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Study will investigate impact, evolving role of maternity homes in US

null / _Nezemnaya_ (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Denver Newsroom, Jan 25, 2022 / 15:49 pm (CNA).

An upcoming study will consider the impact and evolving role of maternity homes in the United States, in the hope of better serving women with crisis pregnancies. 

The study is projected to launch this spring and continue for three to five years. It is a collaboration between the Catholic organization Heartbeat International and the University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. 

It will center on five maternity homes in the South and Midwest. 

The study aims to assess the impact of maternity homes today, standardize care across maternity homes, and better serve women experiencing crisis pregnancies across the nation.

Organizers also hope to secure funding for maternity homes with an “all-comprehensive approach to support for the entire family.”

“The heartbeat of this housing movement is to approach her more about the value of her own life, and help her with some long-term help,” said Valerie Humes, a housing specialist for Heartbeat International and director of the National Maternity Housing Coalition. 

“Now the mom can live in the home, or if she chooses, to live out of the home,” Humes said. “The mom still receives care and support through the process in the community through these maternity homes.” 

This shifting role of maternity homes reflects the reality of many women facing crisis pregnancies today, Humes suggested in an interview with Pregnancy Help News, which is managed by Heartbeat International. 

When maternity homes first began in the 1980s and ’90s, society was less forgiving of crisis pregnancies, she said. There were few school programs and state or federal subsidies to support women. But women would frequently return to their families after seeking the support of a maternity home. 

Today, maternity homes are reporting a rising correlation between crisis pregnancies and broken families, trafficking, or substance and domestic abuse, Humes said. 

“Now we are seeing that (reuniting with family) is not the case, because now these women are totally alone, abused and trafficked,” she said. “Now we see fourth-generation displaced family units, 50% to 70% in maternity homes experienced…foster care or have aged out of foster care.”

The maternity homes included in the study are Maggie’s Place in Phoenix, Ariz.; Our Lady’s Inn in Saint Louis, Mo.; Bethlehem House in Omaha, Neb.; In My Shoes in Dallas, Texas; and Aid for Women in Chicago, Ill.

Lawmakers: FDA should regulate prenatal tests in wake of bombshell report

Prenatal blood tests for genetic conditions have become an enormous unregulated industry generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. / Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jan 25, 2022 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Over 90 members of Congress are requesting that the Food and Drug Administration oversee non-invasive prenatal testing after a bombshell New York Times investigation showing that these tests are wrong far more often than they are correct.  

"We write to you today because it is our understanding that many of these tests have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and we seek further clarification from the agency on this important matter," said the Jan. 21 letter to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock. 

The letter was led by Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). 

While these types of tests have been on the market since 2011, and about one and three pregnant women take non-invasive prenatal testing during their pregnancies, the tests have “largely escaped FDA regulatory review,” said the letter. 

“Companies that market and sell these products continue to see their profits grow and more products enter the market. According to a Pew Trust report from January of 2021, more than 40 non-invasive prenatal tests are now available on the market,” the members of Congress said.  

“Unfortunately, many of the test manufacturers do not publish data on the accuracy of their tests, and others point to less than satisfactory studies to support their products.”

On Jan. 1, the New York Times published the results of their investigations into the tests. 

The Times interviewed researchers and combined studies “to produce the best estimates available of how well the five most common microdeletion tests perform”: DiGeorge syndrome, 1p36 deletion, Cri-du-chat syndrome, Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, and Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes.

The tests’ positive results are wrong around 85% of the time, the Times found. Many women are pressured or moved to consider abortion after a test comes back positive.  

“While these tests can help parents prepare for the arrival of their child, we are concerned that they could be a predatory financial windfall for manufacturers and directly result in the termination of innocent human life,” said the letter. 

Prenatal testing for conditions such as Down syndrome has been commonplace for decades, but these non-invasive tests for rare diseases are newer. In some countries, upwards of 95% of babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are aborted. 

The letter asked Woodcock to release information regarding the efficacy of the tests, what the FDA knew about the tests, and if there was anything the FDA could do to evaluate the efficacy of these tests, as well as any potential FDA approval steps for certain non-invasive prenatal tests.

A spokesman from Roy’s office emphasized the need to ensure that these kinds of tests are accurate. 

“The results of these tests have literal life or death consequences for unborn fellow Americans, yet it turns out some of them are wrong about 85% of the time,” the spokesman told CNA. 

“Some parents might use this information to help prepare for the arrival of a child, but we know that others are pressured by the medical system and our pro-abortion culture to abort a human life based on dubious information.”

“Eugenic abortion is evil enough to begin with; basing it on unreliable test results is even worse. The American people deserve answers about these tests,” the spokesman said.

Funeral Mass homily: Catholic intellectual Alice von Hildebrand 'defended all that is worth defending'

'Memoirs of a Happy Failure' cover design by Marylouise McGraw. / null

New York City, N.Y., Jan 25, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

Editor's note: Catholic intellectual Alice von Hildebrand, whose husband was the late Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, died Jan. 14 at the age of 98. Revered as a "tigress" in defense of objective Truth and the Catholic Church, von Hildebrand appeared more than 80 times on EWTN and contributed many outstanding essays over the years to Catholic News Agency. Some of those CNA essays are referenced in the homily below, given by Father Gerald E. Murray at von Hildebrand's funeral Mass on Jan. 22 at her parish, Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, New York.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” — Letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans 5:1-2

As we join together in prayer at this Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of our beloved friend and mentor Alice von Hildebrand, known as Lily to her friends, we pray that she who had such deep faith in the truth who is our Lord Jesus Christ, that she who radiated the peace that God bestows on those who love Him, may now see the fulfillment of her hope, sharing in the glory that God bestows on His good and faithful servants who have received the supreme gift of the beatific vision, seeing God face to face.

Before the body of a deceased Catholic is brought to the parish church for the Requiem Mass, the Church offers this prayer at the wake: “O Lord, we commend to you the soul of your servant Alice, that having departed from this world, she may live with you. And by the grace of your merciful love, wash away the sins that in human frailty she has committed in the conduct of her life.” Lily asked for Masses to be offered for her soul. She was very conscious of the need that sinners have to seek God’s pardon. In December of 2016 she told a friend: “You know, I have lived a long life. I will tell you a secret. I am ready for it to be over. I think I have done what God wanted me to do. If I died tomorrow, I think I would be grateful. Also, I am a coward: I am afraid of what is coming. I pray for the younger generation. I think we are coming back around in history when people will be killed for their faith. If you are there when I am on my deathbed remind me to say, forgive me my sins, thank you to God and I love you. Have you ever thought about the words you will say on your death bed? Of course, not; you are too young but for me it is very close.” She was only off by five years in predicting her departure from this vale of tears. Those five years, indeed all her 98 years on earth were a gift from God both to Lily and to all those who loved her. Her gratitude to God for all He did for her in this life never wavered, but rather grew stronger. She marveled at her long life as she marveled at everything that God did for her. 

In August of 2017 Lily told a friend: “I love the story of Abraham, how Isaac asked him on the way to the mount where God had told him to sacrifice his son, ‘but where is the sacrifice?’ and Abraham responded, ‘God will provide.’ That is how I feel about my death — God will provide the right people and the right circumstances.” The Lord did indeed provide for her as Holy Mass was celebrated in her apartment, and she received the Anointing of the Sick and the Apostolic Pardon, on January 13th. She went to the Lord that very night, shortly after midnight.

Her death brings to an earthly close a truly amazing life. Born in 1923, her journey through this world into the world to come took her in 1940 from her native Belgium to New York, in flight from the Nazi invaders. Her first home here was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel with her aunt and uncle. Little did she know then that she would spend 38 years at a nearby secular school, Hunter College, teaching philosophy. It was her love of books and learning that led her to Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart and then to Fordham University, where she studied philosophy under the guidance of the brilliant and courageous Dietrich von Hildebrand, who had fled Munich for Vienna when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party took power in Germany. His writings against the Nazis put him at the top of the Gestapo list of people to be arrested when the German army marched into Austria. He escaped on the last train out of Vienna and made his way to New York, where he resumed his work as a philosopher and as a Catholic writer and speaker who inspired his students and friends with a deep love of Christ, of the Church and, in particular, of the Church’s sacred liturgy.

Lily soon became his secretary, and after von Hildebrand’s wife Margarete died in 1957, he asked her to marry him in 1959. They eventually moved to New Rochelle and were members of this parish of the Holy Family. My family were also parishioners here. I remember as a grammar schoolboy wondering who this couple was as they sat a few pews ahead of our family at Sunday Mass. I was to find out, to my great benefit, a few years later, when I decided to enter the seminary to study for the priesthood. I discovered the greatness of these two philosophers who defended all that is worth defending so that man may live at peace with himself, with others and with God.

One of the most central themes in the lives of Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand was the crucial importance of reverence if man is to order his life properly and fruitfully in this world.

Lily wrote extensively about matters of faith in various Catholic publications in the years that followed her retirement in 1984 from teaching at Hunter College. Reverence was a central topic. Let me cite three passages from her articles.

  1. “The curse of modern men is that so many of them have lost their sense for wonder and gratitude. Boredom is a punishment for irreverence. Alas, our mind-boggling technological progress has brought with it the curse of taking things for granted and assuming with blind stupidity that there is nothing we cannot know — nothing that he cannot master. Having a small gadget in his hand, one feels that he is the master of the universe. He can click on a button and have the world at his fingertips. Regretfully, we never hear homilists say a word about the sin of being ‘blasé.’ It is a sin because it is a consequence of ingratitude — because it is a fruit of pride and metaphysical arrogance. Every sin brings with it its own punishment.” (“Reverence: The Mother of All Virtue,” Catholic News Agency, April 26, 2016.)

  1. “What is ‘reverence?’ It is an uplifting and joyful feeling of awe, a response that man is called upon to give to God’s creation which clearly points to the Creator; it is an ever renewed and grateful discovery of the mysteries of being; it is an overcoming of one’s moral blindness preventing us from perceiving the glories of the universe that we live in. It is a joy to perceive how marvelous it is ‘to be,’ and consequently, should make us respond with horror at abortion, willingly and brutally denying existence to others (for I doubt that abortionists would have chosen to be aborted themselves had they had a chance of doing it.) They deny life to others, not to themselves. We all should tremble with respect at perceiving a little creature making its dramatic entrance into our world.” (Ibid.)

  1. “Irreverence is spreading through modem society like a cancer. It is metastasizing and has infected virtually ev­ery facet of our everyday life. The authentic meaning of ‘culture’ refers to a refinement, an elevation, a spiritualiza­tion of everyday life —that is, it aims to put the seal of the Spirit on our daily activities. Today, however, the word ‘culture’ refers to whatever has been most recently produced. We have forgotten that true culture elevates; it does not drag down. I dare say that much of what we see today is an anti-culture. It certainly cannot be read as a sursum corda (Lift up your hearts) — a call to look upward, triggering gratitude in our souls. It was typical of Plato's genius that he would warn us that one of the main aims of education is to train a child to ‘love what is lovable, and hate what is mean and ugly.’ This is the antidote to the disease of irreverence that is ravaging our society and sickening our culture. When will we avail ourselves of it?” (“The Disease of Irreverence,” New Oxford Review, June 2011.)

Lily’s love for the truth was a fruit of her love for Christ, who is the Truth. She did not speak about Catholicism in the classroom at Hunter, a secular school. She taught philosophy not theology. But her students who heard about the existence of objective truth in her classes were free to ask themselves questions about the origin of truth. And that led a good number of them to seek answers beyond philosophy. Lily recounted one incident that occurred shortly before she retired:

“Not long ago, in my ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ course, I was discussing truth. I gave my students the classical argument against subjectivism and relativism, namely, that whenever one tries to deny objective truth one must simultaneously claim that one’s own statement is itself true, really and objectively. Suddenly, a male student raised his hand, rose (a most unusual occurrence), and said in a strong, clear voice: ‘I object, Professor, to your spreading Roman Catholicism in this classroom.’ There followed a moment of great tension and my thoughts rushed to God for help. Then I said quietly: ‘I’m afraid that you are guilty of an anachronism.’ Since the student in question did not know what it meant, I explained: ‘The argument I have been using is taken from Plato who lived some four centuries before the birth of Christ. He can hardly be called a Roman Catholic. This should answer your objection.’ I then proceeded with my teaching. Some 16 months later I received a phone call just as I was about to leave for the university, where I was scheduled to proctor exams for the evening. The person who was calling, a former student, said she urgently wanted to see me. I told her that this was not possible since I was to be on duty the whole evening and, furthermore, it was my last day at the university until the fall term. She started to cry over the phone and insisted that she had to see me immediately. Surmising that her problem was truly serious, I contacted a friend of mine who agreed to proctor in my stead.

I then rushed to the university. I hardly had time to take off my coat when the girl who had phoned me came in. I immediately recognized her even though she had never spoken to me personally when she was my student. She had a fine, sensitive face and I had been impressed by her attentiveness and eagerness to listen. To my utter amazement, she told me abruptly that she wanted to become a Roman Catholic. I was so surprised that I was speechless, but I then decided to test her. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Your courses convinced me.’ ‘But,’ I responded, ‘I didn’t say a word about religion in my classes; my topic is philosophy.’

‘l know,’ she answered, ‘but do you recall an incident about 16 months ago when a student got up and objected to your refutation of subjectivism and relativism on the ground that you were spreading Roman Catholicism in the classroom? I had been brought up with strong anti-Catholic prejudices. But just when the student spoke out, the grace of God struck me. I suddenly understood that the Roman Catholic Church does stand for the objectivity of truth and that I had been blinded by prejudices.

‘Your course helped me very much and I decided to take another one with you,’ she continued. ‘I heard through another student that you were the wife of a famous Roman Catholic writer, Dietrich von Hildebrand. I rushed to the library and read a couple of his works. Now I am convinced. Please, help me to find a good priest so that I can take instructions in the faith.’

This is how L.C. found her way into the Church. I learned a great lesson through her experience: God is so powerful, so great, that He can use anything for the good.” (“Classroom Conversion,” National Catholic Register, March 20, 1983.)

We give thanks to God for the life of our dear departed friend Lily von Hildebrand. We owe her many debts of gratitude for all that she did for us and for countless others who learned, and will continue to learn, from her example, her writings and her public speeches and media appearances, especially on EWTN. She taught us how to live, and how to die. May she rest in God’s peace, knowing the One who made her, redeemed her, and has now called her to Himself.

Catholic adoption agency in Michigan wins settlement allowing it to operate in accord with the faith

Chad and Melissa Buck. Image via Becket Fund. / null

Lansing, Mich., Jan 25, 2022 / 14:34 pm (CNA).

A Catholic adoption agency in Michigan reached a settlement with the state on Tuesday which will allow the agency to continue to place children in homes in a manner consistent with its Catholic identity. 

A 2019 requirement imposed by Michigan that adoption agencies must match children with same-sex couples in order to receive state funding had meant the possible closure of St. Vincent Catholic Charities, one of the oldest adoption and foster care agencies in the state.

“The teaching of the Catholic Church and, hence, the adoption policy of Saint Vincent is rooted in both faith and reason: That children, on the whole, do best in life when they grow up with a mom and dad who are married to each other,” said Rich Budd, Director of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Lansing. 

“To have punished or proscribed that common-sense approach by law would have cruelly prevented Saint Vincent from being of service to couples who yearn for children and to vulnerable children who yearn for parents – hence we celebrate today’s agreement.”

Legal group Becket had in 2019 filed a lawsuit on behalf of St. Vincent Catholic Charities as well as people who have benefitted from their work: Shamber Flore, a former foster child placed with a family by St. Vincent, and Melissa and Chad Buck, a married couple who adopted five children with special needs through St. Vincent.

In a settlement submitted to U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker for approval Jan. 25, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services agreed not to take any action against St. Vincent, and also agreed to pay $550,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to Becket. 

The settlement comes after a major ruling from the Supreme Court last year in which the court found that the city of Philadelphia had violated a Catholic adoption agency’s First Amendment rights by refusing to work with the agency unless it agreed to place children with same-sex couples. 

The Bucks expressed elation at the state’s decision. 

“We are overjoyed that the State of Michigan has now recognized the important role religious adoption and foster care agencies like Saint Vincent Catholic Charities play in helping children find loving homes,” said Melissa Buck. 

“We are relieved to know that Saint Vincent, in partnership with the State of Michigan, can now, finally, get back to placing vulnerable children with families like ours without the threat of closure.”

In 2018 Becket said St. Vincent Catholic Charities found more new foster families than almost 90 percent of other agencies within its service district, with particular success in finding homes for hard-to-place children such as those with special needs, larger sibling groups, or older children.

“Today's settlement is good news for heroic foster families and the faith-based agencies that partner with them to serve kids,” said Will Bloomfield, General Counsel for the Diocese of Lansing, in a Tuesday statement.

“The Supreme Court's unanimous decision last year was clear: faith-based foster agencies play an important role and shouldn't be excluded from serving children and families.”

NYC pro-abortion activists curse at churchgoers, beam 'God loves abortion' onto St. Patrick's Cathedral

Pro-abortion demonstrators yelled obscenities at people leaving a pro-life vigil at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. / Joe Bukuras/CNA

New York City, N.Y., Jan 24, 2022 / 16:15 pm (CNA).

Barricades and a line of police protected pro-life attendees entering and exiting the Archdiocese of New York’s Prayer Vigil for Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday night, as members of the activist group New York City for Abortion Rights chanted insults and screamed vulgarities at them.

“Go to h*** b****,” one protester screamed at a churchgoer. Multiple other demonstrators screamed “F*** you” and made obscene gestures as a range of people from young children to elderly men and women exited the midtown Manhattan church. 

In addition to the vulgarities, demonstrators chanted “Shame,” “Thank God for abortion,” “Go home fascists, go home,” and “New York hates you,” along with pro-choice slogans aimed at churchgoers.

Toward the end of the protest, pro-abortion slogans including "God loves abortion," and "Abortion forever" were illuminated up on the exterior of the cathedral as demonstrators cheered. On Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., another activist group, Catholics for Choice, projected pro-choice slogans on the facade of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a Mass and Holy Hour on the eve of the March for Life.

Approximately 100 demonstrators attended the New York City rally, which organizers dubbed "F*** the March for Life" in an Instagram post. Many of the participants used drums, shakers, and other noisemakers, which were audible to those inside the cathedral.

The Prayer Vigil for Life marked the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. In accord with the U.S. bishops' call for penance and prayer for violations against the dignity of the unborn, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York celebrated the Vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m., which was followed by an hour of Eucharistic adoration.

"When a nation founded on the right to life and the equal protection of law for all life finds such violence to be legal, as it did 49 years ago today in legalizing abortion, boy that’s tragic," Dolan said during his homily. "That’s not right. That’s not natural. That’s not the way God intended it. That’s not the way our country intended it."

Nathan Long (in white cap) and his teenage son have a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators at a pro-abortion rally outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. Joe Bukuras/CNA
Nathan Long (in white cap) and his teenage son have a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators at a pro-abortion rally outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. Joe Bukuras/CNA

Among those who were screamed upon exiting the vigil were Nathan Long and his teen-age son. The two had a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators.

“I looked at him and I was just kind of praying,” Long told CNA afterward. “He’s just uninformed and I think he’s lost the spirit of Christ.”

Long, a father of seven from Dallas, Texas, said he thinks most of the protesters aren’t educated on the issue of life. “We’re living in a society where people just want to pick up the torch and be angry at anything,” he added.

One of the many slogans that protesters chanted at churchgoers was “Stop harassing patients!”

The chant referred to a recurring pro-life day of prayer called Witness for Life, which consists of Mass and Eucharistic adoration, followed by a rosary procession to the nearby Planned Parenthood and then a vigil in front of the clinic. 

The pro-abortion demonstrators on Saturday handed out flyers that state that many attendees at the Prayer Vigil for Life are Witness for Life attendees as well. The flyers claim there is “nothing peaceful” about the Witness for Life.

“They intimidate patients by praying, holding offensive signs, [and] impersonating clinic escorts to coerce patients,” the flyer states.

New York City for Abortion Rights often protests the Witness for Life. The pro-abortion group made headlines in July for standing in front of the rosary procession in order to block their path to the Planned Parenthood. Police officers were required to escort the rosary procession and separate the demonstrators. 

Toward the end of Saturday’s rally, a woman who appeared to be an organizer announced to the demonstrators that the group would be protesting the next Witness for Life event Feb. 5 by slowing down participants' rosary procession “with our bodies.”

Legal group seeks protection for Navy personnel objecting to COVID vaccine on religious grounds

null / Glynnis Jones/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jan 24, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

A Christian legal group has filed a class-action lawsuit with the goal of blocking the Navy’s COVID vaccine mandate for all U.S. Navy personnel who have requested religious accommodation. 

First Liberty Institute, a Christian legal group, had filed a federal lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction earlier this month on behalf of “dozens” of U.S. Navy SEALs and other Naval Special Warfare personnel, who represent Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity. 

As a result of the initial lawsuit, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Jan. 3 issued an injunction preventing the Department of Defense from taking “any adverse action” against the plaintiffs in the case because of requests for religious accommodation. 

The amended lawsuit, which the group announced this week, seeks to cover all Navy service members who have submitted requests for religious accommodation against the vaccine mandate, almost all of which, up to now, have been denied. The group says at least 3,000 service members have submitted requests. 

In August 2021, the Pentagon announced that all service members would have to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In advance of that announcement, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said that receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States was morally permissible, and that a vaccine mandate “seems prudent” and would be “very similar” to mandates already enforced in the military.

First Liberty says the religious objections that the plaintiffs in the initial lawsuit raised fell into four categories: opposition to abortion and the use of aborted fetal cell lines in development of the vaccine; belief that modifying one’s body is an affront to the creator; direct, divine instruction not to receive the vaccine; and opposition to injecting trace amounts of animal cells into one’s body.

Most of the requests made have been denied, O’Connor wrote in his ruling, and some of the plaintiffs report mistreatment as a result of asking for a religious exemption. 

Catholic bishops across the country have issued varying guidance for Catholics wishing to seek conscientious objections to COVID-19 mandates. A few have expressed explicit support for Catholics wishing to seek exemptions; some have said that Catholics may seek exemptions, but must make the case for their own conscience without the involvement of clergy; and some have stated that Catholic teaching lacks a basis to reject vaccination mandates.  

Archbishop Broglio has encouraged Catholics to follow the guidance of the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, both of whom have stated that it is morally permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations currently available in the United States, even ones with a remote connection to aborted fetal tissue. 

Archbishop Broglio has also said that service members should not be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine against their consciences. 

“The denial of religious accommodations, or punitive or adverse personnel actions taken against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary to federal law and morally reprehensible,” Broglio said in October.

Walk for Life West Coast brings 15,000+ to San Francisco

The Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, Calif., Jan. 22, 2022. / Dennis Callahan via Walk for Life West Coast

San Francisco, Calif., Jan 24, 2022 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone condemned abortion as the equivalent of a sacrament of a “new secular religion” in his homily at the Mass for Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. 

More than 15,000 people gathered Jan. 22 for the 18th annual Walk for Life West Coast. 

The event was held on the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which found that a woman had a legal right to an abortion throughout her pregnancy. 

Cordileone, speaking about how the devil is using a strategy of “divide and conquer” to alienate humanity from both God and each other, said that this form of secularism “has all become a sort of religion on its own, one that takes the form of a hyper-aggressive, anti-Christian kind of a secularism.” 

“This is all around us nowadays, and this kind of secularism has all the marks of a religion: infallible dogmas, rituals, saints, creedal statements and condemnation of heretical teachings along with punishment of the heretics who hold them and dare to speak them in public, index of forbidden books, even sacraments,” he said. 

Abortion, said Cordileone, has become the “blessed sacrament” of this militant secularism. 

It is “what they hold most sacred, the doctrine and practice upon which their whole belief system is built.” This is why, he explained, “we see such visceral and violent reaction to any even minimal regulation of abortion in the law, regulations that even those who believe it should be kept legal would see as reasonable, such as informed consent and parental consent.” 

“It should come as no surprise that the first to challenge the Texas Heartbeat Bill was the Satanic Temple, and precisely on the grounds of deprivation of religious liberty: they need abortion to carry out their religious rituals,” said Cordileone. 

The antidote to this, said the archbishop, is living “according to true wisdom,” meaning “the path to lasting happiness, a path which is walked by means of the virtues, both the natural and the theological virtues.” This is accomplished by a devotion to the sacraments. 

“We have the real Blessed Sacrament,” said Cordileone. “How much of the desecration of human life we witness in our time is due to a loss of the sense of the sacred, even that which is most sacred, the Blessed Sacrament? Do we do all possible to respect the integrity of the Blessed Sacrament and avoid its desecration by receiving reverently and worthily, always giving God our best in worship?” 

Cordileone stated that Christians who are in favor of abortion rights, who have been “mindlessly co-opted by the new secular religion and its false blessed sacrament” are equivalent to the Israelites who worshiped Moloch. 

“But there is only one Blessed Sacrament; to live as if there were two brings desecration of what is sacred on both fronts: the Bread of Life on the altar and human life in the womb,” he said. 

Now, said the archbishop, society is at a “very pivotal moment” with the upcoming Supreme Court Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Despite this, and the serious potential for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, Cordileone warned that it is not the time to “think we can relax our efforts even with the right decision.” 

“The devil will not stop until he is defeated and returned to hell definitively when our Lord returns,” he said. “There will always be attacks on the dignity of human life, and they will intensify,” noting that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pledged to make California a “sanctuary state for abortion.”

“So we will continue to work to build a culture of life, by advocating for life, by providing women in crisis pregnancies love and support and all that they need to know they are valued, respected and have friends walking with them in their time of distress, giving them the opportunity to make the happiest decision of all, the decision for life,” he said.

Biden reaffirms support for abortion on anniversary of Roe v. Wade

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at the Vatican to meet Pope Francis Oct. 29, 2021 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 22, 2022 / 10:40 am (CNA).

President Joe Biden pledged to defend a so-called right to abortion and reaffirmed his commitment to the widespread availability of the procedure in a Jan. 22 statement marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

“The constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago today is under assault as never before,” reads the statement, which was co-signed by Vice President Kamala Harris. “It is a right we believe should be codified into law, and we pledge to defend it with every tool we possess.”

“We are deeply committed to protecting access to health care, including reproductive health care—and to ensuring that this country is not pushed backwards on women’s equality,” the statement continues. 

The statement was released one day after tens of thousands of pro-life advocates gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life

Biden and Harris condemned efforts by pro-life lawmakers to enact restrictions on abortion, saying that “in Texas, Mississippi, and many other states around the country, access to reproductive health care is under attack.” 

“These state restrictions constrain the freedom of all women,” they wrote, adding that such restrictions are “particularly devastating for those who have fewer options and fewer resources, such as those in underserved communities, including communities of color and many in rural areas.” 

In addition to support of codifying a right to an abortion throughout the entirety of a pregnancy, Biden and Harris wrote that they will “continue to work with Congress on the Women’s Health Protection Act.” 

The Women’s Health Protection Act would establish “a statutory right for health care professionals to provide abortion and the right for their patients to receive care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care.” 

If passed, the bill would also eliminate requirements including mandatory waiting periods and ultrasounds before the procedure can be performed. 

Biden and Harris wrote that it is important to “ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have the same fundamental rights that their mothers and grandmothers fought for and won on this day, 49 years ago.” 

“At this pivotal moment, we recommit to strengthening access to critical reproductive health care, defending the constitutional right established by Roe, and protecting the freedom of all people to build their own future,” the statement reads. 

Biden is the second Catholic president and the first to be elected since Roe v. Wade. In an interview with The Washingtonian when Roe was issued, Biden said he was more moderate on many social issues, including abortion. 

"But when it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I'm about as liberal as your grandmother," Biden said at the time. "I don't like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don't think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body."

While in the Senate, Biden repeatedly voted for legislation that would prevent the taxpayer funding of abortion. However, his views on abortion began to shift over time. 

By his last year in the Senate prior to becoming vice president, Biden received a zero rating by the National Right to Life Committee. The last time Biden received a score above zero from the pro-life committee was in 2003-2004.

“There’s no surprise here,” said Mercedes Schlapp, former strategic communications director for the Trump administration, in a Jan. 21 interview with EWTN’s Owen Jensen. “We knew he was going to be radical on abortion. We knew he was going to support abortion— late term abortions. We know he’s obsessed and [the Democratic] party is obsessed with codifying Roe v. Wade.”

“As Catholics, we need to be vocal,” she continued. “We need to stand strong and we need to tell the president this is not right. We need to defend the unborn.”

These are the best signs we saw at the March for Life

Yuni and Natalie Wu of the Lexington-area in Kentucky at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2022 / 07:20 am (CNA).

Tens of thousands of Americans attended the 49th March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday to challenge the legality of abortion and celebrate a culture of life. The largest annual pro-life event in the country marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion nationwide.

Here are the 15 of the best signs that CNA saw at the march:

A man raises his Baby Yoda sign during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
A man raises his Baby Yoda sign during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Yuni and Natalie Wu of the Lexington-area in Kentucky at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Yuni and Natalie Wu of the Lexington-area in Kentucky at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A woman holds up a sign while marching outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A woman holds up a sign while marching outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A man holds up a sign while marching outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A man holds up a sign while marching outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A young woman holds another Baby Yoda Sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
A young woman holds another Baby Yoda Sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Young adults hold colorful signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Young adults hold colorful signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
A woman sports a message on her coat outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A woman sports a message on her coat outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Ben (12) and Madeline (turning 14 on Jan. 21) of Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Ben (12) and Madeline (turning 14 on Jan. 21) of Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA



A close-up of Akili’s sign at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A close-up of Akili’s sign at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Young women from Charlotte, North Carolina, display their handmade signs during a rally on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Young women from Charlotte, North Carolina, display their handmade signs during a rally on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
18-year-old Akili of Warrenton, Virginia, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
18-year-old Akili of Warrenton, Virginia, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
A woman holds her pro-life sign during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
A woman holds her pro-life sign during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Mary St. Hilaire, of Wichita, Kansas (left), and Kristina Massa, 22, of Lincoln, Nebraska, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Mary St. Hilaire, of Wichita, Kansas (left), and Kristina Massa, 22, of Lincoln, Nebraska, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Two women gather during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Two women gather during a rally held on the National Mall at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Young people pose with their signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA
Young people pose with their signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022. Christine Rousselle/CNA

Missed the March for Life? Here it is, in a 45-second video

Students for Life of America estimates that about 150,000 people attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2022, based an analysis of a video of the marchers. / Screen shot of Students for Life of America video

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 22, 2022 / 06:26 am (CNA).

Missed the March for Life? Well, can you watch the whole thing in the time it takes to say three Hail Marys.

As it has done in the past, the pro-life group Students for Life released a 45-second-long time-lapse video of the marchers filing past an elevated camera set up along the route.

The turnout for the Jan. 21 march in Washington, D.C., as you can see, was huge. While it's not the practice of the march's organizers or the police to provide specific estimates of the size of the crowd, Students for Life, calculates that about 150,000 people paraded past its camera post.

"The cold couldn't dampen the spirits of the Pro-Life Generation who knew we were celebrating the last anniversary of Roe v. Wade," the group, officially Students for Life of America, tweeted on Friday. "The largest human rights march in the world IS against abortion." You can watch the the march video below.

Impressive, no? You also don't want to miss the powerful speech Father Mike Schmitz of "Bible in a Year" fame delivered at the rally right before the march. Here's the EWTN video of the speech: