sábado, 7 de janeiro de 2012

Homosexual lobby group (ILGA) linked with pro-pedophile groups funded mostly by governments - Austin Ruse


WASHINGTON, DC, January 6 (C-FAM) European human rights lawyer J.C. von Krempach has taken a close look at the funding stream of the International Gay and Lesbian Association – Europe (ILGA) and concluded that most of their money comes from governments. Writing in the foreign policy blog Turtle Bay and Beyond, von Krempach found a vast majority of ILGA’s funds come from just two governmental entities, the European Commission and the Dutch government.

ILGA is an advocacy group promoting homosexual rights. They were notoriously denied UN accreditation for years because of their connection to groups that promote pedophilia. The NGO Committee of the UN Economic and Social Council consistently rejected ILGA until the Economic and Social Council, led by European countries, overruled their decision.

Among the requirements for UN NGO accreditation is “the major portion of the organization's funds should be derived from contributions from national affiliates, individual members, or other non-governmental components."

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to the United Nations must show actual people or non-profits, such as foundations, fund them. The UN holds that if their money comes mostly from governments that would make them governmental entities.

The UN included “civil society” to represent people independent from governmental intrusion, not to be an arm of government or a deceptive front for political officials. “Civil society” is comprised of voluntary social relationships and civic organizations and institutions, distinct from the state and market.

Von Krempach discovered that in the year just ended, the European Commission, an intergovernmental entity, provided fully 68% of ILGA’s budget. The Dutch government provided an additional €50,000 bringing ILGA’s governmental funding up to 71%. The rest of ILGA’s funding comes from left-wing donors George Soros, Sigrid Rausing, and one anonymous donor.

Von Krempach also looked at the organization’s budget forecast for 2012 and found a total income of €1,950,000 of which €1 million come from the European Commission and €334,000 come from the Dutch government. Von Krempach writes, “This raises questions with regard to ILGA-Europe’s accreditation to the UN Economic and Social Council.”

Von Krempach also points out the anomaly of the European Commission being the largest sole funding source for a group set up to lobby the European Commission and the European Parliament. He says this is basically the European Institutions lobbying itself.

In light of this new information, it is expected the UN NGO Committee will take up ILGA’s accreditation once more. There is a great deal of bad blood at the UN on the question of the homosexual agenda. European nations are forcing extremist homosexual groups upon the UN NGO Committee. Other governments have taken up the cause of making homosexual activity a human right enforced by international law.

A document called the Yogyakarta Principles, written in part by UN bureaucrats, claims that “sexual orientation and gender identity” are already part of international law. A solid bloc of 80+ nations consistently stops this phantom re-interpretation of UN treaties from actually happening.

In recent weeks the US government announced that advancing the homosexual agenda would be one of its top foreign policy priorities, directing all US government entities that do business overseas to make this agenda a priority.

Is it worth it? the economics of same-sex marriage - by Douglas W. Allen

In Mercator Net

Douglas Allen is a Canadian expert on the economics of social institutions. He has discussed same sex marriage from an economic point of view in articles in leading law journals. MercatorNet interviewed him about the consequences of legalising same sex marriage.

MercatorNet: You argue that marriage is an institution with its own norms which exists in many different legal systems. So what are the basic characteristics of marriage?

Douglas Allen: I think is important to think of marriage as an "institution" rather than some other metaphor. Perhaps the worst way to think about marriage is "as a contract". A contract is a legally enforced agreement between two people, and although marriage contains this element, there is much more to marriage than this. An institution, is a collection of expectations, norms, and humanly devised constraints that work together towards some social objective. Across cultures and time there are a number of basic institutional characteristics of marriage that are relatively constant.

These characteristics would include the following. First, there is a strong contractual element to marriage. Marriage almost always requires some degree of consent between the husband and wife. Even in arranged marriages the individuals are almost always involved in some extent and often have veto powers. In modern marriages, the couple determine a number of the details of marriage. For example, how things are to be shared, produced, and monitored are matters left up to the couple.

Second, marriage always has involved third parties. Families are involved in marriages, but so are extended family members, non-blood relations, and third parties like the church, state, or tribe. These third parties often regulate the terms of entry into and exit from marriage. Here is where marriage starts to move beyond mere contract. Whereas contracts can be customized between two people, marriage regulations are common across couples. The meaning of marriage for one couple in British Columbia, is the same for another couple. Every couple within a jurisdiction faces the same entry and exit conditions.

Among these third party regulations we see many similarities across time and space. Marriage has always been a life-long arrangement (although recently in Mexico City some politician suggested making marriage a matter of a renewable two-year contract). Marriage has, until very recently, been heterosexual. For the most part marriage has centered on monogamous relations, although there are many instances of polygamous ones. Marriage is always a sharing arrangement. Rather than one spouse "hiring" the other, couples form unions and share in the good and bad times.

Finally, marriage is the institution that all societies have used as their first choice in raising children.

These similarities do not mean that one cannot find exceptions. In the history of mankind all sorts of institutions have been used to regulate sex. What we know is that these isolated cases were unable to grow in numbers and wealth. As a result they either died out, or quickly converted when contact was made with other civilizations. In addition, often events in life (such as death), have meant that second-best arrangements have had to be made to accommodate children. Hence, most societies have had to develop welfare systems around marriage that include multiple marriages, adoption, and the like.

MercatorNet: Is it possible to create laws which will accommodate both heterosexual and homosexual couples?

I think it is, but not without a cost. Let me first say that there are four major categories of costs and benefits of including any type of couple into marriage. There are costs and benefits of including, and there are costs and benefits of excluding. Most of the debate on gay marriage focus on just one or two of these categories, and as a result there is much confusion. Let me spell them out before answering your question:

Inclusion Benefits: These are the private benefits a couple gains from marriage, plus any social benefits. Most believe that the major social benefit of marriage is a sufficient quantity of high-quality children to perpetuate the society.

Inclusion Costs: Any type of couple that is included into marriage that requires a redefinition of marriage imposes a cost on the existing types of couples. Marriage has been designed for monogamous heterosexual couples. Any change to its institutional structure to accommodate others, must impose costs on the existing marriages. This is the argument of my paper in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

Exclusion Benefits: Every society has values that pass judgement on various types of unions. Some believe that polygamy is moral, others believe it is immoral. Some believe that gay marriage is good, others believe it is bad. When a type of marriage is excluded, those who believe this type of marriage is wrong benefit. These benefits must be included in the decision to allow the type of couple into the franchise of marriage.

Exclusion Costs: When a type of couple is excluded the benefits they would have achieved in marriage are not realized, and this is a cost. In addition, some clerk somewhere has to be able to tell if a couple should be excluded, and this logistical problem also is a cost.

I have argued that the Inclusion benefits of gay marriage are small because (i) there are very few of them in total, and (ii) they produce very few children. In a recent paper examining same sex couples in Canada, I find that gays and lesbians make up on 3/4 of 1 percent of the population, and that across the entire country there are only about 33,000 children living with a gay or lesbian in the household. There are 10 million children in Canada, and almost all of these children come from a previous heterosexual marriage or common law relationship.

I have argued that the inclusion costs of gay marriage are high. The institution of marriage must be fundamentally redefined to accommodate same sex couples. This includes, most notably, the definition of parenthood and the rights associated with that.

The exclusion benefits are changing every day, and this is why same sex marriage is now a debate. Whereas 30 years ago very few people would have considered same sex marriage a legitimate form of marriage, in North America around 50 percent now consider it so.

Finally, the costs of excluding same sex marriage is low. Society forgoes little by excluding them, and the logistics of identifying a same sex couple are low.

Hence, from an economic point of view, same sex marriage should not be allowed. The costs exceed the benefits. Now to your question.

The key element, in my opinion, is that the inclusion costs must be eliminated. Here is the major problem. By having one type of marriage for three different types of unions (and gays and lesbians are very different types of unions), we end up with major costs. If we could eliminate these costs, then same sex couples could enjoy the private benefits of marriage while only hurting those who think it is wrong.

The way to do this is through some type of civil union, or to have two types of marriage co-existing. The former has been tried. The latter has not. The problem with doing the latter is that it does open the door of "marriage as contract". If same sex couples get to have a customized marriage, then why can other couples not also have customized marriages. If we go down this road, then marriage pretty much loses all meaning.

So, my answer would be: if we can create something called "same sex marriage" that is not binding on heterosexuals, and which does not open the door for other custom marriages, then this is one way of accommodating everyone.

MercatorNet: How are heterosexual, gay and lesbian relationships essentially different?

Of course the fundamental difference between opposite and same sex unions is the ability of the former to cheaply procreate. In a recent paper I have examined this difference and found that it alters many behaviors. In particular, same sex couples, given the higher costs of children, have fewer children. The costs of procreating are higher for gays than lesbians, and gays have many fewer children than lesbians. Because they have fewer children in their households, gays and lesbians partake in behaviors that are not complementary to children. They consume more alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes than heterosexuals. For both gay men and lesbians, they are more likely to have multiple sex partners, both as singles and couples.

Finally, because children are unlikely in a same sex relationship, gays and lesbians sort on different criteria when seeking a mate. In particular, I find that they are less concerned about the genetic fitness of their partners. This makes sense since heterosexuals have to worry about the genetic traits their spouses will pass on to children, and they want a healthy spouse to be around for the entire duration of child rearing.

All of these factors help explain another factor that has been observed in same sex unions: the are less stable than opposite sexed ones. One study done in Norway and Sweden found that lesbians were six times more likely to divorce compared to heterosexuals, and gays were three times more likely to divorce.

It is not so much that children hold marriages together (which they probably do), but that those interested in children are also interested in long-lasting relations. The absence of children means that gays and lesbians are generally getting something out of their relationships that is different (eg, companionship). There's no particular reason why one should have the same companion or sex partner for life once children are out of the picture.

MercatorNet: Do these differences have consequences?

They certainly do, as I've just pointed out. From an institutional perspective, they also mean that gays and lesbian relationships are likely to require different types of regulations. Even when children are present, they likely arrive by different channels. These different channels require different forms of management. As has become clear in The Netherlands, over time, there are now several different categories of parents with different levels of rights.

MercatorNet: How can changing the law to accommodate the demands of same-sex couples possibly harm heterosexual marriages?

Let's take one example. Historically the definition of parent has been "natural parent" which has meant "biological parent." There can only be two natural parents, and someone who is the biological parent has been given an entire set of rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities have been designed to manage the problems that arise in procreation. Societies have wanted parents to have the proper incentives to remain married and to look after their offspring. It has always been a serious matter to alter these rights and responsibilities.

Well, natural parenthood makes no sense when you introduce same sex marriage, because if there are children one of the spouses is not biologically connected. In jurisdictions that have same sex marriage there is always some type of redefinition to accommodate this. In Canada we created a concept called "legal parent." In British Columbia this has meant a birth certificate asks for the mother's name and the "co-parent's" name. The concept of "father" has been reduced. More significantly, there can be more than two legal parents. There have been a host of legal cases involving divorce where biology has no standing and non-biological but legally-connected parents have been given custody. This is a dramatic shift in the rights of parents, and affects the way parents behave. The impacts of these are yet to be fully seen.

MercatorNet: What has been the experience in Canada, after the definition of marriage was changed?

Well, that is a good question. Most of the outrageous cases have not been held up by the courts. So, for example, when BC introduced same sex marriage there were many couples from the US who came up and got married. They then went back home, and within a few years wanted a divorce. This put them in limbo. The states they resided in did not recognize their marriages, and so would not grant a divorce.

However, BC has a residency requirement and would also not grant the divorce. A law suit was launched demanding that BC allow divorces to non-residents. If passed it would have made BC a divorce mill. Fortunately, it was defeated, but this just shows yet another unintended consequence.

One immediate change was the subsequent change of all divorce laws. Of course, the meaning of marriage in the culture has changed. But, the measurable effects are not known yet, and unfortunately it will take some time before they are known.

MercatorNet: Many people say that adverse consequences of legalising same-sex marriage are just social science scaremongering. But you argue that we should learn from the legalisation of no-fault divorce.

Yes. This gets back to my fundamental point: marriage is an institution designed with a purpose. If you mess with it, there will be consequences.

During the no fault divorce debate the same arguments were made that are heard today: "marriage is a formalization of love". Hence, if a couple no longer loves each other, why shouldn't they be allowed to divorce? The view was that there exists an exogenous number of dead and living marriages, and so the law was only setting free those trapped in a dead marriage.

Well, guess what? Marriage is designed to mitigate bad behavior, and by allowing individuals to unilaterally abandon their marital responsibilities there was a lot of bad behavior.

In the 1960s debate, no one thought the divorce rate would change, but it changed enormously and led to a divorce culture. No one thought there would be changes to labor force participation, hours worked, violence against spouses, suicide rates for children, and on and on. And yet, changes to these thing are linked to no-fault divorce.

The no-fault divorce experiment proves that marriage is an institution designed with a purpose, and therefore, further changes to accommodate same sex couples will also have consequences. As in the 1960s we're probably unable to predict what they all will be, but they will come nonetheless.

One of the overriding purposes of marriage has been to encourage fertility. Every couple wants to have one baby, but not enough want to have enough to replace or grow a population. This has been a social problem for 3,000 years (ask the Spartans). Over the past 100 years we've been able to dodge this bullet through high levels of wealth and immigration, but as we continue to erode the value of marriage, reduced fertility is likely a long-term consequence.

Douglas W. Allen is Burnaby Mountain Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, British Columbia. His latest book is The Institutional Revolution (U Chicago Press). He is also a member of the Ruth Institute's Circle of Experts.

for further reading
Douglas W. Allen. “An Economic Assessment of Same-Sex Marriage Laws.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. Vol 29, No 3. 2006.
Douglas W. Allen. “Who Should Be Allowed Into the Marriage Franchise?” Drake Law Review. Vol 58, 2010.

Confessionários vazios, spas cheios - Prof. Doutor Pedro Afonso

Recentemente um sacerdote lamentava-se de passar horas a fio no confessionário sem que ninguém aparecesse. Ora, num país que se diz maioritariamente católico, este fenómeno merece reflexão, pois se os confessionários estão vazios os “spas” são cada vez mais procurados. Por conseguinte, talvez não seja por acaso que Portugal ocupe um indecoroso 32ºlugar no Índice de Percepção da Corrupção, relativo a 2011, divulgado pela Transparência Internacional, de um total de 183 países avaliados.

Numa sociedade cada vez mais secularista, a noção entre o bem e o mal tem vindo a esbater-se. Se recusarmos assumir que o bem e o mal são realidades naturais, como é que faz sentido falar-se em justiça? Existem interesses políticos e económicos que visam extinguir da nossa sociedade uma certa consciência moral. É o principio de todas as tiranias: prometem de início o cumprimento de todos os desejos humanos, dando rédea solta a todos os instintos e apetites, mas rapidamente se apoderam da liberdade de um povo.

E foi o que aconteceu connosco. Portugal não perdeu apenas soberania com a dívida pública, antes disso, perdeu um depósito moral que urge repor. A televisão não ficou indiferente a este fenómeno, explicando-se deste modo o florescimento de programas televisivos moralmente degradantes, como “a casa dos segredos”, nos quais, em vez de se enaltecer as virtudes humanas, se idolatram os vícios privados e se promove a boçalidade. Escasseiam as pessoas que falam com a mínima convicção sobre o bem e o mal e quando alguém expressa este tipo de opinião ela é escarnecida, apontada como fundamentalista – como se fosse possível haver alguma tolerância perante o lamaçal da degradação humana.

Temos assistido a um aumento da corrupção, criando-se a percepção perigosa de que aqueles que ontem foram as vítimas, se tiverem oportunidade, convertem-se amanhã em carrascos. Impera o principio justificativo “ todos fazem assim...”. E quando alguém deixa de acreditar nos princípios é porque deixou de os ter. A corrupção não se combate apenas com leis gerais, numa planificação em grande escala. A corrupção só se combate eficazmente quando o indivíduo reconhece que o mal está dentro de si próprio. Mas como será possível alcançar este objectivo se apenas se promove o auto-endeusamento?

Esta crescente idolatria pelos centros de rejuvenescimento, relaxamento e anti-stresse é psiquicamente estéril. A fecundidade está no acto de nos questionarmos quanto ao que está certo e se, porventura, nos teremos equivocado; a fecundidade está na reflexão pessoal e no desejo de enriquecer as nossas qualidades humanas. Não é possível melhorarmos enquanto país se não melhorarmos enquanto pessoas. E este elemento de mudança não está ao alcance de nenhum governo.

Um país para ser verdadeiramente livre e próspero terá de fomentar a autocrítica e o pensamento, defender uma consciência moral, assumir que existe um bem-comum e que todos nós somos responsáveis pela sua conquista. Devido à constante correria é provável que hajam muitas pessoas que nem sequer tenham consciência disso. É preciso travar esta agitação febril para as soluções fáceis, penetrando na raiz do problema. Pior do que termos uma praga de “spas” é entronizarmos a decrepitude e entregarmo-nos submissos à época viciosa em que vivemos.

The Church and Freemasonry: A long history of incompatibility

The relationship between the two institutions is examined by Monsignor Negri through the study of the phenomenon of Freemasonry carried out by the teachings of the Popes

Giacomo Galeazzi

In Vatican Insider

Cassock and compass: the relationship between Christianity and Freemasonry is an authentically “ecumenical” knot. It is not only the Catholic Church, in fact, that has secular difficulties with the “freemasons,” but also other Christian denominations. In 2003, Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of England, Rowan Williams (who had recently been made spiritual head of the Anglicans) was forced to apologize to 330,000 Freemasons in the United Kingdom for saying that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and for saying that he himself had excluded them from positions of responsibility in his diocese. The outcry from British Freemasonry was such that primate Rowan Williams wrote to Robert Morrow, the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, in an attempt to put out the fire of controversy unleashed from his statement about the incompatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity.

In his message, the Archbishop of Canterbury apologized for the “distress” he caused with his words and revealed that his father “was a member of the Craft.” The freemasons, many of whom are active members of the Church of England, have reacted animatedly to the fact that the primate acknowledged having doubts, fears, and prejudices about the compatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity. They protested his admission that, as Bishop of Monmouth, he had blocked the promotion of masons to important posts. His critical statements on Freemasonry were contained in a private letter partially revealed by the UK mass media as Downing Street confirmed the appointment of Rowan Williams as head of the Church of England. His colleagues’ subsequent attempts to calm the clamor only caused further controversy. In fact, a spokesman confirmed that the Archbishop of Canterbury was worried about the ritual component of Freemasonry, which was seen as “satanically inspired.”

In the Catholic Church, it is uncommon for a bishop to speak publicly about Freemasonry. Even more surprising is that the person to have done it is someone with an eye toward the ecclesiastical hierarchy like Monsignor Luigi Negri, Bishop of Marino-Montefeltro and President of the John Paul II Foundation for the Social Teachings of the Church. In November 2007, the Communion and Liberation (CL) bishop - a very close collaborator with Father Luigi Giussani - found the occasion to speak out in a history book on the Risorgimento by Angela Pellicciari, entitled The Popes and Freemasonry (Edizioni Ares, 2007, 320 pp.). In the preface to the essay, Bishop Negri says he is happy to introduce “this meaningful and relevant effort” by Angela Pellicciari, calling the book “an extremely intelligent and well-documented re-reading of the Papal teachings over the last centuries on the extremely long-standing and current topic of Freemasonry and its disruptive effect on the Church and Christianity.” At its base, emphasizes the CL bishop, there are actions that all the Pontiffs over the last two and half centuries have taken, “constantly keeping pace with the growth of the Masonic project in the life of culture and society, and attempts to hegemonically participate in the great secular revolutions, starting with the French Revolution and concluding, it is now clear enough, with the Russian Revolution of 1917.”

What Monsignor Negri makes clear in this abundant teaching is the depth of the study that the Popes did on the Masonic story and its ultimate foundations: anthropological, metaphysical, cultural, ethical. It is a study that followed, step by step, the evolution of Freemasonry, to the foundations of its assumptions, many times predicting the results, in society and in relationship with the Church, that were then in fact realized. “With perfect consistency, and according to the logic of continuity (which Pope Benedict XVI calls the hermeneutics of continuity[CDB1] ), it is clear that the Church has not ceded, not even a moment, to any temptation to accord or peace-making,” emphasizes Monsignor Negri. “Freemasonry is an enemy of the Church; born with this enmity and pursuing the realization of this enmity with the destruction of the Church and Christian Civilization and its replacement with a culture and a society that is substantially atheistic, even when referring to the architecture of the universe.”

In the judgment of Monsignor Negri, there is no question that this is a reference to values designed and conceived within a rationalistic Enlightenment mentality. To deal with the still-tangled knot of the more or less hidden relations between the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the Freemasons, we must go back to the relationship between the Church and modernity. “It is not the Church that is anti-modern, but modernity that is anti-Church,” says Bishop Negri. “Modernity is anti-Church, and the maximum point of attack on the clergy is really represented by a Freemasonry that - as a component secretly connoted and dynamically launched into the creation of an civilization alternative to that created by faith - represents, to my way of thinking, a radical element of modernity.”

In Freemasonry, in fact, modernity is expressed with maximum clarity and identity and, according to the bishop, also garners the maximum cultural and social impact. The issue of relations between the Church and Freemasonry should be contextualized, therefore, in the great story of the Church in relation to the modern secular, contemporary project. “Basically, it is a very unique counterpoint to the social doctrine of the Church, in the sense that this teaching against Freemasonry, in some ways, is already an indicator of the fundamental issues that the social Doctrine of the Church will then face and deploy along all the articulations that the secular project will assume, during the modern, contemporary phase,” Negri points out. According to this, Freemasonry has certainly found its strength in secrecy, in the ability to identify and assimilate the leadership of men who are unconditionally obedient to its directives, as well as its ability to influence ever-wider strata of the culture and leadership of civic and institutional life. That is, Freemasonry has strategically represented a point of attack, on the principles and on the mentality of those who, in the abstract, should have stood as a bulwark of these traditional principles, but instead have become fully instrumental in the erosion of tradition and revolution against it. “This is also an intuition that the Papal teachings maintained on Freemasonry,” says Negri, “The Popes were agreed in indicating, even from different perspectives, that Freemasonry was conquering, slowly but inexorably, even those who had the duty to defend all the richness, the truth, and the beauty of the traditional position.”

Furthermore, “not only has Freemasonry conquered the revolutionary avant-garde in Europe and in the world but, above all, it has strongly conditioned the regimes that, arising from these masonic-liberal revolutions, would result in the great totalitarian systems.” The CL bishop gives voice to the belief, strongly rooted in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, of a greater “identity-orientation” – certainly a very serious and disturbing presence, now widely documented - of many freemasons with positions of responsibility in the great totalitarian systems. In the crosshairs of Monsignor Negri and of the traditionalist wing of the international episcopate, is “a popular doctrine that has been artfully spread, including by certain ecclesiastical personalities, about a change in the position of the Church with regard to Freemasonry,” and those who even maintain that a collaboration between the Church and Freemasonry would be desirable since, fundamentally, they both work in the fields of charity and solidarity initiatives which are, obviously, pursued with different associations but join into a single project: the well-being of humanity. Says Monsignor Negri: “I happened to hear, in person, similar statements come from the mouth of a very high representative of the Italian church, but such claims have no foundation. No one who wants to seriously deal with the Church-Freemasonry issue can stay at this superficial level that, if it is intolerable for everyone, is even more intolerable for representatives of the ecclesiastical community.”

sexta-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2012

Mother With Cancer Sacrifices Her Life for Her Unborn Baby

In Life News

Every so often somewhere in the world, news reports surface of mothers who practice the kind of selfless sacrifice that should be encouragement for anyone — a willingness to sacrifice their own life for their unborn child.

In this latest case, Jenni Lake recently gave birth to a baby boy just one month before she turned 18. When lake found out she was pregnant, she decided to forgo treatment for tumors on her brain and spine so she could carry the baby to term and give birth.

Diana Phillips, Jenni’s mother, said that, when Lake was admitted to the hospital as she told the nurse, ‘I’m done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe.’” The nurse would later repeat the girl’s words to comfort her family when Lake passed away 12 days after the baby was born.

Now, photographs show a healthy baby with rosy cheeks who was born at a healthy weight — a contrast to the frail Lake.

The Associated Press presents more of Lake’s courageous story:

The migraines started last year, when Jenni was a 16-year-old sophomore at Pocatello High School. She was taken to the family doctor, and an MRI scan found a small mass measuring about two centimeters wide on the right side of her brain.

She was sent to a hospital in Salt Lake City, some 150 miles south of Pocatello, and another scan there showed the mass was bigger than previously thought.

Jenni had a biopsy Oct. 15, 2010, and five days later was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor. With three tumors on her brain and three on her spine, Jenni was told her case was rare because the cancer had spread from her brain to another part of her body with no symptoms.

Jenni started aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while also posting videos on a YouTube site titled “Jenni’s Journey,” where she hoped to share her story with updates every other day. She managed to upload only three videos, though, as her treatments left her tired and weak.

From the start of treatment, she was told that she might never have children, her mother said, that the radiation and chemotherapy could essentially make her sterile.

But when Jenni and her boyfriend Nathan learned she was pregnant, Jenni had her mind made up.

Jenni, the third of her parents’ eight children, had always wanted to be a mom. She had already determined to keep the baby when she went to see her oncologist, Dr. David Ririe, in Pocatello two days after she found out she was pregnant.

“He told us that if she’s pregnant, she can’t continue the treatments,” Phillips said. “So she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.”

There was no discussion about which path Jenni would choose. Her parents didn’t think of it as a clear life or death decision, and Jenni may not have, either. They believed that since the tumors had already started to shrink earlier, she had a strong chance of carrying the baby and then returning to treatment after he was born.

Jenni’s last words were about her son as he was placed beside her a final time, her father said. As she felt for the baby, she said: “I can kind of see him.”

Dia de Reis (A Epifania) - Bento XVI

In Vatican

Queridos irmãos e irmãs,

A Epifania é uma festa da luz. «Ergue-te, Jerusalém, e sê iluminada, que a tua luz desponta e a glória do Senhor está sobre ti» (Is 60, 1). Com estas palavras do profeta Isaías, a Igreja descreve o conteúdo da festa. Sim, veio ao mundo Aquele que é a Luz verdadeira, Aquele que faz com que os homens sejam luz. Dá-lhes o poder de se tornarem filhos de Deus (cf. Jo 1, 9.12). Para a liturgia, o caminho dos Magos do Oriente é só o início de uma grande procissão que continua ao longo da história inteira. Com estes homens, tem início a peregrinação da humanidade rumo a Jesus Cristo: rumo àquele Deus que nasceu num estábulo, que morreu na cruz e, Ressuscitado, permanece connosco todos os dias até ao fim do mundo (cf. Mt 28, 20). A Igreja lê a narração do Evangelho de Mateus juntamente com a visão do profeta Isaías, que escutámos na primeira leitura: o caminho destes homens é só o início. Antes, tinham vindo os pastores – almas simples que habitavam mais perto de Deus feito menino, podendo mais facilmente «ir até lá» (cf. Lc 2, 15) ter com Ele e reconhecê-Lo como Senhor. Mas agora vêm também os sábios deste mundo. Vêm grandes e pequenos, reis e servos, homens de todas as culturas e de todos os povos. Os homens do Oriente são os primeiros, seguidos de muitos outros ao longo dos séculos. Depois da grande visão de Isaías, a leitura tirada da Carta aos Efésios exprime, de modo sóbrio e simples, a mesma ideia: os gentios partilham da mesma herança (cf. 3, 6). Eis como o formulara o Salmo 2: «Eu te darei as nações por herança, e os confins da terra para teu domínio» (v. 8).

Os Magos do Oriente vão à frente. Inauguram o caminho dos povos para Cristo. Durante esta Missa, vou conferir a Ordenação Episcopal a dois sacerdotes, consagrá-los-ei Pastores do povo de Deus. Segundo palavras de Jesus, caminhar à frente do rebanho faz parte da função do Pastor (cf. Jo 10, 4). Por isso naqueles personagens, que foram os primeiros pagãos a encontrar o caminho para Cristo, talvez possamos – não obstante todas as diferenças nas respectivas vocações e tarefas – procurar indicações para a missão dos Bispos. Que tipo de homens eram os Magos? Os peritos dizem-nos que pertenciam à grande tradição astronómica que se fora desenvolvendo na Mesopotâmia no decorrer dos séculos, e era então florescente. Mas esta informação, por si só, não é suficiente. Provavelmente haveria muitos astrónomos na antiga Babilónia, mas poucos, apenas estes Magos, se puseram a caminho e seguiram a estrela que tinham reconhecido como sendo a estrela da promessa, ou seja, a que indicava o caminho para o verdadeiro Rei e Salvador. Podemos dizer que eram homens de ciência, mas não apenas no sentido de quererem saber muitas coisas; eles queriam algo mais. Queriam entender o que é que conta no facto de sermos homens. Provavelmente ouviram falar da profecia de Balaão, um profeta pagão: «Uma estrela sai de Jacob, e um cetro se levanta de Israel» (Nm 24, 17). Eles aprofundaram esta promessa. Eram pessoas de coração inquieto, que não se satisfaziam com aparências ou com a rotina da vida. Eram homens à procura da promessa, à procura de Deus. Eram homens vigilantes, capazes de discernir os sinais de Deus, a sua linguagem subtil e insistente. Mas eram também homens corajosos e, ao mesmo tempo, humildes: podemos imaginar as zombarias que tiveram de suportar quando se puseram a caminho para ir ter com o Rei dos Judeus, enfrentando canseiras sem número. Mas, não consideravam decisivo o que se pensava ou dizia deles, mesmo pelas pessoas influentes e inteligentes. Para eles o que contava era a própria verdade, não a opinião dos homens. Por isso, enfrentaram as privações e o cansaço dum caminho longo e incerto. Foi a sua coragem humilde que lhes permitiu prostrar-se diante dum menino filho de gente pobre e reconhecer n’Ele o Rei prometido, cuja busca e reconhecimento fora o objectivo do seu caminho exterior e interior.

Queridos amigos, em tudo isto é possível ver alguns traços essenciais do ministério episcopal. Também o Bispo deve ser um homem de coração inquieto, que não se satisfaz com as coisas rotineiras deste mundo, mas segue a inquietação do coração que o impele interiormente a aproximar-se sempre mais de Deus, a procurar o seu Rosto, a conhecê-Lo cada vez melhor, para poder amá-Lo sempre mais. Também o Bispo deve ser um homem de coração vigilante que percebe a linguagem subtil de Deus e sabe discernir a verdade da aparência. Também o Bispo deve estar repleto da coragem da humildade, que não se interessa do que a opinião dominante diz dele, mas por critério toma a medida da verdade de Deus, comprometendo-se com ela «opportune – importune». Deve ser capaz de ir à frente indicando o caminho. Deve ir à frente seguindo Aquele que a todos nos precedeu, porque é o verdadeiro Pastor, a verdadeira estrela da promessa: Jesus Cristo. E deve ter a humildade de prostrar-se diante daquele Deus que Se tornou tão concreto e tão simples que contradiz o nosso orgulho insensato, que não quer ver Deus assim perto e pequenino. Deve viver a adoração do Filho de Deus feito homem, aquela adoração que lhe indica sem cessar o caminho.

A liturgia da Ordenação Episcopal exprime o essencial deste ministério em oito perguntas dirigidas aos Ordenandos, que começam sempre com a palavra: «Vultis? – Quereis?». As perguntas orientam a vontade e indicam-lhe o caminho a tomar. Gostaria de mencionar aqui, brevemente, algumas das palavras-chave desta orientação, nas quais se concretiza aquilo que há pouco reflectimos a partir dos Magos que aparecem na festa de hoje. A missão dos Bispos é «praedicare Evangelium Christi», «custodire», «dirigere», «pauperibus se misericordes praebere», «indesinenter orare». O anúncio do Evangelho de Jesus Cristo, guardar o depósito sagrado da nossa fé, ir à frente e guiar, a misericórdia e a caridade para com os necessitados e os pobres nas quais se reflecte o amor misericordioso de Deus para connosco e, finalmente, a oração contínua são características fundamentais do ministério episcopal. A oração contínua significa nunca perder o contacto com Deus, deixar-se tocar sempre por Ele no íntimo do nosso coração e deste modo sermos permeados pela sua luz. Só quem conhece a Deus pessoalmente é que pode guiar os outros para Deus. E só quem guia os homens para Deus é que os guia pela estrada da vida.

O coração inquieto, de que falámos inspirando-nos em Santo Agostinho, é o coração que, em última análise, não se satisfaz com nada menos do que Deus e é, precisamente assim, que se torna um coração que ama. O nosso coração vive inquieto por Deus, e não pode ser doutro modo, embora hoje se procure, com «narcóticos» muito eficazes, libertar o homem desta inquietação. Mas não somos só nós, seres humanos, que vivemos inquietos relativamente a Deus. Também o coração de Deus vive inquieto relativamente ao homem. Deus espera-nos. Anda à nossa procura. Também Ele não descansa enquanto não nos tiver encontrado. O coração de Deus vive inquieto, e foi por isso que se pôs a caminho até junto de nós – até Belém, até ao Calvário, de Jerusalém até à Galileia e aos confins do mundo. Deus vive inquieto connosco, anda à procura de pessoas que se deixem contagiar por esta sua inquietação, pela sua paixão por nós; pessoas que vivem a busca que habita no seu coração e, ao mesmo tempo, se deixam tocar no coração pela busca de Deus a nosso respeito. Queridos amigos, foi esta a missão dos Apóstolos: acolher a inquietação de Deus pelo homem e levar o próprio Deus aos homens. E, seguindo os passos dos Apóstolos, esta é a vossa missão: deixai-vos tocar pela inquietação de Deus, a fim de que o anseio de Deus pelo homem possa ser satisfeito.

Os Magos seguiram a estrela. Através da linguagem da criação, encontraram o Deus da história. É certo que a linguagem da criação, por si só, não é suficiente. Apenas a Palavra de Deus, que encontramos na Sagrada Escritura, podia indicar-lhes definitivamente o caminho. Criação e Escritura, razão e fé devem dar-se as mãos para nos conduzirem ao Deus vivo. Muito se discutiu sobre o tipo de estrela que guiou os Magos. Pensa-se numa conjunção de planetas, numa Supernova, ou seja, uma daquelas estrelas inicialmente muito débeis que, na sequência duma explosão interna, irradia por algum tempo um imenso esplendor, num cometa, etc. Deixemos que os cientistas continuem esta discussão. A grande estrela, a verdadeira Supernova que nos guia é o próprio Cristo. Ele é, por assim dizer, a explosão do amor de Deus, que faz brilhar sobre o mundo o grande fulgor do seu coração. E podemos acrescentar: tanto os Magos do Oriente, mencionados no Evangelho de hoje, como os Santos em geral pouco a pouco tornaram-se eles mesmos constelações de Deus, que nos indicam o caminho. Em todas estas pessoas, o contacto com a Palavra de Deus provocou, por assim dizer, uma explosão de luz, através da qual o esplendor de Deus ilumina este nosso mundo e nos indica o caminho. Os Santos são estrelas de Deus, pelas quais nos deixamos guiar para Aquele por quem o nosso ser anseia. Queridos amigos, vós seguistes a estrela que é Jesus Cristo, quando dissestes o vosso «sim» ao sacerdócio e ao ministério episcopal. E certamente brilharam para vós também estrelas menores, que vos ajudaram a não errar o caminho. Na Ladainha dos Santos, invocamos todas estas estrelas de Deus, a fim de que brilhem sempre de novo para vós e vos indiquem o caminho. Com a Ordenação Episcopal, vós mesmos sois chamados a ser estrelas de Deus para os homens, guiando-os pelo caminho que leva à verdadeira Luz: Cristo. Invoquemos, pois, agora todos os Santos, para que possais corresponder sempre a esta vossa missão mostrando aos homens a luz de Deus. Amen.

A Life of Passion: Progressive Eugenics and Planned Parenthood - by Angela Franks

A new biography of Margaret Sanger fails to confront the Planned Parenthood founder’s ideological commitment to eugenics and population control.

Herman Cain’s remarks concerning Planned Parenthood’s promotion of abortion to blacks thrust the organization and its founder once more into the spotlight. Congressional attempts to defund Planned Parenthood had already generated publicity. When Hillary Clinton received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award in 2009, she was prompted to make an apologia for accepting the award because of questions raised at a House committee hearing. In each of these cases, the controversy centered on the eugenic beliefs of Margaret Sanger (1879–1966), Planned Parenthood’s founder.

To a Sanger supporter, the accusation of eugenics touches a nerve. To understand this, one must grasp the subconscious syllogism underlying the emotional reaction: Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood are progressive feminist institutions. Progressive feminism cannot coexist with eugenics, which is a malady of the right-wing. Therefore, Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood are free of eugenic contamination. QED.

Something new has happened over the last ten years, however, that challenges such easy assumptions, and both Cain’s and Clinton’s language reflected it. No one with any command of the facts can deny any more that Sanger was in some way a eugenicist.

First, scholars of women’s history have begun examining the feminist movement with more objectivity, producing a new literature that is less afraid to detail the unsavory aspects of feminist history. Historical work on eugenics has also begun to shift: Historians of the subject have long recognized Sanger’s involvement in eugenics, but had not sufficiently acknowledged her importance for the movement.

Second, as positive as these improvements in scholarship are, probably the most crucial factor in bringing about a more realistic and balanced assessment of Sanger and eugenics has been the internet. Sanger’s own words are more accessible than ever (a process aided by the multivolume edition of The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger). Planned Parenthood is simply unable to deny convincingly the truth about its founder.

And what is that truth? Margaret Sanger was many things admirable: a vibrant personality, a brilliant organizer, a canny reader of the temperature of the times, a woman who built powerful institutions in a man’s world. But she was also many things ugly and even despicable: an egotist who frequently clashed with others; a free-love advocate who had a dizzying number of affairs and who hurt many men as a result; and a eugenicist who argued that “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective.”

In light of this reality, Jean H. Baker’s book, Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion, is a bit of a scholarly throwback. While it is readable, lively, and in many ways realistic about its subject, it is deeply unsatisfying as an ideological analysis.

Even Planned Parenthood has had to drop the denials of Sanger’s commitment to eugenics and now urges us all instead to avoid judging those of another historical era. After all, as Hillary Clinton basically said in 2009, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and he still did some pretty nifty things. Take what you like and leave the rest, that’s the new approach to Sanger.

So Baker cannot simply ignore the fact of Sanger’s eugenic preoccupation, but she doesn’t seem to feel obliged to try to make much sense of it. Instead, she seeks that convenient refuge of the relativist: “nuance.” Critics of Sanger (this reviewer included) are chastised for not having “a more nuanced view of her perspectives and the reasons she accepted aspects of a mainstream movement dedicated to improving human beings.”

Well, fine. While it’s hard to find “nuance” in a worldview that calls organized charity “a malignant social disease,” it would at least be entertaining to read someone trying to do so. Instead, regarding eugenics, what we get with Baker is an exhortation to nuance (in the Introduction) and then an avoidance of the issue for most of the remaining 300 pages. When she does address eugenics, she does so superficially. She acknowledges that Sanger was a “promoter” of eugenics, yet, in describing her motivation, the most she can muster is a variation of the mere-pragmatics defense: “In an effort to gain support, [Sanger] signed on to negative eugenics.”

Baker further tries her hand at nuance by claiming that Sanger rejected the “standard eugenic proposition that heredity was absolute.” Unfortunately for Baker, there was no such standard eugenic line. Only the most unsophisticated eugenicist would have claimed such a thing, while most scholarly eugenicists (such as Frederick Osborn) knew very well by the 1920s that nature and nurture interacted in the production of human traits. Ironically, in her Introduction, Baker accuses Sanger’s critics of an inadequate knowledge of the eugenics of Sanger’s day, a defect that she herself exhibits in spades.

The book’s treatment of the population-control movement reveals a similar failure to understand the history of eugenics. Baker writes that by the late 1920s, Sanger “had determined that population experts, like eugenicists, were emerging as an expanding pool of potential supporters.” In fact, population experts were eugenicists, plain and simple. Beginning with the first to use the term “eugenics,” Francis Galton (1822–1911), down through the eugenicists with whom Sanger worked in the 1920s through the 1960s, all early population “experts” were eugenicists. The discipline of demography was shot through with eugenic assumptions. As feminist and Marxist historian Linda Gordon observed, “The eugenics people slid into the population control movement gracefully, naturally, imperceptibly … There was nothing to separate the two movements because there was no tension between their two sorts of goals.”

Why were the two movements so closely aligned? The key can be found in a popular slogan of the eugenics/population-control crowd: “Quality, not quantity.” Eugenicists believed that, in order to improve the race, fewer people (only the so-called “fit”) should reproduce. In its 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the Supreme Court ruled that compulsory sterilization of the “unfit” was allowable under the Constitution, enabling American states to sterilize, on a far greater scale, those citizens deemed unfit, without their consent and sometimes even without their knowledge. (In the end, a majority of states allowed for involuntary sterilization, leading to over 60,000 sterilizations by 1967.) Between birth control and involuntary sterilization, the eugenics movement had a plan for dealing with the “unfit” in America.

But what to do about the great mass of people outside her borders? As Sanger confided in a letter to Clarence Gamble in 1940, India was “a bottomless sink … They need birth control on a large scale and it should be continually prodded into the national consciousness daily, hourly, for at least five years.” The Rockefeller family, deeply immersed in eugenics, financially supported the earliest eugenic population-control organizations, such as the Population Council. This was done quietly, however; as Frances Hand Ferguson, a former president of Planned Parenthood in America, observed, “Certainly the Rockefellers didn’t want to be known as a family who was telling little brown Indians not to have babies.” Population control was a gussied-up eugenics—with a passport.

Baker’s neglect of this history makes her treatment of eugenics and population control relentlessly shallow and unreflectively ideological. For example, she states confidently that “too large a population blocked opportunities for growth and stalled industrialization in what was now dubbed ‘the Third World.’” This is the language of someone who takes the formulations of eugenic demographers at face value instead of questioning how their ideological agenda might have compromised their scientific endeavors. In fact, as recent articles in Public Discourse have observed, the world is well able to absorb its roughly seven billion people. Economists such as Julian Simon have argued that the healthy population growth of India is one reason why its economic growth has been so robust. Of course, the point of Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion is not to give a course on contemporary theories of population economics, but a nod of acknowledgment toward these larger issues would have greatly deepened the book’s analysis.

Disappointing as these defects are to the informed reader, the most unsatisfying aspect of the book is its naïveté about Sanger’s model of sexual liberation. Baker, who earned her B.A. in 1960, has ideas about sexuality that seem not to have budged from a sunny, 1960s-era cluelessness about the glories of uncommitted sex. This, despite the divorce revolution, HIV/AIDS, pornification, the sexualization and abuse of children: in short, the sum total of physical and emotional devastation wrought by the sexual revolution. Instead, the reader gets platitudes about Sanger’s affairs as a “life-affirming inspiration” or as “spontaneous, self-affirming alliances with men.” Baker is too good a historian to overlook the heartache that such behavior caused Sanger’s two husbands, but she seems unable to grasp how promiscuity harmed Margaret Sanger herself. The lonely woman at the end of her life, addicted to Demerol and resentful of the loss of celebrity, is the result of a life spent using people and, in turn, being used.

In sum, Baker cannot think outside the liberal academic box. She makes the utterly conventional assumption that eugenics was not what it in fact was: a progressive movement through and through. She does not understand that eugenics is all about one thing: control, the control of benighted masses by an enlightened elite. As Baker correctly emphasizes (but does not understand), Sanger insisted that contraception be called not family planning but birth control. Margaret Sanger’s was an ideology of control: birth control (baited with promiscuity), enabling a eugenic control of population—the progressive application of biopower. It is an ideology that tempts totalitarian elites—wherever they might be found on the political spectrum.

Angela Franks, Ph.D., is the author of Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy (McFarland, 2005) and the Director of Theology Programs for the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization (TINE) at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston.

Round and Round She Goes: More on Abortion and Mental Health - by E. Christian Brugger, D.Phil.

In Culture of Life Foundation

In the September 2011 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, Priscilla K. Coleman, of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, published an influential statistical analysis of the existing research on the question of abortion and mental health (reported to be the “largest quantitative estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion available in the world literature”; see my Sept. 14 Zenit article ). Her study concludes that women who have induced abortions because of unwanted pregnancies suffer an incredible 81% increased risk of mental health problems across a variety of categories.

Now, a new and improved “world’s largest” study concludes precisely the opposite. On December 9, the London-based Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) published a report entitled “Induced Abortion and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of the Mental Health Outcomes of Induced Abortion, Including their Prevalence and Associated Factors.” The 248 page review, purporting to be the “the world’s largest, most comprehensive and systematic review into the mental health outcomes of induced abortion,” concludes that procuring an abortion for an unwanted baby poses no more danger to a woman’s mental health than bringing an unwanted child to birth. The real danger to women’s mental health lies not in having an abortion, but in carrying an “unwanted pregnancy.”

How can two empirically based comprehensive reviews of the literature on the same subject render such contradictory conclusions?

Earlier this week, Dr. Coleman released a short critique (copied below) of the RCP report, which she called “hauntingly similar” to other influential literature reviews on the subject, specifically a widely quoted
report in 2008 by the American Psychological Association. She concludes that the RCP report was “not undertaken in a scientifically responsible manner” and sets forth several reasons why scientists and clinicians should reject its conclusions.

Perhaps the most significant reason is that the RCP study, she says, ignores “large segments” of the scientific literature on abortion and mental health. Coleman mentions 74 studies in particular: 19 literature reviews published between 1990-2011; 35 empirical studies examining the prevalence of post-abortion mental health problems and comparing the mental health of women who abort with those who carry unplanned pregnancies to term; and 20 more empirical studies “published in highly respected peer-reviewed journals” identifying risk factors for post-abortion mental health problems.

Three dozen of these studies, she notes, were excluded simply because they did not follow their subjects for more than 90 days. The RCP report says the studies were likely to be measuring merely “transient reactions to a stressful event” (namely, having an abortion) and not real mental health problems caused by the event. Coleman believes this exclusion criterion is superficial. Women who suffer reactions in the first 90 days may very well continue suffering long after the study in which they participate concludes. Moreover, to exclude their mental health complications as “transient reactions” is completely unwarranted. Their reactions may very well constitute “serious and more acute episodes” that are amenable to treatment soon after exposure. She notes that the RCP report itself even states: “
Women who show a negative emotional reaction immediately following an abortion are likely to have a poorer mental health outcome.” Coleman asks: “How can this ‘conclusion’ be derived if studies that only examined women in the first 3 months following abortion were eliminated? Moreover, if this is true, why would these studies have been eliminated in the first place? Shouldn’t the researchers be most concerned with those most likely to be adversely impacted?”

Dr. Coleman concludes her critique with the following strong words:

“This report constitutes no less than a crafty abuse of science and if the merits of this report are not seriously challenged, we will shamefully grow more distant from our ability to meet the needs of countless women. Until there is acknowledgement than scores of women suffer from their decision to undergo an abortion, we will remain in the dark ages relative to the development of treatment protocols, training of professionals, and our ability to compassionately assist women to achieve the understanding and closure they need to resume healthy lives.”

Her entire letter is copied (with permission)
here .

quinta-feira, 5 de janeiro de 2012

L'imitazione di Cristo - di Mario Palmaro

In Bussola Quotidiana

Jenni è una ragazza americana morta di tumore a 17 anni. Jennifer Michelle Lake poteva curarsi ma non l’ha fatto perché aveva paura di provocare, anche se involontariamente, la morte del figlio che portava in sé. Niente radioterapia, niente chemio, per proteggere il piccolo Chad. Che infatti è nato sano come un pesce, ed è rimasto con la sua giovane mamma per 12 giorni. Poi Jenny è morta.

Una storia straziante e magnifica, che sta commuovendo un numero incalcolabile di persone, perché gli ultimi mesi di vita della ragazza sono stati registrati dalla famiglia che ha creato su YouTube un canale dedicato, Jenni's Journey, e prima una omonima pagina Facebook per cercare di sovvenire alle sue necessità.

In un mondo che legittima l’aborto legale, gratuito e sicuro come un diritto irrinunciabile della donna; in un mondo che esalta la “scelta” della donna come buona in sé, a prescindere da quale sia; in un mondo in cui abortire o far nascere è ingannevolmente presentato come una scelta, occultando che sulla vita innocente nessuna scelta è possibile; in un mondo simile, l’esempio di Jenni sta toccando molti cuori. Una contraddizione che fa perfino rabbia, perché dimostra la deriva emotivista che opprime la civiltà in cui viviamo. La stessa persona è capace di tenere insieme ciò che non si potrebbe; e quindi, con la mente si votano leggi di morte e si condividono opinioni e mass media ferocemente abortisti; e con il cuore ci si commuove davanti al sacrificio estremo di una giovane mamma. Incredibile.

«Ho fatto quello che dovevo fare», ha sempre detto Jenni. C’è un abisso che divide questa vicenda dal mondo in cui è capitata; un mondo nel quale si calcola che ogni anno vengano abortiti volontariamente 40 milioni di innocenti. Un abisso infernale, se si pensa che la quasi totalità di questi delitti vengono consumati per motivazioni decisamente meno gravi rispetto al dilemma tragico che Jenni si è trovato davanti: per lei si trattava di scegliere fra la sua vita e quella del figlio. Di norma, oggigiorno si ricorre all’aborto per molto meno: per un figlio imprevisto, perché in casa manca una stanza in più, per non intralciare le scelte di vita e di carriera, perché si è troppo giovani, perché non è il momento, perché mancano soldi.

La condotta di Jenni surclassa l’atteggiamento mediamente diffuso tra i suoi coetanei o fra le donne che potrebbero esserle, per età, madri. Jenni ha testimoniato che, se aspetti un figlio, è normale che vuoi dargli tutta te stessa, vita compresa. Non sarà inutile notare che nel caso specifico Jenni avrebbe potuto invocare, sotto il profilo morale, il principio del duplice effetto; principio in base al quale si può tollerare un male temuto, a patto di non volerlo, di non avere alternative, di non usare questo male come mezzo per raggiungere il fine buono. Poteva provare a curarsi, accettando il rischio della morte del figlio: non si sarebbe trattato di un aborto volontario diretto. Ma Jenni ha voluto che la sua condotta fosse pienamente aderente a quello che Gesù insegna: non c’è amore più grande che dare la propria vita per i propri amici.

Del resto, la vera cultura pro-life è questa: da un lato, riconosce la sacralità di ogni essere umano innocente; dall’altro, sa che la vita è sacrificabile in un unico caso. E cioè, quando per amore e liberamente qualcuno offre sé stesso per la salvezza di chi ama. È questa, a pensarci bene, la più perfetta imitazione di Cristo.

A Mãe de Deus, a Igreja e a Paz - Bento XVI

Queridos irmãos e irmãs!

No primeiro dia do ano, a liturgia faz ressoar em toda a Igreja estendida pelo mundo inteiro a antiga bênção sacerdotal, que ouvimos na primeira Leitura: «o Senhor te abençoe e te guarde! O Senhor faça brilhar sobre ti a sua face, e se compadeça de ti! O Senhor volte para ti o seu rosto e te dê a paz!» (Nm 6, 24-26). Esta bênção foi dada por Deus através de Moisés, a Aarão e aos seus filhos, ou seja, aos sacerdotes do povo de Israel. É um tríplice voto cheio de luz que brota da repetição do nome de Deus, o Senhor, e da imagem de seu rosto. Na verdade, para ser abençoado é necessário estar na presença de Deus, receber sobre si o Nome d'Ele e permanecer no feixe de luz que parte do seu rosto, no espaço iluminado pelo seu olhar, que difunde a graça e a paz.

Esta é também a experiência que fizeram os pastores de Belém, que aparecem de novo no Evangelho de hoje. Eles fizeram a experiência de estarem na presença de Deus, da sua bênção, não em um salão de um Palácio majestoso, na presença de um grande soberano, mas em um estábulo, diante de um "recém-nascido deitado na manjedoura" (Lc 2.16). É justamente desse menino que se irradia uma nova luz que brilha na escuridão da noite, como podemos ver em muitas pinturas que representam o Nascimento de Cristo. Agora, é d'Ele que nos vem a bênção: do seu nome – Jesus, que significa "Deus salva" – e do seu rosto humano, no qual Deus, o Todo-poderoso, Senhor do céu e da terra, quis se encarnar, ocultando a sua glória sob o véu da nossa carne, para nos revelar plenamente a sua bondade (cf. Tt 3,4).

Maria, a Virgem, esposa de José, a quem Deus escolheu desde o primeiro momento da sua existência para ser a mãe do seu Filho feito homem foi a primeira a ser preenchida por esta bênção. Ela, como a saúda Santa Isabel, é a "bendita entre as mulheres" (Lc 1,42). Toda a sua vida está na luz do Senhor, no âmbito do nome e do rosto de Deus encarnado em Jesus, o «fruto bendito do seu ventre». O Evangelho de Lucas nos apresenta Maria deste modo: totalmente dedicada a conservar e meditar no seu coração tudo o que diz respeito ao seu filho Jesus (cf. Lc 2, 19.51). O mistério da sua maternidade divina, que hoje celebramos, possui de modo superabundante aquele dom da graça que toda maternidade humana traz consigo: de fato, a fecundidade do ventre sempre foi associada com a bênção de Deus. A Mãe de Deus é a primeira abençoada e é aquela que traz a bênção; Ela é a mulher que acolheu Jesus em si e o deu à luz para toda a família humana. Como reza a Liturgia: «permanecendo virgem, deu ao mundo a luz eterna, Jesus Cristo Senhor nosso» (Prefácio da Virgem Maria, I).

Maria é mãe e modelo da Igreja, que acolhe na fé a Palavra divina e se oferece a Deus como " terra fecunda" onde Ele pode continuar a cumprir o seu mistério de salvação. A Igreja, através da pregação, que espalha pelo mundo a semente do Evangelho, e através dos sacramentos, que transmitem aos homens graça e vida divina, também participa do mistério da maternidade divina. A Igreja vive esta maternidade, de modo particular, no Sacramento do Batismo, ao gerar os filhos de Deus da água e do Espírito Santo, que em cada um deles exclama: "Abba! Pai"! (Gal 4.6). Como Maria, a Igreja é mediadora da bênção de Deus para o mundo: acolhendo Jesus recebe a bênção e a transmite levando Jesus aos demais. Ele é a misericórdia e a paz que o mundo não pode dar para si mesmo e que o mundo precisa sempre, tanto e mais do que pão.

Queridos amigos, a paz, em seu sentido mais amplo e elevado, é a soma e a síntese de todas as bênçãos. Por isso, quando dois amigos se encontram cumprimentam-se desejando mutuamente a paz. A Igreja, no primeiro dia do ano, também invoca de maneira especial este sumo bem e o faz, como a Virgem Maria, mostrando a todos Jesus, porque, como afirma o Apóstolo Paulo: "Ele é a nossa paz" (Ef 2,14) e, ao mesmo tempo, é o "caminho" através do qual homens e povos podem alcançar esta meta que todos aspiramos. Assim, trazendo no coração este desejo profundo, tenho o prazer de dar boas-vindas e cumprimentar todos vós, que vos reunistes na Basílica de São Pedro neste XLV Dia Mundial da Paz: Senhores Cardeais; Embaixadores de tantos países amigos que, mais do que nunca, nesta feliz ocasião, compartilham comigo e com a Santa Sé a vontade de renovar o compromisso pela promoção da paz no mundo; o Presidente do Pontifício Conselho «Justiça e Paz», que junto com o Secretário e os colaboradores trabalham de maneira especial para este fim; os demais Bispos e Autoridades presentes; representantes de Associações e Movimentos eclesiais e todos vós, irmãos e irmãs, especialmente aqueles que trabalham no campo da educação da juventude. Na verdade - como já sabeis – escolhi o tratar do tema da educação na minha Mensagem deste ano.

"Educar os jovens para a justiça e a paz" é a tarefa que diz respeito a todas as gerações, e, graças a Deus, a família humana, após as tragédias das duas grandes guerras mundiais, tem demonstrado ser cada vez mais consciente disso, como evidencia, por um lado, declarações e iniciativas internacionais e, por outro, a consolidação entre os jovens, nas últimas décadas, de muitas e diferentes formas de compromisso social neste campo. Para a Comunidade eclesial educar para a paz é parte da missão recebida de Cristo; é parte integrante da evangelização, porque o Evangelho de Cristo é também o Evangelho da justiça e da paz. Mas, ultimamente, a Igreja tem se tornado intérprete de uma exigência que abarca todas as consciências mais sensíveis e responsáveis pelo destino da humanidade: a necessidade de responder a um desafio decisivo que é precisamente o da educação. Por que "desafio"? Pelo menos por duas razões: em primeiro lugar, porque na era atual, fortemente caracterizada pela mentalidade tecnológica a vontade de educar e não só instruir não é um dado óbvio, mas é uma escolha; em segundo lugar, porque a cultura relativista apresenta uma questão radical: ainda tem sentido educar? E, educar para que?

É claro que não podemos abordar agora estas questões básicas, as quais já tratei de responder em outras ocasiões. Por outro lado, gostaria de salientar que, confrontados com as sombras que hoje obscurecem o horizonte do mundo, assumir a responsabilidade de educar os jovens para o conhecimento da verdade, para os valores e virtudes fundamentais, significa olhar para o futuro com esperança. E esse compromisso com uma educação integral significa também saber formar para a justiça e a paz. Hoje, os jovens estão crescendo em um mundo que se tornou, por assim dizer, menor, onde os contatos entre diferentes culturas e tradições, embora nem sempre diretos, são constantes. Para eles, agora mais do que nunca, é essencial aprender o valor e a forma da convivência pacífica, do respeito mútuo, do diálogo e da compreensão. Os jovens são por natureza abertos a estas atitudes, mas justamente a realidade social em que crescem pode levá-los a pensar e agir de forma oposta, até mesmo intolerante e violenta. Somente uma sólida educação das suas consciências pode protegê-los contra esses riscos e tornar-lhes capazes de sempre lutar contando somente com a força da verdade e do bem. Esta educação parte da família e se desenvolve na escola e demais experiências educacionais. Basicamente, trata-se de ajudar as crianças, os jovens e os adolescentes a desenvolverem uma personalidade que combine um profundo senso de justiça com o respeito pelo outro, com a capacidade de lidar com os conflitos sem arrogância, com a força interior para dar testemunho do bem, mesmo quando isso custa sacrifício, com o perdão e a reconciliação. Dessa forma, poderão tornar-se homens e mulheres realmente pacíficos e construtores da paz.

Nesta obra educativa das novas gerações, as comunidades religiosas também têm uma responsabilidade especial. Toda de formação religiosa genuína deve acompanhar a pessoa, desde a primeira infância, para ajudá-la conhecer a Deus, amá-Lo e fazer a sua vontade. Deus é amor, é justo e pacífico, e aqueles que querem honrá-Lo devem, em primeiro lugar, comportar-se como um filho que segue o exemplo de seu pai. Há um Salmo que afirma: «o Senhor realiza obras de justiça / e garante o direito aos oprimidos; … O Senhor é indulgente e favorável, / é paciente, é bondoso e compassivo» (Sal 103, 6.8). Em Deus justiça e misericórdia convivem perfeitamente, como Jesus nos mostrou com o testemunho de sua vida. Em Jesus «amor e verdade» se encontraram, «justiça e paz» se abraçaram (cf. Sal 85.11). Nestes dias a Igreja celebra o grande mistério da Encarnação: a fidelidade de Deus brotou da terra e justiça olhou dos altos céus, a terra deu sua colheita (cf. Sal 85, 12.13). Deus nos falou no seu filho Jesus. Escutemos o que Deus diz: "Ele anuncia a paz" (Sal 85.9). Jesus é o caminho que podemos seguir, aberto para todos. É o caminho da paz. Hoje, a Virgem Mãe, nos indica, nos mostra o caminho: sigamo-la! E Vós, Santa Mãe de Deus, acompanha-nos com a vossa proteção. Amém.