PP Says They Will Stop Taking Money for Aborted Baby Body Parts. Do You Believe Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by  Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, published a letter yesterday stating that Big Pink won’t take direct monies for selling the body parts of babies it has killed during abortions. Do you believe them?

I talk about this, from the viewpoint of someone who once allied with Planned Parenthood as a pro choice advocate in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, posted a letter yesterday. She announced that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept money for supplying the body parts of aborted babies to researchers, research facilities and their middlemen.

Personally, I’m not convinced. The reason I’m not convinced is my personal experience with Planned Parenthood and the impressions I formed of them during the time I was their political ally run counter to this action.

The truth is, Planned Parenthood cares about money. Planned Parenthood really cares about money.

I was a naive, true-believing 22-year-old from the wrong side of the river when I first encountered Planned Parenthood’s leadership. My piece of the situation was an ardent belief that (and I’m explaining this beyond what I would have said at that time) the sexual double standard and misogyny were such that abortion was absolutely necessary to save women’s lives and allow them to function as full human beings. I had a friend who almost died from an illegal abortion. I well remember the terror of this situation and how hard it was to get medical care to save her life.

That was a watershed event for me. The horror of it trumped every other consideration in my thinking about abortion for a long, long time. That’s how I came to advocate for legal abortion, how I came to be the Oklahoma Director for NARAL, and how I came to sit across the table with Planned Parenthood muckety-mucks from around the country at various banquets, seminars and such. Without exception, the first thing a member of Planned Parenthood’s governing boards would ask me was “How are you funded?” Meaning, how was Oklahoma NARAL funded.

This wasn’t something that came up casually, later in the conversation, and it didn’t happen once in a while. Every single conversation I ever remember having with them began with an introduction, followed by the question “How are you funded?”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/planned-parenthood-really-really-cares-about-its-money/#ixzz3oZHaRcDB

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Synod Leaders are “Log Rolling” Say Cardinals

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

A group of Synod Fathers, including Cardinal Dolan, have written a letter to Pope Francis expressing concern about the way the Synod is progressing.

I wrote about that for National Catholic Register today.

Here is part of what I said:

“You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
—Jesus Christ

The German Catholic Church has a long and ignoble history of playing fool for its government. During the murderous reign of the Third Reich, there were isolated bishops who stood against Hitler. But many of them joined their Lutheran brothers in allowing themselves to be coopted by the pagan cult we call the Nazis.

The Nazis created an economic system in which the government and the economic powers coalesce into one unit working for their mutual benefit. We call that fascism. They also created a mythology or a quasi-religion to go along with it. This quasi-religion was mostly a deliberate return to Germany’s pagan past with a mix of astrology and other whatnots.

At the same time that they were privately voicing contempt for Christianity and implementing plans to destroy it, the Nazi leaders pandered to the churches in their public statements. They sought — and were able — to silence the prophetic and moral voice of the churches by means of coopting them.

Christian churches in much of the world, and certainly in Germany, were already following the false god of nationalism long before Hitler and the Nazis were born. They had given moral gravitas to the abuses of colonialism and the insanity of World War I.

This made them easy prey for the claims of extreme nationalism that came from the Nazis. However, I believe that the thing that pushed German churches down the rat hole to acquiescence with (and even support of) the Nazis was not primarily nationalism. I think they were following another master. It was the “master” that Jesus specifically singled out as one that Christians could not follow if they would follow Him. It was money.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/synod-leaders-are-log-rolling-say-cardinals/#ixzz3oNaAnR30

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Men: Your Women and Children Need You

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Yvette T, who wrote, I love my father as the stars, he is a bright, shining light. https://www.flickr.com/photos/12327292@N00/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Yvette T, who wrote, I love my father as the stars, he is a bright, shining light. https://www.flickr.com/photos/12327292@N00/

Bishop Olmsted has written a powerful call for Catholic men to step up and be men. I am particularly impressed because he did this without attacking women. A couple of his brother bishops might take a page from him in this.

I wrote about this pastoral letter from a woman’s viewpoint for CatholicVote. Women need manly men in their lives, as do children and the whole of our society. Men and women together are the foundation of all human civilization.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

John White wrote an article for CatholicVote a few days ago about a pastoral letter to men from Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted called this pastoral letter “Into the Breach.”

I want to thank the bishop for writing a letter that calls men to be men, but does it without attacking women. That alone was a breath of fresh air. This powerful letter is important to women, as well as men. Because we need you.

Women need the strength and power of manly men. So many women, and even more children, lead blighted lives because they do not have the strong male presence of a husband and father to uphold them.

Men, take note. Your women and your children need you. We need your presence in our lives. Look around you. Look at the messed up people who grew up in messed up homes with no fathers. Look at the gender-confused, feral young people who are so damaged that they can’t marry, form their own families, and raise their own children.

What have we done?

By “we” I mean all of us, men and women, the great we that is the human race. What have we done that we have created this mess? How can we heal it?

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/man-woman-designed-to-need-each-other/#sthash.lV3QMaQf.dpuf

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History Repeats in USA, But Evil Will Never Triumph

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

What happens when evil appears to triumph?

I wrote about that for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. King Solomon

“Today’s families face challenges that previous generations did not face.”

We recite that cliché in somber tones, as if we were saying something profound. But King Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun.

A society run amok with sexual depravity? Look no further than Sodom and Gomorrah, or most of the ancient pagan world, for that matter.

Killing our children to free us to achieve for the corporate empires that rule our world? Change “career” to “good harvest” and “abortion” to “putting your children through the fires,” and you are right back in the pagan world, standing before Moloch.

Poison our elderly, disabled, sick, weak and frail in an act of “mercy?” Go back 70 years to the “useless eaters” of the Third Reich, being driven around in trucks with hoses piping the exhaust in on them. If that seems too pertinent, look at pagan societies that left their helpless members out, where the animals could kill them.

Sex selected abortion? Think of exposing baby girls by throwing them in the dump and leaving them to die.

What about drugs and the reign of terror exacted on families today by the drug addicts in their midst? What about incest? Or polygamy or Christian persecution?

There’s nothing new, not under the star we call Sol. It’s all been done before.

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/history-repeats-in-usa-but-evil-will-never-triumph/#sthash.NhluMqGh.dpuf

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Here’s Why Euthanasia is Wrong: You Do Not Kill Innocent People.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

The post I wrote for the National Catholic Register about California’s new euthanasia law attracted a few “death with dignity” trolls. As these people always do, they quickly descended to the non-argument of attacking me personally.

Frankly,  I have no big problem with that. It’s an honor to be drubbed for standing against the murder of innocents. They can bring it on.

However, it seemed that other readers were having trouble finding a response to these bullies. That happens a lot. Christians are overawed by the sheer emotional violence of those who want to legalize killing. There’s no surprise in that. People who support these things are often crazy mean, and dealing with them, even on the internet, can be a bit of a shock.

So, I wrote a second post. I wrote it for the specific purpose of sharpening the abilities of my Catholic Register readers to respond to these trolls. It’s important that we do not allow them to stun us into silence in our own houses, and the National Catholic Register is definitely an internet home for those who believe in the sanctity of human life.

The specific combox snipe I chose to respond to was one that sniped at me over my misspent and sinful past. I chose it because it struck at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, which is to say that it struck at the heart of the meaning of the cross.

Here’s part of what I said:

Here is the reason why euthanasia is wrong:

You do not kill innocent people.

Notice what I put at the end of that statement? I put a period, as in complete thought, finished, over and through.

You. Do. Not. Kill. Innocent. People.

If you are a lawmaker, you do not pass or sign laws that kill innocent people. Because if you do, that makes you a murderer. I know all about this, up close and personal. As one commenter on my post concerning Governor Jerry Brown and his mighty death-dealing gubernatorial pen somewhat inaccurately noted, I am the former director of the Oklahoma chapter of NARAL.

Not only that, but I helped open the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and I referred women for abortions. Then, during my first years in elected office, I used my abilities and the powers granted to me by the people of my district to kill pro life legislation. I also set up the system whereby pro life bills continued to be killed long after I left office.

So. Does that disqualify me to take the gubernator to task? If you think it does, then you should stop reading this post right now, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Again.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/euthanasia-is-always-wrong-you-do-not-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3o55AHLIq

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Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent  http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

I know more about the Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument story than my sense of responsibility to the people I worked with will allow me to say.

I’ve put off writing about it because, to be honest, I get angry every time I think about it.

But I finally chased myself around my house a few times and wrestled myself into my chair and wrote a post for Catholic Vote. I didn’t tell all. Not even close. But I think I told more than you’ll find elsewhere.

I. Am. So. Glad. I’m. Not. In. Office.

Here, from Catholic Vote, is part of what I said:

Ten Commandments monuments stand outside courthouses and statehouses all across the USA. They go back to the beginning of our country. This is fitting, since the legal structure of the Western world is built on those ten commandments.

For the first two hundred years of our republic, the only controversy was an occasional argument about whether the monument would be made of marble or granite. But for the past 30 years pressure groups have been working to drive religious expression from the public sphere.

The United States Supreme Court stopped them from acting as an American Taliban, blowing up historic monuments and statues because they had religious meaning attached to them. Otherwise, I suppose they would have kept going until they demanded that we burn the Declaration of Independence for its allusion to “Our Creator.”

Federal courts have upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in states such as Texas. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze assumed that a Ten Commandments monument that was identical to one that passed court muster in Texas would be allowed in Oklahoma.

Rep Ritz is the primary author of the legislation authorizing the monument. Rep Ritz was passionate about this bill. He was so committed to it that he even paid for the monument with his own money and donated it to the state as a gift.

I was a member of the Oklahoma House when we voted on it. Rep Ryan Kiesel, who is now the executive director of the Oklahoma ACLU, led the debate against the bill.

Without Rep Kiesel, I don’t think there would have been any debate at all. But he successfully convinced a number of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus that this bill was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America. They followed him in opposing the monument, and several of them were defeated because of it in the next election. Rep Kiesel did not run for re-election.

It turned out that Rep Kiesel was wrong. The monument was not unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America.

That’s why the same Rep Kiesel chose another line of attack in his new position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma ACLU.

Read the rest here.

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Two Priests In Trouble for Having Boyfriends. Is There a Difference Between Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

This is a post about two prominent priests.

The first prominent priest held a powerful Vatican position and taught theology to priests. He told the world — in a press conference, no less — that he’s gay, sexually active and proud of it. He denounced the “homophobic” Catholic Church and departed with a book deal and his boyfriend.

The second prominent priest is from Chicago. He attended Pope Francis’ address to Congress last month. It turns out that he also has a boyfriend. His archbishop removed him from his parish assignment.

The Chicago priest, Father Marco Mercado, is asking for prayer, and says that his priority is the Gospel. He says he’s sorry if his actions have scandalized anyone.

Scandalized? Us?

After the past 15 years, this barely causes a blip on the Church scandal meter. Those of us in the pews are just relieved it was between adults and something is being done about it. After all, the pope himself told us that there was a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican, and just about every Catholic over the age of 12 knows that many of our priests are gay.

What we have here is a tale of two priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and says he’s sorry for what he did. The other denounced the Church for calling his sin a sin.

This situation illustrates a big issue for the Church. How are we going to go forward in this onslaught of satanic evil that is coming down on us if our priests bunt instead of swing away?

It’s not a question of whether or not we should have priests who are homosexual. We do have priests who are homosexual and everybody knows it. The question is, which column does the priest fall into? Is he a priest, who happens to be homosexual? Or is he a homosexual, who happens to be a priest?

I don’t care if a priest happens to be homosexual. I care if he is an authentic follower of Christ. The day is past when we could get by with priests who went to seminary so that they wouldn’t have to tell their mamas they were gay. We need holy priests who will lead us through these times.

It doesn’t bother me to learn that a priest has fallen flat on his face and done something stupid and sinful. Intimate involvement between two adults is definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever heard of a person doing. People long for other people.

As one of life’s all-time sinners whose only hope was and is the love of God, I do not have the qualifications to be anything but understanding about other people’s sins. I have been forgiven too much to draw a line on forgiveness to others.

But forgiveness presupposes that the person acknowledges their sin and asks to be forgiven. We all sin, repent, get cleaned up and try again. That’s life.

The priest in Chicago says he’s sorry. I don’t know the situation, and I leave its resolution in his bishop’s hands, but I’m assuming that his relationship with an adult man did not involve someone who was vulnerable, such as a parish employee or a counseling situation. All I know is that he says he did wrong and that he’s sorry for it.

The priest in Rome wants the Church to stop telling him his sin is a sin. He’s self-righteous and accusatory toward the Church that trusted him, educated him, promoted him and gave him enormous power.

The fact is, he was ripping off the priesthood and it sounds as if he was doing it deliberately. Given his attitude, he had no business wearing a collar, much less being that close to the seat of power within the Church.

Linda LaScola is an atheist blogger here at Patheos who writes in support of Christian clergy who become atheist. She has made comments that I think accurately describe the impact of fallen clergy. Here’s part of what she says.

… There are clergy who are purposely or inadvertently discouraging their parishioners from holding some of the foundational beliefs of their religion. 

… Liberal clergy will continue to lead the move away from biblical religion. They are humanists’ natural allies … We predict they will keep discarding bits of Christian doctrine until it’s gone. 

This is a post about two prominent priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and seeks forgiveness. The other condemns the Church for saying his sin is a sin.

One affirms Christian doctrine and wants to be forgiven for his human weakness. The other demands that Christianity discard 2,000 years of teaching concerning human sexuality and condemns the Church for adhering to it.

Which of these two priests would Ms LaScola consider “a natural ally?”

 

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Over 100 Prominent Catholic Converts Send Letter to Synod Fathers in Support of Marriage

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Over 100 converts to the Church have sent an open letter to the Synod Fathers, asking them to “uphold Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.”

From Aleteia:

Addressed to the pope and the synod fathers, the just released “Open Letter to the Synod from over 100 Converts” calls them “to uphold Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage with the same fidelity, the same joyful and courageous witness the Catholic Church has displayed throughout her entire history.” The signers explain that the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, now so widely criticized even within the Church, helped draw them to the Church, especially as she held to these truths when society began to reject them.

In the letter, sent to the Synod fathers in mid-September and just released publicly, the signers oppose proposals to loosen the Church’s discipline for the divorce and remarried, including the “way of penance” some Synod fathers have pushed. These proposals, they argue, do not address “the real crisis of the family” that underlies the problem of divorce and other problems like contraception, cohabitation, and same-sex attraction. It closes with the hope that the signers’ witness to the power of the Church’s teaching will strengthen the Synod fathers’.

Asked about the origin of the Letter, the organizer, Margaret McCarthy of the Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, said that she’d realized how important the question of marriage and divorce was to Christianity at its beginning. Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage scandalized even the disciples, who said “It would be better not to marry!”

But Jesus’ teaching makes marriage an attractive “token of eternity,” she said, because it helps us meet God. The same applies to the early Christians’ desire for children and to Christianity’s high view of women and of creation, both signaling a belief and practice very different from the pagans’. “For many converts, we were attracted the Catholic Church’s steadfastness on questions concerning embodied human existence, not simply because we wanted it to be morally rigorous, but above all because this was an expression of the attractiveness of Christ, the Word made flesh.”

Read the rest here.

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Gov Jerry Brown Forgot the First Rule: Don’t Kill Innocent People!

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Phil Konstantin https://www.flickr.com/photos/36205567@N07/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Phil Konstantin https://www.flickr.com/photos/36205567@N07/

Governor Jerry Brown jumped off the cliff and into the volcano of mass murder today.

He signed a law that opens the door for euthanasia in California. The harm he has done will live long after him. That’s the way it is with bad laws, and this law is a warrant to kill.

I wrote about this for the National Catholic Register.

Here’s part of what I said:

The Los Angeles Times story is so over-the-top supportive that it was downright soppy.

It paints a word picture of a politician on the rack, a “former Jesuit seminary student” who was riven by a heart-wrenching moral conundrum. I could almost hear the violins playing and see the sunset … except for the raw truth of what this politician/martyr had done.

“I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful,” he said.

Nice phrase that; “deliberate shortening of a life.” Not only did this politician ply all his political arts to evoke sympathy for himself as he did the unthinkable, he created a new euphemism for the doing of it while he was at it.

“Deliberate shortening of life” is Governor Jerry Brown’s lovely little phrase for murdering people to put them out of our misery, otherwise known as euthanasia, also known as death with dignity, also known as cold-blooded killing. Governor Jerry Brown, that “former Jesuit seminarian,” has joined the pantheon of politicians who, with a stroke of his pen, has killed untold numbers of people with a law that will allow the killing to go on for generations.

Long after Governor Brown has finally retired for the last time and ridden off into the political sunset, people will continue to die because of what he did today. If past is prelude, this law, as bad as it is, will become the opening volley in the war on life by use of euthanasia in California. As bad as it is, future politicians will line up to the death wagon and amend it to make it worse.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/california-gov.-jerry-brown-forgot-the-first-rule-dont-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3njjgMpXz

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All the Christians Stand Up

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jo Naylor https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/

If a shooter said All the Christians stand up to you, what would you do?

Sadly, this is not a hypothetical. It happened yesterday in Oregon.

What would you do, if this happened to you?

I wrote about this for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said.

shooter says, All the Christians stand up. 

Would you stand? Would I?

I’ve lived long enough to learn a few things about myself. One of them is that when I am under physical attack, I tend to freeze. I do really well if the situation requires moral courage. But physical courage, not so much.

I’ve had a couple of life-threatening experiences in my life where I was attacked from out of nowhere. Every single time, I froze.

So … would I stand if a shooter walked into a room in which I sat with other people and said, All the Christians stand up?

I honestly don’t know. I do know that this happened to real people yesterday in Oregon and a number of them did stand up. The gunman told them Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second. Then, he shot and killed them.

The irony in this is that he didn’t lie. These brave Christians went directly to God. They are martyrs, and their blood cries out from the ground the same as Abel’s, with the distinct difference that theirs is a cry of victory.

I cannot imagine what demon-possessed hatred inspires people to kill other human beings. But I do know that Christians are subjected to an extraordinary amount of hate speech and bashing in these United States. Read the rest here.

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Sign the Petition for Mandatory Euthanasia for Senior Citizens

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec https://www.flickr.com/photos/miran/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Miran Rijavec https://www.flickr.com/photos/miran/

How many of these people understood what they were signing?

By the way folks, this “petition” is a ruse. The man getting signatures is a comedian. However, the fact is, quite a few people signed the thing. Did they understand what they were doing????

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We Already Have a Statement on Gay Marriage from the Pope

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kasia https://www.flickr.com/photos/simczuk/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kasia https://www.flickr.com/photos/simczuk/

I was like everyone else. I thought at first that the Holy Father’s visit with Kim Davis was exactly what the Vatican has now said that it wasn’t: A form of support. Deacon Greg has the full story. All I care about is the bottom line: The pope’s visit to Kim Davis was evidently meaningless.

That means that we’re back at square zero. Pope Francis has not given us the clarity we crave concerning the family. And the almighty Synod is looming ahead like a bad dream.

Last year’s synod was such a mess that I began to feel the same way about it that I feel about the United States Congress. I was relieved when they went home without doing any real damage. Now, I’ve been reading that serious money is being used to lobby the Synod Fathers on behalf of getting them to support gay marriage.  The African bishops have announced that they will present a united front on behalf of marriage and the family. May God go with them.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided in an absolute sort of way that I’m all through reading the tea leaves of Pope Francis’ various actions concerning marriage. I love Pope Francis. But I don’t — none of us do — need him to give me my marching orders on this issue. Saint John Paul II already did that for us.

The papacy is not a political office. When we inaugurate a new president, that often means that we are also beginning a change of direction for our government. But popes do not come into office with a mandate to overturn the teachings that went before them. In fact, they come into office with a clear mandate to continue the teachings of those who went before them. Pope Francis, has, for instance, reaffirmed Saint John Paul’s teaching that the priesthood is reserved to men so many times I’ve lost count.

He has not reaffirmed Saint John Paul’s teaching on marriage, or at least not as specifically and clearly. But that does not mean that those teachings are no longer valid. Pope Francis is Peter. He is the inheritor of the apostolic succession that goes all the way back to day that the risen Lord told the Apostle to “feed my lambs.” He is, in many ways, the protector of the Church’s teachings and the depository of faith which has been handed to him.

The teachings of Saint John Paul II are just as valid now as when he published them. And, since they were written down and published in explicit form, they have real weight. We could spend all day, trying to interpret off the cuff remarks and random actions by Pope Francis, but none of those things have the teaching authority of Saint John Paul’s official teachings.

I wrote about what this means to our concerns as Catholics and how we should approach the gay marriage issue for Catholic Vote.

Here’s part of what I said:

The pope has spoken about what we should do if our government legalizes gay marriage. Saint Pope John Paul II published a document in 2003 titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons. 

I am familiar with this document because I was a Catholic lawmaker, serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, at the time it was issued. To be honest, I found it troubling because of the onus it put on me as a lawmaker to do things that I knew would affront my gay friends.

I loved these people, love them still, and it was tough, going against them. It cost me dearly on a personal level.

But there is nothing unequivocal about Saint John Paul II’s teaching in this matter. I prayed and blew off steam to my pastor, but there really was never a question that I would obey. The pope was quoting Scripture and talking Jesus. I had no choice.

Today’s Catholics, me included, are hungry for a repeat from Pope Francis. We want something concrete like the document Saint John Paul issued. However, it’s entirely possible that Pope Francis thinks that Saint John Paul has already said all that needs to be said and that all he has to do is make it clear that the pope’s opposition to gay marriage continues.

If that’s true, then, my fellow Catholics, we already have our marching orders.

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6 Things I Saw in Cecile Richard’s Testimony Before Congress

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

I watched several hours of Cecile Richards’ testimony before Congress last night.

Here are six take-aways that pro life people need to understand.

1. When a grown man, who is a member of Congress, begins a Congressional hearing by making random statements about his family members’ health in order  to “prove” his own sincere intentions, and then this guy cries on cue, he’s acting. Either that, or he’s crazy. Or both. American politics has become wacko. The men get on the mic and blubber to prove how sincere they are, and the women dare not shed a tear for fear of being labeled emotional girls. I wouldn’t trust any man, of either party, who behaves like that.

2. These hearings are not about defunding Planned Parenthood. They are partly about the upcoming 2016 elections, but they are mostly about how much the members of Congress hate one another. The committee members I watched were so full of mutual hatred and spite that they could not conduct a public hearing on a serious matter without constantly ramming verbal sticks in each other’s eyes. They hate each other.

3. Speaker Boehner was kicked out of the Speaker’s office by members of his own party. The Ds on the committee, who hate the Rs just as much as the Rs hate them, made that clear. That violates every bit of the legislative courtesy that allows people of differing backgrounds and ideas to come together in Congress and govern this nation. The Ds, as we say here in Okieland, “talked out of school.” They publicly proclaimed inside goings-on, and they did it in a Congressional hearing. They said it, and the Rs didn’t argue. It was true.

4. Congress does not have to “prove” anything to defund Planned Parenthood. They can fund — or defund — Planned Parenthood if they want. I know and understand the legislative hoops they have to jump through to achieve this, and I know it would be a tough boogie to get it done the way things are configured right now. I also, after watching them in action, question whether our pro life advocates in Congress possess the legislative skill to get it done. But it is possible. Or it would be if members of Congress cared as much about governance as they do their mutual hatred. These people aren’t going to reason together to find a way to govern, much less defund Planned Parenthood. I think they’d let the whole country go down the tubes, rather than work together.

5. I had originally thought that these hearings would be a dog and pony show, aimed at the next election. But from what I saw, the inmates are in charge of the asylum in the United States House of Representatives. What I witnessed wasn’t a hearing, and it wasn’t a dog and pony show. It was a bull and bear baiting contest, a real blood fight. These people couldn’t agree on what to order for lunch, much less how to govern this country.  They are — all of them — narcissists in the grip of their own narcissistic rage.

6. I said this is a bull and bear baiting contest, a blood fight. Let’s be clear about what that means. I am talking about real blood. The blood of the unborn. The blood of the American people. The blood of women and children. From what I saw, there is no hope — zero — that Congress is going to function for quite a while. They are in the throes of a Speaker’s race of some unruly sort, and Speaker’s races are usually ugly and divisive beasts. A faction of the Republican caucus just did a coup on a sitting Speaker. Now, the whole caucus is fighting over who will be next to sit in that office. This isn’t about the unborn or the common good. It’s about committee chairmanships and such. It’s about power. We have a Republican caucus that is in disarray and at war with itself. We have Rs and Ds who hate one another to the point of visible pathology. That sounds like all the wheels have come off the wagon in the House of Representatives. That buggy won’t roll.

I think We the People need to consider how much of this behavior we are willing to allow. We can pull the plug on these people. We can also, if we demand it, make them sit up straight, eat their vegetables and play nice with one another. We can do that because We the People, and our power of the vote, always has the real last word with Congress.

 

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It’s Synod Time Again. That Scares Me.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

It’s almost Synod time again.

After last year’s Synod on the Family, I almost wish they would all stay home. I’m afraid of what craziness the cardinals and bishops are going to cook up concerning marriage.

We need leadership from our Church in this time of upheaval. What they tried to give us last year was theological experimentation that walked off from the Gospels into their personal wish list for Jesus as they would like Him to be so their jobs would be easier.

I wrote about all that in a post for the National Catholic Register.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

Last year’s Synod on the Family was the low point in my Catholic faith.

It wasn’t the dueling cardinals and their clashing press comments that got to me. What pushed me close to despair was the fear that the Church might actually walk away from Jesus.

After I converted, I found a few of the Church’s teachings difficult to accept. But I hung in there and slowly came around to acceptance and a profound gratitude for the Church’s fidelity to Christ down through the centuries.

I have always understood that the members of the priesthood, including those in the papacy, are fallen men. I knew from many experiences in my life that they were capable of all sorts of sin. I didn’t expect anything else of them.

That’s how I got through the sexual abuse crisis. I was not, as many Catholic commentators said on television last week, “ashamed” of my Church because of the sex abuse crisis. I was angry with the bishops who allowed this to happen. I never, not for one moment, felt the inclination to excuse them by saying that they had “made mistakes.” Mistakes don’t involve lengthy court action, pay-offs and conspiracy to suppress evidence. Those actions were considered and deliberate. They were not blunders or momentary lapses.

But this never made me doubt the Church itself. I expected that human beings would do bad things. I don’t put my trust in princes, not even princes of the Church. I believed that, whatever wrong-headed things individual men in the Church hierarchy might do, the Church itself was a trustworthy teacher of the unchanging truths of Christ Jesus.

I was called to the Church by Christ in the Eucharist. I accepted difficult Church teachings and got past the scandal by believing that the Church taught truth, even when its leaders erred on a personal or professional level. But when Cardinals in last year’s Synod began yakkity-yakking about changing one of the sacraments; a sacrament that was instituted specifically and directly by Our Lord, it challenged that belief.

I thought then, and I think now, that these men who did this were using about one-half their brains. It’s clear to me that marriage is the basis for Holy Orders. The theology of Holy Orders is tied to the theology of marriage. Both of them are sacraments instituted by Our Lord. If one of them is conditional and up for grabs, then the other is also.

I could not see how these clerics could be so blind. If they trample on Jesus’ teachings on marriage, then Holy Orders, and their own authority, come tumbling down alongside it.

More to the point, no one — no one — can unsay what Jesus said. After 2,000 years of consistent teaching, no one can unteach what the Church has taught. Marriage is between one man and one woman. It is ordained of and by God.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/jesus-christ-is-the-same-yesterday-today-and-forever/#ixzz3nKdyjFKE

 

 

 

For other thoughts on the Synod, check out my Patheos colleague Dave Armstrong and The National Catholic Register’s Deacon Nick Donnelly.

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Public Catholic Reader Shares Bird’s-Eye View of Papal Mass in NY

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Public Catholic reader Manny — the lucky dawg — got to go to Pope Francis’ mass at Madison Square Garden (or “the Garden” as he says New Yorkers call it) to assist in the mass officiated there by the Holy Father.

He wrote a detailed and touching post for his blog, Ashes from Burnt Roses, describing his experiences. Manny is a good person — even though he is a Yankee and a Republican — and his goodness shines through this account. He also added a full post with his photos from the mass. You can see them here.

Luv ya Manny!

Thanks for letting me share this with the rest of the Public Catholic crew.

Christ in the City from Ashes From Burnt Roses:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Papal Mass, Christ in the City

Saturday was the Papal Mass and it was quite a day.  I got into Manhattan slightly after noon.  The information packet said to be there around two PM but I had no idea what the traffic would be like.  They were saying that the city would pretty much be locked down.

What I typically do when I go into the Manhattan for something or other is drive over to Brooklyn—I live across the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island—park the car near a subway station, and take the subway the rest of the way in.  Manhattan traffic stinks and parking is impossible unless you want to pay at least $50 for the day.

I did not run into any slowdowns either on the drive into Brooklyn or the subway ride to midtown Manhattan.  So I was early. On my walk from the train station to Madison Square Garden, I grabbed a sausage and peppers sandwich from a hot dog stand—I didn’t realize hot dog stands sold sausage and peppers now—and a Snapple and leaned against some building while I wolfed it down.

It was pretty good, but I still felt hungry and came across a pizzeria on a side street and got a slice as well.  The pizza men didn’t even look Italian–all ethnic groups can make pizza now.  Mmm.  I wolfed that down too.  I have to say the food in Manhattan, even off the street and some side street, no-name pizzeria that’s not run by Italians is delicious. When I got to the Garden (New Yorkers refer to Madison Square Garden as “The Garden”) there were tons of people around, including to my surprise some Protestant evangelizers handing out proselytizing pamphlets, which I found kind of tacky.

I mean really, what are they thinking?  If one is devout enough to go to a Papal Mass, do you think you’re going to convert because of some street handout? I was still early at around 12:30-ish but I figured I would go see where I needed to enter and if I could enter I figured I might as well sit and read rather than just walk around.

Cops told me I could not enter and that I needed to go to the back of the line, a line that was building south along the avenue.  So I looked to my left and—oh—there was a line.  At the end of the block I started to get on queue when the last person said the line continued on the next block.  What?  OK.  I walked to the back of the next block, and then the next, and then the next.

I went about eight blocks down before I finally reached the end.  And within short order it kept building behind me.  I don’t know how far behind me it went but ten city blocks in New York is roughly a half mile, and I think it went beyond that. And then we waited.  While waiting I bought a Papal flag off a street vendor, a chubby lady with a Spanish accent and spoke in broken English.  My son would love it.  Street vendors kept coming by with stuff.  I bought from a tall Caribbean street vendor in dreadlocks a rosary made of black wooden beads with an image of St. Benedict on the cross.

I bought it for my mother, who has asked for just such a rosary.  I thought the image of St. Benedict was that of Padre Pio—my mother’s favorite saint—but I realized after I had bought it I was wrong. I did read a little while standing but then I struck up a conversation with the family standing in front of me.  It was a family of four—father, mother, daughter in her teens, and a son maybe around twelve.  The son was in a motorized wheelchair and from what I could tell was a quadriplegic.

His hair was blond and he had glasses and a studious face.  I was struck by the way his family took care of him, fixed his hair that the breeze blew out of place, adjusted his seating position, took off a jacket when it got warm.  His father even spoke sternly to him when the son insisted on something or other, just like any father might with any son.

They were from out of the City, a good hour and a half north in a rural area.  The father said they had to get a ride down since the special van he had that accommodates the son’s wheelchair was taller than standard vans, and, the other times he drove in, it couldn’t fit in the parking garages and he didn’t think he could find street parking.  It must have cost them a pretty penny to get a specialized ride down and I assume a ride home.

The mother said over the years her son had received individual blessings from their priests, their monsignor, their bishop, and now the Pope.  “Who would have thought?” she said.  “We thought the Bishop would have been the last, but then the Pope came into town.”

Their church got them tickets just so their son could attend.   The father did tell me they used to come down to New York City regularly to bring his son to a particular hospital for some sort of treatments. My throat just swelled with emotion for the boy.

Internally I kept praying to God to bless that poor kid.  God, may he walk some day, and God, if we can’t have that miracle, may he have a full and happy life.  Bless him Lord.  I never did ask how the son became a quadriplegic.  I assume he wasn’t born that way.

When the line started to move up we kind of got split up in the walk up to the Garden.  It became a bit of a disorganized scramble and people jumped ahead and others got angry, and I saw the father protecting his son and making sure his wheelchair wasn’t pushed around by the crowd.  Even a set of nuns obliviously cut the line.

Some people shrugged, some people were miffed.  Later, inside, just before the Mass started I came across the father and daughter seated.  I asked about the son and he said he was up at a balcony for wheelchairs with his mother. You may ask why I’m giving all this preliminary detail but I’ll come to that later. So finally I made it in and seated.

Oh that felt good.  That was about four PM, so from the time I got on queue to being seated was three and a half hours.  So much for being early.  I could have showed up late and gotten in just the same.  My back was hurting, and so were my feet.

Was I upset as some in the crowd were?  No.  I have always wanted to go on some sort of pilgrimage, and if I couldn’t take this burden then what kind of a lousy pilgrim would I be?

I thought for sure I would have missed the great musical entertainment that was advertised.  But no, it hadn’t started yet. My seat was decent, a bit distant but facing the stage—which in this case was the altar.  I was seated behind the ground level section of the Garden, in the first section of the sloping stands.

It must have been fifty yards or so, but I had a direct view and a large screen directly in front of me. Before the events started I did go outside the auditorium and look for souvenirs.

Now I wanted something for myself.  I collect little pins that you can put on a lapel or fishing hat, and unfortunately all the Papal pins were sold out.  “All gone within an hour,” one vendor said.  I smirked in disappointment.

They did have baseball caps and several types of official rosaries, varying in price.  I liked the rosaries.  The cheapest one was $45 and it was beautiful and strong, so I took it.  I’ll have to take a picture of it for another post.

The musical entertainment was exactly those advertised, and they each performed one song: James D Train Williams, Gloria Estefan, Kelli O’Hara, Norman Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, and Harry Connick Jr.

They were all brilliant, but I have to say that Kelli O’Hara’s rendition of The Lord’s Prayer was incredible.  She was in tears at the end, and so was I.  I had never heard of her but what a voice and how she communicated with it.  If she ever records The Lord’s Prayer, buy it; it will be worth it.

The Pope finally made a startling entrance twenty-some minutes early than the 6:30 start.  He circled the ground level section in what looked like some sort of cart.  Everyone was cheering and applauding.  I could see him waving, and when I caught sight of his face he had that famous smile.  Then he circled back out and came in behind the Entrance Procession.

When he led us in the sign of the cross, the emotion hit me and I started to choke up.  You could feel the electricity in the air. The Mass then settled down into the liturgy.

Pope Francis did the Preparatory Rites and the Collect in his broken English.  The alternate readings were read in Spanish and then English, with the Gospel reading in English, Matthew 5:38-48, the passage on loving your enemies.  The Holy Father than gave his homily, and he read the prepared text in Spanish, but there were English subtitles on the screen.

I couldn’t catch the entire gist of his homily, but I caught images and phrases.  “Light, Christ, smog, streets.”  “Living in the city.”  “The people walk and breathe.”  “A light walking in the streets.”  “Encounter Jesus.” He was giving a homily on city life and how Christ is there amongst us in the city.

I have lived in this city since three years old, which means I’ve lived here for fifty years.  City life is all I really know.  I certainly have had a love-hate relationship with this city.

I couldn’t grasp the Holy Father’s exact message but I intuitively understood it.  Life in the city is different.  We walk by people.  We fail to see the ones who are in need.  We walk right by them or are scared of them. And so this is why I gave such a long introduction to this post.

I tried to capture the sights and moments of city life, the boy in the wheelchair, the family who cautiously cares for him, the rush of people jostling to get ahead in the queue, the people we bump into, the many faces we don’t even register as they stand right beside you, the frustration and anger you feel from people cutting ahead after you waited so long.

Afterwards I went and found the entire text of the homily.  You can read it here.

Here is what I think is the key passage:

But big cities also conceal the faces of all those people who don’t appear to belong, or are second-class citizens. In big cities, beneath the roar of traffic, beneath “the rapid pace of change”, so many faces pass by unnoticed because they have no “right” to be there, no right to be part of the city. They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly.

These people stand at the edges of our great avenues, in our streets, in deafening anonymity. They become part of an urban landscape which is more and more taken for granted, in our eyes, and especially in our hearts.

Knowing that Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people, that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us with hope. A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others, for the life of our city. A hope which frees us from empty “connections”, from abstract analyses, or sensationalist routines. A hope which is unafraid of involvement, which acts as a leaven wherever we happen to live and work. A hope which makes us see, even in the midst of smog, the presence of God as he continues to walk the streets of our city. Because God is in the city.

What is it like, this light travelling through our streets? How do we encounter God, who lives with us amid the smog of our cities? How do we encounter Jesus, alive and at work in the daily life of our multicultural cities? And then he implored us to go out and embrace the city and all its inhabitants.

Prince of Peace. Go out to others and share the good news that God, our Father, walks at our side. He frees us from anonymity, from a life of emptiness, and brings us to the school of encounter. He removes us from the fray of competition and self-absorption, and he opens before us the path of peace. That peace which is born of accepting others, that peace which fills our hearts whenever we look upon those in need as our brothers and sisters.

God is living in our cities. The Church is living in our cities. God and the Church living in our cities want to be like yeast in the dough, to relate to everyone, to stand at everyone’s side, proclaiming the marvels of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. And we, as Christians, are witnesses to this.

The media is obsessed with the Holy Father’s political issues, and I wish the Pope wouldn’t thrust himself so directly into politics.  But that’s him, for better or worse.  What gets obscured by his political message is that such a fine pastoral message as this gets lost.

The metaphors, the similes, the imagery, this was a brilliant homily, one of the best I’ve ever heard. I now recall that Pope Francis, when he was still Cardinal Bergoglio, was from Buenos Aries, the large city of Argentina.  I remember a picture of him riding in anonymity on the subway.  He knows the city.  He’s from the city.

His homily made me love New York City in a way I have never loved it before. I wondered how they would do communion for some 20,000 people.  If you look behind the altar you’ll see what must be over a hundred men in white robes.  Those are all priests and deacons.  The communion lines all proceeded out the auditorium and then circled back, so that it went remarkably smooth.

But the height of the Mass must have been when just before Dismissal Cardinal Dolan gave a remarkable tribute to Papa Francesco.  You can see the entire Mass on this video, but go to the 1:38:00 to see the tribute and the wonderful standing ovation.  It was a great moment.

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Is Speaker Boehner Going Home, or Is He Going to be a Millionaire?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Is John Boehner going home, or is he going to be a millionaire?

Speaker Boehner stands on the edge of a new beginning in his life. He can turn the page, leave Washington and begin a different life than the one he has known. Or, he can accept one of the mega-lucrative opportunities lying there in front of him, just waiting for him to pick up and make his own.

He possesses high dollar skills that can only be acquired one way: By suiting up and playing the game of full-speed, contact politics. What Speaker Boehner knows can’t be taught in a classroom. The only way to learn it is to get elected and then spend time slugging it out in the political trenches; winning and getting beat, strategizing and knocking heads.

Speaker Boehner will be a millionaire if he wants it. All he has to do is sign on as a hired gun for one of the many special interests that are strangling our government. He could, if he’s feeling called to it, offer his services to a low-dollar, people-oriented enterprise, such as the Catholic bishops, or the movement to end violence against women. Those lobbying jobs are far more challenging than pushing the plans of big-money power brokers, and the work has intrinsic benefits that are priceless.

But if he wants the doh-reg-meh, he will have to sell his skills to a higher bidder. There are intrinsics to that choice to. But they are costs, not benefits. If Speaker Boehner takes a position as a hired gun, he will be told.

His moral reservations about the issues he lobbies for will be entirely non-sequitur.  Hired guns do what they’re told. He  will earn his millions by using the skills he acquired through long years in public office to accomplish what those who pay him want accomplished.

If that’s an unfair advantage over competitors, if that’s the use of American troops to support a private company’s bid for power in another country, if that’s raising taxes on wage earners while lowering them on the rich, then so be it. Hired guns do what they’re told.

This isn’t such a large jump for many politicians. They’ve been dancing to the tune of party discipline and those who used campaign donations to buy them since they first filed for their first office. They already do what they’re told.

They may have spent their careers speaking piously about following God’s will. Human nature being what it is, they may even have convinced themselves that this is what they actually are doing God’s will. But in practice and in fact, God’s will as they choose to see it has coincided in an almost perfect one-to-one correlation with the will of their political party and the puppet masters who pull their strings.

John Boehner has spent many years of his life as one of the two most powerful legislators in the world. As Speaker of the House, he actually has had a greater latitude than the Senate Majority leader, who is hemmed in by Senate rules and the reality of the Vice President as the Constitutional head of the Senate. The Senate wields power that the House does not in a number of areas, and each Senator represents an entire state rather than a district within a state. But the House is the more independent body. That gives the Speaker greater freedom of action, with the power that goes with it.

If he wants to be an independent person who can continue to exercise personal latitude in what he does, Speaker Boehner will have to say no to the vast wealth that is his for the taking. He is staring at a future carpeted by the realization of all the dreams of avarice. But nothing in life is free except a mother’s love and salvation before God. Everything else has a price. Hiring on as a hired gun in Washington DC exacts a sobering moral cost.

Speaker Boehner has a future of great wealth and little independence, working as a hired gun for one of the many special interests who have bought our government. It’s his, if he wants it. He will, if he takes such a position, forfeit the opportunity to use what he knows for the common good. But he will also become a wealthy man.

What do you think he’s going to do?

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PP Videos: Another Excuse Bites the Dust

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Planned Parenthood has wiggled and wormed its way around the hideous truth revealed by the videos of its executives, contracting to sell the body parts of babies it has murdered.

Among other things, it has claimed that the videos were edited to change the truth of what was said. It has persisted in this lie despite the fact that each time a new video came out, the entire and unedited version of the same video was released along with it.

Another lie they’ve tried is that the videos were altered. But a forensic examination of the videos show that they have not been altered at all.

I guess Planned Parenthood is going to have to think up a new lie to replace this one. Or maybe, they’ll just keep on repeating the old lie. That is, after all, their way.

From LifeNews.Com:

A new forensic analysis of the 10 videos the Center for Medical Progress released exposing the Planned Parenthood abortion business apparently illegally selling aborted babies and their body parts for profit finds “no evidence of manipulation” despite claims from the abortion company and Democrats that they were heavily edited.

The multiple videos have horrified millions of Americans and the most recent video catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies. The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.

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

Now, a legal group Alliance Defending Freedom has obtained the services of cybersecurity and forensic analysis company Coalfire Systems to examine each of the 10 videos CMP released to determine if they were manipulated in any way.  According to a news report, the answer is no and the only edits in the videos consisted of bathroom breaks and time eating meals …

 

 

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Pope Francis’ Tweet for Today Says it All.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: "Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes." (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency.
Their website states: “Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes.” (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

 

This was Pope Francis tweet to the world today. It says it all, doesn’t it?

 

 

With my heartfelt thanks. May the love of Christ always guide the American people!

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