. Carroll and colleagues, using readily available data on breast cancer and abortion from British official sources, shows that the lifetime risk of breast cancer for women in the UK keeps increasing: it is now around 1 in 7 women for malignant tumours and 1 in 6 for in-situ lesions, which also need treatment and therefore should be planned for. And this increased risk cannot be explained by increased screening – the usual explanation — on its own.

Here is one reason: women do not enjoy being screened. It’s an uncomfortable business and there is always the thought in one’s mind that repeated x-rays may themselves cause trouble. So the raising of the cut-off age for screening from 65 to 75, as the UK has done, is unlikely, say the study authors, to increase the response rate among women who were screened between ages 50 and 65.

Another explanation of the risk trend is that childlessness has increased since the 1970s. It is widely acknowledged that a younger age at the birth of her first child reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, as do further full term pregnancies and longer breastfeeding of each of her infants. However, the authors find that neither childlessness nor increased age at first birth by themselves can predict breast cancer risk.

Baby boomer women and their daughters, of course, have had ways of delaying or avoiding childbirth that were not generally available to earlier cohorts, and these may bring their own risks. The authors state:

“Although still contested, there is significant literature that demonstrates that induced abortion, particularly of a woman’s first pregnancy, as well as hormonal contraceptives and HRT [hormone replacement therapy], also raise the risk of developing breast cancer.”

The reasons why this would be are now familiar. Abortion, especially of the first pregnancy, not only removes the protective maturing of the breasts during pregnancy and lactation, but actually leaves them in a more vulnerable state, while the estrogen in hormonal contraceptives increases cancer risk. A new study from Finland this month finds further evidence of a link between hormonal contraceptives (the IUD) and breast cancer.

British data, in fact, show a high positive correlation between abortion rates and breast cancer in women aged 50-54 (abortion was liberalised in the UK in 1967). This also seems to reflect the advent of hormonal contraception, say the authors. “When women were first having large numbers of induced abortions, their contemporaries were also starting to make extensive use of hormonal contraceptives.”

A remarkable social gradient

There is a further interesting angle on these links in the study – a “social gradient”. Data from the 1990s shows that women in the higher socio-economic groups have more breast cancer than those down the social scale. A possible explanation:

“Upper-class women and women who achieve upward social mobility are known to have children later and to make more use of hormonal contraceptives, and when they have pregnancies at a young age they are more likely to opt for nulliparous abortions. Lower-class single parents, who score highly as to deprivation, often have benefited from the breast cancer protection afforded by their first pregnancy taken to full term at a young age.”

No serious scientist is claiming that these factors are the only, or even the main cause of breast cancer, but the likelihood that they explain part of the largely unexplained current epidemic of the disease should at least receive some acknowledgement. Yet, as the authors point out, “While doctors are now more reluctant to prescribe HRT for reasons of the breast cancer risk they continue to prescribe hormonal contraceptive on a massive scale.”

It’s true that these doctors can cite some studies reporting no additional risk 10 years after a woman has ceased to use hormonal contraceptives. However, say Carroll and colleagues, “this risk is quite long-term and not apparent within such a time interval. Breast cancers discovered after age 50 are more reflective of these events in a woman’s reproductive history.”

The lack of official explanation for aspects of the epidemic such as the remarkable social gradient is a failure of public health education, of a piece with neglect of breast cancer prevention programmes, they conclude.

Indeed, women should be informed and the authorities should plan for an increasing breast cancer burden on the health system based on all known risk factors and not just politically correct ones.

Yet there is solid resistance to such moves in the UK. Patrick Carroll, who is neither a doctor nor a medical scientist but an actuary with the (UK) Pension and Population Research Institute, seems to have had no competition in using first class resources for a neglected, or rather, deliberately sidelined area of cancer research. However, getting his work published in medical journals is another matter.

Having failed on previous occasions, he submitted the paper discussed here to the (British) Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health last year. They sat on it for several months, he told MercatorNet, “offering no intelligent comments nor constructive criticism. They said they read it with great interest but found it unsuitable for their audience! They then suggested I try another of their journals, BMJ Open. Even though the editorial staff of the two journals are in the same building they did not offer a short process for submission to the second journal.”

Warned by another researcher that BMJ Open would inflict another delay of several months, he sent it to the independently minded Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) who published it – as they had a previous paper — in their journal.

The reasons for the establishment’s defensive attitude is not difficult to discern. Carroll and colleagues describe the situation in the UK in their published paper:

“Each prescription for hormonal contraceptives has a doctor’s signature. Every abortion notification form (HSA1), as required by the 1967 Abortion Act, needs two doctors’ signatures. In the UK, claims under medical professional liability insurance are largely in the area of obstetrics and gynecology. If women who experience breast cancer could make claims against doctors for prescribing hormonal contraceptives or approving induced abortions, there would be many more claims. For this reason it is understandable that British medical journals are reluctant to publish papers that report a link of breast cancer to induced abortions.”

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Planned Parenthood has tried selling itself as the household name that millions of women “turn to” for — guess what? — mammograms. In fact PPFA does not do mammograms but refers a small percentage of its clients (less than one percent) to specialised services after doing simple, routine breast checks.

But the irony of its claim only increases with this latest evidence that, even if it did do mammograms, it would be largely as a result of making its own work through the much more lucrative lines of abortion and contraception. And that applies to a significant part of the health sector internationally.

It must be time for a class action suit on this front.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

Doctors said I had cancer and needed to abort my son to save my life. Instead, I received a miracle.

March 29, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — Being pro-life was always something that came easy for me. I was raised by a mother who was part of the generation that began protesting and praying outside of abortion clinics. As a teenager I wrote letters to my senators to end abortion. I volunteered at crisis pregnancy centers.

This is not to give myself a pat on the back by any means; I just did it because it was the right thing to do. These issues were so black and white to me.

The only “gray area” I struggled with were the exception cases: rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Politicians and the media told me these were the only situations in which abortion was necessary and needed. It was okay in those instances. Wasn’t it? It seemed heartless to argue otherwise.

So when I found myself in one of those situations, with a swollen belly full of tiny kicks and movement and a doctor telling me I would most likely die if I continued the pregnancy, I had to come to grips with what exactly I believed about those “gray areas.”

Image
Eli as a newborn

I was 20 weeks pregnant with my son, Eli, when we got the news. We were there for a routine anatomy scan to find out the gender. One moment we were elated and hugging, rejoicing that we were going to have a second son, and the next our world came to a complete halt.

“Your son isn’t going to make it,” the doctor said.

We were told that Eli had a less than 1 percent chance of survival and they were surprised he was even alive at that point. He would most likely die within the next few days, we were told. Even if he did by some miracle survive, he would have a condition called triploidy. It was incompatible with life and most babies who made it to birth died immediately thereafter. So either way, we would lose our son.

My heart broke into a million pieces. My husband Chris and I just cried and held each other. We wanted this baby. We had already imagined him and his brother Rhett (who was 9 months old at the time) growing up and being best friends. We loved this baby.

Then the doctor continued speaking.

“My biggest concern is for your health right now.” She told me I was extremely at risk. I had a partial molar pregnancy and this meant that I had cancer in my placenta that would spread to my brain, lungs, and liver the longer I carried Eli. I was at risk for seizures and strokes, blindness and ultimately death. She warned me that my symptoms could happen quickly and without notice.

She recommended I terminate the pregnancy immediately and start chemotherapy as soon as I could.

I felt like I had no choice.

It made sense and it seemed like the only logical decision. And you know what? I considered it for a half second. Me, the pro-life guru.

All I could think about was not losing the things I had. My husband and I hadn’t even been married for two years, he was the man I wanted to grow old with. Would we not get that chance? I had a 9 month old son who I loved with all of my heart. I wanted to see his first steps, his first birthday, his graduation, his wedding, my grandchildren. It all kept playing over and over in my mind. I don’t want to lose this.

But then I remembered those tiny hands and feet I had just watched dance around on the ultrasound screen. I remembered the kicks and the movement. That was my son too.

The words of Psalm 139:16 came into my head: “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.”

I knew the Lord had Eli’s days, however many they were to be, written in His book. Who was I to cut them short? My days were also in that book and nothing, not even cancer or a high risk pregnancy could end them unless the Lord allowed it.

I looked at my husband, he had the same determined look. We told the doctor, “No. That is not an option for us.”

The goal was to make it to 24 weeks. That was the earliest he would be considered viable at this hospital. Those 4 weeks felt like a lifetime. I was in the hospital at least 3 times a week for monitoring and blood tests. They ran out of places to draw blood because my arms were so bruised and my veins worn out.

It hurt when they wouldn’t acknowledge Eli as a baby. All they talked about was me and hardly ever referenced him. I know they probably did that to make it seem easier if I lost him, but it still hurt. I remember lying on an exam table, waiting on one of the doctors to come in and crying. “Lord, why does no one care about my son?! I feel like I am fighting alone here.” I felt His peace and was reminded that He, more than anyone else, cared about my son.

I made it to 24 weeks and they gave me steroid shots to help develop his lungs in preparation for his early arrival. I almost cried when one of the doctors finally mentioned the baby and how he needed to be monitored closely.

They did two ultrasounds a week and at each one they were amazed that Eli was growing normally and was still alive. But at 28 weeks they started to notice his growth was halting and that was due to the placenta slowly falling apart. I got another round of steroid shots and at 30 weeks his heart rate was dropping so we were scheduled for a c-section the next morning.

The doctor met with us that night to discuss the risks. We still didn’t know if Eli had triploidy because we didn’t want invasive tests to put him more at risk, and my fluid was so low anyway, we didn’t want to take any more out than necessary.

She told us she had blood ready for a transfusion because they had to cut through my placenta to get to Eli and I might bleed out. My placenta was 5 times the size of a normal one. I might have to have an immediate hysterectomy because there was a chance the placenta had grown through my uterine wall.

We went into the operating room, not knowing if these would be our last moments together.

On April 1st, of all days, our little Elijah Lewis Mitchell came into this world. He weighed 2 lbs 7 ounces and I was able to kiss his tiny little head that was covered in black hair before they took him back to the NICU.

My placenta came out easily and with no complications. It was sent off for testing. I remember crying and taking a deep breath for what felt like the first time in months. One of the nurses put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Just rest now, momma.”

When our doctor came into the recovery room, she told us, “I think we may have misdiagnosed you.” She said I was cancer free and a few weeks later Eli’s genetic tests came back NORMAL. We were both in the clear and healed completely! We were overwhelmed by all that the Lord had done.

Eli was released from the NICU 55 days later, weighing five pounds and drinking his bottles on his own.

Image
Eli today

The reason I share our story with you today is because I think we really need to look at these exception cases, and figure out what we believe. Because you never know when you, or someone close to you might be faced with one of these situations. I have no doubt, if it was not for the Lord and knowing what I know about life in the womb, I would have aborted my son that day. Doctors that I respected were telling me to. It made sense to.

So I have a newfound compassion for women in these circumstances. It is a HARD decision. It feels impossible. But I want them to know, it can be done.

You can give your baby a chance at life. I promise you, it will be a choice you will never regret.

I have a daily reminder of my choice: a wobbly little two-year-old who has the sweetest smile, the bluest eyes, and the heart of a fighter. His life blesses mine every day and I am so thankful I gave him a chance to live.

Courtney Mitchell blogs at TheCarolinaFarmhouse.com and can be found on Instagram @thecarolinafarmhouse.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

Study finds most women unable to track fertility

https://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/most-women-unable-to-track-fertility/19562

Shannon Roberts | Mar 28 2017

With infertility more common than ever and birth rates around the world at a record low, a crucial first step for couples trying to get pregnant is to clearly understand exactly when they are fertile.  Yet that is something just 13 per cent of women surveyed were able to identify according to a new study just published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which surveyed over 1000 New Zealand women.  That was despite a third of the women reporting that they monitored their ovulation.

The authors concluded that fertility knowledge needs to be better addressed among women intending to conceive.  Professor Wayne Gillett, a researcher at the university’s Dunedin School of Medicine and medical director at Fertility Associates Dunedin commented:

“When a couple are trying to have a baby, problems like age, endometriosis and male problems are always touted – but no one ever considers knowledge, and that’s one of the things we often see,”

Gillett said there was one enduring myth that the best time in the menstrual cycle to conceive was during, or even after, ovulation, when the reality is that the fertile window is pre-ovulation.  He expressed concern that even health professionals are not well-educated about a woman’s fertile window.
An article discussing infertility published in the New Zealand media this month comically writes “at high school we’re taught that if you so much as look at a girl strangely, she’ll get pregnant.”  Sadly many indeed carry this idea into adulthood after years of only being told how not to get pregnant.  However, given that interest in natural family planning continues to grow, it is hopeful that fertility knowledge will be better circulated, including the knowledge that fertility begins to reduce in a woman’s late twenties and more drastically after the age of 35.
One in six couples in Australia use IVF, and one in every 25 Australian children are now born as a result of IVF. In Denmark one in 15 children are IVF babies.  Yet it is questionable whether people are first given good advice about the other more simple and inexpensive options available to them – including accurate knowledge about their exact fertile window which is normally only 6 days long if not shorter.  To some, IVF services are a business and there is little incentive to first offer easier, cheaper options to couples.

John Aitken, Newcastle University laureate professor, Director of the University of Newcastle’s large 50-staff Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science, and the 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year,  recently commented:

“We should guard against recklessly marching into a future where we use too much assisted conception in order to compensate for our loss of fertility … It’s 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.”

Family adopts girl born without limbs: ‘Loving her was what mattered most’

March 23, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — In a village in the Philippines in 2014, a little girl was born without limbs. At six months old she was placed in an orphanage for children with special needs, where she waited for a family to adopt her.

In October of 2014, when she was nine months old, the Stewart family saw a picture of the little girl and decided to adopt her. It would take months of paperwork and a trip to the Philippines, but a year later, Adrianne and Jason Stewart were bringing little Maria home to join their family of five, including two biological daughters and an adopted son.

“When we found our daughter we did not think we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most,” Adrianne Stewart wrote in a post for Love What Matters.

At about two years old at the time of her adoption, CNN reports Maria was unable to hold up her head and her parents knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. She now receives speech and occupational therapy and attends preschool in an inclusive classroom.

“She has given us far more than we will ever give her,” Maria’s mother wrote on Facebook. “She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of.”

Since sharing their story in hopes of inspiring other families to adopt, the Stewarts have received a lot of positive notes. However, they have also heard from mothers who have chosen abortion when their preborn children were diagnosed with conditions similar to Maria’s. These women express to the Stewarts their abortion regret. Adrianne Stewart hopes that Maria will help other expectant mothers choose life when faced with similar prenatal diagnoses.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Let’s say you are 33 years old and got married a year ago. In the past ten years, you have been using a variety of hormonal birth control methods. Now you and your husband are looking forward to starting a family. You get off the pill, hopeful and a bit anxious as you know time is working against you. You try for eight months and nothing happens.

You start getting concerned, and you talk your doctor into putting you on Clomid, a drug to stimulate ovulation. This drug actually lowers your chances of conceiving, unbeknownst to you. A few months later, you get your first appointment at a fertility clinic where you discuss Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), bracing yourself for several months of treatment and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

But could all that anxiety, doctor visits and interventions be completely unnecessary?

The pill may not cause long-term infertility after discontinuation, but it can delay fertility by up to a year. The delay is caused by the pill’s impact on the production of cervical fluid, an essential component of conception. The delay can be critical as women tend to start their family much later in life now than in earlier decades, and may lead them to engaging into unnecessary fertility treatment.

It takes three to get pregnant

We were all taught in high school biology or sex-ed that it took and a sperm and an egg (an ovule) to make pregnancy happen. What is often left out of this equation is the cervical fluid, aka cervical mucus.

In order for the sperm to survive more than a few hours in the vagina, and then have the energy reserves to travel through the uterus all the way to the fallopian tubes and maybe wait for the egg to arrive, it needs good quality fertile cervical fluid.

Cervical fluid is secreted by the cervix; it changes in aspect and properties as ovulation approaches. At the time of ovulation, it becomes stretchy, almost like raw egg whites, and allows the sperm to go through the cervix into the uterus. Before and after ovulation, the fluid is thick and blocks access to the uterus, a wonderful mechanism to protect the womb from infection. It also naturally prevents fertilization during a major part of the cycle.

Without sufficient, good quality mucus, no baby.

The way hormonal contraceptives work to stop pregnancy

Hormonal contraceptives, as generally documented in scientific literature, don’t work merely by suppressing ovulation. Another mechanism is the effect on the production of mucus, thickening it consistently throughout the cycle, providing a barrier in case ovulation still takes place (which does happen).

How does it work? The cervix normally follows the marching orders of hormones. With the use of contraceptives, the synthetic hormones take over the natural ones and run the cervix in a non-natural way to produce consistently this type of non-fertile mucus.

So far so good. What’s wrong with a secondary barrier to make sure pregnancy doesn’t happen when that’s the reason why the woman is on the pill in the first place?

Here is how things get more complicated.

The impact of the pill on the production of cervical fluid

Professor Erik Odeblad is one of the first scientists to use MRI technology for a medical purpose. A Swedish physician, professor and researcher born in 1922, he spent most of his life studying and explaining the secretion of cervical fluid: the various types of fluids at different stages in a woman’s cycle and in her life, and their role and composition.

One of his discoveries was to show that there are different types of mucus[i], which he called G, L, S. Each has different roles and is secreted from different cervical crypts (the pockets lining the cervix) at different times. For instance,  right after puberty, a young woman has an abundance of S crypts, and as she ages, the number decreases and are replaced by L crypts. S mucus is the type of mucus that is essential to fertilization: it allows passage and then transports and nourishes sperm.

What Dr. Odeblad found was that “for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” He explains that: “If a woman takes the Pill for 10-15 years and then ceases taking it in order to achieve pregnancy, she may encounter some difficulties.”

In simple terms, a 20-year-old woman who stays on the pill for 10 years can end up with the cervix of a 40 year-old with 20% of S crypts instead of 40-50%. It can take a long time after a woman stops the pill for her cervix, and especially the S crypts, to function again. Her cervix may never recover some of those lost capacities.

To make matters worse, if she gets on Clomid, thinking it will increase her chance of pregnancy, it will do the opposite: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid. A thorough evaluation of both her ovulation and of her mucus production is needed.

Why it matters more today

Woman are waiting longer to start their families now that in the past. In 1970, most women had their first pregnancy in their early 20s. The average age of first child birth was 22. Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. More women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970 to almost one in three in 2014[ii].

If these women have been on the pill, as many have been, it’s no surprise that they would experience more difficulties getting pregnant. As the cervix may take up to a year to retrieve a functioning production of mucus, many couples may be directed to drastic medical procedures, such as IVF, a costly and emotionally difficult process. If they waited or found other ways to improve the production of their cervical mucus, they could resolve their problem. Some good news: a pregnancy will rejuvenate the cervix by 2 to 3 years.

Here is the scoop: as a result of being on the pill for an extended time, a woman may not be able to conceive for up to a year, leading her to think she’s infertile, when she’s not! Her fertility is certainly impaired, but medication to stimulate ovulation will actually aggravate the problem.

We find here yet another great reason why young women who are hoping to get pregnant one day should avoid hormonal birth control all together and use a Fertility Awareness Based Method. Not only will these methods preserve their fertility, but when the couple is ready to achieve a pregnancy, the knowledge gained through training in a FABM will help them reach that goal more quickly and easily.

Other readings on this topic:

http://www.naturalfamilyplanning.ie/effects-of-the-pill/

https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/about-atrophy-reproductive-aging-and-how-it%E2%80%99s-really-not-nice-to-fool-mother-nature-%E2%80%93-or-with/

[i] The Discovery of Different Types of Cervical Mucus and the Billings Ovulation Method, Erik Obledad, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, Sweden,  Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, 27 Alexandra Parade, North Fitzroy, Victoria 3068, Australia, Volume 21, Number 3, pages 3-35, September 1994.

[ii] First Births to Older Mothers, 1970-86 – NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349777/pdf/amjph00238-0089.pdf  and First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise , NCHS Data Brief No. 152, May 2014 by T.J. Mathews, M.S.; and Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db152.htm

 

Melanie and Madeline, changing the face of beauty

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/melanie-and-madeline-changing-the-face-of-beauty/19526

Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. Why? Because it is the 21st day of the 3rd month. The numbers represent the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Unhapply, about 90% of women who learn that they will give birth to a child with Down syndrome have an abortion. This barbarity is not just the mother’s fault. They receive so little encouragement — even from their doctor – and they are under intense pressure just to make the problem disappear. Society takes a very dim view of disability.

Mary Le Rumeur writes from France about two young women with Down’s who have made a splash in the media as a model and as a weathergirl.

Two beautiful young girls – one in France and the other from Australia – are showing the world a new face of Down Syndrome.

Mélanie had a dream; she wanted to present the weather report on television. So last month, 21-year-old Mélanie Ségard posted a message on FaceBook: “If I get 100,000 likes, I can be the weather girl.”

Within 10 days Mélanie had 200,000 likes, and several television channels contacted her. The choice was made to accept the spot offered by France 2 on its main evening news programme.

Mélanie spent four days at the TV channel’s studios in Paris, under the tuition of former weather girl Catherine Laborde. She had to learn her text by heart because she can not read or write. The current weather girl Anaïs Baydemir took her under her wing and they worked as a team.

On March 14 the final preparations were made with Melanie choosing her clothes and make-up. Finally, at 8.35 pm, she was on screen, wearing a little black skirt, pretty pink top, chic earrings and a confident smile. Mélanie was telling the whole of France that Spring weather was arriving: “ Thursday, cloudy in the north, sunny near Marseille…. ”

And to finish, “Happy feastday tomorrow to all the Louises.” Anaïs and Mélanie hugged each other, a big happy smile on both faces.

This project was initiated to mark Down Syndrome Day, March 21. (The 21st of the third month represents the extra chromosome at the 21st pair that causes trisomy 21.) An association of families with DS children was looking for a way to overcome the  “ invisibility ”of their children, especially on television. And they were very proud of Mélanie’s exploits.

“ Mélanie was natural and spontaneous. Her presentation was happy and confident. Mélanie gave the message that if society helps these young people, they can achieve many things, ” said the president of the association, Luc Gateau. “ We hope that schools will become more inclusive of children with handicaps, and the next generation will be more familiar with different handicaps and able to interact more easily. ”

Mélanie’s weather report gave France 2 a record audience of over 5 million and it was also watched more than 3 million times on internet. On Twitter, 12,000 people sent Melanie a message of congratulations.

 

Madeline Stuart, Facebook

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Madeline Stuart was launching her own fashion label – in the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, no less ! Since 2015 Madeline has made a special place for herself in the fashion world, modelling in New York, Birmingham, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and China.

“ Exuberance ” is the word for this 20-year-old Australian who watched a fashion parade one day in her home town of Brisbane, and said to her mother, “ Mum, me, model.” Her mother Rosanne took up the challenge, first helping her daughter to lose 20 kilos, by dancing and going to the gym. Maddie’s new silhouette inspired people around the world.

Then in September 2015 Madeline was on the catwalk for the first time, during the New York Fashion Week. You can see the video of her first parade, in a stunning black dress, on her website. Colours and zazzy patterns are the trademark of Madeline’s casual but chic ready-to-wear collection. Her label: “ 21 Reasons Why ”.

Madeline and her team assume with pride all her 21 chromosomes, and showcase a young woman who takes life full on, with her arms open wide, a toss of her long shiny hair, and a smile to reach your heart. In 2016 Madeline was nominated for the Pride of Australia and Young Australian of the Year.

In 2015 a United States group called Changing the Face of Beauty set out to find 15 retailers to commit to using models with disabilities in their advertisements – and wound up getting commitments from more than 100 companies. With television and fashion weeks coming to the party, the face of beauty is certainly changing.

Mary O’Neill Le Remeur writes from Angers in France.

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/melanie-and-madeline-changing-the-face-of-beauty/19526#sthash.32pllWF4.dpuf

Touching story: 26-week-old preemie reaches out to nurse with tiny hand in captivating photo

babypMarch 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 26-week-old preemie reaching out to touch a nurse’s hand affirms the humanity of the most fragile human beings.

The Daily Mail published the photo, found on a website for medical staff called Figure 1. It shows a tiny baby girl, born at 26 weeks’ gestation and weighing less than one pound, “seeking the comfort of human touch.”

The baby girl’s whole hand was only 3/4 of an inch.

“I was changing her nappy and she just held onto my hand,” the nurse explained online. “I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important.”

Scientists believe skin-to-skin contact is crucial to a child’s physical and psychological development.

Birmingham City University’s head of psychology, Professor Craig Jackson, explained that babies need skin-to-skin contact. They crave the type of relational and physical closeness they experienced in the womb.

A mother’s skin contact with her baby is known to stimulate the production of breast milk. Such contact also releases oxytocin, known to create interpersonal bonding.

The Daily Mail reported on a 20-year Bogota, Columbia, study of 250 babies on the effects of skin-to-skin contact. The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study tested “Kangaroo Mother Care” for low-weight newborns, which replaced the cautious incubator approach for the most fragile human beings with “strapping the baby upright to the mother’s chest in skin-to-skin contact” and exclusively breast feeding.

The study found that babies who were given close skin-to-skin contact were calmer, less hyperactive, less aggressive, more faithful to school attendance, more sociable, slept better, and grew more brain matter.

A major review of 21 studies and more than 3,000 babies concluded that the maternal skin-to-skin contact “was preferable to conventional neonatal care.” Fathers making skin contact led to positive results as well.

The nurse reported that the fragile little girl in the picture is now a “happy, healthy, 14-pound nine-month-old.”

“Premature babies are the definition of a miracle,” she said. “I have the best job ever.”

Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News opined, “If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, this is it.”

Scientists are Creating the First “Three-Parent” Babies in Britain Turning Children Into Spare Parts

threeparent3A Newcastle fertility clinic has been given a license by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to carry out the controversial “three-parent baby” technique.

It is the first time such a license has been granted in the UK. The next step in the two-stage licensing process will be to consider the application relating to an individual patient.

Children as commodities

Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC and author of Cloning and Stem Cell Research explains the news, saying:

“This depressing but entirely foreseeable development puts into practice a technique known as ‘pro-nuclear transfer’. This technique involves the gutting and destruction of two embryos to create a third ‘combined’ embryo – a clone of one of the first two who will have no genetic parents in the ordinary sense. Early human beings are treated by scientists as mere commodities, and the would-be parents, with their encouragement, are more concerned with ensuring ‘quality’ in any child born than with reverence for the gift of human life.

Embryos used for spare parts

“As so often with such developments, safety concerns, which bodies such as the HFEA claim to be paramount, are set aside. Actual interference in the germ-line, which could affect countless future generations, is now permitted in this country, where so many other countries sensibly restrict it.

“The granting of this license entrenches the idea that eggs can be bought from women who will be cut off from the children to whom they also will have some genetic link. It worsens the situation for embryos, who are merely valued as sources of spare parts for ‘improved’ embryos ‘designed’ for would-be parents – who are in fact the full genetic parents of the embryo who is cloned and destroyed. And of course, such procedures do not even attempt to treat the mitochondrial problems some dishonestly claim they do.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.

Pro-lifers took Peru’s capital by storm… for a dance party!

LIMA, Peru, March 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)—The pro-life movement in Peru has produced a video of startling vitality and youthful exuberance to promote what may be the world’s largest annual March for Life.

Staged as a flash mob in a spacious public square in downtown Lima, the video begins with a teenage girl doing a solo song and dance with “en la marcha por la vida” as its chorus. Soon the square is filled with hundreds of young men and women joining her in both the song and dance, with both closeups filmed at ground level and long shots taken from a drone. The video is followed by a second one that teaches the song’s four verses and accompanying movements.

The flash mob matches this year’s theme: “La Calle Es Nuestra: Defienda La Vida (The Street is Ours: Defend Life).” Not only are Peruvians the most pro-life population identified in a world survey conducted earlier this year by Ipsos, their yearly Marcha Por La Vida may be the world’s largest. It drew 500,000 in 2015 and 750,000 last year. The biggest U.S. march, in 2013, attracted 650,000.

Abortion is illegal in Peru except to save the life of the mother. An effort two years ago to extend decriminalization to abortions of unborn children conceived in rape failed.

#Ru486RuCrazy campaign warns women about the dangers of abortion drug

This is the second in a series of videos. The first is available here.

March 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Campaign Life Coalition’s awareness campaign against Canada’s newest abortion drug, RU-486 or Mifegymiso, included a video posted on International Women’s Day warning women about the hypocrisy of radical feminists who put abortion access above women’s health.

So far, eight videos have been produced in the #Ru486RuCrazy campaign and are being released every few days. Marie-Claire Bissonnette, youth coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, says more are in the works.

For more videos, check out Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube @CLCYouthProLife.

Bill and Melinda Gates ride a hobby horse

https://www.mercatornet.com/conniptions/view/talking-contraceptives-with-mom-and-grandma/19465#sthash.MNRKtrsw.dpuf

By: Carolyn Moynihan

video images

I don’t like to harp on about Bill and Melinda Gates, but, honestly, is propaganda for contraception the best they could do for International Women’s Day?

In my mail this morning (March 8, US time) was a newsletter headed “Talking contraceptives with mom and grandma”. You know, like, “Having scones and jam with mom and grandma,” or “Taking a walk in the park with mom and grandma.” As nice and feminine as that. Except that it isn’t nice and feminine.

Contraception is about sterilising yourself in different ways: overdosing on hormones or having a metal or plastic device poked inside you, for instance; practices designed to make your body like a man’s, unable to conceive, except for the times they fail and either destroy a new human life or present you with an unwanted pregnancy.

Now that would be something to discuss with grandma: “Dear Gran, if my contraception failed do you think I should go to Family Planning and get an abortion?” That’s if you wnt to completely spoil her day.

There’s a video with four grandmother-mom-daughter groups, but none of them had an abortion, although it would have been legal for a few of the younger women who had unplanned pregnancies. It makes you wonder why American women had to turn out in their hundreds of thousands in January to claim their abortion rights.

And the grandmothers are the only ones to talk about marriage and children in the same breath. Their daughters planned and used IUDs and things – and had the odd lapse (“my son was a big oops”). But for the youngest generation (still having unplanned babies occasionally) it’s all about education, careers, “being anything I want”, and, ideally, achieving all sorts of milestones, including home ownership, before children enter the picture. Being “in control” is big.

True, the stories start with an English grandma saying how wonderful it is to be a mother, “a privilege”, but the poor things really had no choice. And neither, according to Bill and Melinda, do 225 million women in developing countries who “want to time and space their pregnancies, but they don’t have access to modern contraceptives.”

(Really? That many? Did they ask them all?)

“Let’s work to give every woman the chance to lead a healthy and prosperous life,” say the Gateses. “When women can plan their futures, everyone benefits.”

No-one could disagree with that. But why, if contraception is the key to health, wealth and happiness – and goodness knows, it’s been around for 50 years –are there so many women in countries saturated with cheap, often free, “modern contraceptives” who are struggling in poverty to bring up kids on their own?

Has Melinda warned the women she talks to in Africa and India that this is what can happen? And does she tell them straight off that the backstop is abortion, advocated and/or provided by organisations that the Gates Foundation partners with through the Family Planning 2020 coalition?

That network, which up until now, at least, includes US and UK government aid organisations, also had something to advertise on IWD. It’s their own riff on international human rights agreements, although some of those “agreements” only exist in the reports of UN committees and not in international treaties.

Family Planning 2020: Rights and Empowerment Principles For Family Planning is an elaboration of the familiar “sexual and reproductive health” agenda. “Abortion rights” are implicit in projects like FP2020, which have an official aura about them, but are often boldly stated by groups like Planned Parenthood, which sponsored the Washington Women’s March.

Western governments are shelling out enormous amounts of money for this reproductive health crusade. Yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that it would be boosted by $650 million from his government – this, hot on the heels of a $20 million commitment to an international abortion fund.

As I’ve said before, Bill and Melinda do some great things – they also sent out yesterday a feature, Alive Under 5, highlighting the 50 percent drop in childhood mortality since 1990, which they have assisted. It’s a shame to spoil these achievements with a patronising and compromising role in the war on population.

 

 

“Day Without a Woman” Sponsors Ignore How We’re Without Millions of Women Who Were Aborted

If you want to understand why just one-in-five Americans self-identify as a feminist, look no further than today’s “Day Without A Woman” event.

The organizers already told about half of America’s women to get lost when they explicitly stated the preceding January’s Women’s March’s “platform is pro-choice” and “has been since day one” and participants will be “marching on behalf of individuals who share th(at) view.” Today is supposed to be the “part two,” if you will, to that event.

The Day Without A Woman website claims to stand for “the human rights of women,” and yet they side-step the reality that tens of millions of American women consider abortion to be an egregious human rights violation against hundreds of thousands of females annually and millions more globally.

Understandably, the organizers would probably prefer not to rename the event, “A Day Without Pro-Choice Women,” but even if they did, that would still be too broad. That still wouldn’t address the reality, for example, that poor women don’t have the same luxury as wealthy women of risking being fired in order to stand for left-wing ideologies, many of which help to keep women in oppression and poverty, such as advocating for legalized prostitution.

Advocating for legalized prostitution?

Yep. Amnesty International is a sponsor of the Day Without a Woman. Amnesty was last seen coming out in favor of decriminalizing prostitution, or “sex work” as they now call it. Amnesty’s policy shift comes at a time when the number of people living in human slavery, many of them as sex slaves, is at a record high. An estimated 35 million people today are living in slavery and one can easily draw a straight line between prostitution and the trafficking of human beings, most of them girls and women, for sex.

Planned Parenthood is also heavily invested in the Day Without A Woman. They were a sponsor of the Women’s March and are hosting various events across the country in conjunction with tomorrow’s events.

Planned Parenthood keeps trying to bill itself as a representative of women’s interests, but those efforts are sagging under constant exposes that suggest the abortion chain is more interested in its bottom line than it is in authentic women’s health. For starters, the organization has lobbied against even the most commonsense regulations on the abortion industry, such as higher safety standards for abortion centers or bills that would restrict late term abortion, bills that just so happen to have the support of the overwhelming majority of … women.

So you’ll forgive those of us women who opt out of an event that purports to be pro-woman, but feels instead quite out of step with the attitudes of plenty of women who don’t care to see our country legalize the sexual exploitation of women, kill our preborn daughters, or get us fired from our jobs and call it progress for women.

LifeNews Note: Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and the author of the new book, “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female” (Regnery Publishing, 2017).

How one family is sending 13 kids to college, living debt free — and still plans to retire early

 www.washingtonpost.com

Sam Fatzinger prowls the aisles of an Aldi grocery store with an engineer’s precision. Workers greet her, mostly by name.

She puts several trays of chicken into a huge cart. Then it’s on to fresh blueberries for $1.79 a pint, in February. And she recalls the time the no-frills store had a sale on potatoes: 10 pounds for 99 cents. She bought 60 pounds. Her husband loves them.

To get these best buys, “it’s just watching and waiting and knowing,” Sam says.“Every cent counts.”

At the cashier, her groceries fill every inch of the conveyor belt. My silent guess: $250 in all. The bill: $127, half of my estimate.

Very impressive. But not as impressive as this:

Rob and Sam Fatzinger, lifelong residents of Bowie, Md., lead a single-income family in one of the country’s most expensive regions. Rob’s income never topped $50,000 until he was 40; he’s now 51 and earns just north of $100,000 as a software tester.

They have 13 children. Which means they require things like a seven-bedroom house and a 15-passenger van. Four children have graduated from college, three are undergrads and six are on the runway.

Yet they paid off their mortgage early four years ago. They have no debt — never have, besides mortgages. And Rob is on track to retire by 62.

This family gets the gold medal for being frugal. This family is the Einstein of economical.

These days, frugality is not about clipping coupons. It’s about rethinking your finances, and maybe your life.

Rob’s philosophy: “Spend money on what makes you truly happy and on what you enjoy. … The thing that people need to understand is that we don’t feel deprived or poor. … We pick and choose carefully.”

The Fatzingers are getting it done.

Could you?

Frugality is hardly new. In 1789, George Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette, the French military officer who fought for the American Revolution: “Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people.” And we were a frugal people well into the 20th century. Then came the era of instant credit, rampant consumerism and record personal bankruptcies.

Recently, frugality has gotten a boost thanks to hundreds of personal-finance bloggers, and no thanks at all to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Many focus on FIRE, an acronym for financial independence/retire early.

Aspirants often strive to save at least 25 percent of their take-home pay over the years, or even twice that — or more — to feel financially secure or to pursue a new career. Others yearn to quit their jobs for the long haul, even in their 30s.

One leading blogger grew up on food stamps. Others learned about money from their parents, for good or ill. The best are innovative, funny and surprisingly philosophical as they chart a course for change and places unknown.

They’re about ideas and possibilities, not suffering. And millions are listening. Until a couple of years ago, Rob Fatzinger had a blog called Sardonic Catholic Dad, focusing on family, faith and frugality. Two of his hits: “College on the Cheap — How the Sardonic Family Does It” and “How to Retire Early With 13 Kids,” which he wrote as a guest post on the FIRE site Mad Fientist.

Frugalism is often about math, determination and thinking a bit differently. A few key principles: How much you save, as a percentage of your paycheck, will foretell when you’ll be able to build your own business or retire. Small financial changes can make a big impact. And it’s not really about your income; it’s about your savings, says Pete Adeney, a lapsed engineer from outside Boulder, Colo., who created the popular Mr. Money Mustache blog.

And then there’s the “miracle” of compounding interest, the gift that keeps giving as your investment’s interest spawns its own interest, time and again.

The Fatzingers would never claim to be financial magicians. But to outsiders, it might look that way.

After marrying 27 years ago, Sam and Rob started a small Christian bookstore in Crofton, Md., and soon had a daughter. Rob said the couple never earned more than $36,000 a year in the business. Still, they saved 10 to 15 percent of their earnings. By the time they shuttered the store in 2000, they had seven kids.

About 10 years ago, Rob got the job testing software. Earnings of $40,000 gave way to $60,000 and are now about $110,000, counting a few thousand from mowing neighbors’ lawns and other tasks.

Back in 2000, they bought a five-bedroom house out of foreclosure and later added three bedrooms. Nine children, including the youngest, who is 4, live there now.

The good news: The home cost $150,000. The Fatzingers paid down $50,000, saving interest on the 15-year mortgage.

The bad news: Sam said their priest, visiting to bless the new home, “walked in and said: ‘Should I do an exorcism on this house?’ ” The place was in serious disrepair.

“Relatives gutted it and made it livable,” Sam said. “Youth groups were over here, ripping up carpet, taking down walls.” Someone gave them a wood stove. A relative gifted them a used couch. Later, another couch was left on a curb for anyone to take. Score.

Years later, they enlarged the kitchen, using two zero-percent finance offers good for 12 months. Eleven months later, they paid off the loan, without paying any interest. The project cost $28,000, with family members doing much of the demolition, painting and decorating.

Now they have two refrigerators, two stoves, two dishwashers and a welcoming, comfortable home. (Even the clothes washer is a champ. Sam estimates that the family cleans 42 loads a week, but never on Sundays. The only children who don’t do the wash are the 4- and 6-year-olds.)

Since the mortgage was paid off in 2012, Rob and Sam have turbo-charged their savings rate, now investing about $3,000 a month. Even so, they don’t go without. Sam has a $10 monthly gym membership, and Rob and Sam go out for lunch on the 20th of each month, maybe at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews in Bowie, marking the day of the month they got married.

Occasionally, Sam and Rob are annoyed by strangers at the grocery store. “People still say, “Oh my God, you have so many kids!” said Sam, a devout Catholic, as is Rob. “I have this ‘Don’t mess with me’ reaction. I’m not your typical, quiet, passive woman.”

Rob, 51, is soft-spoken, a work-from-home dad and a former “American Idol” fan. A few years back, he finished a 50-mile trail run — and kept going to 54.

Sam, who is 48, home-schools the children through high school and is certified to do so. The kids also get outside tutoring. Her nonacademic lessons extend to the rules and responsibility of money.

“My kids all get jobs as soon as they’re old enough,” she says, and they “learn to discern between needs and wants. They pay for their cellphones, they pay for college, they pay for their own gas.” Allowances? Nope.

Daughter Barbara, 20, a rising senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, started babysitting at 11. She got her first “real job” at Rita’s Italian Ice. Babysitting, she noted, “paid way more than Rita’s.”

When she was 15, Barbara bought a 1994 Ford Escort with 30,000 miles for $2,600 from her savings. “It sat in the driveway until I got my driver’s permit,” she said. Five years later, “I still drive it.”

The family shops at sales or secondhand stores and checks out the Freecycle Network, a site for giving away belongings.

Friends and strangers also chip in. “We always have someone dropping off a bike,” Sam said. “We would get things and not even know where they came from.”

Someone stuck an anonymous $500 gift card on the Fatzingers’ front door. And a pair of size 3 white shoes for church wound up on the doorstep for a young daughter who could use them.

“Bowie just does that,” Sam said. A friend from church gave them a used car, and Sam’s sister gave her a used red Chevrolet Suburban. And later, an older white Suburban.

Fine. Except this is America. Surely the kids are seething cauldrons of Nike-deprived resentment.

Or maybe not. “I always had a ton of clothes,” Barbara said. “I would go with Grandma and buy any cute clothes I wanted.”

Older brother Caleb: “I can see how some people would think … we might have been deprived. It was never like that.” He played soccer at a small Christian school, was a counselor at a summer camp and swam at a community pool. The kids had cable TV and high-speed Internet. In community college, Caleb said, he “knew I didn’t have what some other kids had, but it was never out of control.”

As for the givers: Sam’s sister, Joan Salvagno, who is 11 years older than Sam in a family of nine, said her sister’s family “needed the car more than we did. … You don’t really think of them as gifts. … We’ve gotten more than we’ve given.”

These days, even the childless can be terrified of college costs, so just imagine having 13 kids. But the Fatzingers have a strategy, and it’s working. The plan: Start in community college, don’t expect a handout from Mom and Dad, and graduate debt-free.

So far, Alexandria, the oldest at 26, graduated at 21 with a master’s degree in social work. Joshua, 25, graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in kinesiology and became a missionary.

Caleb, 23, is in the last year of a doctoral program in physical therapy at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. And Lizzie, 21, graduated in May from the University of Maryland with a math major, while also cleaning houses and tutoring. All four graduated from college debt-free.

All five oldest Fatzingers have gone first to Anne Arundel Community College.

In Barbara’s first semester, her tuition, textbooks and gas money were covered by scholarships and other aid. In her second semester, she spent “probably $500” in tuition. The next year, she paid $700 to $1,000 per semester. After two years, she had paid about $2,500 at most. It came from savings and her job in a child-care center at a gym.

In September, Barbara started at UMBC, a public university with higher expenses. Her first year there cost about $15,000, after receiving a $5,800 scholarship based on grades and financial need. Money was tight. Again, she paid with her savings, which included money from a grandparent, who gives each child a one-time gift of $5,000 for college. Barbara used some of the gift money to stay in school, but she’s saving most of it.

She will soon begin her senior year at UMBC. She has a $7,500 stipend for tuition and five small scholarships “that will fill the holes.” In return for the stipend, she’ll work for a state child-welfare program.

Barbara has decided to live at home this year, which means she’ll be commuting and “won’t be spending at all,” she said in a text message. “And I WILL graduate debt-free.”

Next year, she’ll follow in oldest sister Alex’s footsteps, pursuing her master’s degree in social work at another school, which could take one or two years. A Maryland program will pay most of her tuition, and in exchange, she’ll work for a child-welfare agency for two or three years after she graduates.

In total, roughly speaking, Barbara has paid about $17,500 out of pocket for tuition, books, supplies and fees for four years of college.

Common mistakes you could be making for your retirement

 

The Washington Post’s Jonnelle Marte gives helpful tips to avoid frequent mistakes made by people while preparing for retirement. (Ashleigh Joplin, Jonnelle Marte/The Washington Post)

I asked if she had paid for all her expenses in her first year at UMBC. The $15,000, she said, “was all of my money that I’ve been saving since I was 8 years old!”

But even the Fatzingers can’t outrun the college-cost steamroller.

Caleb was fine in community college, where he paid “essentially nothing,” in part because of his good grades and aid. And he graduated debt-free at Towson University, a public state school, where he worked in the admissions office.

But when he began the doctoral program in physical therapy two years ago, he had to take out a loan. With aid more scarce in grad school, he said he’ll end up owing almost $90,000.

“I think about it a good amount,” said Caleb, who started working as a physical therapy technician at 18. “I try not to worry too much.” He hopes to pay off the loan in 10 years.

He has one more year to go. He works at the school gym some days at 5:30 a.m. and slips into class at 9:30. “I think I’ve done the best I can,” he says.

The Fatzingers’ recent challenge: Joshua, the oldest son, is getting married in November — in Arizona. Could they all get there?

There was considerable concern. With 13 kids, the need to be frugal never takes a vacation.

At the end, they got three plane tickets for free, using air miles. Then they bit the bullet and bought 10. They’ll all be at the wedding.

My advice: Never bet against the Fatzingers.

Erica Johnston, an editor at The Post, never knew she came from a “small” family of nine until she met the Fatzingers.

A fertility awareness app gets official nod – and fake news treatment

https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/a-fertility-awareness-app-gets-official-nod-and-fake-news-treatment/19415

Anna Migeon

Last week the Swedish app Natural Cycles made international news coverage with their breakthrough European certification. Among others, the online magazine Business Insider reported the event in a fairly extensive article on the topic. However, the magazine, which is read by over 70 million individual readers every month, tainted the announcement with partial and uninformed views, to a point that can mislead many readers to question the viability of FABMs.

Natural Cycles is an app that was designed by two physicists, Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwzil. The app is based on the user’s daily basal temperature (lowest temperature of the day, first thing in the morning), and it calculates her fertile window using a proprietary algorithm. The user and her spouse/partner can choose to abstain during that period if they would like to avoid pregnancy, or to have intercourse if they are trying to achieve pregnancy. Currently over 150,000 women in 161 countries already use the app.

The app was clinically tested and approved by the Tüv Süd, a German inspection and certification agency, allowing the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to recognize the app as a medical product. This is good news for the FABM industry as a whole, as it gives a more official place to FABMs within the family planning and women’s health sector.

The manufacturer conducted two rounds of extensive clinical trials. The second study collected data from over 4,000 women aged 18-45 and showed a perfect use effectiveness rate of 99.5% and a typical use effectiveness of 93%, which is equivalent to the pill (99.7% and 92.5% according to the CDC).

Business Insider related the news and treated the industry as a whole with great skepticism. The general stance of the article is that, while the apps received a great report, the usefulness of FABMs and such apps is extremely limited: “Problem is, they (‘fertility awareness-based’ methods) aren’t always reliable, because human bodies aren’t always reliable.”

Here is their argument, and our response:

  1. The effectiveness of Natural Cycles is “way better than traditional fertility-based awareness methods, which have an average failure rate of 24%, according to the CDC.”

It is true that the CDC officially cited this low effectiveness rate in a 2011 report. However, the report is based on a study that used a low quality research methodology[i]. In this retrospective survey, the research team asked pregnant women to recall the method of birth control they were using when they got pregnant. In a letter published in the American Family Physician, Dr. Marguerite Duane, co-founder of FACTS, explains that not only is recall a weak indicator, but any method that sounded like a periodic abstinence method, including the obsolete, ineffective rhythm method, was put in the “Fertility Awareness” group. “This lumping together of FABMs or NFP methods old and new masks important differences in their effectiveness” she writes. It’s as if they had put all physical devices like the IUD and the condom in the same category and classified them as having one lower effectiveness rate with typical use.

An article from the FACTS team published in May 2013 by the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal[ii] shows that the top three FABMs have a perfect use effectiveness of 98.1%-99.6% and a typical use rate between  90.5 to 97.8%. Those numbers are far from the 24% failure rate reported by the CDC.

 

The Natural Cycles app Photograph: Danijela Froki/Natural Cycles via The Guardian

  1. “Natural Cycles is inarguably one of the best forms of fertility-based awareness birth control that exists.”

While Natural Cycles offers a well-researched option of FABM, we would argue that methods like Sympto-Thermal, Billings or Creighton, all methods with extensive clinical trial that have also been evaluated by international organizations such as the World Health Organization[iii], have similar effectiveness rates. These evidence-based methods are also beneficial in health literacy. Women learn not only to track their signs, but also to interpret the data in order to calculate the fertile window on their own. That knowledge is invaluable. These methods also have worldwide networks of instructors that can assist women in the interpretation of their charts.

  1. The length of a woman’s cycle can vary for several reasons, including stress. For many women, this variability is the only constant thing about their periods. In this case, fertility awareness-based methods are generally a bad option, according to Planned Parenthood.”

With the exception of the Standard Days Method, which is effective only for women whose cycles fall consistently within a range of 26-32 days, all evidence-based Fertility Awareness Based Methods’ effectiveness rates apply regardless of the cycle irregularity. The physical signs used by these methods (cervical fluid, temperature, and/or LH level) are present even when their cycle is longer or shorter than usual or than a normal cycle and still enable women to calculate their fertility window.

  1. “Fertility awareness methods also aren’t advisable for women who have a sexually-transmitted infection (STI).”

This is not a limiting factor specific to FABMs. FABMs do not protect from STIs, but neither does the pill or most other contraceptives methods.

  1. “And Planned Parenthood suggests these methods ’may not work‘ for women who have any of the following: more than one sex partner; a sex partner who ‘isn’t as committed to fertility awareness-based methods as you are’; trouble keeping close track of ’safe days’; trouble abstaining or using another method for at least 10 ‘unsafe days’ during each cycle; or for women who take medicine that may affect reading any of the signs of these methods.”

While it is true that the partner must cooperate in order to achieve the effectiveness rate of FABM, one can argue for example that a partner can be convinced to cooperate as he learns about the reasons and the benefits of doing so. Couples who are motivated to avoid pregnancy manage to abstain. Once a woman acquires the habit of tracking her cycles, keeping track of safe days is scarcely more difficult than remembering to take the pill every day.  Evidence-based FABMs also have provisions for women who take medications that can impact their signs, so that the effectiveness rates remain high.

We congratulate Natural Cycles for this achievement of the certification and the hard work that went into it. We also recommend this article for anyone seeking to use an app, as not all of them provide the same level of effectiveness. Finally, for our friends in the media, we highly recommend referring to our medical colleagues and partners FACTS, who are experts in this field, and regularly select and publish authoritative research about FABMs.

[i] Trussell J. Contraceptive Efficacy. In Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates W, Kowal D, Policar M. Contraceptive Techology: Twentieth Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2011.

[ii] Manhart MD, Duane M, Lind A, et al. Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning: a review of effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy using SORT. Osteopathic Fam Physician. 2013;5(1):2–8.

[iii]  Family Planning, A Global Handbook for Providers, World Health Organization, 2011 http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44028/1/9780978856373_eng.pdf

Anna Migeon is the co-founder of Natural Womanhood, a MercatorNet partner site. 

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/a-fertility-awareness-app-gets-official-nod-and-fake-news-treatment/19415#sthash.KXAYLQVI.dpuf

Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/08/birth-control-makes-women-unattractive-and-crazy/

The media never stops banging on about women’s health, particularly in the wake of the disgusting revelations about Planned Parenthood. They’re always telling us that “women’s bodies” and “women’s choices” should be paramount. But just how healthy are the solutions to unwanted pregnancy that they propose?

Ladies — I’d like you to imagine that you are Neo from the popular film franchise The Matrix. For the purposes of this thought experiment, I am Laurence Fishburne, except with really good hair, a charming personality, and of course I’m much blacker than he is.

In one hand I hold a pill that lets you see the truth, even if at it first it is very bitter. In the other I hold a pill that you have to take every day and it will keep you from getting pregnant at the low cost of turning you into a hideous monster.

Ask yourself before continuing: are you ready for the truth, or do you want to continue turning yourself into Gollum for the benefit of not having to practice any sexual responsibility at all? Okay, different movie franchise, but you get the idea.

God-fearing nutcases like me have long argued that birth control, like abortion (or “the murder of children,” if you prefer), is the work of the Devil. Like all things discouraged by the Bible, it leads only to misery and suffering — for young men as well as women.

Now, assuming you’ve chosen the right pill, I can prove with the power of science that religious folk were right all along and that science has a little-known but undeniable Roman Catholic bias.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU FAT

Let’s start with the grossest form: injectable birth control. IT MAKES YOU FAT. A 2009 study from the University of Texas found that women using DMPA gain an average of 11 pounds over three years, a 3-4 per cent increase.

Worse, this was abdominal fat, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, strokes and diabetes. 25 per cent of women on DMPA experienced “significant and potentially dangerous body composition changes.” Yes, that’s right. They became dangerously fat. On the bright side, they’re able to stop the injections at that point because being fat is the best form of birth control anyone could ask for.

So in other words, your birth control injection will add on pounds that will prevent the injection you really want — of man meat. This, in turn, will lead to depression and excessive ice-cream consumption, which adds on more pounds. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in what medical professionals call “a vicious cycle” but what I call FFAS, or “Female Forever Alone Syndrome.”

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOUR VOICE UNSEXY

It’s not just your body that will get less sexy. Your voice will lose its seductiveness too. Women sound most attractive to men when their estrogen levels are high, and their progesterone levels are low. Birth control lowers the former and raises the latter, making women sound as erotically appealing as Bruce Jenner giving a croaky acceptance speech.

If you think the man of your dreams will be eager to meet you after that first Skype call where you sound like a lumberjack, keep dreaming. Men trust their senses and will create a mental picture of you long before you meet. Do you really want to be labelled a pity lay, betrayed by your whacked-out hormones? No you do not.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU JIGGLE WRONG

Women on the Pill don’t look right and don’t talk right. What could be worse? Well, they can’t jiggle correctly either. A study from the University of Göttingen in 2012 gauged the attractiveness of female dancers. Men judged fertile women as more attractive dancers — and even walkers — than women in their non-fertile phase.

The researchers speculated that estrogen fluctuations during a woman’s fertile period can affect muscle, ligament and tendon strength, leading to subtle differences in movement. Fertile gals, in other words, have all the right moves.

The rougher elements in society will talk about a woman’s posterior — or mine — and describe the way a quarter might bounce off it. Birth control’s estrogen enroachment is liable to have that coin ricocheting off into someone’s eye or just slowly sinking in (see cottage cheese, below).

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG MATES

It’s already established that going on the Pill makes you less attractive to men. But it also affects who you’re attracted to as well. Healthy, fertile women seek out men who are genetically different to them. Women on the Pill do the opposite, seeking out men who are closer to their own tribe. That’s right, ladies: the Pill turns you into Lannisters. I understand lusting after close relations might be a positive thing in some locations, such as West Virginia, or Norfolk, so YMMV on this one.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU UNSEXY ALL THE TIME

Don’t be fooled into thinking that birth control only makes you stupid and unattractive during your fertile periods. Although studies have found that female strippers make an average of $70 an hour during peak fertility, versus $35 while menstruating and $50 in between, women on the Pill averaged $37 — just two dollars more than a menstruating woman — and obviously had no performance peak for periods of fertility. To put it as one of my beloved rappers might: to make Wall Street, you gotta be in heat.

If you’re dropping hints to a man who doesn’t even know you exist, it might be because according to his brain, thanks to your birth control, you’re as attractive as a post-menopausal cat lady.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU A SLUT

It’s well established that women lust after rugged, manly men during their fertile cycles, and prefer baby-faced “provider” types outside this period. Indeed, this alternating pair of desires is the leading cause of female infidelity. However, imagine how accentuated this process is with women on the Pill.

A single month of it would be enough to have even the most loyal woman deliberately tripping attractive men and falling on top of them… regardless of affirmative consent. Be aware lads, if she’s on the Pill, you’re probably getting cucked — unless you’re dating a polyamorous third-wave feminist, in which case you’re getting cucked no matter what birth control method is being used (and let’s be honest, it’s probably abstinence).

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES MEN UNMANLY

Birth control has a knock-on effect on men, too. During ovulation, women are more likely to be critical of unsexy men. This, of course, is vital to the health of masculinity. Female nagging is, of course, 90 per cent pointless noise, but the 10 per cent that occurs during an ovulation cycle is what men should listen to, because it could help them be more manly. Of course, if your woman’s on the Pill, you won’t hear it at all.

(This one is a stretch, I know, but I’ve added it for the sake of completeness. As far as I can tell most women are hysterical hypercritical harpies towards their boyfriends and husbands the vast majority of the time. Man am I relieved to be a fag right now.)

BIRTH CONTROL GIVES YOU COTTAGE CHEESE THIGHS

Cellulite is the stuff of nightmares. It’s the ugly, dumpling-like ridges you see on the thighs of overweight women. It’s true some fellows like thick girls these days, but cellulite will slam the brakes on any guy’s lust.

But did you know that cellulite didn’t exist before the Pill? According to The Scientific American, pictures of women with cottage cheese thighs are almost impossible to find prior to the 1970s. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Pill is responsible, of course: other factors like increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the rise of fast food might have been responsible.

Might have been. But the Pill is the most likely culprit, because cellulite is linked to estrogen imbalances. What causes estrogen imbalances? The Pill!

THE PILL MAY HAVE DESTROYED THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

Take a look at the graph below. It’s divorce rates in the U.S., overlaid with the rise of the pill.

divorce-pill

Exactly why there is such a close correlation between the rise of the Pill and the rise of divorce rates we can’t say with total certainty, but the relationship is stark. Possible explanations include: a lack of children leading to fewer reasons for couples to stay together, and… all of the items mentioned on the list above.

Of course, if your darling wife has been on the Pill for the last five years of your union, you’ve never actually met her in her true form. When she finally stops dosing, you will be faced with a woman who has spent the last half-decade not learning how to deal with the Twilight Zone insanity endemic to the female brain.

When she comes off the drugs, be prepared for all your worst nightmares to come true. You literally just asked an addict to go cold turkey.

Now, you may be asking what I would have women replace the Pill with, since it’s obviously so awful. Condoms? Vasectomies? The answer is: nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.

Tossing out birth control isn’t just kinder to women, it may be the only way to save civilization. Sorry, no offense, but it’s true. And hey! It’s what God wants, too.

My Submission to the AMA Opposing Neutrality on Physician-Assisted Suicide

Amid conflicting reports about whether or not the American Medical Association was going to consider a position of neutrality on physician assisted suicide, I was informed that the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs was collecting data, position statements, etc. for consideration of assisted suicide and other topics before the June AMA Annual meeting. The deadline for submissions was February 15.

The following is my submission titled “Neutrality on physician assisted suicide also hurts nurses”

Dear AMA,

I have been a registered nurse since 1969. After working in critical care, hospice, home health, oncology, dialysis and other specialties for 45 years, I am currently working as a legal nurse consultant and volunteer as well as spokesperson for the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses. Over the years, I have cared for many suicidal people as well as people who attempt suicide.

I have served on medical and nursing ethics committees, served on disability and nursing boards. I have written and spoken on medical ethics-especially end of life issues-since 1984.

The dangers of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide are especially acute for us nurses. Unlike doctors, we nurses cannot refuse to care for a patient  in a situation like assisted suicide unless another willing nurse can be found which can be impossible. If we do refuse, that is considered abandonment and cause for discipline and even termination. And we are necessarily involved when the assisted suicide act occurs in home health, hospice or health care facility even though the doctor is not required to be there.

marievalko

Marievalko Picture of Marie Valko 1979-2009

As a nurse and the mother of a suicide victim (see picture above), I am alarmed by reports that the AMA is considering a position of neutrality on physician-assisted suicide. I beg you to uphold the legal and ethical standard that medical professionals must not kill their patients or help them kill themselves. Suicide is a tragedy to be prevented if possible, not a civil right.

MY DAUGHTER KILLED HERSELF USING AN ASSISTED SUICIDE TECHNIQUE

In 2009, I lost a beautiful, physically well 30-year-old daughter, Marie, to suicide after a 16-year battle with substance abuse and other issues. Her suicide was like an atom bomb dropped on our family, friends and even her therapists.

Despite all of our efforts to save her, my Marie told me that she learned how to kill herself from visiting suicide/assisted suicide websites and reading Derek Humphry’s book Final Exit. The medical examiner called Marie’s suicide technique “textbook final exit” but her death was neither dignified nor peaceful.

Marie was not mere collateral damage in the controversy over physician-assisted suicide. She was a victim of the physician-assisted suicide movement, seduced by the rhetoric of a painless exit from what she believed was a hopeless life of suffering.

SUICIDE CONTAGION

Adding to our family’s pain, at least two people close to Marie became suicidal not long after her suicide. Luckily, these two young people received help and were saved, but suicide contagion, better known as “copycat suicide”, is a well-documented phenomenon. Often media coverage or publicity around one death encourages other vulnerable people to commit suicide in the same way.

STUDY SHOWS LEGALIZING PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE RATE OF TOTAL SUICIDES

A 2015 article in the Southern Medical Journal titled “How Does Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Affect Rates of Suicide?” came to these conclusions:

“Legalizing PAS has been associated with an increased rate of total suicides relative to other states and no decrease in nonassisted suicides. This suggests either that PAS does not inhibit (nor acts as an alternative to) nonassisted suicide, or that it acts in this way in some individuals but is associated with an increased inclination to suicide in other individuals.”

THE HEALTH AND ECONOMIC COSTS OF SUICIDE

My Marie was one of the almost 37,000 reported US suicides in 2009. In contrast, only about 800 assisted-suicide deaths have been reported in the past 16 years in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans in 2012, with “More than 1 million people reported making a suicide attempt in the past year” and “More than 2 million adults reported thinking about suicide in the past year.” The CDC estimates that suicide “costs society approximately $34.6 billion a year in combined medical and work loss costs”, not to mention the emotional toll on families.

Obviously our real health-care crisis here is a staggering and increasing rate of suicides, not the lack of enough assisted suicides.

BRITTANY MAYNARD

There was a media frenzy in October 2014 when Brittany Maynard, a young newlywed woman with a brain tumor, announced plans to commit physician-assisted suicide on November 1 and raise money to have physician-assisted suicide legalized in all US states. There was an immediate and unprecedented media frenzy surrounding Ms. Maynard’s tragic story that routinely portrayed her pending assisted suicide as “heroic” and even counting down the days to her suicide. Personally, I thought this looked like a crowd on the street shouting for a suicidal person on a window ledge to jump.

In the end, Brittany hesitated for a day before she went through with her pledge to take the lethal overdose.

Now, assisted suicide supporters even deny that physician-assisted suicide is suicide, insisting that media stories use euphemisms like “aid-in-dying” and “death with dignity” in cases like Ms. Maynard’s to make assisted suicide more palatable to the public. However, this defies common sense when the definition of suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life.

PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE AND MEDICAL DISCRIMINATION

I have been a registered nurse for 47 years, working in intensive care, oncology, hospice and home health among other specialties. Personally and professionally, I have cared for many people who attempt or consider killing themselves.

Some of these people were old, chronically ill or had disabilities. Some were young and physically healthy. A few were terminally ill. I cared for all of them to the best of my ability without discrimination as to their condition, age, socioeconomic status, race or gender. I will do anything to help my patients — except kill them or help them kill themselves.

Suicide prevention and treatment works, and the standards must not be changed just because some people insist their desire for physician-assisted suicide is rational and even a civil right.

Iowa Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions and Call Unborn Children Human Beings

An Iowa bill that would recognize unborn babies as people and protect them from abortion passed a state Senate committee on Monday amid heated debate.

Radio Iowa reports “a large and vocal crowd” attended the hearing on Monday to voice their support and opposition to the measure. The committee gave its initial approval of the bill, moving it to another Senate committee for consideration.

“The sovereign state of Iowa recognizes that life is valued and protected from the moment of conception,” the bill states.

The bill would recognize that human life begins at the moment of conception and ban abortions in the state. According to the Associated Press, it is unclear if the bill has enough support to pass the full state Senate.

Pro-life attorney Rebecca Keissling, who attended the hearing, was one of several pro-lifers who spoke up in support of the bill, according to the radio report.

“You’re providing the framework to recognize that the unborn child is a person and also to have a public policy that prefers childbirth over abortion,” Keissling said.

Abortion advocates criticized the legislation, claiming it pushes a “religious point of view” about when life begins, according to the report. Others indicated that there would be a lawsuit if the bill becomes law.

SUPPORT LIFENEWS! If you like this pro-life article, please help LifeNews.com with a donation!

Because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, the measure likely would be overturned in the courts. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings with a right to life.

Many pro-life groups think one of the keys to ending legalized abortion is to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, potentially would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty.

President Donald Trump promised to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, but he would need to nominate and the Senate would have to confirm several before there is a chance of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Trump’s nominee to replace Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, has taken the pro-life side in several important cases, including with pro-life Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood and with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby against the Obama Administration. Several pro-life groups also praised Gorsuch as a nominee.

Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Maureen Condic, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah. She has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a distinguished group of physicians, scientists, and theologians from the international community whose mission it is to study questions and issues regarding the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective, since 2014. Dr. Condic is one of our nearly 40 associate scholars. In this interview, she discusses the beginning of human life and the moral status of the human being.

What can science tell us about when human life begins?

Condic: The question of when life begins has been addressed for a very long time by philosophers and religious thinkers—often without the benefit of detailed information regarding what actually happens during prenatal life. Consequently, this question has also been answered in a wide variety of ways, leading many to believe that the question simply cannot be answered.

The advantage of a scientific approach to the question of when life begins is that the answer is not based on opinion or personal values, but rather on direct observation. And in the modern age, we have very detailed observations, confirming beyond any reasonable doubt, that the cell produced by sperm-egg fusion (the zygote) is a human organism; i.e. a human being. We know this because immediately upon the binding and fusion of the gametes (a rapid event taking less than a quarter second to complete), the newly formed zygote enters into a sequence of molecular events that determine and direct its subsequent maturation and growth. The fact that the zygote autonomously initiates the process of embryonic development distinguishes it from a mere human cell and clearly indicates that it is a full and complete, albeit immature, member of the human species.

What can reason tell us about the moral status of the unique human being who comes into being at conception?

Condic: Similar to the question of when life begins, the question of when human beings have moral status and a right to life has also been answered in many ways. The three most common approaches are to confer rights based on 1) some aspect of form and/or function (ability), 2) social convention (or fiat) and 3) status as a human being (or nature).

Most of us reject linking rights to abilities as repugnant. It defies our basic sense of justice to envision a world where the strong, the beautiful, and the intelligent have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while the weak, the plain, and the slow are enslaved or killed. Similarly, most of us find repulsive the idea that a simple plurality of opinion can decide, as it did in Nazi Germany, who has rights and who does not.

The principles of liberty and justice form the basis of all civilized societies. The only way of viewing human rights that does not offend these principles is that rights are inalienable for all human beings; i.e. that we have rights only and always because we are humans. And this would apply equally to humans at all stages of maturity, including the zygote stage.

Why is it important that the right to life of the human being from conception until natural death can be established by scientific and philosophical, rather than revelation-based, arguments? Does this mean that religious arguments are somehow unimportant or should be excluded from the public square?

Condic: I don’t believe that the right to life of the human being can be established by a scientific argument. Science is simply a useful system for making accurate and neutral observations. As such, it does not speak to abstract principles like human rights.

In contrast, reason and logic are common to both philosophy and science. And the conclusion that all human beings have human rights is a logical, not a scientific conclusion. This does not mean that the truths revealed by religion have no place in formulating moral judgments. But I would argue that religious truths must be consistent with both reason and observation. For example, a religion that denies rights to people of a particular gender, race, or faith would have to reconcile this belief with scientific fact and place it within a logically consistent framework.

Why should the state not fund or promote embryonic stem cell research, and what alternative research should the state support?

Condic: As a matter of justice, no state should support, or indeed tolerate, research that involves the destruction of a living human being. While embryonic stem cells are scientifically interesting, research on stem cells derived from ethical sources (for example; animal’s stem cells, stem cells from mature tissues, and stem cells produced by cell reprogramming) are viable alternatives to human embryonic stem cell research.

Why are you pro-life? If you had 60 seconds to explain to someone why you have pursued the work that you have throughout your career, what do you tell them?

Condic: I have pursued scientific research because I am fascinated by how things work. And human development is an enormously complex, and therefore enormously engaging intellectual problem. It is also an astonishingly beautiful process; an elegant, intricate, and yet quite robust molecular dance. It seems to me that anyone who appreciates the beauty of human development and who has paused long enough to think through the logical implications, would inevitably have a profound respect and admiration for the beauty of human life.

Legal group fights policy forcing pro-life doctors to refer for abortion, euthanasia

TORONTO, February 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Calgary conscience rights group has joined Ontario Christian doctors in fighting a requirement that they refer patients for euthanasia and abortion — and perform both procedures in emergencies.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was granted intervenor status in a legal action launched by five Ontario Christian doctors, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS), and other doctors’ groups.

Their target is the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which controls the profession with the power to licence and de-licence doctors. In June, the Christian doctors will go to court in an attempt to have two new college policies ruled unconstitutional.

The first policy, according to CMDS executive director Larry Worthen, requires doctors whose consciences prevent them from performing a procedure to provide an “effective referral” to another doctor who will do it.

The second requires the same protections specifically with euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The College of Physicians and Surgeon’s policy becomes even more morally problematic in an emergency. If there is no other doctor available, the objecting doctor objection must do it anyway, even if it is an abortion.

“Our members can’t do an effective referral,” Worthen told LifeSiteNews. An “effective referral” is what a doctor provides when he believes a treatment is required but cannot do it himself. But Worthen’s members do not believe that assisted suicide, euthanasia or abortion are morally or medically justified.
As for doing these procedures in emergencies, “There is no definition of emergency,” Worthen pointed out.

The CMDS will focus on how the college’s requirements violate provisions in the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting freedom of conscience. However, The Justice Centre will take a different tack.

John Carpay, director of the JCCF, said his group will attack the college’s basic premise that Canadians have a right to a specific treatment.

“We make the point that there is therefore no Charter right to healthcare” in general, nor any specific treatment, “including MAID,” Carpay stated. 

“Further,” he added. “There is no right, Charter or otherwise, to demand that an individual doctor perform or provide an effective referral for a specific medical procedure or service that violates that doctor’s conscientious or religious beliefs.”

Other intervenors on the Christian doctors’ side include the Ontario Catholic Bishops Conference and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Seven other provinces have adopted ethical guidelines for euthanasia and assisted suicide that respect doctors’ freedom of conscience. Worthen said this should carry weight in court because it will undermine the defence expected from the college. It will contend its policy was the only one available to it to protect patients wanting so-called “medical assistance in dying” or abortion.

FROM THE PASTOR

February 12, 2017 by Fr. George W. Rutler

Europe and its contiguous lands were in a chaotic condition in 1240: the Mongols were destroying Kiev, the Novgorod army virtually wiped out the Swedes along the Neva River, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, was pillaging the Papal States using Islamic Saracens as his mercenaries. Pope Gregory IX’s attempt to rally a Crusade against the invaders failed, and his good friend Saint Clare was virtually bedridden as the Saracens besieged her convent at San Damiano. Her beloved Francis of Assisi had died fourteen years before. In this emergency, she left her invalid couch, went to the window and exposed the Blessed Sacrament in a silver and ivory ciborium, and the alien troops fled.

In northern Mexico until just a few years ago, drug- and gang-related violence had made Ciudad Juarez one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Following the example of Saint Clare, missionaries turned to the Eucharistic Lord for help. A perpetual adoration chapel was opened in 2013 when the murder rate was forty people a day, with soldiers and policemen joining the gangs. Increasing numbers of devotees urged the soldiers to join them in Holy Hours. Few now dismiss as only coincidence the fact that within five years the annual murder rate dropped from 3,766 to 256.

That rate is far lower than many cities in the United States now. With dismaying insouciance,
statisticians in our nation over recent years have coldly taken for granted its moral decay. Besides graphic violence in the streets, there are over 500,000 abortions each year. In many places, births out of wedlock are the norm, teenage suicide has doubled in little more than a decade, 40% of all children live in broken homes, school diplomas and college degrees have generally become meaningless, marriage has been redefined into surreality, and freedom of religion has been intimidated by false readings of constitutional rights.

Recent political shifts in our nation offer a faint glimmer of genuine promise for a change in all this, as more people realize that in the past they had placed their confidence in gossamer hopes and tinsel messiahs. But the ballot box is no substitute for the Tabernacle. A well-known Pentecostal preacher surprisingly admitted that most miracles happen in the Catholic Church because “Catholic people revere the Eucharist.” If more Catholics themselves understood that, there would be more miracles. Now, miracles do not contradict nature: they are God’s will at work at high speed. Christ promised to be with us “until the end of the world.” Eucharistic adoration is simply the recognition of his presence. Saint Clare prayed, “My Lord, if it is your wish, protect this city which is sustained by your love.” The Lord answered, “It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by my protection.”

Eucharistic Adoration—Our hope for a Culture of Life in America

Resolve Dropping Fertility in US: Have More Babies!

http://www.pattimaguirearmstrong.com/2016/08/have-more-babies.html

bath

God told us: “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. ” Genesis 1:28.  The latest birth rate numbers show we aren’t listening.

Instead, the U.S. fertility rate fell to the lowest point since the 1909 record keeping began, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the first three months of 2016, for every 1,000 women, there are now only 59.6 births. During the Baby Boom in 1957, the fertility rate was 122.9 births per 1,000 women.

The future goes to those willing to populate it.   Countries below replacement of 2.1 child per woman, are dying.  We’ve joined that crowd since 2007, although perhaps “crowd” is a poor word choice.  Right now, the rate in the U.S. is sitting at 1.87, as compared to Germany’s 1.38.

It’s noteworthy that there are sharp differences between religions.  According Pew Research Center, the average Mormon family has 3.4 babies while Jews, Catholics, and most Protestantism denominations have fertility rates ranging from 2 to 2.5.  Atheists average 1.6 kids, and agnostics, only 1.3.

Live Catholic!

As a Catholic, the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church has all the truth. But relativism has gummed up the works.  So has contraception.  If my husband and I had not gotten on board with all the teachings of the Church, our family would be minus one reversal and less 4 biological kids. (We had 8, adopted 2 more.)

Although the Church accepts working with a woman’s natural fertility to limit children, it can be abused if used with a contraceptive mentality.  The default marriage setting is to be open to the gift of life unless there are serious reasons dictating the contrary.

Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis encouraged married couples to be fruitful in our vocation of marriage. He said, “Fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness are the three characteristics of God’s love for his Church and should be the same three pillars of a Christian marriage.”

The Pope scolded couples that intentionally choose worldly comforts over children as a lack of fruitfulness and something, “Jesus does not like.”

Bad Reasons Not to Have More Children

I know the excuses.  But they are bad excuses. Mostly.  Some couples have valid reasons for not being open to life, so my list only applies to the people to whom it applies. Check with God to find out if you are on his list to receive more precious bundles with eternal souls.

* Hooked on contraception. Read On Human Life: Humanae Vitae. It explains why Catholic teaching against contraception is in our best interest.

*  I don’t want another baby. Be open to what God wants.  How many times have you been pleasantly surprised in life?

*  The world is a bad place to bring children into.  It’s just temporary. Heaven is our final destination

*  I gave away the maternity clothes. There are equally generous women out there.

*  I’m not ready. Then don’t have sex.

*  I’m too old. Menopause is the fertility finish line.

*  I’m not patient enough. Practice makes perfect and prayer helps.

*  Money. Mother Teresa used to say:  “God has all the money in the world.” Read this story about a one-income family of 15, (until age 40, the father never made more than $50,000) debt free, their house is paid off and all their kids go to college—some have masters and one is working on a doctorate.  And don’t put an earthly price tag an eternally priceless gift.

*  Our house is too small. Get bunk beds. Re-evaluate your need for space.

*  Overpopulation. It’s a major myth. Educate yourself.  Here’s an hour-long video and good 10-minute explanation that there is no overpopulation problem.

*  I don’t like babies.  God does. Find out why you don’t like what God likes. That’s a disturbing state of mind.

*  When is it going to be my time?   No one begrudges you time and space for yourself, but practice moderation.

Be Open
Sadly, 40 percent of women actually want more children than they have.  I say, have those desired babies.   Since love begets love, your family’s heart can grow bigger and you might end up wanting even more.

Babies are precious, their souls are eternal, and they make you a better, holier person.  Could you be closing yourself off to such a gift from God?

Posted by Patti Maguire Armstrong

Watch a 20-week baby in utero with new groundbreaking technology

London, England, Feb 8, 2017 / 04:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- When the fetal ultrasound gained popularity in the 1970s, it was hailed as a “window to the womb.” But now, new technology could offer a much more in-depth view of babies before birth.

Courtesy of a new multimillion dollar project based out of London, some parents are able to see clear scans of every movement and organ of their babies in the womb starting as early as 20 weeks, using advanced MRI technology.

“There is nothing quite as emotional as seeing your unborn child moving inside you, and these MRI scans are taking images to the next level,” stated Cathy Ranson, the editor of ChannelMum.com, a website that is distributing videos of the MRI scans.

“They are truly breathtaking,” Ranson continued.

Traditionally, ultrasounds are used during pregnancy to check in on growing babies in the womb using high frequency sound waves. Although useful, ultrasounds usually produce limited visual scopes of the womb and can vary in quality depending on various factors, such as age, weight, and position.

However, a curious team of medics pushed the limits of the ultrasound to find out if there was a better way to get in-utero scans.

Top minds from Kings College London, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Imperial College London, University of Firenze, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Philips Health were given £10 million from the Wellcome Trust and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to see if they could advance antenatal scans.

This team of medics composed a new series of algorithms and magnetic fields to go beyond the limits of the ultrasound. This new technology is allowing clear pictures of the entire womb, making details like a 20-week heart valve crystal clear.

A video, produced by the iFIND project, shows just how detailed the scans are: the baby is stretching, turning, and even playing with the umbilical cord. They also recorded the reverberations of the baby’s movements, which could be seen rippling through the mother’s belly.

In addition to creating the optimal scan, the MRI technology also has a mechanism that auto corrects any small movements to produce an overall smooth image.

Dr. David Lloyd, a Clinical Research Fellow at King’s College London, said the new MRI scans “can see the structures inside the body, regardless of whether there’s bone, muscle or fat in the way.”

“It is also one of the few imaging techniques that is safe to use in pregnancy,” Dr. Lloyd continued.

This new technology is more than just a great picture for excited parents to see. The MRI scans could also reveal complications or growth deficiencies earlier in the pregnancy, which could allow for advanced treatment even before the baby is born.

The MRI scans have already kicked up some debate, especially in the UK where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. These new scans, showing how babies actively move around at 20 weeks, is making the current abortion limit even more questionable.

Moving forward, the iFIND project wants the MRI scans to become available for all pregnant women around the world.

The Most Important Chart (Phenomenon) in all of the Social Sciences

http://patfagan.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-most-important-chart-phenomenon-in.html

By now, regular readers of Faith and Family Findings are familiar with the data on family structure and its impact on everything important to a functioning society.  On every outcome measured, for adults and children, those in an intact family do best on all the positive outcomes we desire for ourselves and our children (education, income, savings, health, longevity, happiness, sexual enjoyment, intergenerational support) and have the least incidence of all the negatives we hope never afflict our children (crime, addictions, abuse both physical and sexual, poverty, illiteracy, exclusion, ill health, unhappiness, mental illness, lack of sexual fulfillment).

Thus family structure is exceedingly important to society and a return to intact marriage is a sine qua non for a nation or for families set on rebuilding themselves.

Given that, consider the implications of the following chart on the intactness of marriage at the end of the first five years of marriage:

What this chart shows is the probability of intactness of family after the first five years of marriage– given the number of sexual partners of the spouses have had in their lifetime. Using rounded numbers:  95% of those who are monogamous, that is only one sexual partner in their life time —i.e. only their spouse–95% are still in an intact marriage after the first five years. But for the woman (national average) who has had one extra sexual partner other than her husband (almost always prior to marriage) the percent drops to 62% and with two extra partners it drops almost to 50%.  Thereafter it plateaus.  For men it takes five sexual partners to reach the same level of breakup.

When I first saw this phenomenon in the 1995 data (the above is 2006-2010 data) my immediate reaction was “Those Mediterranean cultures that had chaperoning during courtship knew something about human nature, family life and intergenerational stability.” They ensured Mediterranean family was on the three-love diet.

Chastity and monogamy are foundational to the intact married family, and thus to the prosperity and success of a nation.  Hence my conclusion that this chart is the most important chart in all of the social sciences.

A culture of monogamy is critical to a thriving nation or a thriving culture.

A culture of chastity is foundational to a culture of monogamy.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture.  Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.

For the impact of monogamy at a more causative level check out the work of JD Teachman on Google Scholar  or his CV and you will be able to thread the impact of monogamy in an admirable corpus of cumulative scholarship that is one of the great contributions to research on the family.

Though the above chart is purely correlational – it is demographically descriptive of America, of what is happening between our couples who get married.  One chart cannot prove chastity is causative (go to Teachman and others to tease that out) but it sure indicates where causal strength (or weakness) can be found.

Astonishing Things Freud, Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and T.S. Eliot Said About Contraception

195. Astonishing Things Freud, Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and T.S. Eliot Said About Contraception

It was contraception that caused me to leave the Church as a teenager and it was contraception that brought me back into the Church in my 20s. I shared some of that story in my last blog. Here I want to share how discovering the predictions of some very prominent thinkers of the early 20th century helped open my eyes to what’s at stake.

I remember how surprised I was to learn that, until 1930, all Christian denominations were unanimous in their firm opposition to any attempt to sterilize sexual intercourse. That year, when the Anglican Church opened the door to contraception at its Lambeth Conference, it was the first Christian body to break with the continuous teaching of the early Church, the spiritual masters throughout the ages, and all the Reformers from Luther to Calvin and beyond. By the time the Pill debuted in the early 1960s, the historical Christian teaching, once universally held, had come to be seen by most of the modern world as archaic and absurd.

Only a few decades earlier, when Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger first started her global campaigns for contraception, there was no shortage of predictions that embracing contraception would lead to the societal chaos in which we’re now immersed. You might be just as surprised as I was to read what the following prominent thinkers of the early 20th century had to say about contraception and what they predicted would happen if we embraced it.

Sigmund Freud, for example, while he was clearly no friend of religion, understood that the “abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse,” he said, “if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it” (Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis, W. W. Norton and Company, 1966, p. 392).

Theodore Roosevelt condemned contraception as a serious threat against the welfare of the nation, describing it as “the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement.”  The “men and women guilty thereof,” he believed, exhibited a “dreadful” lack of character (State Papers as Governor and President, in Works XVII).

Mahatma Gandhi insisted that “there can be no two opinions about the necessity of birth-control. But the only [appropriate] method … is self-control,” which he described as “an infallibly sovereign remedy doing good to those who practice it.” On the other hand, “to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts” with contraception is a remedy that “will prove to be worse than the disease.” Why? Because contraceptive methods are “like putting a premium on vice,” he said. “They make men and women reckless … Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws,” he predicted. “Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints.” Hence, if contraceptive methods “become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result … As it is, man has sufficiently degraded woman for his lust, and [contraception], no matter how well meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her” (India of My Dreams, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajpal & Sons, edition: 2009, pp. 219-220).

When a committee of the Federal Council of Churches in America issued a report suggesting it follow the Anglican acceptance of contraception, The Washington Post published a stinging editorial with the following prophetic statement: “Carried to its logical conclusions, the committee’s report if carried into effect would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous” (“Forgetting Religion,” The Washington Post, March 22, 1931).

Also in response to the Anglican break with Christian moral teaching, T.S. Eliot insisted that the church “is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized, but non-Christian, mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in waiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization and save the world from suicide” (T. S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth, Faber and Faber, 1931).

Perversity? National death? Moral degradation? The death of marriage as a holy institution? World suicide? Isn’t that a bit much to pin on contraception? It would certainly seem so, if it weren’t for the fact that so much of what these forecasters predicted has, indeed, come to pass. What did they understand that we have forgotten?

Meet 12 beautiful babies saved from abortion in 2016

Feb. 7, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — 2016 was a year filled with shocking news, too many deaths, and plenty of surprises. However, we can’t let the year go without also stopping to celebrate the lives that were saved and the people who were loved this year. There’s more than we may ever know, but let’s meet 12 beautiful babies who were saved from abortion in 2016:

1. Esther’s baby
Esther came to the United States from Nigeria and soon discovered she was pregnant. She had already gone through two abortions back in her home country and thought she would make the same choice again. However, Esther found Her Choice Birmingham Women’s Center, and they gave her love, support, and the truth. At the center, Esther watched the Abortion Procedure videos made by Live Action (including the one below), where former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes what actually happens in various types of abortion. Esther was shocked and saddened, and after seeing an ultrasound of her own baby at the center, she chose life.

2. This baby whose abortion was canceled
Late in 2015, mother Ester Garcia shared amazing photos of her daughter, Hope, who was miscarried at 16 weeks, with Live Action News. The article continued to be read all throughout the year, and during the summer, one commenter wrote that she canceled her abortion after seeing Baby Hope.

It is very likely that this baby would have suffered through a D&E abortion if her mother had not changed her mind, as that is one of the most common abortion procedures in the U.S. at 16 weeks.

3. Over 100 babies saved through abortion pill reversal
In May 2016, Dr. Matthew Harrison of Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) revealed that 100 babies were due to be born this year after their mothers successfully chose to reverse their abortions. As APR’s doctors work all throughout the year, this number has now grown well past 100 for 2016. Here is Dr. Harrison with one of the babies who was born after a reversal:

For anyone seeking information on abortion reversal for medication abortion or abortions involving laminaria insertion, including pregnant mothers, doctors or pregnancy centers who want to help, or other pro-life volunteers who are willing to man the phone line:
There are over 300 doctors across the country who are ready and able to help women stop an abortion. There are also doctors trained in 14 other countries. Women looking for help to reverse their abortion can call the 24 hour hotline (1-877-558-0333) to talk with a nurse, or visit the website (abortionpillreversal.com).

doc_harrison_525_700_55

4 and 5. These two babies saved when sidewalk counselors offered help in abusive situations (Click on “See More” in the Facebook post to read the whole stories.)

If you are a woman experiencing pressure to choose abortion, please see this guide for help. Here is another beautiful baby recently saved by Sidewalk Advocates for Life’s work:

baby_saved__400_533_55

6 and 7. These Christmas twins
Live Action writer and pregnancy center staffer, Christina Martin, was able to meet a beautiful set of twins she helped save from abortion in 2016. Their photo was spread all over social media, and thousands were able to rejoice that a new little brother and sister pair were here to celebrate Christmas.

Christina shared the story (in full here):
Sara told me that she had an ultrasound at her doctor’s office which revealed she was pregnant with twins. She had children at home and she felt she couldn’t have another baby, let alone twins. Her boyfriend had recently broken up with her and she was lacking significant family support.
Unbeknownst to me, she scheduled an abortion appointment on the weekend before she was scheduled to come to our pregnancy center. She had planned to go through with the abortion and we would have likely never seen her after that.
The morning of her appointment at the clinic, Sara felt an emotional weight upon her shoulders. She felt sick on the inside as she thought about her abortion. The intense feelings were a sign to her that she couldn’t abort her twins. In the quiet of her home, she made a decision to cancel her scheduled abortion. Sara told me as soon as she decided to cancel her abortion, a sense of relief washed over her. In an instant, all of the emotional weight was lifted off of her and she felt free.
The staff and volunteers at the ABC Women’s Center walked with Sara through her pregnancy. …

8. Michelle’s baby
In December, Live Action shared this story with some of its supporters in an email:
Your gift helps us save lives: Michelle is a young mother who almost aborted her child this year but chose life instead after learning the truth about abortion online. She wouldn’t have made that decision if it weren’t for Live Action’s Abortion Procedures videos showing the development of her preborn child and what abortion actually would do to kill that child.
Michelle just celebrated her son’s first Christmas all because YOU made those videos possible.

9. Baby Axton

Axton’s mom, Acacia, was planning on abortion when she walked into a pregnancy help medical clinic in Casper, Wyoming. Pregnancy Help News reports:
During the conversation, Acacia heard a life-changing statement.
“The advocate explained to me how God has a purpose for everybody, and a huge purpose of mine was to be alive if I was supposed to be dead a month before that [due to a terrible car wreck],” she said.
After learning her earlier positive pregnancy test was accurate, Acacia was given an ultrasound. She was too early to verify a viable pregnancy, so the clinic’s nurse scheduled her for a return appointment two weeks later.
That provided Acacia time to consider all her options, and to hear a message of life-changing hope.
“I sat there and listened and talked to her,” Acacia said. “She helped me realize that whatever I did choose would affect me the rest of my life, and that the obstacles I was facing at that time were temporary. She made me look at things from another point of view. I realized I did have a purpose, and even though I felt alone, I knew there would be other people there for me fully.”
Today, Acacia is living out that purpose. She decided to carry to term and parent, signing up for True Care’s long-term parenting program called Baby & Me. She met regularly with an advocate who helped guide her through parenting classes and has become a strong support throughout the first stages of Acacia’s motherhood.
In January 2017, Acacia brought Axton — who she says “saved my life” — to Washington, D.C., to participate in Babies Go to Congress.

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10. Baby Jude
Baby Jude is not born yet, but his parents have already rejected abortion, despite doctors’ counsel to terminate their son’s life. Jude has a condition that impairs his kidneys and threatens his life, but instead of aborting him, his parents, Josh and Kelli, have connected with doctors who are willing to treat their son in utero. Through amnioinfusion, Baby Jude is being given a chance at life and also may pave the wave for other children like him to be saved in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/kerryshook/videos/1464089220276870/

11 and 12. These twins whose mother walked out of an abortion facility
On her way to the abortion facility, this mom promised God that she would not have her scheduled abortion if she was pregnant with twins. To her surprise, the ultrasound showed two beating hearts and two little babies. She informed the staff that she changed her mind, but they reportedly locked her inside the facility for awhile and refused to refund all her money. You can read the rest of her harrowing account here, and if you or anyone you know is being pressured to go through with an abortion, see this guide here.

So, in 2017, how are you going to step out and save a life? How are you going to spread information, stories, and videos that will influence others to choose life and know there are support, love, and real facts available? Let’s do this together, and make 2017 the best year for LIFE yet!

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News

DR. MILDRED JEFFERSON

Happy Black History Month!

In 1951, Dr. Mildred Jefferson was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School with 28 honorary degrees. She dedicated her life to caring for the sick and exposing the evil of Eugenics. She co-founded the National Right to Life and is credited to bringing Ronald Reagan into the Pro-Life Movement.

Thank you, Dr. Mildred Jefferson!
Your work has paved the way for the Pro-Life movement.

Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Porn

Bishop Barron (Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of LA) joins Dave Rubin to discuss religion and his views on abortion, gay marriage, porn, and more.

Pope Francis: “Let Us Pray For the Babies in Danger of Being Aborted”

popefrancis52Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to pray for babies in danger of being aborted during a special pro-life message Sunday for the annual Day of Life in Italy

 Breitbart reports the pope spoke, as he often does, about the dangers of what he calls the modern “throwaway culture” and its effects on human life.

“Let us promote the culture of life in response to the logic of disposability and a declining population,” the pontiff said Sunday.

“Let us join together and pray for babies who are in danger of being aborted, as well as for people who are at the end of life. All life is sacred!” he continued. “Let no one be left alone and may love defend the meaning of life.”

The pope also recognized people who work and volunteer in pro-life causes, hoping that “they may be capable of building a society that is welcoming and worthy for every person.”

Pope Francis said he and the Italian bishops also jointly are calling for support of “bold educational action in favor of human life. Every life is sacred!”

In line with Catholic teachings, Pope Francis has been a strong advocate against abortion throughout the world. He repeatedly has condemned the modern “throwaway culture” that allows unborn babies to be killed in abortions.

In 2013, he told a group at the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Rome:

Unfortunately, in our epoch, so rich in many accomplishments and hopes, there is no lack of powers and forces that end up producing a throwaway culture (cultura di scarto); and this threatens to become the dominant mentality. The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people… who are in danger of being “thrown out,” expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs.

He also has been encouraging the Catholic Church to help individuals who are seeking forgiveness from a past abortion. In November, he encouraged priests to forgive the “grave sin” of abortion when people are repentant and seeking mercy.

“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” the pope wrote in the letter. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”

Parents Reject Abortion After Ultrasound Shows Identical Twins Cuddling Each Other

twins34Doctors suggested that Hayley Lampshire may have to abort one of her unborn sons after they discovered the twins shared an amniotic sac and placenta.

The Daily Mail reports the twins’ rare condition put their lives in jeopardy; the survival rate is only about 50 percent. But selectively aborting one of them would have 100-percent denied one child a chance at life.

Lampshire and her husband said they were “heartbroken” when they heard the news, but their hopes were renewed when they saw an ultrasound image of their sons cuddling in the womb.

The British family chose life for their twin boys. Rowan and Blake were born on Aug. 25; they now are home and doing well, according to the report.

Lampshire said she learned about her Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins when she was 12 weeks pregnant. The condition is rare, but it can be deadly for one or both of the twins.

“Because the boys were in the same amniotic sac, their cords could get tangled if they moved around, which would cut off their oxygen and food supply,” Lampshire explained. “If that did happen then it would be likely that we wouldn’t know, we couldn’t do anything to prevent it which was the scariest part.”

Doctors said the boys would have a better chance of survival if they stayed still, and they did, the family told the Mail.

Ultrasounds of the twins gave the family hope. Lampshire said the images often looked like the boys were holding hands or cuddling inside her womb. She said they also stayed pretty still, another sign that gave her hope.

At 34 weeks of pregnancy, Lampshire said her doctors told her she needed to give birth. If the boys grew any more, their lives could be in greater danger, she explained.

“The boys were born 36 seconds apart, Rowan weighed 2.12kg and Blake weighed 2.05kg, and were taken straight to special care,” she said. “They had fluid on their lungs and were struggling to breathe on their own.”

The twins stayed in the hospital for three weeks before they were allowed to go home, the report states.

“The boys are now doing really well and are growing so fast, and Charlie and I know how lucky we are to have them both here,” their mother said. “When they get older we will tell them how special their bond is.”

She said her boys still like to cuddle, too.

“So far they have been good at sharing, after all it saved their lives, but I’m sure it will be a different story when they get older,” she said.

Lampshire urged other families to not give up hope if their baby or babies have been diagnosed with a risky condition. Doctors say the survival rate is increasing for Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, thanks to modern medical advancements.

“Charlie and I were terrified at first, but we want to share our story to reassure others that there is hope, something that we struggled to find when doing our own research,” she said.

Woman With Cancer Who Was Told She Couldn’t Have Kids Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Kayla Gaytan, who gave birth to quadruplets and is fighting cancer.

Kayla Gaytan, who gave birth to quadruplets and is fighting cancer.

A Tennessee military family received a huge outpouring of support recently after the mother was diagnosed with cancer while carrying quadruplets.

Sgt. Charles Gaytan and his wife, Kayla, welcomed the naturally conceived quadruplets into the world on Dec. 30, but their birth was bittersweet. Doctors delivered the babies early by cesarean section because their mother needed immediate cancer treatment.

The Daily Mail reports the Fort Campbell, Tennessee family is doing relatively well. Kayla currently is undergoing cancer treatments, and the four babies are in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Doctors said the four siblings should be well enough to go home in a few weeks.

Their story attracted national media attention, and a donation fund for the family has received more than $1 million to support them, according to the report.

“It renews my faith in humanity,” Kayla told People. “To know that people that don’t even know us just wanted to help our family is amazing.”

Before the quadruplets were conceived, Kayla was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the report. The young mother said she went through five months of chemotherapy and was in remission.

Not long after that, the couple was overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant – something doctors told Kayla might never happen. Not only that, but they had conceived quadruplets naturally. Later into her pregnancy, Kayla said she began noticing symptoms of cancer again. Doctors confirmed it, her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned.

Though relatively treatable, the cancer can be serious if it returns, according to the report. Doctors gave the Tennessee mother a 50-percent chance of living five years, she said.

“With four babies on the way, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could come back,” she said. “I thought I had beat it the first time.”

When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Kayla gave birth to her babies in an emergency C-section. The babies, Lillian, Victoria, Michael and Charles were born weighing between 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report.

Doctors immediately began Kayla’s cancer treatment. She said she will have a stem cell treatment and a 16-month round of chemotherapy.

The Gaytan family said they are not giving up hope. With the quadruplets and two older children to care for, Kayla said she and her husband are trusting in God to handle the situation.

“We know that He’s gotta have a different plan up there for us, and surely everything’s gonna work out in the end,” Kayla said.

Earlier this week, the family posted a grateful message on their fundraiser page: “Words cant not even describe how thankful we are. Not even in our wildest dreams could we have ever phantom the amount of support we have received. God Bless everyone of you. From the bottom of our hearts thank you from all the Gaytan family.”

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.”

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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”

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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/

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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!