News & Commentary

St. Gianna’s daughter reveals the ‘secret’ of her mom’s holiness

ORLANDO, Florida, February 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — What was it that allowed St. Gianna Beretta Molla to choose the life of her child over her own life when faced with the decision? What allowed her to offer praise and thanks to God even though she would die days after delivering her healthy baby, leaving four young children and a loving husband?

The secret of St. Gianna’s holiness was revealed to LifeSiteNews in an interview with the very person the saint gave up her life for, her daughter Gianna Emanuela Molla.

Gianna Emanuela, 54 years old, said that if her parents’ lives have taught her anything, it’s that the “way of the cross” is “certainly the right way” that Christians must follow if they are “to be able one day to enjoy paradise joy in the sight of God, forever.”

She is not talking about a sad and sorrowful living out of the Christian faith, but a kind of living that brings one to the deepest and most profound — and very often unexpected — joy. How to accomplish these two seemingly irreconcilable things — embracing the cross and finding joy — is the “secret.”

Gianna Emanuela explained that for Christians, the cross does not have the final word, but becomes the source for the greatest transformation.

“The way of the cross, humanly [speaking], is the most uncomfortable and the difficult way to follow. But it is the only way that allows us to [find] a full and complete meaning to our lives,” she said.

“The way of the cross, as you know, is connected to the resurrection, as our Jesus teaches us. And, as our heavenly mother teaches us, this way of the cross requires our ‘yes,’ our continuous ‘yes’ to God’s will, always, even when we don’t understand God’s will. We have to say our ‘yes’ to God,” she added.

Gianna Emanuela sees in the example of her parents’ lives the joy that comes from embracing the crosses they encountered daily throughout life.

“Mom and dad’s lives teach me also that the way of the cross is the way of the joy, as well. Which kind of joy? The most perfect joy, the most great joy, the prelude to the greatest joy – to be able one day to have the joy of paradise, of being in God’s sight, forever,” she said.

“It’s possible to walk along the way of the cross and to live in the joy, if we have Jesus in our heart, if we see everything happening to us in the light of faith. And so, if we live in this way, we feel [inspired] to thank God continuously, as did my dad, for everything, for each of our breaths. We have to thank God,” she added.

That freely choosing to embrace the crosses in one’s life as God’s will and finding peace and joy in that action comes directly from Jesus himself. It was he who said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). In another place he says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30) He also said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (Jn. 15:11).

Gianna Emanuela will forever be grateful for her “Saint Mama” deciding to embrace the cross after discovering a life threatening disease while being pregnant.

Her mom, a pediatric doctor, was pregnant with Gianna Emanuela in 1961 when she learned she had a life-threatening tumor of the uterus. Doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy (which would also kill her baby), or surgical removal of only the tumor (less chance of success). With the life of her precious daughter in mind, the mom opted for the removal of the tumor.

But complications persisted. Facing a difficult delivery, she told doctors, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him.” She died seven days later on April 28, 1962, giving her life for her child, after repeatedly exclaiming, “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.” She was 39 years old.

Gianna Emanuela said that her Mom’s ‘yes’ to God amidst the complications and agonizing pain surrounding the pregnancy and delivery allowed God to raise up something beautiful from what most people would consider a hopeless situation.

“My Saint Mama saying her ‘yes’ to God allowed God to realize (bring to fruition) my own life in a complete way,” she said.

She said the key to successfully embracing the cross while turning it into a source of joy is to “continuously” thank God for everything, the good and the bad, that come one’s way.

“Mom and dad, both of them suffered a lot in their lives…And even if they suffered a lot, they had a great joy in their heart. They continuously thanked God, which was their secret. If we think that Jesus went on the cross, it is not possible to think of a different way for us [as Christians]. This way of the cross, is also the way of the joy,” she said.

Courageous Teen on the Way to Sainthood

http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=47121

A miracle attributed to the young Mexican martyr, Jose del Rio, has been approved by the Vatican, opening the door to his canonization.

Aleteia is reporting on the miracle which occurred in Sahuayo, Mexico to a baby girl named Ximena Guadalupe Magallan Gálvez – or “Lupis” as her family called her.

Lupis began fighting the odds even before she was born. Her mother, Paulina Galvez, had serious problems throughout the pregnancy, including placental abruption, a condition that can prove fatal to the unborn child.

It was during these early difficulties that Paulina began to pray to Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, known locally as “Joselito”, who was born in Sahuayo in 1913.

Lupis was born on September 8, 2008, on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, while Paulina was living in Los Angeles. A month later, she returned to Sahuayo, and shortly thereafter, the baby contracted pneumonia and tuberculosis. At four months, Lupis suffered a stroke, contracted meningitis and began to have epileptic seizures.

Gravely ill, she was transferred to an intensive care unit in Aguascalientes and underwent therapy and a series of tests. In an effort to stop her continuous spasms, doctors induced a coma.

The baby continued to decline until doctors determined that 90 percent of the baby’s brain was dead. They recommended that life support be removed.

Paulina agreed, but asked if she could hold the child in her arms for the last time.

“At that time I put my baby in the hands of God and the intercession of Joselito,” Paulina told the official Mexican news agency, Notimex.

Just then, Lupis “opened her eyes and smiled, looked at the doctors and started to laugh,” Paulina said.

Doctors were astonished, especially after CT scans and an EEG proved that Lupis’ brain had returned to normal.

The priest who baptized Lupis contacted Antonio Berumen, vice postulator of the cause of canonization for Blessed Jose and began the process of documenting and verifying the miracle. Seven years later, the Vatican approved the miracle.

Although Pope Francis will be visiting Mexico from February 12-17, it has not been announced if he will canonize Blessed Jose while there.

Sahuayo was the birthplace of Blessed Jose, who was martyred for the faith on February 10, 1928. Devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Guadalupe, he was only 15 years old when he joined the Cristeros, a rebel band of Catholics who were fighting the violent anti-Christian despot, Plutarco Calles. After relinquishing his horse to a General during a particularly fierce battle, he was captured and locked up in a church sacristy that had been made into a prison.

On February 10, 1928, his captors decided to make an example out of him by executing him. They marched him out to a local cemetery, whipping him with sharp machetes along the way. With each blow, Jose cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” which means “Long live Christ the King.” His captors also cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk on salt. Even though he screamed in pain, Jose would not give in to the soldier’s wishes that he forsake his God. When they demanded that he shout, “Death to Christ the King,” Jose shouted all the louder, “Long Live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!”

Enraged, the soldiers finally rushed upon him with their bayonets, piercing his body in multiple places, but he still would not be silenced. “Viva Cristo Rey!” were the last words he uttered on this earth before the commander pulled out a pistol and shot him to death.

He was declared a martyr for the faith and was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

His feast day is February 10.
– See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=47121#sthash.9SebxyzP.dpuf

The story behind that Doritos Super Bowl ad

If you haven’t already heard, the Doritos ad in the Super Bowl yesterday caused quite a stir.

The ad – which focused on an unborn baby wildly chasing after a cheesy chip that was being dangled over Mom’s tummy – attracted some harsh criticism from the pro-abortion group NARAL, which accused it of “humanizing the fetus.”

‏@NARAL
#NotBuyingIt – that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight. #SB50

Many Twitter users were quick to respond that NARAL is a bit out-of-touch with reality. It’s totally normal to go into a third-trimester ultrasound appointment and hear the doc say, “There’s your beautiful baby,” and see an ultrasound image that is very clearly a human baby. It’s not “humanizing the fetus”…it’s just real life.

Turns out, the image is more than just realistic. It’s actually real. (With computer-generated movement, of course).  On the Doritos’ Super Bowl campaign website, we find the backstory inspiring the creator, an Australian man named Peter:

“Peter recently had his second child, Freddy, who’s now nine months old. When he was with his wife getting an ultrasound during the pregnancy, an idea popped into his head – wouldn’t it be funny to have a little fun in the hospital room, where everyone is supposed to remain poised, calm and collected. The baby in the ultrasound image is Freddy himself – of course with the help of a little camera magic.”

So the fetus that NARAL accused the commercial of “humanizing” – that’s a little boy named Freddy.

Actual ultrasound image of Freddy from the Doritos commercial.

Commercial Stars Babies Born 9 Months After Super Bowl

“For Super Bowl 50 the NFL and Seal brought together some actual Super Bowl Babies to recreate one of the greatest love songs of all time to celebrate the greatest game of all time.” (Video via YouTube/NFL)

Some people go to Disney World after a big Super Bowl win. More of us head to the bedroom, at least according to the NFL. Though it doesn’t point to specific data, the NFL says winning Super Bowl cities see a baby boom about nine months after the big game. It spun that idea into a “Super Bowl Babies Choir” commercial that will run at the end of the third quarter in Sunday’s Panthers vs. Broncos match-up.

The already released spot breaks the mold in ESPN’s view, in that it’s actually “memorable”: It features groups of kids and adults—whose sheer existence is potentially attributable to their parents’ city’s win—singing a football-themed take on Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.”

Fox59 notes adults who came into this world after the Packers’ 1967 win are included, as are Super Bowl babies who owe a little something to the Steelers (1976), 49ers (1989), Cowboys (1993/1994), Buccaneers (2003), Colts (2007), Giants (2012), and Seahawks (2014). That final group tugged on America’s heartstrings, per CNN: “The combination of the adorable 2014 Super Bowl babies and cute lyrics left viewers praising the commercial,” which also stars Seal himself.

Knives are out again for Latin America’s unborn. But what’s behind this Zika virus story?

February 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)

The forces of death and misery of the pro-abortion industry are at it again, and they are doing their best to use a troubling item in the news to scare and intimidate strongly pro-woman and pro-child Latin American countries into loosening restrictions on abortion. The Zika virus scare is the tool du jour. In an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” published on January 30, 2016, reporter Lourdes Garcia-Navarro interviewed staff of a fertility clinic and abortion activists who decried the slowing down of in vitro fertilizations as women were afraid to become pregnant lest their child be born with birth defects and disabilities due to the Zika virus.

“The pro-abortion movement hasn’t been able to get much traction on the issue, and they’re hoping the debate around the suspected cases of Zika-related microcephaly will change that. Debora Diniz is a law professor and activist. She and other pro-abortion groups are going to petition the Brazilian Supreme Court,” recounts Garcia-Valls.

Never mind the facts.  Any and all excuses are valid in the minds of the pro-abortion activists to push for their desired end, free and unencumbered abortion rights.

But, what are the facts? Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?

According to the CDC and the WHO,  Zika is a mild virus that spreads exclusively through the bite of a specific variety of mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti. This insect is found in tropical climates and is rare in the United States, existing only in some areas of Southern Texas and Southern Florida. It is not transmitted from human to human except through a blood transfusion. It is possible that it may be transmitted sexually although the data regarding this mode of transition is scarce.

According to the WHO, “it causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days. ”

Many people, never even realize they have it. There are nearly no deaths associated with it, and the disease cannot brought into the colder climates by humans who are infected by the virus while travelling in affected countries.

The most potentially problematic side-effects appear to be to pregnant women.  Zika virus infection had been linked with an increased number of miscarriages and cases of microcephaly. But, according to the CDC, “Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with microcephaly, and in the current outbreak in Brazil, a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported. However, it is not known how many of the microcephaly cases are associated with Zika virus infection. Studies are under way to investigate the association of Zika virus infection and microcephaly, including the role of other contributory factors (e.g., prior or concurrent infection with other organisms, nutrition, and environment). The full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with Zika virus infections during pregnancy is unknown and requires further investigation.”

Contrast the troubling, yet unproven, effect of the Zika virus on unborn children and the very mild effects of upon the pregnant mothers with the well documented lethal effects of the seasonal flu and it becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world.

The CDC goes on to recommend that women who may be pregnant not travel in areas where there are known outbreaks of Zika, and that if they do, they take reasonable precautions such as wearing bug spray and light-colored, long-sleeved clothing.

The reasoned and calm directives from the CDC contrast sharply with the hysteria being fostered by the abortion industry lobbyists and their media accomplices… but that is not surprising.

Teenage girl died from blood clot after taking contraceptive pill

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teenage-girl-died-blood-clot-7216463

A teenage girl who was on the contraceptive pill died from an ‘extremely rare’ blood clot after returning home from a family holiday, an inquest heard.

Sophie Murray, 16, had been prescribed the pill for around eight months by the time she returned from Gran Canaria last September.

But two weeks later, the “happy and healthy” teenager, from Accrington, started complaining of breathlessness and chest pain.

Blackburn Coroners Court heard how tests by her GP confirmed she was suffering from exercise induced asthma (EIA), the Accrington Observer reported .

She was prescribed an inhaler, however it was ineffective.

Mum Shelley Crichton told the hearing how Sophie woke up on November 8 last year saying she couldn’t breathe and shortly after had a ‘fit’ and her ‘lips turned blue’.

She was rushed to hospital however passed away later that day.

Dr Richard Prescott said Sophie died of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a contributory factor was the oral contraceptive pill.

He told the hearing that the ‘large clot’ was 8mm in diameter and if it had been detected earlier she could have been given blood thinners and survived.

The inquest heard how Sophie was using the ‘common’ pill Microgynon and a leaflet accompanying the prescription warned how using it ‘increases the risk of developing a blood clot’ and in ‘very rare cases’ a blood clot can form but it is ‘very rarely fatal’.

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images A box of Microgynon contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pill: Sophie had been taking Microgynon for around eight months

Joanne Birch, a specialist nurse in sudden and unexpected deaths, said only six out of every 10,000 women on the contraceptive pill develop DVT, compared to only two in 10,000 without the pill, and that fatalities are ‘extremely rare’.

Shelley told the hearing how Sophie’s breathing had got worse since returning from holiday and she was struggling to walk to school, dance or enjoy exercise DVDs and complained her body was ‘aching’.

The inquest heard how Shelley and Sophie visited Dr Paramundayil Joseph at the Dill Hall surgery in Accrington on October 15 after feeling like she was ‘breathing through a straw’.

The GP said he ordered tests which later confirmed EIA and Sophie was prescribed an inhaler.

However she later returned on November 5 – three days before her death – to say it ‘didn’t do anything’ and was prescribed a different inhaler and a tablet to help with her breathing before exercise.

Dr Joseph said how he didn’t consider the diagnosis of DVT as she was young, not overweight or a smoker, had no family history and didn’t have any swelling or tenderness in her leg.

He said her breathlessness, which is a symptom of a pulmonary embolism, could also be the symptom of ‘many diseases’ and ‘can be similar’ to EIA.

He told the inquest that risks associated with the contraceptive pill usually occur after ‘many years of taking the pill and also when a woman is a lot older’.

He said: “It’s the most common combined pill. I have prescribed it for the last 31 years and this has never happened until now.

“She was very active and it’s very rare and very unfortunate.”

Assistant coroner Derek Baker recorded a narrative verdict and said it was a ‘tragic case’.

He said: “This tragedy has brought overwhelming grief to Sophie’s family.

“She was a young girl when she died. The cause of death pulmonary embolism is common enough but I have never seen it involving someone as young as this with no other problems.

“These conditions in a girl of this age are rare but they are a recognised side effect of the pill she was prescribed and can also be caused by long flights and the immobility associated. It’s not my role to blame but I must say Sophie’s mum did everything that could reasonably have been done. There was no delay, she took medical advice as the symptoms displayed themselves.

“Sophie herself was very stoic about it and I think you were both hoping the symptoms were relatively minor and would pass.

“If it was diagnosed and treated earlier she would have had a very good prospect of recovery.

“I acknowledge a tragedy of this scale is going to result in crushing, all-consuming grief.”

Sophie was a pupil at Accrington Academy and dreamed of being a paramedic.

A March They Will Never Forget

A March They Will Never Forget

On Thursday, January 21st, 2016, youth and young adults from Chicago began an adventure of the rarest kind. The “Crusaders for Life” participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every year, but this year would be different.
In the days preceding the trip, Father Nathan Caswell made a few remarks to the Crusaders at a planning meeting. He encouraged the youth to “Be present in a special way,” on the trip, emphasizing that “…when we go all out, when we really die to ourselves, we allow others to come out of themselves, too.” From the beginning, he and the other leaders set this challenge before the Crusaders: “Whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:24)

However, as the 165 participants prepared for the trip in the following days, news of winter storm Jonas began to spread. Would they be able to go? The weather warnings loomed, the storm threatened to dump as much as two feet of snow on Friday night. Word came from organizers in D.C.: “The March for Life will not be cancelled.” Projected departure for home seemed promising. They would be just ahead of the storm.

The decision was made to go ahead. On Thursday morning after early Mass, 2 priests, 2 brothers, 160 youth and young adults from St. John Cantius in Chicago, St. Peter in Volo, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy in Rockford loaded onto three buses.


Celebrating Mass in Barnesville, Maryland the morning of the March


Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC prepares the Crusaders before the March for Life

More pictures and the beautiful continuing story —–>> http://www.cantius.org/go/news/detail/march_for_life_2016/

Mom of Quintuplets Rejects Doctor’s Abortion Suggestion to Kill Three of Her Unborn Babies

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/26/mom-of-quintuplets-rejects-doctors-abortion-suggestion-to-kill-three-of-her-unborn-babies/

They are a one in 60 million chance, and their mother making huge sacrifices to ensure their health and safety.

They are the Tucci quintuplets from Perth, Australia, and though they have not been born yet, they already are famous online. Their mother, Kim (pictured above), has been blogging about her pregnancy on Facebook ever since she discovered that she was naturally pregnant with five babies in September 2015. Tens of thousands of people are following the family’s journey through the blog and waiting for the arrival of the rare quintuplets.

Tucci and her husband have two young daughters, and last summer, they decided to try for just one more child, maybe a boy, they told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Not long after discovering they were pregnant last summer, the couple received the surprise of their lives. Kim wrote on her blog “Surprised By Five” on Sept. 21, 2015:

After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in… the sonographer told me there was multiple gestational sack but she could only see a heart beat in two!! I WAS SO EXCITED!! TWINS!!!

I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. she started to count ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR , FIVE!!! did i hear that correctly?? FIVE?? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh.. The sonographer then told me the term for 5 is QUINTUPLETS!! Time to call my husband…

When i called him from the ultrasound room i don’t think he believed me at first, he quickly drove down to the ultrasound place. I could see the excitement in his face he told me ” We can do this”

The Tuccis learned that conceiving quintuplets naturally was a one in 60 million chance. However, as is often the case with multiples, some did not treat Kim’s extremely rare quintuplets as unique individuals. Doctors advised Kim to abort up to three of her unborn babies.

On September 26, 2015, she wrote about the experience:

After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method [abortion] to give 2 babies the best chance in life… I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried, I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival?? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more.

For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy.

And it has taken a lot of sacrifice. Kim told the newspaper that she struggles just to walk and sleep. She said her skin is stretching and her belly feels “hot to touch.” At just 11 weeks pregnant, the mother said her stomach already looked like she was in the third trimester.

“Mummy guilt has kicked up a level! I’m trying to get through all the pain just on Panadol alone if I can help it, I can’t bare the thought of any drugs passing through to my babies,” she wrote on her blog on Jan. 17. “Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly.”

Doctors also recommend that she eat 6,000 calories every day just to sustain her five unborn babies, according to the report. The expecting mother said because her belly is so large and full already, she sometimes has to force herself to eat enough for her babies.

The Australian mom said all the aches and pains, the stretch marks and hospital stays are worth it, knowing that her unborn babies are healthy. She also thanked her husband for his constant support.

“My husband always reminds me I should wear my stripes with pride and that I should be proud of them and what my body has achieved. Without him I would have broken down a long time ago,” Kim wrote.

The babies’ due date is unclear, but some predict that Kim could give birth any day, according to the report. She is pregnant with four girls and a boy, the report states.

Elizabeth Hoskins, a local photographer who photographed Kim when she was 24 weeks pregnant, told the newspaper that the expecting mother looks radiant.

“She could not be more beautiful …” she said. “Her strength just shines through every image. A true goddess, indeed.”

elizabethhoskins

Can the birth control pill cause birth defects?

https://naturalwomanhood.org/can-the-birth-control-pill-cause-birth-defects/

by Gerard Migeon, Founder & CEO

As January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, you may have seen articles like this one in Time Magazine claiming that birth control pills are not linked to birth defects. It’s because a recent large scale study from Denmark just came out with these conclusions. But this study is not telling the whole story and the news distracts us from the real problem. In fact, it’s missing the mark on serious effects of the Pill’s chemistry on the fetus. Here is the rest of the story: babies whose mothers have been on the Pill and are thus exposed to synthetic estrogen may not show the birth defects researched in the Danish study, like a congenital heart anomaly or a missing limb, but are likely to suffer longer term effects such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, or low sperm counts. Yet there is a deafening silence and lack of research on this inconvenient truth.

Birth control pill and birth defects natural womanhood

Three years ago, our daughter created a very clever animation video as part of a communications project where she made a statement that the Pill was linked to prostate cancer, which at first glance sounds like an odd concept. Last summer, this allegation was clarified for me when I attended the Contraceptive Conundrum Conference in Washington DC and heard a presentation by Frederick Vom Saal, PhD. Dr. Vom Saal is a developmental biologist and professor of biology at University of Missouri-Columbia, Miss. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The National Institute of Health funds his research. He was interviewed by PBS in 1998 on his research showing the relationship between estrogen found in the environment and prostate diseases.

What history and world health data tell us

We must learn from history. Vom Saal’s introduced his presentation by reminding us of the DES scandal. Between 1940 and 1971, millions of women were prescribed a drug called DES as a way to prevent miscarriages. In 1971, this drug was found to cause a 40-fold increase in risk of vaginal or cervical cancer in the teen or adult daughters of these women. A major lesson from these tragic events was that when pregnant women absorbed certain forms of estrogen, they exposed their fetus to small amounts of the hormone and it would have grave and irreversible health consequences for their baby. It also showed that these consequences would only show up much later in the child’s life.

What happened to these women had been previously demonstrated on mice. “There was data that was ignored because it was animal research that wasn’t relevant to human health,” reports Vom Saal. But the reality of the syndrome showed the contrary: the animal research was predictive of the human impact. “We know that mouse cells are essentially identical to human cells in the way that they respond to these hormones,“ said Vom Saal. Such biological evidence allows him to correlate the results observed in his research on mice and what we all observe in public health statistics.

Indeed, if we focus only on men’s health, which is Vom Saal’s research field, we find two areas are of major public health concern:

  • The prevalence of prostate cancer: prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, accounting for 15% of the cancers diagnosed in men, with almost 70% of the cases (759,000 per year) occurring in more developed regions (which are also the main users of the Pill).
  • The alarming rate of decreased of sperm count, a major cause of infertility. This article presents the dramatic, accelerating drop in sperm count reported in some studies: 50% since 1950 and 25% just in the past 20 years. (read here for more on this topic)

DES birth control pills and birth defect natural womanhood

The science behind the facts

While traditional toxicology studies look at elevated levels of chemicals and their relationship to diseases during the lifetime of the person, Vom Saal research shows that in fact very small amounts of estrogen impact the fetus permanently, showing its effects during the rest of the person’s life, in ways that cannot be corrected. Further, he claims that such changes could be multi-generational.

Vom Saal observed that male mice from the same litter could experience very minor differences in estrogen hormone exposure during gestation that would lead to major differences in the fully developed mice: the size of the scrotum and the penis, the libido, and the size of the prostate were all clearly affected.

This discovery led to further research on mice. Vom Saal was able to show that by exposing the fetus to very small amounts of estradiol estrogen (also famously known as EE) at critical times of development, the resulting males’ prostates had doubled in size compared to the control sample. Later, when exposing the adults to normal hormonal changes due to age, 100% of these males got prostate cancer.

“We see dramatic change in the sprouting of glands within the fetal prostate. We see changes in testicular sperm production. We see changes in the structure of the endocrine control region in the brain, which is accompanied by changes in sex behavior, aggression, the way these animals behave towards infants, their whole social interaction, the way they age, the time that they enter puberty, the age at which they cease reproduction. It changes their entire life history, and these changes are capable of occurring at very low levels of hormones,” reports Vom Saal in his 1998 PBS interview about environmental EE. In this study published in the journal Human Reproduction, exposure to a small dose of EE (from 0.002 to 2 µg/kg/day) during the early phase of gestation led to an increase in the prostate weight, a change in its response to hormones, and a significant reduction in sperm count.

Vom Saal claims that the dose of EE in the Pill, which is about 0.3 µg/kg/day, has similar potential effects. Not only does it change the physiology of the person’s reproductive system, but it also affects the way the cells in the organs will respond to hormonal changes in the future. That’s where the higher risk of cancer comes from. That’s how the DES daughters syndrome happened. Could it be why prostate cancer is so prevalent or sperm count reaching crisis levels?  Vom Saal along with other scientists[i] are certainly making a strong case for it.

What is the exposure with the Pill?

The big question for women on the Pill is when does it likely happen, so that one would know when to quit hormonal contraceptives to minimize the chance of exposure? The answer is quite broad: before, during and after conception. According to Dr. Vom Saal, the impact can start as soon as the egg starts developing in the ovaries, which is 2 ½ to 3 months before conception: “you are at a stage of development of the ovocite when it’s absolutely clear that hormonal insults to the mother can impact that process.” Exposure during conception is pretty common. About 9% of women on oral contraceptive pills get pregnant. In the US, it represents about 1 million babies a year. Worldwide about 10 million. To make matters worse, it takes at least a couple of weeks for a woman to know she is pregnant, and some women won’t realize they are pregnant for some time simply because the pill is already suppressing their periods, which will potentially extend the duration of the exposure.

Dr. Vom Saal’s focus is on the male reproductive system. There are other areas and organs that are very likely affected in a similar fashion. The same process applies to female breast tissues and their response to estrogen, which can lead to breast cancer later in the life of babies exposed.

The CDC provides a list of measures to prevent birth defects, from eating healthy and avoiding harmful chemical substances to taking folic acid supplements. But they don’t warn about EE exposure from birth control. There is a deafening silence on these questions. “If anybody was looking, which the medical community does not want anybody to do because there is just panic over this, you would see the same kind of data. There is a massive uncontrolled experiment going on and nobody is collecting this data,” stated Dr. Vom Saal. Before we hurry and say it’s safe, have we really made sure?

Be safe,

Gerard Migeon

 

[i] Estrogenic chemicals in plastic and oral contraceptives disrupt development of the fetal mouse prostate and urethra. Communicated by Howard A. Bern, University of California, Berkeley, CA, March 28, 2005 (received for review November 2, 2004)

TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES 112(2), 331–343 (2009) Mal-Development of the Penis and Loss of Fertility in Male Rats Treated Neonatally with Female Contraceptive 17a-Ethinyl Estradiol: A Dose-Response Study and a Comparative Study with a Known Estrogenic Teratogen Diethylstilbestrol. Ensa Mathews et Al

BMJ Open 2011 Occupational & environmental medicine, Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: an ecological study, by David Margel, Neil E Fleshner. See also the correction here

The Inside Story on the Turnpike Mass, From the Priest Who Led It

https://churchpop.com/2016/01/25/turnpike-mass-inside-story-priest-interview/
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You’ve probably heard the basic story by now: busses full of students heading home from the March for Life in Washington D.C. got stuck on a highway because of a blizzard, and while they were waiting they constructed an altar out of snow and held Mass on the side of the highway. Amazing!

ChurchPOP tracked down the priest who presided over this historic Mass, Fr. Patrick Behm, and interviewed him about his experience.

“It was incredible,” Fr. Behm told ChurchPOP, “easily one of the highlights of my time as a priest.”

[More coverage: The Best Photos of the Historic Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

[More coverage: Watch Worshippers Receive Communion at the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016]

[More coverage: Watch Pro-Lifers Pray “Our Father” As Snow Falls in the Turnpike Mass]

[More coverageHere’s a Video of the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

Fr. Behm is the parochial vicar of All Saints’ Parish in Le Mars, IA as well as parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Parish in Akron, IA, and the chaplain of Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars. He was chaperoning five students from the high school.

According to Fr. Behm, his group plus several other big groups from other schools got stuck near the mile marker 133 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They were there for approximately 22 hours! The cause of the jam, Fr. Behm was told, was an accident involving two tractor-trailers that blocked all of the westbound lanes of traffic. In the time it took to clear this accident, the snow in turn rendered the road impassible and the vehicles immobile.

He couldn’t claim credit for the idea of having Mass: “I was the principal celebrant of the liturgy,” he said, “but credit for the idea, and credit for building the altar, and credit for going around to the various buses inviting people to join them belongs completely to the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, particularly Mr. Bill Dill, their youth minister.”

It was those students from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who built the snow altar: “Those Minnesotans apparently know how to build stuff out of snow!”

The now famous Mass was a powerful spiritual experience for Fr. Behm and everyone else involved.

“It left me with many impressions, but among them was the fact that Jesus enters into the storm. Jesus comes to us, in the storms of our life, and enters in to be with us. He desires to be with His people, and if we respond to this invitation to let Him in, then the message is profound hope and joy.”

Fr. Behm praised everyone for responding positively to such a hard situation: “Everyone on that turnpike had a choice: to respond with joy and a positive outlook, or to respond with negativity and anger. Neither approach would have gotten us out of there any faster. But, one approach at least made the waiting more bearable and tolerable.”

Further, he saw God reap spiritual fruit from the event: “God, in His providence, used this event to share the Gospel with scores of people who may never hear the Good News.”

Lastly, wanted to express an immense gratitude to all the workers who helped them: “the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Highway Patrol, the Pennsylvania DOT, local law enforcement, and the local fire department. It was a massive undertaking, and these first responders did a remarkable job.”

[More coverage: The Best Photos of the Historic Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

[More coverage: Watch Worshippers Receive Communion at the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016]

[More coverage: Watch Pro-Lifers Pray “Our Father” As Snow Falls in the Turnpike Mass]

[More coverageHere’s a Video of the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016!]

Here’s our full interview:

Q: Have you ever done this before? How did you get the idea to build a snow altar have Mass outside on the side of the highway?

No. This was definitely a first for me. And, it wasn’t my idea at all.

I’m kind of being attached to this story, as I was the principal celebrant of the liturgy, but credit for the idea, and credit for building the altar, and credit for going around to the various buses inviting people to join them belongs completely to the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, particularly Mr. Bill Dill, their youth minister.

Q: Who built the altar? Was it just snow?

Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. And yes, it was completely made out of snow. Those Minnesotans apparently know how to build stuff out of snow!

Q: Did only people from your group participate in the Mass, or did other people stuck on the turnpike also participate?

It was far more than our group. The groups that I know were in attendance were from Dioceses from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In addition, there may have been others who got out of their vehicles and joined us. I’m not sure about that though.

Q: How many people participated approximately?

The number I’m being told is approximately 500.

Q: Do you have any stories about how this positively affected people spiritually?

Overall, I’d say it certainly raised the spirits of all those in attendance. It brought the light of Christ to a very bleak situation, and helped continue to spread the message of the Gospel of Life, that all life is sacred.

Q: What was it like? What impression did the event leave you with?

It was incredible…easily one of the highlights of my time as a priest. It left me with many impressions, but among them was the fact that Jesus enters into the storm. Jesus comes to us, in the storms of our life, and enters in to be with us. He desires to be with His people, and if we respond to this invitation to let Him in, then the message is profound hope and joy.

Everyone on that turnpike had a choice: to respond with joy and a positive outlook, or to respond with negativity and anger. Neither approach would have gotten us out of there any faster. But, one approach at least made the waiting more bearable and tolerable.

Q: What’s been your reaction to the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the event on social media?

I’m stunned, actually. I’ve been trying to deflect credit and praise away from myself and on those who truly deserve it, Mr. Dill and the ASPM pilgrims. I never would have envisioned that it would receive the type of coverage it has.

But, God, in His providence, used this event to share the Gospel with scores of people who may never hear the Good News.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about it?

Just to thank people for their prayers, and to thank everyone who helped us: the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Highway Patrol, the Pennsylvania DOT, local law enforcement, and the local fire department. It was a massive undertaking, and these first responders did a remarkable job.

Wife Cares for Husband in Coma for 33 Years, Staying Right by His Side

Few take the marriage vows “in sickness and in health” as seriously as Bernadette Adams.

 For the past three decades, she has dedicated her life to taking care of her husband, former French soccer player Jean-Pierre Adams, who is in a coma, according to the Catholic News Agency.

In 1982, Jean-Pierre had routine knee surgery to repair a sports-related injury, but never woke up from the anesthesia; he was 34 years old, according to the report. The family later won a lawsuit against the medical staff who botched the procedure, the report states.

Bernadette, now 72, spends every day by her husband’s side at the home in Nimes, France. Jean-Pierre will be 68 in March; and his wife refuses to put him in a nursing home, according to the report.

“I talk to him all the time — about TV, what’s in the mail, anything!” Bernadette told CNN. “There is always movement around him. He is always next to us.”

The report continues:

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well,” Bernadette told CNN in a recent interview, saying he can still breathe on his own but needs round-the-clock attention.

Bernadette and Jean-Pierre met at a dance in the 1960s. As an interracial couple, the two grew in resilience through the challenges they faced and married in 1969. Not long after, Jean-Pierre was playing first division side football as the “garde noire” alongside some of the best in the world.

“He was the ‘joie di vivre’ embodied in human form – a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” his wife told CNN.

That all changed on March 17, 1982 when the understaffed hospital botched Adams’ intubation, causing a heart attack, brain damage, and an eventual coma. The surgery was ruled as an “involuntary injury” and the medical workers were found guilty seven years after the incident.

Jean-Pierre, now 68, is cared for daily by his faithful wife Bernadette. She feeds him, talks to him, clothes him, and still buys presents for him to open on his birthday.

“I’ll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent. He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favorite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior,” Bernadette told CNN.

The couple has been married for 46 years. The first few years of their marriage were filled with Jean-Pierre’s rise to fame as one of the first black players for the French national soccer team, according to the report.

“He was the ‘joie de vivre’ embodied in human form — a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” Bernadette said. “Really, a smile was always bursting out. He loved the good life and was loved by everybody as well.

Then the tragic incident occurred, leaving Jean-Pierre in a coma. Though some have suggested euthanasia, which is legal in several European countries, Bernadette refuses to consider it. She still believes Jean-Pierre’s life is valuable, and hopes that he could get better.

“What do you want me to do – deprive him of food? Let him die little by little? No, no, no,” she said. “If one day, medical science evolves, then why not? Will there be a day when they’ll know how to do something for him? I don’t know.”

CNN reports more about the couple’s life together now:

Bernadette looks after her husband with an unfailing love — dressing, feeding and bathing him, turning him over in his bed to avoid sores, and often losing her own sleep to ensure he gets his.

It’s a measure of their bond that on the rare occasions Bernadette spends a night away from home, Jean-Pierre’s carers notice his mood seems to change.

“He senses that it is not me feeding him and looking after him,” says his wife of 46 years. “It’s the nurses who tell me, saying he is not the same.

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well.”

Though many would have given up on Jean-Pierre long ago or even thrown away his life by euthanasia, Bernadette perseveres in caring for him each and every day. And that is a true love story.

Jean-PierreAdams

She Took the Abortion Pill, But Months Later Her Baby Survived

Weeks ago, I walked into our crisis pregnancy center and witnessed a miracle. I have been volunteering as a counselor for over 7 years now and never before have I seen this. I was honored to see God’s handiwork up close—watching the face and eyes of the woman who received a redemptive gift.

If you aren’t familiar with the abortion pill RU-486, I would like to introduce you before going any further. RU-486 is not a contraceptive. RU-486 kills an unborn baby (typically within 5-7 weeks of conception) whose heart has already begun to beat.

RU-486 is an artificial steroid that interferes with the action of progesterone, a hormone crucial to the early progress of pregnancy. Progesterone stimulates the increased development of the uterine lining, which nourishes the developing child. It also suppresses normal uterine contractions, which could dislodge the child implanted and growing on the wall of the mother’s womb.

This abortion-inducing procedure RU-486 fills the chemical receptor sites normally reserved for progesterone and blocks the progesterone signal. Failing to receive that signal, a woman’s body shuts down the preparation of the uterus and initiates the menstrual process.

The pre-born child, deprived of necessary nutrients, starves to death.

The baby’s heart—which has already begun to beat at least since 4 weeks old—stops beating. This is the only purpose for which the sponsor of RU-486 ever sought U.S. government approval: the stopping of a human heart. The baby then detaches and is swept out of the body along with the decayed uterine lining.

But that’s not all. A chemical abortion via RU-486 involves a second drug, misoprostol. By itself, RU-486 is able to induce an abortion only between 64% and 85% of the time—a percentage abortifacient researchers consider inadequate for general clinical use.

So two days after taking RU-486, a woman takes a prostaglandin, usually misoprostol, to induce powerful uterine contractions to expel the baby’s shrunken corpse. What does this part of the two-part pill abortion mean to the woman’s body? You will have severely heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting and painful uterine contractions before and after the baby exits the body.

TIME Magazine describes this as “A painful, messy, and protracted” process. In its trial testing, two percent of women hemorrhaged while more than 1 in 100 required hospitalization. And this was when RU-486 was under constant trial supervision. Complications greatly increase when the woman is given the pills at abortion centers and sent home with instructions—no supervision and no follow up.

Can they really call this health care? (Let it be noted: Surgical abortions, though completely different in procedure, are just as dangerous to undergo.)

Having explained RU-486 and its process, let’s move on to that incredible evening at the crisis pregnancy center. In walks a young woman who had discovered she was testing positive on her home pregnancy test. She came into our clinic to follow-up and make sure the tests were correct.

She thought she felt movement inside of her, but wasn’t so sure it wasn’t in her head. She explained she had taken an RU-486 abortion pill some months prior and thought she might be imagining a baby moving. We naturally assumed that perhaps she was pregnant again, as a woman’s chance of pregnancy after a womb-loss is high.

She was tested and, sure enough, she was positive for pregnancy. I prayed as we waited to find out what was going on. The nurse took her into the ultrasound room to check her womb, since her claims of movement had left us stunned. Long after the clinic hours were passed, they emerged from the ultrasound room.

Ultrasound - woman - pregnancy
Photo for illustration only: Daniel Hoherd / Flickr

In her hand were 5×4 photos; I had to hold back my tears. The smile on her face was hard to miss, and I asked her how it went. She joyfully told me that she was 21 weeks pregnant and then asked me if I wanted to see. Ummm, yes! I thought. Please let me lay eyes on this miracle baby and never forget. There the baby was, sucking on a thumb. Beautiful. Perfect. Saved.

She was relieved and began telling me her crazy journey the last few months and how this had to have happened for a reason. I echoed, “God protected your baby. This is a miracle from Him.”

The young woman, who had only a few months prior decided to end her baby’s life, was now telling me she was going to decide whether to give the gift of adoption or parent. And she added that she would tell everyone never to take RU-486—it was traumatic and painful.

Asking her about that experience, I learned that she had visited the Tuscaloosa abortion center: West Alabama Women’s Center, Inc. They had given her the RU-486 pills and sent her home. The only information they gave her was that “there would be some bleeding and cramping.” She experienced severe bleeding and pain for days.

Did I mention there was no follow-up or continued care given by West Alabama Women’s Center? None. Thankfully due to their procedural negligence, she went on with a miracle pregnancy. However, many women suffer near-death hospitalizations due to this same negligence.

I’ve prayed outside this same abortion center before. While we were praying there, a song my husband and I had written from Psalm 27:5-6 came to my mind. It was written from the perspective of the baby in the womb facing their death by abortion:

“For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.”

That prayer and that song came to my mind as I meditated on God saving this miracle baby. I feel a confidence in my soul that God honored those prayers to Him outside that abortion center. And I was blessed to see the living fruit!

Another incredible part of this miracle was that the young woman came in with a friend, who was also testing positive for pregnancy and was abortion-minded. After seeing her friend’s live ultrasound, she decided to keep her baby! She said that she couldn’t wait to see her baby, too.

I am privileged and humbled to see God’s redemptive plan for these women, as I’ve never witnessed before. God’s plans for us and our families cannot be controlled like we so naively think. Ever so often, He will reach beyond our own limiting perspectives and fill our ill-thought-out decisions with His grace and mercy—His Sovereignty cannot be thwarted. I’m so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who moves in the midst of our desperate sin.

Her smile was evidence of the healing power of life. Her smile was proof of relief. And her smile was a confirmation of the beautiful choices that are now brilliantly before her.

Note: If you have recently started the RU-486 process within the last 48 hours, there is an effective process for reversing the abortion. Medical professionals are standing by at (877) 558-0333 or find more information at AbortionPillReversal.com.

LifeNews Note: Natalie Brumfield, chapter leader of Bound4LIFE Birmingham, serves at local crisis pregnancy center Sav-A-Life and at her local church. This Bound4LIFE article has been reprinted with permission.

It’s All About Contraception

http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/its-all-about-contraception?mc_cid=9df15c3950&mc_eid=9ed5db84d9

Ending contraception is the only way to end abortion.

It’s time once again for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of well-intentioned folks come to protest the slaughter of little children, demanding the law be changed. But how did it come to pass that killing children in the womb is now protected by the law?

Like everything, you have to go back to the beginning to get the full picture. Owing to massive movement of soldiers, the U.S. Civil War had given rise to the first large-scale beginnings of pornography as an industry. Pornographic materials and literature, such as they were in the post-Civil War era, had begun a lessening of morals.

In 1873, the U.S. Congress passed a law called the “Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” It was championed by Anthony Comstock and thereafter was called simply the Comstock Law.

It was a federal law, but over half the states adopted it as well. Among other things, Comstock outlawed abortifacients and contraceptives. Comstock was essentially the law of the land for nearly a century; but it began drawing heated opposition in the early 1900s from the burgeoning birth control movement largely spearheaded by women.

In 1961, Estelle Griswold opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven, Connecticut and was eventually convicted for dispensing birth control to married women. She lost every appeal of her conviction except the only one that mattered: the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 7, 1965, four years after opening her clinic, in a 7-2 decision, the justices ruled that married couples have a constitutional right to contraception. They cited the Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments as the basis for their ruling.

In the majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas said that a right to contraception among married couples exists owing to “penumbras” and “emanations” in the fabric of the Constitution. Those are legal terms meaning, in short, things you can assume and interpret in a manner that will allow more than the actual law says. The Griswold case also established a right to privacy — and now you can see where this is all going to arrive.

In 1972, in another Supreme Court case, Eisenstadt v. Baird, the case was argued and eventually won that it is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to allow married couples to use contraception and deny that “right” to unmarried couples. The vote of the Justices was again 7-2.

Exactly 10 months to the day after the Eisenstadt ruling, the same justices voted — again 7-2 — that the same arguments to allow contraception also allow a woman to kill the baby in her womb.

Everything about abortion is about contraception. Almost half of women who get abortions do so because their contraception failed, a little-realized point that keeps Planned Parenthood and its allies constantly pushing contraception. Failed contraception leads to unintended pregnancy, which leads to abortion in half the cases.

Contraception establishes a thought process in the minds of people that sex doesn’t necessarily relate to conception — which is where the word contraception comes from. A person — especially a Catholic — cannot decry abortion while permitting, supporting or ignoring contraception.

Yet many people do, even those at the heart of the self-styled pro-life movement. If you are against abortion but permit contraception, then you are not pro-life. All you are is pro-birth. That is not Catholic, and no amount of pretense will make it so.

Tomorrow, a look at some of the bigger names that will be present at the March for Life on Friday, and how they do against this litmus test. Are they really pro-life? Or are they just pro-birth?

Medical holograms

Father Fredy Angel

https://www.catholicextension.org/about-us/lumen-christi-award/2015-lumen-christi-award-finalists/fr-fredy-angel-building-mission

Father Fredy Angel, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, serves as pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in Lakeland and of the parish’s mission in nearby Ray City. In the Diocese of Savannah in southern Georgia, only 3 percent of the population is Catholic.  When he began his term as pastor in 2008, there was only a small group of parishioners attending Mass. Today Sunday Masses in the Lakeland church draw so many area Catholics that the congregation is spilling out of the church and into the street. Originally founded to serve a small population of African-American Catholics, the parish today is racially diverse and serves whites, African-Americans and the growing Hispanic population in the area.

Despite many difficulties early on in his pastoral appointment—Father Fredy had to travel more than 150 miles each week to celebrate up to eight Masses in four different locations, and he had to live in a run-down rectory—he persevered and has poured his heart and soul into turning this previously struggling small Catholic parish into a thriving, dynamic and growing multi-ethnic community. He has established religious education programs that draw both children and adults to the parish. Many Catholics who had previously stopped attending church have come back to worship, not only because of his outreach and dedication to the community, but also because of his charismatic personality and passion for his ministry. He has also earned the respect and admiration of many Protestants in the two towns, who see him as a leader of their community.

Today there are 100 children enrolled in the religious education classes. In the seven and a half years of being their pastor, Father Fredy has celebrated 32 marriages. In the 19 years prior to his time there, only 19 were celebrated. He has brought 154 people to celebrate their first Communion, when in the past 29 years, a total of only 140 people did so. His flock continues to grow, and with Father Fredy as their shepherd, it is easy to see why.

He has led his parish by example, always the first to pick up a mop to clean the buildings or lend a hand in washing the dishes. His congregation has seen how he cares for the sick. They have seen how he has bridged the long-standing gap between English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners. They have seen how he has hosted potlucks after Mass. They have seen how he has worked outside of the church walls to help them with daily struggles such as family problems, counseling needs, social services and the many challenges the area’s young people are facing. This kind of devotion has brought more life back to the church, as well as people.

As the parish has continued to grow, Father Fredy has had to realize that a new and larger church needed to be built. He is now leading and involving his congregation in building that new church in a centralized location—within 20 minutes of driving for any of the parishioners from the three towns it will serve. The new parish, to be named St. Anthony of Padua, is scheduled to be dedicated in early 2016 and will have enough space for every religious education class to have a single classroom, rather than the current situation of combining groups in one classroom, or being forced to use the kitchen as a substitute classroom. In addition, it will include soccer fields and the parish also owns a property across the street where Father Fredy hopes to one day build a parish school.

Father Fredy is a priest in the Pope Francis mold, a shepherd who, in the pope’s memorable expression, is “living with the smell of his sheep.” His perseverance, commitment to his community, his leadership in bridging the various ethnic communities, and his close collaboration with Bishop Gregory Hartmayer to build a sustainable new church for the parish are just a few of the ways he is bringing the “light of Christ” to the people in the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia.

Judge: Catholic hospital must not be forced to sterilize people

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/judge-catholic-hospital-must-not-be-forced-to-sterilize-people

SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A San Francisco judge dealt a Catholic hospital a victory in its fight for religious conscience rights last week.

Forcing Mercy Medical Center to sterilize a female patient is a violation of its religious freedom, Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled last Thursday.

“Religious-based hospitals have an enshrined place in American history and its communities, and the religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts at this moment in history,” his ruling said, according to a New Boston Post report.

Rebecca Chamorro, who was originally scheduled to have a C-section February 4, had requested a tubal ligation after her delivery at the Redding, CA hospital because she and her husband did not want more children.

Mercy refused based upon its guiding principles for health care provided in accord with the Catholic Church’s teaching, known as Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs).

The Catholic directive pertaining to sterilization states:

Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit in December on behalf of Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health, challenging the hospital’s use of the ERDs to refuse tubal ligations, naming both the hospital and Dignity Health, its parent company and the state’s largest hospital provider.

The ACLU had alleged sex discrimination with the reasoning that prohibiting sterilization disproportionately impacts women, a report from The Guardian said, also claiming that Mercy arbitrarily allowed some women to be sterilized while refusing others.

However, Goldsmith discounted the ALCU claim in his decision, stating that the hospital’s sterilization policy applies equally to men and women.

“The religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts,” Goldsmith said in a hearing January 14. “There’s no law that says that hospitals are mandated to perform sterilizations.”

Goldsmith also ruled that Chamorro could have the elective sterilization in another hospital and found insufficient evidence that Mercy permitted other female sterilizations strictly for contraceptive purposes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates some 15-plus percent of U.S. women of child-bearing age use sterilization as birth control.

Chamorro, whose delivery is now scheduled for January 28, criticized the judge’s decision, saying, “It’s unbelievable that the hospital where my doctor has admitting privileges is denying him the ability to provide a safe, legal and common procedure, especially considering that Mercy is my only real option.”

Chamorro’s physician, Dr. Samuel Van Kirk, is also the OB-GYN for two other female plaintiffs for ACLU legal action against Mercy Redding.

Van Kirk stated in a court declaration that Mercy denied his request to perform sterilization on women an estimated 50 times in the last eight years.

Chamorro’s ACLU attorney is considering appeal.

“Catholic hospitals have been aggressively expanding over the past 15 years, and as our client is experiencing, they’re the only option for care in a lot of cases,” Elizabeth Gill stated.

Dignity Health’s counsel said Mercy Redding was within its rights to refuse the sterilization.

“This is a request for a Catholic hospital to forsake ethical and religious directive,” Barry Landsberg said. “This is a private Catholic hospital. It’s not the public library. It can make decisions about the services it provides.”

Landsberg also said Van Kirk should have anticipated the denial of Chamorro’s sterilization because he agreed to be bound by the ERDs when he applied for hospital privileges at Mercy.

Goldsmith recognized the implications of the ALCU’s action against the Catholic hospital as it relates to religious conscience.

“I’d have blinders on if I ignored the essence of this lawsuit,” he said last Thursday. “It’s about church and state. It’s about exercise of religion and to what extent it can be regulated by a court.”

The ACLU taking legal action against Catholic health care providers or other Catholic entities for upholding Catholic teaching is nothing new.

The civil rights advocacy group also sued a Michigan Catholic hospital last year for refusing to sterilize a woman after her C-section and sued Trinity Health in Michigan, also in 2015, for its refusal to provide abortions.

In December, the ACLU contacted drugstore chain Walgreens to express concern over its partnership with Providence Health, worried the store might no longer provide contraception and abortifacients, or euthanasia drugs in states where they’re legal, also questioning how Walgreens would treat LGBTQ customers in the wake of the partnership.

Back in 2013, the ACLU sued the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which produced the ERDs, claiming the directives amounted to medical negligence.

At-risk kids losing American dream because ‘we’re too politically correct’ to defend family: Rick Santorum

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/at-risk-children-losing-the-american-dream-because-were-too-politically-cor

NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina, January 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Americans are allowing a generation of at-risk children to lose their chance at the American dream, because we are “too politically correct” to say that the intact, traditional family is best for society, Rick Santorum said at last night’s Republican presidential debate.

The undercard debate, which began at 6 p.m., featured Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina.

Moderator Trish Regan asked Santorum about the role “family formation” plays in economic development. Currently, 40 percent of all children are born out-of-wedlock. “That’s twice as high as reported back in 1980, and it’s 11 times as high as in 1940,” she said.

The former Pennsylvania senator said he has been surprised to direct his audiences to “a book written by a liberal Harvard” social science professor: Robert Putnam’s Our Kids.

“He wrote this book, I think, ostensibly to support the Democratic argument that the middle of America’s hollowing out, and income gap is widening, and rich are getting richer,” Santorum said.

But when Putnam “studied all the information…he realized that the biggest reason that we’re seeing the hollowing out of the middle of America is the breakdown of the American family.”

“The reality is that if you’re…a child of a single parent, and you grew up in a single parent family neighborhood…the chance of you ever, ever reaching the top 20 percent of income earners is three percent in America.” “That’s not good enough,” Santorum said passionately. “And we have been too politically correct in this country, because we don’t want to offend anybody, to fight for the lives of our children,” he concluded to applause.

A wealth of social data support his conclusion that being reared by both parents greatly increases the chances of success.

Growing up with both parents “is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women,” a study conducted in October 2014 by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman for the American Enterprise Institute concluded.

The two found the benefits trickle down through the generations. Being raised in an intact family “increases your odds of becoming highly educated, which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels,” they found.

“Indeed, men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry enjoy an especially high income as adults,” they wrote.

They found the “premium” of education and increased lifetime economic earnings applies to all ethnicities, as well.

Being raised by both parents also decreases numerous social pathologies. Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation found, “Teens from intact, married families are less likely to be sexually active and also less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, exhibit poor social behaviors, or participate in violent crimes.”

Economically, an intact family saves society a hefty sum in social spending.

Torre wrote, “Of the more than $450 billion spent on means-tested welfare for low-income families with children, roughly three-quarters goes to households led by single parents.” A 2008 study found family breakdown cost taxpayers $112 billion a year, the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand.

“The substitutes to the family are expensive and ineffective, and taxpayers end up paying the price,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute during a lecture at Acton University.

Not everyone would be happy to see traditional families flourish. NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted:

National Right to Life revealed that 85 percent of all abortions are performed on single women in its third annual “State of Abortion in the United States” report, which was released on Thursday.

The flagging fortunes of the family is an issue close to Santorum’s heart. He raised the theme himself during the last Fox Business debate in November and introduced the notion to Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.

In addition to Putnam, AEI scholar Charles Murray came to similar conclusions about the importance of the intact family for social and economic advancement in his 2012 book, Coming Apart.

Wilcox and Nicholas Wolfinger will explore the theme further in their forthcoming book, Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos.

The consequences of hormonal birth control are leading women and physicians to discover healthier choices

http://kofc.org/un/en/columbia/detail/contraception-aftermath-alternatives.html

by Meg T. McDonnell

Contraception: Aftermath and Alternatives
Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, medical director of the Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas, and a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 5967, is pictured with his wife, Heather, and their daughter. (Photo by Jody Horton Photography)

In the 1960s, legalized access to hormonal contraception promised to bring women freedom: freedom to limit family size and freedom to have sex without the “worry” of conception. Today, proponents promote another line: contraception as preventative health care, with some groups going so far as to pathologize women who don’t have access to contraception as “at risk for unintended pregnancy.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 62 percent of U.S. women ages 15-44 are currently using some form of contraception or sterilization. Though multiple forms of birth control exist, the pill remains the most popular, more than 55 years after it was introduced.

Absent from nearly all of the public campaigns in support of contraception, though, are its health risks, which can be life-threatening. Adding to the concern about side effects, some of which are more troubling than others, is the reality that most women are simply not informed.

“Women have a right to know,” said Vicki Thorn, who recently organized a conference titled “The Contraceptive Conundrum: Effects and Side Effects” at Georgetown University. The founder of Project Rachel and the National Office for Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, Thorn has for years collected research about the detrimental effects of chemical contraception.

“Contraception is hardly benign,” Thorn said. “Most forms use steroidal hormones that impact the pituitary gland, which is the master gland in the body, and there’s much fallout in terms of health issues.”

CALCULATING RISKS

The side effects of the pill and other forms of hormonal contraception can range from blood clots, headaches, weight gain, nausea, and irregular or diminished periods, to mood swings, loss of libido, depression and other psychological repercussions. Some of these side effects can significantly alter a woman’s lifestyle — leaving her feeling helpless and confused at her inability to control her emotions and even her physical appearance.

Some potential side effects are particularly alarming. Studies dating back to the 1990s have shown increases in breast cancer related to the pill. A study published in the journal Cancer Research in August 2014 suggests that use of some types of oral contraception within the past year increases breast cancer risk by 50 percent. Pills containing higher doses of estrogen lead to even greater risk.

While some side effects are rare, many are not, explained Dr. Marguerite Duane, adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University and a family physician.

“You can go onto any Facebook page or any groups for birth control and see many women complaining about all the awful effects of the birth control pill: mood swings, weight gain and the psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Duane, who assisted with the “Contraceptive Conundrum” conference.

The purpose of the conference, which was hosted at Georgetown’s Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics in August, was to educate attendees about contraception from a scientific perspective. Topics ranged from a pharmacist discussing nutrition deficiencies caused by the pill to a post-doctoral researcher discussing how contraception affects women’s brains. Other speakers noted that the side effects of contraception are not limited to women’s health; they include behavioral changes as well.

Participants included doctors, researchers, graduate students and even a number of parents of women who had died due to contraception. Among them were the parents of Erika Langhart, who died in 2011 at age 24 due to pulmonary embolisms caused by NuvaRing, one of the more recent and controversial forms of hormonal birth control.

Karen Langhart, Erika’s mother, told Vanity Fair in a January 2014 feature story that her daughter was meticulous about risks, but was unaware of the risks of this device. And her story is not unique. NuvaRing has been the subject of high profile class action lawsuits and cited as the cause of numerous women’s deaths.

The Huffington Post reported in 2013 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had advised Organon, a pharmaceutical company manufacturing NuvaRing, to warn users of the drug’s serious risks.

“Organon executives adamantly opposed such a statement,” the article said. “An elevated [blood clot] warning label would have been a huge blow. Such a warning might have discouraged women from using NuvaRing and made doctors less inclined to prescribe it — significantly cutting into the potential return on investment.”

Pharmaceutical companies that produce contraception are financially motivated to influence medical education as well, explained Dr. Duane.

“The reality is,” she said, “if millions of women started learning how to chart their cycle and fertility, and stopped using hormonal contraceptives, pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose billions of dollars.”

According to Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides, medical director of the Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas, women are often prescribed contraception instead of receiving the medical care they need.

“Over and over again, I find women frustrated with the fact that what they thought was being treated is actually not being treated at all by hormonal contraception,” Dr. Kalamarides said. “They come in and say, ‘Can you please give me something different?’”

For Dr. Kalamarides, a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 5967 in Austin, his interest in contraception alternatives started when he and his wife were preparing for marriage in 1994.

“I was thrown for a loop by the fact that [the reproductive system] is the only system in the human body that we turn off when it’s working correctly,” he said.

A biology student at the time, Kalamarides’ interest in the topic led him to become an OB-GYN. He then studied NaProTechnology at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb., and established a medical practice that does not prescribe contraception.

AN EDUCATION IN FERTILITY

Beyond the potentially dangerous side effects related to women’s health, hormonal birth control has resulted in a number of sociological consequences as well.

“The pill was a technological shock that profoundly altered the mating market by lowering the ‘cost’ of sex,” explained Dr. Duane, pointing to research done by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

At the Austin Institute and elsewhere, sociologists have argued that sex has become a nearly universal precondition for being in a romantic relationship in modern society; contraception’s ability to “safeguard” against pregnancy has made it so.

“It’s been well documented in particular how women date and how men date because of contraception,” said Dr. Kalamarides. “It contributes to young people getting married later in life and social distortion in the premarital process.”

A growing body of research indicates that contraception even alters a woman’s ability to choose a more genetically suited spouse.

A 2011 Wall Street Journal article noted, “The type of man a woman is drawn to is known to change during her monthly cycle — when a woman is fertile, for instance, she might look for a man with more masculine features.”

But contraception suppresses fertility and its corresponding hormones, which can lead to a woman choosing a different spouse than she would otherwise. Conversely, a woman does not attract the same men when her fertility is suppressed.

“Women tend to exhibit subtle cues when they are ovulating, and men tend to find them more attractive at this time,” the WSJ article explained.

For years, Thorn has shared the findings of this research in talks to young people. “This is a big deal,” she said. “If you’re serious about marriage, then both men and women should know this.”

Of course, proponents of contraception do not think that any of these risks warrant giving it up — since unintended pregnancy is a “risk” to be avoided.

Still, no matter how “protected” people think they are from pregnancy, contraception is not foolproof. Since the legalization of birth control, the sexually permissive culture that contraception has facilitated has contributed to a rise in the nonmarital pregnancy rate from 5 percent in 1960 to 40 percent today. Additionally, more than 85 percent of abortions performed in the United States involve single mothers.

And not only does contraception facilitate relationships that make abortion more likely, but hormonal contraception itself can have an abortifacient effect; by thinning the lining of the uterus, it can prevent a newly conceived embryo from being implanted.

“Everyone knows that conception is the moment when sperm and egg unite, but for utilitarian purposes, some professional groups associate ‘pregnancy’ with implantation,” Dr. Kalamarides explained. “Many doctors don’t go over informed consent about how birth control works. But when women find out that it can potentially cause very early miscarriage, most are sincerely not interested anymore, or at least would like to try something else.”

Many are skeptical, however, that viable alternatives to hormonal contraception exist.

“The problem is,” Dr. Duane said, “there is this presumption that if you’re not on birth control, you will be pregnant.”

As a result, relatively few women ever learn how to read and understand when they are fertile. To help bridge the knowledge gap, Dr. Duane co-founded and serves as director of FACTS — Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science of fertility awareness-based methods.

“Our mission is to educate our medical colleagues about the evidence-based fertility awareness methods, because medical students, residents and physicians are not learning about them,” Dr. Duane said. “When women who are interested in these methods go to doctors who don’t have information, they stop talking to their doctors about this very important part of health care.”

Nonetheless, the science of fertility awareness, including NaProTechnology, continues to advance and become more widely known.

“Nationally and in the Church, we have not done enough to promote alternatives,” Dr. Kalmarides said. “But I see a lot of hope, because there is a growing number of doctors who are receiving training and using natural family planning in their practices.”

The fact remains, Dr. Kalmarides added, that teaching modern fertility awareness methods serves patients much better than both contraception and assisted reproductive technology.

“It is better, and it will help more people, whether you are avoiding pregnancy temporarily, trying to achieve pregnancy or treating underlying conditions,” he said. “And when women gain understanding of their fertility, they feel an enormous sense of relief and are empowered. That is what happens when you keep love and life together.”

MEG T. MCDONNELL is executive director of the Chiaroscuro Institute and a journalist in Washington, D.C.

 

Doctors Told Her She Would Never Have Children, But God Had a Different Plan

MICAIAH BILGER JAN 13, 2016

As a young adult, Lisa Duffy experienced one heartbreak after another: miscarriage, infertility, divorce.

Married at 26, Duffy and her first husband lost three children to miscarriage, one at almost 20-weeks gestation. Later, she went through a surgery that was supposed to help her carry babies to term – but ended up reducing her chances of getting pregnant instead. Then, her husband divorced her.

The Catholic writer recently shared these early life struggles in a column for Aleteia. Duffy said she wants to encourage other women who have experienced loss that there is hope.

She wrote:

The doctors were never able to figure out what was causing these miscarriages until that final pregnancy. My uterus had widened enough for them to detect the problem, which was a malformation that made it impossible to carry a child to term.

My OB/GYN was hopeful. He said if I had come to him with this problem a few years before, he wouldn’t have been able to help me, but now there was a groundbreaking surgery that could correct my problem. So I signed up and went under the knife. The outcome was successful. Sort of.

The surgeons had been able to fix the problem as they’d hoped, but the procedure was so invasive, it left me sterile. In fact, the odds of my ever conceiving a child were now fewer than 1 percent. I was heartbroken and angry, to say the least. Then my husband left, never to return.

The next several years were dark with the weight of her grief. Duffy said she let her anger and pain become excuses to “behave badly at times” and gave up hope of ever having children.

Eventually, Duffy said she met her husband Jim, who helped pull her up out of her misery. She said she began to find hope and happiness again as she worked to repair her relationship with God.

A month after she was married, Duffy said she joined a group of women on a week-long silent retreat in Bethesda, Maryland. On the second day, she began to feel a terrible but familiar experience – morning sickness.

I wanted to jump up and run out to tell the other women — one of whom was my new mother-in-law— but I couldn’t. It was a silent retreat. I didn’t have a cell phone back then, so I couldn’t call Jim. And then it dawned on me, the brilliance of what God was doing. It almost felt deliberate that he was the only one I could share my joy with for the next four days. He wanted me to recognize the miracle he had brought about and how great his love for me was. Despite all the doctors had predicted, I was going to have a baby!

Weeks later, as I sat in my doctor’s office, she said to me, “I hope you realize what a miracle this is. Someone with your history should not be able to get pregnant.” She didn’t have to tell me, I knew better than anyone. And today, I have three healthy, happy miracles who are the joy of my life.

Duffy ended her story with words of hope and encouragement for women who are struggling. Though Duffy experienced losses through infertility and divorce, her words also could apply to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or grieving after an abortion.

“Stay close to [God] in your struggles, and trust him with your future,” Duffy said. “Your plans might look different from his, but he ultimately knows how to make you happy.”

Planned Parenthood is trying to Force These Pharmacists to Dispense Abortion Drugs, They’re Refusing

By Marissa Poulson Jan 11, 2016

In 2007, the Washington State Pharmacy Commission decided to make it illegal for pharmacists to live consistent with their religious beliefs by continuing to refer customers seeking abortion-inducing drugs, like Plan B, to other nearby pharmacies.

The burden of this unconstitutional law has been swift and severe for the Stormans Family—owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, a small local grocery store in Olympia, Washington. They, along with two other Washington-based pharmacists,

Margo Thelen and Rhonda Mesler,filed a lawsuit challenging the law, after facing formal complaints brought by the State and pro-abortion activists that threatened their pharmacy license.

Despite winning their case after 12-day federal trial when the court found that the state’s law was “aimed at” conscientious objectors, the Stormans Family has been embroiled in an 8-year legal battle for their freedom. Today, ADF asked the United States Supreme Court to hearthe Stormans’ case and uphold this family’s freedom and the freedom of all pharmacists in the state to live by their conscience, instead of forcing them to violate their beliefs.

Here are four reasons the Supreme Court should take their case:

1. Washington is the only state that doesn’t allow referrals to other pharmacies for conscience reasons

In 49 states in the U.S., it is standard practice to allow licensed pharmacists to refer a patient for all kinds of reasons—business, economic, convenience, and yes, religious or conscience-based reasons. In fact, major health organizations, such as the American Pharmacists Association, the Washington State Pharmacy Association, and over 30 other professional pharmacy groups, recognize and support these conscience-based referrals.

2. The state’s radical stance was driven by a controversial organization’s agenda

It raises the question: What made the state take such a radical stance on referrals? Why would the Washington State Pharmacy Commission choose to discriminate against religious pharmacists and their conscience-based reasons for deciding to refer customers to other local pharmacies for certain drugs?

Two words – Planned Parenthood.

Washington’s referral law is based on rules drafted by Planned Parenthood at the request of former Governor Christine Gregoire. In 2005, Planned Parenthood and Gregoire began pressuring the Commission to prohibit conscience-based referrals for Plan B, threatening the members with personal liability under anti-discrimination laws if they voted to allow conscience-based referrals.

After the state’s Pharmacy Commission voted unanimously against the law, Gregoire replaced two Commission members. In 2007, the Commission enacted the Governor’s rule requiring pharmacies to dispense Plan B and making conscience-based referrals illegal, despite continuing to allow pharmacies to refuse to stock it for other reasons.

3. The law is not only an extreme abuse of power by the State of Washington, but it completely disregards the established standard of care and the professionals who have dedicated their lives to improving patient health.

As the American Pharmacists Association, Washington State Pharmacy Association, and thirty-three other pharmacy organizations have explained, the regulations are “truly radical” and “grossly out of step with state regulatory practice.”

4. Allowing pharmacists to make conscience-based referrals does not impede women’s access to abortion-inducing drugs.

The State of Washington has even admitted this fact. But instead of honoring decades of settled pharmacy practice, they still chose to single out religiously-motivated pharmacists, at the urging of a billion dollar organization that kills over 300,000 unborn babies a year, and force them to participate in what they consider to be an abortion.

“The state allows pharmacies to refer for all kinds of reasons. In practice, it only bans religiously motivated referrals,” said Kevin Stormans. “With more than 30 pharmacies stocking the drug within five miles of our store, it is extremely disappointing that the state demands that we violate our conscience or jeopardize our family business. All we are asking is to be able to live out the beliefs that we hold, as Americans have always been able to do, and to be able to refer patients for religious reasons, as the medical and pharmaceutical associations overwhelmingly recommend.”

Please Keep the Stormans Family in your Prayers

Eight years is a long time, but the Stormans Family has remained steadfast, relying on their faith and each other in the midst of an intense legal battle. Please keep them in your prayers and be praying that the Supreme Court will hear their case.

Marissa Poulson writes for Alliance Defending Freedom.

[Please copy for your pharmacist, or forward this to him or her, or send the link—-> http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/11/ planned-

parenthood-is-trying-to-force-these-pharmacists-to-dispense-abortion-] drugs-theyre-refusing/

Angel on board? See the ultrasound photo that made one mom a believer

http://www.today.com/parents/angel-board-see-ultrasound-photo-made-one-mom-believer-t65306

After an imgur user posted an ultrasound photo this week that appears to show a demon looking over an unborn baby, a mom from Wales decided to balance the scales of good and evil a bit by sharing her own ultrasound image.

Lewis’ ultrasound, performed in 2012, showed an image of what appears to be an angel in her womb with her unborn child.

The image, shared first with The Mirror by 26-year-old mom Kelly Lewis, shows what looks like an angel, watching over Lewis’ baby, Harper, in utero.

Harper is now three years old, and Lewis told TODAY Parents that she didn’t notice the angelic presence when the image was initially captured in 2012.

“It was when I showed my friend later that day — he pointed it out to me. From then on, everyone has been fascinated with it,” said Lewis.

Lewis says her daughter, Harper, now three, is her little angel.

Lewis points out that Harper’s name means, “someone who plays the harp,” instruments often attributed to angels.

“Harper is a very well-behaved little girl,” said Lewis. “She has a warmhearted, caring, and helpful personality — always polite and kind, and very sweet and innocent. She also has the sweetest smile — it’s very angelic. I am truly blessed to have her.”

“She has a warmhearted, caring, and helpful personality,” said Lewis of her daughter. “Always polite and kind, and very sweet and innocent.”

So, does Lewis believe that an angelic being was visiting her unborn daughter on that day in 2012?

“Yes, I’d like to believe that this is an angel,” said Lewis “It’s a nice thing to believe and a lovely thing to have.”

How my life changed forever after I got the Depo Provera birth control injection

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/how-my-life-changed-forever-after-i-got-the-depo-provera-birth-control-inje

I had been putting off this visit for quite some time. I guess I really didn’t want to even think about it, and figured that maybe if I ignored it, it would just go away. Unfortunately, that isn’t reality.

So I sat there on the exam table answering questions about our presidents, reading letters off a card to check my vision, and listing off my health history for the past five years (that was the last time I saw a neurologist).

Are you willing to lose your vision in order to prevent pregnancy? Are you willing to develop osteoporosis in your 20s because of your “need” to be on birth control? Are you willing to have a stroke at 30?

I got married to Doug in 2005. I knew that we wanted to delay having children for a while, and I had tried pretty much every hormonal birth control method under the sun. I had not, however, gotten the Depo Provera birth control injection. It seemed like a pretty worry-free method. You only have to get a shot once every three months and most women didn’t even have a period on it. It sounded pretty good to me. I received my first injection just a few months before our wedding date.

About a week after getting the first injection, I started getting these debilitating headaches. And I mean, they were really BAD. I could hardly work. It was interfering with my job, my sleep, pretty much everything. After about of week of this, I made an appointment with my family doctor. I told her about my symptoms and she totally blew me off, saying, “Well, some people just get bad headaches.” Um, no they don’t…not like this.

My mom suggested that maybe it had something to do with my vision. I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist looking for an answer. It was time for my annual eye checkup anyway, so I just kind of figured that my vision must have changed. As soon as he sat down and pulled his fancy eye looker machine up to my face, he backed away from it, switched the light on and asked, “Have you been having really bad headaches?” Why yes I have. I knew it. Mom was right. My vision must have changed.

Here’s how the rest of the conversation went:

Doctor: “Your optic nerves aren’t pulsing. You will need to be seen by a neurologist immediately.”
Me: “A neurologist? Why? Don’t I just need a different contact lens prescription?”
Doctor: “No. This has nothing to do with your vision really, except that if they continue to lay dormant, you can go blind. Many times this means that your spinal pressure is very high, which could mean that there is a tumor in the brain.”
Me: “A tumor?”
Doctor: blah, blah, muffled sound, blah, blah (I heard nothing he said after the word “tumor”).

I suddenly felt hot and sick to my stomach. A brain tumor? Possible brain surgery? They will have to shave my head. I will look terrible bald. Am I going to die from this?

About three days later I was sitting in a neurologist’s office. A couple days after that, I was getting my first lumbar puncture. About a week after that, I was getting my first MRI. Then came another lumbar puncture and another MRI.

The results were all in and they had a diagnosis: Pseudotumor Cerebri, otherwise known as Intercranial Hypertension. Basically, I have increased spinal fluid pressure because of swelling in my brain. I also have reduced vein size because of the swelling. I would be on medication the rest of my life. And if I wasn’t diligent about taking my medication, my spinal pressure would become high resulting in debilitating headaches…and/or I will go blind…or anything in between.

I thought for a long time that my headaches must have been related to my Depo Provera use, but I didn’t have that confirmation until I was diagnosed. My neurologist told me that he very often saw this condition manifest after women took hormonal birth control…particularly birth control containing progestin. So I had to deal with the fact that because I was so desperate not to get pregnant, I put something in my body that gave me a life-long disorder, and could make me go blind.

I MEDICATED A PROBLEM THAT WASN’T THERE AND NOW I TRULY DO LIVE WITH THAT CONSEQUENCE EVERYDAY.

Like I said in part two of this series, when we use birth control we are taking medication in order to “fix” something that isn’t broken. I had done just that and now I was living with putting the pieces back together. Now I do have something to fix…something I never would have dealt with if I had never taken hormonal birth control.

I live everyday with the reality that I could permanently lose my vision. I live with very serious headaches, even though I am on daily medication. A medication, by the way, that costs me almost $500.00 per month.

The sad part is that I am not alone. We know the risks of birth control and yet we continue to pump it into our system as if we have no choice. So here are my two questions, ladies.

IS IT WORTH IT? HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO RISK?

Are you willing to lose your vision in order to prevent pregnancy? Are you willing to develop osteoporosis in your 20s because of your “need” to be on birth control? Are you willing to have a stroke at 30? Are you willing to increase your risk of cancer by 30 percent? Are you willing to develop deadly blood clots because you just can’t be a mom right now? Are you willing to risk a hysterectomy because that IUD looks so appealing? Are you willing to have a heart attack just so you can “fix” your unbroken fertility? If you are a married woman, are you willing to completely lose the desire to have sex with your husband?

How much are you willing to risk? The good news is that you don’t have to risk a thing in order to space your children and avoid pregnancy. There are other, natural options available that give you control over your body. Birth control does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. It doesn’t control birth. It doesn’t control anything. It actually takes your control away.

If you want to truly stand up for women’s reproductive rights, then stand against birth control. Because nothing says anti-woman more than birth control. Any drug that is pushed upon women in order to simply prevent a natural part of a woman’s cycle is one that needs to be outright rejected.

For more information about your other fertility options, please visit www.iusenfp.com or www.naturalwomanhood.org.

If you have been diagnosed with PTC after taking hormonal birth control and would like to talk to an attorney about your situation, please visit http://www.schmidtlaw.com/pseudotumor-cerebri-lawsuit/. Getting these dangerous drugs off the market is one of the best things we can do for the safety of women. Thousands of women, including myself, have now come forward in hopes to do just that.

“A Call to battle”

http://www.intothebreach.net/a-call-to-battle/

Porn. Fornication. Prostitution. Loving and leaving. Creating children and then abandoning them. Is this the greatness of men? The answer is a resounding ‘no’ according to a powerful short film titled “A Call to Battle” which was released yesterday by the Catholic bishop of Phoenix.

The short film, created by Blackstone Films, outlines how an epic battle is being waged for the souls of men. At stake is love and relationships, the family, and the very survival of society itself.

Drawing upon his landmark letter issued last September on the same topic, Bishop Thomas Olmsted is specifically summoning the men of his diocese to become the men that God created them to be and to “stand in the breach” against a raging enemy seeking to destroy.

“Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you,” Olmsted encouraged in his September Apostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men.

This Amazing Couple Already Has 8 Children, But They Opened Their Home to Terminally Ill Kids

http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/04/this-amazing-couple-already-has-8-children-but-they-opened-their-home-to-terminally-ill-kids/

As a hospice nurse, Cori Salchert began to notice a heartbreaking practice. Some terminally ill babies were being abandoned by their families and left to die alone.

 The Wisconsin mother of eight told the Sheboygan Press that she often would cradle terminally ill infants and children so “no one had to die alone.”

“There was no judgment on my part that the parents should just be able to deal with the circumstances,” Cori said. “But I thought, ‘Wow, I would really like to take those kiddos and care for them.’”

And that’s exactly what the Salchert family is doing. Cori and her husband, Mark, have taken in three terminally ill infants since they decided to pursue foster care less than five years ago, according to the report.

On Dec. 18, the family adopted a little boy named Charlie who has severe neurological impairments that force him to depend on a tracheostomy, ventilator and feeding tube, according to the report.

“He will die; there’s no changing that,” Cori said, brushing away a tear. “But, we can make a difference in how he lives, and the difference for Charlie is that he will be loved before he dies.”

“God is love, and He loves this little boy, and He loves us to love him,” Mark added. “Charlie is truly an amazing individual; he’s made us richer — more alive, in a sense.”

The Salcherts decided to begin fostering these vulnerable, sick infants after they experienced a tragedy of their own. Five years ago, Cori was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that caused gastrointestinal distress. Faced with multiple surgeries and constant illness, Cori left her job as a perinatal hospice nurse, according to the report.

“My prayer at that time was asking how God could possibly use this for good,” Cori said.

The news report continues:

As fate would have it, Cori’s circumstances opened up the time for her to pursue the Salcherts’ dream of becoming foster parents to hospice infants. They connected with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s treatment foster care program, which matches families with children who have significant to severe behavioral or medical challenges.

The Salcherts brought home Emmalynn in August 2012. She did not have the left or right hemispheres of her brain, only the brain stem. She lived 50 days. Emmalynn passed away tucked into Cori’s fuzzy green robe “like a kangaroo” while foster mother and daughter sat alone at the kitchen table one night.

The Salcherts’ next foster child was Jayden, who was able to overcome his medical challenges to become a thriving toddler. He was ultimately adopted by a cousin of his biological parents.

With Emmalynn’s passing and Jayden leaving the home, the Salcherts were heartbroken. Cori recalls turning to Mark and saying she was done with treatment foster care, but her husband encouraged her that “this is what she was meant to do.”

With their biological children in full-support, Cori and Mark persevered. That’s when they received Charlie, who now is officially a member of their family.

The family said they enjoy cuddling, watching movies and taking walks with Charlie. Their local fire department also made Charlie an honorary fireman, the report states. Charlie’s life is making an impact on people in their community. His father said Charlie “really brings out the nobler parts of a community.”

This amazing family humbly told the newspaper that they are far from perfect. Cori refused to accept the label “supermom,” the report states. But the Salcherts truly are extraordinary people in a culture that often devalues terminally ill people by suggesting that their lives be destroyed by abortion or doctor-prescribed suicide.

“These children need nurses, but the overarching thing is, they need moms,” Cori said. “Too many people never do anything because they can’t do everything and can’t save everyone. For me, even though I can’t help every child, I’m happy to make a difference in the lives of a few.”

salcherts

FDA Blasts, WHO Downplays, Risks of Depo-Provera Contraceptive

https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/fda-blasts-who-downplays-risks-of-depo-provera-contraceptive/

By |

A week before a huge global family planning conference in Indonesia, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a short statement reiterating its position that injectable contraceptives are safe – for any duration – even for adolescents despite being linked to progressive bone density loss and other harmful side effects.

It came shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), widely regarded as the “gold standard” on drug safety, rejected a petition to remove its strong “black box” warning label and reiterated its concerns about the contraceptives’ long-term effects on women’s health.

Women around the world who want to postpone or avoid pregnancy cite health risks as one of the most prevalent reasons for not using modern contraceptives.

Their concerns are backed by science. In this case, injectable contraceptives containing depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), also known as Depo-Provera, have been linked with decreased bone density, increased risk of certain cancers, and increased risk of HIV.

Last year the drug manufacturer Pfizer, the Gates Foundation, USAID and other groups announced a major collaboration to increase use of injectable contraceptives among poor women in developing countries using a single-use syringe called Sayana Press.

Mindful of the global push for Depo-Provera and the weight that FDA warnings carry, two doctors submitted a petition in 2013 urging the FDA to remove the “black box” warning, claiming that it “has harmed public health in the United States and around the world.” One doctor is a consultant for a company that markets Depo-Provera and the other is an outspoken abortion advocate who asserts that abortion is safer than childbirth.

The petition says the warning label is “inconsistent with the assessment of major medical and public health organizations around the world,” citing WHO in particular.

The FDA denied the petition in no uncertain terms. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of drug evaluation and research, stressed that “[a]lthough FDA considers the opinions and analyses of other reputable health bodies, in the end FDA relies on its own independent review of the available data to make regulatory decisions.”

Woodcock strongly disputed the claim that FDA was harming global public health by highlighting the risks of Depo-Provera. If the warning label has led to decreased use of the drug, she wrote, “we believe lower prevalence of prolonged DMPA use is a public health benefit.”

The FDA expressed concern “about the fact that adolescent users were losing bone density at a time in life when they should be experiencing significant increases” and that recovery of bone density after discontinuing use of Depo-Provera was slow and may not fully occur at all.

The FDA stressed that since Depo-Provera has not been on the market long enough to determine its long-term effects on women past menopause, the time of life when women experience the most serious effects of osteoporosis, its most serious health risks may not yet be known. Given that the regions of the world targeted for the highest marketing and use of Depo-Provera are also areas with the least available data on osteoporosis – and the least access to medical care – the FDA’s warnings are particularly timely as aging emerges as an important issue worldwide.

Governments, UN agencies and family planning groups which are spending millions of dollars to distribute Depo-Provera in developing countries may ignore the FDA’s warnings and take cover from the WHO’s claims about its safety.

Most Babies Diagnosed With Down Syndrome are Aborted, But to His Mom Elijah is Perfect

INTERNATIONAL MICAIAH BILGER DEC 28, 2015 | 12:09PM WASHINGTON, DC

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/12/28/most-babies-diagnosed-with-down-syndrome-are-aborted-but-to-his-mom-elijah-is-perfect/

Wendy Puckrin admits that she may have been persuaded to abort her unborn son if she had known he had Down syndrome before he was born.

“On the day my little man was born, I was informed he had Down’s syndrome. I was not only surprised, I was shocked, scared – in fact basically terrified,” Puckrin told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Had I found out while I was pregnant, there is a very good chance he would not be here today. It pains me to say that, but the negativity in the media, my own preconceptions and the way that a diagnosis can be handled by medical professionals would have left me feeling like I had little choice.”

Now, the British mother is on a mission to show people that her son, Elijah, 2, and others like him with Down syndrome are valuable human beings.

Puckrin said many people don’t question the negative connotations about the genetic condition in today’s culture and assume parents will have an abortion. She said some wrongly believe people with Down syndrome can’t lead normal lives.

“The phrase I hear most of all from parents with Down’s Syndrome is ‘if I knew then what I know now there would be no tears, no worries and no fears,’” she said.

The report continues: Wendy is particularly keen to dispel the myth that people with Down’s Syndrome won’t amount to anything.

She said: “That is simply not true. There are many who have gone on to become councillors, models, actors, business owners etc.

“With the right environment and the right encouragement, any child can accomplish their dreams.”

Next month Elijah will start nursery at Coppice Valley, where Wendy says he will be treated like any other child.

With support from staff, including his special educational needs co-ordinator, he will be encouraged to use sign

language designed for young children to help them communicate.

“Elijah already knows some signs, including cat, dog, milk, biscuit, food and bottle,” said Wendy.

“He’s doing really well developmentally and his childminder has scrapped the developmental chart for children with Down’s.

“The only thing he is behind with is walking, but he’s getting there, and his speech, although he can say the odd word like mummy and I’m not terribly concerned.”

Elijah also has a hectic social life and enjoys riding at Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group and swimming.

A single mom, Puckrin is actively involved with the Down Syndrome Association. She set up a Facebook page, This is Elijah, to encourage other parents of babies with Down syndrome, and she also talks to student midwives at Leeds University about the condition, the report states.

When ever she can, the proud mother shares the special moments and memories that she and her son have together – like wrapping presents for Christmas. “My son is determined, intelligent, curious and downright beautiful,” she said. “He is my teacher, my inspiration and my guiding star. He is as perfect as I could have hoped for.”

Though Puckrin described herself as pro-choice, she expressed concern about the extremely high number of babies like her son who are aborted. Studies found that about 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. She said these discriminatory abortions could rise even more now that a new non-invasive pregnancy screening test is available. Puckrin said she wants to make sure parents are fully informed about Down syndrome before they make a decision about aborting their unborn child.

“If you had told me three years ago I would single-handedly be raising a child with special needs I would have probably laughed. He’s not what I expected but he’s more than I deserve.

Fascinating Video Shows Conception to Birth Visualized

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/06/top-ted-talk-of-2013-will-make-you-marvel-conception-to-birth-visualized/

 

Did you know a baby develops hands and arms just 32 days after conception?

That’s just one of the amazing discoveries made by Alexander Tsiaras, founder of thevisualMD [http://www.thevisualmd.com/].

Tsiaras said the ultra-complex formation of a human being is full of mystery, magic and divinity. He was an associate professor of medicine and chief of scientific visualization at Yale University in the department of medicine when he had to write many of the algorithms and code for NASA to use for virtual surgery in preparation for the astronauts going deep into space using robotic pods. We’re talking more complex than rocket science.

“Using new kinds of scanning technology allowed us to see things about the body that just make you marvel,” said Tsiaras of his research. ”Even though

I’m a mathematician, I marvel as these instruction sets do not make mistakes as they build what is us.”

Here are some spectacular facts about the developing human body during birth:

  • 24 hours: the baby’s first division
  • 25 days: heart chamber is developing
  • 32 days: arms and hands are developing
  • 36 days: Most rapid development – if the baby continued to grow at this speed for the entire 9 months, it would be 1.5 tons at birth
  • 45 days: baby’s heartbeat is twice as fast at the mother’s
  • 52 days: developing retina, nose and fingers
  • The baby’s continual movement in the womb is necessary for muscular and skeletal growth
  • 9 months: baby has 60,000 miles of vessels bringing nutrients and taking waste away
  • Birth: mystery, magic and miracle.

Tsiaras sums up the early stages of the pregnancy, as the baby’s development in its mother’s womb seems to say, “I’m here to stay; plant me.”

In the video below, Tsiaras uses art and technology to visualize the miracle of the unseen human body. True to the slogan of TEDTalks

http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized], this is definitely an idea worth spreading.

[Editorial Comment: As we await the virgin birth of Jesus, this video helps us visualize the wonder of God’s design of the human being, including Jesus the God-Man.]

When I found out my wife was pregnant with our 9th, I wasn’t happy: then something happened…

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Amid all the joyful bustle of family preparations in anticipation of the holy day of Christ’s birth, Christmas time always brings to my mind the deep regret that I feel over the one child my wife and I lost due to miscarriage, because it reminds me that at the time I was like the Bethlehem innkeeper who said there was no more room.

I was having a lot of trouble accepting that my wife was pregnant with our ninth child.

It’s not that we were against having children – we had eight boys already – but when Theresa told me she was pregnant again, something inside me rebelled against the thought of another baby.

You know: “Oh no, another mouth to feed; our house is too small, and full to the rafters, literally, with kids; we’ll have to build an addition; we can’t afford this; I’m already the brunt of tacky jokes (don’t you folks in the country having anything else to do?); I can’t take this … there’s just no more room!”

You can see where this was going – from a lack of trust in God’s purposeful generosity, to a miserly outburst of selfishness.

Most of Theresa’s pregnancies were planned, some were surprises, and although much to my later shame I once added my name to a “zero population growth” petition while at university (ah, how foolish I was when I was young!), we welcomed each baby as he came along.

And when things got out of hand, as things with piles of children often do, I reminded myself that they were, after all, God’s children first, and given to us to look after the best we could for really only a short while, if you consider the reality of eternity.

But with this pregnancy something in me didn’t rejoice.

I worked myself up to such a state of negativity that I began saying “Why me Lord?” while I brooded over the new life that was growing in Theresa’s womb with misgiving rather than hopeful expectation. “Isn’t eight enough Lord? How could You do this to me?!”

Then without warning – Theresa was always so healthy when she was pregnant – I got a call while at work that Theresa was taken to the hospital, bleeding.

The next days were a blur of frantic prayer, tears, uncertainty and dread, and then the final reality that we had lost him. We named him Stephan.

In the midst of trying to be strong and supportive for Theresa in our grief, I was overwhelmed with guilt. It seemed to me that my lack of acceptance of Stephan was the cause of his death – like God saying, “you don’t want him? okay, I’ll take him back.”

We buried Stephan’s remains (there wasn’t much, he was in the first trimester) in a garden behind our home where we have a statue of Our Lady, and planted a rose bush over him.

Then God in His mercy let something change in me again.

Through the tears of sorrow and guilt I began to understand the reality of the wondrous, almost unimaginably generous gift from God that every child is.

A gift that is given to parents to love and nurture and enjoy, certainly, but also a gift to all of humanity in that the future is held in the tiny hands and minds and souls of the children that parents, with God’s help, bring into the world.

Of course with such an awesome gift also comes an awesome responsibility, and God never said raising children was supposed to be easy.

I sometimes ponder on God’s judgment of me when I die, and always come round to a scenario where the Lord looks at me with love and compassion, and then says, “Lets talk about how you did with the children I gave you … ”

I have come to a deeper understanding that God does in fact give us exactly what we need, just when we need it, to live out the responsibilities that we have. But implicit in this is TRUST.

The reality finally dawned on me that there is always room for one more child, because if we trust in God’s providence, then we trust that He will give us the grace we need to persevere. A wise man once described this as the “grace of state” we are freely given and can freely accept, simply by virtue of being parents, and trying to live out God’s will in our lives.

Every child conceived is loved into existence by God and wanted by God, even if we choose not to want that child.

What changed in me after Stephan’s death was that I felt a grateful joy the next time we were pregnant that was somehow so much more profound than anything I had experienced before. I knew our little Stephan was praying for me in heaven, and I knew that however many children God sent us, we would always have love and room for them.

After Stephan we were blessed with four more wonderful sons, and two absolutely gorgeous daughters. We are also now blessed by 32 grandchildren with one more on the way, so far …

So now when we gather for Christmas at home we are always packed to the rafters, but unlike the inn in Bethlehem, there is always room for one more.

Dear friends of LifeSiteNews, I wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas. May this joyous season of Jesus’ birth be a time of wonder and renewal for all of us.

May I offer you a Christmas gift of a prayer, adapted from “Blessing Prayers: Devotions for Growing in Faith” by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., that speaks profoundly of Christ’s coming to us as a baby born in a stable and the Father’s love and care for us all:

O Emmanuel,
may the assurance of your unfailing Presence
be for me the source of unending peace.
May I never fear my weakness, my inadequacy, or my imperfection.
Rather, as I gaze with faith, hope, and love upon your incarnate littleness,
may I love my own littleness, for God is with us.
Endow my life with a holy wonder
that leads me ever more deeply into the Mystery of Redemption
and the meaning of my vocation and destiny.

May I make of my life a total gift of self.
May my humble worship of your Nativity
manifest how much I seek the Father’s Kingship
and his way of holiness.
The beauty of your holy face bears the promise
that your Father will provide for us in all things.
This Christmas, I renew my trust
in God’s goodness, compassion, and providence.

Why believing Genesis’ creation account is essential to defending life

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula

December 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – To defend life and marriage in their integrity we have to uphold and believe in the immediate creation of man and all that is substantially taught to us by God in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. That man was created by a special intervention of God in His image and likeness. We have to hold in accordance with the teachings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1909 that the first three chapters of Genesis are primarily historical and are foundational of Christian doctrine; they are not a compilation of mythical narratives or only “true” in a vague “religious” sense. The Genesis account of the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms, the liturgy, and in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 288). The Church in her Magisterium teaches that, “The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject” (CCC 287). So this important statement reinforces our belief in the historical nature of the Genesis account. With the beginning of creation God established a historical sequence of events. The first three chapters of Genesis have to be read “in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the ‘beginning’: creation, fall, and promise of salvation” (CCC 289). Creation is the first gift of God, His primary miracle. First we have the creation of spiritual creatures, then the material world designed to serve mankind as our habitat, and finally He crowned His work with the creation of man and woman.

Man’s creation

All forms of evolutionary theory require a complete rejection of God’s revelation about the creation of Our First Parents. Genesis speaks of God forming Adam’s body from the slime of the earth and breathing into it the breath of life. It also speaks of God forming Eve’s body from Adam’s side and presenting her to him as his help-mate. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held that God created the body of Adam together with his soul. Summarizing the patristic doctrine, St. John of Damascus wrote: “From the earth He formed his body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image . . .” (St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith 2:12). The Magisterium of the Church is very clear in affirming the common origin of all the human race, interpreting in a literal way the teaching of Acts, “from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth” (Acts. 17:26, C.C.C. 360-361). As a consequence this teaching totally rejects the theory of polygenism that proposes that man has many different ancestors. As St. John Chrysostom eloquently shows, man is at the center of creation at how for his redemption he did not spare His own Son (Cf. St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. sermo 2, 1: PG 54, 587D-588A).

The acceptance of the theory of evolution leads us to consider that the newly conceived human passes through different stages of development that parallel the ones of which are described by this theory as the evolution of living beings and only at the end of this process the human embryo becomes human. This position leads to the acceptance of abortion in the first months of pregnancy. It is totally unacceptable because Jesus Christ who was the model that Christ had in mind when he created Adam was fully human at the moment of His incarnation. St. Maximus the Confessor held (in II Ambigua 42) that Jesus was a man like us in all things but sin and that therefore His assumption of our humanity from the moment of the Annunciation signified that we, too, become fully human from the moment of our conception.

If the humanity of Christ was the model of our first parents that should lead us to set aside the opinion that the body of our first parents was the body of a primate that “evolved” in such a way that it could “receive” a human soul. It is far more reasonable to believe in accordance with the teaching of Genesis that God created a special body to receive the human soul. Man is radically different from animals. The fact that he shares some elements with them only serves to mark the abysmal differences. These differences and the superiority of man are underlined in Genesis when he is given dominion over all the creatures that populate the Earth (Gn. 1:26-27).

The First Vatican Council teaches that God creates to manifest His perfections through the benefits He bestows on His creatures. It is evident that the main beneficiary of creation is man, so through his experience of the perfections of creation he would raise in adoration to God so that one day he would join in the unending heavenly liturgy.

Marriage and Creation

In the Genesis text of marriage we have a basic revelation on the indissolubility of marriage. After presenting Eve to Adam and hearing His response the Lord states “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gn. 2:24). Jesus will comment later on this text in an authoritative way against those who favored divorce, stating that, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt. 19:4-6).

We have to understand well that marriage “is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives” (Humanae Vitae, 8, July 25th, 1968).

The Fall

It is important to understand the central nature of the foundational doctrine of the tragic fall of our first parents: “the Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ” (CCC 389). In the same way we cannot tamper with the revelation that we have received on creation. Our First Parents were the first ones to fall into the trap of negative liberty, they ill used freedom to separate themselves from God’s loving plans. They desired to be like God, becoming the ones to determine what is good and evil, of what is just and what is unjust. This is perhaps one of the main problems of contemporary society which wishes to replace the objective law of God with a subjective approach to reality that calls good what is evil and unnatural. Modern liberty can defined as a Luciferian liberty, the liberty of the enemy of mankind that refused to serve God. But after the Fall God did not leave man with hope he promised a redeemer in Genesis 3:15 which is considered by the Fathers of the Church the first Gospel.

Conclusions

The effort to reach some sort of accommodation with evolution theories comes from a naturalistic approach that seeks to decrease the miraculous interventions of God in history. If the creation story is a myth compiled from different mythological stories and lacks a historical value, the main grounds to proclaim human dignity which is its creation on the image and likeness of God collapses. Also as consequence confusion over man’s origins leads to confusion over man’s destiny, undermining the whole edifice of the faith.

My ‘crisis pregnancy’ turned 15 today, and he saved me

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa
http://liveactionnews.org/my-crisis-pregnancy-is-15-today-and-he-saved-me/

The panic is temporary. The fear is temporary. The crisis is temporary. The days when you wake up thinking “how did I make such a huge mistake” are so few in retrospect.

You have nine months for all that, but then it gets good. Still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but so so good…

My “crisis pregnancy” turned 15 today. He’s just a year shy of the age I was when I got pregnant with him (a thought that terrifies me, trust). However, he’s anything but a mistake.

He’s the other half to all my inside jokes. He’s the best person I’ve ever known. He’s the one who binge watches Doctor Who with me and teaches me about robots and video games. He’s the reason I started New Wave Feminists. He’s the owner of a pure heart, swiper of my favorite CDs, and contributor of copious amounts of laundry. He’s the kid who still has me hanging around skateparks a decade and a half later. He’s often my (much needed) filter, because he’s a stereotypical naturally mature firstborn, and the last one to ever let me down. He’s the kid that I didn’t really raise at all, but instead grew up alongside. He’s my heart and soul.

I didn’t know it at the time, but choosing life for him would give me a life that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

See, you don’t realize how temporary the “crisis” is when it’s consuming your every waking moment, but as soon as you get beyond that… Such beauty can be born from that which we never planned.

Fear is temporary, but the courage you gain facing it lasts forever. Panic subsides, but the strength you find in the midst of the crisis endures. Perhaps the most amazing thing though is how the love you feel for this new life, whether it was intended or not, suddenly turns a “mistake” into a miracle.

I didn’t save my son by “choosing life.” He saved me.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on the New Wave Feminists’ Facebook page on December 13, 2015, and is reprinted here with permission.

Atheists force Minnesota town to pull Nativity scene: residents’ response is epic

Fr. Mark Hodges, Dec 16, 2015

WADENA, Minnesota, December 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – After an atheist group forced one Minnesota city to take down its Nativity scene, residents took matters into their own hands, blanketing the town with nativity scenes in response…hundreds of them.

Wadena officials were forced to take down a Christmas display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which threatened to sue the city. After forty years of displaying the Nativity scene, Wadena officials sold the figures to the Wadena Ministerial Association for $25, who displayed it on private property.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue commented, “It is entirely legal to put a manger scene on public property, as long as it is privately paid for and it is a public forum, i.e., an area that is open to art displays, concerts, rallies, and the like.”

“For the past twenty years, the Catholic League has erected a life-size nativity scene in Central Park,” Donohue noted. “The New York City Parks Department grants us a permit every year. All that needs to be done is to apply for a permit.”

Disappointed Christians responded to the Wadena city council decision in various ways. Brady Folkestad applied to use a bandstand in a city park that has been designated for public discourse for his family Christmas gathering, in which he would like to display Christmas decorations and a Nativity scene.

The city officials denied his request.

Folkestad then contacted the American Center for Law and Justice, which reviewed the city’s bandstand usage policy and gave advice about equal access to public facilities for religious use. He resubmitted his request, this time tailored to the city’s policy, which says nothing can be left overnight.

This time, city officials agreed to let him put up his display for his family gathering.

Others have followed suit, renting the bandstand for a day to put up their Nativity scene and take it down when evening comes.

The bandstand is now booked throughout the holidays.

Other folks began to buy and put up Nativity scenes on their yards and in their shop windows. Hundreds of them. There are four sets in a craft store window, three at a local café, two at the local bookstore. Some stores painted their display windows with the Nativity scene.

Wadena resident Dani Sworski started a Facebook page filled with pictures of the manger scenes all over town. “Let’s shower the town with Nativity scenes, let’s share our faith!” she declared.

Minneapolis’s Star Tribune reports, “Holy families are starting to outnumber the 4,000 residents of this central Minnesota railroad town.”

“The whole community has come out to support this,” An Open Book bookstore owner Gillette Kempf said. “It’s an expression of who we are as a community and what we believe. We believe in the Nativity.”

Mayor George Deiss said, “I’m hoping we lit a little spark and the rest of the nation will catch on.” Deiss himself has at least eight Nativity scenes on display outside his home, and he estimates that Wadena residents have put up at least one thousand.

Offers have come from as far as St. Paul, 160 miles away, to donate Manger sets to anyone willing to display them.

The American Center for Law and Justice told LifeSiteNews, “We’re very pleased that the residents of this Minnesota city are sharing the true meaning of Christmas through these displays, which are constitutionally protected speech.”

The Freedom From Religion group said they are fine with private Nativity scenes, as long as government does not sponsor them.

This country banned abortion and now, abortion promoters can’t believe their eyes!

Personhood USA.

“Outlaw abortion and abortion won’t stop. Women will just do it illegally and women will die!”

Or so the argument goes… But facts are pesky things, and they show that the opposite is true in Chile.

According to new research from the MELISA Institute, since Chile’s ban on abortion, not only has maternal health improved but the number of women seeking illegal abortion has plummeted!

Since Chile banned abortion in 1989, the number of maternal deaths decreased from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 women (69.2% reduction). That puts Chile in second place for the lowest maternal mortality rate in the Americas (that’s right, even better than the United States).

Image

Prof. Elard Koch, a molecular epidemiologist and lead author of the study, says educating women enhanced their ability to access existing health care resources, and since those resources included skilled attendants for childbirth, that directly led to a reduction of maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

As Dr. Koch explains, “it is a unique natural experiment conducted in a developing country.” During the fifty-year period under study, the overall maternal mortality rate dramatically declined by 93.8%, from 270.7 to 18.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, making Chile a leader in maternal healthcare outcomes in the Americas.

Image

But wait. If abortion is legally banned, wouldn’t we expect to see the number of women hospitalized due to illegal abortion procedures increase? Aren’t women just seeking abortions outside of proper healthcare facilities?

No. Not only is Chile one of the safest places in the world for women to give birth, but the number of women actually seeking abortion is also declining. According to data from the Chilean Ministry of Health, the country displays a continuous decreasing trend of hospital discharges due to complications of abortions suspected to be illegally induced at a rate of 2% per year since 2001. In contrast, a decreasing trend was not observed in hospital discharges due to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, which have remained constant during the same period.

Dr. Koch’s research also found that a large sample of abortion-minded women in Chile displayed a vulnerability profile marked by coercion and fear, which accounted for nearly 70% of the reasons women considered abortion. Moreover, the research indicated that support programs directed to vulnerable women can prevent most illegal abortions, with an outcome of live birth (with or without adoption) ranging between 69% and 94% depending on the risk group.

It’s not sheer coincidence that Malta, The Republic of Ireland, and Chile, all of which have prohibited abortion, have lower maternal mortality rates than the United States. In Africa, where 56% of all maternal mortalities occur, abortion-related maternal mortality is less than half what it is in developed countries. Yet there are more restrictions on abortion in Africa than in developed countries! So what’s the deal? In countries with higher abortion restrictions, fewer women have to seek treatment for “unsafe abortion” than in countries where abortion is “safe and legal.”

The result’s of Chile’s natural experiment is bad news for the pro-abortion lobby. But it’s great news for mothers and the unborn!

Mom With Cancer Who Put Off Treatment to Save Her Unborn Baby Dies Three Days After Birth

LifeNews.com

NATIONAL STEVEN ERTELT DEC 11, 2015

When St. Louis mother Cara Combs was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma while she was pregnant with her fourth child, she was given the choice of having treatment or saving her own life. She chose to save her baby. She decided to put off treatment in favor of giving birth at the 28th week to give her baby girl a chance to live.

Sadly, Combs died Tuesday morning — three days after giving birth.

In deciding to reject treatment, Combs posted the following on Facebook:

I feel it’s time to post this because I know a lot of information is going around. Last week I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. I am also 25 weeks pregnant. I can’t begin treatment while pregnant so I have some tough decisions to make. Against the advice of my oncologist, I am choosing to delay my treatment for three weeks in order to get the baby to 28 weeks. There is no good decision here. We will both be fighting for our lives and I feel incredibly guiltily about that. I saw a dermatologist last year and she didn’t find anything concerning. Even my oncologist can’t find the source. At 38 you don’t expect to find out that you are dying. It definitely puts things into perspective. All I can say is enjoy every minute with your kids and don’t stress about little things. The baby will probably be born the first week of December and I will start treatment 48 hours later. I know we are in for some big upcoming battles. Thank you for all of the support we have received so far. It is very much appreciated!

Tragically, Roy Combs had to post the message on the family’s GoFundMe page this week about losing his wife:

I wanted to let everyone know that we lost Cara Walters Combs this morning. I don’t have to tell you how great of a person she was. She will be missed by all. I always knew she was destined for greater things. We all have a perfect angel looking over us. She was the strongest person I ever met and the best wife and mother. She sacrificed everything so her legacy could live on. Thank you all for your support and prayers. She was my everything and always will be.

In similar cases, doctors often suggest an abortion, but, as studies show, there is typically no need for women to destroy the life of their unborn child to save their own. Her story story confirms what research has shown: women who are pregnant and battling breast cancer don’t need to have an abortion.

LifeNews previously covered a collection of stories from The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal,  showing pregnant women don’t need to have an abortion in order to get treatment for cancer. The information shows chemo treatment does not harm the unborn baby and mothers can treat themselves for cancer without worrying about effects on the unborn child.

In 2009, LifeNews.com reported on a new study showing doctors don’t need to suggest an abortion to pregnant women who want cancer treatment. The study involved a concept called pregnancy associated breast cancer — breast cancer that is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant or within a year after delivery.

The mainstream media highlighted the study as if it showed a new concept, somehow finally dismissing the notion that pregnant women undergoing breast cancer treatment should have an abortion. But Dr. Joel Brind, a Baruch College professor says studies have shown that for decades.

“Actually, this finding has been reported many times in the last 15 years,” Brind explained.

“Unfortunately, many doctors still recommend abortion for women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, so that they can treat the cancer more aggressively. This is despite worldwide research going back as far as the 1930’s that shows that so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ substantially shortens lifespan, whereas carrying the pregnancy to term makes long-term cure more likely,” he said.

Brind says that a 1976 review of all studies published to that point, conducted by French doctor P. Juret, reported that, “The futility of therapeutic abortion is now certain.”

Although the study isn’t the revelation the mainstream media claimed, Brind says it is quite useful.

“What the new story out of MD Anderson shows is that women in this particular situation — which are only about 3% of all breast cancers — have no worse a prognosis than women with the same stage of breast cancer who are not pregnant,” he said.

“But what is most important about the current report is the absence of any data about abortion, i.e., a difference in prognosis as a function of whether or not the pregnant patient aborts the baby,” he explained. “To their credit, doctors at MD Anderson have, for at least the last several years, been very good at treating both patients: Mom and her unborn child.”

“Hopefully, the current report will be yet another nail in the coffin of ‘therapeutic abortion,’” he told LifeNews.com.

caracombs

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a light for human dignity in the face of a culture of death

OLG

December 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the greatest Christian communicators in American history was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Trained in top level theology, he chose to use his talents to convey the complex truths and deep human insights of Catholic thought to a wide American public. In the 1950s, his prime-time TV religious show (imagine that!) “Life Is Worth Living” had higher ratings than its rival, “The Milton Berle Show,” a fact which Sheen attributed to his fine top-notch Jewish writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

One of the most profound reflections Sheen ever offered was about the tragic gulf that exists between the person each of us should be, and the person we really are. As he wrote in The World’s First Love:

God, too, has within Himself blueprints of everything in the universe. As the architect has in his mind a plan of the house before the house is built, so God has in His Mind an archetypal idea of every flower, bird, tree, springtime, and melody….

But it is not so with persons. God has to have two pictures of us: one is what we are, and the other is what we ought to be. He has the model, and He has the reality: the blueprint and the edifice, the score of the music and the way we play it. God has to have these two pictures because in each and every one of us there is some disproportion and want of conformity between the original plan and the way we have worked it out. The image is blurred; the print is faded. For one thing, our personality is not complete in time; we need a renewed body. Then, too, our sins diminish our personality; our evil acts daub the canvas the Master Hand designed. Like unhatched eggs, some of us refuse to be warmed by the Divine Love, which is so necessary for incubation to a higher level. We are in constant need of repairs; our free acts do not coincide with the law of our being; we fall short of all God wants us to be. St. Paul tells us that we were predestined, before the foundations of the world were laid, to become the sons of God. But some of us will not fulfill that hope.

There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what He wanted her to be and what she is, and that is His Own Mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the Heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The Ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was foreseen, planned, and dreamed.

Sheen speaks of Mary as she is seen in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, free of any personal sin, perfectly pleasing to God in all the decisions she has made, through the saving grace of Christ. Hence Mary is simply the perfect Christian, the one merely human being whose earthly image is exactly what God had in mind for her. She is in that sense a window into the very mind of God.

And that window pours light out for the rest of us, stumbling in our uncertainties and sins. Over centuries, Catholics have believed that Jesus has sent His mother from time to time to appear to certain people, to offer encouragement, or a warning, or to call us to more fervent prayer. Typically, these “apparitions” have been to the poor, the weak, the forgotten in society, but the words of the mother of God have sometimes changed the fate of nations. That is what happened in Mexico, in early December 1531, when an Indian peasant named Juan Diego, one of the few who had followed the Spanish missionaries who had accompanied the conquistadors into that country, was climbing the hill of Tepeyac. At the top

he saw a brilliant light on the summit and heard the strains of celestial music. Filled with wonder, he stopped. Then he heard a feminine voice asking him to ascend. When he reached the top he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing in the midst of a glorious light, in heavenly splendor. The beauty of her youthful countenance and her look of loving kindness filled Juan Diego with unspeakable happiness as he listened to the words which she spoke to him in his native language. She told him she was the perfect and eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, and made known to him her desire that a shrine be built there where she could demonstrate her love, her compassion and her protection. “For I am your merciful Mother,” she said, “to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. Therefore, go to the dwelling of the Bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire.”

Mary did not speak Spanish, or wear the courtly clothes of the conquerors. Instead she appeared as a woman whom Juan Diego might have seen in any village. But she spoke of the love of God for the Mexican people, in a way that no foreign friar could hope to do. So Juan Diego dutifully marched off to the bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, who heard Juan Diego’s case, but did not believe him. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill to pray, and Mary sent back to bother the bishop. At the second meeting, the bishop suggested that Juan Diego ask for some sign of proof. A few days later, the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego and told him to gather roses and bring them to the bishop. Juan Diego was astonished to see, in the midst of winter, an explosion of unfamiliar flowers all around him. He gathered them in his humble tunic (called a “tilma”) and carried them to the bishop’s palace.

Bishop Zumarraga was stunned by the flowers, of a breed which grew only in his native region of Spain. He was even more taken aback by what had happened to Juan Diego’s tilma: It bore a magnificent, mysterious image of the Virgin Mary, pregnant with Jesus. He was convinced. So were the native people of Mexico, who hearkened to the story and flocked to the shrine that Bishop Zumarraga built in Guadalupe, which enshrined the mysterious tilma—an ordinary garment, made of cheap materials that typically decay in just a few years, which has never aged or lost its luster over the next 500 years.

The Image of the Image of God

That’s a lovely story. But it is much more than that. The image of Mary and Jesus that appeared on that tilma is in fact a kind of book—a theology text that teaches us critical lessons that modern man has forgotten. First of all, the image teaches about human dignity, and where it comes from. If Mary is a perfect reflection of God’s vision of her in his own mind, then in this supernatural portrait we have a picture of how God sees mankind: More important than all of nature, since Mary stands on top of the moon, is backlit by the sun, and clothed in the stars of heaven. The human person, which our Culture of Death treats as a means to pleasure and power, is in fact much more important than the rest of the created universe.

What gives us such dignity and importance? Only the grace of God. Mary’s head is not turned by her glory; in fact it is bowed in prayer. She knows that all her importance derives from her Son, that all her virtues are only the fruit of His grace. We only fully retain our dignity when we unite our will with God’s, and obey His plan for us. It is perfect obedience to the promptings of grace, not power, learning, or knowledge, that elevates a person. When we try like Satan to rise against God’s will, we degrade ourselves—as our culture today has diminished the sanctity of life and the value of self-sacrifice, pretending to elevate man while in fact reducing him to the level of just one more primate.

This message might seem abstract, or unconvincing to modern people. But remember the original audience to whom the Virgin appeared in Mexico: The Indian people of Mexico had for centuries been subject to the brutal regime of the Aztecs, who believed in a cult of dark and desperate gods, that could only keep themselves and the universe alive if they were fed by human sacrifice. When the bold Spanish explorer Cortes landed in Mexico, he found an Aztec nation engaged in its own culture of death. Every month, thousands of people from conquered tribes would be dragged up Mexican temples and have their hearts ripped out of their chest—to “feed” the gods and the Aztec upper class, who had come to rely on the sacrifices as a key source of protein. (We have still have some of their ghoulish recipes for cooked human flesh.) With only a few hundred troops of his own, Cortes turned to the tribes that fed the sacrifices, who allied with him to obliterate the Aztec kingdom and close its temples.

This was the pagan despair that lurked in the background when the Virgin appeared in Mexico. Few Indians had dared to accept the new and gentle creed of Christ, a God who accepts no sacrifices, but offers Himself for us. It seemed too good to be true. But when they saw clothed in their own garments and speaking their own language a Lady who reflected God’s love for them in particular, the Mexican people gained the courage to hope. The faith of the Mexican people in Christ can be traced to the tilma of Juan Diego, and it has never failed despite the fiercest persecutions.

In our own age of pagan despair, we look to icons of courage and grace to remind us that goodness is possible. We read the lives of men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of women like Mother Teresa, and we search out the people who today are standing for life in the face of death—especially those in the pro-life movement, who face down the law and the media, the courts and the social elites, to defend the weakest, most vulnerable images of God’s most precious creation.

18 Years Ago She Gave Birth to Septuplets. You’ll be Surprised to See What They Look Like Now

www.lifenews.com

Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey’s four boys and three girls became the first known set of surviving septuplets in the world.

The seven siblings defied the odds in more ways than one. Families like the McCaugheys are sometimes pressured to “selectively reduce,” or abort, babies who are multiples because doctors claim it can increase the chances that the other babies will be born healthy. The McCaugheys gave all of their babies a chance to live.

Today, all seven of the septuplets are seniors in high school and preparing for college. The siblings turned 18 on Nov. 19.

Many people saw the septuplets as babies on TV and the cover of Time magazine, but the family has been keeping a lower profile since then – no reality shows or on-going camera appearances for them. The family returned briefly to the spotlight this fall to celebrate the septuplets’ lives after they defied all odds.

“We wanted to be a normal family,” their father, Kenny, told The Today Show in a new interview.

“The memories, the joys, the heartaches that have happened, it’s very special,” their mom, Bobbi, added.

The family received a lot of help from family and friends after the septuplets were born – help with food, diapers, potty training and much more; but most of all, the family’s faith has helped them throughout the years, Bobbi said.

mccaugheyseptuplets2

“We have a super-strong faith that is the rock we’ve had to stand on,” Bobbi said.

When asked about the worst part of being a septuplet, the teens couldn’t come up with an answer.

“I’ve enjoyed all of it,” said Kelsey, one of the sisters. “There hasn’t been a worst part.”

“[The best thing is] just having a big family, a lot of brothers and sisters to hang out with you,” said one of the brothers, Kenny. “You’re never alone. There’s always someone to talk to and hang out with. That’s what I think is the best.”

Watch the family’s endearing new interview below:

Christmas Newsletter

long header OMS

From the Director

I am conflicted because I am FULL of JOY and SADNESS. Joy-filled for the pending birth of Jesus and the many blessings in my life—family, Faith, One More Soul, a slowly expanding Culture of Life—the list is endless. But my joy is tempered by sadness—also an endless list, including the growing Culture of Death. To say all I want to say would take many more pages than are available here.

I believe that One More Soul IS the leading edge of the Culture of Life. I have FAITH that more capable organizations will join us. I HOPE that what you find in this End-of-Year newsletter will warm your heart, challenge your thinking, and increase your pride in One More Soul as we step forward with new efforts to encourage new life.

Our cupboard is bare—REALLY bare. We really need your CHARITY. Please pray for us. Please order our resources and distribute them in your parish and at other opportunities. We have great materials to encourage purity and chastity, marriage and openness to children, and acceptance of God’s direction in our lives.

Thank you for your generosity. May God bless you, your family, and those who care for you.

I also have HOPE and FAITH that you will support us with your CHARITY. One More Soul is a charitable organization and tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code We are eligible to receive your tax-deductible contributions. Thanks!

Welcoming the Christ Child

Each Christmas we recall the birth of the Christ Child who came to dwell among us. At the same time the secular community enters a seasonal nostalgia of childhood in movies, plays, and productions. Although this is often for business purposes, it is an open door. Let’s seize that cultural moment of openness to children and joyfully promote the culture of life in simple, easy ways. First ask yourself, “What can I do to show my joy in the gift of children?” Well, how would you welcome the Christ Child? You’d smile, so smile at children and wave to them. Coo at babies; tell parents how beautiful their baby is. Encourage harried mothers with a good word and offer a helping hand, especially at the grocery.

Now look around, for nearly everyone of childbearing age is pressured by our culture to contracept. People simply don’t know the dreadful things contraceptives do to human bodies and relationships. How can you help? Sow seeds of truth and speak about the blessings of children. The light of your gentle witness is needed in our dark world. Build strong relationships with those around you and at the right moment, speak the truth in love. Our website has abundant life-affirming resources and OMS is glad to assist you in spreading truth.

Finally, look at organizations. Newspapers, churches, and schools offer wonderful opportunities to share the message that children are a gift and contraceptives cause harm. So whenever the newspaper runs a pro-contraceptive piece, write a rebuttal telling the truth. When the news reports the horror of a young mother abandoning or harming her child, write a letter recounting the supreme gift children are to all. Do what it takes to elect government officials who act according to truth, not whims. Support organizations such as Knights of Columbus and others who spread the message of life.

Mary Joseph Baby

Yes, the task can be huge but an old adage applies: “Inch by inch life is a cinch, yard by yard it’s very hard.” There are many of us, and we are able to do many good deeds large and small. Inch by inch, and smile by encouraging word, we can all impact those around us. Through the grace of God we can sow seeds of truth and transform our culture to once again value children. So smile, and welcome the Christ Child in our midst.

To read more articles in our newsletter click below:

Baby Given No Chance of Survival Beats the Odds After Her Parents Reject Abortion

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/12/02/baby-given-no-chance-of-survival-beats-the-odds-after-her-parents-reject-abortion/

Micaiah Bilger Dec 2, 2015
Little baby Naomi captured the hearts of pro-lifers recently after the tiny preemie defied doctors’ dire predictions and lived.

Naomi Bakker was born 15 weeks premature, and doctors told her parents that her “chances of survival without health complications were less than one percent,” National Right to Life News reported recently. But the “feisty” baby girl fought for her life for five months in a Reno, Nevada hospital and now “Naomi is healthy and ready to graduate from the NICU with few complications,” according to Fox 28 reporter Elizabeth Faugl.

Live Action News reports more on the family’s story:

At 23 weeks gestation, Angela Bakker and her husband, Michael, were devastated to learn that their baby girl was not going to live. A routine ultrasound revealed that she was measuring much smaller than she should be, and she was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. The placenta had not grown into the uterus properly and the little girl was not receiving adequate nutrition. The doctor told the heartbroken parents that their daughter would likely die in the womb.

Concerned for their daughter, the couple decided to get a second opinion, and they left their home in Reno, Nevada, to head to the University of California at San Francisco to meet with experts in their baby’s condition. Unfortunately, those doctors confirmed the diagnosis, and they told the Bakkers that there was the option to terminate.

Doctors repeatedly encouraged the Bakkers to abort Naomi, but they refused. They said if their daughter was going to die, they were going to let her die on her own time, according to the article.

“There were four hours left until the abortion cut off,” Angela said. “But they told us that in cases like ours they make exceptions. They said, ‘The law doesn’t even apply to you. That’s how bad your case is.’ She started kicking, and I thought, that’s her little voice. That’s all she can say.”

Just one week later, Angela’s life also was threatened by preeclampsia, and she was sent to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Baby Naomi was not expected to survive, but doctors agreed to try to help her if she did, the article states.

On July 1st, baby Naomi Joy was born, and miraculously she was breathing on her own, something the doctor said he had never seen happen with a baby that tiny.

She was so tiny, her eyes were still fused shut, and though she was born at 25 weeks, she was only the size of a 19 week preborn child. She weighed just 364 grams. According to the doctors, babies need to weigh at least 450 grams to survive.

Her tiny life kept stunning doctors. First, she had a procedure done twice to repair a hole in her bowels, and the incision healed on its own. Then, doctors feared she could have brain bleeds and gave her medication to help; she never experienced the problem. And although she has chronic lung disease, doctors believe it will heal within the next two years, Live Action News reports.

Naomi arrived home in time for Thanksgiving with her big brother, Nathaniel. Doctors and her family will continue to monitor her health and growth closely from home, according to the report.

“It’s been quite a journey and so far it’s had a good ending,” Angela said. “These babies don’t get a chance because parents do end up terminating a lot of the time. It’s not been easy. It’s been difficult and heart-wrenching, and every day you wonder if your baby is going to live. … It was a shock that this happened, but our faith and trusting that no matter what, it’s taken care of, is a big part of it.”

To read the full story, find the Bakkers’ on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/NaomiJoyBakker].

Taking good care of the environment

waterPope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si  invites us to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and reminds us of our responsibility to care for the environment. The Holy Father draws attention not only to current environmental issues but also human ecology issues such as abortion, population control, experimentation on embryos, and other offenses against the sanctity of life.

Although people are very concerned about protecting the environment and humans from genetically modified crops, pesticides, and other hazards, there is very little concern about contamination of the body and the environment with potent steroid hormones (such as those in birth control pills).

Where are the hormones coming from?

Xenoestrogen, or hormones that imitate estrogen contaminate the environment from many sources such as plastics, detergents, fertilizers, and phthalates. Ethinyl Estradiol (EE2) is a potent synthetic estrogen used for birth control pills, rings, shots, and patches. It is excreted through urine to sewage treatment plants and is contaminating tap water world wide. Comparing all sources of estrogen, EE2 activity poses the greater ecological risk.

According to the most recent data available, 9 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 use the pill. Countries with the highest prevalence of pill use—over 40 percent—include Algeria, Czech Republic, France, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Zimbabwe. Researchers have found that synthetic hormones can be transported considerable distances from the source of pollution.

How estrogen affects humans and the environment?

Natural estrogens produced in the human endocrine system enter the cell and activate receptors triggering processes in the cells such as gene expression. Natural estrogens have a short life, do not accumulate in tissues, and are easily brokeestradiol-synthetic-naturaln down in the liver. In contrast, synthetic hormones such as EE2 are more stable, remain in the body longer than natural estrogen, and tend to accumulate in the fat and tissues of animals and humans. Synthetic estrogens can disrupt the cell’s natural hormonal processing, mimicking, blocking or cancelling natural estrogen’s effects.

What are the effects on the human body and the environment?

Excess estrogen (natural or synthetic) in humans has been related to infertility, breast cancer, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, prostate cancer, and early puberty.

Genetic alterations caused by synthetic hormones present in the aquatic environment have also been found in wildlife. Researchers have found that caged adult trout exposed to synthetic estrogen were half as fertile as fish kept in clean water. Exposure of zebra fish to low doses of EE2 has produced persistent changes in their behavior and fertility. Even the next generation of fish not directly exposed to EE2 was affected by their parents’ exposure. Toxicologists have also found that the presence of synthetic hormones made the male species less male in frogs, river otters and fish, thus affecting their ability to reproduce.

vida nuevaWhat we can do?

Elimination of synthetic estrogen in water treatment plants is complicated and very expensive. Upgrades to the waste treatment plants in Britain to remove EE2 could cost up to $46 billion and another $960,000 per year to operate the system. A much easier and effective solution would be to educate everyone to stop polluting the water with hormones. Education on breastfeeding and fertility awareness methods for spacing children would help women appreciate their fertility and take good care of God’s creation.

“The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all.” Pope Francis

References:

Barel-Cohen, K., Shore, L. S., Shemesh, M., Wenzel, A., Mueller, J., & Kronfeld-Schor, N. (2006). Monitoring of natural and synthetic hormones in a polluted river. Journal of Environmental Management, 78(1), 16-23.

Maqbool, F., Mostafalou, S., Bahadar, H., & Abdollahi, M. (2015). Review of endocrine disorders associated with environmental toxicants and possible involved mechanisms.

Margel, D., & Fleshner, N. E. (2011). Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: An ecological study. BMJ Open, 1(2), e000311-2011-000311.

Parry, W. (2012). Water pollution caused by birth control poses dilemma. Life Sciences

Tavares, R. S., Escada-Rebelo, S., Correia, M., Mota, P. C., & Ramalho-Santos, J. (2016). The non-genomic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on mammalian sperm. Reproduction (Cambridge, England), 151(1), R1-R13.

Tompsett, A. R., Wiseman, S., Higley, E., Giesy, J. P., & Hecker, M. (2013). Effects of exposure to 17alpha-ethynylestradiol during larval development on growth, sexual differentiation, and abundances of transcripts in the liver of the wood frog (lithobates sylvaticus). Aquatic Toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 126, 42-51.

United Nations, Department of Economic Affairs Population Division

World contraceptive use (2011). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/contraceptive2011/wallchart_front.pdf

Volkova, K., Reyhanian Caspillo, N., Porseryd, T., Hallgren, S., Dinnetz, P., & Porsch-Hallstrom, I. (2015). Developmental exposure of zebrafish (danio rerio) to 17alpha-ethinylestradiol affects non-reproductive behavior and fertility as adults, and increases anxiety in unexposed progeny.
Hormones and Behavior, 73, 30-38.

Leelo en Español  Aquí

Paris and the Pill

http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vort-2015-11-17

TRANSCRIPT

As authorities sift through the rubble and bodies in Paris, many questions which need to be asked directly involving the attacks are being asked. But some questions are not being asked.

For example, is there something wrong with the thinking and actions, the attitudes ,on the part of western societies that might have contributed to this horror? This is not a “blame us” examination which the progressive elitist crowd always seems to trot out — you know, the “It’s our fault in the West because we have done such horrible things in the Middle East and should feel guilty” mindset, the logic there being: “We did it to ourselves because of our greed” — the same stuff that came flying out of the mouths of crazy liberals in America in the aftermath of 9-11, and like the idiotic liberal publication Salon did over the weekend. Typical.

No. This report is definitely not of that variety. But something does seriously have to be looked at regarding how Western societies live. Many of these types of killers come into Western nations, cross the borders, as part of a kind of open-door policy because Western nations need to shore up their flagging numbers. Their numbers are flagging because of low birth rates due to the widespread acceptance of contraception and abortion.

The same thing is happening here in the United States and still happens today. Sixty million Americans are not here today because the culture approved of their murders in the womb — many of them because the contraception failed. Who knows how many more tens of millions are not here because the contraception worked? A shrinking population — as is the case with various nations in Europe — actual declining numbers, as in, for example, next year there will be fewer Italians on the planet born in Italy then this year. Same in Greece and France and Spain and Portugal and Germany.

Shrinking populations like that mean governments have to step in and do something before the economic chaos sets in. Many of them have. Various European countries, led by Germany, are growing more desperate about the soon-to-be-felt fallout from their aging and shrinking native populations. So they have instituted a variety of laws actually paying for women and/or families to have children in the form of cash payouts, tax rebates and so forth. Part of their bag of tricks has also been to open up the borders and liberalize their immigration policies in an effort to stem the demographic winter so closely approaching.

France, for example, now boasts the largest Muslim population in all of Europe, and 20 percent of immigrants to the country each year come from countries with predominant Muslim populations. Germany, too, sees indications that pockets of Muslim immigrants — or the sons of Muslim immigrants, who, like in France, have not assimilated — also pose a threat to peace and security.

Regardless of the reasons of these increased numbers of violent scenes in London, Madrid, Paris, Germany and threats in Rome, immigration policies cannot be discounted as a precipitating factor. And the immigration policies were put in place because the Pill had become accepted. In the rush to have no restrictions on sexual license and no consequence for unintended pregnancies, Western societies forgot that there are consequences for unbridled sexual liaisons, particularly on such a huge scale as the cultures accepted and practiced it.

A wise old seminary professor once said something I’ve never forgotten. Monsignor William Smith — God rest his soul — of St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York once said, “God is forgiving, but nature isn’t.” The West happily accepted and advanced contraception and child murder as standard and has become awash, drowning in sexual immorality. This has resulted in a precipitous decline of the population and a now-dire threat to economic stability. To shore themselves up and avert such a demographic and economic disaster, these nations have thrown open their borders and invited in immigrants, some of whom are rightfully disgusted and repulsed by the sexual liberty that rules the day. Many of these immigrants directly or indirectly — and as we see, it doesn’t take many — feel perfectly fine about killing at will and creating mayhem in a culture they have no intention of assimilating into — quite the opposite; they are spurred on by terrorists in their ranks who inspire them to remain outside the culture of the Great Satan and overrun from within, by whatever means works the best — including mass homicide.

Anyone who thinks this kind of evil is going to lessen doesn’t understand the world situation. Christ will reign on the earth, either by His presence shown forth by His peace, or by His absence shown forth in chaos. Until the world comes to embrace God and bow under His mighty and loving hand and live by His decrees, men will continue to think that they have all the answers and can solve every problem — and the folly of man will be clear for all to see.

Let us pray for not only the souls of the dead in Paris, but most especially for the souls of nations and peoples everywhere. There is no peace without God — and God cannot co-exist with sin enshrined as law.

It is God’s law or man’s law. Just as in eternity there is no middle ground, so in the lead-up to eternity on this earth, there is no middle ground.

Why I never should have had eight children

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/why-i-never-should-have-had-eight-children

A few months back, I told my readers on my blog how to raise eight children without even trying. Today, I’m going to tell you why I never should have had eight children in the first place: had I listened to the devil and modern conventional wisdom, that is.

When I was a happy mother of four, seriously considering and deeply desiring another child, an odd feeling overcame me. Over several days, my excitement at the idea of a new little soul became mixed with feelings of discouragement and fear. It began to dawn on me that I was barely good enough “mommy material” for the four treasures I already had, and that any further parenting would be irresponsible. It came to a head one evening: I remember standing in my kitchen, full of fear and anxiety, telling myself that I had no business – no business! – having another baby. Not now, not ever.

All my shortcomings and sins came to the forefront of my mind, and I stood there reeling from the truth of it:

I can’t cook.
I can’t grocery shop.
I can’t bring the kids out alone without help.
I have nooooo patience.
I am not crafty in the least.
I can’t sew.
I can’t throw a party.
I’m not athletic or outdoorsy.
I don’t know how to make a pretty home.
I don’t know how to make anything fun.
I am lazy and a procrastinator.
I’m used to being served, not serving.
I am sarcastic and cranky.
I am a complainer.
I like to be alone.
I hate to be interrupted or inconvenienced.
I am not particularly good with children.

In that moment, I knew all of these things. And I was discouraged. Any one of these reasons could be enough for a woman to convince herself that it’s imprudent to have another child. In fact, you might just be saying to yourself now, “My gosh, that woman shouldn’t have one child, much less eight!”

But see, there’s the thing: Moms of big families are told constantly by other women that “I couldn’t do what you do!” or “You must have so much patience!” or “You must have a real way with children!” They think we were given a special gift or have a mutant gene that they do not possess. But they have no idea how much we are just like them. In fact, most of the women who say those things to me are better suited to raise a large family than I.

As I stood there in the kitchen that night, a moment of grace overtook the moment of discouragement. How many times had I told others, “Discouragement is not from Christ, as Christ only encourages. Discouragement is from the devil!” I remembered it then, and my fears and anxieties were banished. Only the devil himself, the one who hates human beings to his rotten core, would taunt me with the notion that my lack of gourmet skills should preclude new life in my marriage. I saw the evil of it then, and I called him out. I still cussed a lot back then, and I am pretty sure I told the devil what he could do with his putrid flood of discouraging thoughts. Yeah, that was a good moment.

Since that day, five eternal souls have been created in our family, four of whom my husband and I have the privilege of raising on this earth. And, while I can’t claim to have conquered all the deficiencies and vices on my list (not even close! drat!), the existence of all my children has moved me along the path of holiness. Because that’s how it works: The souls in your life are gifts, each of whom is meant to sanctify you in a particular way. My little sanctifiers are the artisans who change and mold me in all the ways God knows I need, and they are their father’s and their siblings’ artisans, too.

That my family exists as it does is living proof that “with God, all things are possible” – even Leila Miller mothering eight great kids.

Deo gratias.

Mom with cancer who refused abortion and chemo gives birth to healthy twins

Manchester, England, November 12, 2015, LifeSiteNews

A young cancer-stricken mother who refused to abort after receiving her pre-natal diagnosis has given birth to healthy twins.

Doctor’s identified Holley Tierney’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when the Manchester, England, mom was 23 weeks pregnant. They advised her to abort and begin chemotherapy.

But at this point in her pregnancy the 25-year-old mom was able to feel the babies kick inside her womb, and even though facing cancer while pregnant was her worst nightmare, she said she simply couldn’t deny her unborn children life.

“I knew there was no way I could terminate my pregnancy when I felt them kick, my maternal instincts had already kicked in,” Tierney said. “It was the happiest day of my life when my babies were delivered safely, it was definitely a risk worth taking, all I cared about was their health.”

Tierney was resolute in postponing the drugs until after her babies were born, according to a Daily Mail report.

“Once doctors realized I wasn’t having a termination they kept pushing for them to be born premature but I wanted my twins to reach 30-weeks before I had a caesarean,” she said.

However, at 29 weeks doctors told her she shouldn’t wait any longer because the cancer could spread, resulting in Tierney’s son Harlow and daughter Havana arriving via C-section 11 weeks early.

“My babies were delivered safely in August and taken straight to intensive care, they weighed almost 3lbs each,” Tierney recounted. “Seeing them for the first time was the best feeling in the world, I couldn’t believe they were mine.”

When the twins were a week old she started chemotherapy, encountering its accompanying side effects, including nausea and losing her hair. And at the same time as her babies were embarking on an 11-week hospital stay, and she began her cancer fight, Tierney had to ponder the possibility of her children growing up without their mother.

“It was bittersweet as I kept thinking I would never have chance to watch them grow up,” she said.

The twins recently made it home and are settling in, and after five cycles of chemotherapy Tierney has just one left before starting radiotherapy after the New Year.

Before her initial diagnosis, Doctors had thought her chest and arm pain were due to a pulled muscle. So as she moves forward with motherhood and her cancer battle, Tierney is also speaking out about her situation in hopes that other pregnant moms will be aware of potential problem symptoms.

“It was heart breaking but I knew I needed to stay strong and positive for my babies,” said Tierney. “They had fought to stay alive and now I needed to fight for my life and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Pill could harm future fertility

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-207039/Pill-harm-future-fertility

by ISABEL OAKESHOTT, Evening Standard

The contraceptive pill could damage fertility, according to new research.

The powerful hormones could upset the reproductive system for months – or even years – after women stop taking it.

Women who have used the Pill are twice as likely to have problems conceiving later.

The findings are the first to suggest a link between oral contraceptives and infertility, and come despite repeated assurances from manufacturers that there are no long-term effects.

Today fertility experts described the research as “highly significant” and said Pill users must be told about the possible risks. But family planning groups urged women not to panic – stressing that most women had no problem conceiving after they stopped taking it.

The link emerged in a study of more than 2,200 women attending UK antenatal clinics. More than 40 per cent had taken combined oral contraceptives – the most common form – while 19 per cent had used condoms.

Five per cent had used other types of Pill, 13 per cent had used no contraception at all, and the rest had used hormonal implants, coils, or other methods.

On average, the women had been using contraceptives for three and a half years before trying for a baby. Overall, two thirds became pregnant within six months.

On average, however, former Pill users took twice as long to conceive than those who had used condoms. The longer they had been on the Pill, the longer it took to conceive.

The study, led by gynaecologist Stephen Killick at Hull Royal Infirmary, says: “In all, 6.5 per cent of previous combined Pill users took more than two years to conceive, compared with 2.6 per cent of condom users.”

The risks appear to be even greater among women who are over 35, or obese, or suffer from irregular periods. Over-35s who had taken the Pill took two-and-a-half times as long to conceive as those in the same age bracket who had used condoms.

Although 70 per cent of former Pill users became pregnant within six months, the researchers believe the hormones may take time to wear off among some women, in whom they may stop the ovaries releasing eggs normally.

Around three million women in Britain are on the Pill, most taking the combined as opposed to the progesterone-only version. It appears the impact of the combined Pill on fertility wears off after two years at the most.

Drawn to Maria Goretti

http://catholicexchange.com/drawn-to-maria-goretti

I love devotional Catholicism.  By this I mean making pilgrimages to shrines and praying at the tombs of saints.  I frequented the tomb of St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, the Palestinian Carmelite, while I was in Bethlehem for three weeks in 2014.  In January 2015, I prayed for my (then) upcoming ordination to the priesthood at the tomb of St. Damien of Molokai in Leuven, Belgium.  I find these spiritual practices and devotions to be beneficial.

With that being said, I must confess that when I heard about the Pilgrimage of Mercy, in which the relics of St. Maria Goretti would travel throughout the United States, I thought it was weird.  It struck me as Catholicism meets the Antiques Roadshow.  Not only that, but my pessimism wondered whether or not the story of Maria Goretti would attract any interest among American Catholics.

My devotionalism and curiosity got the best of me.  I was intrigued by St. Maria Goretti’s Pilgrimage of Mercy, and so on October 16, 2015, after going back and forth interiorly whether or not I should make my own pilgrimage to venerate her relics, I buckled into the driver’s seat of my Ford Fusion and hit the road toward Madison, to a parish named after the Church’s youngest saint.  It was at this parish that Bishop Robert Morlino presided over a Mass honoring St. Maria Goretti at 7pm.  In a filled to capacity, standing room only church, Mass commenced and by the Ite, Missa Est, the entire congregation came to know the story of St. Maria Goretti.

I remained in the church following Mass for about an hour to pray.  During that hour people kept coming.  And as I exited the Church, I was amazed to see that the line extended outside, into the frigid cold.  As I headed home, I could not help but ask myself: Why were so many people drawn to the relics of Maria Goretti?  After all, this form of devotionalism, is not expressed all that often in the States.  But there was something about this teenage saint that drew massive amounts of people.  I realized that America needed the story of Maria Goretti, her witness, and her prayers.

We Admire Her Chastity

Why were people drawn to Maria Goretti?  It’s because we admire her chastity and purity.  Maria Goretti’s story challenges our American culture to a greater appreciation of these virtues. It was Maria’s resistance against her attacker which brought about her death.  She reminded Alessandro that what he was trying to do was a sin.  Not only did she care about her purity, but she was concerned about the soul of her attacker.

We live in a time marked by sexual promiscuity.  Why do thousands of people line up to see Maria Goretti?  Because they want their hearts to be like the heart of Maria.  They want to grow in chastity, and so they look to her story and ask for her prayers. They desire a pure heart.

All we have to do is turn on the television and our purity is assaulted.  We watch television shows that glorify the very cause of Maria’s death.  Our entertainment, be it television or movies, highlight rape, its victims, and the quest to solve these crimes.  We live in a sexually indulgent culture because of the easy accessibility of contraception.  Teenage pregnancies are on the rise.  People “hook-up” in our culture and search for one night stands.  Many turn to pornography as a way to fill a void of love in their life.  Sexuality is no longer valued as a gift from God, mirroring the love of Christ and His Church, but rather as something to be taken advantage of, at any opportunity.

People form lines and pass by the relics of St. Maria Goretti because they are wounded by their sinfulness.  Many are enslaved to sexual sins.  They look to Maria Goretti and ask her to pray for them, so that they can turn to God, and like her, be a defender of that gift given to them by God.

We Admire Her Ability to Forgive

The story of Maria Goretti does not end with her defense of purity.  After being stabbed fourteen times, Maria, while on her deathbed, forgave Alessandro.  As an American people we admire Maria’s ability to forgive.

We struggle to forgive in our American culture.  Not only can we not forgive ourselves for things we have done in our life (e.g. impurity), but we find it extremely difficult to forgive other people.  Many people, including myself, are holding grudges against those who have offended us.  It is hard to forgive other people.  Even more, it is difficult to forget what people have done; the memories of hurtful words are actions remain.  But our God calls us to forgive those who have hurt us.  We must forgive our family, coworkers, and friends.

People form lines and pass by the relics of St. Maria Goretti because they know there are people in their lives they need to forgive and need divine assistance in doing so.  As they touch the glass case, they ask Maria Goretti, who forgave the one who hurt her, to help them forgive the people in their lives.  And they ask for the grace to forgive themselves because in time, Alessandro was even able to forgive himself, after Maria came to him in a dream and gave him 14 es.

A Saint for the Year of Mercy

Maria Goretti is an appropriate saint for the Year of Mercy.  Her story challenges all sinners in their struggles with the flesh.  She is one of their patrons and intercessors in whatever struggle they face.  Like Alessandro who turned to God for mercy, we must seek out Christ’s mercy in the confessional.  But even more so, Maria is a living witness of forgiving offences willingly, one of the spiritual works of mercy.  Just as Maria forgave Alessandro, she inspires us to reach out and extend mercy, forgiveness to the people in our lives who have hurt us.  After all, Jesus told us to petition the Father in this way, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  For whatever wrong the eleven year old Maria Goretti did, she surely experienced God’s forgiveness, for she heroically forgave the one who trespassed against her, who ended her life too soon, taking her from her impoverished family, her friends, and the Church.  Now, as one of the blessed in Heaven, she intercedes for us, praying that her story can inspire us to a greater love of purity in our lives and lead us to forgive our family and friends.

College Professor: You Have No Right to More Than One Child

Just days after China announced it is converting from a human rights-abusing one-child policy to a human rights abusing two child policy, the National Catholic Register reports on a college professor who thinks couples have no right to more than one child. Apparently, forced abortions and gendercide is a-okay to enforce such an idea.

Sarah Conly, a professor a ultraliberal Bowdoin College, where students shell out tens of thousands of dollars a year to be spoon-fed such poppycock, think families should have no more than one child.

As NCR reports:

A philosophy professor at Bowdoin College, Sarah Conly, really misses China’s One-Child policy. I mean, really misses it.

She even wrote a book called “One Child: Do We Have a Right to More” because I don’t want to financially support garbage like that. I’m not going to buy that book but she was kind enough to write a column in the Boston Globe putting her anti-human kookiness on display for everyone to see.

In it, she bemoans China ending it’s one-child policy and asks “Is this really a good thing?” She thinks not.

She writes, “the idea that people should limit the number of children they have to just one is not, I would argue, a bad one, for the Chinese or for the rest of us.”

Then you get a lot of blah blah blah nonsense about overpopulation and all that. But then you get to the moral case. She posits that YOU have no right to have more than one child.

Given the damage we are causing, and the suffering we foresee for all those who live after us, it is clear that having more than one child is just something that none of us — Chinese or American — has a moral right to do. We have no right to cause great harm to others when we can avoid this without great loss to ourselves.

At this point, uncontrolled fertility is likely to have worse consequences than the false cry of “fire!” Even having two children — the replacement value for the population — as the new Chinese policy allows is likely to be too many children. Due to what specialists call “demographic momentum,” the population will continue to grow for quite some time even if we all cut back now to two children. By the time the birthrate stabilizes, the global population will be at an unsustainable level. So, we don’t have a right to have so many children.

Why is it that some of the most wacky, hairbrained ideas come from the ivory tower elite — the folks who are supposed to be the smartest of the smartest. Perhaps because they are elite, some of them don’t want more people in the world challenging them or their nutty theories.

Right to choose? Yeah, right.

The Contraception-Divorce Connection

 hands-together

“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Mk 10: 9

The Bible Says

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Mk 10:7-9

Jesus spoke these words in response to the Pharisees’ questions about divorce—in particular Moses’ allowance of a decree of divorce. The 40-50% divorce rate in the USA indicates that Jesus’ teaching that “no human being must separate” husband and wife is largely ignored.

“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1: 27-28

“Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them.” Mk 10:14

The joining of love and life in marital sexual intercourse—the marriage act—is a second God-ordained joining not intended for Man to separate by contraception.

Divorce & Contraception Violate God’s Plan

US Catholics divorce and contracept at about the same rate as non-Catholics. Annulment application is commonly offered in response to divorce. For most Catholics, their teaching on contraception has been nil. It is estimated that 60-90% of annulments world-wide are granted in the USA. Also studies indicate that almost all Catholic couples contracept before and during some part of their marriage.

What the Chart ShowsUS Fertility & Divorce Chart REV for web

The enclosed Total Fertility & Divorce Rates chart demonstrates a strong correlation between family size and divorce. Why did family size begin a steep decline in the mid-1800s? Andrea Tone, in Devices and Desires, A History of Contraceptives in America, describes how Charles Goodyear’s 1839 invention of rubber vulcanization transformed a small but thriving side-line to sausage making into a lucrative condom manufacturing industry that continues into the 21st Century. Contraceptive use is the only feasible explanation for the rapid decline in Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Note that TFRs dropped by almost half in each Century, and they have hovered a little below 2 during the 21st Century.

The Pill Effect

The Divorce Rate increased 2.5 times following wide acceptance of the Birth Control Pill in the early 1960s. No-fault divorce laws and legalized abortion were further consequences of over 10 million women being on the BCP and millions more continuing to use barrier and other means to limit child-bearing.

Marital Sexual Intercourse

In God’s first words to us, He commanded us to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth”—a single command stated three times. He must have thought it pretty important. In humility and trust, He surrendered to His creatures the duty and power to initiate a new human life, while retaining His right to allow that initial effort to succeed. We call that sacred act of initiation “marital sexual intercourse”.

The “marital” adjective is important because it sets marriage as the legitimate condition for use of sexual intercourse. This is based on marital sexual intercourse’s essential purpose to populate Earth and Heaven—its procreative purpose. To guarantee that we would engage in marital sexual intercourse, God added a unitive second dimension by making marital sexual intercourse delightful, enjoyable, exciting and mysterious. The unifying dimension cleverly encourages the marital sexual intercourse-performing couple to stay together for their continuing pleasure AND for mutual support in raising their children—and also God’s. Thus a family is formed!!

Why Marriage

Marriage publicly identifies the family as an institution formed by a man and woman engaging in sexual intercourse, and children that result from their union. Thus marital sexual intercourse is referred to as the “marriage act” or the “procreation act”—recognizing its essential and unique purpose of creating new human life with God. It is these procreative and unitive ends that “God has joined together [and] no human being must separate”.

Why is this so?

If the act which is primarily intended for procreation is counterfeited (neutered) by contraception, the act cannot achieve its intended and natural purposes—neither procreative nor unitive. A holy act has been hollowed out and made intrinsically evil. It should be expected that contraceptive-using-couples will feel dissatisfied, incomplete and expectant of something more. That missing more may be sought in another relationship, pornography, or other addictions. The stage is thus set for divorce.

Conclusion

The cultural chaos caused by divorce is due in large part to the effect of contraception on marriage. Separating the unitive and procreative ends of sexual intercourse redefines and destabilizes marriage. In God’s perfect plan for us, there would be no contraception, the average family would include many children, and divorce would be rare.

Has there ever been a time in history (or a culture) when both contraception and divorce were absent? What was that society like? Can a contraceptive and divorce free society be created? Can we humbly set aside our plan, and accept God’s plan for love, marriage, sex and children?

Conclusions Suggested by the Chart:

1. The “natural” Total Fertility Rate (TFR) may be as high as 7. With limited availability of contraception, the average American woman of the early 1800s birthed 7 children. Is that what God planned for average family size? The corresponding “natural” divorce rate is essentially zero.

2. The vulcanization of rubber by Charles Goodyear in 1839 jump-started the contraceptives industry with condoms and diaphragms. As contraceptives began to be readily available in the mid-1800s, TFRs rapidly declined.

3. The low TFRs during WWII (1941-1945) were followed by a jump in TFRs as millions of soldiers returned to marry and start families in 1945-1960. High divorce rates during and after WWII may be a result of long separations and mental and physical health problems of returning soldiers.

4. The advent of the Birth Control Pill (BCP) in the early 1960s and the universal acceptance of all forms of birth control soon fixed TFRs at about 2 (or less) for the 40+ years from 1970 to 2014. Divorce rates increase as TFRs decrease.

5. Rapid acceptance of the BCP in the 1960s corresponds with divorce rates more than doubling in 10 years.

6. While TFRs have held steady near 2 for the past 40 years, divorce rates have steadily declined to 1960’s levels possibly due to slow economic growth, fewer marriages reducing the pool of potential divorces, and aging couples’ greater tolerance of a less than ideal marriage.

7. Contraceptive use destabilizes and redefines marriage.

 

Source fertility rate data: http://www.gapminder.org/data

Source divorce rate data: U.S. Census Bureau: Statistical Abstract of the United States for 2001 (Table 117), available online at www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/statab.html; Current Population Report for 2000 (Table 3), available online at www.census.gov/cps; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data” for 2000 (in National Vital Statistics Report 49) and 2009 (in NVS Report 58) (Table 2), available online at www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm

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Life-Limiting Prenatal Diagnosis: Hard Cases Close to Home

“Every mom I know in anencephaly groups who has carried to term has no regrets, while there are so many who regret early induction/ termination. It is truly amazing (and not distinctly related to the parent’s religion).”

-The mother of Baby Joseph

 

Best Choices for Families Dealing with Adverse Fetal Diagnosis

Discovering one’s child has a serious medical condition is always devastating, whether it occurs at twenty years old or twenty weeks gestation. Among the many disorders that usually shorten a child’s lifespan dramatically, causing death within the first few months of life, are various Trisomy conditions, Potter’s Syndrome, and anencephaly (a neural tube disorder). Many families confronted with an adverse prenatal diagnosis have experienced a lack of resources, information, and support, and often face unwelcome pressures as well, but those who carry to term usually find peace nonetheless.

Dum Vivimus Vivamus

“Dum vivimus vivamus…While we live, let us live” is a fitting motto for families who give their babies a chance to survive, contrasting sharply with many historical and current medical prac-tices. What follows are four stories from a limited geographical region (western Ohio) representing hundreds of regions across the country; your own communities; your own hospitals.

The life of Joseph

Diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks; lived 37 weeks in the womb and 88 minutes after birth.

The ultrasound doctor who diagnosed anencephaly gave Joseph’s parents one option: “we could induce early (like next week!) and then we wouldn’t have to go through the rest of the pregnancy…I thought to myself: If my firstborn, was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had only 4 months to live, would I ask the doctors to end her life right now, or would I love and cherish every moment until God called her home? Thinking of it that way, the answer was clear. It was obvious it wasn’t a choice at all. I was incredibly sad and discouraged having to be in this position, but the only possible choice we could live with is to just love this baby as long as we can.” After their initial office visit, they were fortunate to experience the support of family and friends, as well as that of their trusted family physician, who “grieved with us, prayed with us.”

The life of James Thomas

Son of Ben and Lynn, diagnosed with Potter’s Syn-drome at 22 weeks; lived 36 weeks in the womb and 90 minutes after birth.

James’ mom shared their experence, “At the initial appointment [22 week check up] when we discov-ered the Potter’s Syndrome, the first words from the doctor’s mouth were: ‘If you choose to terminate, you need to do so by the end of the week.’ ” James’ parents were “surprised, angry and hurt by this recommendation.” So much so that, at their request, the ethics board of the hospital has changed their guidelines for doctors, instructing them to present, in a compassionate manner, a full range of options to clients. James’ parents wondered, “Why was this the first option given to us?” The only risk factor for James’ mom was a previous history of pregnancy hypertension unrelated to Potter’s Syndrome. It was treatable and only a concern closer to term when James would be viable outside the womb.

Fortunately family and close friends were very supportive. Yet “lots of other people questioned the decision. No one could give any rationale for terminating, but the gist was ‘why would you want to continue with the pregnancy [considering it an inconvenience] when you know he is going to die anyway?’ ” The response of James’ parents was, “Why not? Why not give him the best chance at life that we could?”

The lives of Elizabeth and Jacob

Children of Scott and Julie, both diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome at around 20 weeks gestation, with different outcomes.

Elizabeth and Jacob’s parents had a significantly different experience with their first child diagnosed with Potter’s syndrome than with their second. Elizabeth and Jacob’s stories are a poignant illustra-tion of the contrast between two different decisions. With Elizabeth, their first child with Potter’s, they followed advice from doctors and other counselors, undergoing “early induction” at 23 weeks. Doctors had avoided the word “termination” so they didn’t realize the implications—until later—nor the deep regret that came with “early induction” of an essen-tially non-viable baby. Nor would they have chosen that route had they been better informed. When Jacob came along, diagnosed with the same condi-tion, they knew they didn’t have to “induce early.” This time, “we were more at peace because we had given him every chance to live.” Monitoring vital signs closely, they carried Jacob as close to term as possible, birthing him at 37 weeks after discovering he passed away in the womb. Their only living child was almost 3 as they said their goodbyes to Jacob at the birth. With both Elizabeth and Jacob, pictures from the day of birth are precious memories, even though the children had not survived. A deeper regret lingers, however, with regard to the short time leading up to Elizabeth’s last day of life: “We feel like we weren’t given time with Elizabeth like we were with Jacob between diagnosis and birth. With Elizabeth we had a week and a half to make a decision and prepare. That wasn’t enough time and made everything harder after.” They had hoped for a live birth with both children, even if the time with them alive would be limited. In both cases it was not as they had hoped, but with Jacob they were grateful for those extra 14 weeks they had with him alive in the womb. “Doctors are afraid of giving false hope,” they added, “but parents need hope. The hopes are not naive; they give parents the opportunity to try to do something to help their child.”

Safeguarding Women’s Health and Applying Moral Principles

The short lives of the children introduced in this brochure deeply touched their families, calling them to love. All of these families experienced many blessings from choosing to carry their babies to term. They were fortunate to have access to information beyond the limited options given at the hospital, and to have ample support for their decisions from friends and family. These life-lim-iting prenatal conditions primarily affect the babies, not posing serious risk to the mother.

The hypertension that doctors feared for James’ mom didn’t result from Potter’s Syndrome; she also developed it during other pregnancies. Joseph’s mom had concerns about polyhydramnios (swelling from excess amniotic fluid) but the primary concern with that (besides discomfort) is early labor or stillbirth, which again concerns the baby, not the mom. Elizabeth and Jacob’s mom did not experience complications, but was told infection could follow if the baby died in the womb. All of these complications are manageable; none are life threatening or permanently damaging to the mother. In cases such as these, some try to use the princi-ple of double effect to justify actions that end the baby’s life. But double effect can only be invoked when the primary intended effect is not morally wrong. The intended effect of “early induction” (or “termination”) is to shorten the pregnancy by birthing a non-viable child. It may be a well-mean-ing attempt to minimize the parents’ grief, but it actually does nothing to take away the pain of infant loss. Early induction does directly result in the baby dying earlier rather than later and this is the primary intended effect of the procedure, not merely an unfortunate secondary result.1 In this case, “early induction” is not the only conceivable means of relieving grief, and is mostly ineffective. In fact, there is ample evidence that abortion often causes additional emotional complications, both from the grief of loss and from disrupted hormonal balance.2 The drastic hormonal shifts have also been shown to cause dramatically increased risk for disease, notably breast cancer.3 In addition, there is evidence that termination of pregnancy (abortion) can have a traumatic effect on those involved, including medical personnel who participate or witness the event.4 In any case, what if the diagnosis was wrong, which has been known to happen?

Why Couldn’t We…?

It’s natural for parents to ask if there is anything they can do to help their child survive as long as possible. With anencephaly and Potter’s Syndrome, possibilities are extremely limited because vital organs are severely affected. Unfortunately, possibil-ities are further limited by the hopeless practice of early induction. Since Potter’s Syndrome involves inadequate amniotic fluid, most parents ask the obvious question: “Can’t we try to inject synthetic amniotic fluid into the womb as needed?” Parents are told, “No.” Yet in 2013, a US Congresswoman, Jamie Herrera Beutler, and her husband wouldn’t take no for an answer. They found a team of doctors willing to try the injections. Their daughter Abigail became the first known survivor of Potter’s Syndrome, receiving a standing ovation on the House floor a year after her birth. Abigail’s dad, Daniel, said in a Today Show interview, “There are no guaranteed solutions…for [Potter’s Syndrome], but don’t be satisfied with one opinion because there are a lot of intelligent doctors with different perspectives and experiences and opinions, so work to find one who will partner with you to find anything possible.”5

Citations

1. Principle of Double Effect, download at Catholics United for the Faith: www.cuf.org/FileDownloads/doubleeffect.pdf

2. Afterabortion.org lists physiological effects of abortion.

3. The Breast Cancer Prevention Inst. (bcpinstitute.org) presents the physiological explanation and statistical correlation of abortion to breast cancer.

4. Many former abortion providers share their stories at ProLifeAction.org/providers and ATTWN.org (And Then There Were None.)

5. Steven Ertelt, “Congresswoman’s Miracle Baby Still Doing Well After Doctors Said She’d Die,” LifeNews.com, September 6, 2013.

Text by Anne Schmiesing Right to Life—Shelby County, OH

This brochure is not intended as a resource for medical information about the conditions mentioned. Note that although Down Syndrome is included in the list (as Trisomy 21), children with Down Syndrome have a much higher chance of survival than children with the other conditions named in this brochure. The life expectancy for all of these prenatal conditions increases with advances in medical knowledge and technology.

Information for stories was collected from personal interviews and with permission from a blog about Joseph. More information from the interviews is available at ShelbyCountyRTL.org. For additional stories and resources, see PrenatalPartnersForLife.org and SufficientGraceMinistries.org.

The book, I Will Carry You by Angie Smith chronicles the creative ways one family found to spend time with their child in her short life. This is a helpful resource for families faced with a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis.

Benjamin Hartings, father of James Thomas, has written a book about his experience. Return to the Altar: A Sacred Journey through Grief and Joy is the story of a family’s loss, a death of a son, and how it transformed their view of the world. What brought the family back to the Altar was not an experience that was expected, but one that was accepted as God’s plan.

Doctors Said He Was “Incompatible With Life” But He Just Turned Two and Said “Mommy”

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/10/28/doctors-said-he-was-incompatible-with-life-but-he-just-turned-two-and-said-mommy/

With all of the depressing news about abortion and the shocking things the Planned Parenthood abortion business does to sell aborted babies and their body parts, there’s a palpable need for good news that is uplifting.
Today, a British newspaper is reporting on a little boy who doctors said was “incompatible with life.” Because his courageous mother didn’t give up on him when doctors said he would die immediately after birth, little Aaron just turned two and said “Mommy” for the first time.

When she was pregnant, 24-year-old Emma Murray heard from doctors about her son’s condition. Aaron was diagnosed with rare health disorder called holoprosencephaly and he was born with a brain stem so can move and breathe but not a full brain. Physicians told Murrary Aaron could die in minutes and helped arrange a baptism for him.

Now, two years later, Aaron has amazed doctors – and has spoken his first word. Aaron is not only alive but enjoys giggling and clapping his hands with his big brother, Jack, aged three.

As the London Daily Mail reports:

Emma said: ‘When Aaron was first born, I was told there was no way he could survive. I was told he might live for three minutes, three hours or three days.

‘The doctors told me if it had been any of his other organs which had failed to grow, they would have been able to do something but they couldn’t grow him another brain.

‘But right from the very beginning, Aaron proved he is a real fighter.

‘And I was saying “mummy” to him recently and clapping my hands and he was giggling away.

‘He looked at me, and said “mummy”. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been told my son would only live for a few minutes, but now here he was saying ‘mummy’ which is something I never thought I would ever hear.’

That good news is a stark contrast to what happened after he was born.

Emma said: ‘I was absolutely heartbroken. He was hooked up to every machine and had a hat over his head so we couldn’t see the size of it. I just sat by his cot rubbing his little hand. I was in total shock.

‘Everything had happened so fast – I didn’t even know I was pregnant, I’d given birth and been told my baby was going to die all in the same 24 hours.’

Hospital staff helped Emma organise a baptism for her son, but within hours, Aaron’s condition started to improve and they realised he could even breathe unaided.

Emma said: ‘For the first few days of Aaron’s life, it felt like everyone was just waiting for something bad to happen but Aaron had other ideas.
Thankfully, Emma and her little boy are moving forward and focusing on embracing life a day at a time.

She said: ‘Some days, we take one step forward and two steps back – but since he turned one, we have been taking more steps forward than back.’

And the most emotional moment came just six weeks ago when Aaron amazed Emma by saying ‘mummy’ for the first time.

She said: ‘I was just playing with him in my front room. He was lying on his back on the carpet and I was leaning over him clapping my hands, and saying “mummy” to him over and over, really drawing out the sounds.

‘He was giggling, and then he said “mummy”. He had literally copied what I was saying. I just stared at him in shock, and then I just burst into tears. It was such an emotional moment.

 

The Government is Paying for 10 Year Olds to Get Implanted Birth Control?!?!

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bristolpalin/2015/10/the-government-is-paying-for-10-year-olds-to-get-implanted-birth-control/

Why CMP Undercover Journalist David Daleiden Saw the Face of Evil in a Late-term Abortionist

By Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue, October 16, 2015

David Daleiden is the Director of the Center for Medical Progress, an organization that was known only to a handful of people prior to July 14, 2015, when he released the first of 10 summary videos that were part of his jaw-dropping 30-month undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood’s participation in the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts that has dramatically changed the abortion debate in America.

Recently, David was interviewed on camera by The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, who posted a fascinating clip from that interview. In that clip, Beck asks David about whether he ever realized the powerful evil that with which he had embedded himself.

“At some point, you guys had to have walked out of those [meetings] just shaking and thinking, A: ‘I can’t believe the evil I just faced,’ and B: people die for stuff like this. I mean, we’re going up against evil, and very powerful evil. Did that ever hit you while you were doing these things?”

David then related his encounter with late-term abortionist Shelley Sella, an abortionist conducting the latest of abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy who currently works at Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time of David’s encounter with her, she was a contract abortion provider with Planned Parenthood in Concord, California.

 

David described a meeting where he was laughing and joking with Sella after a showing of the independent film, “After Tiller.” But for a moment, their eyes locked, and he saw a change come over her.

“All of a sudden, her eyes looked really hard and mean and aggressive, and for the first time during this entire project, I felt really afraid – like an actual fear — fight or flight kind of response,” David related. “I felt very exposed, felt like she knew everything about me.”

But then her face changed again and she was back to laughing and joking with him.

“I talked to several people about that afterwards, and some people have kind of a spiritual interpretation of that event and there’s a more subtle interpretation. But on some level, we feel like that was the predator — the predator look or the predator instinct that you see in someone who is accustomed to killing people. This is a late-term abortion doctor who has terminated many, many, many big babies over the years,” Daleiden told Glenn Beck, who sat enthralled by the power of the moment.

Spiritual battle

I completely understood. For me, it was a real “Lord of the Rings” moment. I could imagine David as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo laid bare before the all-searching Eye, with only the thinnest of veils keeping him from being discovered by the wicked Sauron, who was bent on the destruction of man-kind.

My faith informs me that there is a spiritual battle that interacts with our realm of reality, where angels and demons continuously fight for supremacy until the Final Day. Had David caught a glimpse of a demonic force that somehow sensed something about him for a brief moment in a similar way that Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths sensed the presence of Frodo, the Ring Bearer?

I am very familiar with this particular abortionist since she was one of three that were employed by the infamous George Tiller at his late-term abortion mill in Wichita, Kansas, who has aborted hundreds, if not thousands, of babies in the late second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

While my relationship with Sella has been more adversarial than David’s over the years, I have felt that same sense of evil, especially one day in June, 2008, when a licensed practical nurse walked into our office and unburdened her heart about her experiences working at Tiller’s abortion clinic. A story she related to us about Sella was one of those surreal moments when the evil hits home.

35-week born alive baby

Tina David was a slender older woman with short-cropped blonde hair who had worked assisting Tiller’s abortionists with the very late-term abortions for which he was so famous. But the work tormented her. She found it difficult to sleep at night. She began losing a dangerous amount of weight and ground her teeth down to the point that she required extensive dental work to correct.

Tina and I sat down in Troy Newman’s office with a digital audio recorder running. As Troy began to question her, Tina began to open up.

One day, she said, she was assisting Sella with the abortion of a 35-week baby.

“Well, my job was to hold the [woman’s] leg and count the parts, if it was in pieces,” she said. “And this was, um, maybe 35 weeks?”

“That’s a pretty big baby!” I responded.

“It was a big baby,” she affirmed. “And the baby came out and it was moving. I don’t know if it was alive or if it was nerves? I have no clue. But Dr. Sella looked up right away at me and took a utensil and stabbed it right here and twisted. And then it didn’t move anymore.”

Tina pointed to her right-side, just under the rib cage to show where there baby was stabbed.

It’s shocking to hear someone describing a murder. It’s almost like you can’t believe what you are hearing and it takes a few moments for the reality to sink in. There was no reason to doubt her story. We were also able to verify other information she gave us, giving her account of this baby’s death even more credibility.

When a 35-week baby comes out moving, that isn’t an abortion. It’s a live birth. I consulted an attorney friend of mine in California, and was advised that Troy and I had an obligation to report the matter to local law enforcement.

We turned over the raw, unedited audio file to the police. Detectives with the Wichita Police Department immediately picked up Tina and questioned her.

As much as David Daleiden reminded me of the Ring bearer, Frodo, Tina reminded me of another Tolkien character, a creature with a double-personality who was nearly consumed by darkness as Gollum, but in which there remained a nagging shred of conscience that manifested infrequently as Smeagol.

It was her “Smeagol” persona who shared with us in Troy’s office, but it was the “Gollum” part of her that was interviewed by police. Tina squirmed under questioning and recanted her ever-changing story, telling police she didn’t want to get involved. She sought to save herself from any implication in that cold-blooded murder.

There wasn’t much the police could do. Tina was an unreliable witness. The physical evidence held in the remains of the nearly full-term murder victim had been destroyed in the industrial crematorium that Tiller had installed in his clinic many years before.

Still unaccountable

I have often thought that if Pennsylvania’s late-term abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of first degree murder for stabbing babies born alive at his “House of Horrors” abortion mill, had owned such an incinerator, he would still be on his serial-killing spree today. It was the bodies of his victims that testified against him every bit as much as the witnesses that took the stand.

Unfortunately, Sella was never held accountable. Just months after the stabbing incident, Sella cancelled her Kansas medical license and relocated her late-term abortion practice to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where there are no laws to restrict abortion even until the day of a baby’s expected birth.

I continued to work with pro-life activists Tara and Bud Shaver, who once served as interns at our Wichita headquarters. Tara had obtained a number of 911 calls originating from Southwest Women’s Options.

One stood about above the others.

On May 12, 2011, a 911 call was placed by an employee of Southwest Women’s Options seeking emergency transport for a late-term abortion patient.

“The doctor’s concerned that we have a uterine rupture during a late-term abortion procedure. A patient with a previous C-Section. The patient’s stable at the moment, but. . .” the caller’s voice trailed off.

Documents revealed that Sella had indeed ruptured the uterus of a 26-year old patient who was 35 weeks pregnant – the same age of gestation as the baby that Sella stabbed in Wichita five years earlier — and that the clinic was ill-equipped to handle the life-threatening medical emergencies that can and do take place during risky late-term abortions.

Tara and I both filed complaints against Sella with the New Mexico Medical Board, which initially charged her with four counts of gross negligence. Medical boards rarely bring such charges if they are not positive they can prove the malfeasance. I had though we finally had Sella. She may have gotten away with that baby’s murder in Wichita, but she would not get away this time.

But unfortunately, the New Mexico Medical Board voted to absolve Sella, buying her specious argument that obstetrical standards of patient care should not be applied to late-term abortions, and that a much lower standard should be acceptable.

Today, Sella continues to conduct the latest of abortions in Albuquerque and has become famous as one of the most experienced late-term abortionists in America. According to a consent form obtained by the Shavers, the remains of babies aborted at Southwestern Women’s Options, are automatically used in research. Since the “consent” for research is buried in the same consent form for the abortion, it is doubtful many women even realize their babies are being turned into fodder for laboratory experimentation.

Changing times

Now, thanks to David Daleiden’s brave undercover journalistic study, a new day has dawned in American’s abortion wars where the public is finally confronted with the evil of child-killing in a way that has never been done before – in a way that could finally, eventually, lead to an end of the evil of abortion.

As Gandalf, another of Tolkien’s amazing characters, once said, “Dawn is ever the hope of man.”

Ignoring a Breast Cancer Link

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign that began in 1991 to raise awareness about this disease. Although the campaign promotes regular self-breast exams, doctor visits, annual mammograms, and provides data on recurrence, preventable risk factors for breast cancer are not emphasized.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk factors for breast cancer include: older age, genetic abnormalities, hormonal therapy, radiation therapy to the chest, alcohol and obesity. Although it has been demonstrated that hormonal contraceptive use increases breast cancer risk, this risk factor is virtually ignored during the campaign.

Synthetic estrogen was classified by the World Health Organization in 2005 as “Group 1 carcinogen”. Hormonal contraceptives contain synthetic estrogen and increase the risk of not only breast cancer, but also liver and cervical cancer. According to a meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic journal, women who have used hormonal contraceptives for four years before first full-term pregnancy, have an increase of 52% in breast cancer risk.

Another study  funded by the National Institutes of Health found that the use of oral contraceptives for one year or more was associated with a 4.2-fold increased risk of triple-negative breast cancer for women 40 and under.

Another preventable risk factor that is not mentioned in the breast cancer awareness campaign is that due to induced abortion. Recent studies published in India and Bangladesh; report that induced abortion increases the risk of breast cancer 6-20 times in these populations. Although 53 studies (out of 73 worldwide) confirm the association between breast cancer and induced abortion, medical and government organizations continue to claim otherwise.

It is known that induced abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy alters the maturation of cells in the breast, which may trigger the development of cancer cells. Full term birth and lactation, mature breast cells and help to protect women from breast cancer.

How common is the problem of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In the U.S, 1 in 8 women have the chance of developing this cancer. According to statistics reported by the CDC, 211,731 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States during 2011. Of those women 40,676 women died from this cancer resulting in one death for every five cases diagnosed. In some countries, this cancer survival ratio is lower. For example in India, 115,000 new cases of breast cancer were reported along with 53,000 deaths from this cause in 2008. In this case, there was one death for two newly-diagnosed cases.

Can breast cancer be prevented?

There are some breast cancer risk factors that you cannot modify such as age, being a female and the genetic predisposition. Some lifestyle changes could reduce the breast cancer risk. Regular exercise, healthy diet, and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, and radiation therapy on the chest may reduce the risk of the disease.

Another important measure to decrease the breast cancer risk is to avoid the use of potent steroids in hormonal birth control and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Natural family planning is a safe, healthy, and effective way to plan your family. Having children, and breastfeeding them offer an additional protection against breast cancer. There are alternatives to HRT such as bio-identical hormones and natural therapies. For single women, abstinence is the only way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortion.

One More Soul joins Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign to educate women and girls about the link between hormonal contraception, abortion and breast cancer. Visit our online store to see the wonderful resources we have on this subject. Please consider ordering some of our brochures and books for yourself or to share with your family, doctors, and friends about these preventable risk factors for a disease that is becoming epidemic.

One More Soul Resources:

KBCLm

Breast Cancer, Abortion and the Pill booklet presents the summary, conclusions, and recommendations from Chapter 17 of Dr. Kahlenborn’s book Breast Cancer, Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill. This is a great resource for explaining just how dangerous abortion and contraceptive pills are.

This pamphlet presents information from the book Breast Cancer, It’s Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, in a short and highly persuasive format. From the time it was first published we have received letters and phone calls about babies saved from abortion when their mothers read this pamphlet and the number continues to grow. Praise God!!. – See more at: https://onemoresoul.com/catalog/breast-cancer-risk-from-abortion-p321.html
BBCL
Based on six years of study and a meticulous analysis of hundreds of scientific papers and other sources, Dr. Chris Kahlenborn documents the effect that abortion and hormonal contraception have on breast cancer, as well as uterine, cervical, liver, and other cancers, and even the transmission of AIDS! Hormonal contraceptive use before first full term pregnancy is found to increase risk of breast cancer by at least 40%. The book gives special attention to black women, to various populations of the world, and to effective steps for prevention. This is a very timely and powerful work. –
Revised and updated. How the Pill increases the risk of breast cancer, and effective strategies for prevention. Women who take contraceptive pills before their first full pregnancy are 44% more likely to develop breast cancer before menopause. This is a real eye opener for people who thought the Pill was harmless. – See more at: https://onemoresoul.com/catalog/the-pill-and-breast-cancer-p711.html

Large families are happiest, Australian study shows

http://www.mercatornet.com

BY CAROLYN MOYNIHAN

Here’s something we missed in August: large families are the happiest, according to an Australian study.

Dr Bronwyn Harman of Edith Cowan University spent five years interviewing hundreds of parents from a range of family set-ups to ascertain what life is like for different families, and how resilience, social support and self-esteem contribute to parents’ happiness.

Parents with four or more children were the most satisfied with their lot, enjoying, rather than feeling overwhelmed by, the chaos of a big family.

Although they said they have to deal with comments such as “are they all yours?” or “do they all have the same father?”, large families benefit from lots of support from each other, and are rarely bored. Children learn responsibility from an early age, and older ones help out with their younger siblings.

“[The parents] usually say they always wanted a large family, it was planned that way, and it was a lifestyle they’d chosen,” Dr Harman said.

The study found that same-sex parents were the next happiest, and that single dads were the least happy, which is not surprising, given that they are usually separated from their children.

Dr Harman talked about her findings to the Sydney Morning Herald, but it appears that the details of the study have not yet been published. It will be interesting to read more about it in due course.

A black mark for the SMH, though, which ran a tasteless, not to say offensive cartoon with their report. Evidently  the results were not to the editor’s liking.

Pope leads prayer vigil ahead of Synod

St. John Paul II, Our Lady of Medjugorje and Three Babies

http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/

By June Klins

In 1999, my son and I were blessed to have traveled to Medjugorje and then to Rome. When we went to the Wednesday audience with Pope John Paul II, I took some of the religious items I had bought in Medjugorje so that they could be blessed by the Pope. Of course I did not know at the time that in less than fifteen years, he would be canonized a saint, but I did think the medals of Our Lady of Medjugorje, blessed by Pope John Paul II, were special.
Over the years, I was pretty selective of the recipients of these special medals, so in April of 2014, when Pope John Paul II was canonized, I still had some left. I decided that I would give each of the members of our mailing staff a medal to thank them for their long hours of dedication each month. They thought it was so special to have a medal blessed by a saint!
One of our helpers, Diane, has a niece, Theresa, who wanted to have a child, but had been told she would never be able to conceive a baby, due to scar tissue left by a serious disease and its treatment. The doctors gave Theresa and her husband, Brett, the options of in vitro fertilization or adoption. Just like many Catholics, Theresa and Brett were not aware of the teachings of the Catholic Church on in vitro (usccb.org/upload/lifegiving-love-age-technology-2009.pdf), so they chose that option. Twenty-one weeks later, in March of 2014, Theresa miscarried two girls and a boy. Theresa herself almost died at the time, due to an infection. Diane wrote, “They were devastated! There really are no words to console a couple who has gone through so much. Prayer is all that really got us through.”

Carter

      Diane gave Theresa her medal blessed by St. John Paul II, on May 30, with the following instructions: “I am lending you this blessed medal of Our Lady of Medjugorje, and you are to return it to me at the Baptism of your baby next year.”
Diane said, “These words were Spirit-driven – they were not the words I had in mind. All I wanted to do was to give her something to just make her feel a little better and give her a little hope.”
Diane was so excited a few months later when she told me that Our Lady and St. John Paul II had interceded and Theresa had conceived naturally! Diane related, “The doctor told her this is a high-risk pregnancy and they would do everything possible to get her to at least 24 weeks gestation. Then the baby would have a chance of survival.” She later added, “When 24 weeks came, they gave her steroid injections to help the baby’s lungs develop. The baby was doing well and so was Theresa. 28 weeks came and the doctor said, ‘Any day now.’ Theresa and the baby were showing some signs of early stress. 32 weeks came and the pregnancy continued. Because of losing the triplets less than a year ago, the doctor was sure Theresa wouldn’t be able to carry this baby longer than 36 weeks. But she did! At 39 weeks gestation, the doctor told her he would induce labor on his scheduled day for deliveries.”

Joseph

      Carter was born on March 25, 2015. Diane was ecstatic that he was born on the feast of the Annunciation. She exclaimed, “This was confirmation from Mary that Carter is a gift from the Lord by Her intercession and that of St. John Paul II, who had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and interceded many times on behalf of couples who were not able to conceive and have children on their own.”
Another member of our mailing crew, Kathy, gave her special medal to her daughter, Ashley. In January of 2014, Ashley had had an ectopic pregnancy. Ashley wrote, “After having the ectopic, we had to postpone attempting pregnancy for a while, in order to heal and have testing done. We were then devastated to find that I had lost a tube, due to damage from the ectopic. The doctors scheduled surgery, but gave me one more month to try.”
Around the same time that Kathy gave Ashley the medal, one of Ashley’s friends, who had just returned from Medjugorje, gave her a prayer cloth that she brought back. Ashley slept with the prayer cloth on her lower belly/ pelvis area. Ashley said, “I used the medal and cloth, then found out I was pregnant the week before I was scheduled for surgery!” Joseph Daniel was born during the Easter Octave, on April 7, 2015. “We feel so blessed,” Ashley beamed.

Maggie

      In the meantime, I had been in touch with my cousin, Mary Jo, whose daughter-in-law had had multiple miscarriages since their first child was born seven years ago. Jenn and her husband, Chris, longed to have a second child. Whenever Jenn would get pregnant, Mary Jo would call me for prayers. But, it didn’t seem long before Mary Jo would be telling me that Jenn had miscarried again.
In August of 2014, my aunt, who is Mary Jo’s mother, told me that Chris and Jenn had decided to adopt. I wrote to Mary Jo and told her that was wonderful that they had decided to adopt, but I also shared that I had just read in the book, Saint John Paul the Great – His Five Loves by Jason Evert, that “one of the most common themes of the letters [regarding the intercession of St. John Paul II] is thanksgiving from couples who were previously unable to have children.” I offered her the last available medal I had, to give to Jenn.
About a month or so later, Mary Jo called me to say that Jenn was pregnant again. Mary Jo called me a couple of months later and told me that Jenn had made it through the risky time when she usually lost the babies, and wore the medal to her first sonogram. Mary Jo kept me updated as the pregnancy advanced.
Jenn was scheduled for a C-section on June 3, but God had other plans. Margaret (called Maggie) was born on May 31, 2015, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. But, May 31 is a Marian feast when it does not fall on a Sunday – the feast of the Visitation – when Mary went to visit her cousin who had had trouble conceiving! What an awesome day to be born!

     “Today I call you to place more blessed objects in your homes and that everyone put some blessed objects on their person” (Our Lady, July 18, 1985).
We thank Our Lady of Medjugorje and St. John Paul II for their intercession for these three beautiful babies.

Five Reasons the Pope’s Visit Helps the Pro-Life Cause

Posted By Father Frank Pavone on Sep 30, 2015

Pope Francis has completed his visit to the United States. He came as a pastor for the whole church and a prophet for the whole world, and therefore his message and his ministry are far reaching, embracing a wide variety of needs and issues confronting the human family. Here I want to comment on the impact of his visit on one of those needs and issues which is at the foundation of all the rest.

How did the Pope’s visit help this greatest human rights cause of all time?

1. The Pope encouraged families, which are the sanctuaries of life.
The original purpose and reason for the Holy Father’s visit was to be part of the World Meeting of Families, an event sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family every three years. Having worked for the Pontifical Council for the Family, I helped to organize the Second World Meeting of Families in Rio back in 1997. The vision for these meetings, initiated by Pope Saint John Paul II, embraces and extols the interrelated themes of family and life. The family, by definition, is “the sanctuary of life.”

This was reflected in the theme of this year’s World Meeting of Families: Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. As the Pro-life Symposium which Priests for Life sponsored as part of the World Meeting emphasized, the family cannot be fully alive unless all its members are protected.

The affirmation of life, therefore, is integral to understanding the very reason the Pope came.
One of many babies kissed by Pope Francis on his trip to the United States.

One of many babies kissed by Pope Francis on his trip to the United States.

2. The Pope’s words announced the foundation of the pro-life message.
When Pope Francis speaks about the pro-life cause and the issue of abortion, he does so in a way that emphasizes how it is integrally connected with every other issue of human rights. He speaks to the foundation, both of human rights and of the Faith, so that nobody can come away with the impression that the church’s opposition to abortion is simply a temporary, changeable, or accidental appendage to her life, teachings, and mission.

Consider his words at the White House that we must build a society that is that is “truly tolerant and inclusive to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to reject every form of injustice and discrimination.” A nation that holds the “the word person…does not include the unborn” (Roe vs. Wade) has ceased to be tolerant and inclusive and has embraced instead a deadly form of injustice and discrimination against its youngest children.

Again at the United Nations, the Pope warned against “a relentless process of exclusion.”
150926-pope-philadelphia-child-mn-1115_db03287935dba90190790162ee9607ed.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

Pope Francis kisses Michael Keating.pope and Michael

3. The Pope again displayed the spirituality of being with the vulnerable.
Pope Francis showed once again his desire to be with those who are disadvantaged in various ways, as he went out of his way to embrace the disabled boy at the airport, and visited an inner city school and a correctional facility. This conveys a spirituality and approach that strengthens the pro-life cause, which maintains that abortion is not an abstract issue, but involves real people who suffer physically, and with whom we are called to be present in their need. Our presence at abortion facilities, where these children are carried to their death, is an expression of this very same spirituality.

4. The Pope told the bishops not to be silent.

Few concerns within the pro-life cause are expressed more frequently than the need for leadership among the clergy. To the U.S. bishops gathered in Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, the Pope listed, again, a wide range of victims, including “the innocent victim of abortion,” and declared, “It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent.”

5. The Pope rejected the narrow territorialism that so often interferes with pro-life work in the Church.

In his final homily in Philadelphia, the Pope said,
Kristin Keating cries as Pope Francis blesses her son, Michael Keating, who has Cerebral palsy, upon the pontiff’s arrival at Philadelphia International Airport.

Kristin Keating, mother of Michael Keating, her son with cerebral palsy.

“Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Here is the surprise: Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! . . . The temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected . . . Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!” To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not “part of our group,” who are not “like us,” is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!”

So many initiatives in the pro-life cause are stifled due to precisely this narrowness, to turf wars, and to the temptation within the institutional Church to think we are self-sufficient and do not need “outside groups.”

May the example, teaching, and spirit of Pope Francis continue to bless America and the pro-life cause!

Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!”

‘Family is factory of hope’ agrees mom of 5

http://chnonline.org/news

Editor’s note: Gina and Joseph Loehr were part of a panel presentation, “How Precious is the Family: Advice from Pope Francis on How to Love,” at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on Sept. 25.

“It was like Catholic Disneyland.”

That’s how my friend, Rachel Bond, described the exhibitor plaza at the World Meeting of Families which she attended with her husband and two young daughters.

Nearly 500 Catholic organizations, ministries, companies and communities set up booths at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Some 20,000 attendees visited these vendors between the densely packed schedule of Masses, keynote addresses and breakout sessions – close to 100 talks in the course of four days.

It was a whirlwind week of Catholic formation and celebration that culminated in the visit of Pope Francis to the Festival of Families Saturday night.

My husband, Joe, and I missed out on most of this. With a delayed flight that didn’t get in until Thursday night, our panel presentation during the final Congress session on Friday morning, and our flight home Saturday afternoon, we were only able to attend one talk.

We didn’t even get to step into the exhibitor plaza, which the Secret Service suddenly shut down just before we arrived, nearly 24 hours ahead of schedule.

We did get our World Meeting of Families “pilgrim packs,” complete with program booklet, hat, poncho, water bottle and a ton of advertisements and brochures. We also went through a lot of security measures as we moved among hotel, meeting spaces and the city center.

We even got to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father from about 30 yards away when he arrived at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Saturday morning. However, we missed the chance to participate in most of the week’s events.

But that didn’t seem to matter.

Just being there amid thousands of Catholic pilgrims, just experiencing the jubilant and faith-filled atmosphere, just witnessing the coming and going of so many families from so many places was worth as much as hearing any inspiring talk or participating in any special activity.

We were among friends – strangers, yes, but also friends. There was a spirit of fraternity and camaraderie among people that was like a little foretaste of heaven. Here we were together, the church universal, with all of our diversity beautifully melding into a true unity.

As the parents of five young children, Joe and I sometimes feel a bit countercultural. When I’m out and about with the kids, people are forever making wry comments about how I have my “hands full.” (“Full hands, full heart,” I like to reply.)
But in this crowd, nobody was astonished or exasperated by the sight of multiple siblings being together. On the contrary, even though not all the families present were “big,” even though many attendees were priests or nuns or interested adults on their own, the love and appreciation everyone had for the gift of family life was tangible.

Simply put, it was encouraging to be in Philadelphia. It was refreshing to be in the company of tens of thousands of people who agree with Pope Francis’ comments Saturday night that “the family is a factory of hope,” and that children “are the future, the strength that moves us forward.”

Perhaps the best part of the trip was coming home. The time we spent in the presence of our global Catholic family helped me to appreciate our little domestic family

Here in our home, we have the privilege of living out the noble mission of Catholic family life.

“How precious is the family,” says Pope Francis.

Indeed, being part of a family is one of the greatest blessings that God the Father gives to us, his beloved children.

(Joseph and Gina Loehr, parents of five children, are members of Shepherd of the Hills Parish, Eden. Joseph is partner-owner of Loehr Dairy, LLC, a 700-acre dairy farm that has been in his family for 130 years and Gina is an instructor of theology at Marian University of Wisconsin. A freelance author and speaker on topics including marriage, women’s issues, and spirituality, she has also served as a delegate for the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s recent study seminar during which she met Pope Francis.)

Religious-Freedom Message: Pope Makes Surprise Stop at Little Sisters of the Poor

‘This is a sign, obviously, of support’ for the nuns’ HHS mandate court case, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi affirmed at an evening press conference.

09/23/2015 
Courtesy Little Sisters of the Poor

Pope Francis converses Sept. 23 with Sister Marie Mathilde, a 102-year-old member of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s community in Washington.

– Courtesy Little Sisters of the Poor

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis paid a short visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor community in Washington on Wednesday to support them in their court case over the contraception mandate, the Vatican’s spokesman revealed.

It was a “short visit that was not in the program,” Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said at an evening press conference during the papal visit to the nation’s capital.

“This is a sign, obviously, of support for them” in their court case, he affirmed.

The sisters had filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for its 2012 mandate that employers provide insurance coverage for birth control, sterilizations and drugs that can cause abortions employee health plans. The sisters have maintained that to provide this coverage would violate their religious beliefs.

After the Obama administration modified the rules as an “accommodation” for objecting organizations, the sisters held that even under the revised rules they would have to violate their consciences.

The majority of a three-judge panel for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the Little Sisters of the Poor did not establish that the mandate was a “substantial burden” on their free exercise of religion, and thus ruled they still had to abide by the mandate.

“The Holy Father spoke to each of us individually, from the youngest postulant to our centenarian, and then he spoke to all of us about the importance of our ministry to the elderly,” Sister Constance Veit, communications director for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said following the visit. “We were deeply moved by his encouraging words.”

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters of the Poor in their court challenge against the mandate, said in a email statement, “Today, after Mass at the basilica, the Pope made an unscheduled visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor, where he spoke to each of the sisters privately and encouraged them in their vocation to serve the elderly and the poor. Earlier in the day, at the White House, the Pope expressed his support for religious liberty when he stated: [We] all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

 

‘An Important Meaning’

The papal visit was not on the official schedule for Pope Francis’ Washington visit, which included Wednesday visits to the White House, a midday prayer service with the U.S. bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and the canonization Mass for St. Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

It was a “little addition to the program, but I think it has an important meaning,” Father Lombardi said.

He added that the visit “is connected” to “the words that the Pope has said in support of the position of the bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama and also in the speech to the bishops.”

Pope Francis, with President Obama at the White House, called religious freedom “one of America’s most precious possessions” and hearkened to the U.S. bishops’ defense of religious freedom. “All are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” he had said.

In response to the news of the visit with the sisters, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, said that he was “so pleased” to hear of the visit.

“As you know, the last thing the Little Sisters of the Poor want to do is sue somebody. They don’t want to sue in court,” he insisted. “They simply want to serve people who are poor and elderly, and they want to do it in a way that doesn’t conflict with their beliefs.”

The archbishop had previously warned against “interpreting freedom of religion in a very narrow way” in the press conference and emphasized that religion is not something practiced just for an hour on Sunday, but something lived out. To prove his point, he used the Little Sisters as an example.

Added Archbishop Kurtz, “We need to make room within our nation for people who have deeply held religious beliefs not to be forced to do that.”

Register staff contributed to this report.

Pope held sick baby, what happened next is amazing

PHOENIX — “The Pope healed our baby’s heart.”

Lynn Cassidy has no other words to explain what happened to her 3-month-old daughter Ave. Ave was born with Down syndrome, eye problems and hearing complications. Most concerning were the two holes in her heart.

“It seems like it was really meant to happen,” Lynn said. “And it’s as close to a miracle as we’ll ever see, I’m sure.”

In Easter of 2014, the family planned a Rome trip to see Pope Francis in person during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII.

“It was raining,” Lynn said. “We were told that if we stood on a barricade in St. Peter’s Square, the metal fences in front, the Pope would come by in his ‘Pope’-mobile.”

The Cassidy family waited for hours at the barricade. When the motorcade turned into the square, Lynn’s husband Scott held Ave up in the air.

“It was like the Lion King,” Lynn said. “The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, ‘How old is she? What’s her name?’ He told (the Pope) she has two holes in her heart. When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size.”

This mom was in a coma. Then her newborn baby cried. What happened next was beyond amazing.

CONCORD, North Carolina, September 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Shelly Cawley, a nursing student, and husband Jeremy Cawley, a YMCA director, weren’t trying to get pregnant, but they weren’t trying not to.

When Shelly found out she was pregnant with their first child, she and husband Jeremy were very excited. “Having a child with the person you love is such a big deal,” Shelly said.

The couple planned a natural delivery, and they attended weekly classes on natural childbirth. “We knew what we were going to do,” Shelly explained, but “then, all of the sudden that plan was taken away from me.”

At eight months’ gestation, doctors discovered a blood clot in Shelly’s leg, so they began giving Shelly blood thinners.

Eventually, Shelly’s water broke, and Jeremy took her to the hospital.  But labor did not progress.

Shelly had preeclampsia, a disorder characterized by high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine. Preeclampsia, if untreated, can lead to liver and kidney dysfunction, and fluid in the lungs. Shelly was also diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening condition involving the rupture of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and a low platelet count.

Doctors told Shelly her baby had to be delivered immediately by emergency C-section.

Going in for an emergency delivery, Shelly had “a premonition.” “I was telling the doctors that I was scared I wasn’t going to wake up,” she said.

She didn’t.

The C-section was successful, and Rylan Grace Cawley was born. But Shelly failed to recover. As Jeremy was holding his newborn daughter, doctors informed him that Shelly’s lungs were filling with fluid and she was having trouble breathing on her own.

Eventually, Shelly fell into a coma. Physicians later discovered that the baby inside her womb had been holding Shelly’s blood clot in place and, when Rylan was delivered, the clot migrated to Shelly’s lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.

Shelly’s blood pressure was 60/40, and her heart rate was over 180 beats a minute. She was hooked up to what doctors called “the last-chance ventilator,” pumping air into her lungs so violently that it rattled her hospital bed, husband Jeremy said.

Doctors were convinced they could only wait and see if Shelly would wake up from the coma. “The doctors had done all they could and it was clear, they absolutely thought they were losing her at this point,” Jeremy said.

That was when the doctors decided to bring the family together. “We didn’t know how she was going to make it,” nurse Ashley Manus told the Washington Post.

The medical staff at Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast use the “skin-to-skin” method to strengthen the mother-baby bond. The physical touch stimulates the newborn’s brain development, stabilizes heart rate, and helps maintain body temperature. Nurse Manus suggested to lay little Rylan on Shelly’s chest. “If that was going to be it for her, we wanted to be able to tell the baby: ‘Your mom held you,'” she reasoned.

“Maybe somewhere in Shelly’s subconscious, she would hear her baby was calling out to her,” Manus said. “We just thought, it can’t hurt, [so we] might as well give it a try.”

Nurses brought little newborn Rylan into Shelly’s room. “I was hoping somewhere deep down, Shelly was still there and could feel her baby, hear her baby and her mother’s instincts would come out,” Manus anticipated.

Jeremy explained that the “hope was that if Shelly could smell the baby, feel the baby, hear the baby – even in the coma – it would give her a reason to fight. They needed her to start to fight.”

They put the newborn on her mother’s chest, but tiny Rylan went right to sleep. “We pinched Rylan and tickled her a little bit so that Shelly would hear her cry,” Jeremy shared.

And then, little Rylan – on her mommy’s chest – cried.

As soon as her baby cried, Shelly’s vitals jumped.

Jeremy said Rylan made the difference in saving her mother’s life. “All the doctors said there’s no way they would have gotten to that point if Shelly hadn’t made it through [that] night,” he said.

Doctors kept Shelly in her coma so that she could get the care she needed, including 21 units of blood, ventilators, and a heart-and-lung bypass machine. As the week-long ordeal continued, Jeremy put Rylan in a t-shirt of Shelly’s, so Rylan could smell her mother. He even learned how to pump his wife’s breast milk. “It was such an emotional and spiritual journey for our family while she was gone,” Jeremy said. “God’s hand was all over everything.”

Finally, Shelly awakened. Jeremy first asked her “if she knew who I was…, if she knew my name – and with the most breathy voice she said my name,” Jeremy Cawley said. “It was just such a huge thing.”

Then, Jeremy brought one-week-old Rylan in to her mother. Shelly “still couldn’t move,” Jeremy explained, “but you could see her eyes – as soon as I brought in Rylan, her eyes locked on Rylan. She just stared at her. And I laid Rylan on her chest.”

As the Washington Post reports, Jeremy brushed the hair from Shelly’s forehead and asked her a question: “Are you happy?”

Shelly nodded yes.

“I’ve got stories to tell you,” he said.

What causes the worst carbon footprint of all? It’s definitely not fossil fuels

September 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — If you still have your children in a public school, you might want to have a talk with your child about the true meaning of “sustainability.”

Or you may want to call your kids who are off at college. Will any of those university courses on their “green” campuses assign students a project to evaluate the carbon footprint of a “gay pride” parade? Or an abortion clinic?

As Obama continues to exalt the climate change agenda above actual global crises, the tragedy is that sexual anarchy will never be objectively measured for its profound contribution to human rights abuses.

You know this word, “sustainable.” The Common Core school framework is full of sacrosanct “sustainable” propaganda, much of it built on the unsustainable quicksand of shifting politics, Marxist economic redistribution schemes, and population control.

But one lesson that’s omitted is the high-risk and low-return of homosexuality, gender-switching and sexual promiscuity. Sexual sin, it turns out, is an unsustainable human activity of the first order.

The reality is, the sexual anarchy movement is unsustainable.

Real humans are damaged and destroyed. Disease, emotional trauma, mutilation, family division, domestic violence and self-harm follow in the wake of “LGBTQetc.” identities and “reproductive rights.” There’s no way to disguise or adequately manage the wreckage left in the wake of these unnatural, life-rejecting behaviors.

And this global movement demands the revocation of freedom, productivity and sustainability for anyone who doesn’t cooperate. Think of the people out of work because of “gay” bullying– Kim Davis (for a few days– and who knows what the future holds?). Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. Craig James. The list is expanding.

Anyone care to estimate the environmental waste of the entire “gay rights” political movement, from lobbying for harmful laws to parent school protests, to unneeded media coverage? The list goes on.

The Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals alarming sexual trends among youth. For instance, nearly 6% of students surveyed reported sex before age 13. Yet also deeply troubling, there is no indication these children were asked the obvious follow-up questions: “Who did you have sex with? What was the age and relationship?” Our sexualized culture surveys kids, then tosses them aside without addressing their actual needs. And we wonder why they begin to exhibit odd, even dangerous behavior?

And sinful sexual conduct is unnecessary, avoidable, and changeable, not healthy for children and other living things and we should be discouraging it in policies and programs.

A recent article in USA Today entitled, “Transgender People Face High Risk of Suicide” describes several gender-confused people who, when faced with taunts and rejection, attempted suicide. Of course, this is especially tragic among youth. But self-harm doesn’t just “happen” to people. While we must diligently teach kindness, a truly sustainable culture would also guide children away from adopting bizarre and self-destructive identities.

Still, your kids are being taught to be global citizens in a collectivist, sexually reckless, “sustainable” world.

Impossible.

What “sustainable” means is something that lasts, that can be maintained over time at a certain positive level. Christianity actually fosters that kind of culture, one we experienced in America until leftist revolutionaries gained positions of authority and began a long-term campaign of human destruction, using the rhetoric of freedom to cover the reality of bondage.

Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a 2010 Sustainability Summit: “A well educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways that endanger the next.”

Then why on earth is the USDOE pushing “transgenderism” on local schools, where kids are sold the idea of mutilating healthy bodies to satisfy a mental delusion?  And why is the USDOE equating the embrace of sodomy as an aspect of school “safety” despite the CDC’s findings that 94% of HIV among American youth under age 24 involves male homosexual sex?

If “LGBT” behaviors were self-evidently glorious, our kids back at school would be happily opening their restrooms, locker rooms and showers to the opposite sex.

Of course, this is the fantasy world of leftist change agents, some of whom are school administrators. Most girls are actually outraged by boys invading their restrooms, and good for them.

AT Hillsboro High School in Missouri, over 150 students protested Lila Perry’s demand to use the girls’ restroom. “Lila” is a guy who angrily told the media “she”[he] thinks their protest is all about bigotry, pure and simple.

No, it’s actually about common sense, pure and simple. Sex masquerades, like boys trying to morph into girls, are not sensible, are impossible and therefore, not sustainable.

There’s also that privacy thing. And that selfishness thing. Being concerned only about your own irrational “rights” is totally unsustainable. Where’s the community, the tolerance? Where’s the embrace of the authentic instead of the phony?

Where is truth? Lies are not sustainable, either.

Human sexual excess consumes vast amounts of energy. And what’s the return? Once we account for the clean-up, the management, the waste, our culture’s current embrace of sexual license is an environmental disaster. The Gulf Oil spill is pond scum in comparison.

Sexually transmitted infections are at epidemic levels among American youth, the “gay” positive, hook-up generation. Only later does the tragic outcome become evident: disfigurement, infertility, sometimes death. Related health costs alone are unsustainable.

Just think about the lost human potential of aborted babies. And infertility means population reduction, less human capital, a less productive society…. waste.

And pornography? It’s the kerosene on this smoldering fire, a hidden public health crisis everyone pretends is not destroying families and children.

Devolution, not evolution.  Regress, not progress. It’s ancient tribalism with Twitter and I-Phones, instead of the careful but rewarding outcome of real, enduring –“sustainable”– relationships.

There’s one other element critical to actual progress, actual sustainability —- doing the will of God.

What has God said about sexuality? It’s reserved for man/woman marriage, and that’s the framework for the most sustainable human relationship of all time.

Linda Harvey is founder and president of Mission America, is a radio talk show host in Ohio and a weekly columnist for WND.com.

Catholic hospital agrees to sterilize women to appease liberals destroying religious freedom

(NaturalNews) In the age of authoritarian political correctness, it has come to the point where even threats of legal action are enough to cause targeted entities to surrender basic beliefs and values, even at the cost of violating centuries-old tradition.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the American Civil Liberties Union has managed to compel a Catholic hospital in California to sterilize a woman with just the threat of a lawsuit, even though such procedures contravene church teachings about the preservation and sanctity of life.

The hospital, Mercy Medical, located in the liberal bastion of San Francisco, is operated as a subsidiary of Dignity Health, California’s largest private health care provider. Rachel Miller, a woman who is scheduled to give birth by C-section in late September, also wanted her doctor to perform a tubal ligation following her birth, a procedure that would render her infertile.

However, Mercy hospital staff initially refused, explaining that as a Catholic institution, such a procedure violates centuries of belief and tradition.

It should also be noted that under the Constitution’s First Amendment protection of religious liberty, the hospital – like most other Catholic hospitals around the country – has a right to act on its beliefs. Catholic dogma teaches that sterilization and other forms of birth control are sinful because they deliberately sabotage the procreative aspect of human sexuality, which is a violation of natural law.

Religious freedom doesn’t apply any more

In addition, the hospital’s policies reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings; doctors there are not permitted to perform abortions and do not engage in in vitro fertilization.

None of this mattered to Miller or the ACLU, which is supposedly a legal organization that supports constitutional rights.

Miller says that without Mercy’s authorization for the sterilization procedure, she would be forced to travel 160 miles in order to get it. Instead, she sought the ACLU’s intervention; in a letter to the hospital, ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill argued that denying Miller’s procedure was a violation of California law (sex discrimination) and as such, the organization was prepared to file a lawsuit against Mercy for refusing to provide “pregnancy-related care.”

It should be noted that in most cases, women (and men) opt for sterilization procedures after the birth of their children because they have decided that they don’t want to have any more kids. There is no “medical necessity” there in the real sense of the term (as in “to save a life”). Moreover, in the modern era, Catholic institutions’ decisions to not provide sterilization and abortion services dates back a hundred years. Why is such a refusal on religious grounds now “illegal?”

We may never know the answers because the hospital has caved to the threat of a suit rather than opting to stand up for its principles. As noted by The Daily Caller:

In a post on the group’s website, ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill said she’s happy the hospital will comply with Miller’s request, but that the group won’t be satisfied until all hospitals are forced to stop following Catholic doctrine.

“Rachel is lucky — she stood up for herself, and she is getting the health care that she and her doctor have decided is best for her,” Gill said. “But as long as Catholic hospitals are allowed to apply the ethical and religious directives, many women will be denied care because Catholic bishops are telling medical professionals how to operate.”

Culture of depopulation and death

Actually, the centuries-old Catholic doctrine guides such decisions; bishops are merely the human conduit through which doctrine is administered and preserved.

None of this matters to the liberals, who continually seek to deny some Americans fundamental rights they don’t agree with using the color of law, the courts, or a presidential executive order while claiming to be upholding the fundamental rights of others.

The fact that the issues of sterilization and abortion excite liberals does not come as any surprise, however, given the Left’s vehement support of Planned Parenthood’s grotesque, Nazi-like exploitation of aborted human babies; it’s as though liberal dogma includes the concept of depopulation.

For example, as Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported in November 2014, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, a pro-vaccine organization, found that tetanus vaccines given to millions of young women in Kenya had been confirmed by laboratories to contain a sterilization chemical that causes miscarriages.

Abortion and sterilization on demand. Waging war on Christian religious faith and doctrine. Violating centuries of dogma and the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of narrow liberal pro-death policies.

Does this sound like the America our founders fought and died to create?

Pope: Marriage Is for Procreation

VATICAN CITY, September 11, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – The family “as God wants it” is under attack. That’s the warning from the Holy Father yesterday to the international marriage group Equipes Notre Dame (END), or Teams of Our Lady.

Pope Francis told the END couples to defend traditional marriage. He said that today’ “the family — as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses and also the generation and education of children — is deformed by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization.”

Equipes Notre Dame was formally established in 1947 by Fr. Henri Caffarel in order to help married couples achieve holiness by “belonging to a team within a Christian community.” Today, they exist in 48 different countries around the globe according to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Pope encouraged END couples to live the spirituality of their movement, stressing that married fidelity is a gift from God.

Pope Francis warned that amid the modern, busy, individualistic world, spouses must go against the current and take the time to “sit down” and talk with each other to strengthen their marriage. He also stressed the central role of prayer within the family, describing it as “a beautiful and necessary tradition that has always supported the faith and hope of Christians, and unfortunately abandoned in many regions of the world.”

Besides maintaining their own integrity, His Holiness said that families must reach out to other families, particularly those who are wounded and vulnerable through personal and social problems. “We must have the courage to enter into contact with these families in a discreet but generous way.”

His Holiness noted that the END group’s visit to Rome comes just before the Synod on the Family. Calling the family the “vital cell of our societies,” he said that Christian couples must strengthen and encourage other families by announcing Jesus to them. He told the END couples that families must witness and announce the joy that the Lord enables families to experience “so that others may take the same path.”

“It is necessary, therefore, that you bring your witness and your experience to help Christian communities to discern the real situations in which these people find themselves, to welcome them with their wounds, and to help them to journey in faith and in truth,” he admonished them. “Nor must you forget the unspeakable suffering of the children who experience these painful family situations: you can give a lot to them.”

New study reveals adverse outcomes from fertility treatments

Children born after Artificial Reproductive Treatments have a greater risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and extended newborn hospital stay according to a recent study of perinatal outcomes.

Dr Joseph Stanford, MD, from University of Utah, with his colleagues, analyzed the adverse perinatal outcomes associated with Artificial Reproductive Technologies compared to outcomes from spontaneous pregnancies in Florida, Maryland and Utah.

The authors analyzed data from a population-based surveillance system designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and monitor maternal health and perinatal outcomes.

The study represented 1,022,597 women with live births between 2004 and 2008. Women who received treatment with assisted reproductive technology (ART), intrauterine insemination with ovulation stimulation (IUI), and ovulation stimulation alone (OS) were compared to women who never used fertility treatment and subfertile women who conceived without any treatment.

The authors of the study found that premature birth, very premature birth and low birth weight are six times greater amongst women who undergo ART in the conception cycle compared to all women trying to conceive in the population of the study. Also the newborn hospitals stay of 1 week or longer were three times higher for all ART pregnancies compared with women who never used fertility treatment.

Indeed, it was discussed that much of this risk comes from multiple gestation pregnancies, but even singleton pregnancies achieved by ART had higher risk of complications. Among births of a single baby, and compared with women who never used fertility treatments, women who conceived with ART were three times more likely to experience preterm birth (<37 weeks the due date)

Another finding of the study was that the use of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ovarian stimulation increased 2 times the risk of prematurity (<34 weeks before the due date) compared with women who never used fertility treatments.

Although preterm birth and low birthweight, were associated with ART, subfertility status itself was significantly associated with very low birthweight.

The authors explained that in contrast, there was a protective association of ‘other various’ fertility treatment on very low birthweight, compared with subfertile women who conceived without treatment. Subfertile couples could achieve pregnancy using fertility treatment protocols, such as Naprotechnology, that are less likely to result in adverse perinatal outcomes that cause long hospital stay for the newborn such as preterm birth or low birthweight.

Hormonal Birth Control And HIV Risk: Some Contraceptives Alter Vaginal Immune System, Increasing HIV Risk

http://www.medicaldaily.com

A recent study may have found a biological explanation for why certain types of injectable and oral contraceptives can put women at increased risk of HIV infections. The study suggests these medications may suppress the vaginal immune response in certain women, a finding which sheds new light on the possible impact hormonal contraceptive methods can have on the vaginal environment.

Over the years, different studies have produced conflicting results on whether or not a relationship between hormonal contraceptives and HIV infection risk actually exists. However, the new study, published in the journal mBio, will hopefully set the record straight. According to lead author Dr. Raina Fichorova in a recent statement, the link does exist and the reason for previous inconsistencies in research “lies in the microbial communities of the reproductive tract.”

For the study, Fichorova and her fellow researchers analyzed cervical swabs and data from 823 HIV-negative women between the ages of 18 and 35 who had been enrolled in family planning clinics in Uganda and Zimbabwe. The women were divided into three groups: those who used injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera or DMPA), those who used estrogen-progesterone oral contraceptives, and those who used no hormonal contraceptives. By the end of the project, around 200 of the original group of women had contracted HIV. The medical history of those who contracted the virus has given important insight into the role that hormonal contraceptives play in a women’s natural immunity.

An individual’s risk of contracting HIV heavily depends on their method of exposure. Blood transfusions have the highest risk of HIV transmission followed by receiving anal sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission risk for women who have vaginal intercourse with an HIV-positive man is about eight every 10,000 exposures. Of course, this number does not take into account factors that may increase transmission risk (such as already having an STD) or those that may decrease the risk (such as using a condom, which reduces the risk by up to 80 percent). Part of the reason why a woman is not guaranteed to contract HIV after exposure is because the vagina’s immune system provides a natural defense against infections and helps to form a protective barrier of mucous between a woman and potential pathogens.

The study’s results revealed that both DMPAs and oral contraceptives inhibited the vagina’s natural defense and thus put the women at an increased risk of contracting the viral and bacterial pathogens. However, this risk increase does not extend to all women taking these forms of contraceptives. According to the authors, the effects of hormonal contraceptives on cervical immunity “depend on the genital tract microenvironment,” and “a weakened mucosal barrier against HIV” may result from the combination of both hormonal contraceptive use and pre-existing infections.

Women who had vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis or disturbed microbial environments in their vagina were observed as being most at-risk for HIV infections. For example, results showed that women who had herpes or disturbed vaginal microbiota and took levonorgestrel-containing oral contraceptives were more likely to have increased levels of proteins that attract HIV host cells. Also, DMPA appeared to suppress a woman’s immune responses to Trichomonas vaginalis, a widespread parasite that aids HIV infection.

Along with clarifying the link between contraceptive use and HIV, the findings also highlight the importance of further investigating the possible effects that hormonal contraceptives can have on female reproductive health.

“Studies of new contraceptive methods should evaluate how they impact the microbial environment and how they act in concert with preexisting, treatable microbial disturbances, to weaken the mucosal barrier against HIV and other infections,” Fichorova explained in a statement.

According to Fichorova, the ultimate goal is to prevent the unwanted side effects of available hormonal contraceptives and improve the lives of millions of women throughout the world. “Women deserve to know more so that they can make informed choices about birth control.

Source: Fichorova RN, Chen P, Morrison CS, et al. The Contribution of Cervicovaginal Infections to the Immunomodulatory Effects of Hormonal Contraception. Mbio. 2015.

The Rigging of a Synod? – The Betrayal of our Families

September 6, 2015 (Voice of the Family) – A new book, The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?: An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, will shed much light on allegations that the Extraordinary Synod, held in Rome last October, was subject to manipulation. The book has been written by highly respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin and carries the endorsement of Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban. Cardinal Napier is one of the fifteen members of the permanent council of cardinals and bishops overseeing the Synod of Bishops, he attended the Extraordinary Synod and was a member of the committee that drafted the final relatio synodi of that Synod.

In this brief review we would like to draw attention to a few of the key examples of the manipulation that is alleged to have taken place at the Extraordinary Synod. We encourage readers to consult the book itself to make themselves aware of the full extent of the concerns raised and of the serious questions that now need to be asked in light of the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family. Voice of the Family has already drawn attention to the instrumentum laboris of that Synod, which, our analysis asserts, “threatens the entire structure of Catholic teaching on marriage, the family and human sexuality.”

Cardinal Napier told Edward Pentin that a few months before the Extraordinary Synod an official at the Synod Secretariat had come to see him to share serious concerns. The official told Napier that he was “very disturbed” by what he had witnessed and commented that “this thing is being manipulated, it’s being engineered. [They] want a certain result.”

Image
Vatican journalist Ed Pentin

The Synod Secretariat is managed by the General Secretary of the Synod, Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri (pictured above). The organisation of the both Synods on the Family has been the responsibility of Cardinal Baldisseri, though the cardinal has stressed the close involvement of Pope Francis at every stage of the process. In an interview given in January 2015 he said:

“Pay attention, as this is something one really should know. The pope is the president of the synod of bishops. I am the secretary general, but I don’t have anyone else above me, such as a prefect of a congregation or a president of a council. I don’t have anyone else above me, only the pope. The pope presided over all of the council meetings of the secretariat. He presides. I am the secretary. And so the documents were all seen and approved by the pope, with the approval of his presence. Even the documents during the synod, such as the Relatio ante disceptationem, the Relatio post disceptationem, and the Relatio synodi were seen by him before they were published.”

Cardinal Baldisseri was publicly implicated in the manipulation of the synod on September 20 2014, in accusations made by Vaticanist Marco Tossati in La Stampa, which alleged that a cardinal had been heard explaining  how he would manipulate the synod fathers. Pentin’s book identifies that cardinal as Baldisseri.

The manipulation seems already to have been well advanced by this date. Pentin recounts that some months before the Extraordinary Synod the Synod Secretariat had contacted the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, known for its fidelity to Catholic moral teaching, to recommend experts to participate in the Synod. The Secretariat had made the same request to certain institutes of the Roman Curia. In the event none of the experts recommended by these institutes was invited participate in the Synod. A high-level Vatican source has stated that the opinion of these institutes was sought in order that the Secretariat could ensure that orthodox experts could be excluded from participating in the synod. It is also alleged that an official of the Synod Secretariat was told to go through a list of potential experts and exclude all those who were “conservative” and retain all those who were “progressive”.

The manipulation of the synod came to public attention following the release on 13th October 2014 of the interim relatio post disceptationem. This document, which purported to represent the contributions of the synod fathers, is alleged to have seriously misrepresented the views of the assembly. Cardinal Pell called it “tendentious, skewed” and said that “it didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers”. Cardinal Napier alleges that the document contained opinions that were never expressed by any of the synod fathers. Pentin writes:

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Cardinal Napier remembers a synod father saying he had put his name to the document, but it was not what he had written. “Others asked: How then could this be stated as coming from the synod when the synod hasn’t even discussed it yet?”

Another synod participant added his voice of concern, saying, “there are things said there about the synod saying this, that, and the other, but nobody ever said them. So that’s when it became plain that there was some engineering going on”, the South African cardinal recalled.

The document caused great controversy because it undermined Catholic teaching on key points of doctrine, including the indissolubility of marriage, cohabitation and homosexual unions. The manipulation surrounding the creation of this interim report is discussed at length in the book. More surprising, because previously unreported, is the manipulation involved in the drafting of the final report.

Pentin sheds light on other controversial events that took place during the synod, giving a detailed narrative of events surrounding the removal of a book co-authored by, among others, five Cardinals, from the mail boxes of the synod fathers in the synod hall. Pentin reports that Cardinal Baldisseri said that the sending of the books was not “opportune”. Many readers will ask: how could the mailing of books upholding Catholic teaching on the very point of doctrine under discussion not be considered “opportune”? Only, it would seem, if anything which would derail the previously laid plan for the synod was considered inopportune.

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? provides a great deal of insight into the theological views of Cardinal Baldisseri. Pentin writes that:

“a sense of alarm was experienced among many holders of traditional Church doctrine and practice in May 2014, when, in an interview with Belgian Church newspaper Tertio, Cardinal Baldisseri said it was time to update the Church’s doctrine on marriage—for example, in connection with divorce and the situation of divorced persons and those who are in civil partnerships. ‘The Church is not timeless, she lives amid the vicissitudes of history, and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today’, Cardinal Baldisseri said. ‘The message should be in the present, with all respect for the integrity of the one who receives that message. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family, and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.’”

In January Cardinal Baldisseri told a conference organised by Pontifical Council for the Family that “there’s no reason to be scandalized that there is a cardinal or a theologian saying something that’s different from the so-called ‘common doctrine’”. “This doesn’t imply a going against” he said, rather “it means reflecting, because dogma has its own evolution; that is a development, not a change.” He added: “Everything that we know today is a mystery, and since we are standing before a mystery and a mystery is not immediately known, we advance in our understanding. We need to keep this in mind. And so [Kasper’s proposal] should be welcomed as a contribution.” These comments were made in despite of the fact that Cardinal Kasper’s proposal directly contradicts the teaching of the Church as expressed most recently by John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio in 1981 and in official documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1994 and 1998.

There is good reason to believe that Cardinal Baldisseri’s theological views have had a very great influence on the synodal texts. One of the most shocking passages in Pentin’s book is an account of Baldisseri’s attempts to alter the content of the pre-synod report, by placing pressure on Cardinal Erdö. These revelations alone would be enough to make the book one of the most important contributions in the lead-up to the next Synod.

Voice of the Family has drawn attention to the “many problematic texts on the subject of the natural law” in the instrumentum laboris of the Extraordinary Synod and the omission of any reference to natural law in the relatio synodi of that Synod. It would seem, in the light of information presented by Pentin in the book, that this may be another example of Cardinal Baldisseri’s damaging influence.

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, under Cardinal Baldisseri’s leadership, produced documents that undermined Catholic teaching on a whole range of issues relating to human sexuality, marriage and the family. The instrumentum laboris of the Ordinary Synod extends the assault on Catholic doctrine to an even wider number of areas. The Synod Secretariat’s grave failures have real implications for real families, struggling as they are in a society ever more hostile to authentic moral principles and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Catholics at all levels of the Church should be extremely concerned both by Cardinal Baldisseri’s theological opinions and by the well-grounded accusations of manipulation contained in this book. It is difficult to see how Catholics can have any confidence in the synodal process while he remains General Secretary of the Synod.
This article was originally published on Voice of the Family and is re-published with permission.

Pro-Life, Married, and Contracepting: Is There a Problem?

http://www.patheos.com

In light of the recent Planned Parenthood videos, I’ve been thinking about a group of pro-life friends who don’t fit the Catholic categories. These are staunchly pro-life Christians who believe sex should be saved for marriage, that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman, but who take contraception as the ‘default mode’ for marital relations, and sterilization as an acceptable way to avoid pregnancy indefinitely.

There are variations within that broad definition, but that’s the gist of it.

When Catholics talk about the connection between contraception and abortion, these couples do not quite fit the pattern. They use contraception (or sterilization) the way Catholics use NFP: If a pregnancy should result despite the couple’s attempt to avoid conceiving, they chalk it up to the will of God and joyfully accept the bundle of surprise happiness.

Why do these couples contracept? Because they’ve been told to, mostly. Keep in mind that even Catholics virtually never speak of the question, and we have Humanae Vitae. Christians of all brands tend to assume that if there is vast pastoral silence on a matter, then whatever the culture is saying must be right.

Thus these couples take what their pastors do have to say about love and marriage and sex, then fit the cultural norms into the gaps.

Do we have a problem?

I am not writing here a full argument against contraception. You can get started on that here, or here, or here. What I want to talk about is the one weird trick contraception plays on marriage, and how that trickles down to everyone else.

When we talk about contraception, especially methods with no abortifacient potential, people tend to say, “Well, NFP is the same thing. You’re preventing births. You’re just using time, rather than a physical barrier, as your thing to avoid pregnancy.”

This gets a little comical half a second later, when you say, “Gosh, if they are the same thing, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t switch.”

They are most definitely not the same thing. Choosing to abstain is radically different from choosing to have sex. It is much harder to play Scrabble while having sex, for one thing.

The whole point of contraception is that you intend to have sex but don’t want the consequences that might follow. The whole point of NFP is that because you are concerned about the consequence, you choose not to have sex.

What does this do to you as a person? To you as a couple? To you as a member of society?

The thing that contraception does is that it turns sex into something you are convinced that you need.

This is a problem because it is a lie, and a deadly one.

How To Kill A Marriage Quick

I’m a fan of the marital act. Not only can I show the goods to back up that claim, but longtime readers can attest that one of my intermittent themes is airing my suspicions about that handful of Catholics who fear that someone, somewhere, is abstaining for the pure pleasure of it.

The precise manner and frequency of intercourse is something each married couple has to work out for themselves, but two things tend to screw up a marriage fast. The first is a spouse who is resentful of the other person’s interest in them (a real problem for some, but not the topic of this post). The second is a spouse who is resentful of the reality that even married people can’t just drop their pants any time they want.

Related posts you might want to pause and peruse right now:

Will Suffering Make Your Marriage Better or Worse?
Is Abstinence Hard on a Marriage?

I am under no illusion that abstinence is easy, see “fan of the marital act,” above. Contraception first slid into the Christian world in response to that challenge: Maybe there’s a way that couples can make necessary abstinence easier by, you know, not abstaining.

We could argue that this (immoral) shift was merely a case of looking for a way to mitigate a difficult situation. Christians, after all, do like to relieve suffering when we can.

Perhaps so. But since that time, the availability and widespread use of contraception has persuaded couples that the devices aren’t merely a convenience but a necessity. We have become convinced that because abstinence is difficult, it is dangerous. We have become convinced that abstinence is a threat to our happiness, and thereby a threat to marriage. We are persuaded that if there exists a sexual drive, that drive must be satisfied. Self-denial is the new cyanide.
Marriage Really Is the Bedrock of Society

If abstinence is deadly to married people, the logic follows, then it must be bad for everyone.

Whereas NFP always reminds you that abstinence is a part of life we must make peace with, contraception says no, don’t make that peace. Very quickly we become persuaded we must have this thing that we want, because it is a necessity.

Thus the spiritual fruit of marriage extends outward to the wider society: If married people have to indulge-or-bust, then surely the same applies to engaged couples? To people dating seriously? To those who are just lonely and want some affection? To those who have no prospect of marriage, but have a sexual drive all the same?

After all, there is nothing different, biologically or psychologically, between a married person and everyone else. If a married person is going to combust for lack of intercourse, it follows that others might too. If a married person is incapable of maintaining healthy, balanced, rewarding relationships unless the sex drive is perpetually sated, it follows that others have the same need for satiation.

And if the married person, who has the advantage of a dear friend on hand for companionship and assistance and warmth and kindness, is unable to experience depth and emotional intimacy and chaste physical touch unless sex be a part of that relationship, it follows that others desiring close human connections have no hope — unless they, too, get the sexual gratification that is apparently necessary if there is to be any happiness.

These are lies of course. You won’t combust for lack of sex. You can have close, warm, satisfying relationships without having to include the sexual act in those relationships.

But these are the lies that contraception teaches us, whether we are intending to learn them or not.

Not Just Same-sex Marriage: Other Unions Will Be Imposed Upon the American People

http://www.nomblog.com

Now that the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been arrogantly dismissed by the Supreme Court, other groups are looking to have their unions included in the “marriage” category. One such example is polygamists, led by the reality stars from the series ‘Sister Wives.’ The Blaze reports that these ‘Sister Wives’ stars are invoking same-sex marriage legalization in an attempt to overturn Utah’s polygamy ban.

Brown and his wives, Robyn, Christine, Janelle and Meri — the stars of “Sister Wives” — are asking judges to reject an appeal by Utah of a judge’s 2013 decision to strike a portion of the state’s ban on polyamorous relationships, KSTU-TV reported.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the law’s ban on cohabitation among individuals who are not married runs in contrast to the First and 14th Amendments, and essentially violates Brown’s religious freedom.

“From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions,” Jonathan Turley, an attorney for Brown, wrote to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court in Denver. ”This case is about criminalization of consensual relations and there are 21st century cases rather than 19th century cases that control.”

Brown has maintained that the legal battle is not about forcing acceptance of bigamy or challenging the rights of states to preclude individuals from holding multiple marriage licenses, but that it is, instead, about battling back against criminalization.

The state, though, maintains that polyamorous relationships are harmful to women and children.

“By only striking the cohabitation provision, the District Court left Utah with the same law maintained by most states in the Union prohibiting bigamy,” Turley wrote. “What was lost to the state is precisely what is denied to all states: the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens.”

When marriage is no longer protected as the union between one man and one woman, society opens itself up to harmful unions that not only further damage the institution, but also work to destroy the family.

Given that the family is the building block of society, our government should be looking to protect marriage and the family — not redefine and destroy it.

For Year of Mercy, pope extends possibilities for absolution

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion and has decreed the full validity during the year of the sacrament of confession celebrated by priests of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

“This jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” the pope wrote in a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization, the office organizing events for the holy year, which opens Dec. 8.

Pope Francis said one of the most serious problems facing people today is a “widespread and insensitive mentality” toward the sacredness of human life.

“The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails,” while many other women believe that “they have no other option” but to have an abortion, the pope wrote in the letter, released Sept. 1 by the Vatican.

The pressures exerted on many women to abort lead to “an existential and moral ordeal,” Pope Francis said. “I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.”

When such a woman has repented and seeks absolution in the sacrament of confession, he said, “the forgiveness of God cannot be denied.”

Although church law generally requires a priest to have special permission, called faculties, from his bishop to grant absolution to a person who has procured or helped another to procure an abortion, the pope said he decided “to concede to all priests for the jubilee year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”

Pope Francis urged priests to welcome to the sacrament women who have had an abortion, explain “the gravity of the sin committed” and indicate to them “a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters the pope’s letter “highlights the wideness of God’s mercy” and is “not in any way minimizing the gravity of the sin” of abortion.

In his letter, Pope Francis also granted another exception to church rules out of concern for “those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests” belonging to the traditionalist Society of St Pius X. Although the society is no longer considered to be in schism and the excommunication of its bishops was lifted in 2009, questions remain over whether the sacraments they celebrate are valid and licit.

The pope’s decision was “taken with the faithful in mind” and is limited to the holy year, which runs through Nov. 20, 2016, Father Lombardi said.

The spokesman also confirmed that the Vatican’s contacts with leaders of the Society of St. Pius X have continued. Pope Francis wrote in his letter that he hoped “in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the fraternity.”

Pope Francis’ letter also explained expanded opportunities for obtaining the indulgences that are a normal part of the celebration of a holy year. An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment a person is due because of his or her sins. In a holy year, it is offered to pilgrims who cross the threshold of the Holy Door at the Vatican or in their local diocese, confess their sins, receive the Eucharist and pray for the pope’s intentions.

The celebration of God’s mercy, he said, is “linked, first and foremost, to the sacrament of reconciliation and to the celebration of the holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the church and of the entire world.”

Those who are confined to their homes can obtain the indulgence by offering up their sickness and suffering, he said.

Pope Francis also included special consideration for people who are incarcerated, touching on the Old Testament tradition of a jubilee year as a time for granting prisoners amnesty.

Those who, “despite deserving punishment, have become conscious of the injustice they committed,” may receive the indulgence with prayers and the reception of the sacraments in their prison chapel, he wrote.

“May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom,” he wrote.

Federal Court Sides With Pro-Life Organization Over Obamacare’s Abortion Pill Mandate

http://www.churchmilitant.com

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2015 (Dr. Susan Berry) – A federal court Monday decided in favor of pro-life organization March for Life, ruling that the government cannot force the group to act contrary to its pro-life beliefs by enforcing a mandate that the group provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees.

The court’s order in March for Life v. Burwell permanently bars the Obama administration from enforcing its mandate in Obamacare that requires employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees through health insurance plans. Failure to comply with the mandate would result in IRS penalties for March for Life.

“If the purpose of the religious employer exemption is, as HHS states, to respect the anti-abortifacient tenets of an employment relationship, then it makes no rational sense – indeed, no sense whatsoever to deny March for Life that same respect,” the court said in its decision.

A press release states the order is the first “to be granted in favor of an organization opposed to the mandate for pro-life reasons based on science and moral convictions rather than religion.”

March for Life was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, which requested a permanent injunction against the mandate.

“We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor on this crucially important case,” March for Life Education and Defense Fund president Jeanne Mancini said regarding the ruling. “The government should not be allowed to force organizations like the March for Life to have health insurance with drugs and devices that can cause an abortion.”

How DO you to talk to kids about sex?

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”

Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted. “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

US must repent for funding Planned Parenthood’s eugenics program: Catholic bishop

SPRINGFIELD, IL, August 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, is urging America to repent for massively funding Planned Parenthood despite its eugenic roots.

“Let us ask forgiveness for our nation giving half a billion dollars every year of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood,” said Bishop Thomas Paprocki, “founded by Margaret Sanger, a proponent of eugenics who urged Americans to ‘restrict the propagation of those physically, mentally and socially inadequate’ and said that the ‘most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.’”

Bishop Paprocki likened America today and its current prevalent disregard for unborn life to the period in history with slavery in force when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.

“President Lincoln lived in a time when many people thought that African-Americans were not fully human. The United States Supreme Court in fact declared as much in its infamously erroneous Dred Scott decision of 1857,” he said. “But in our own time the Supreme Court continues to make wrongful decisions, as it did in 1973 in Roe v. Wade in deciding that unborn babies do not deserve the protection of the law, as well as this past June in attempting to redefine marriage contrary to the plan of God as described in the Book of Genesis.”

“As a result, our nation is in need of ‘national humiliation, fasting and prayer’ now as it was in the time of President Lincoln’s Proclamation,” the bishop continued.

Bishop Paprocki quoted Lincoln throughout his August 23 message, stating that we as a country have forgotten God.

“Let us humble ourselves and pray to Almighty God to forgive our sins, especially the sins of abortion, sins of racism, sins against the divine and natural law of marriage, sins of greed, gluttony, anger, envy, lust, laziness and pride.”

The Springfield prelate also quoted Ephesians 5:15, when St. Paul warned them in his letter to “watch carefully how you live.”

“He does this not because he wants to control their lives, dictating what they can and cannot do,” he said. “Rather, he provides this guidance to them so that they can experience the joy of living a Gospel-centered life.”

“St. Paul knew well that those to whom he was writing were living in a culture that was not rooted in Christian values” Bishop Paprocki continued. “The message that they were receiving from the world around them, the popular opinion if you will, is the same message being promoted today in our secular culture: to live for themselves, to strive for those things which will maximize their satisfaction and happiness. But that happiness is rooted in the things of the world, and not on those of God, which promise true and lasting joy.”

He closed his message on the country’s need for forgiveness with another passage from Ephesians (5:17), where St. Paul encourages people to “try to understand what is the will of the Lord,” so “set aside what so-called worldly knowledge and understanding propose as truth, and seek to see things from the perspective of God and his loving design for the world and human life.”

Bishop Paprocki has been a devoted supporter of life and marriage, condemning the Obama administration’s silence in the Planned Parenthood human remains trafficking scandal, conducting a public exorcism over the state of Illinois’s 2013 decision to redefine marriage and running a marathon in 2011 to raise awareness and support for life.

Culture of Life is growing! New Gianna Clinic opens in Louisiana

http://deaconforlife.blogspot.com

Dear Friends,

I have some wonderful news to share with you!

As we witness the horrific atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood, as documented in the many videos released by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, it is time to stop the culture of death! And the best way, is to replace it with The Culture of Life!
This is exactly what is happening! As part of this growth, another pro-life Gianna clinic has opened in Louisiana.

Click here to read about the beautiful event lead by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans and the director of the new clinic, Dr. Christine Hamphill.
St. Gianna Physicians Guild, an initiative of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, conducted an enshrinement ceremony of an image of St. Gianna Molla. An important step of the enshrinement witnessed Dr. Hamphill officially read and sign the Catholic Hippocratic Oath promoted by St. Gianna Physicians Guild.
It is so uplifting to see such wonderful and sincere care provided for women and for babies at the Gianna clinics. I hope you take a moment to read this important report.

St. Gianna Physicians Guild continues to do its part to help spread the Culture of Life! In order to make this happen, we need your help!
Please sign petition to tell the US Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and use the money to fund the thousands of pro-life clinics, like the Gianna centers, throughout America.
If you have already signed, please get your friends and family to do so also. Just forward this link to them: Defund Planned Parenthood!

There is absolutely no excuse for taxpayer’s dollars to be used to fund the butchery and the evil perpetrated by Planned Parenthood and the culture of death.
Let’s continue together to do everything we can to stop the culture of death and to spread the Culture of Life!

May God bless you and your family for your efforts! And may St. Gianna look down with love upon you and your loved ones.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Thomas J. McKenna
Founder and President

 

Natural Family Planning as a ‘way of life’

By: MARIA LUISA TORRES

When Pablo and Véronique Gaeta met and fell in love, they both knew it was a love connection that was meant to last a lifetime. And, from the start, this couple shared far more than just a loving bond; as devout Catholics, they also embraced the same outlook on faith and family, and before their “I do’s” they made the joint decision to make Natural Family Planning part of their marital and spiritual lives.

Today, more than 18 years after exchanging wedding vows at their home parish, Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino, the happy couple now has three children — Céline, 15, Emilie, 11, and six-year-old Gabriel — and they regularly discuss the “blessing” of Natural Family Planning (NFP) with engaged and married couples through their teaching ministry at Our Lady of Grace and across the archdiocese.

“Natural Family Planning has been such a blessing for our marriage that we wanted to share this gift with others,” Véronique told The Tidings. In 2002, the Gaetas became certified to teach the sympto-thermal method (one of several NFP methods endorsed by the Catholic Church), and since then, they have presented NFP information and resources with parish priests at various diocesan deanery meetings; via parish health fairs; to high school students; as part of marriage preparation classes; and with parishioners at the end of Mass at several parishes.

“We are always humbled by couples that come to our classes reluctantly, and after hearing what NFP can offer them, become advocates of the methods,” said Pablo.

“On several occasions, NFP has also served as an ecumenical tool — several couples have come to our class from different faith denominations, because their own church did not offer NFP. These couples were grateful that the Catholic Church had classes where they could learn about NFP, and they were also surprised to learn the beauty of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.”

According to the Gaetas, the Church has always taught that artificial contraception “undermines God’s original plan for marriage between a man and a woman,” because marriage “needs to be free, total, faithful and fruitful.” Any method of family planning should respect these four traits, they explained.

“Every time a married couple has relations, the act itself must be open to the transmission of life, whether or not the act results in pregnancy,” said Pablo. “Artificial forms of contraception act as a barrier to the transmission of life. … Some forms suppress or alter a normal functioning part of the woman’s body.”

By contrast, he added, Natural Family Planning is 100 percent safe and free of any side effects, because it “works with a woman’s fertility, and not against it.”

Because the Church understands that couples may have just reasons to postpone a pregnancy, NFP offers “a morally acceptable way of family planning,” by utilizing methods that “respect the dignity of marriage as a sacrament.”

“In making any decision about family planning, however, a couple should prayerfully discern whether or not God is asking them to cooperate with him in bringing another child into the world,” explained Pablo.

The three primary NFP methods endorsed by the Church — all of which can be used either to help achieve or avoid pregnancy — are sympto-thermal (which relies on a combination of physical fertility signs, including body temperature, cervical mucus and cervical position), the Billings Ovulation and Creighton Fertility Care Model methods (both of which rely solely on mucus signs).

“They’re all equally effective,” said Véronique, adding that selecting a particular method comes down to preference, though she noted that the Creighton method is “especially useful for couples who may be having medical issues” that can impact fertility, such as PMS, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

According to Pablo, questions and misunderstandings are plentiful during classes among couples who are learning about NFP for the very first time.

“It is important to understand that NFP is not the ‘Calendar Rhythm Method’ of the 1930’s,” he said. “Modern methods of Natural Family Planning are more accurate and precise. … And all women, regardless of whether or not they have regular menstrual cycles, can use NFP successfully.”

However, said Véronique, the real root of the problem is not in such misunderstandings, but, rather the fact that, based on their experiences over the last 13 years, a significant “percentage of married couples do not even know NFP exists.”

“We strongly believe that a lot more couples would choose to embrace NFP in their marriages if they were better informed,” she said. “Married couples need multiple exposures at both the diocesan and parish levels … and engaged couples would benefit greatly from mentor couples that are open and honest about practicing NFP in their marriages.”

Which is exactly what the Gaetas try to do, with each class they teach: act as mentors and teach by example by sharing the beauty of NFP in their own family.

“Practicing NFP in our marriage has enabled us to come to a deeper understanding of God’s plan for us,” said Pablo. “Over the years, we have grown in our love for each other because NFP is not just a method of family planning; it is a way of life. Through NFP, we have learned to respect each other’s dignity.”

Thanks to NFP, the Gaetas have also experienced improved communication as a couple, because “Natural Family Planning is a shared responsibility that requires us to communicate candidly with each other on a regular basis,” said Véronique.

And, she continued, although practicing NFP “can be challenging at times — and it may even seem restrictive to some — we have found that it affords us a certain freedom that can only be properly understood by those who experience it.”

What if Planned Parenthood Were Defunded?

students for life

Abortion advocates use fear mongering to keep Planned Parenthood federally-funded. But what would really happen if we defunded the abortion giant?

‘A baby is growing inside my belly’ – see pure joy when parents tell children!

BY STEVE JALSEVAC

This is a wonderful respite from the regular news of the day. But it does put all the other stories into perspective. These children, through their God-given natural innocence, reveal more than many books in the world about the wonder and goodness of every new life. View here:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/a-baby-is-growing-inside-my-belly-see-pure-joy-when-parents-tell-children

It is a powerful anti-Planned Parenthood video. I have viewed it three times so far and marveled as much each time. There is a message here for all of humanity and especially for the anti-life developed cultures of the world in this simple, short experience of these children’s responses to their parents’ good news. The parents as well are wonderful examples of parenthood as it should be.

Enjoy!

Over 300 Planned Parenthood Protests to Take Place Simultaneously in 47 States August 22

 

[Press Release Reprinted from ProtestPP.com]
CHICAGO, Aug. 20, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ – On Saturday, August 22 public protests of Planned Parenthood (PP) abortion clinics and facilities will take place all over the United States. Thousands are expected to attend these protests with the purpose of creating awareness of the barbaric practice of abortion and the sale of aborted baby body parts – a scandal that has erupted in recent weeks due to undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Currently, there are over 300 cities in 47 states and 5 countries represented in the nationwide protest.
What: Protest PP’s disrespect for human life, harvesting and selling of aborted baby parts
Where: Over 300 Planned Parenthood facilities across America. (See cities)
When:
August 22, 2015 from 9:00am-11:00am
For more information or to locate a protest in your area, please go to ProtestPP.com

Recently released videos have shown the results of Planned Parenthood’s barbarous trade of killing babies and harvesting and selling their body parts.
Mark Harrington, Created Equal’s National Director:
“We don’t just want to defund Planned Parenthood; we want to defeat Planned Parenthood. We cannot only look to Washington, DC and our state governments to end the killing. It is up to each of us individually to take ownership over our own neighborhoods to stop Planned Parenthood and end abortion altogether.”
#ProtestPP is the largest demonstration against Planned Parenthood in their 99 year history.
Eric Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League:
“These videos are exposing the American people to the truth about Planned Parenthood and the truth about abortion. How can you deny the humanity of a tiny person whose body parts are being harvested for medical use? Worse yet, how can you make jokes about it, like the Planned Parenthood doctors do in these videos? It’s time to cease all taxpayer funding of this corrupt organization.”
#ProtestPP involves prayer, speakers and holding signs that read #PPSellSBabyParts.
Monica M. Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society comments:
“When PP technicians are scavenging through the body parts of aborted babies to find tissue that they hope to sell, this adds a whole new gruesome and ghoulish layer to the already highly controversial practice of abortion in America. It’s bad enough that Planned Parenthood is profiting from abortions-but on top of that they exploit the bodies of their murder victims for additional revenue. It is the abortion providers themselves who describe what they do as violence.”

Visit OperationRescue.org for an archive of stories and videos about the Planned Parenthood baby body parts trafficking scandal.

African families gravely threatened by Western governments, international agencies and Vatican departments

August 18, 2015 (VoiceoftheFamily) — John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn  Children, and co-founder of the international coalition Voice of the Family, spoke on 7th August at a two day pro-life conference organised by the bishops of Ghana. The conference was entitled “Protecting Life and Family Values in the continuing Culture of Death”.

In his talk to the conference Mr Smeaton outlined the threat posed to Africa by the international population control movement. He also drew attention to the collaboration between leading figures in that movement and important Vatican departments. He went on to give an overview of the threat posed to families, in Africa and around the world, by the instrumentum laboris of the Ordinary Synod, to be held in Rome in October this year. His full talk can be read below:

I begin by drawing your attention to National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200). The National Security Council of the United States completed a study in 1974 entitled Implications of the Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests known in short as NSSM 200.

NSSM 200, promoted and endorsed by Dr Henry Kissinger, President Nixon’s National Security Adviser, expressed the gravest fears that the political consequences of current population factors in the less developed countries might create “political or even national security problems for the US”.

A 1977 annual report on the implementation of NSSM 200 emphasises the strategic importance of using “intermediaries” such as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the World Bank and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), since they could operate in countries where the United States “are not now acceptable” thus avoiding the accusation of imperialism.

This is exactly what Marie Stopes International (MSI) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and others are doing in Ghana today. According to the IPPF website, Planned Parenthood Association Ghana, IPPF’s subsidiary, delivered in Ghana in the year 2011:

5.8 million condoms

330,000 contraceptive services

526,000 other sexual and reproductive health services

606,000 services to young people under 25 years

When International Planned Parenthood Federation refer to “reproductive health” they are referring to access to contraception and abortion – according to the definition of “reproductive health” used by the UNFPA and other UN bodies, governments such the current US administration and international anti-life NGOs such as IPPF and MSI.

On 26th March 2014 in New York, the International Planned Parenthood Federation co-hosted an event, particularly targeting African nations, to “present a declaration calling for universal access to safe and legal abortion”.

Let me say a little here about President Obama because his policies affect all of us, not least the people of Ghana. On October 12th 2009 the Obama administration confirmed at the UN that it would be promoting legalised abortion throughout the world, targeting adolescents in a worldwide abortion drive.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron has threatened to withhold UK aid from poor countries that do not conform and I quote: “British aid should have more strings attached”. David Cameron was speaking here in particular of the UK government’s homosexual rights agenda.

The homosexual rights agenda in my nation and in so many other nations represents a massive attack on the sanctity of human life for many reasons. For example, as you know, same-sex couples are now demanding the right to have children– making it even more difficult for pro-life groups effectively to oppose surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation. According to peer-reviewed research, for every baby born by IVF, 23 are either discarded, or frozen, or used in destructive experiments, or miscarry.  Defending the right to life of unborn children will increasingly be viewed as an attack on the rights of homosexual couples.

Morever, the homosexual rights’ agenda is a top priority for Planned Parenthood working here in Ghana.

Make no mistake, Planned Parenthood, hugely funded by the US government, the British government and the overwhelming majority of nations worldwide, are the enemy of Ghana’s children. In 2011, at the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council and other pro-abortion groups held a meeting to launch worldwide a massive programme of so-called comprehensive sex education entitled: “It’s All One Curriculum”.

The curriculum shows itself to be nakedly polemical rather than educational. It states:

“People can support or join movements for social change at the global level. For example: …youth-led networks for sexual and reproductive rights and services.” (p.231)

And on page 61 of their curriculum guidelines they advise educators: “Certain social movements promote greater equality and dignity within marriage. These include: movements to legalize same-sex marriage”.

In the same document, International Planned Parenthood Federation tell teachers of young children that sexual self-abuse is a human right. They say:

“Sexuality may be expressed by oneself … Sexuality — expressed alone…can be a source of pleasure and meaning in life. (p.84) “ … Masturbation is an important way that people learn about their bodies and sexuality … Masturbation is a safe sexual behavior. It is neither physically nor mentally harmful.” (p.99)]

This is the kind of thing which Planned Parenthood is delivering to your children here in Ghana. In their “Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme” which IPPF describes as a “‘ what young people want, what young people need’ programme” they target your 10 – 24 year-olds including underserved groups: The specific focus – an uptake of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The 3 year programme targets African young people in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal.”

IPPF Africa Region says: “ASK aims to ensure that young people … receive direct information on sexual and reproductive health and rights so that they can make independent informed decisions.” For a full appreciation of IPPF’s concept of sexual rights I urge you to study Sexual Rights: an IPPF Declaration.

Moreover, yesterday, a story in The Ghanaian Times reports that the Norweigan Development Agency is targeting thousands of your 15 – 25 year-old young women in poor and urban and peri-urban areas of Ghana to introduce them, amongst other things, to sexual and reproductive health – a term meaning access to contraception and abortion.

Powerful Western forces as I speak are seeking to control your population by corrupting your nation’s values, in particular by targeting the innocence of your children and young people.

In a book entitled Adam and Eve after the Pill – Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Mary Eberstadt, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, describes the teaching of Pope Paul VI inHumanae Vitae on regulation of birth, published on July 25, 1968, as “perhaps the most unfashionable, unwanted, and ubiquitously deplored moral teaching on earth”. She then goes on to show that the teaching of Humanae Vitae is in fact the “most thoroughly vindicated” moral teaching on earth “by the accumulation of secular, empirical, post-revolutionary fact”. In this connection, Mary Eberstadt cites Nobel-Prize winning economist George Akerlof. In a 1996 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Akerlof explains “why the sexual revolution, contrary to common prediction, especially those in and out of the church who wanted the teaching on birth control changed, had led to an increase in illegitimacy and abortion.” Mary Eberstadt continues: “In another work published in the Economic Journal in 1998, Akerlof traced the empirical connections between the decrease in marriage and married fatherhood for men – both clear consequences of the contraceptive revolution – and the simultaneous increase in behaviours to which single men appear more prone: substance abuse, incarceration, and arrests, to name just three.”

Mary Eberstadt in Adam and Eve and the Pill also says: “The years since Humanae Vitae have … vindicated the encyclical’s fear that government would use the new contraceptive technology coercively”.

In this connection, who can seriously doubt the effectiveness of powerful western nations and NGOs in promoting anti-life sex education programmes which seek to eliminate the role of parents as the primary educators and protectors of their children? This is a form of coercion on families which is resulting worldwide, not least in the UK my own country, in schoolchildren being given access to contraception and abortion without the knowledge of their parents, including in Catholic schools.

Thank God for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ghana for your witness on these fundamental matters. In particular, I congratulate and thank you for your Communiqué last November in which you said: “We also deplore in no uncertain terms a radical and faceless culture of death which promotes among other things the supply and use of the condom in our schools, the in vitro fertilization and the contraception agenda of some national and international institutions in Ghana … we urge those who represent Ghana at the United Nations and other such bodies to realise that these practices are culturally abominable and morally and spiritually reprehensible …”

Above all, as Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, there is a close interconnection between contraception and abortion. According to the manufacturers, one of the contraceptive pill’s modes of action is to cause an early abortion. Thus the use of contraception undermines respect for the sanctity of human life from conception and makes the possibility of abortion an option.

As a pro-life leader for four decades and as a Catholic layman, a father and grandfather, I believe that it is urgent and overdue that the Church reaffirm the unchangeable teaching of Humanae Vitae on the separation of the procreative and unitive dimensions of the sexual act by the use of contraceptive methods. The separation of the procreative and unitive dimensions of the sexual act which is intrinsic to the use of contraception has acted as major catalyst of the culture of death. I am certain that until the core teaching of Humanae Vitae is constantly proclaimed throughout the Church and at the highest level of authority, the pro-life movement will not prevail.

In this connection, I am grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Turkson for sensitising our pro-life conference today to the pressures on church leaders which are constantly being brought to bear to change the Church’s unchanging and unchangeable teaching on contraception and abortion.

Particularly in relation to population control in Africa, I want to draw attention to the activities of Dr Jeffrey Sachs, the special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Jeffrey Sachs heads the Sustainable Solutions Network, which was responsible for producing a draft for the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for increased access to abortion and contraception worldwide.

Jeffrey Sachs made a plea for legalizing abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

In his book The Age of Sustainable Development, published last March, Jeffrey Sachs states quite clearly that the birth rate in Africa must be reduced.

Sachs proposes three methods of fertility rate reduction, the third of which is that governments must encourage their populations to lower family size by promoting birth control and providing access to free or low-cost contraception and family planning.

In 2011 Sachs expressed his horror at Nigeria’s rising population and called for the Nigerian government “to work towards attaining a maximum of three children.”

In June this year he called for the UN to provide 1 million healthcare workers for Africa. That is 1 million UN workers travelling through Africa promoting abortion and contraception.

Sachs will be in the Vatican in November to take part in a workshop organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which will discuss how to “use children as agents of change” in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ workshop explicitly cites the papal encyclical Laudato Si, as the basis for its work.

I repeat: the subject of the Vatican Workshop in November us “using children as agents of change” in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda.

Not only in this context, as a parent and grandparent, I am deeply concerned that Laudato Si makes no reference to parents as the primary educators of their children. Using children as agents of change in pursuing sustainable development and the environmental agenda will very soon become a required part of school curricula throughout the world. Have no doubt that the worldwide population control powers-that-be, led by people like Jeffrey Sachs, will make their influence well and truly felt in shaping those school curricula.

It is extremely disturbing that at the very moment when the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the organization which I lead, and other pro-life organisations, have been fighting tooth-and-nail at the United Nations to protect developing countries from the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, anti-parent elements written into the sustainable development goals, that the Holy See has been seeking Jeffrey Sachs’s advice and permitting him to help shape the Holy See’s policies on sustainable development.

Jeffrey Sachs has played a leading role at Vatican conferences and workshops on these matters no less than six times in the last couple of years and has had a personal audience with Pope Francis.

I note here with great foreboding that the omission of any reference to Church teaching on the use of contraception in the papal encyclical in the environment leaves Catholics ill-prepared to resist the international population control agenda. The encyclical calls for increased international environmental action in paragraphs 173-175, while neglecting to prepare Catholics for what such action will undoubtedly involve: renewed attempts to further impose contraception and abortion on the developing world. There is now a grave danger that our children will be exposed to this agenda under the guise of education on environmental concerns. The proposed plans of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the lack of clear teaching on these dangers in the encyclical, put us on our guard. Catholic parents must resist all attacks on our children, even when they emanate from within the Vatican.

Even more disturbing in relation to contraception is the recently published instrumentum laboris, the working document for the forthcoming Family Synod. The instrumentum laboris, clearly undermines the teaching of the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. Paragraph 137 effectively seeks to nullify the central teaching of Humanae Vitae which declared morally inadmissable “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, [which] is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.”

Paragraph 137 of the instrumentum laboris, without in any way restating this fundamental teaching of Humanae Vitae, suggests that a balance must be reached between the “role of conscience” and the “objective moral norm” under “the regular guidance of a competent and spiritual guide”. The implication of the whole passage is that contraceptive acts may sometimes be permitted. Let me conclude this section of my talk by quoting again the timeless teaching of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae:

“Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it …  even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.”

Furthermore, Paragraph 86 of the instrumentum laboris contains a direct attack on the rights of parents. The paragraph states that “the family, while maintaining its privileged spot in education, cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.” This statement is directly contrary to Catholic teaching which affirms the right and duty of parents to be the first and foremost providers of education to their children in sexual matters. Parents are entirely capable of performing this task by themselves and it is entirely their choice if they wish to involve others. Paragraph 86 of the instrumentum laboris leaves Ghanaian children, and my grandchildren, at the mercy of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

There are other major terrible and terrifying passages for families throughout the world, Catholic and non-Catholic families, in the instrumentum laboris on which I don’t have the time to comment today – but I will leave copies of an analysis of this disturbing document for your attention.

I say these things to you today to fulfil my responsibility outlined in Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law:

According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

The crisis in the Church is quite possibly unparalleled. So let us say a prayer for Pope Francis. May the Lord preserve him and give him life and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

In June this year, a consultative meeting of African prelates was held in Accra, Ghana, which culminated in the 45 bishops and 5 cardinals representing episcopal conferences across the continent expressing their intention to present a united determination to defend Church teaching about marriage and family at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In the closing communique of the meeting in Accra, the bishops of Africa said that at the upcoming Synod on the Family they would offer “a clear affirmation of family and marriage values according to the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church.”

Thank God for the African bishops. My family and families throughout the world will be praying for you in the coming months – that you continue to be courageous apostles of the unchanging and unchangeable Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the family, the Gospel of life.

Synod preparatory document ‘poses a very real danger to the family,’ says Voice of the Family

August 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Voice of the Family, an international lay coalition of major pro-life and pro-family organizations, has warned that the Vatican’s preparatory document for the October Synod on the Family “threatens the entire structure of Catholic teaching on marriage, the family and human sexuality.” In an extensive analysis of the Vatican’s 77-page document called the Instrumentum Laboris,

[http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents /rc_synod_doc_20150623_instrumentum-xiv-assembly_en.html ] Voice of the Family points to several areas where the omissions and ambiguity in wording is leading in a direction dangerous to faith and family.

The game plan of introducing ambiguity into the texts was revealed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the central figure of the Synod who launched the controversy with his proposals for communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. In an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo in June he divulged an approach to overcome growing opposition to his heterodox plans.

“I get a lot of agreements, but also a lot of critiques, and there are tensions there,” Kasper acknowledged. “Now I propose to those who prepare the Synod to prepare a text which can get the agreement of the whole, of the great majority. It’s the same method also we had in the Council.” He later repeated, “My suggestion is to find now a formula where the great majority can adhere.”

The Second Vatican Council was also faced with challenges to traditional Catholic doctrine and practice, which were opposed by large numbers of bishops. Despite this opposition, many items on the agenda of the ultra-liberal bishops were accomplished by the use of often vague, ambiguous and even apparently conflicting language that seem to have appeased both sides. These expressions were later referred to as “time bombs” which some theologians were able to exploit following the council for the purpose of undermining the Church’s traditional teachings.

The Voice of the Family analysis explains “it is clear that the instrumentum laboris fails to clearly affirm Catholic doctrine, but rather, through the use of ambiguous terms, seriously undermines it.”

John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family, said, “The document undermines the doctrine of Humanae Vitae on contraception.” The 19-page critical analysis of the Instrumentum Laboris written by Voice of the Family’s Matthew McCusker notes that that Vatican preparatory document for the Synod “refuses to use the word ‘contraception’ or make any direct reference to any contraceptive method, despite the devastating consequences of the use of contraceptives in many areas of human life, not least the killing of unborn children by abortifacient methods.”

More than that, the Instrumentum Laboris misrepresents Humanae Vitae by leaving out the fact that it condemns contraception. The Synod document states that the “two principal points” of the encyclical are first about the role of conscience and second “an objective moral norm” without ever defining that moral norm – namely Humanae Vitae declares morally inadmissible “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.”

“The Instrumentum Laboris also resurrects the discredited Kasper proposals for Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers, reduces the indissolubility of marriage to a mere ‘ideal’, and undermines the position of parents as their children’s primary educators,” added Smeaton.

With regard to the Church’s teaching that parents are the primary educators of children, the Instrumentum Laboris suggests otherwise. Paragraph 86 states that “the family, while maintaining its privileged spot in education, cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.” The Voice of the Family analysis notes the “statement is directly contrary to Catholic teaching,” citing the teaching of St. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, where the pope leaves open the possibility that sex education can be done solely in the home. He wrote: “Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them.”

“Voice of the Family urges Catholics not to be complacent or give in to a false sense of obedience, in the face of attacks on the fundamental principles of the natural law,” concluded Smeaton. “Catholics have a duty to oppose the direction being taken at the Synod. If that direction is not reversed, the greatest victims will be those who are most vulnerable, especially children, born and unborn.”

See the full 19-page critical analysis of the Instrumentum Laboris written by Voice of the Family’s Matthew McCusker: http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Analysis-of-the-Instrumentum-Laboris-of-the-Ordinary-Synod.pdf

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: Synod document pushes agenda contrary to divine law

We are pleased to present a new interview, which has been granted to Catholic Voice newspaper by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan. Catholic Voice is one of 24 organisations that form the Voice of the Family coalition. Bishop Athanasius Schneider has risen to prominence because of his clear defence of Catholic teaching. In this interview the Bishop discusses the major threats to the family posed by the instrumentum laboris of the synod and by the actions of senior prelates who operate from within the official structures of the Church. Voice of the Family has produced an in-depth analysis of the instrumentum laboris.

Q. Your Excellency, the Instrumentum Laboris  for the 2015 Synod states that there is a “common accord” [c’è un comune accordo] in favour of a “penitential way” for the divorced and remarried ” under the authority of the Bishop, for the faithful (who have been) divorced and remarried civilly, who find themselves in a situation of irreversible cohabitation.”  Is it accurate to suggest there is a “common accord” ?

Bishop Schneider: The affirmation that there is a “common accord” on the “penitential way” is not correct. The only one public document that would permit to determine the effective opinion of the bishops on this topic, is the “Relatio Synodi” of 2014. There it is documented that 40% of the members of the Synod rejected such a “penitential way”. When faced with such a result, one can hardly speak of a “common accord”. Furthermore, there is no specification as to a concrete definition of such a “penitential way”.  

Q. In light of this use of the phrase “c’è un comune accordo” is the credibility of the Instrumentum Laboris threatened? One could even conclude there is an attempt to impose communion for the divorced and remarried at the Synod despite opposition. Do you have any comment on this?

Bishop Schneider: In the light of a careful analysis of the facts, one is left with the suspicion that the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris try to push forward the agenda of a certain clerical pressure group in order to change the Divine law of the non-admission the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.

Q. Commenting on the Synod, Archbishop Forte has said one of the priorities should be a discussion of allowing those who have divorced and remarried outside the Church to become “godfathers or godmothers, catechists, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.” What do you think of this idea?

Bishop Schneider: Firstly, it is necessary to remember the significance of godparents according to the constant teaching and practice of the Church: A sponsor (godfather or godmother) must help the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must be a Catholic who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on (cf. Canons 872 and 874 § 1, 3). Sponsors and those who take the place of parents are obliged to form the children by word and example in faith and in the practice of Christian life (cf. Canon 774, § 2). When a godfather or a godmother or a catechist conducts a lifestyle that publicly contradicts the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of the Christian marriage, then he or she surely cannot be an example of a life of faith. The same is valid for extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists cannot ultimately be for the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an instrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents and catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith. In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life however, continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22). 

Q. Excellency, in the ongoing debate over same sex “marriage” some Catholic groups have become open to the notion of recognizing that same sex pairs can have long term loving relationships thus they conclude that it is possible to recognize same sex civil partnerships. It is evident that even a few bishops support this idea but could this ever be an authentic Catholic position?

Bishop Schneider: This can never be an authentic Catholic position because it contradicts directly the words of God, which says that homosexual acts and the homosexual lifestyle are a grievous offense of the will of God (cf. Gen 18:20; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Is 3:9; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10; Jud 7). Committing evil in a long-term and even loving relationship cannot transform the same evil into good. Only true repentance that includes contrition and the firm intention to avoid the evil cancels with the grace of God the evil. It would be absurd to affirm that alcoholism will gain a positive recognition because of the long-term and loving relationship of two persons who established this relationship on the base of their propensity to alcohol. The same absurdity contains the above-mentioned affirmation about same sex unions.

Q. There also appears to be a push towards a “new language” with some saying that using the phrases “homosexual tendencies” and “intrinsically disordered” should be avoided less offence is caused – what do you make of this drive to use politically correct language?

Bishop Schneider: We have to call things by their real names; otherwise, we will deceive the others and ourselves. To call the things by their names does not mean an intention to create discrimination, provided we speak with respect and pedagogical wisdom. There exist some deficiency symptoms of a bodily or spiritual nature such as fear of heights, claustrophobia, seasickness, shortsightedness etc. No person of common sense will be indignant when we name such phenomena as a deficiency. In fact, the homosexual attraction is in itself a sexual-psychological deficiency symptom, which all civilized human history has considered as a deficiency and called by its name. Under pressure from the new gender ideology, which has its roots in the Marxist ideology, in the 1970s homosexuality was excluded from the International Handbook of Psychological diseases. In such a way, persons who suffer with homosexual attraction were taken hostages of a radical ideology, inasmuch as they are denied the opportunity to receive healing or improvement of their psychologically defective situation. To have a deficiency is not a shame, but it is a fact. Those who effectively encourage deficient persons, in our case persons who are feeling a homosexual attraction, to abuse their deficiency in order to become more deficient and to consequently become addicts, commit a grave injustice towards these persons who need and want to receive help in their spiritual and psychological deficiency.  

Q. Your Excellency, since the legalisation of abortion in Ireland in 2013, Catholic hospitals such as the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, have issued statements indicating that they will comply with the new abortion laws. In these circumstances, what is the duty of an archbishop or bishop in whose jurisdiction these hospitals reside?

Bishop Schneider: The duty of a Catholic bishop in such a case is to deprive the hospital the title “Catholic” and remind his faithful that accomplices of the horrible crime of abortion commit a grave sin and are threatened with excommunication. The punishment of excommunication is a medicinal measure in order to prevent the guilty person from committing further crimes and so to ensure his eternal salvation. This was the method of God Himself (the preaching of judgement and punishment through the Prophets), of Our Lord Jesus Christ (the speech of excommunication in Mt 18: 15-18) and of the Apostles (the excommunication realized by Saint Paul, cf. 1 Cor 5: 4-5) and so it has to be also the method of the Church. When the Church desists of this Divine method, she will be no more faithful to God, she will be no more a real mother who punishes her child in order to save it. On the contrary, such a church will be a false mother who disastrously pampers the child to its damage or a stepmother who is indifferent about the child’s salvation. The following words of excommunication pronounced by Saint Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit, remain valid for all periods of the Church’s history inclusively for our days: “With the power of our Lord Jesus we deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5: 4-5).

Q. During the same sex “marriage” debate in Ireland, one bishop stated that Catholics could in good conscience vote for this proposal and admonished them not to vote against it out of hate. In addition, many clergy used the media to also encourage voters to redefine marriage. This situation is repeated throughout the western world – what do you think has happened to the clergy in this respect and what should be done to correct matters?

Bishop Schneider: Those clerics who encouraged the faithful to vote for same sex marriage revealed themselves by this same fact as false prophets, as those who pervert the Word of God. They revealed themselves as public liars, to whom are fully applicable these words of Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such priests and bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13). In order to remedy this situation it is firstly necessary that faithful Bishops teach clearly and unambiguously the truth of Christ and correct explicitly the teaching of these false prophets.

Q. Excellency, in a number of interviews you have mentioned attempts to manipulate the proceedings of the 2014 Synod. Many faithful around the world are anxious that attempts are being made to manipulate the 2015 Synod. What can be done to stop such manipulation? What can those not directly involved in the Synod do if evidence emerges of renewed manipulation?

Bishop Schneider: In order to stop such manipulations we must first of all, implore fervently Divine and heavenly intervention, so that the following words of God may be realized in our days during the upcoming Synod: “God frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end” (Job 5: 12-13).

Furthermore, we have to expose and defend the Divine truth about marriage and family in written and oral forms, exercising hereby the service of the truth as an important gesture of our love for our neighbour. When there exists sure elements of proof one should try to unmask the machinations of the false prophets inside the Church. Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote in his second Encyclical Letter the following words, which are applicable to those priests and bishops who teach in our days the goodness of the homosexual lifestyle and the legitimacy of receiving Holy Communion by those who live publicly in an adulterous partnership: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who redeemed them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3).

Q. Your Excellency, during this time of unprecedented confusion and disorientation in the Church are there any saints or spiritual writings to which you turn for consolation and encouragement? Could you share with our readers any sayings or insights that will encourage us?

Bishop Schneider: We have to look on those Saints who shone out as lights in particularly confused periods of the Church History. Among the clergy, I would name Saint Athanasius his sufferings and his writings about the history of the Arians; Saint Gregory VII, who intrepidly defended chastity (against clerical concubinage and sodomy) and liberty (against the interference of the civil power in spiritual affairs) of the Church, the Spouse of Christ; Saint John Fisher, who at the cost of his life was the only one English bishop of his time defended the indissolubility of the marriage and the primacy of the Pope; Saint Pius X who was in his words and his deeds extraordinarily clear and courageous and never bowed to the pressure of political correctness neither inside nor outside the Church.

Among the laity one can mention particularly: Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Thomas More, Gabriel Garcia Moreno, the eminently pious and courageous President of Ecuador, who was assassinated in 1875 in “odium fidei” immediately when he came out of the church where he spent one hour in Eucharistic adoration. The servant of God Jerome Lejeune (+ 1994): he was ostracized by the medical, academic and political elite because of his strong position against abortion; he did not receive an increase in salary for nearly 20 years;  his research grants were withdrawn and he was forced to close his laboratory. 

It would be a great spiritual help for us in our days in midst of the persecution from outside the Church and the marginalization from inside the Church to read the biographies and writings of the above-mentioned saints and servants of God and especially the life of the martyrs. I read somewhere once this phrase, which can encourage us: “It is not important what people say about us today, but what they will say about us hundred years after our death”.

Silent Action of the Heart

By Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Editor’s note: This article appeared in the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on June 12, 2015. (English translation by Michael J. Miller for CWR.)

Fifty years after its promulgation by Pope Paul VI, will the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy finally be read? Sacrosanctum Concilium is actually not just a catalogue of “recipes” for reform, but a veritable Magna Carta of all liturgical action.

In it the Ecumenical Council gives us a magisterial lesson in methodology. Indeed, far from being content with a disciplinary, external approach to the liturgy, the Council wishes to have us contemplate what it is in its essence. The Church’s practice always results from what she receives and contemplates in revelation. Pastoral ministry cannot be detached from doctrine.

In the Church “action is directed to contemplation” (cf. no. 2). The conciliar Constitution invites us to rediscover the Trinitarian origin of the liturgical work. Indeed, the Council determines that there is a continuity between the mission of Christ the Redeemer and the liturgical mission of the Church. “Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles,” so that “by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves” they might “accomplish the work of salvation” (no. 6).

Carrying out the liturgy therefore is the same as accomplishing the work of Christ. The liturgy is essentially “actio Christi”: “the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God” (no. 5). He is the great high priest, the true subject, the true protagonist of the liturgy (cf. no. 7). If this vitally important principle is not accepted in faith, we run the risk of making the liturgy a human work, the community’s celebration of itself.

On the contrary, the Church’s real work is to enter into Christ’s action, to join in the work for which He has been commissioned by the Father. Therefore “the fullness of divine worship was given to us,” because “His humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation” (no. 5). The Church, the Body of Christ, must therefore become in turn an instrument in the hands of the Word.

This is the ultimate meaning of the key concept of the conciliar Constitution: “participatio actuosa”. For the Church, this participation consists of becoming the instrument of Christ the Priest, for the purpose of participating in His Trinitarian mission. The Church actively participates in Christ’s liturgical work insofar as she is the instrument thereof. In this sense, language about the “celebrating community” has its ambiguities and requires true caution (cf. the Instruction Redemptoris sacramentum, no. 42). Therefore this “participatio actuosa” should not be understood as the need to do something. On this point the Council’s teaching has often been distorted. Instead it is a matter of letting Christ take us and associate us with His sacrifice.

Liturgical “participatio” must therefore be understood as a grace from Christ who “always associates the Church with Himself” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). He is the one who has the initiative and the primacy. The Church “calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father” (no. 7).

The priest must therefore become this instrument that allows Christ to shine through. As our Holy Father Pope Francis recalled recently, the celebrant is not the host of a show, he must not look for sympathy from the assembly by setting himself in front of it as its main speaker. To enter into the spirit of the Council means, on the contrary, to be self-effacing, to refuse to be the center of attention.

Contrary to what has sometimes been maintained, and quite in keeping with the conciliar Constitution, it is altogether appropriate, during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, that everyone, priest and faithful, turn together toward the East, so as to express their intention to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This way of celebrating could possibly be implemented in cathedrals, where the liturgical life must be exemplary (cf. no. 41).

Of course, there are other parts of the Mass in which the priest, acting “in persona Christi Capitis” [“in the person of Christ the Head”] enters into a nuptial dialogue with the assembly. But the only purpose of this face-to-face is to lead to a tête-À-tête with God which, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, will become a heart-to-heart conversation. The Council thus proposes other means of promoting participation: “acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes” (no. 30).

An over-hasty and all-too-human interpretation has led some to conclude that it was necessary to make sure that the faithful were constantly busy. The contemporary Western mentality, shaped by technology and fascinated by the media, tried to make the liturgy a work of effective, rewarding instruction. In this spirit, many have tried to make liturgical celebrations convivial. Liturgical ministers, prompted by pastoral motives, sometimes try to instruct by introducing profane, show-business elements into liturgical celebrations. Don’t we sometimes see a proliferation of testimonies, scenery and applause? They think that this will foster the participation of the faithful, whereas in fact it reduces the liturgy to a human game.

“Silence is not a virtue, noise is not a sin, it is true,” says Thomas Merton, “but the turmoil and confusion and constant noise of modern society,” or of some African Eucharistic liturgies, “are the expression of the ambiance of its greatest sins—its godlessness, its despair. A world of propaganda, of endless argument, vituperation, criticism, or simply of chatter, is a world without anything to live for…. Mass becomes racket and confusion; prayers—an exterior or interior noise” (Thomas Merton The Sign of Jonas [San Diego: Harcourt, Inc., 1953, 1981], passim).

We run the real risk of leaving no room for God in our celebrations. We fall into the temptation of the Hebrews in the desert. They sought to create for themselves a form of worship on their own scale and of their own stature, and let us not forget that they ended up prostrate before an idol, the golden calf.

It is time to start listening to the Council. The liturgy is “above all things the worship of the divine majesty” (no. 33). It has instructional value to the extent to which it is completely ordered to the glorification of God and to divine worship. Liturgy really places us in the presence of divine transcendence. True participation means renewing in ourselves that “amazement” that Saint John Paul II held in high regard (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 6). This sacred wonder, this joyful fear, requires our silence before the divine majesty. We often forget that sacred silence is one of the means noted by the Council for promoting participation.

If the liturgy is Christ’s work, is it necessary for the celebrant to interject his own comments? We should remember that, when the missal authorizes an intervention, this must not become a profane, human speech, a more or less subtle commentary on current events, or a worldly greeting to the persons present, but rather a very brief exhortation to enter into the mystery (cf. General Introduction of the Roman Missal, no. 50). As for the homily, in itself it is always a liturgical act that has its own rules. “Participatio actuosa” in Christ’s work presupposes that we leave the profane world so as to enter into the “sacred action surpassing all others” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). In fact, “we claim somewhat arrogantly to remain in the human sphere so as to enter into the divine” (Robert Sarah, God or Nothing [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2015], chapter IV).

In this regard it is deplorable that the sanctuary in our churches is not a place strictly reserved for divine worship, that people enter it in worldly garb, and that the sacred space is not clearly delimited by the architecture. Since, as the Council teaches, Christ is present in His word when it is proclaimed, it is likewise harmful that lectors do not have proper attire that shows that they are not pronouncing human words but a divine word.

The liturgy is a fundamentally mystical, contemplative reality, and consequently beyond the reach of our human action; even our “participatio” is a grace from God. Therefore it presupposes on our part openness to the mystery being celebrated. Thus, the Constitution recommends the full understanding of the rites (cf. no. 34), and at the same time prescribes that “the faithful… be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (no. 54).

Indeed, understanding the rite is not the work of unaided human reason, which would have to grasp everything, understand everything, master everything. The understanding of the sacred rites is that of the “sensus fidei”, which practices a living faith through the symbol and knows by being attuned more than through concepts. This understanding presupposes that one approaches the mystery with humility.

But will people have the courage to follow the Council this far? Such an interpretation, illuminated by the faith, is fundamental however for evangelization. Indeed, “the liturgy… shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations, under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together” (no. 2). It must stop being a place of disobedience to the Church’s prescriptions.

More specifically, it cannot be an occasion for divisions among Christians. Dialectical interpretations of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the hermeneutics of rupture in one direction or the other, are not the fruit of a spirit of faith. The Council did not intend to break with the liturgical forms inherited from Tradition, but rather intended to appreciate them in greater depth. The Constitution declares that “any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (no. 23).

In this regard, it is necessary that some should celebrate according to the “usus antiquior” [older usage] and should do so without any spirit of opposition, and therefore in the spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Similarly, it would be a mistake to consider the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as coming from some other theology which is not that of the reformed liturgy. It would also be desirable in a future edition of the Missal to insert the penitential rite and the offertory of the “usus antiquior” for the purpose of emphasizing that the two liturgical forms illuminate each other, in continuity and without opposition.

If we live in this spirit, then the liturgy will stop being a place of rivalries and critiques, so as finally to make us participate actively in that liturgy “which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle” (no. 8).

How the pill might be ruining your life

http://catholicsay.com

Depleted nutrient absorption. Long-term alterations in brain activity and ability to interact with the world. Changes in choice of mate. If a commonly prescribed drug has these side effects, should it really be commonly prescribed?

That was the question raised at an Aug. 8 symposium at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Researchers and medical professionals from across the United States and overseas gathered together to discuss the little-known risks of the birth control pill.

Entitled “Contraceptive Conundrum,” the symposium explored the consequences of hormonal birth control, many of which are unknown by women and doctors alike.

Dr. S. Craig Roberts, a researcher who specializes in mate preferences, stressed that the pill can alter the chemistry of attraction.

Under normal circumstances, he said, “women express preferences for genetically-dissimilar, masculine-faced men. But the pill seems to alter these preferences.”

“Women on the pill tend to choose male partners who appear more feminine (and who are) more genetically similar to them.”

Children born from unions of genetically similar parents may have greater health risks. Furthermore, when women come off the pill – often when they decide to have kids – they may revert to their natural attraction patterns, which their partner whom they met on the pill no longer fits.

Dr. Roberts noted that “women who met their partner when on the pill are more likely to initiate divorce.”

Women’s choice of partner while using hormonal contraception is part of a larger concern – the impact of hormones in the pill on the human brain.

According to Dr. Nicole Peterson, a researcher at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, the full extent of this impact is not yet clear, and research is still being done. But there is already ample evidence that the pill creates changes that may make permanent alterations to brain pathways.

“In women on the pill the amygdala – memory making part of brain – responds less to emotional stimuli,” she explained.

This can have some desirable results, such as lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among rape victims. However, it also drastically changes how women on the pill make choices and interact with the world around them.

Even more alarming, the pill’s effects on brain wiring can still be seen at least four months after a woman has stopped using the pill.

“If a woman is on oral contraceptives for long enough, she has a different kind of brain… there’s no guarantee that your brain remembers what the baseline is,” stressed Dr. Melissa Farmer, a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

She said that she finds the long-term nature of these brain changes particularly troubling.

Endocrine changes due to the pill can also have long-lasting effects, with consequences that last after a woman is no longer on hormonal contraception.

For example, if a woman stops taking the pill in order to become pregnant, the hormonal changes left over from the pill can affect her child.

“Very small changes in hormones in critical periods of fetal development can have lifelong consequences,” explained Dr. Frederick vom Saal, a researcher in developmental biology at the University of Missouri.

Another potentially long-term effect of the pill: nutrient depletion, which is associated with a whole host of other health problems.

“Oral contraceptives deplete nutrients more than any other kind of commonly prescribed drug,” said cancer researcher and nutritionist Ross Pelton. This includes depletions in all B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and several others.

While the onset tends to be gradual, these depletions can last even after the cessation of pill use, he noted. The result can be a negative impact on sexual health and increase risk for other problems, including heart issues.

With such serious potential side effects, some symposium participants questioned the widespread, almost automatic use of hormonal birth control.

 

Experiments on Intact Whole Live Fetuses and the Connection to Infant Formula

Dr. Stacy Trasancos, PhD
http://www.catholicstand.com

Recently the investigative journalism conducted by David Daleiden who started the Center for Medical Progress has provided a raw look into the minds of the people involved in the “human capital” abortion industry. As the videos continue to come out and lawsuits are filed threatening to suppress free speech and journalism, perhaps this is a good time to look more broadly at the sale and use of aborted fetuses in scientific research.

One does not need to conduct an undercover investigation to discover “human capital.” The facts are in the academic record, and they offer cold hard evidence that what Daleiden is revealing is not only true, but spans far, deep, and wide across time and locale.

The following information is just one example pieced together to demonstrate how ingrained this type of research is in the global scientific and industrial communities. Scientists are expected to provide meticulous accounts of their work for the sake of reproducibility and posterity. The language is thus very technical. Knowing how to read scientific literature means knowing how to decipher the scientific language. Please note: Because of the detail, however, the information in this case is also disturbing.

Let’s step through the facts.

Fetuses Presented a Special Test Case

In 1972, Pediatric Research journal published a paper submitted by researchers from the Department of Pediatric Research at New York State and Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York in collaboration with a researcher from the Departments of Medical Chemistry and Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of Helsinki in Finland. The paper was titled, “Development of Mammalian Sulfur Metabolism: Absence of Cystathionase in Human Fetal Tissues.” The fact that they used fetuses is stated right in the title. The researchers “examined the development of the transsulfuration pathway in 58 human fetuses obtained at therapeutic abortion during approximately the 2nd-6th month of gestation” as well as in premature and full term infants who died shortly after birth. They were trying to determine whether cysteine is an essential amino acid in “immature humans,” so they needed to analyze kidneys and brains at different developmental stages.

The fetuses presented a special test case. Since the fetuses were still alive at the beginning of the experiment in their mothers’ wombs, “in vivo” experiments were possible. This phrase “in vivo” is Latin and means “within the living.” With already deceased specimens, they could only measure the presence of amino acids after death. This type of analysis is an “in vitro” (in the glass, think in vitro fertilization) procedure. With the still-living fetuses, they could actually inject a known amount of amino acids, S-L-methionine and S-L-cysteine, “in vivo” into a living fetus and test how much of these substances were incorporated into fetal organs via the biological machinery of life over a set amount of time. The researchers therefore conducted the “in vivo” experiments by surgically cutting open the uterus of the mother, lifting out the living fetus with the umbilical cord still attached, and injecting the amino acids into the umbilical vein.

Then they waited 10 minutes with the heart still beating and the fetus still moving to allow the body to distribute and metabolize the amino acids. After 10 minutes, they cut the umbilical cord, dissected the brain and liver from the body of the fetus, and dropped the organs into liquid nitrogen to await analysis.

Here is the relevant description from the Methods and Materials section:

For “in vivo” experiments, each fetus immediately after removal from the uterus was injected with approximately 100 uCi of either 35S-L-methionine (specific activity 515 mCi/mmole) or 35S-L-cysteine (specific activity 31.3 mCi/mmole) contained in 0.5 ml of a 0.9% solution of NaCl at pH 7.0. In some experiments, unlabeled cysteine (2.0 /xmoles L-cysteine in 0.2 ml 0.9% NaCl, pH 7.0) as well as 35S-L-methionine were injected. All injections were made into the umbilical vein through a short Teflon catheter which was then rinsed with 0.2 ml 0.9% NaCl; the whole cord was clamped on the fetal side of the point of entry of the catheter to prevent blood loss during the experiment. After 10 min (elsewhere in the paper, “in all cases the heart continued to beat during the 10-min period and spontaneous movement was seen”), the cord was severed close to the fetus, and as much blood as possible was collected into a tube which contained heparin as anticoagulant. The fetal organs were quickly removed and dropped into liquid nitrogen.

The research was funded by the Lalor Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts, the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, and the Association for Aid of Crippled Children also in New York. The abortions appear to have been done at the Central University Hospital and Borja Womens Hospital in Helsinki, Finland because an end note offers thanks to the staffs there. A shorter communication of this work was also published in Science journal, “Absence of Cystathionase in Human Fetal Liver: Is Cystine Essential?” Science journal is arguably the most prestigious journal to have your work published in because it is not specialized in any one area and only publishes the best work across all scientific disciplines.
The Mothers and Hysterotomies

Among the details in the paper was the anesthesia procedure for the women. “Preoperative medications included Pethidine, 50-75 mg; Phenergan, 25 mg; and atropine, 0.5-0.8 mg intramuscularly. Anaesthesia was induced with 250-440 mg Pentothal intravenously and was maintained with N2O2.”

Not all the details regarding the women were recorded though. According to the Pediatric Research paper, the “mothers” (the authors called them “mothers”) were in good health but sought abortion for “social or psychological reasons.” The “mothers” apparently agreed to undergo “hysterotomies,” which seems odd. A hysterotomy is a surgery where an incision is made in the uterus, usually done for Cesarean birth or fetal surgery. A hysterotomy is a much more invasive procedure than a suction-aspiration procedure, which was certainly available in the 1970’s. Safe abortions (for the mother) are ones that reduce the risk of perforating the uterus as much as possible and reduce the risk of infection. It does not make sense to unnecessarily cut open the uterus and leave it open for an extended period of time if the safety of the mother is the first concern.

The research paper did not mention whether the mothers gave consent or were informed of the procedure. One might wonder if the mothers were told that, while they were unconscious with their abdomens laid open, their unwanted children were used as living biological machines in the only 10 minutes they would live outside the womb. It is hard to imagine that any woman would agree to such an experiment regardless of how much she did not want to be pregnant or raise a child.

Fetuses And Infant Formula

The goal of this 1972 paper was to demonstrate that cysteine is an essential amino acid in human fetuses and in infants for some time after birth. The end use of this work was to provide information about feeding newborns. In the conclusion, the authors noted that “infants of low birth weight who are fed a formula with the same quality of protein as that in human milk should grow as well.” (Proteins are large biomolecules made of long chains of amino acids.) The experiment was part of a broader set of experiments to understand the kind of protein newborns need to be fed in milk formulas. By understanding the differences in how fetuses process amino acids compared to infants and children, the researchers sought to better design infant formula especially for prematurely born infants.

The two researchers from the New York, John A. Sturman and Gerald E. Gaull, continued their work in the coming years using fetal brains, sometimes whole. Their work was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Health Clinical Genetics Grant and the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. In 1974, they published “Polyamine Biosynthesis in Human Fetal Liver and Brain” in Pediatric Research. In that study they used many of the same samples used in the previous study. Their interests were neurological.

The Finnish researcher who was interested in infant nutrition, Niels C. R. Räihä, published “Phenylalanine Hydoxylase in Human Liver during Development” in 1973 using the livers of 18 human fetuses from 2nd-6th month of gestation. Räihä continued his work until 1985, collaborating with 55 other co-authors from around the world and publishing some 41 papers, according to internet sources.

In 1993, Räihä served as Editor of the proceedings from the Nestlé Nutrition Workshop Series held that year in South Africa by the Nestlé Corporation. The collection of chapters, which was published in 1994 and titled Protein Metabolism During Infancy (Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series: Pediatric Program), reviewed the “protein requirements of low-birthweight, very-low-birthweight, and small-for-gestational-age infants and the essential amino acid requirements of infants with inborn errors of metabolism.” The book also focused on the quality of protein in human milk and formulas, the digestibility and absorption of protein in infants, and the role of essential and nonessential amino acids in neonatal nutrition. Hence, the experimental procedures describe above have a connection to the Nestlé Corporation and development of infant formula.
Fetuses: The Value Chain Is Much Larger

If the language of the Planned Parenthood and biotech executives discussing the demand for fetal body parts over wine and salad for lunch is disgusting, perhaps one will find the experimental methods tied to the history of the development of infant formula equally, if not more so, disgusting. These facts have been in the academic record for over 40 years. Was there no outcry? No controversy? What? Did people just trust the academics blindly? I do not know. A million questions can be asked about why anyone thought this kind of research was remotely acceptable. Yet, here we are in 2015 in shock as if all of this behavior began overnight, speculating about whether it is all really true or not. It is true. Those “in vivo” experimental procedures are not speculation, indication, or accusation. They are as true as if the researchers confessed the activities to the public in their own handwriting—because they did.

If the published works in refereed journals are to be believed, then abortion clinics have indeed provided whole live fetuses for research, even live ones handed over to be used, killed, and dissected as a part of an experiment that feeds an industry. Apparently for decades the use of fetal material has been a research tactic that is 1) considered ethical and legal, 2) coordinated across continents if necessary, 3) funded by governments and private foundations, 4) demanded by industry, and 5) applauded by the scientific community. Planned Parenthood could shut down completely tomorrow, but the use of aborted fetuses and fetal body parts will not stop.

The value-chain, so to speak, is much longer and affects more aspects of modern life than any of us may yet realize, and Planned Parenthood is but one link. Again, this is only one example. There is more. So while the Center for Medical Progress continues to expose Planned Parenthood’s involvement, I will continue to back it up by exposing what is in the scientific literature.

Margaret Sanger Goes Bust

Black pastors are asking the Smithsonian to remove Sanger from its “Champions of Justice” exhibit

by Miles Swigart

NORFOLK, August 10, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – Black pastors are demanding the Smithsonian Museum remove a bust of Margaret Sanger.

The display is part of the museum’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, which features various historical figures considered champions of justice. The group of pastors, known as Ministers Taking a Stand (MTS), said in their letter to the museum that Margaret Sanger was a racist and eugenicist who is on record as saying she desired the extermination of “the Negro population.” Part of her plan was to contracept, sterilize and abort them out of existence, and the ministers claim these plans are still being carried out to this day.

“Perhaps the Gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies, an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as ‘the feeble-minded’; speaking at a rally of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers,” the letter states.

The letter mentions the recent Planned Parenthood exposés showing high-level employees trafficking in the sale of aborted babies’ organs, saying, “The fact is that the behavior of these abortionists, their callous and cavalier attitude toward these babies, is completely in keeping with Sanger’s perverse vision for America.”

The letter also links to a map showing that 70 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods in order to provide evidence that Planned Parenthood is targeting minorities.

During her life, Margaret Sanger was an outspoken proponent of the eugenics movement, calling for the forced government sterilization of black people and those deemed unfit for reproduction. The pastors cited a letter written by Sanger that stated, “We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

It seems Sanger’s vision is coming to fruition: A recent study revealed that more African American babies in New York City are being aborted than born. And nationwide, although African American women comprise only 13 percent of the population, they comprise nearly 40 percent of all U.S. abortions.

The dark history of racial population politics and eugenics that led to federal funding of Sanger’s organization is undeniable, and these pastors are insulted that the bust of Margaret Sanger is being housed in the same room as black civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. “How can a person like Sanger, who found common cause with the racial agenda of the Ku Klux Klan, be ranked among true champions of ‘justice’?”

Intact Late-Term Aborted Baby Cadavers Available says Planned Parenthood Official in Latest Shock Video

August 4, 2015 By Operation Rescue

From diversified revenue streams to intact late-term fetal cadavers, Planned Parenthood says, “We can make that happen.”

By Cheryl Sullenger

Houston, TX — A fifth video was released today by the Center for Medical Progress, this one discussing Planned Parenthood’s willingness alter abortion procedures to procure intact late-term aborted fetal cadavers form babies that could have been born alive. This information adds a shocking new layer of insight into Planned Parenthood’s participation in the illegal sale of fetal body parts.

Today’s video focuses on Planned Parenthood’s Center for Choice Surgical Center, located on Gulf Freeway in Houston, Texas.

CMP actors posing as representatives of an organ procurement company engaged in conversation with Melisa Farrell, Planned Parenthood’s Director of Research, who explained that abortion procedures are being altered to produce “intact specimens” when orders require it. “We can make that happen,” she said.

The discussion centered on the desire for aborted baby remains, particularly intact cadavers that were in the 16 to 22 week range. If such babies were birthed intact, the possibility exists that they could be born alive during the abortions, which is illegal.

“And we have had studies in which the company, and or in this case, investigator, has a specific need for certain portions of the parts of conception and we base that into our contract and our protocol that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that,” Farrell said, (emphasis added).

Altering a medical procedure to ensure organs are better suited for harvesting is illegal. It is also dangerous. If a woman were to be injured or die during a procedure that was altered to ensure marketable organs, it would be grossly unethical and would represent huge liabilities to Planned Parenthood.

The Houston Planned Parenthood facility has been the site of multiple documented medical emergencies, including four incidents in less than 30 days that took place in January and February, 2015. Operation Rescue obtained 911 records that show a February 6 medical emergency involved a patient with a ruptured uterus during an abortion that required emergency transport to a nearby hospital.

“Whether any of those injuries were done during altered abortions is a matter for investigators to determine,” said Newman.

The Houston Planned Parenthood employs six abortion providers that do abortions “beyond 16 weeks.” The “buyers” were reassured that the abortionists have experience conducting abortion procedures “in a way that they get the best specimens, so we know that can happen,” according to XXX.

In a startling revelation, Farrell mentioned that Planned Parenthood abortion providers in Houston have been personally engaged in their own experiments using fetal body parts from abortions they perform. In addition, Farrell shared that research group wanted Planned Parenthood to provide a large amount of fetal tissue. In this case, the research lab was requesting 120 samples, including brain, thymus, liver, spleen, femur, bone marrow, and stem cells from 14 to 22 weeks gestation. The conclusion was reached that intact fetal cadavers were preferred for sale to the lab since so much of the body was required.

“The admission that Planned Parenthood abortionists manipulate procedures in order to better harvest organs or even late-term intact fetal cadavers for human experimentation purposes conjures images of H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. It is all clearly illegal,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Are ethical standards adhered to during these private experiments? Given Planned Parenthood’s propensity for unethical, above-the-law arrogance, it is doubtful.”

Newman also serves on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress, and acted in an advisory capacity during the nearly three-year long investigation.

Farrell’s contribution to the Planned Parenthood organization, both locally and nationally is “diversification of the revenue stream.” She goes on to agree that organ procurement can be a “gold mine” that financially benefits her clinic.

“I’m glad that you have that background so you can see the financial benefits,” noted one of the “buyers” as the Planned Parenthood executive nodded her head continually in agreement.

“I think everyone realizes, especially because my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, even though we are one of the largest affiliates, our research department is the largest in the United States, larger than any of the other affiliates combined,” Farrell said.

“Yeah, so if we alter a process and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and spitting the specimens into different shipments is this, I mean, that’s – it’s all just a matter of line items.” The scene shifts to the “POC Room” where the fetal remains, also known as the ‘products of conception’ are sorted and stored in a freezer or simply comingled in a large biohazard bag for later collection and incineration.

One technician produced from a freezer a bag of remains from an 18-20 week old fetus that was aborted earlier that day. She poured the tissue in a colander and rinsed it, then dumped the chunky lumps of flesh into a glass pan.

There, the baby’s dismembered remains were inspected. Arms with hands attached and legs with feet were clearly observed, as well as eyeballs still within the orbital pockets.

The abortionist lifted a drippy clump, noting that this was the intestines.

Planned Parenthood employees at the Houston clinic packaged the specimens for shipment, which was a different procedure that at other Planned Parenthood affiliates where organ procurement technicians employed by biotech companies usually do that work.

The abortionist and Farrell discussed an upcoming National Abortion Federation meeting where Planned Parenthood Medical Director Deborah Nucatola was to present on the varying laws on fetal tissue procurement from state to state. Another Planned Parenthood abortion provider was set to present on “fetal collection,” they said.

“This information implicates the National Abortion Federation in the illegal selling of fetal organs,” said Newman.

Evidence of alleged NAF involvement comes one day after a San Francisco judge extended a temporary restraining order on videos taken during secretive NAF national meetings, citing NAF’s arguments that their meetings are confidential and attendees must sign non-disclosure agreements.

“The NAF knows that if the public understood what really is discussed behind closed doors that there is no public relations firm in existence that could spin that in a favorable light. In order for abortion to continue, the veil of secrecy that conceals horrifying acts from the public must be maintained at any cost,” said Newman, who was named in the suit along with the Center for Medical Progress and its Director, David Daleiden. “We will continue to fight to protect our Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The truth will ultimately come out, no matter how hard the Abortion Cartel tries to hide it.”

Guess How Many Licensed Mammogram Facilities Planned Parenthood Runs

http://thefederalist.com

August 3, 2015 By Sean Davis

Planned Parenthood is under fire for organ trafficking admissions made by its senior executives in a series of undercover videos released over the last month. The videos, four of which have been released so far, show numerous top Planned Parenthood officials acknowledging the purchase and sale of aborted baby parts and haggling over their prices.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s top abortion provider, swears up and down that notwithstanding the numerous admissions made on tape by its top officials, the organization doesn’t buy or sell organs and body parts harvested from aborted babies. Then, in order to defend its reputation, Planned Parenthood points to other medical procedures performed by the group that don’t result in body counts. One of its top rhetorical gimmicks is to reference all the mammograms that women can receive by visiting Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood helps women nationwide get access to mammograms, as part of the range of health care Planned Parenthood health centers provide to nearly three million people a year.

There’s only one problem: Planned Parenthood does not manage a single licensed mammography facility in the U.S. Not one. Of the 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in America, Planned Parenthood operates exactly zero.

How do we know this? Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration keeps a list of every licensed facility in the country. It updates this list weekly. And the most recent list of the more than 8,700 licensed mammogram facilities in the U.S. shows that not one is operated by Planned Parenthood. The following graphic from Alliance Defending Freedom shows just how little breast cancer screening is done by Planned Parenthood, especially compared to other non-abortion providers throughout the country:

mamogram pp

Planned Parenthood has even intimated that if its spigot of federal funding is turned off, women will have nowhere to turn for vital health care and cancer screenings. But that’s also a lie, as Mollie Hemingway explains. It turns out that Planned Parenthood only qualifies as the nation’s largest health care provider for women if you think abortion — the deliberate taking of an innocent human life — counts as health care.

Marco Rubio: Planned Parenthood Gets Over $500 Million in Tax Dollars. De-Fund It Now

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO AUG 3, 2015 | 9:19AM WASHINGTON, DC

As Americans we live in a nation founded on the idea that our rights and freedoms are God-given and that government’s fundamental role is to protect them. But our government today falls tragically short of this duty by failing to protect the rights of the most defenseless in our society: unborn children. Each year, over half a billion dollars in taxpayer money is given to Planned Parenthood, an organization responsible for over 300,000 abortions each year. While the provision of taxpayer money to such an organization has drawn its share of criticism over the years, the most recent revelations of Planned Parenthood’s actions reveal a new low for the organization.

Millions of Americans, myself included, have been outraged by the recently released videos showing Planned Parenthood officials matter of factly describing the harvesting and sale of limbs and organs from unborn babies in graphic detail and with a callous and cruel disregard for human life. The videos also raise serious questions about potentially criminal and unethical practices at Planned Parenthood clinics. The videos clearly indicate that these practices are not contained, but endemic to the organization.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned

Parenthood Immediately http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/congress-must-de-fund-planned-parenthood-immediately.html It should be noted that Planned Parenthood’s callousness does not extend merely to the unborn. The videos also reveal that Planned Parenthood views the women that they purport to serve as nothing more than profit centers for their macabre business. One of the videos shows a senior Planned Parenthood official speaking casually about the tactics she employs in order to deceive patients so that their unborn children can be better utilized for organ and limb harvesting. This is a violation of the rights of their patients. The videos are tough to watch and tough to fathom, especially for parents. It’s not something any of us want to have to discuss. And yet like many other uncomfortable topics confronting our nation, we have an obligation to not avert our eyes.

There is more than enough evidence to push forward with a serious and independent investigation into Planned Parenthood and its practices, like Governor Rick Scott has called for in our home state of Florida. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to do, but am not holding my breath for the Obama Administration to act. Congress should bring Planned Parenthood’s senior officials to testify under oath before the American people.

There can be no denying that Planned Parenthood is a morally bankrupt organization. Americans of conscience might disagree on the legality of abortion. It is a contentious issue that elicits deep passions. But as a country, we should at least be able to find common ground on acknowledging and respecting the humanity and basic dignity of both the mother and the unborn child. It is clear from the videos that Planned Parenthood long ago stopped acknowledging either. At Planned Parenthood, women are treated as paying clients, not patients. Unborn children are treated as cells and tissues, not human beings. The organs and limbs of babies are treated as commodities, for sale to the highest bidder on an open market. And taxpayers are forced to fund this.

There are countless organizations in America that provide health care, including reproductive health care, to women in need. None of them receive the undeserved political protection and taxpayer funding from the federal government that Planned Parenthood has enjoyed for decades. A purported health care organization that has allowed itself to become this callous and dismissive of the human dignity of their patients and unborn life cannot be redeemed. We must defund Planned Parenthood and make sure that taxpayer dollars are never spent on abortions or organizations that demonstrate such a callous disregard for basic human dignity. America is the freest and most powerful nation on earth, and we have done more to advance the rights of all human beings in our brief history than any society before or since. The Planned Parenthood videos, and the behavior and culture they reveal, are anathema to our very identity as a nation and run counter to the great sacrifices generations of Americans have made in the defense of human dignity here and abroad. We cannot fulfill our promise as a nation by simply turning the other way when we are confronted with difficult realities. Planned Parenthood should never receive another dime from American taxpayers.

LifeNews Note: This exclusive column is written by Senator Marco Rubio, a pro-life Florida Republican and presidential candidate.

Senate to vote tonight to defund Planned Parenthood: Pro-lifers put 7 ‘moderates’ under pressure

Urgent: Sign the petition urging Congress to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood. Click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life activists are urging moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to vote to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood in the vote scheduled for Monday night.

But even their support may not be enough to ensure that the measure passes, with nearly all Democrats opposed to S.1881 and a veto promised by President Obama. A defunding bill would require 60 votes in the Senate for passage, and 66 to override a veto.

Pressure from the pro-life movement to defund Planned Parenthood has intensified in light of the release of four videos showing senior Planned Parenthood officials describing how the organization harvests fetal parts, and illegally modifies abortions to guarantee the receipt of fetal parts.

Three committees are investigating Planned Parenthood, but pro-life Members of Congress and their allies are pushing for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood before the investigations are complete.

Despite the videos and intense pressure from pro-life groups, several of the Senate’s 54 Republicans are expected to not support S. 1881, which has the backing of GOP leadership and some of the pro-life community’s top senators.

Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has remained silent — her office told LifeSiteNews that a statement would be released at approximately the same time as tonight’s vote — and Susan Collins of Maine, and Mark Kirk of Illinois have expressed outright opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood.

Murkowski supported federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2011, the last time the issue was front-and-center in Congress.

On the Democratic side, Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp are targets for pro-life pressure.

Also on the original target list was Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has since confirmed that he will support the defunding measure.

A pro-life leader told LifeSiteNews that “the seven targets are ‘swing’ votes who we think are most gettable. Of course, all 100 Senators need pressure. But the seven laid out are either on the fence or close to it.”

Five of the seven  Senators are unlikely to vote to defund, said the activist. “We are not going to get 60 votes on this. Right now, I think our floor is 50 and our ceiling is 54 [votes]. The two who are the real wild cards are Donnelly and Murkowski.”

“But keep in mind that last time we had a vote on this in the Senate in 2011, we only got 42 votes. So if we can get to 51, it’s a victory in that the majority of the U.S. Senate voted to defund PP.”

Some pro-lifers are frustrated that the GOP-controlled Senate did not include the defunding legislation in a “must-pass” bill, such as the transportation bill that passed the Senate. The theory is that this would put pressure on Democrats to pass the bigger bill in order to keep parts of the government funded.

This was a strategy implemented in 2011, when the new GOP majority in the House wanted to defund Planned Parenthood in a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. That effort failed when President Obama called the GOP’s bluff, joining Senate Democrats in being willing to shut down the government in order to keep Planned Parenthood’s funding intact.

The pro-life activist told LifeSiteNews that a similar strategy is under discussion for the new effort to defund Planned Parenthood. “There is already talk about defunding [Planned Parenthood] being a major issue in the [Continuing Resolution]. So I don’t see stand-alone versus must-pass an either/or. We can do both.”

Donnelly’s office said that it was unlikely that the senator, who supports a congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood, would be releasing further statements today on where he will vote tonight.

Senator Joe Manchin put out a statement today affirming that he would support the measure.

“Like many West Virginians, I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in recently released videos, which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of fetal tissue after an abortion,” he said in a statement.

“Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization; instead those funds should be sent to other health care providers, including community health centers, which provide important women’s healthcare services. While my vote is one that will prevent taxpayers dollars from going to Planned Parenthood, I will remain committed to ensuring that all women in West Virginia and America receive the health care services they need.”

Last week, Manchin and Collins said they were working on legislation that could defund only Planned Parenthood clinics that engage in fetal harvesting. Collins told National Journal she was worried about health access for women.

The bill currently before the full Senate, which was introduced by Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, would shift Planned Parenthood funding to other providers.

‘It’s another boy!’: 4th video goes into heart of Planned Parenthood fetal body parts lab

Urgent: Sign the petition demanding that Congress investigate and defund Planned Parenthood here [ https://www.lifesitenews.com/petitions/investigate-planned-parenthood/788192].

July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Workers in a lab are seen sorting through body parts on a dish: a heart, stomach, kidney, and legs.

And then a medical assistant suddenly announces: “It’s another boy!”

This is just a little of the macabre and heart-wrenching footage in the newest undercover video showing alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood, released Thursday morning.

The newest video also shows a Planned Parenthood medical director negotiating a fetal body parts deal while agreeing to prices for harvested parts, and suggesting ways to avoid legal consequences.

“For anyone with a conscience, the video’s entire fetal organ scene is wrenching — to the gut as well as the heart. It hearkens us back to the days of Joseph Mengele or Kermit Gosnell, who both coldly killed and dissected children without remorse,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, in a press release.

The video takes the viewer into Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, where Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Savita Ginde discusses with actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs.

When one of the actors posing as a buyer asks the doctor if “compensation could be specific to the specimen?” Ginde agrees. As the camera travels to the abortion clinic’s pathological laboratory to reveal the aftermath of a real abortion of a baby boy, Ginde tells the buyer that the abortion clinic would rather receive payment per body part harvested, rather than a standard flat fee for the entire case.

“I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” she is heard saying on the video.

Planned Parenthood hit national headlines last month after undercover videos released by the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) showed top officials

from the nation’s largest abortion provider discussing the sale of body parts harvested from babies aborted at their facilities. Those behind the undercover videos say that selling the body parts for profit is a violation of federal law.

Yesterday, the California Superior Court issued a narrow temporary restraining order preventing CMP from releasing further undercover video footage involving top-level staff of StemExpress, the company that purchases the body parts from Planned Parenthood.

Project Lead David Daleiden is using the fourth video to call for an immediate ending to Planned Parenthood’s funding.

“Elected officials need to listen to the public outcry for an immediate moratorium on Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding while the 10 state investigations and 3

Congressional committees determine the full extent of Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts.”

“Planned Parenthood’s recent call for the NIH to convene an expert panel to ‘study’ fetal experimentation is absurd after suggestions from Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Ginde that ‘research’ can be used as a catch-all to cover-up baby parts sales. The biggest problem is bad actors like Planned Parenthood who hold themselves above the law in order to harvest and make money off of aborted fetal brains, hearts, and livers,” he said.

On CNN this morning (3 August 15), Center for Medical Progress leader David Daleiden explained exactly why StemExpress is seeking to block release of secretly recorded video from a meeting he had with its top executives in May:

“In a meeting with their top leadership where their leadership admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born alive infants. And so that’s why they’re trying to suppress that videotape and they’re very scared of it.”

Expert: ‘Comprehensive’ sex ed to blame for increase in activity among teens

http://eagnews.org/expert-comprehensive-sex-ed-to-blame-for-increase-in-activity-among-teens/

By: Steve Gunn

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A long decline in the percentage of American teens who are sexually active has leveled off, and an increasing number of teen girls are using the morning after birth control pill on a regular basis, according to the findings of a recently published study.

None of that surprises Valerie Huber, president and CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association.

She says sex education in public schools in recent years has been focused on the assumption that all or most kids are sexually active, which puts pressure on more teens to meet that expectation.

That drowns out the main message students should be hearing – that the best way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is to put sex on hold during the middle school and high school years, Huber said.

“The recent stall in declines is precisely correlated to the Obama administration’s change in the kind of sex education being given to America’s youth,” Huber wrote to EAGnews in an email.

sex-conference-b-11172014“A real emphasis should be renewed on sexual delay because it removes all the possible consequences of teen sex, including those that are not the ones people usually think of – pregnancy and STDs. Teens could greatly benefit from messages reinforcing the healthiest choice of waiting for sex.”

Huber was reacting to a new survey on teen sex from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey is based on interviews with about 2,000 teens between the ages of 15 and 19, conducted between 2011 and 2013.

The survey revealed that 1 in 5 sexually active teen girls have used the morning-after pill, which was a huge increase from 10 years ago, when the statistic was 1 on 12, according to a news report from the Associated Press.

The most obvious reason for the increase is that the morning-after pill is now obtainable for girls and women of all ages, without a prescription.

Huber cited a lot of facts about the morning-after pill, and she wonders if the many teens who use it are aware of the potential pratfalls.

“Do teens think they are ‘safe’ as long as they use the morning after pill?” Huber wrote. “Do they know that Plan B offers NO protection against the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults?

“Do they think that if they use emergency contraceptions, they are protected from pregnancy? A March, 2015 Princeton meta-analysis showed EC has effectiveness ranging from 62-85 percent, which is far from 100 percent.

“Do they know that if they have a high body mass index, EC may have a decreased or no effect on preventing pregnancy?

“Do they know that the CDC and EC providers warn that Plan B is not intended for use as a routine form of birth control and should not be used in this manner?”

The CDC report also showed that there is no statistical change in the percentage of teens who are sexually active, compared to a decade ago, the news report said. About 45 percent of boys and girls who participated in the study reported being sexually active.

The percentage of teens who were sexually active dropped steadily between the late 1980s and early 2000, but that trend appears to have ended.

Today’s “comprehensive” sex education is responsible for the new wave of sexual activity, according to Huber.

“Is it any surprise that when the predominant message is ‘have sex but use contraception’ that we are beginning to see sexual delay is stalled and even slightly decreasing and multiple partners in teens are increasing?” she wrote.

“Rather than normalizing teen sex, our sex education should promote information and skills that promote optimal sexual health. That means normalizing teen sexual delay.”

Pavone: Americans Must Look Planned Parenthood, Abortion Industry in The Eye

http://www.breitbart.com/author/fr-frank-pavone/

Undercover investigators in recent weeks have added to the evidence that we already had that the abortion industry, and Planned Parenthood in particular, sells the body parts of the babies it kills

As one of those who is close to this project through my partnership with Operation Rescue, and who knows the key players in this investigation, I have been asked by some reporters whether these videos represent a new strategy that replaces for the pro-life movement some of the older strategies like showing graphic pictures of aborted babies.

My answer: not at all. On the contrary, these videos fit into a coherent strategy that I and other pro-life leaders have taught for decades and that is rooted in the history of social reform: social injustices thrive when they are hidden; therefore, you expose them.

Planned Parenthood sells baby body parts. That is undeniable, and Congress as well as the individual states will now play their role in investigating the extent to which Planned Parenthood has broken the law. But whatever direction those investigations take, another investigation has also begun: the American people are being given a chance to look abortion in the eye.

I have always said that America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion. The abortion debate is too abstract; words lose their meaning, and an abundance of words can justify anything.

But when instead of abstract philosophical and legal debates about freedom, choice, and the Constitution, you talk about selling hearts, livers and brains, or see the pictures of them, you cut through the rationalizations and confront the reality of the injustice. That is exactly how the anti-slavery movement, the child labor reform movement, and the civil rights movement accomplished their goals.

It is how the pro-life movement will accomplish its goal, too. Expose abortion.

This is done in three distinct ways, in which the undercover videos fit in two places.

The first way we expose abortion is through images and descriptions of the procedure itself and what it does to the baby. Read articles and speeches defending abortion, and you will practically never read any description of the procedure. You will hear about choice and rights, but not about the body parts. But when the procedure is exposed in all its gory details, defending the practice becomes virtually impossible.

The second way to expose abortion is to expose what it does to those who undergo the procedure. The testimonies of mothers who have aborted their children reveal the devastation it brings to them — the suicidal thoughts and actions, the despair and loss of self-esteem, the nightmares and broken relationships, and more. When people hear these testimonies, as shared, for instance, through our Silent No More Campaign, they see abortion exposed — not as a solution to a problem, but as an action that creates more problems.

The third way we expose abortion is by lifting the veil from the abortion clinics themselves and looking at how corrupt the abortion industry is. This is accomplished in three ways: through dialogue with practicing abortionists and clinic workers, through the testimony of former abortionists and clinic workers, and through undercover conversations, recordings, and videos.

There is a distinction between two different groups of abortion advocates, the propagandists on the one hand and the practitioners on the other. The practitioners see the women crying and screaming. They deal with the bloody parts of little babies. They cope with the literal stench of death.

Of the two groups, the propagandists succeed more readily in the rationalizing necessary to support legal abortion. The reason is simple: they don’t see abortions. Nor do they deal with devastating results for child and parents. The practitioners, on the other hand, see the concrete evidence every day, and it is harder for them to deny. That is why they are more willing to talk with us on the pro-life side. They know we see what they see.

But for the propagandists things are a lot cleaner and simpler: they send out press releases; hold press conferences; prepare reports in cushy offices; and talk about freedom, rights, and choices. One thing the propagandists rarely discuss, however, is what an abortion actually is. For them it’s about viewpoints, not victims; it’s about beliefs, not bloodshed.

We are living in a world proud to turn a blind eye to the obvious. That great blind spot in our culture covers the children in the womb. Our mission is to shine light on that darkness.

One of the most helpful words in the English language is empathy, the feeling that we understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions. William Wilberforce, the catalyst in Britain’s abolition of the slave trade, gave the “Abolition Speech” to Parliament in 1789, and in that speech revealed a human imperative that took hold of him and made his commitment to abolition absolute:

As soon as ever I had arrived thus far in my investigation of the slave trade, I confess to you sir, so enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition. A trade founded in iniquity, and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might, let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

Observe how Wilberforce’s commitment is rooted not in some abstract “nuance,” but in a concrete, human connection with the victims. This connection did not lead Wilberforce to despair but rather a determination that he “would never rest.”

Exposing abortion leads to that same determination to stop its damaging effects. The undercover videos do not replace that strategy; they embody it.

Our Lady of America needs your help!‏

 

 

Our Lord and His Blessed Mother Mary visited with Precious Blood Sister Mary Ephrem on several occasions from the 1940s until at least 1959 and probably until Sister’s death in 2000. Mary identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, and also as “Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin”.

On September 25th, 1956, Our Lady promised that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United States in particular, if we would do as she desires. Our Lady indicated that this promise was not for miracles of the body, but of the soul. The following morning, Mary spoke ‘very solemnly and distinctly’:  “I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives.”

“Our Lady made three requests:

* That a medal be cast that bore her image as Our Lady of America, with these words around it: “By your Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil.” The Coat of Arms of the Christian Family is on the other side of the medal and includes a representation of the Divine Indwelling.

* That a statue be made according to the description she gave to Sister Mary Ephrem, and

* That this statue be placed, after being solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. She wishes to be honored there in a special way as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. (Nov 15, 1956)

Her first two requests have been accomplished and her statue is very near to the Shrine. Her third request-made over 58 years ago-has still not been granted. In three separate messages during 1959 (February, July, and December), Our Lady made it clear that she had run out of patience and could no longer stop the persecution that Her Son promised if her requests were not granted.

Could it be that the threatened persecution actually began the following year-1960-with the introduction of the revolutionary Birth Control Pill?1 Can this persecution be stopped by granting Mary’s third request?

Pope Francis will be at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday September 23rd to canonize Fr Junipero Serra.

This may be a graced opportunity for having Our Lady’s remaining request granted. You can help make that happen by writing to Pope Francis.

Here is how to do that.

Ask Pope Francis to Advocate for, and Join in, that Solemn Procession

Write a letter to Pope Francis in which you ask His Holiness to endorse personally the devotion to Our Lady of America and to invite the United States Catholic Bishops to join Him in the Solemn Procession and permanent placement of the statue of Our Lady of America into the Basilica of the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception at Washington, DC when he visits that shrine church in September.

You should address your letter or postcard, as follows:

His Holiness, Pope Francis c/o Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.A. 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008-3610

[EXAMPLE POST CARD MESSAGE]

Re: Our Lady of America, Her unique request here in the USA

Dear Pope Francis,

When you come to the USA in September 2015, please encourage the United States bishops to join you in a solemn procession and the permanent placement of the Our Lady of America statue into the National Shrine

Basilica of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

Please know that we pray for you faithfully.

Most respectfully,

[Your name]

[Be sure to include your return address]

______________________________

For more examples go to:

http://www.ourladyofamerica.org/PopeFrancisSampleLetters.php

1. Our nation’s laws chronicle the shifts our culture has taken:

a) Prayer in public schools determined to be illegal-1962

b) Laws against distribution of birth control overturned-1965

c) First no-fault divorce law (CA)-1969

d) Title X provides free contraceptives to low-income women-1970

e) Laws against distribution of birth control to single people overturned-1972

f) All laws against abortion declared unconstitutional-1973

g) Supreme Court reaffirms Roe vs Wade, admits that abortion is necessary for failed contraception, and gives people the right to organize intimate relationships and make choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society-1992

h) First physician assisted suicide law approved in Oregon-1992

i)Supreme Court decides Texas Law banning sodomy is unconstitutional and thus eliminates all state laws against sodomy-2003

j) Legality of same-sex “marriage” established nation-wide-2015.

 

May God bless America and each of us.

 

Students need to hear about health risks of contraceptives: Project Rachel founder

July 23, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) — All Catholic colleges should be teaching students about the scientifically documented dangers of birth control, in addition to Catholic teaching against it, argued Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel and organizer of an upcoming symposium set to discuss the biological case for avoiding contraception.

In an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, Thorn explained that events such as these should set the pace for Catholic colleges to help students and young people understand the health risks of taking oral contraceptives.

The symposium, “Contraceptive Conundrum: Effects and Side Effects”, will be held August 8th, in conjunction with the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Topics of discussion will include the brain’s relationship with hormones, oral contraceptives’ adverse effects on the unborn, and contraception’s impact on partner selection and relationship satisfaction.

“The more you learn about the biological processes, the more you see that what the Church has taught about sex is right,” said Thorn. The symposium is “about opening the door to the research that’s out there,” Thorn explained. “Women have been poorly informed. We’re told that the pill is wonderful and fixes everything, but there are real physical consequences to these chemicals.”

Thorn told the Society that her motivation for getting involved was the untimely death of one of her daughter’s friends, who suffered from fatal blood clots as a result of contraceptive use. “The pill ages a woman’s ovum, causes nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, increased cancer risk, strokes and blood clots,” said Thorn. “Women and men have a right to know this.”

Catholic colleges, she argued, need to put these facts, as well as Catholic teaching, in front of students. “We need to engage our young people and our students with this understanding of biology and couple it with theology,” Thorn urged.

“We live in a society where sex has become a recreational activity. We’ve become disembodied,” said Thorn. Moreover, “young people may struggle to embrace the moral teachings on contraception and the theology of the body if they’re coming from a broken sexual past,” she warned.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following about contraception:

[T]he innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.

Thorn encouraged Catholic colleges to invite couples who are living a faithful, contraception-free marriage to come to campuses to discuss these issues and “to honestly reflect on what it means to be married” and to explain the sacramental nature of marriage as “a triune relationship with God.”

Thorn noted that young people often appear “so competent, but there may be a semi-truck full of wounds in their soul.” It is a Catholic college’s responsibility to “recognize those wounds, give them permission to talk about them and give young people the possibility of an ideal—of a committed marriage that is fruitful, wherein children are a gift.”

These are messages that “are not out there” in the mainstream college world, said Thorn.

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society

Girls Hitting Puberty Earlier, 10x Faster Than Boys –and it’s NOT all About the Chicken!!!!

Source:http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2015/07/25/girls-early-puberty-not-about-chicken-hormones/

Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Generations of parents have known, understood, and parroted this fact to teenagers with raging hormones who didn’t want to hear the old adage one more time.

But for some reason, when it comes to hormones in 10-year-old girls, doctors aren’t getting it.

They decided that since everyone was doing it, it must be “normal” and simply redefined what’s acceptable (source) rather than digging into find out what’s wrong with a generation of young children. Even other researchers disagree (source).

If your daughter or granddaughter becomes one of the increasingly common 6-8-year-old girls growing pubic hair and breast buds (source), you might feel worried.

And you should be!

But your reaction should not be this: I know the problem! It is the hormones in the chicken!

When I posted an article about earlier puberty in girls on Facebook, I was dismayed to see the high percentage of commenters with that knee-jerk reaction. They clearly did not click through to actually read the article (there should be a disease name for that, like “title-is-enough-for-me-osis” or “don’t-need-to-know-the-whole-story-ism”).

“It’s the meat! The dairy! The huge-breasted chickens! What are we doing to our food these days?!?”

Lo and behold, educated by their skill in reading titles of articles on the Internet, they knew exactly the problem.

Surprise, surprise: They’re wrong.

Chickens, Cattle, and Hormones, Oh My!

Chickens don’t even need growth hormones, steroids, or supplemental estrogen or testosterone of any kind.

It’s been illegal for decades.

Beef cattle are allowed to be treated with hormones (6 of them, 3 natural, 3 synthetic), but that can’t be the whole story. Dairy cattle are allowed to be treated with the infamous rBST or rBGH, but due to popular consumer demand, most farms no longer use it, as evidenced on the majority of milk jugs anyone can read in the store.

But even with that hormonal influence on our environment and our food supply via cattle farming, the problem of earlier puberty is not just about food, and in fact, only a small percentage of orally consumed hormones make it through the digestive system according to research done by Parodi (2012) and Hartmann et. al (1998).

It’s a much bigger issue than that.

Is this more than your average Facebook scroller and post title reader can handle?

I’m going to do my best to keep it brief and digestible…promise.

Winking smileThe beginning of the story is this:

  1. The average age of onset of menstruation was 16 in 1860, 14 in 1920, and 12.5 today.
  2. In the last 30-40 years, those numbers have moved down 6 months – which feels significant for such a short time.
  3. The very start of puberty – breast development – has dropped two full years in those same four decades. So puberty is lasting longer, which may point to external sources of estrogen that our girls’ bodies are reacting to by beginning breast development.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls by Greenspan and Deardorff

The question to pursue is: Where is environmental estrogen found in larger quantities over the last century?

There is Estrogen in Meat…and Some Other Stuff

All animals create hormones as part of their normal growth and development, and the testosterone and estrogen in animals is the same substance as in humans.

So every time we eat meat, we’re going to consume that animal’s hormones.

There are also six hormones approved for use in cattle: 3 natural, 3 synthetic. However, the residue in the meat is extremely small, less than that of natural hormones in some instances, and remember that research that showed that consumed hormones don’t make it through our digestive system all that efficiently.

That doesn’t mean I’m a fan of hormone therapy for animals, and it doesn’t mean there are no ill effects from it – similar to the problems in fish from hormonal birth control excreted into the water supply, aquatic ecosystems downstream from cattle farms demonstrate major fertility problems. The males are feminized and the females are masculinized. The hormones are at least somewhat persistent in the environment.

Besides that, the fact remains that “A 2009 study found that children who consumed the most protein from animal sources entered puberty about seven months earlier than those who consumed the least.” (source)

But correlation does not equal causation, and it’s not necessarily about the hormones – Marcia Herman-Giddens, lead author of a 1997 study on early puberty in girls, rang in on the 2009 study for the Huffington Post:

“It’s more likely that meat, milk, and similar foods help trigger earlier puberty because they are rich in protein, calories, and nutrients.”

You can poo-poo that comment all you want, but check this out: many vegetables have more estrogen than hormone-therapy-implanted beef:

 

Why Girls Mature Faster These Days and What You Can Do About It! Early puberty is very real, but it's NOT all about the hormones in chicken! In fact, there are no added hormones in chicken - but our environment slams girls with estrogen from many sources.

source for table

But – have these vegetables changed in estrogen quantity over the last century? Not likely. In the case of soy, we are certainly eating a massively larger quantity than the 1800s, and it’s possible we simply eat more meat because food in general is in greater abundance: easier to purchase, easier to prepare since it’s all done for you.

Why Chickens Get so Big so Fast

Yes, it’s true that the chicken breasts you buy in the store seem impossibly huge.

Yes, it’s true that today’s conventionally farmed meat chickens have massive amounts of breast meat.

Yes, it’s true that those poor chickens get so big in front that they often have trouble walking and may even break their own legs simply by the weight of their chests.

But it’s not added hormones in their feed (that wouldn’t work anyway).

It’s not injected hormones (they’d have to inject them multiple times per day for very little result).

It’s not any supplementation at all.

Big-breasted chickens are so because of three practices:

  1. Breeding for growth
  2. Feeding for growth
  3. Growing for growth (their environment)

Are these things good for the chicken?

No.

But they make big meat.

Add to that the up to 30% filler that can be pumped into the chicken meat after it is slaughtered (salt, water, sugars, broth, preservatives), and you’ve got a recipe for impossibly fat, juicy chicken breasts.

Sources: 1, 2

The Real Reasons for Early Puberty in Girls

Let me say it again: It’s not just the meat!

The complexities of the human body are so vast that it’s impossible to pin a general downward trend in onset of puberty on one thing. However, scientists and doctors have quite a few researched theories:

  • Pharmaceuticals in tap water: How many millions of women take birth control and hormone replacement therapy these days? All that extra estrogen is excreted into the sewage system, cannot be filtered by water treatment, and ends up in our water supply. There’s no way this only effect girls. (sources: 1, 2)
  • Estrogen-like endocrine disrupting chemicals (EEDC) – they’re everywhere, and this is definitely new in the last century.
    • Plastics: BPA, phthalates
    • Flame retardants
    • Pesticides
    • Parabens in personal products
    • Fluoride in city water
    • sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Not enough exercise: Getting exercise is one of the few actions research-proven to help avoid early puberty. (sources: 1, 2)
  • Fat accumulation/obesity: One theory is that because hormones collect in fatty tissue, additional fat may cause higher levels of hormones that spark the onset of puberty earlier. (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  • Familial make-up: Girls without dad in the home are twice as likely to enter puberty early. (sources: 1, 2)
  • Poor infant-mother bond. (source)
  1. Stress, especially severe and early in life. (sources: 1, 2)
  2. Sleep patterns being interrupted: Poor sleep decreases melatonin levels, an important hormone. Artificial lighting and screens after natural daylight ends impact this greatly. (sources: 1, 2, 3)
  3. Low Vitamin D (source)

Now we have to remember that research has only shown that all those elements may be related to early onset of puberty, in girls in particular (obesity, for example, actually works exactly the opposite in boys).

Correlation does not equal causation.

The problems above may in some cases be the result of early puberty or even completely unrelated.

Or perhaps they’re related to each other, like this one:

You’re Not Fat Because You Eat Too Much

Similar to the popular quick answer to the early puberty question, most people respond to the problem of obesity in one of three ways:

  1. We eat too much!
  2. Too much fat and sugar!
  3. Not enough exercise!

Research over the last decade has begun to point to the possibility that endocrine disruptors in our environment – from the personal products we use to the containers for our food and drink – may be a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. (source)

Those same endocrine disruptors are also correlated with early puberty.

So it really isn’t all about the chicken.

The bottom line is this – you can’t just avoid early puberty in girls (or messed up reproductive systems for anyone) by becoming a vegan.

Nothing is that simple.

But rather than be overwhelmed by another fearful article, be encouraged – you’re probably already avoiding a lot of the things responsible for reproductive malfunctions already, and if you’re not, take some baby steps today.

15 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Chances for Healthy Reproductive Systems

  • Ditch plastic wherever possible: stainless steel water bottles, glass dishes for food, reusable sandwich bags for food on the go, and no single use water bottles if you can help it.
  • Seek out natural personal products – I have a huge list of everything I use in our home RIGHT HERE. At the very least, familiarize yourself with the top chemicals to avoid, including any word that ends in “paraben.” From my interview with a biochemist, chemical sunscreens would be a big one to avoid, too. (See the interview here: “Have Some Hormone Replacement Therapy with your Bikini“)
  • Lean toward organic beef as much as possible. (Here are a few online sources if you don’t have anything locally available: Tropical Traditions, Tendergrass Farms, U.S. Wellness Meats – my affiliate links.)
  • Any organic food you can afford is a great idea since chemical pesticides are pegged in a whole host of issues including endocrine system woes.
  • Any whole foods you can eat vs. processed foods is a good step – you’ll avoid BPA in packaging and help your families’ bodies stay as healthy as possible and at a healthy weight. I can help you teach your kids to cook and enjoy real food – and if you’re a rookie yourself, you might pick up some skills in the process.
  • Skip the sugar.
  • Help your children get sufficient and quality sleep. Limit screens especially at night. (See my post, The Secret to Healing Sleep, for more.)
  • Take a Vitamin D supplement.
  • Stay married.
  • Form strong bonds with your babies.
  • Avoid processed soy (read the labels – it’s everywhere, unfortunately!).
  • Seek to reduce stress – for everyone in your family!
  • Skip the feetie jams – all pajamas except tight-fitting ones are treated with flame retardants. Look into safe mattress alternatives as well.
  • Avoid birth control in your home and advocate others to do the same. NFP is a fantastic alternative to chemical birth control. Unfortunately, there is no filter on the market that I know of that can remove pharmaceuticals and estrogen from the water supply, so in this case, you’re mostly at the mercy of other people’s decisions.
  • Exercise. It’s one of the few interventions known to help prevent early puberty. (source)

NFP Has No Place in Paradise

http://ablogaboutmiscarriage.blogspot.com/

It’s Natural Family Planning Awareness Week and I didn’t really think I’d have much to add to the conversation. The Catholic blogging world is already saturated with posts about NFP this week and I’ve read many, many wonderful posts on every angle of the topic in the past. My experiences are unique (aren’t ours all?) but not necessarily anything completely new or different. But to do my part, I wrote this post on Facebook yesterday to share my perspective and as I was writing it, for the first in my life it occurred to me exactly why NFP is so difficult – because it was never part of God’s original plan.

You see, in the perfect world God intended – the world without sin or suffering – NFP doesn’t have a place. The situations that make postponing a pregnancy necessary – physical and mental health issues, financial concerns, marital problems, lack of support system, etc. – they wouldn’t exist. And fertility problems that require couples use NFP to become pregnant, they wouldn’t exist either. There simply would be no need for Natural Family Planning. It’s not the default for human beings as God designed us. But it’s there because we live in a flawed world; not the natural order of things but a gift given to us by God to help us cope with our imperfect situations in an imperfect existence.

Many people need NFP for one reason or another, and I am incredibly grateful that it exists for those situations. For most of our marriage, we’ve used NFP. When we got pregnant with Lucia in 2011, my husband and I had hoped we’d never use NFP again. We looked forward to the idea of our family planned completely on God’s timing, of never looking at a chart again, of being genuinely surprised (but not too surprised) by a new pregnancy. But then we went through a period of unemployment. Followed by miscarriage after miscarriage. And then my current bout of prenatal depression and anxiety (yes, it’s back). And it seems that for the rest of our childbearing years we’ll always have one reason or another to use NFP to either avoid pregnancy or help us decrease chances of future miscarriage. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Yes, the day to day practice of NFP can be difficult. But the emotional strain is even harder because it reminds us of the brokenness of our world (and my body). My chart is a symbol of how far we are from Eden. For all that people talk about how wonderful NFP is for marriage and communication and knowing your body and (fill in the blank), the truth is that if all were as it should be, we simply wouldn’t need it.

NFP strikes me as similar to a cancer treatment, let’s say chemotherapy. Of course, it’s not poisonous or painful like chemotherapy (NFP is green! And completely natural! No physical side effects!), but bear with me. The only reason chemotherapy exists is to combat cancer. Those who have cancer (and their loved ones) are grateful it gives them the opportunity to fight the cancer, but they’d rather they didn’t need it in the first place. My family has had several extra years (and hopefully many more) with my 84 year old grandfather because of two rounds of chemotherapy. But the chemo itself took its toll on him and is a reminder of the brokenness of his body, the unnaturalness of the cancer that necessitated it in the first place. I wish there was no chemo because I wish there was no cancer. Actually, I suppose that’s how we feel about most medication. I’m grateful to God for well-trained doctors and medical researchers who allow us to combat the illnesses of the mind and body, but I’m still sad and bitter that we even have illnesses we have to treat.

So too with NFP. I wish we didn’t need it. I wish we lived in a perfect world where the circumstances were always perfect for more children to be welcomed and everyone had perfect, healthy, functioning fertility. Since there is a need for NFP, I’m grateful it’s there. But even if I appreciate it, I don’t have to like it. It’s ok if it doesn’t feel natural and beautiful and effortless, because it’s simply not how it was meant to be. 

Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

http://www.archkck.org/

I don’t usually post my homilies for a variety of reasons. But several people asked me for this one, and this is the quickest way I have of distributing it. For those who weren’t able to make the Mass — or would like to better understand where the church is coming from on contraception — I invite you to give it a read.

Forty-Seventh Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
Feast of St. Bridget of Sweden

Tonight, we gather to give thanks for Blessed Paul VI and his prophetic teaching 47 years ago on the dignity of human life and the beauty of marital love. We gather on this Feast of St. Bridget of Sweden, who with her husband, Ulf, were God’s human instrument of giving life to eight children.

Bridget and Ulf understood that their role and responsibility as parents did not end, but began with conceiving their children. The aim and ambition of all Christian mothers and fathers are to rear their children to know and to love God in this world and to encourage them to live in such a way that they will live with God forever in heaven.

One of their children, Karin, is also venerated as a Saint – St. Catherine of Sweden. Catherine, like her Mother, was a young widow. She accompanied her Mother to Rome and on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After St. Bridget’s death, she became the Abbess of the Monastery her Mother had founded.

We ask for St. Bridget’s and St. Catherine’s intercession tonight that that our Church today might be an effective defender of the beauty and importance of Christian marriage and family life.

II
Gifts from God
Yesterday, as I was preparing this homily at the Office in my Residence, there was a man making some repairs on the air-conditioning system. He asked me what I was reading. At the time, I was reading a meditation by St. Bridget.

He told me that he was raised a Methodist and had met his wife, who had been raised Catholic, at an Evangelical Protestant Church. He told me that he loved to read the Bible. He considered Himself, more Catholic than Protestant, in part because he believes in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He also considers himself practically Catholic because he has 10 children. Early in their marriage he and his wife decided that they wanted to have as many children as God wanted them to have. He could not imagine life without his youngest child, a daughter, or any of the other nine children. It was obvious that he treasured each of his children as a precious gift from God. He reminded me of St. Augustine who gave to his illegitimate child the name – Adeodatus, gift from God.

III
Paul VI, a Modern Prophet
I told this man that I was working on this homily for tonight, commemorating the 47th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s teach on the dignity of Human Life and the beauty of Christian married life. I shared with him that Paul VI foresaw the terrible consequences of the sexual revolution, of the separation of life-giving component from the love-giving component of sexual love.

Paul VI had predicted that the widespread use of contraception would result in marital infidelity, a dramatic increase in divorce, and a general lowering of morality. Paul VI was particularly concerned about the vulnerability of men, particularly young men, who in the Pope’s words: “… have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anticonceptive practices, may finally lose respect for woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

Paul VI was prophetic in describing what we now would call the hook-up culture so rampant on college campuses and amidst young adults. It is a culture where so many young people have sexual encounters barely knowing the other person, much less having a committed and loving relationship. Is it any wonder that we have an epidemic of date rape? We see a culture today, where so many young men and young women, have lost respect for each other.

Paul VI appealed to public leaders of his time to protect young and old from “every form of pornography and licentious performances.” The Holy Father instead urged them to create a culture that fosters the virtue of chastity. He warned public officials of the danger of permitting toxic materials to infect the young under the pretense of a false freedom or artistic expression. Mercifully, Paul VI did not live to see what is common fare today on cable and even network television.

My AC Repairman marveled at the blessing for the Church to have someone who could see so clearly the consequences of contraception and the sexual revolution it fueled. Today, if we but have the eyes to see, we are surrounded by the casualties of the sexual revolution, e.g. the high number of single parents, the number of children that do not have a father in their home, the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, the millions that have died from AIDS, pornography as the largest internet industry and pornographic addiction at epidemic proportions. These victims also include more than a million unborn children aborted in our country alone, the large number of teen pregnancies, and the distressing number of victims of child abuse. Our modern culture is adept at providing access to every conceivable form of pleasure, but mystified at the incredible number of individuals suffering from depression. Millions of adults and children find authentic and enduring joy elusive.

Paul VI even foresaw governments like our own in its domestic policy promoting contraception and abortion as part of preventive health care as well as providing massive amounts of federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and at the same time making foreign aid grants to third world nations, contingent on their subjecting their people to family planning and abortion propaganda. Similarly, he predicted government’s like China coercing women to have abortion and limiting the number of children married couples are permitted to bring into the world.

IV
Much That Was Not Foreseen
As much foresight as Paul VI had there were many aspects of our contemporary culture that he did not envision. He did not foresee abortion conglomerates selling fetal body parts for profit. He did not conceive of a society so confused that it would redefine marriage – no longer recognizing that essential to the marital covenant was complementary love of a man and a woman and that essential to marriage was the biological possibility of creating new life. Paul VI was unable to see the Brave New World of children being manufactured in laboratories. He did not foresee the Church being denied the ability to facilitate adoptions, because of our refusal to place children with same-sex couples. He did not imagine a new industry of what some call mommy porn as evidence with the popularity of books and movies like Fifty Shades of Gray. Paul VI did not foresee the gender question, resulting in iconic organizations like the Girl Scouts, permitting boys who want to be girls to become Brownies!

V
Everyone Has a Part in Reclaiming our Culture
Paul VI in Humanae Vitae identified the role and responsibility of many different groups to support authentic marriage and family life.

He challenged Bishops to be strong and courageous teachers of the Truth about love, sexuality, marriage and family life. He called upon priests to nourish with the Word of God and the Sacraments married couples and parents so that they could live well their beautiful, if challenging vocation.

Our late Holy Father called upon scientists to help couples find moral ways to address some of the challenges that made them vulnerable to resorting to contraception. Paul VI would have been so pleased by the advancements in Natural Family Planning. He would have been gratified by the Institute in Omaha named in his honor, where the best of medical science helps couples use moral means to exercise stewardship over their fertility and assists infertile couples to be able to conceive new life. The Holy Father called upon medical doctors, not only to refuse to perform abortions, but to assist couples by giving patients care that conforms to time honored moral principles as well as the best medical practice.

He challenged government leaders to enact public policies that protect the innocent and the vulnerable.
Paul VI called upon everyone (priests, religious, singles, married couples) to strive to live a life of virtue particularly the virtue of chastity, even when that required heroic sacrifice and a willingness to be counter-cultural.

VI
Vibrant Marriages and Families are the Vaccine and the Cure
However, the vaccine and the cure for healing our society and reclaiming our culture are present in this Church tonight. It is strong marriages and vibrant families.

Christian marriage is a call to heroic love. It is a call to lay down one’s life for another in love. It is a summons to seek the happiness and eternal welfare of one’s spouse before one’s own wants and desires. It is a call to make the self-sacrificing love of Jesus real and tangible to one’s spouse and children.

Christian parenthood is a call to lose your life, as you knew it, to embark upon the most important work for our culture, society, nation and the church, namely the formation of children – the next generation of leaders, citizens and parishioners. In the words of St. John Paul uttered in his 1999 pastoral visit to St. Louis: “As the family goes so goes the nation!”

It is difficult as married couples and as parents to realize the importance of the seemingly inconsequential decisions that you make each and every day to sacrifice for the good of your spouse and your children. It is the cumulative impact of these seemingly small choices made day after day over a lifetime that impact the good of society and the good of the Church so profoundly.

VII
The Entire Church and our Archdiocese Are Focused on Marriage and Family
The entire Church at this moment is focused upon the importance of marriage and family life. Last October, the Synod of Bishops, representing the Catholic Bishops of the entire world, met for several weeks identifying the challenges confronting married couples and families today. This coming October another Synod will meet in Rome to develop a pastoral strategies to guide the Church in its efforts to support better marriage and family life.

Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States this September. The principal reason for his visit is to participate in the World Gathering of Families in Philadelphia. St. John Paul initiated the World Gathering of Families more than 20 years, in order to hold up to the world the importance of marriage and family life as the foundation for culture and civilization.

In our Archdiocese in the next few weeks, I will promulgate a Vision for the next decade in the Archdiocese. Among three Key Initiatives that give direction to this vision is one to strengthen the vocation of marriage and family life.

Part of this Key Initiative will be to invite married couples to give priority to strengthening their love for each other. We hope to help couples realize that one of the most important things they can do to change the world and help the Church is to invest in their marital relationship. Moreover, we want to find ways to help parents to live their vocation of being the first and most important teachers of their children in the Faith.

The Christian Family is to be a School of Faith and Virtue. It is the Christian Family that is the tool that God has ordained to pass the Faith from one generation to the next. Christian Parents are called to be teachers of the Faith by their words, but even more importantly by their example. They are called to create the environment in their home where the Faith is caught by their children. Christian families should be Saint Factories!

Parents are called to be Spiritual Directors for their Children, introducing them to a life of prayer and helping them from their earliest days to communicate sincerely, faithfully, and authentically with God. I want our Archdiocesan Church to do everything possible to help parents fulfill this critically important and awesome mission.

VIII
The Source of Complete Joy
In our first reading tonight from Galatians, St. Paul says the he lives “by Faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” Paul knew well the profound joy that comes from knowing he was loved by His Creator, the Creator of the universe.

Paul knew, however, that there was even a more sublime joy that experiencing the love of the only one who can fulfill the deepest longings of our heart. Paul knew what it was like to allow Christ to live in Him and then through him to be the human instrument of bringing the joy and the peace of God’s love to others. To bring another to know the love of God revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ, is to experience what Jesus terms as “Complete Joy.”

Jesus instructs His Disciples that they must be connected to Him, the Vine. The disciples must allow the very life of Jesus to pulse through them so that they can be fruitful. Dear Parents, your children are the fruit of you love. They are your love with a name, like Grace or Jacob or Joey or Emily.

IX
Mass Intention
Tonight, I offer this Mass for all married couples that your love will not atrophy and grow dimmer with the passing of time, but instead it will grow stronger and deeper and more passionate. I offer this Mass for Parents that you will discover that complete joy Our Lord desires for you in devoting yourself to the most important of all human tasks, the giving and the nurturing of human life. I pray that you will do everything possible, not just so that your children can succeed and prosper in this world, but so that they will become Saints and achieve their destiny to live with God forever.
Thus we invoke some of the great Saints to intercede for us:

St. Bridget and St. Catherine – Wives and Mothers, Pray for Us
St. Thomas More – Defender of True Marriage, Pray for Us
St. Gianna Molla, who willing gave her life for her daughter, Pray for Us
St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered his life to rescue a husband and father, Pray for us
St. Therese of Lisieux and your Holy Parents – Louis and Zelie Martin, Pray for us.

Amen!

Bill Gates to roll out remote control microchip-based sterilization of women

by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) When Bill Gates, along with Paul Allen, began a little tech venture called “Microsoft” in a garage in 1975, he couldn’t possibly have imagined that the company would grow into the largest personal computer company and most widely used PC operating system on the planet.

Or make him the richest man in the known galaxy.

But all of that happened, of course, and for the last two decades Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have been involved in socially engineering the world to be a place they want to mold in an image they have devised.

In recent months Gates has taken his vision a step further, with the development of computer chip technology that will essentially serve as one element of his quest for population control and reduction.

As reported by the Activist Post’s Heather Callaghan, soon medical microchip implants will be introduced to the general population, which will serve as “the new face of medicine that polygamously marries Big Pharma, biotech, nanotech and wireless remote technology.”

“Maybe hooking oneself into the Internet of Things will be an additional app, although this sounds like a passive form of medicine where someone else gets to call the shots, so to speak,” she added.

From ‘pro-choice’ to ‘no-choice’
Perhaps not surprisingly – given its propensity to favor technology that reduces planetary human presence – the same developers who are bringing wireless, remote-controlled implants are currently focused on a product that is the cornerstone of future efforts: Gates Foundation-funded birth control microchip implants.

Callaghan notes that wireless technology allows the remotely controlled chips to essentially activate a woman’s ability to conceive, or prevent it, at will, which amounts to temporary sterilization (if a decision is made, say by an all-powerful government agency, to prevent a woman from bearing a child). Government in the U.S. would instantly transform itself from “pro-choice” (through the permission of abortion) to no choice.

The writer also observed:

Of course with remote technology funded by eugenics depopulation fanatics, the first questions should always be, “the ability to conceive by whose will?” This would be the complete antithesis of female empowerment or a “woman’s right to choose” – would it not?

What’s more, the chips are encrypted, so no hacking – not by cyber criminals or by technologically clever souls who are simply trying to bypass a government’s oppression.

The microchip is implantable into arms, hips or somewhere on a woman’s back. The development of the chip was kept under wraps while researchers and scientists worked to complete work the past couple of years. But the existence of the chip was finally confirmed publicly as beta testing of the technology is scheduled to begin towards the end of 2015, when volunteers will be sought.

If poor women are the target, why encrypt the chips?
As reported by TWCN:

The birth control chip is the brain child of a professor, Robert Langer, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation has funded the research and the prototype is ready for human testing. The chips will be ready for sale by the year 2018 according to Robert Langer. The institute’s Chip Foundation and Bill Gates’ Foundation have been working on the birth control chip for past three years.

The safety tests would begin by the end of year 2015 and Robert Langer is confident that the chips will hit market sometime in 2018. The main target of these chips are women in third world who are often subject to pain and risks of death during early pregnancies.

That report noted that the chip is expected to remain viable for at least 16 years once implanted.

While the “target” population is poor, third-world women, such technology is, of course, ripe for abuse. After all, think about it: If that demographic is the primary target, why would the chips need to be encrypted? How many third-world populations have within their midst the technological capability or the power to resist?

When he began Microsoft, Bill Gates likely never thought he’d become rich enough to hold the power of life in his hands. Talk about your “evil corporations.”

Sources:

http://www.activistpost.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/029911_vaccines_bill_gates.html

http://news.thewindowsclub.com

The average Planned Parenthood CEO salary: $200,000

July 21, 2015 (PregnancyHelpNews) — Now is as good a time as any to mention a factoid about the average salary for a Planned Parenthood regional CEO: just a cut below $200,000.

In other words, about one Lamborghini a year. And that’s before you consider the bonus potential of wheeling and dealing with aborted baby parts distributors.

Yessir, the sky’s the limit when you sign on to work for America’s most profitable non-profit—experts at exploiting existing revenue streams like taxpayer dollars and paid baby dismemberment, and veritable creative geniuses when it comes to pioneering innovative business lines like the resale of livers, kidneys and lungs.

Of course, climbing Big Abortion’s corporate ladder does have its downside.

For instance, you might need to crank up the music in your posh ride to drown out the voices in your head that call you a grave robber, or compare you to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab assistant.

Plus, business can get a little slow when you’ve only got 800 abortions per year at the “much smaller affiliate” of Planned Parenthood you might find yourself overseeing.

At that rate, it can almost feel like you’re not making a big enough contribution to the 327,166 abortions per year your parent company is “performing”—always a strange verb to use, since there’s generally no applause to follow the monetized snuffing out of a life.

Again, these thoughts can be drowned out pretty simply by the turning of a dial and the roar of your 641 horsepower machine—brought to you every year thanks to the American taxpayer, women overwhelmed by the shock of an unexpected pregnancy, and the retail of various body parts of aborted babies.

Let’s be fair, Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director’s Council President Dr. Mary Gatter was clearly joking when she said she wanted a Lamborghini in today’s video, released by The Center for Medical Progress.

It was tongue-in-cheek, and we need not take it out of context or blow it out of proportion. To do so would be dishonest and deceptive, and we need to remember that it’s Big Abortion—specifically Planned Parenthood—alone who has something to hide.

But, as the wheels continue to fall off Planned Parenthood’s hearse, let’s not miss the truth the latest evidence puts on a platter for us: Abortion is a profit game. Always has been. Always will be.

Which raises an interesting contrast. Every single day, while “doctors”—again, I’m searching for a better noun here—all across the United States are putting our hard-earned tax dollars to work by preying on roughly 3,500 desperate women, robbing these moms of motherhood and aborting their innocent children, there’s an alternative army of healers at work.

The 2,500 healers who make up this group bring home an average of $43,144 per year, and run their organizations on an annual budget the size of 3/4 of the cost of a Lamborghini. Like the highly paid practitioners and facilitators of abortion, this group wakes up every morning with a singular goal in mind.

It so happens that those who belong to this group have the same client in mind as their counterparts at Planned Parenthood: a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy.

It’s just that there’s a major difference between these two opposing schools of thought: You might even call it a life and death difference.

Who is this alternative force? It’s the leaders of a counter-movement that is responsible for reaching and rescuing over 3,000 lives every week from the violence of abortion.

It’s the leaders of the pregnancy help community, which traces its roots to the pre-Roe days of the late 1960s, when abortion on-demand became legalized in Colorado, California, and New York.

Seeing the need for a woman faced with an unexpected pregnancy to be surrounded by loving and compassionate support, fully equipped to make the healthiest decision for everyone involved, people began opening their homes, their lives, and their pocketbooks to see that every mother felt loved and supported during her pregnancy.

On their own dime, these life-minded individuals began to organize themselves in the early 1970s, when a doctor named John Hillabrand partnered with a Holocaust survivor named Lore Maier to form what would come to be known as Heartbeat International—now the largest, most expansive network of pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies.

Unlike highly profitable abortion businesses, pregnancy help organizations keep their lights on by raising their own money with local fundraisers like crab feeds and wedding dress resale shops—which offers a mind-blowing contrast to what Planned Parenthood is in the business of reselling.

The people who run these organizations actually believe that every life has inestimable value—like, wait for it, more value than a Lamborghini.

From start to finish, the motivation of the pregnancy help community’s pioneers, its 24-7 pregnancy helpline,Option Line, and all the way down to the smallest pregnancy center in Podunk, U.S.A., is a simple one: to reach and rescue as many lives as possible.

That’s it. Rescuing lives.

That kind of thinking won’t get you a Lamborghini, but, as the old saying goes, “The benefits are out of this world.”

To Sin by Silence

by Fr. Peter Mitchell

Pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Greenville, Wisconsin Given on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 28, 2015

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men.” – Abraham Lincoln

My dear parishioners, I had hoped I would not have to give this homily. But as your pastor and shepherd, I must speak today, lest I sin by silence and act in cowardice. This past Friday, June 26, 2015 by a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has told us that our entire nation must accept the redefinition of marriage. The decision is being hailed by many as a victory for love. Our President’s twitter account acclaimed the decision as victory for freedom with the signature #LoveWins. It is no secret that the Catholic Church opposes this decision, and so it would seem to many in this confused cultural moment that we are now part of a church that is opposed to love, and is in fact a church that proclaims hatred by its teaching. For a long time now our society has been being prepared to celebrate and affirm this decision as a victory for love – the press, the entertainment media, our schools, the medical profession, business associations, the military – every aspect of our society has very aggressively been told that to oppose this decision is to be against the free expression of love. Why would we withhold the right to happiness and love from fellow citizens? Why would we tell others they cannot fulfill themselves in the way they choose to? Everyone is now forced to accept this redefinition by means of judicial rewriting of the law. And – here is the crux of the issue for us as the church – if we will not accept this redefinition, we are expected to be silent. And it is in this light that I wish to take President Lincoln’s challenging words – “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men” – and ask how we may respond courageously and joyfully to the present challenging cultural moment.

Let’s be clear about what happened on Friday in terms of the big picture of the history of Western Civilization. I’ve brought a few books along for dramatic effect. Let’s see… Socrates…out the window. Plato…out the window. Aristotle…out the window. Roman law…out the window. Notice we haven’t gotten to Christian sources of law and culture yet. The Old Testament – Genesis 19, out the window. The New Testament – Romans 1 – read it, it is so clear! “While claiming to be wise they became fools…God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper” – out the window. St. Augustine, out the window. Thomas Aquinas, out the window. The entire legal precedent of the United States up to 2003, out the window. The implication of course is that all of these sources of our law had a blind spot of prejudice when it came to the definition of marriage. All of these wise men were unenlightened, and it is only as of June 26, 2015, that we can say that we truly live in a free and loving society.

What was the reason for all of these foundational sources of our culture condemning the behavior associated with the redefinition of marriage, for calling such behavior a sin and a crime? Let’s say this very simply – with great wisdom, they understood that such behavior is destructive. It is destructive of the human body because it goes against human nature – it causes disease and death, and no less importantly it is destructive of the human soul. It leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and even suicide. It is destructive of families and of children’s happiness. This was the established consensus of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), until 1973, when it removed such behavior from its lists of mental disorders in a change that had absolutely no scientific or medical basis but was pushed through by pressure from a small group of activists.

Now, however, we are told that the entire society must legally accept the redefinition of marriage and thus affirm the rationalization that what is bad and destructive is actually good and fulfilling. My dear people, let’s say this simply and clearly – to call what is bad good is a lie. And the redefinition of marriage into some thing other than a permanent covenant between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising a family is a lie. Why would we be opposed to Friday’s decision? The simple answer is- because it is based on a lie. If someone would ask us, “Why is it a lie?” we need to be able to connect the dots as to how we got here. There is a very simple thread of logic running through the Supreme Court’s decisions since 1966 concerning, first contraception, then abortion, and finally the redefinition of marriage. All three issues are intertwined, and ultimately to embrace one as a right is to embrace the others. We need to be able to understand that logic so as to refute it.

First, in 1961 Planned Parenthood sued the State of Connecticut for the right to distribute contraceptives, which was at that time against the law. In 1966 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the US Supreme Court defined the right to contracept as part of the “right to privacy” it claimed to find in the Constitution. This decision was then invoked in the decision with which we are all familiar,
Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized the right to abortion as part of the “right to privacy.’ It made logical sense. If children intrude upon our right to privacy, we need to have a way to eliminate them. To fully embrace the use of contraceptives, many of which act as abortifacients by killing the developing embryo in the mother’s womb, is to affirm abortion, which is the ultimate act of contraception. The Church’s beautiful teaching has always seen this connection and proclaimed it, even as our culture has scoffed. This brings us to 2015. Friday’s decision was entirely consistent with the precedent of Griswold and Roe. If we as a culture have sterilized married love by legalizing contraception and abortion, it is logically consistent that we would redefine marriage so that it no longer has any necessary connection with procreation, based on the “right to privacy.” A culture where everyone is contracepting and in which anyone can get an abortion, must, to be consistent, redefine marriage. Our Supreme Court acted consistently on Friday. It invoked its own language defending the right to abortion: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” (Planned Parenthood v Casey, 1992). Justice Kennedy’s opening sentence in Friday’s decision reaffirms this definition of liberty: “Liberty includes the right to define and express one’s own identity.” This is the heart of the lie. But there can be no freedom divorced from the truth of God’s law, which is also the law of human nature. In ignoring the natural law, our Supreme Court has proclaimed that we must all accept a lie.

What is to be our response as disciples of Jesus Christ to the lie? It is the same joyful witness that we always give: living lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience and mercifully inviting others, with us, to heed the first words of Jesus in the Gospel, “Reform your lives, and believe in the Gospel!” (Mark 1:15). Our witness needs to be joyful and compassionate, convicted and committed. No less than we are convicted that we would never let our little ones play with matches, because they are potentially destructive, so we must be convinced that the redefinition of marriage is destructive to individual people and to our entire society. If we are so convinced, we will joyfully invite others as fellow sinners to turn to the Merciful Jesus and know his healing grace as the woman with the hemorrhage did in today’s Gospel.

We can turn more than ever to the intercession of some of the great martyrs of our faith who were called on to witness to the truth of God’s law in the face of legal redefinition of the truth. I am thinking of the joyful witness of St. Thomas More and the Martyrs of England in the 1500’s. When King Henry VIII wished to deny the truth of his marriage, he ordered Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy, which proclaimed Henry head of the Church and thus able to redefine marriage. The vast majority of bishops in England acquiesced to Henry’s demand. The law was changed and persecution followed for those who did not remain silent. The courageous martyrs of that storied moment in English history are interceding for us. They stood firm as they were accused of hating their King and hating their country. St. Edmund Campion’s powerful words ring clear – at his sentencing to execution, he said simply, “In condemning us, you condemn all of your own ancestors, all that was once the glory of England.” The present redefinition of marriage has indeed condemned all the great figures in American history as having been fundamentally opposed to freedom and rights in their understanding of marriage as a God-given gift between a man and a woman.

I am thinking of the joyful witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Reich. All of the reforms of the 1930’s were accomplished legally as the German nation was told to embrace a lie about the human person – that the Jews were not truly persons. As long as people were silent, the lie had room to grow. Anyone who loved Germany was expected to support the Fuhrer. The law was changed and persecution followed for those who did not remain silent. Those who spoke out paid the ultimate price. Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who dared to speak out in protest and to resist, wrote before his execution, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I am thinking, lastly, and perhaps most powerfully, of the courageous witness of John the Baptist, whose birth the Church just celebrated this past week. Face to face with King Herod, who had redefined marriage by taking his brother’s wife to be his own wife, John spoke the truth about marriage: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). John chose not to remain silent, and persecution followed. Because he spoke the truth about marriage, John was beheaded.

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men.” My dear people, all we have to do today is to remain silent in the face of the lie and we will be able to remain comfortable. May this comfortable silence never be our response. In the words of the great Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” The Church in America in 2015 needs to call upon the intercession of all of these holy martyrs, asking them to obtain for our bishops and priests and for all of us the courage to bear witness to the truth about marriage.

So many are confused and hurting in their search for love today – they are searching for Christ without even knowing it. It falls to us at this moment to show forth Jesus by our witness of poverty, chastity, and obedience. This witness will mean having the courage to face whatever persecution, large and small, will come to us as a result of our refusal to remain silent. It will mean enduring accusations that we are opposed to love and hateful of those who celebrate and promote the redefinition of marriage. Let’s be confident that the Holy Spirit is with us and is raising up a great generation of witnesses  loving, compassionate, merciful, courageous witnesses. I am confident that I am looking at those witnesses as I preach to you today.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

St. Thomas More, Edmund Campion, and the martyrs of England, pray for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the martyrs of the Third Re ich, pray for us. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit!

 

Save Marriage? It’s Too Late.

The Pill made same-sex nuptials inevitable.

By DONALD SENSING- Updated March 15, 2004

Opponents of legalized same-sex marriage say they’re trying to protect a beleaguered institution, but they’re a little late. The walls of traditional marriage were breached 40 years ago; what we are witnessing now is the storming of the last bastion.

Marriage is primarily a social institution, not a religious one. That is, marriage is a universal phenomenon of human cultures in all times and places, regardless of the religion of the people concerned, and has taken the same basic form in all those cultures. Marriage existed long before Abraham, Jesus or any other religious figure. The institution of marriage is literally prehistoric.

The three monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) actually recognize this explicitly in their holy writings. The book of Genesis ascribes the foundation of marriage in the very acts of God himself in the creation of the world: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him. . . . A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:18, 24).

The three great religions base their definition of marriage on these verses and others that echo them. In Christian theological terms, the definition of marriage is part of the natural law of the creation; therefore, the definition may not be changed by human will except in peril to the health of human community.

Psychobiologists argue that marriage evolved as a way of mediating the conflicting reproductive interests of men and women. It was the means by which a woman could guarantee to a specific man that the children she bore were his. In biological terms, men can sire hundreds of children in their lives, but this biological ability is limited by the fact that no one woman can keep pace.

Siring kids by multiple women is the only way men can achieve high levels of reproduction, but there is no adaptive advantage for women in bearing children by men who are simply trying to sire as many children as possible. For a mother, carrying and raising a child is a resource-intensive, years-long business. Doing it alone is a marked adaptive disadvantage for single mothers and their children.

So the economics of sex evolved into a win-win deal. Women agreed to give men exclusive sexual rights and guaranteed paternity in exchange for their sexual loyalty and enduring assistance with childbearing and -rearing. The man’s promise of sexual loyalty meant that he would expend his labor and resources supporting her children, not another woman’s. For the man, this arrangement lessens the number of potential children he can sire, but it ensures that her kids are his kids. Guaranteed sex with one woman also enabled him to conserve his resources and energies for other pursuits than repetitive courtship, which consumes both greatly.

Weddings ceremoniously legitimated the sexual union of a particular man and woman under the guidance of the greater community. In granting this license, society also promised structures beneficial to children arising from the marriage and ensuring their well-being.

Society’s stake in marriage as an institution is nothing less than the perpetuation of the society itself, a matter of much greater than merely private concern. Yet society cannot compel men and women to bring forth their replacements. Marriage as conventionally defined is still the ordinary practice in Europe, yet the birthrate in most of Europe is now less than the replacement rate, which will have all sorts of dire consequences for its future.

Today, though, sexual intercourse is delinked from procreation. Since the invention of the Pill some 40 years ago, human beings have for the first time been able to control reproduction with a very high degree of assurance. That led to what our grandparents would have called rampant promiscuity. The causal relationships between sex, pregnancy and marriage were severed in a fundamental way. The impulse toward premarital chastity for women was always the fear of bearing a child alone. The Pill removed this fear. Along with it went the need of men to commit themselves exclusively to one woman in order to enjoy sexual relations at all. Over the past four decades, women have trained men that marriage is no longer necessary for sex. But women have also sadly discovered that they can’t reliably gain men’s sexual and emotional commitment to them by giving them sex before marriage.

Nationwide, the marriage rate has plunged 43% since 1960. Instead of getting married, men and women are just living together, cohabitation having increased tenfold in the same period. According to a University of Chicago study, cohabitation has become the norm. More than half the men and women who do get married have already lived together.

The widespread social acceptance of these changes is impelling the move toward homosexual marriage. Men and women living together and having sexual relations “without benefit of clergy,” as the old phrasing goes, became not merely an accepted lifestyle, but the dominant lifestyle in the under-30 demographic within the past few years. Because they are able to control their reproductive abilities–that is, have sex without sex’s results–the arguments against homosexual consanguinity began to wilt.

When society decided–and we have decided, this fight is over–that society would no longer decide the legitimacy of sexual relations between particular men and women, weddings became basically symbolic rather than substantive, and have come for most couples the shortcut way to make the legal compact regarding property rights, inheritance and certain other regulatory benefits. But what weddings do not do any longer is give to a man and a woman society’s permission to have sex and procreate.

Sex, childbearing and marriage now have no necessary connection to one another, because the biological connection between sex and childbearing is controllable. The fundamental basis for marriage has thus been technologically obviated. Pair that development with rampant, easy divorce without social stigma, and talk in 2004 of “saving marriage” is pretty specious. There’s little there left to save. Men and women today who have successful, enduring marriages till death do them part do so in spite of society, not because of it.

If society has abandoned regulating heterosexual conduct of men and women, what right does it have to regulate homosexual conduct, including the regulation of their legal and property relationship with one another to mirror exactly that of hetero, married couples?

I believe that this state of affairs is contrary to the will of God. But traditionalists, especially Christian traditionalists (in whose ranks I include myself) need to get a clue about what has really been going on and face the fact that same-sex marriage, if it comes about, will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.

Rev. Sensing is pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. He writes at DonaldSensing.com.

 

Alleged Planned Parenthood Marketing of Baby Parts Needs Investigation, States AAPS

Association of American Physicians & Surgeons

An undercover video of a lunch meeting between Planned Parenthood official, Deborah Nucatola, M.D., and a man and a woman posing as buyers for a biologics company shows a discussion of how a dismemberment abortion is modified to meet customers’ needs, states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D., who viewed the recording.

“The abortionist uses ultrasound to guide placement of forceps so as not to crush the organs to be procured,” Orient says. “According to Nucatola, who does abortions herself, livers and hearts are in great demand. Lungs and legs are also being requested.”

The fetus may be rotated into a breech position to facilitate recovery of an intact calvarium (head), the largest part, as cervical dilation increases during the procedure, Nucatola said.

The team “huddles” before the day’s work begins, Nucatola explained, to plan the most efficient way to meet demand for parts.

Allegations about trafficking in fetal body parts have been around for years, Orient said. Concerns were raised by Life Dynamics in 2000, but the practice apparently was just driven further underground.

American Life League states that the sale of human body parts is illegal throughout the U.S. It called for an investigation and immediate suspension of the $400 million in funding that Planned Parenthood receives annually from Medicaid.

“Developing human beings, capable of feeling pain, are apparently being torn apart and sold piece by piece,” Orient stated. “The truth about this practice needs to be exposed. Lawbreakers need to be prosecuted, and all public funding needs to be withdrawn from any entities connected in any way with this horrendous enterprise.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

Court rules against Little Sisters of the Poor

Ruling to force nuns to violate faith or pay massive IRS penalties

July 14, 2015

In a departure from the U.S. Supreme Court’s protection of the Little Sisters of the Poor last year, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Little Sisters must comply with the government’s contraceptive mandate.

The federal Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forces religious ministries to violate their faith or pay massive IRS penalties.

Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, stated, “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith. And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives.”

The Little Sisters have served the neediest in society across the world with dignity for more than 175 years.

“All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion,” she said.

Attorneys from The Becket Fund for Religious Freedom presented the nuns’ case in a lawsuit challenging the mandate, a part of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. The nuns argued the government is forcing them to act against their religious beliefs because of its requirement to provide free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to employees, or pay steep fines.

The Little Sisters care for the elderly poor.

Churches are exempt from the mandate, but charitable organizations like the Little Sisters are not.

Mother Patricia Mary Metzgar, l.s.p., who oversees the Little Sisters’ Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver, has attended some of the court hearings with other nuns. The Little Sisters of Denver employ about 67 full-time employees.

Mark Rienzi, senior attorney of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for the Little Sisters, reacted to the ruling saying he was disappointed.

“After losing repeatedly at the Supreme Court, the government continues its unrelenting pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor,” he said in a statement. “It is a national embarrassment that the world’s most powerful government insists that, instead of providing contraceptives through its own existing exchanges and programs, it must crush the Little Sisters’ faith and force them to participate. Untold millions of people have managed to get contraceptives without involving nuns, and there is no reason the government cannot run its programs without hijacking the Little Sisters and their health plan.”

Rienzi appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” July 14 to discuss the court ruling.

Before the court’s ruling, the nuns filed an appeal Feb. 2014 in Denver federal court and were granted a temporary injunction, which shielded them from the HHS mandate and its fines. At issue is a waiver form the sisters could sign to receive an exemption from the mandate, but the appeal states that it “would make them morally complicit in sin, would contradict their public witness to the value of life, and would immorally run the risk of misleading others.” The form in fact would authorize a third-party to provide the services they find morally objectionable.

The appeal argued the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment that guarantee freedom of religion. The court heard oral arguments in the case in December, when Sister Maguire delivered her first public statement.

On July 14, the 10th Circuit ruled that the government can force the Little Sisters to adhere to the mandate. It said that participating in the HHS mandate is “as easy as obtaining a parade permit, filing a simple tax form, or registering to vote.” It also ruled that although the nuns argued it would make “them complicit in the overall delivery scheme,” the court “ultimately rejects the merits of this claim” because the court believes the exemption “relieves [the Little Sisters] from complicity.”

The Little Sisters and their attorneys are reviewing the court’s decision and will decide whether to bring their case to the Supreme Court, according to the Becket Fund.

“We will keep on fighting for the Little Sisters, even if that means having to go all the way to the Supreme Court,” Daniel Blomberg, attorney at the Becket Fund, said in a statement.

The court’s order also impacts the Christian Brothers Services and Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, the Catholic ministries through which the Little Sisters obtain their health coverage.

New HHS mandate regulations ‘don’t belong in a free country’

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama administration released new, finalized rules on Friday on the controversial HHS mandate – rules that critics say expose religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor to massive fines for following their conscience.

They also say the rule ignores the victory for religious freedom won by the Supreme Court with last year’s Hobby Lobby decision.

The HHS mandate requires all employers to furnish their employees with contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs at no co-pay as part of the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare. The provision led to a national backlash, saying it tramples upon the conscience rights of religious business owners, effectively forcing them to choose between their livelihood and their faith.

The Obama administration’s latest “accommodation” states that closely held corporations – in which the stock is held by five or fewer families – may opt out of the provision by signing the self-certification form (form 700) and sending it to its insurance company. This letter triggers the insurance company to provide women with birth control for “free.” Religious employers objected that this still violated their faith, as it required their material participation in sin by granting a de facto authorization.

They also protest having the services provided by their own insurance companies.

Under the new regulation, closely held corporations with religious objections to contraception or abortion-inducing drugs must pass a resolution stating their objection, then write a letter either to their insurers or to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS will then contact their insurers to insist upon the “free” contraceptives.

If found guilty, the Obama administration will impose fines of $100 per employee per day.

Opponents say the “accommodation” is an accounting gimmick that does not respect the First Amendment’s free exercise clause.

“The government keeps digging the hole deeper,” said Adèle Auxier Keim, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Just last week the Supreme Court ordered HHS not to enforce the exact rules they finalized today. But the government still won’t give up on its quest to force nuns and other religious employers to distribute contraceptives.”

“It’s small comfort to know that the government mandates a violation of a religious entity’s moral beliefs, and then offers to carry out the violation,” agreed Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “Even more incredible, HHS is now applying this scheme to family-owned businesses such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which already won relief from the government mandate by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration is disregarding the Court’s ruling declaring this mandate a violation of the family owned business’s religious freedoms.”

Yet the administration’s supporters cheered the move, specifically because it undermined the High Court’s decision.

“While these new rules don’t do anything to push back against the dangerous precedent set by the Court — that corporations engaged in secular activity such as purchasing health insurance can claim the same religious protections normally reserved for private individuals — they mitigate the negative effects initially brought on by the court’s ruling,” wrote Jon Green at the liberal Americablog.

Perkins says the rule harms nuns, conscience, and the liberty of the American people at large.

“Crushing federal mandates of this kind don’t belong in a free country,” he said.

World Population Day: Exploiting the vulnerable to contracept them out of existence

July 13, 2015 (POP) — On July 11th, the United Nations celebrated its 26th World Population Day. The point of this annual exercise is to raise money to promote abortion, sterilization and contraception among poor and vulnerable women by alarming us about the dangers of global population growth.

The problem with this narrative is that, in many regions of the world, the population is declining, not growing. About half the world’s population lives in “low-fertility” countries, where women have fewer than 2.1 children on average over their lifetimes. Low-fertility countries now include all of Europe (except Iceland), the Americas (17 countries), and most of Asia (19 countries). The list of low-fertility countries include China, the United States, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan and Viet Nam.

In other words, growth rates have dramatically declined from the late 1960s when the global population grew at a rate of 2.1% each year. That rate is now about 1% a year. The UN’s low variant projection (historically the most accurate) indicates that it will peak at around 8.3 billion in 2050. Even the medium variant projection shows population growth slowing to 0.1% by the century’s end, and turning negative beyond 2100. In either case, the population of the world will never double again.
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world_population_day2As these numbers suggest, fertility rates have dipped to all-time lows. The U.N.’s medium variant projection estimates that women are now averaging 2.45 children over their reproductive lifetime, while the low variant pegs this at only 2.05. The global average was 4.97 just 60 years ago. Under either variant, this number will be well under replacement by century’s end. After all, global replacement fertility—the rate needed to replace the current generation and prevent population decline—is 2.23 children per woman over her reproductive lifetime.

Many developed nations are already suffering from the effects of population decline. Populations in many areas are rapidly aging as younger cohorts are becoming smaller. Social safety nets are being strained to the breaking point as fewer workers are struggling to support increasing numbers of elderly.

In Japan, increasing urbanization in conjunction with falling fertility rates have resulted in a drastic depopulation of many rural towns and villages. Economic growth is being compromised as workers are in increasingly short supply. The elderly are being abandoned as their only children go on to have no children at all. There are simply too few members of the younger generation to care for them.

Europe is also reeling from the effects of declining populations. In Italy, Portugal, Poland, Russia and throughout most of Southern and Eastern Europe, crude death rates exceed crude birth rates. The fertility rate for all of Europe is 1.58, well off the 2.09 replacement fertility rate, and recipe for demographic disaster.

Growth rates have also slowed in many developing nations. Thailand, Myanmar, and Tunisia are all below replacement level fertility. Even once-fertile Bangladesh is projected to fall below the replacement threshold 2020. The U.N.’s medium variant projection predicts that the population of Bangladesh will begin to contract after 2060, sooner under the low variant.

China’s Planned Birth policy (one child in the cities; two in the countryside) has driven its fertility rate down to an unsustainable 1.66, far below the estimated 2.22 it needs to stabilize its population. Little girls continue to be aborted or killed at birth in shocking numbers. There are 116 boys born in China for every 100 girls, one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world. Millions of Chinese men will never marry.

In spite of this dismal picture, population alarmists continue to push for population control programs.

Under the Obama administration, population control remains a key foreign aid objective. Various agencies of the U.S. government spent a whopping of $2.77 billion on “family planning and reproductive health” in 2014, a sum of money that dwarfs spending on all other health-related assistance, such as nutrition, water supply and sanitation, malaria, pandemic diseases, and general health care.

Only HIV/AIDS received more funding at $3.42 billion, and much of this money also went to population control organizations for population control purposes. The same devices that supposedly stop the spread of AIDS also stop the “spread” of pregnancy.

Expenditures for maternal and child health care, on the other hand, came to a paltry $497 million. Yet the surest way to lower fertility is to lower infant and child mortality rates.

USAID does not exaggerate when it says that it “has been the leading donor in international family planning for more than 40 years…in most years making up 40–50% of all donor funds.”

Given that birth rates are falling farther and faster than anyone imagined possible a couple of decades ago, what’s the U.N. to do to galvanize the U.S. and the world to continue putting this kind of money into the overpopulation pot?

Change the subject, that’s what.

The theme for this year’s World Population Day is not “Overpopulation,” but rather “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies.” This is nothing more than an attempt to exploit the tragic and desperate conditions of the millions displaced or threatened by war, disaster or violent extremism to raise funds for population control.

Of course, it is true that the UNFPA has no qualms with pushing contraception and abortion on vulnerable populations in their time of greatest need. In its own words: “UNFPA works in emergency settings around the globe to respond to…the needs of women and girls…restoring their access to sexual and reproductive health care.”

Refugees are in desperate need of almost everything. They generally lack shelter, food, access to clean drinking water, health care—the list goes on and on.

And, for this year’s World Population Day, the U.N. wants to give them … birth control.

Reprinted with permission from Population Research Institute.

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Suit: Unlicensed Planned Parenthood worker forced birth control injection on minor

San Diego, CA, July 9, 2015 (Operation Rescue) — A quietly-handled wrongful termination lawsuit brought in San Diego, California, against Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest gives insight into Planned Parenthood’s defensive mechanisms that kick into full throttle when employees fail to march in lockstep.

But more disturbingly, it reveals something sinister about Planned Parenthood’s unethical treatment of at least one minor girl and its aggressive eagerness to cannibalize one of their own rather than admit there might be serious internal problems.

The 2014 suit was explained in a well-written piece that appeared in the San Diego Reader, a quirky, alternative newspaper that focuses on the trendy – and often gritty – cultural side of San Diego. Amid the bright promotions of local events, flashy concert advertisements, restaurant reviews and personal ads, one can find some of the best investigative reporting anywhere. The Reader dares to go where mainstream media will not, including behind the veil of obfuscation that usually characterizes abortion rhetoric that is force-fed to the public.

The case is Murray v. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. It was brought by Carla M. Murray, nurse practitioner with an exemplary employment record who worked for Planned Parenthood for over ten years.

Murray worked at Planned Parenthood’s Chula Vista clinic, which offers abortion pills, birth control, STD testing, and other services to the primarily Hispanic community near the border with Mexico.

Murray’s problems began in mid-2012 when she reported to the clinic manager, Thelma Mendoza, that employees were accessing the clinic’s drug cabinet and dispensing drugs to patients without proper authorization in violation of California law.

Murray’s suit contends that Mendoza began to retaliate against her by writing her up for exaggerated and blatantly fabricated infractions. Murray alleges that Mendoza went so far as to sabotage her attempt to move to another Planned Parenthood clinic.

The final straw came on March 8, 2013, when a woman brought her minor step-daughter to the Chula Vista Planned Parenthood clinic for birth control. The young girl indicated to Murray that she did not want the Depo-Provera birth control shot. It became apparent to Murray that her young patient was being forced by her step-mother into taking a birth control injection that she did not want and apparently did not need.

Instead, after receiving guidance from Janeen Bullison, Planned Parenthood’s Quality Assurance Manager, Murray gave the minor girl “emergency contraception, condoms, and educational handouts” in lieu of the Depo-Provera shot.

Afterwards, the step-mother became irate and could be heard “screaming” at staff and demanding that her step-daughter be given a birth control injection. Murray contacted Mendoza’s supervisor, Julia Jura, for additional guidance but was told by Jura to allow Mendoza to handle the situation.

According to Murray’s suit, a medical assistant was illegally ordered by Mendoza to give the minor girl the Depo-Provera injection, even though Mendoza is unlicensed and not qualified to authorize drugs to patients.

This action violated Planned Parenthood’s own Mission Statement, which asserts that patients should be allowed to “manage their own fertility” regardless of their age. Could it be that such statements are merely window-dressing for a gullible public?

“It is clearly illegal and unethical to force a birth control injection on anyone against their will. Yet, Planned Parenthood seemed unbothered by the effects on their young patient, both physically and emotionally,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It seems that if a parent is in opposition to a child receiving an abortion or birth control, they have no rights. However, if the parent is the one coercing a child into an unwanted abortion or forced birth control, then it is their wishes that prevail. We have to wonder how many girls there are out there that have been forced into ‘reproductive services’ such as abortion and birth control against their will and bear the emotional scars today. It’s probably more than we think.”

Murray reported the incident and lodged a complaint against Mendoza for practicing medicine without a license. She was promised an investigation, but days later, she was told that there had been no wrong-doing on Mendoza’s part.

It appears that there was an orchestrated conspiracy inside Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest at the highest levels to protect Mendoza from the consequences of illegal actions that she committed and allowed, while vilifying the one that attempted to set things right.

Four days later, on March 30, 2013, Murray was terminated in an act that she believes was in retaliation for blowing the whistle on Mendoza.

After months of legal motions and maneuvers, the case was set for trial on August 14, 2015. However, it now seems that the facts will never see the inside of a courtroom.

On June 30, Planned Parenthood settled the suit with Murray and the case was dismissed.

Who knows what other information would have come out in open trial? Now we will never know.

“It would have served the public to allow this case to go to trial, but it would not have served Planned Parenthood’s interests. Now, the full reality of apparently illegal activity that led to the abuse and violation of a minor girl will never be told in court,” said Newman. “This only guarantees that the abuses will continue at Planned Parenthood and that employees that witness them will be too intimidated to speak out.”

The San Diego Reader asked, “Who’s giving injections at Planned Parenthood?”

The answer is something Planned Parenthood has gone to great lengths – and expense — to hide. In the meantime, a young girl has been violated by those who were entrusted with her care and protection.

She and others like her are the true losers in this case.

Reprinted with permission from Operation Rescue.

How the Supreme Court’s gay ‘marriage’ ruling is tied to abortion and contraception

Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – After the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutionally guaranteed right, many Americans have asked, “How did we get here?” Last month’s opinion tells us the road stretches back more than 50 years.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges gave additional proof that the legal basis for same-sex “marriage” is inextricably tied up with abortion-on-demand and other aspects of the sexual revolution.

In his 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy says the newly discovered constitutional right to enter into a homosexual “marriage” is granted, in part, by the “right to privacy.”

That right, first propounded by the court in 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut ruling, also conferred a woman’s right to abortion-on-demand, according to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

“Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association,” Justice Kennedy wrote last month, in an opinion that quoted Griswold. “Like choices concerning contraception, family relationships, procreation, and child-rearing, all of which are protected by the Constitution, decisions concerning marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.”

“As far as the right to life is concerned, that is the most troubling line in the opinion,” wrote Kelsey Hazzard, a pro-life lawyer, in an analysis of the decision posted at the Secular Pro-Life blog. That sentence “can be read as polite legalese for killing preborn children.”

But Kennedy actually put the same-sex “marriage” case on stronger ground even than abortion. “Justice Kennedy was smart,” Hazzard wrote. “By writing an opinion that does not cite any abortion cases, he has assured that Obergefell will withstand the reversal of Roe and Casey.”

Instead, he based his argument in part on the case that granted Americans the right to use contraception.

That lawsuit was brought by Estelle Griswold, the former executive director of Planned Parenthood in New Haven, against the state of Connecticut. Lawmakers had passed a law forbidding anyone, married or unmarried, from using contraception. Planned Parenthood challenged the law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 7, 1965, Planned Parenthood prevailed.

Justice William O. Douglas wrote that, while the “right to privacy” is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution – much less the right to birth control – the idea flows from ideas embedded in the Constitution.

“Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance,” he wrote.

For the state to determine whether married couples used contraception would require an invasion of their privacy, Douglas wrote; thus, couples had an inalienable right to contraception.

“Griswold took a major leap for women’s health by removing state interference with one of the most important and private decisions an individual considers: whether and when to have a child,” wrote Elizabeth G. Taylor, the executive director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP).

That ruling applied only to married couples. The right to privacy was then extended for unmarried individuals to use contraception in the High Court’s Eisenstadt v. Baird decision in 1972.

And one year later, the right to privacy emanated further, to grant women the “right to choose” an abortion.

Over the last 50 years, the “right to privacy” has been used to cover every form of sexual practice, displacing the public’s right to object on moral grounds – something contained in Kennedy’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling.

Finally, last month, that right – granted in Griswold and expanded in Eisenstadt, Roe, and Casey – demanded a nationwide legal recognition of homosexual relationships on par with heterosexual marriages.

Thus, Lauren Barbato could write in Bustle that “marriage equality may very well not be here on June 27, 2015, without Estelle Griswold and her fight to provide birth control to New Haven couples.”

The Pill: Medicating womanhood

By: Andrea Mrozek

July 8, 2015 (IMFCanada) — Across North America today, there are calls to make the birth control pill accessible over the counter. The Pill, we are told, is part of comprehensive health care and it is an insult that women should need a doctor’s prescription to use it. Recently, a columnist at the National Post complained that it is easier to get the Pill in Abu Dhabi than in Calgary or Toronto.

Most calls for the Pill to be made more broadly accessible—ideally free and without a prescription—all share the same subtext. Denying access to the Pill isn’t merely denying health care, it’s denying women’s rights.

Yet this is not about the right to get the Pill but rather, the right to not get pregnant.

This stems from the modern idea that men and women are only equal in dignity when we are exactly the same. As a result, we think that if men can have sex without the responsibility of childbearing, then women should too. This is why some feel so strongly that it is wrong for women to not have access to the Pill—one of the most effective contraceptives the world knows today.

Why, however, should pregnancy diminish a woman’s dignity or her rights in the world? And if this is indeed the case, why is it the woman who must remain child free in order to thrive?

Barring fertility from the workforce?

For starters, it remains a matter of opinion, not fact, that total control over fertility improves women’s rights.

This is a creation of the later waves of the feminist movement, over which there has never been complete agreement. Early feminists were better able to accept, embrace and celebrate motherhood, while simultaneously demanding that others rise up to support this unique and beautiful aspect of women’s lives.

A first wave feminist might ask that work conditions be altered to suit a woman who is pregnant—the opposing view, very much supported by modern contraception, demands that a woman not get pregnant in order to continue working.

The Pill does not advance women’s rights. It normalizes the idea that women shouldn’t be fertile, let alone pregnant. As evidence, see how major corporations like Apple and Facebook have the chutzpah today to offer women egg freezing as a job “perk.” In reality, this highlights how little we are willing to incorporate pregnancy into the working world.

The Pill: Stridently pitched as being in favour of women’s rights, it simultaneously puts women into a disadvantaged position. Women who want to have children must negotiate this desire at work with their employers and at home with their partners who are often comfortably uninterested. Then there’s the negotiation you never win with the biological realities of Mother Nature. Extended education and job training most often mean women are left to conjure up pregnancy at an age when it is far more difficult or impossible. The bitterness of the Pill is that almost universally, women don’t care about age-induced infertility until they are experiencing it.

A tainted medical legacy

Even if we all accepted that not getting pregnant makes women more equal, thereby bestowing greater rights—it is not clear that the Pill is the best way to do this. The Pill has health risks, has been declared to be carcinogenic by the World Health Organization and there’s that pesky class action suit against Yaz and Yasmin. The death of 23 women in Canada taking those birth control pills would not be so blithely overlooked were the cause of death something different.

Beyond catastrophic health events, however, the Pill denies women valuable information about their health. The body sends us clues about how we are doing. For women, this includes the daily ups and downs of our reproductive cycles. Women who are in the know can better monitor their own health unaltered by a daily dose of hormones. It’s empowering.

For the vast majority, the Pill is not medicine in any meaningful sense of the word. To designate it as such castigates pregnancy as a disease. It is no surprise, then, that this is how we treat pregnancy today, as a clinical problem, not a beautiful miracle.

All this said, yes, please do make the Pill over the counter. Perhaps when it sits beside Tylenol on a drugstore shelf, advocacy groups will stop yammering on about how the Pill is a major component of women’s rights. Or that it is patronizing when doctors show concern. Perhaps then we will stop targeting excellent doctors who won’t prescribe it for very good reasons.

And about the Pill being more freely available in Abu Dhabi? Just shout out if you want to move there, as a Canadian or American woman today.

Andrea Mrozek is the Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (www.imfcanada.org). She is currently co-authoring a book about the effects of the sexual revolution in women’s lives. Reprinted with permission from IMFC.

“Choice” Isn’t the Reason Pregnant Women Consider an Abortion, This Is

TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE JUL 7, 2015 | 8:19AM WASHINGTON, DC

The U.K.’s Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) released an eye-opening perspective piece written by a pregnancy center volunteer who has interacted with hundreds of women seeking abortions. Her experience shatters common perceptions painted by the abortion movement, which suggest that virtually all women who undergo abortions do so as an exercise of their own free will and rights. On the contrary, according to APS’s anonymous guest blogger, “the word ‘choice’ is often the last word a woman in a crisis pregnancy feels applies to her when she’s looking for an abortion.” The volunteer enumerates the many reasons that motivate women to seek abortion. Indeed compelling, the reasons indicate that these women are certainly in crisis. But not, the volunteer explains, because they are pregnant.

Rather, the crisis is the reaction of those closest in their lives to the news. “The crisis,” she says, “is the fact that her workplace is prejudiced against pregnant women, or that she feels she has to do what her partner says, or that she is not financially stable, or that her boyfriend won’t commit, or that she is in an abusive relationship, or that she is being threatened with homelessness.” Pregnancy magnifies these tragedies in the woman’s life, and the natural conclusion for many is that by eliminating the preborn child, the crisis will go away. In reality, the crisis remains without the child who seems to be exacerbating her ordeal. The writer shares the story of a woman who was utterly under the control of her child’s father. He had the power to have her deported or ejected penniless onto the streets. “She was completely dependent on him and he was physically and emotionally abusive,” the volunteer shared.

But forcing the woman to abort her child proved to be an effortless endeavor for the abusive man; he took her from the pregnancy center to the abortion mill, and the child was dead within hours of their encounter. Abortion is portrayed as a woman’s right – an inviolable badge of her autonomy and freedom. And yet, every day countless women are forced and coerced into unwanted abortions, and the abortionists who operate under the auspices of “women’s rights” do absolutely nothing to counteract these disasters. “Silent complicity with abusive boyfriends is not what feminism has fought for,” said the volunteer.

While U.S. pregnancy resource centers have come under intense attack by the anti-Life movement in recent years, they are needed now more than ever. If this is the era of feminism – equality of the sexes – pregnancy resource centers are the hallmark of that age. Pregnancy centers are a singular refuge offering real compassion and concern without Big Abortion’s profit-driven tactics, which only come to fruition in the suctioning of children from their mothers’ wombs. “Women in the 21st Century should not feel they have to enter this secret world where ‘their mistake’ can be ‘fixed’, no questions asked,” the volunteer concludes. “They should feel that those who are putting pressure on them will be held accountable and that they have control over their lives.”

LifeNews Note: Reprinted with permission from Texas Right to Life.”

‘Gay marriage doesn’t just redefine marriage, but also parenting’

BY SHEILA LIAUGMINAS
http://www.mercatornet.com

Read this open letter to the Gay Community from a loving daughter.

She wonders why there isn’t more attention on the rest of this story, namely the children raised by two mothers or two fathers.

Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.

I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary…

I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father.

And she wonders why gay people’s kids can’t be honest in talking about the realities, for them, of gay marriage.

It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.

She notes that children of divorced parents, adopted children of biological parents they never knew, are “allowed” to speak out about their pain, suffering, longing, feelings.

But children of same-sex parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us.

One of the first to publish such an account was Robert Lopez, and his account of being ‘raised by two moms’ clearly reveals his love for his mother, but also the long term impact that home life had on him. It opened the door for many other children of same-sex parents who were afraid to speak up because they loved them and didn’t want to hurt them.

In the past couple of days, that link has become inaccessible, and the online journal that published it has been dealing with technical issues. Which may or may not be related to the silencing Heather Barwick referred to in her honest, open letter.

If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures homosexuality.” I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.

That’s not most of us. It’s the extreme left and right doing the most outright condemnation. Most of us who are trying to engage at all, are trying to do so reasonably and charitably. Many of us make efforts to speak clearly and listen closely, with the courage of conviction and respect for the dignity of those who challenge and even try to silence our beliefs, beliefs which at core witness to human dignity.

So Heather Barwick closes her letter to the Gay Community in which she was raised, with which she identified most of her life, who she understands with great compassion, and appeals to now as a children’s rights activist, with this:

I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.