All articles from May 17, 2017

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Franklin Graham: Christians ‘should pull out of the Boy Scouts completely’

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May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Christian evangelist Franklin Graham Friday applauded the LDS Church for partially pulling out of two programs run by the politically correct Boy Scouts of America, but said the Mormons didn’t go far enough and urged “all churches” to completely disengage from all Scouting programs.

“I think the Mormon Church—and all churches—should pull out of the Boy Scouts organization completely,” Graham said in a May 12 Facebook post. “They need to get their younger boys out as well. I would not want my child or grandchild to be influenced by the lifestyle of a gay Scout Leader that goes against God’s design for creation.”

On May 11, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church, ended its long participation with two Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs, the Varsity and Venture programs, geared to boys aged 14-18 (in the U.S. and Canada). The Church is setting up its own programs for LDS boys in that age group, but said it “will continue to use the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13.”

In an LDS Church Q-and-A document, in response to the question, “Why is the Church remaining with the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program?” it responded, “These programs currently meet the development program needs of boys from ages 8 through 13.”

Many observers believe that the LDS move is rooted in the BSA’s rapid embrace of pro-LGBTQ policies, as described by Graham: “Two years ago the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay leaders and then this year began to allow members based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex, opening the door to transgender members.”

The Scouts' first capitulation to homosexual activists was in 2013, when it voted to allow self-described homosexual boys to join as members. That was 13 years after the BSA’s narrow victory in the nation’s highest court affirming its right to live by its own “morally straight” creed, which did not include homosexuality and atheism.

The LDS Church states that the Scout programs for younger boys continue to “meet the development program needs of boys from ages 8 through 13.”

But Graham disagrees, noting, “Churches should always stand with teachings that align with the Word of God.”

As Graham states, the Mormon Church was the largest institutional sponsor of the BSA. The LDS Church said its pullout from older teen Scout programs will have little impact on its overall contribution to the Boy Scouts.

Mormon agrees: Time to pull out completely

Whereas Franklin Graham was very clear about why Christians should pull out of the Boy Scouts, LDS Church authorities were not, adopting a more ambiguous tone in explaining their partial withdrawal.  The LDS Church did not explicitly criticize the BSA’s altered sex and gender guidelines.

That frustrated another Graham (unrelated), conservative Mormon pro-family leader, Stephen Graham of the Utah-based group Standard of Liberty. He agrees with Franklin Graham that the LDS Church should have made a clean break with the Boys Scouts of America.

“The BSA is in league with the devil, ever since they equivocated on their godly moral values,” Stephen Graham told LifeSiteNews, “and so why would you ever want to associate with them anymore?”

He said the LDS Church should have completely pulled out from the Boy Scouts four years ago, when the BSA first compromised its “morally straight” position against the “sexual sin” of homosexuality.

“It seems to me that if you’re going to pull anyone out [of the BSA], you’d want to pull out the youngest, most vulnerable boys, ages 8-13…They are the most at risk for being led astray,” said Stephen Graham, whose own son overcame homosexuality and is now married and has children in a natural family.

He said it was shameful that his LDS Church did not pull out of the Scouts after the youth organization allowed openly homosexual men to become Scoutmasters, saying that “Mormons are not exempt from the predations of homosexuality.”

Stephen Graham said the LDS Church leadership famously seeks to “avoid bad press,” so it “wants to avoid appearing to be reacting to the latest move by the BSA” of allowing gender-confused girls to be members because they claim a male “gender identity.” 

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Study says abortion pill is safe. Yeah right

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May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A study that purports to show that women can “safely” abort their pre-born children using abortion pills is being debunked by critics as unscientific, problematic, and lacking any real credibility. 

The authors of the study based their findings on data provided by the Netherlands-based pro-abortion organization Women on Web. The study tracked the outcomes of some 1,000 women in Ireland and Northern Ireland who used the site to obtain abortion pills, also known as RU-486. 

The non-peer reviewed study titled “Self reported outcomes and adverse events after medical abortion through online telemedicine” was published online May 16 in the British Medical Journal. 

Women on Web calls itself a “digital community of women who have had abortions, medical doctors, researchers, and individuals and organizations that support abortion rights.” The organization provides pills, even illegally, to women seeking an early abortion in more than 140 countries where access to abortion is restricted.

Critics say the study lacks rigorous scientific standards for data collection. Much like the abortion services Women on Web seeks to provide, data was obtained via remote digital contact, relying on self-reporting of individuals, not observations and data collection by trained medical professionals. 

“The main problem with this study is that of the 1600 women who self-induced medical abortions without medical supervision, --  600 (over 30 percent) did not respond to a follow-up survey,” said Michael J. New, Visiting Associate Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

“There is a good chance that women who did not follow up were more likely to experience medical complications than those women who were happy to participate,” he added. 

Professor New called the study “not particularly rigorous.”

“It looks at the health outcomes from a group of 1,000 women who performed medical abortions at home. It does not compare these women to another group of women who had medical abortions under medical supervision,” he said. 

In the study, the authors claim that only about 10% of respondents reported symptoms of potentially serious complications, such as very heavy bleeding, and that this is comparable to the rates for women who seek medical abortions at clinics. Seven women reported needing a blood transfusion and 26 ended up requiring antibiotics, underlining the potential for significant tragedy.

It remains unclear how the authors claim that “no one in the study died,” given the impossibility of a woman performing a medical procedure done in secret being able to ‘self-report’ her own death.

But the study’s questionable methodology has not stopped mainstream media from repeating the study’s conclusion that the data provides the “best evidence to date that self-sourced medical abortion through online telemedicine is highly effective, with low rates of complications.”

Pro-life advocates are warning that the pro-abortion group that supplied the data for the study is putting the lives of women at risk. 

Ireland’s Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth told the BBC there is "no such thing as a safe abortion," and that the group promoting this study is "putting the lives and health of pregnant women in Ireland at risk by promoting self-use of abortion pills." 

She criticized the study as having “no credibility.” 

Another pro-life group, Life Northern Ireland, said it was concerned that the study was based on "self-reported outcomes of self-sourced and self-managed medical abortions."

“We are alarmed . . . Women on the Web [is] flouting the law in Northern Ireland yet again,” Marion Woods of, Northern Ireland’s leading pregnancy care charity, tweeted

Woods explained to the BBC, "Nobody should be taking medical pills of this kind without first contacting their registered GP or health provider." 

American pro-life organizations were also quick to point out the study's shortcomings.

“There is a surprising lack of basic medical information, and all of the information is self-reported,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, associate scholar and executive director of American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  

“There is not even any confirmation that the women who took the drugs were actually pregnant – no confirmatory urine or blood test by a medical professional, no ultrasound, no confirmation of any basic data. And, there is no report of how many women confirmation of any of the self-reported complications.  There is not even any way to tell if women died. Seriously? This study should have been thrown out in peer review,” she said. 

Chuck Donovan, president of Charlotte Lozier Institute, said the study "reeks of bias and flagrant disregard for protective laws."

"Its publication in a respected medical journal is shameful and irresponsible. Here in the United States, we owe it to vulnerable women as well as their unborn children to conduct neutral, national reporting on abortion pill complications and restore strict FDA regulation of these dangerous drugs,” he said. 

Arina Grossu, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, called the study "problematic.”  

“Women on Web has no regard for women’s health and safety . . . No doctor actually examines the woman to see how far along she actually is or what her conditions are. If the woman is farther along than she thinks, she runs a higher risk of complications and hospitalization,” she said. 

Grossu said that even the study found that the older the baby was, the “higher the risk of an incomplete abortion needing surgical intervention [was], doubling for the women who were 7-9 weeks along compared to those who were less than 7 weeks along.”

But Dr. Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin who led the study thinks the risks are acceptable. He told The Associated Press, "We now have evidence that self-sourced medical abortion that's entirely outside the formal health care system can be safe and effective." 

But Grossu said an FDA Adverse Events Report which looked at 1.5 million women from Sept. 2000 to April 2011 who used mifepristone gives a better indicator of the complications that arise from abortion pills. 

“The Adverse Events Report lists 2,207 reported cases of adverse events including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 cases of blood loss requiring transfusions, and 256 cases of infections, of which 48 cases were considered severe,” she said. 

“There is no such thing as a safe abortion,” she added. 

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Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo Wikimedia Commons
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Vatican bishop predicts Pope will convert Trump…on climate change

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VATICAN CITY, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis says he won’t “proselytize” during his meeting with Trump next week, but one Vatican bishop insists the pope will indeed convert him on one thing: climate change.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the influential and controversial chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, made the claim in an interview published Monday by ANSA.

"They will come to an agreement, since the president claims to be a Christian, and so he will listen to him,” Sorondo said.

Pope Francis is set to receive Trump the morning of May 24 at the Apostolic Palace.

The two leaders have taken radically divergent positions on climate change.

The pope has made the issue a hallmark of his pontificate, most prominently in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’. The pope has strongly endorsed the claim that humans are in large part responsible for climate change.

Trump, on the other hand, is skeptical of manmade climate change. During the presidential campaign, he promised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. He signed an executive order in late March undoing much of the environmental legislation put in place by former President Barack Obama. He ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the climate change page from its website. And he appointed an EPA critic, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to head the agency.

Trump’s views are ‘against science’: Sorondo

Bishop Sorondo claimed in his interview ANSA that Trump’s choices on climate "are against science, even before being against what the Pope says.”

"When he was preparing the Laudato Si', oil lobbies did everything in their power to prevent the Pope from saying what he did,” he explained, “meaning that climate change is caused by human activity that employ fossil fuels.”

“Perhaps the oil companies wanted a 'light' encyclical,'” he continued, “a romantic one on nature that wouldn't say anything at all.”

“Instead, the Pope followed what the scientific community says,” said Bishop Sorondo. “If the president does not follow science, then that is the president's problem."

The danger, he says, is that "the US president influences others, and scientific findings are being cast doubt on" and "truths begin to be denied." 

Pope: ‘I am not one to proselytize’

Pope Francis has sent confusing messages in regularly partnering with radical environmentalist and population control advocates within and outside the United Nations. At the same time the Holy See has clarified that it opposes any interpretation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that could be used to support abortion, contraception, population control or gender ideology.

On the papal plane traveling back from Fatima, Portugal last weekend a reporter questioned Pope Francis about his differences with Trump on climate science.

Asked whether Trump would “soften his decisions” on climate change and welcoming migrants after he meets with the pope next week, the pontiff said that on both religious and political issues, “I am not one to proselytize.”

Care for creation, with a human cost?

Pro-life supporters frequently warn how the population control and pro-abortion movements often advance their agendas via the environmentalist and anti-poverty causes.

It has been Bishop Sorondo who often oversees the numerous Vatican visits where extreme environmentalist, feminist, population control and pro-abortion supporters, often affiliated with the United Nations (UN), have been given a speaking platform.

He has advocated the climate change issue as a Vatican representative in other venues as well.

At a December 2015 conference on Laudato Si at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome Bishop Sorondo claimed the Pope’s teaching on global warming in the environmental encyclical was equally binding for Catholics as the Church’s teaching on abortion.

In a panel discussion at a Vatican conference on Biological Extinction earlier this spring, Bishop Sorondo suggested there is confusion over the Church’s teaching on procreation and fertility. He approvingly suggested that when people are educated they have fewer children.

He would go on to say it is an obligation for the Church to say the state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well being, and “in this capacity it is legitimate for the state to intervene to orient the demography of the population.”

Bishop Sorondo told ANSA that the Pontifical Academy for Science is holding a meeting in November on the effects of climate change on human health.

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Pope Benedict praises Cardinal Sarah: ‘The liturgy is in good hands’

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VATICAN CITY, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has strongly endorsed the Vatican’s liturgy head Cardinal Robert Sarah in an afterword for an upcoming edition of Sarah’s highly acclaimed recent book The Power of Silence.

Benedict XVI’s endorsement of Cardinal Sarah’s work is poignant given the apparent chilly reception from Pope Francis’ Vatican to Sarah’s calls for rejuvenating ancient liturgical traditions.

“With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands,” writes Benedict.

His afterword was published today on First Things, and will appear in future editions of Sarah’s book which was released by Ignatius Press in March.

“We should be grateful to Pope Francis for appointing such a spiritual teacher as head of the congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the liturgy in the Church.”

Pope Benedict’s praise comes less than a year after Cardinal Sarah asked bishops and priests worldwide to celebrate the Mass “ad orientem” — literally “toward the east” — in which the priest faces the tabernacle rather than the people.

Sarah made his appeal during a July 2016 conference on liturgy in London, England, and suggested priests aim to implement the ad orientem practice by Advent 2016.

He also asked Catholics to kneel to receive Holy Communion wherever possible, and encouraged a generous reception of the traditional Latin Mass.

Sarah said at the time that Pope Francis “has the greatest respect for the liturgical vision and measures of Pope Benedict.”

But two days after Sarah’s comments were published, then-Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi issued a public clarification.

The Vatican release stated that some of Sarah’s “expressions” had been “incorrectly interpreted,” and insisted that “new liturgical directives are not expected from next Advent, as some have incorrectly inferred from some of Cardinal Sarah’s words.”

Moreover, Pope Francis “expressly mentioned” in a visit to the office of the Divine Worship that the Traditional Latin Mass “permitted by Pope Benedict XVI” under his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum “must not take the place of the ‘ordinary’ one,” the Vatican release stated.

The U.S. bishops followed suit a day later with a press release which referred to the Vatican’s document, and asserted there was no “new mandate for the celebrant to face away from the assembly.”

In October 2016, Sarah was replaced by Pope Francis at the last minute to open the academic year at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome.

In November, Pope Francis overhauled the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, removing traditionalists and appointing 27 new members, while retaining Sarah as prefect.

The new appointees included such known progressives as German Cardinal Rainer M. Woelki, who used a refugee boat as an altar for a Corpus Christi celebration, and New Zealand Cardinal John Dew, who during the synod on the family criticized the Catechism’s language describing homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered.”

Among those dropped from the congregation were U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke and Australian Cardinal George Pell.

Both men are known for their orthodoxy, and Burke is one of the four signers of the dubia asking Francis to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia departs from Catholic moral teaching.

In December, Pope Francis established a commission to examine Liturgiam Authenticam, the 2001 Vatican document setting guidelines for translating liturgical texts from Latin into the vernacular.

Liturgiam Authenticam called for liturgical texts to be revised when necessary so that they conformed to sound doctrine.

According to the Jesuit magazine America, Francis “significantly” appointed the congregation’s second-in-command, English Archbishop Arthur Roche, as head of the commission.

Roche, who was chairman of the International Commission for English Language in the Liturgy (ICEL) for a decade, “has more experience in the liturgical field and a more open approach to liturgical questions than its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah,” America wrote.

Francis set up the commission because he wants to give bishops’ conferences more authority over liturgy, according to America.

It’s also his response to some bishops’ conferences that “do not accept there is such a thing as ‘sacral language’” and oppose Liturgiam Authenticam as “too rigid.”

But famed Vatican watcher Sandro Magister sees the commission’s role as the “demolition” of Liturgiam Authenticam, which he describes as “ one of the walls of resistance against the excesses of the post-conciliar liturgists.”

Pope Benedict writes in his afterword that Cardinal Sarah “teaches us silence—being silent with Jesus, true inner stillness, and in just this way he helps us to grasp the word of the Lord anew.”

In what he suggests “can become an examination of conscience for every bishop,” Benedict quotes Sarah:

It can happen that a good, pious priest, once he is raised to the episcopal dignity, quickly falls into mediocrity and a concern for worldly success. Overwhelmed by the weight of the duties that are incumbent on him, worried about his power, his authority, and the material needs of his office, he gradually runs out of steam.

Benedict adds: “Cardinal Sarah is a spiritual teacher, who speaks out of the depths of silence with the Lord, out of his interior union with him, and thus really has something to say to each one of us.”


Vatican Liturgy Chief asks all priests and bishops to face east for Mass, faithful to kneel for Communion

GIRM warfare: Experts criticize Vatican’s quick dismissal of Cardinal Sarah’s call for Mass facing East

Pope to replace Cardinal Sarah for speech at John Paul II Institute’s inauguration

Pope Francis again elevates Church progressives in complete overhaul of Vatican liturgy office

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Cardinal Muller speaks in Toronto. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews
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Vatican doctrine chief urges Canadians to reverse euthanasia law

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TORONTO, Ontario, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Vatican’s top doctrinal chief told Canadians this week that it’s “essential” they work to reverse the legalization of euthanasia in their country.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller said that not only is euthanasia “gravely wrong” in itself, but it also “creates toxic and deadly social pathologies that disproportionately afflict the weakest members of  society.”

Müller was the keynote speaker for a conscience rights' conference sponsored by the Toronto-based Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute and spoke at St. Michael’s Cathedral Monday.

The German head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) lamented Canada’s “tragic recent” legalization of euthanasia as encouraging “grave violations of man’s intrinsic, inalienable, and equal dignity.”

The Supreme Court struck down the law banning euthanasia in February 2015. In June 2016, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government codified that decision in Bill C-14.

Müller criticized Canadian “public discourse” surrounding the issue of euthanasia in which he said the “facilitation of suicide or even direct killing is deceptively termed ‘aid in dying.’” 

That’s “a fabricated expression whose only rhetorical function is to conceal the very nature of the death-dealing action it describes,” he said.

“In matters of justice and morals, it is essential that we call things by their right names,” he said, adding that euthanasia is the “direct killing of one person by another for the sake of some perceived medical or social benefit.” 

It is distinct from the “refusal or discontinuation of life-sustaining measures,” the purpose of which “need not be to cause or hasten death,” he said. 

Müller said that euthanasia is also distinct from the “aggressive use of pain treatment through medication and dosages that are dangerous for the patient,” in which the “aim is to alleviate suffering through potentially risky means, not to kill the patient.” 

The CDF’s 1980 declaration on euthanasia states: “[N]o one can make an attempt on the life of an innocent person without opposing God's love for that person, without violating a fundamental right, and therefore without committing a crime of the utmost gravity.”

Rationale for euthanasia “incoherent and fatally flawed”

Müller said that euthanasia advocates justify the act for two reasons: “respect for autonomy and compassion for the suffering.”  

“Both rationales are internally incoherent and fatally flawed,” he said. 

Human beings “do not exist as atomized units,” and the premise that someone contemplating suicide or euthanasia is able “to exercise autonomy in a full sense” is “illusory,” he added. 

The Cardinal pointed out that if “autonomy” is the primary basis for allowing assisted suicide or euthanasia, then it follows that “there can be no internally coherent limits on its practice.”

“If a person simply wishes to die because he is tired of life, the principle of autonomy provides no grounds for refusal. Thus, meaningful legal limits quickly give way,” he said. 

He noted how Belgium and the Netherlands have already experienced a “rapid weakening of the regulatory strictures on euthanasia.”

As for euthanasia being compassionate, in practice it inevitably becomes  “the path of least resistance” and leads to a decrease in accessible pain management for the sick, thus resulting in greater suffering for all, he said. 

He warned that a misguided sense of compassion “opens the door to eugenic judgments about quality of life,” leading to “involuntary euthanasia.”

Müller gave an example from the Netherlands where “a doctor surreptitiously euthanized a nun over her objections.” The doctor justified killing the nun, he said, because “she was mistaken about her best interests due to an irrational and superstitious commitment to religious belief.”

He also noted how the Netherlands infamously implemented in 2008 the “Groningen Protocol for the killing of newborns in the name of compassion.” 

Prudential case is “most potent” argument in pluralistic society

Müller said that in a “pluralistic society” the best argument against euthanasia is one “framed at the level of public policy.”

While not everyone accepts that euthanasia is wrong in principle, “all persons of good will should be able to see the profound and inevitable social harms that fall disproportionately on the weak and vulnerable when euthanasia is legalized.”

To illustrate his argument, the Cardinal related that in the 1990s, an advisory committee looked into legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia in New York at the request of then-governor, liberal and Democrat Mario Cuomo.

But contrary to their expectations, the self-described “secular and liberal” committee members ultimately advised against legalizing euthanasia. After their investigations, they concluded that to do so would “inexorably” lead to:

grave and lethal new forms of fraud, abuse, coercion and discrimination against the disabled, poor, elderly, and minorities; deadly forms of coercion by insurers and faithless family members; corrosion of the doctor-patient relationship; an eventual shift to non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia; and widespread neglect of treatment for mental illness and pain management.

The committee discovered that at that time in the Netherlands, “for every three or four instances of voluntary euthanasia, there is one case of killing without consent.”

On an American scale, that would work out to 36,000 people euthanized each year and an additional 16,000 killed without consent, a “risk” the committee regarded as “unacceptable.”

Conscience rights must be protected

“Given the gravity of the threat posed by legal euthanasia, it is essential that we work for its reversal in the law,” Müller stressed. 

“In the meantime, “we must take immediate measures to protect the rights of health care providers who refuse to collaborate in or facilitate access to euthanasia.”

This is “not simply a Catholic issue,” he said. 

The Cardinal said that compelling a doctor to “participate in the annihilation of the patient that he has promised to care for” is “a grave act of violence and direct corruption of the very logic of the art of medicine.”

“It is, in short, to coerce the doctor to act against the good of the patient, which the doctor has sworn an oath never to do,” he said. 

Any law is unjust “that forces a physician to act against what he knows to be the most basic good of the patient – the preservation of his very life, either directly or indirectly,” he added. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) has mandated that doctors give patients requesting euthanasia an effective referral to an accessible and willing colleague. 

A group of doctors and healthcare associations has taken the CPSO to court, arguing that the policy violates their Charter rights of freedom of religion and conscience. The case will be heard in Toronto in June.

Müller concluded by urging Catholics to not be discouraged despite “currents in the culture and in the law” that undermine respect for human life, especially those of the most vulnerable. 

“[W]e should take heart in the fact that the enduring wisdom of the Catholic Church, intelligible to all people of goodwill, is truer, and better, and more beautiful than any alternative,” he said.

“Share it lovingly and with the serene confidence that through the Risen Christ and the intercession of his Blessed Mother, all things are possible, and we shall prevail.” 

Editor's note: The full text of the Cardinal’s talk is available at the Archdiocese of Toronto website, here.

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EXCLUSIVE: Norcia monks ‘very hopeful’ about future after devastating earthquake

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Father Martin Bernhard, a Norcia monk
View of Norcia from the monks' property

NORCIA, Italy, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Benedictine Monks of Norcia hope that their life will be an even stronger example of Christian living than it was before the massive 6.6 magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of their home in October. 

The Monks of Norcia are famous for their glorious liturgies in the ancient rites of the Catholic Church, their Gregorian chant, and beer brewed in the birthplace of St. Benedict. Many tradition-minded Catholics around the world were devastated at the Norcia earthquake, which killed nearly 300 people in nearby towns.

"Don’t give up hope," Benedictine Father Martin Bernhard, the community's cellarer, urged Catholics in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. "With God’s grace and our hopefully continued goodwill to cooperate with that," the monks hope to be a beacon of hope in the modern world.

Those who advocate the "Benedict Option," the call to create intentional Christian communities and withdrawing from much of political life, frequently point to the Monks of Norcia as an obvious modern example. Rod Dreher, in fact, profiled their monastery in his new book on the topic.

"Now, we have the chance to really be like St. Benedict and those monks at the fall of the Roman empire," said Bernhard. "When the culture and civilization [were] falling apart...morally, economically," St. Benedict and his followers "had an opportunity to kind of be even a brighter light, a brighter beacon."

"We kind of find ourselves in a similar situation," he said, because the local tourism-based economy has greatly suffered and "a lot of people are out of their homes and out of jobs...and now we have an opportunity to rebuild in that context, not only [in a] culturally, morally challenged context, but an economically challenged context."

The tragedy of the earthquake, and Norcia's rebuilding efforts, can "show to the world that even when things go very badly or there are great difficulties around one, it doesn’t mean we have to give up hope," said Bernhard. "The hope is that our music and our chant and our prayers and our beer and our liturgy can still be kind of given to the world and I think maybe even in a more authentic way because we will have suffered more in order to make it happen."

Bernhard said the earthquake was the cause of "a great sense of a kind of fear and trust really in God’s providence and a great recognition of our littleness as humans."

"When the ground shakes like it did it kind of strikes a kind of natural fear," he explained. "You grow up your whole life thinking the ground you stand on is firm [and] it’s not going to move. But then when it starts to move, it seems like the whole world is kind of falling apart around you. And then with a lot of the tremors and everything that took place afterwards, kind of for days, you would think about, ‘if I put this here on the table, will it fall off?'"

"Even though we have reason and we’re rational, we are a very small physical creature in a big universe," Bernhard said of man. 

'Classically monastic' life will continue

The Monks of Norcia are rebuilding their monastery on a property of roughly 24 acres just outside of Norcia. They previously operated out of the Basilica of St. Benedict.

"The Archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, which owns the buildings, has decided that the spaces will have to be used by the diocese since all the other churches in town were also destroyed," the monks stated on their website last month.

There are fields, woods, and hills on the property. The monks currently live in trailer-like temporary residences but will rebuild the monastery on the property. They offered Mass in a tent for a little while. It now takes place in a "container"-like building.

"We have a beautiful view of Norcia," said Bernhard. "We’re hoping to give the world a beautiful monastery and place to come to when they come to Norcia." 

Their future brewery, guest house, and gift shop will hopefully be a "place of welcome of pilgrims and people from the world" and allow them to "experience nature," said the monk. "Now that God has kind of placed us right outside of the city, we can still see the birthplace [of St. Benedict and] are right next to it but to give to the world I think an experience of the traditional liturgy and monastic life. More remotely in the mountains is much more classically monastic."

The Extraordinary Form liturgy that the monks use exclusively can offer the modern world a life that technology can't, Bernhard said.

"The traditional liturgy carries with it all the various ways to, I think, touch and speak to the human person," he said. "That is, it engages all the senses: sights, sounds, smells, touch. In the traditional liturgy, you pray a lot with your body too. There are genuflections and prostrations and things even that speaks to man even in a modern time."

"The nature of man doesn’t change even if he’s in a modern period," he continued. "The person living in the modern times perhaps has become kind of deadened to a lot of those things because of technology...It’s kind of numbed our senses but the traditional liturgy I think can really awaken our senses and also the silence that it brings can opportunity and a moment of reflection that the busyness of the world" can't.

Bernhard encouraged Christians seeking to create their own communities in the spirit of St. Benedict to pray together.

"Community life is not just a social gathering," he said. "It’s also a moment of prayer, which has a social element because it involves more than one person."

And read together, he recommended. "Choose good books. Choose good them together, talk about them."

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Pro-life 'rescuers' at Kentucky's last abortion clinic. Facebook video
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


Pro-life protesters arrested at the last abortion clinic in Kentucky

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Pro-life “rescuers” were arrested for blocking the entrance to Kentucky’s last operating abortuary on Saturday.

Ten people out of about 100 demonstrators at the EMW Women’s Surgical Center were taken into custody and charged with criminal trespassing under the state's Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law.  

Video footage shows the “rescuers” sitting in front of the doors of the abortion clinic, blocking them with their bodies so that no one could go into the building. They can been heard praying and singing. 


According to police, the "rescuers" had interlocked their arms so as to physically stop anyone from entering the abortion business. Police arrested them after repeatedly asking them to leave.

The event was organized by Operation Save America (OSA), formerly known as Operation Rescue.

The jailed participants came from several states to take part in the “rescue,” including Indiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, Washington State, Ohio, Virginia, Texas, Missouri, and Kentucky.

The abortion clinic’s director Anne Ahola called the pro-lifers’ actions intimidating and discriminatory against women.

But the “Rescuers” said that breaking the law and getting arrested is a small price to pay when compared to saving a baby’s life.

All those arrested were charged and released.  

The “rescuers” ranged in age from teenagers to 82 year-old Eva Edl of South Carolina.  

Edl, who has been arrested over 40 times for “rescues,” calls abortion businesses “death camps,” for deeply personal reasons.  She herself was sent to a Serbian death camp when she was a young girl.

“I just wish the good Christian people of my country would have gathered in front of my death camp when we were shipped in,” she told the Courier-Journal.

A pre-recorded video message from the organization behind the event, which was released during the “rescue,” explained the reason behind the action.

“Greater love has no one than this: that one lay down his life for his friends,” the video states.  

“A small band of committed Christians ... are risking arrest for one reason: to rescue their pre-born neighbors that are led away to slaughter,” OSA Director Rusty Lee Thomas said in the pre-recorded video. 

“There are no other ministries or organizations sponsoring this event,” he added. 

Thomas defined the “rescue” as “exercising the Christian doctrine of ‘Interposition,’” which happens, he said, “when one stands in the gap between the oppressor and the intended victim, and by standing in the gap, rescues the victim from the oppressor’s hand.”

He said he hopes the demonstration will influence Governor Matt Bevin, state legislators, and sheriffs and police in Kentucky to do more to help the pre-born targeted for abortion. 

“Simultaneously, we are using this as an example to call the state to interpose within their God-ordained authority,” Thomas added, “which is to defend the lives of these pre-born by ignoring Roe versus Wade, establishing justice, and abolishing abortion now.”

Referring to Operation Rescue’s activities during the 1990s, for which members of the group were successfully prosecuted, Thomas said this kind of direct intervention of peacefully blocking abortion clinics hasn’t been attempted in over twenty years.

Operation Save America has announced a much larger demonstration at the Louisville abortion facility for July 22-29. Thomas described the planned demonstration as “a tremendous opportunity ... to become the first surgically abortion-free state in the United States of America."

The state's last abortion clinic has been facing closure for not having a proper license, because the business didn’t have local hospital privileges.  In April, a federal judge ordered that the abortuary remain in operation.

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Sally Naumann, a long time resident of Carlisle, was not intimidated by the TV cameras.
Mass Resistance

Opinion, ,

Fearless 85-year-old says no to LGBT flag at church. Now the entire town is against her

Mass Resistance
The Unitarian church in the center of Carlisle, Mass.
Next to the Church's big flag is a bowl where they gave out hundreds of smaller flags after Sally's letter appeared. (But it was already empty when we got there.)
The TV reporter just showed up unannounced at Sally's house with a camera crew and microphone.
Hopefuly, they'll do some serious reading!
We happened to see these stickers on a phone pole and a trash can near the center of town. Looks like there's more "diversity" than we thought.
Label on sticker is "Nope".

May 17, 2017 (MassResistance) -- An elderly woman in ultra-liberal Carlisle, Mass. had the nerve to publicly criticize the “gay” flag outside of a church in the center of town. She caused such an inflamed reaction that it was reported in Boston’s NBC-TV evening news.  (See below.) But she’s not backing down -- which inflames the leftist reactionaries even more!

Sally Naumann, an 85-year-old resident of Carlisle and a longtime MassResistance activist, had had enough. She was very upset that the Unitarian Church in the center of town is flying a “gay” rainbow flag outside. She is distressed because people she knows have died of “gay”-related diseases. She strongly believes the homosexual lifestyle should not be promoted.

Interestingly, for nearly 25 years Sally and her husband had been members of that Unitarian Church in Carlisle, and she was also co-chairman of the Parish Committee. But a few years ago, while speaking at a Sunday service, she raised concerns about the church’s promotion of the homosexual lifestyle. For simply saying that, the church leaders declared her to be “unwelcoming”. After a “hearing”, Sally was banned from the church and told that if she came back they would call the police!

Sally is a delightful lady, as well as fearless. In 2005, she went undercover at the homosexual GLSEN conference at Brookline High School. She picked up a copy of the extremely pornographic and disgusting “Little Black Book” that was being given to kids. It caused such outrage that even Gov. Mitt Romney went on television to distance his administration from it.

A simple letter to the editor started a war in town!

On April 28, 2017, Sally wrote a letter to the editor to the local Carlisle Mosquitonewspaper. They published it at the end of all the others, on page 22, near the back of the paper. Here’s what it said:

To the Editor:

One of the saddest vistas I know is that of the beautiful rainbow flying as a flag to welcome and encourage the extremely dangerous behavior of homosexuality. Each time I go through the center of my town of Carlisle, I see such a flag and my heart cries out—why, Why?

Indeed, why is this flag being used to speak well of homosexuality and encourage the behavior? Where is the caring for people who for one reason or another have gotten into this behavior? And homosexuality is a behavior; no one is born homosexual.

Where is the truth? Where is the help for such people? It seems they are only helped down the garden path to some of the worst diseases known to man. Just look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for information as to how devastating homosexual behavior actually is. Then look at for personal stories where ex-homosexuals speak out.

Knowing how many have contracted HIV and AIDs and even died as a result of homosexual behavior leaves me wondering why people would promote such behavior--—let alone churches such as the Unitarian Church and the United Church of Christ.

Sally J. Naumann

It’s a very good letter. It’s very clear, straightforward, and succinct.

Unhinged reaction to letter

Sally’s letter got attention, that’s for sure!

In the next issue of the Carlisle Mosquito (May 5) there were nine angry letters attacking her (and none supporting her). Even by the low standards of a “liberal” town (that prides itself on being “upper class”), the response was pretty unhinged.

There were the usual angry epithets: Sally’s letter was called “hate speech”, “disinformation”, “rancid”, and “ignorant” – etc.

Several letter writers said that despite the First Amendment, Sally’s letter should not have been allowed to be printed. (This is a common totalitarian refrain of the Left.) Letter writers said that Sally’s letter might cause suicides or violence because of “the destructive, homophobic views represented in that letter.”

One letter writer said Sally’s letter is bringing “fear” to the community and said that she is now locking the doors of her house. Some letters listed past acts of terrible violence that were likely caused by sentiments like Sally’s.

And of course there’s the blatant hypocrisy: The same letters that said that Sally’s views should be excluded from the newspaper and not be tolerated, were then calling for a climate of “tolerance and inclusion.”

Most of this is, on its face, irrational. That’s because Sally really got to them! The town’s liberals could not deal with Sally’s facts and logic. Instead, their letters were calculated to foment as much anger and hysteria as possible.

The attacks on Sally continued in the May 12 issue, with seven more angry letters.  Sally was called “homophobic”, “hateful”,  “intolerant”, “prejudiced”,  “libelous”, and “malicious”. Her views were compared to Vladimir Putin, and Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Nazi Germany. Whew! We can’t wait till next week.

Scathing newspaper editorial against Sally

In the May 5 issue of the newspaper, next to the letters, was a scathing editorial aimed at Sally and her letter. In particular, the editorial explored whether Sally’s facts and opinions should be banned from the newspaper in the future.

Sadly, the editorial shows the level of nonsense and shallow thinking that America’s journalist class has lowered itself to. It stated that the newspaper’s staff  “believes it is of supreme importance to be sensitive to the concerns of marginalized populations.” (Not conservatives, clearly.) It admitted that in past years the paper had run letters similar to Sally’s without a problem. But now the community must be protected from these views. That’s because, the editors say:

[T]here are times when a position becomes so repulsive it is no longer suitable for discussion, and perhaps advocacy of homosexuality as a sickness has migrated into that territory.

So the truth of the medical consequences has no real value. And the message is that anyone who agrees with Sally can forget writing any letters.

Town's liberals fighting Sally with more rainbow flags

One of the letters in the paper was from a local moonbat political group saying that people should fight Sally by putting out rainbow flags everywhere in town. They announced they would be putting hundreds of small rainbow flags outside the Unitarian Church for locals to take. Within a few days, there were lots of rainbow flags across town.

Make no mistake. This is a psychological strategy to make people in town feel that everything is overwhelmingly stacked in one direction – and any more “outbursts” like Sally’s are useless, and will be dealt with harshly.

Sally didn’t care, though. She had made her point.

NBC-TV in Boston jumps in -- pays Sally an unannounced visit

Over the next week the hysteria over this continued to spread beyond Carlisle. On May 10, NBC-TV in Boston jumped in to cover this story.

Not surprisingly, this was not a “friendly” interview from Sally’s standpoint. The television crew did not call Sally’s home first; they just showed up at her door unannounced. That has to be a pretty unnerving experience. But Sally took it all in stride, made her points very well, and stood her ground. After that, they interviewed local liberals.

That evening, here’s what was broadcast in metropolitan Boston and southern New Hampshire.


NBC-Boston also highlighted this on their Facebook page;


But also some silent support for Sally!

There seems to be an undercurrent of support for Sally. Sally told us that when she went to the Post Office one day this week, she came out to find that someone had put some flowers in her car door handle.

On Saturday, Sally received a handwritten letter in the mail:

Thanks for the courageous letter to the Mosquito.

Having lived for 30 years in Carlisle and had two children go through the school system, I'm confident the push-back from the mentioned parties will be significant. Thankfully, we no longer live there.

We have a feeling there will be more and more, now that Sally has publicly stood up!

MassResistance comes to help out in Carlisle

Because Sally’s been such a great activist over the years in such a weird town, we just couldn’t resist adding more to the “alternative” viewpoint. Since the church parishioners seemed just a tad uninformed about the health issues involved, we put a complimentary copy of our new book, “The Health Hazards of Homosexuality”on their doorstep.

Before we left Carlisle, we noticed some “alternative” stickers had popped up around the town square! Maybe there is hope for diversity of opinion there, after all!

Every little bit makes a difference

If Sally can do this much by herself, imagine what you can do! We hate to say this, but she has more courage than probably 90% of pro-family people. That’s got to change.

The LGBT movement (and the Left in general) knows it cannot win through normal discourse and factual challenges. The dominance of their absurd ideology depends on intimidating everyone into cowering in fear and not speaking up. Every time you do it, it breaks it down a little more. Eventually their dominance will collapse. That’s what Sally has done in Carlisle, and that’s why they’re so angry.

Sally told us that after this initial furor has died down, she plans to write another letter to the editor elaborating further on her points. That should be interesting. We’ll keep you posted!

Reprinted with permission from Mass Resistance.

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Gloria Steinem speaks at the feminist march in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


Gloria Steinem: Abortion restrictions are ‘the fundamental cause of climate change’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

NEW YORK CITY, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A self-avowed “radical feminist” is blaming so-called ‘man-made’ climate change on too few women aborting their children. 

In an interview with Refinery29, 1960’s feminist icon Gloria Steinem began with the debunked population explosion myth. 

“What causes climate deprivation is population,” she said, echoing the current liberal spin.  

She then tied her pet issue, unrestricted government-funded abortion and its global coercion, with the standard “Florida-is-sinking-into-the-ocean” fearmongering:

“If we had not been systematically forcing women to have children they don’t want or can’t care for over the 500 years of patriarchy, we wouldn’t have the climate problems that we have. That’s the fundamental cause of climate change,” she said. 

Steinem, who popularized the “I got an abortion” t-shirt, then said that the world’s main salvation from polar ice-cap melt is more abortions. 

“The human load on this earth is the biggest cause of global warming, and that is because of forcing women to have children they would not on their own choose to have,” she said. 

The Daily Caller noted the irony in climate change activists like Steinem, who want to save the planet for future aborting the future generation: “We have to kill the children, or else we won’t have any sort of planet to leave to the… children. Wait.”

Refinery29 did not challenge the logic of Steinem’s claims that “climate deprivation” threatens the world, that its cause is “population,” that there are too many children in the world, that women historically have been “systematically forced” to bear children they don’t want, that patriarchy is 500 years old, or that universal abortion-on-demand would eliminate climate change.

Steinem made the same batty assertions last year as the keynote speaker at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. “Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming,” she said. 

Not surprisingly, she also blames the Pope and “patriarchal religions” for “the earth’s temperature...ticking upwards.”  

“We should have this massive education campaign pointing out that the Pope and all of the other patriarchal religions that dictate to women in this way, accusing them of global warming,” Steinem said.  “Does (the Pope) know he’s causing it?”

The 83-year-old former Playboy bunny, whose mother went partially insane before she was born, doesn’t have any children of her own. She waited until she was in her sixties before marrying.  (Her husband died just three years after they were married.)

Steinem characterizes her own abortion at age 22 as “positive" and guilt-free, even though “I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be.”

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug


‘Chelsea’ Manning’s release from prison 28 years early is far worse than you think

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Private Bradley Manning, a.k.a., “Chelsea Manning,” is expected to walk out of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas today a free man, 28 years early.  The commutation of Manning’s sentence was President Obama’s parting shot as he prepared to leave office in January.

In his final press conference in the White House Press Briefing Room, the president said, “It has been my view that given she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime.”

Manning’s actions, the leaks of classified information, his prison sentence and the commutation were distractions from the real story. These provided a smokescreen for the earthshaking actual story which is found in the president’s use of two simple three letter words: she and her.

This was the first time a United States president referred to a man as she and her and it wasn’t meant as a joke.  So nobody laughed. Nobody in the press room dared laugh. The gathered erudite, the urbane, the sophisticated sat silent.

At that press conference, those humble little pronouns were not humble. They were bold and brazen. The president, the nation’s commander-in-chief, weaponized them against natural law, against complementarity, against truth, and against the Gospel. Yet for the most part it slipped past the national radar, never having registered as news.

This audacious act was merely the capstone of a long professional political history of undermining respect for human life and dignity.

As a member of the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama never failed to oppose the destruction of nascent human life, either inside or outside the womb.  In January 2007, before the Obama campaign had taken off, Associated Press reported:

Abortion opponents see Obama's vote on medical care for aborted fetuses as a refusal to protect the helpless. Some have even accused him of supporting infanticide . . . Obama argued the legislation was worded in a way that unconstitutionally threatened a woman's right to abortion by defining the fetus as a child . . . It would essentially bar abortions because ‘the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this was a child then this would be an antiabortion statute,’ Obama said in the Senate's debate in March 2001.

Yet they are children. The complete absence of empathy for a child born during a botched abortion was stunning.

In 2006, Human Events published a story with the headline, Obama More Pro-Choice Than NARAL.  “Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) portrays himself as a thoughtful Democrat who carefully considers both sides of controversial issues, but his radical stance on abortion puts him further left on that issue than even NARAL Pro-Choice America.”

The candidate did not run from that headline.  He wore it as a badge of honor.

We had been told that Barack Obama had “never favored same-sex marriage.”  Yet, David Axelrod told the world in Believer: My Forty Years in Politics: “When President Obama said during the 2008 campaign that he did not support marriage for same-sex couples, he only did so because it was politically expedient.”

This was the first president whose administration sought not to advance religious liberty, but to squash it, turning even the Little Sisters of the Poor into enemies of the state.

And finally, according to a recent Pew Report, faith and religion plummeted among Americans during his presidency, with religious affiliation and practice dropping off dramatically during his two terms in the White House.  At the outset of his administration, those who identified as atheists or agnostics totaled only 16 percent of the U.S. adult population. Eight years later, the non-religious in America made up nearly a quarter of the population, a stunning 50% increase over a very short span of time.

Eight Years Forward and a Few Millennia Backwards

Barack Obama will go down in history as having presided over a great unraveling of respect for human life and human dignity; over the devolution of marriage; over the eradication of gender; over the increase of misogyny and misandry; over transforming children from a gift from God into nothing more than commodities, into chattel, into disposable objects of adult entertainment and satisfaction, nothing more.

Obama had an uncanny knack for dragging us backward to pre-Christian, pre-Judaic times, when human dignity and human life were mostly unformed, unconsidered concepts. As it turns out, while seemingly agnostic to religion—any religion—he showed himself to be thoroughly pro-pagan, leaving our nation in a tailspin, plunging into the twilight of a new, but ancient, paganism.

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Marco Rubio Wikimedia Commons
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

The Pulse

Marco Rubio tweeted Bible verses. Now the liberal media is saying he’s ‘totally lost it’

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

FLORIDA, May 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Washington Post’s controversial 'conservative' columnist Jennifer Rubin tweeted that Florida Senator Marco Rubio “totally lost it” after he tweeted out some words from Jesus taken from the Catholic Mass readings for May 16. 

Rubio, who practices his Catholic faith, had tweeted out Christ's words telling his disciples about bringing God’s peace to the world. 

Minutes later, Rubio then tweeted a quote from Proverbs about putting trust in God. 

But having the politician and former Republican presidential candidate tweeting about God proved too much for Rubin. When Leah McElrath of the left-leaning website tweeted that Rubio’s Bible quotes were “unsettling,” Rubin agreed: 

Rubin was hired by the Washington Post in 2010. Prior to this, she worked three years at the conservative magazine Commentary. While Rubin used to be known as the darling of the right, especially when she used her media skills in advocating for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney, conservative pundits note how she has nothing but contempt for Donald Trump and his administration. Some of even called her a traitor to the conservative movement.

Rubin has called Trump “evil incarnate.” During an interview with MSNBC in March, she said that the GOP ideology under Trump is "abhorrent,” adding that "I don't consider myself a Republican any longer."

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