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Straw poll of conservative activists reveals pro-life policies to be least important issue

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Mar 2, 2021 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Pro-life leaders responded to a recent straw poll of conservative activists where pro-life policies received the least number of votes for the activists’ most important issues. 

Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando were allowed to select up to three issues as their top policy priorities for the Washington Times/CPAC straw poll. Options included “election integrity,” “immigration/border wall,” and “second amendment.” 

A mere 16% of conference-goers choose pro-life policies as one of their top three issues, making it the issue that received the least number of votes among attendees. Election integrity, constitutional rights, and immigration were the three top-rated issues of importance, respectively.

 

#CPAC2021 poll on the most important issues… re-opening the economy was fourth pic.twitter.com/cPrnR1XTps

— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) February 28, 2021

 

The straw poll is conducted at the annual event, and measures attendees’ policy preferences as well as their preferred presidential candidate. CPAC, a project of the American Conservaive Union, describes itself as “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world,” and the conference is often billed as representative of the wider conservative movement. 

The American Conservative Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its attendees’ enthusiasm for the pro-life cause. 

Several pro-life leaders cautioned that the pro-life cause may already be a high priority for many Republicans, and thus the poll is not necessarily indicative of future GOP priorities. 

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNA in an interview that it’s possible CPAC attendees didn’t prioritize pro-life policies because they believe the Republican Party has already demonstrated its opposition to abortion. 

“It’s obviously already something the party already fights really hard for,” Day said. 

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told CNA that abortion “was not always the partisan issue it is today and that better reflected the American people who may disagree on politics while embracing the humanity of the preborn.” 

“The rankings at CPAC show that abortion is among the issues animating people’s votes, even when it isn’t issue number one for everyone as it is for me and the Pro-Life Generation,” Hawkins said. 

“We are educating people on the need to vote pro-life first, and we will continue to work with people wherever they are at, to build a coalition dedicated to ending abortion,” she said. 

In an email to CNA, Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, wrote that election integrity–the highest-rated issue at CPAC in terms of importance–and the pro-life cause are both connected.

“Those who used COVID-19 to expand access to dangerous chemical abortion drugs and try to suspend pro-life laws also used the pandemic as an excuse to weaken state laws that ensure free and fair elections, which severely compromised Americans’ faith in our elections process,” Quigley said. 

Quigley called this year’s CPAC straw poll “a snapshot of a particular moment in time – a time when voters are sincerely concerned about the integrity of our nation’s elections.” 

“We share deeply in this concern,” she continued. “The issues of protecting life and honest, fair elections are inextricably linked, especially for those of us in the pro-life movement who have chosen to engage in politics as the primary means of effecting change. Without this, we lose our ability to use the political system to bring about lifesaving law and policy changes.”

Day added that because pro-life policies are “a winning issue,” both parties would be wise to oppose “abortion extremisim.” 

“It’s very dangerous for Democrats to have abortion funding in the COVID relief bill and giving Republicans this ammunition,” she said. 

A massive COVID relief package under consideration by the Senate this week does not contain pro-life funding protections–thus possibly allowing for increased funding of abortion coverage and abortion providers. House Democrats rejected pro-life amendments to the bill that would have established safeguards against abortion funding.

“Republicans know it’s a winning issue. Abortion extremisim is not helping the Democrats at all,” Day said of pro-life issues.

A majority of respondents in the CPAC straw poll selected former President Donald Trump as their choice for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination. Trump addressed the conference on Sunday, repeating his claim that he won the 2020 presidential election but without offering any evidence.


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Leading Christian adoption agency changes policy, will now work with same-sex couples nationwide

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 2

Washington D.C., Mar 2, 2021 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- A leading Christian adoption agency will now work with same-sex couples looking to foster or adopt children, in a change of its nationwide policy reported on Monday.

Bethany Christian Services, which is the largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency in the United States, has updated its inclusivity policy on matching children with same-sex couples. The new “nationwide policy of inclusivity” will “serve all families across Bethany’s core service lines.” 

In addition, the new policy also removes the agency’s 2007 statement that “God’s design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman,” according to the New York Times.

After a 2019 lawsuit, Bethany Christian Services began placing children with same-sex couples in 12 states, including in Michigan. Its updated policy extends this practice to all of its locations in the United States. Meanwhile, Catholic adoption agencies in several states have closed rather than comply with mandates that they work with same-sex couples.

Bethany said that it “recognizes that Christians of mutual good faith can reasonably disagree on various doctrinal issues, about which Bethany does not maintain an organizational position.” 

In an email to its employees, Bethany said that its new policy was approved by the agency’s board of directors in January, after about a decade of discernment on the issue. 

The agency’s headquarters is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and it has offices in 32 U.S. states as well as seven countries in Europe, South and Central America, and Africa.

Nathan Bult, the senior vice president of public and government affairs at Bethany, told CNA in a statement that “faith in Jesus is the core of our mission,” and that “Bethany Christian Services has never wavered from our mission of demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus to Children and families.” 

“We help families stay together, we reunify families who are separated, and we help vulnerable children find safe, stable homes when they cannot remain in their own,” said Bult. 

Placing children in stable homes is the key to Bethany’s mission despite any doctrinal concerns, Bult said. 

“We acknowledge that discussions about doctrine are important, but our sole job is to determine if a family can provide a safe, stable environment for children,” said the statement. 

“Unlike many other child and family welfare organizations, Bethany is committed to partnering with churches to find as many families for vulnerable children as possible, and we seek to place children with families that share our mission,” the organization stated. “We believe that Christians with diverse beliefs can unify around our mission of demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus. It’s an ambitious mission, and we can only accomplish it together.”

In 2018, the city of Philadelphia suspended its contracts with both Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services of the archdiocese, due to their refusal to work with same-sex couples. The city had enacted a nondiscrimination ordinance, and also oversees the entire foster care system.

No same-sex couple had approached Catholic Social Services for foster care placement. There are numerous foster care agencies in Philadelphia that will work with same-sex couples.

Shortly after suspending these contracts, the city put out a call for additional foster homes due to increased demand for services. 

While Bethany Christian amended its policy and began working with same-sex couples, Catholic Social Services maintained that it could not do so according to the Church’s teaching on the family.

Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, two foster mothers from Philadelphia who worked with Catholic Social Services, sued the city of Philadelphia over the severed contract. 

The Supreme Court heard arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia back in November, and is expected to decide on the case later in 2021. 

Catholic Charities in several states have had to end their adoption and foster care programs, due to state and local mandates that agencies work with same-sex couples. 

In 2010, Catholic Charities D.C. shuttered its adoption program because of the city’s law redefining marriage, and in subsequent years Catholic adoption programs stopped in other states such as New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Legislation repealing faith-based exemptions for adoption and foster care agencies passed the Virginia house of delegates in February, and is under consideration in the state senate.


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Biden mentions Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows rosary beads, in meeting with Mexican president

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Mar 2, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).- President Joe Biden cited Our Lady of Guadalupe and displayed his rosary beads in a conversation with the president of Mexico on Monday.

In the virtual conversation with Mexico’s President López Obrador, Biden—a Catholic—claimed a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe from his previous travels to Mexico as vice president.

“During my visits, I got to know Mexico a little bit and its people, and paid my respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe.  As a matter of fact, I still have my rosary beads that my son was wearing when he passed,” Biden said according to a White House transcript of the event. He noted that he visited Mexico four times as vice president.

Biden has previously referenced his son Beau’s death from brain cancer as an incident where he relied upon his faith. In a 2020 campaign ad, he said that his faith supported him through tough times, noting that “I go to Mass and I say the rosary. I find it to be incredibly comforting.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the Americas, given the title by Pope St. John Paul II.

Biden is just the second Catholic U.S. president, and the U.S. bishops’ conference has noted the unique circumstance of having a Catholic president who upholds Church teaching on policies such as immigration and fighting poverty, but contradicts Church teaching on life issues, marriage, religious freedom, and gender ideology.

The USCCB formed a working group in November to advise the conference on how to deal with Biden; the working group made two chief recommendations before stopping its work in early February.

One of the recommendations was for USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez to send a letter to Biden that was pastoral in nature, but clarify areas of agreement and disagreement with the conference—especially his contradiction on the “preeminent” issue of abortion.

Biden has supported taxpayer-funded abortion and has pledged to sign the Equality Act, legislation the USCCB has warned would codify gender ideology in law and would “punish” objecting religious groups.

In a Jan. 20 statement for Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Gomez offered prayers for the new president and emphasized his own role as bishop in forming consciences, rather than in being a partisan.

Biden, warned Gomez, “has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”

Abortion, said Gomez, “remains the ‘preeminent priority’” of the conference, as it “is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family.”

Although Biden’s staff have referred to him as a “devout Catholic,” the USCCB’s pro-life chair has said they should stop using that term due to his support for abortion.

“The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, in an interview with Catholic World Report published on Feb. 13.

Archbishop Naumann noted that “we bishops have the responsibility to correct him” for using the term. He added that Biden “is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people” by calling himself a “devout Catholic” while opposing the Church’s teaching on life issues.

At the bilateral meeting on Monday, both presidents discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, economic cooperation, and climate change.

During his conversation with Lopez, Biden also noted that he has a bust of Catholic social activist César Chávez in the Oval Office.

In response to Biden’s remarks on Monday, President Lopez thanked him through an interpreter “for your confession regarding your devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

“We, as Mexicans, respect and admire two symbols,” he said, one being “the Virgin of Guadalupe” and the other being former president Benito Juárez.


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How to obtain a plenary indulgence during Holy Week

March 1, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

CNA Staff, Mar 2, 2021 / 12:43 am (CNA).- A plenary indulgence is a grace granted by the Catholic Church through the merits of Jesus Christ, Mary and all the saints to remove the temporal punishment due to sin.

The indulgence applies to sins already forgiven. A plenary indulgence cleanses the soul as if the person had just been baptized.

A plenary indulgence can be obtained during Holy Week for oneself or for a deceased person if one of the following works established by the Church is performed.

Holy Thursday

1. If during the solemn reservation of the Blessed Sacrament (typically on a side altar), which follows the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, you recite or sing the Eucharistic hymn “Tantum Ergo.”

2. If you adore the solemnly reserved Blessed Sacrament for a half hour.

Good Friday

1. If you venerate the Cross in the solemn celebration of the Lord’s Passion.

2. If you piously participate in the Stations of the Cross

Holy Saturday

1. If two or more people pray the Holy Rosary.

2. If you attend the celebration of the Easter Vigil at night and renew your baptismal promises, which is part of the liturgy of that Mass.

Conditions in all cases:

In order to obtain the plenary indulgence, in addition to performing the specific works mentioned above, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

A plenary indulgence requires that the individual be in the state of grace by the completion of the acts, and have complete detachment from sin. The person must also sacramentally confess their sins and receive Communion, up to about 20 days before or after the indulgenced act.

A single sacramental confession is sufficient for several plenary indulgences.

For each plenary indulgence that is sought, however, a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father are required.

The prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father is left up to the choice of the individual.


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Catholic Connect suspended from Instagram for apparent copyright infringement

March 1, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Denver Newsroom, Mar 1, 2021 / 06:19 pm (CNA).- Instagram this week suspended a popular Catholic account for apparent copyright violations.

Catholic Connect, an account sharing Catholic-themed content with a traditional bent aimed at young adults, was shut down Feb. 28 after Instagram notified its CEO of two copyright violations, the second of which did not appear to be related to anything Catholic Connect had shared.

Richy Orozco, CEO of Catholic Connect, told CNA that the first of the two copyright infringement complaints came from an Instagram account that had asked Catholic Connect to share one of its videos of a procession outside a Catholic church.

Orozco said he reached out to the account that owned the video immediately, but received no response.

A few hours later, Orozco says he got a second copyright infringement notification from Instagram, which showed him a small “preview” of the apparent offending material.

Orozco said he did not recognize the content, which appeared to be a video, in the preview provided by Instagram. He says his team also did not recognize the content.

Soon after, Orozco got an email from Instagram saying Catholic Connect had violated copyright and that “you are no longer permitted to use Instagram.”

“Your account has been reported multiple times for violating someone else’s rights. We previously warned you that if you continued to infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, your account would be disabled,” the Feb. 28 notification email from Instagram, which Orozco shared with CNA, reads.

Instagram’s terms of use state that “We can refuse to provide or stop providing all or part of the Service to you…if you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights.”

Catholic Connect had shared some 5,000 posts while it was active, including many memes and videos, generally with attribution.

Orozco said Catholic Connect has received copyright infringement claims before, but the last one was “over a year ago.”

“That’s why I wanted clarification from Instagram…it might not even be our content,” he said.

“If that’s so, then the account can be reinstated.”

Catholic Connect’s account had some 273,000 followers when it was suspended, the organization says. Orozco and the account’s team have appealed the suspension to Instagram.

Catholic Connect has created a new account under the name of @CatholicConnect2.0, which is active as of March 1.


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