All articles from September 05, 2017


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Archbishop Martínez Fernández | Dr. Josef Seifert
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Archbishop fires renowned Catholic philosopher for questioning Pope Francis

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GRANADA, Spain, September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A renowned Catholic philosopher has been removed from a Catholic university in Spain by a local archbishop after publishing a critique of Pope Francis’ exhortation on marriage and family. 

Dr. Josef Seifert, an intimate friend of the late Pope St. John Paul II, was removed last week from his post at the International Academy of Philosophy in Granada by Archbishop Javier Martínez Fernández. 

In an article published online last month, Seifert called the Pope’s 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) a ticking “theological atomic bomb” that has the capacity to destroy all Catholic moral teaching. 

In his article, the philosopher argued that if Pope Francis believes that adultery — to quote the exhortation — “is what God himself is asking” of couples in “irregular” situations, then there is nothing stopping any other intrinsically evil acts from eventually being justified.

“If this is truly what AL affirms, all alarm over AL’s direct affirmations regarding matters of changes of sacramental discipline refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the Ten Commandments and of Catholic moral teaching,” Seifert wrote. 

Archbishop Fernández related in an August 31 public statement that Seifert’s removal was spurred precisely by his recent article. He said the article “damages the communion of the Church, confuses the faith of the faithful, and sows distrust in the successor of Peter, which, in the end, does not serve the truth of faith, but, rather, the interests of the world.”

Fernández also said that while Seifert was removed from his teaching duties last year after his “first critical writing” on the exhortation, he is now being entirely dismissed from the university. 

“And right now, concurring with the precise and fuller reasons for it, his retirement from the above-mentioned International Academy of Philosophy is now being processed,” the archbishop wrote. 

Last October, the archbishop stated that his archdiocese would adopt the Buenos Aires interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, endorsed by Pope Francis, that allows Communion to be given to couples living in habitual adultery. 

Seifert’s removal comes almost one year after four influential cardinals submitted five questions (dubia) to Pope Francis asking him to clarify if his exhortation conforms to perennial Catholic moral teaching. Pope Francis has yet to address their concerns. 

Joining the four cardinals in publicly raising concern about the exhortation are various bishops and priests (for example, here, here, and here), 45 Catholic scholars, and 16 international life and family advocates

Catholic commentator Dr. Maike Hickson called Seifert’s removal a “great injustice” based on “false claims” and “false charges.”

She called his recently published article a “lucid and charitable Catholic witness in defense of the traditional and infallible moral teaching of the Catholic Church.”

“The Archbishop claims, without offering the slightest reason, that Seifert’s paper ‘confuses the faith of the faithful.’ We find, on the contrary, that the article clarifies the raging confusion of the faithful through its clear distinctions and reasons,” Hickson wrote in an article published on OnePeterFive.com

“The Spanish archbishop also claims that Seifert’s paper ‘sows distrust in the successor of Peter,’ while in reality it affectionately presents a moving and filial appeal to the successor of Peter as the ‘sweet Christ on Earth’ – as he calls the pope in the words once used by St. Catherine of Siena – to revoke a specific statement IF he comes to recognize the grave and logical consequences of the above-mentioned assertion,” she added.

Hickson called Seifert’s dismissal “scandalous and a violation of the rights of an eminent Catholic scholar.”

Seifert is “one of the most deeply believing and faithful, and pope-loving Catholic thinkers, who had proven his loyalty to the papacy not only through his close collaboration with Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, but also through his attempts to aid the Magisterium of Pope Francis by offering him, in deep reverence and charity, precious pieces of advice as to how to secure the unity of the Church based on the truth,” she said.

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Fr. James Martin, SJ
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Liberal Catholics lash out at critic of pro-gay Vatican advisor

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

Urge Pope Francis to remove Fr. Martin as a Vatican advisor! Sign the petition.

SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A former homosexual turned natural marriage advocate has received some vicious criticism in his lifetime, but nothing like the virulent emails from liberal Catholics after recently writing about pro-gay Father James Martin, S.J.

“I am disturbed and somewhat surprised by the amount and content of vicious messages I have received due to my last blog,” Joseph Sciambra posted on Facebook.

“I have NEVER EVER received the ugly sorts of emails and posts from either the gay community or the porn industry — that I now get from fellow Catholics.”

The former gay porn star, who has been sharing his story of repentance and conversion for seven years, is a popular blogger. Last week, he noted how Father Martin urges everyone but himself to “come out of the closet.”

Sciambra quotes the Jesuit as praising homosexuals who “come out and be honest and transparent and open about the way God created them,” using the rhetoric that homosexuals are “born” that way, God designed sodomy, and is pleased with it.  

Such gay-validating “coming out,” Father Martin proclaims, “is terrific. I think it’s something the Catholic Church can support.”

And yet Martin’s own homosexual biographer, Brian Bromberger (a Catholic deacon who concelebrates with Protestants and leads Catholic parishioners in gay pride parades), quotes Martin saying “that he prefers not to make public his own sexuality.”

Sciambra in his Monday blog exposed Martin’s inconsistency to influence others to go public with what the controversial priest keeps private. In other words, to advocate doing what he himself is unwilling to do.

Sciambra explained in a later Facebook post that he considers Martin’s hypocrisy cruel. “These men and women whom (Martin) forcefully advises … are taking all the risks – including … HIV among gay men and the disturbing reemergence of syphilis as well as … antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea.”

The converted Christian says the Jesuit reminds him of other Catholic priests he met while living the gay lifestyle in San Francisco. “I have met priests such as Martin,” Sciambra explained, noting they are entrusted “with the care of precious souls.”  

“In my experience with radical gay-affirmative priests – I found that they often received a vicarious thrill through their interaction with the LGBT community,” Sciambra observed firsthand, speculating that perhaps this is due to “latent desire,” or inner rebellion.  

For whatever reason, gay-affirming Christian leaders are “exploiting the confusion and desperation in the gay community” to “substantiate their own identity,” he says.

“James Martin has always been a total fraud — but now it’s just really obvious,” Sciambra said. “He wants everyone else to come out and be open … but he won’t do it.”

The backlash from Sciambra’s blog post was immediate. That fact didn’t surprise Sciambra — he has endured vitriol before. What surprised him was where the attacks were coming from: Christians.

“I had anticipated that there would be opposition from the secular proponents of gay rights, but what surprised me was the vehemence of those within the Church,” Sciambra lamented.

Merciless condemnation and personal attacks from Catholics shows how duped people of faith are today, Sciambra said. “This issue runs deep (among Catholics) and it’s been ignored. Pro-gay priests and parishes have been allowed to spread errors and thrive.”

“Now, the men and women they have deceived are in the Church,” Sciambra continued, and when someone exposes the deception “the anger is malevolent and palpable.”

Despite receiving hateful judgments and death wishes, Sciambra does not place culpability on his critics for their angry sentiments. “I don’t blame these men and women. The onus is completely on certain bishops who continue to look the other way.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, in an interview with Sciambra, agreed with the tragic worldliness of many within the Church. Referring to a 1986 encyclical to Catholic bishops, “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” the bishop observed, “The fact that there would be such an outrage … shows how strong the LGBT lobby is both in the secular world as well as in the Church.”

Bishop Paprocki warned Christians that gay pressure to morally approve of sodomy is just beginning. “The push for gay rights has always been incremental,” he said. “Domestic partnerships was the first thing (‘so I can visit my gay partner is in the hospital’). Then it moved to civil unions and then it was ratcheted up to same-sex marriage.”

“Well, they’ve achieved all that in civil law,” Paprocki continued. “What they don’t have is moral approval. And the only place that can give them that approval is the Church. So I think (we’re) the next target.”

In his interview with Bishop Paprocki, Sciambra warns against Martin or any Christian leader who positively spiritualizes homosexuality. “Be careful,” he warned. “It looks like they defend Catholicism, but really (they) are attacking it.”

Sciambra has written a book about his life as a gay man and his conversion to the faith titled “Swallowed By Satan: How Our Lord Jesus Christ Saved Me from Pornography, Homosexuality, and the Occult.”

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'Jesse' Vroegh and his 'wife' Jackie
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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‘Transgender’ prison nurse sues Iowa for right to use men’s showers

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

DES MOINES, Iowa, September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A "transgender" prison nurse is suing the state of Iowa for not letting her shower, change, or use the restroom with men.

Thirty-four-year-old “Jesse” Vroegh, a biological female who claims to be male, says her “Constitutional right to equal protection” was violated when the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville had her use a private locker room and bathroom to accommodate her transgenderism.  

She also claims she was denied “medically necessary surgery” when the facility’s insurance provider did not pay for breast amputation.

Vroegh began using a boy’s name when she was seven. At age 17, she openly dressed like a man and cut her hair short. Her depression and anxiety drove her to a doctor, who diagnosed her as having gender dysphoria and prescribed opposite sex hormones. In 2014, the doctor advised her to openly live as a man.  

She told her supervisors of her “transition” and asked them to develop policies relating to use of restroom and locker rooms for transgender employees. In 2015, Vroegh began using men’s bathrooms in public places.  

Supervisors told Vroegh she would not be able to use the men’s restrooms and locker rooms at work, but accommodated her request with private, unisex facilities.

In April 2016, Vroegh was told that no transgender policy would be written “since transgender issues are ‘too controversial.’” Vroegh took her complaint to the state Civil Rights Commission, accusing her employer of “denying my request because they were concerned about ‘the rights of male officers.’“  

Earlier this year, the commission concluded she had “reasonable possibility” for a “probable cause determination.” Rather than wait for the commission to settle the matter, Vroegh decided to sue in District Court.

Her lawsuit claims that using a unisex bathroom “isolates” her and “greatly aggravates my disability, gender dysphoria (including depression and anxiety).” She noted that the unisex locker room has no shower.

As far as her desired breast amputation, the state does not insure for gender reassignment surgery.

Vroegh is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the ACLU LGBT Project, and attorney Melissa Hasso.

“Forcing an employee to use a separate space isolates the employee and sends the harmful message that he or she is abnormal and ‘less-than’ his or her colleagues,” Hasso said.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan said the union stands behind Vroegh.

The Conservative Tribune commented, “There is no reason why someone with female reproductive parts needs to use the bathroom or locker room intended for those with male reproductive parts — especially when unisex facilities have been provided.”

“Gender identity” was added to Iowa’s anti-discrimination code in 2007. To do so, some Republicans joined a solid Democrat bloc as soon as Democrats controlled both chambers of the state legislature.

The ACLU claims Vroegh’s lawsuit is the first for transgenders since the civil code was changed.

Vroegh now works as an assistant director of nursing at another facility.  

View Vroegh’s original 2016 complaint here.

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Hurricane Harvey left neighborhoods flooded in the Houston area. Flickr.com
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Texas governor holds Day of Prayer for Hurricane Harvey recovery

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AUSTIN, Texas, September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas observed a Day of Prayer on September 3 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Gov. Greg Abbott urged Texans of all faiths, religious traditions and backgrounds to pray for the safety of the state’s first responders, public safety officers and military personnel. He also requested prayers for the healing of individuals, rebuilding of communities, and the restoration of the region struck by the disastrous storm.

“Throughout our history, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer,” he said in the declaration. “And it is right and fitting that the people of Texas should join with their fellow residents and with others from across the country and around the world to seek God’s wisdom for ourselves and our leaders and ask for His merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis.”

Abbott also said Texans remained strong throughout the ordeal and were grateful for the outpouring of support and resources from around the world that have been sent to assist with the damage as the state begins the process of healing and rebuilding.

Abbott announced the Day of Prayer at an event last Thursday at First Baptist Church in Rockport, Texas, KCBD.com reported, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Reverend Franklin Graham. 

“It doesn’t matter what faith or religion or belief that you have. This is a time for Texans and Americans to unite and pray for thanksgiving for those who have risked their lives,” Abbott told the “Fox and Friends” program. “The first responders and volunteers who’ve supported our fellow Texans, but also pray for the victims of this horrific storm. And we want to unite as one state and one nation.”

Vice President Pence and wife Karen prayed with the people in Rockport when they visited. Karen Pence prayed to God to lift up those touched by the storm and give them strength. She gave thanks for first responders, along with everyone who was working to save lives in response to the storm.

“We pray for their safety and a blessing on them," she said. "We pray for your blessing on the state of Texas and relieving them as they go through some hard days going forward.”

Vice President Pence asked Americans to pray the day before at an appearance in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

“The President and I would ask all of you gathered here to take a moment in the days ahead to pray,” he said. “Pray for the families who have suffered loss and the loss of a loved one; pray for the first responders, who at this very hour are working to save lives; pray for the federal, state, and local officials who are on the ground; and pray for countless volunteers, who we've all seen come alongside neighbors and even strangers in this hour of need.”

President Trump also signed a declaration making September 3 a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Recovery and repair efforts are estimated at $200 million, making the storm one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history.

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Auschwitz martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe taught Catholics how to fight the culture of death

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September 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly 100 years ago, two extraordinary Catholic events happened just three days apart.

October 13, 1917, was the miracle of the sun in Fatima, Portugal. Our Lady of Fatima told three shepherd children – two of whom are now canonized – that this was coming. During this event, the "sun danced" and tens of thousands of onlookers were able to look directly at the sun

"More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason," Our Lady told the three Portuguese children. During her reoccuring apparitions, she implored them to pray the rosary every day and to make reparation for sins. She also asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and warned that if it wasn't, the country would "spread her errors" throughout the world. (The Bolshevik Revolution began in 1917.)

And on October 16, 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe founded the Militia of the Immaculata (MI), an organization encouraging Catholics to consecrate themselves completely to the Blessed Virgin Mary's Immaculate Heart. The organization is present around the world now. It is recognized by the Catholic Church as a universal and international public association of the faithful.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron saint of the pro-life movement. As a Polish Catholic priest, he was put in a concentration camp by the Nazis. When a prisoner with a family was selected to be killed by starvation, Kolbe volunteered his own life instead. He was eventually killed by lethal injection. 

Pope St. John Paul II canonized him in 1982.

"Maximilian Kolbe never knew in his lifetime about the Fatima apparitions," Antonella Di Piazza, the MI's national coordinator in the United States, told LifeSiteNews. Yet the MI's mission was (and still is) in complete harmony with what Our Lady of Fatima called for: the conversion of sinners and consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

St. Maximilian Kolbe and several other Franciscan friars "were inspired to give life to a movement whose core spirituality is promoting consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" for the "conversion and sanctification of the whole world," said Di Piazza. "Maximilian, by the way, never referred to himself as the founder of the MI. He always saw Our Lady as the queen and the leader of the movement."

The MI began the 100th anniversary of its founding with a pilgrimage to Fatima. In October, it will end this "special year of grace" with a pilgrimage to Rome and other holy sites in Italy. Although the deadline to register for the October 10-19 pilgrimage has passed, there are still several spots open. 

"The highlight of every day is Mass," said Di Piazza. "The three days in Rome will be marked by prayer and celebration."

Pilgrims will also visit Assisi and Siena. John Galten, the MI national president, and Jason Jones, producer of the pro-life movie Bella, will be there.

"St. Maximilian is the patron of families … but he was chosen as patron of the pro-life movement as well," explained Di Piazza. "In the broad sense, I think the message that he offers is really that of establishing the culture of love and life."

His message and teachings can help "to equip Catholics to be able to fight the battle for the culture of life and love in a time and age where the culture of death has really taken incredible strides." 

"I think the message of Maximilian goes to the heart of the battle," concluded Di Piazza. "Because Our Lady" was "called to be at the heart of the battle between good and evil." 

Total consecration to Mary is a call to join ourselves to the woman who brought our savior into the world, she said. 

Those interested in joining the pilgrimage should contact Mater Dei tours for more information.

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One of the very few Icelandic children with Down Syndrome who wasn't aborted CBS screenshot
Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion

Iceland’s ‘new eugenics’: Eliminating people with Down syndrome

Fr. Shenan Boquet

Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are.
– St. Pope John Paul II, Centesimus annus

September 5, 2017 (HLI) — A recent report from CBS proclaims that Iceland is, as they put it, “on the verge of eliminating Down syndrome.” But how has Iceland achieved this seeming miracle of modern medicine? Peel back the cheerful headline, and one discovers a true Pandora’s box of horrors.

Imagine this: a country experiences a sudden, widespread outbreak of polio. Thousands are stricken with the horrific disease, which kills up to 30% of its victims, and leaves many more permanently maimed. Concerned by the spread of the disease, the healthcare system systematically rounds up anyone suffering from the disease, and quietly administers him or her a lethal injection.

In the end, there is not a single person with polio left in that country. Then the government issues a press release saying that they have “virtually eliminated polio.”

Well, yes. They have. But surely the method leaves something to be desired.

To CBS’ credit, their report does not shy away from squarely facing the uncomfortable truth beneath Iceland’s seeming-astonishing achievement, and even asks some hard questions that receive distinctly uncomfortable answers.

By now you’ve guessed the reason for the decrease in Down syndrome in Iceland: in that country prenatal screening for Down’s is nearly universal, and nearly 100% of the parents of a child diagnosed with Down syndrome choose to abort. In other words, Iceland has not eliminated Down syndrome, they’ve eliminated people with Down’s.

Sadly and horrifically, Iceland is not alone in its assault against innocent human life. Some studies reveal that 9 out of every 10 children diagnosed with Down’s are aborted – not a statistic to be proud of! Many Western countries like the U.S., France, and Denmark – Denmark claiming a 98 percent abortion rate for unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome – are active participants in this atrocious act of discrimination and murder.

The distressing thing is how recently we’ve been here.

The extremely influential eugenics movement in the late 19th and early 20th century reached its logical pragmatic conclusion in the Nazi gas chambers, where – lest we forget – not only millions of Jews were executed merely for having the “wrong” genetic code and heritage, but so also tens of thousands of various people deemed “unfit” – epileptics, schizophrenics, the deaf, the blind, homosexuals, gypsies, and more.

Icelandic sources and the fact-checking site Snopes have shot back at some interpretations of the CBS report, accusing them of being “misleading” by suggesting that Iceland is carrying out a government-mandated eugenics program. While the law in Iceland does mandate that women be told about the tests to detect Down’s, the government does not require women to actually take the test, nor do they tell women what to do with the results.

Small comfort, or rather, no comfort at all. Because, as horrifying as a government-imposed eugenics program is, surely there is something uniquely horrifying in the fact that the eugenic mentality has penetrated so deeply into the public mindset that there is no longer any need for government intervention: so that barely a single mother or father can be found with enough maternal and paternal instinct left to fight the zeitgeist and unconditionally welcome their unborn child with Down’s for the mere fact that he or she is their baby, “imperfections” and all.

The studies are remarkable in their uniformity: for all the physical suffering and apparent privations that accompany Down syndrome, those with the condition are uncannily satisfied with their lives, and their family members uncannily loving towards them. In one study, a full 99 percent of those living with Down syndrome said that they are “happy” with their lives. (I wonder: In our age of endemic depression and anxiety, how many “normal” people could say the same?)

Another study found that 99 percent of the parents of children with Down’s said that they love their child, and 97 percent said they “were proud of them.” And, most telling, 79 percent “felt their outlook on life was more positive” because of their child.

If this is so, why then are we in the West so hell-bent on eliminating children with Down’s?

In 2009, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Benedict XVI warned against the rise of a “new eugenics.” In contrast to the old eugenics, which targeted people based upon race or group, this new eugenics, he said, “tends to privilege the capacity to operate, efficiency, perfection and physical beauty at the expense of other types of existence considered unworthy.”

In response to this phenomenon, Benedict said:

What must be forcefully re-emphasized is the equal dignity of every human being according to the fact itself of having life. Biological, psychological or cultural development or state of health can never become an element of discrimination. It is necessary, on the contrary, to consolidate a culture of hospitality and love that concretely testifies to solidarity with those who suffer, razing the barriers that society often erects, discriminating against those who are disabled and affected by pathologies, or worse – selecting and rejecting in the name of an abstract ideal of health and physical perfection. If man is reduced to an object of experimental manipulation from the first stage of development that would mean that biotechnologies would surrender to the will of the stronger.

People nowadays are wary of any comparison whatsoever between a current controversy and the evils of the Nazis. The thinking seems to be that what the Nazis did was so diabolically evil that it ought to remain in its own category, and certainly should not be abused to prematurely end a debate on some current ethical dilemma.

But there is a moment in CBS’ report that takes your breath away. The CBS correspondent, Elaine Quijano, is at the Icelandic hospital where most of the births – and abortions – in Iceland take place. She is looking at a beautiful card that has the imprint of two tiny feet on it, a date, a time, and the words of a prayer. CBS explains: “This is the imprint of the fetus that was terminated.”

Quijano seems somewhat taken aback by the card. “In America,” she explains to Helga Sol Olafsdottir, whose job it is to counsel women in the moments before they decide whether to abort or not, “I think some people would be confused about people calling this ‘our child,’ saying a prayer or saying goodbye or having a priest come in – because to them abortion is murder.”

Olafsdottir bristles. She responds:

We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder – that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.

And yet, there are those two feet. In black and white!

The CBS report on Iceland includes a heart-rending interview with an Icelandic woman, in her early-30s, with Down’s. The interviewer asks her what she would like to tell those viewing the program about people with Down syndrome.

“It’s hard for me to say. They only see Down syndrome. They don’t see me,” she replies. Asked how that makes her feel, she adds: “It doesn’t feel good. I want people to see that I am just like everybody else.”

In an age that prides itself on its “tolerance,” may we heed Pope Benedict’s exhortations and reject the “new eugenics” in favor of recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, from conception to natural death.

Regardless of any factors or rationale one may offer, the human person has an inherent and an immeasurable dignity flowing from a single reality – the human person is fundamentally a creature of God, created in His likeness and image. The right to life and human rights are not contingent upon the pleasure or will of another person – be it a parent or principality; they are every person’s entitlement by virtue of being human, which is universal, inviolable and inalienable.

​Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

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Andrea Mrozek

Opinion

Too long to wait for an abortion? What about the women who long for a child?

Andrea Mrozek

September 5, 2017 (Convivium) — There are the Canadian women whose waiting doesn’t matter. And then there are the Canadian women whose waiting is especially terrible and reported on at regular intervals. 

The Canadian Press reported on August 15 that a 29-year-old whose birth control failed got the abortion she wanted. Except it wasn’t quite fast enough. She waited too long for her abortion, she says. She waited two months. This was reported in major media outlets across the country. “Abortion access in Nova Scotia among worst in Canada, advocates say,” read the headline.

Women always get their abortions — so far not one story of an abortion denied — but the agony of the waiting: that’s the story.

There are other women, waiting. They are waiting for pregnancies. Statistically, women are trying at older ages to have children. Time is not on their side. They still know of women who managed to get pregnant at 42 or 45, and it keeps them going. They take vitamins. They try acupuncture. They stimulate ovulation. They take hormonal supplements. They are poked and prodded. They change their diets. And they wait.

For some women, infertility is painful and every pregnancy announcement is like a stab in the side.

Merely two months of waiting would be a dream come true.

For some women, infertility is painful and every pregnancy announcement is like a stab in the side. 

Abortion announcements, on the other hand, are much, much worse. A much-coveted conception, cast aside. One woman’s treasure is another woman’s imposition. Or disposition. Don’t you know, it’s all about personal choice? Don’t ask why, because any reason is a good reason. And don’t let those women wait. They can’t wait. The waiting makes them (so they say) feel shame. Not the abortion. The waiting.

Of course, waiting too long for an abortion has the terrible complication of delivering a baby. Early in the first trimester, one can more easily be deceived into wondering whether that is actually true. But every woman knows the end point is a baby and that is why abortions must be done quickly. At 12 weeks, for wanted pregnancies, eager mothers learn how the fingers of their babies are opening and closing, how the baby’s mouth makes sucking movements.

It’s better to get an abortion before the fingers start opening and closing. Before you know that the 12-week-old is making sucking movements.

When the Canadian Press reported that Nova Scotia is “among the worst in Canada, advocates say, for abortion access,” there should have been heavier emphasis on “advocates say.”

For advocates, there’s no abortion that shouldn’t be done sooner. Sometimes they get it wrong, publicly, as in the recent case in Newfoundland where a 12-year-old got a quick abortion and then another. It turns out her stepfather was abusing her. But there was no time to ask.

Advocates for abortion in Nova Scotia, it also turns out, have no data — something we learn in the fourth to last paragraph of the story: “Nova Scotia does not appear to keep statistics on how long it takes women to obtain an abortion after a referral.”

Still, the story sailed through under the headline about “worst in Canada” wait times for abortion. No editor batted an eye. A woman said she waited. And these women must not wait.  

What abortion advocates want is to have their cake and eat it too. Abortion is such a hard decision, they say. Not at all easy, they say. Meanwhile, here, they want no time allotted to making that tough decision. No reflection. No waiting. This particular hard decision must be made quickly.

Melanie Mackenzie’s story was the lead for the Canadian Press article: “It was the worst two months of my life. The whole thing felt like a punishment,” she said.

That feeling of punishment is something some infertile women, feel too. Did I do something wrong? Why won’t pregnancy happen for me?

For women waiting for pregnancy, if they’ve had abortions in the past, that waiting is all the more a punishment.

It shouldn’t be. But one can forgive them for feeling that way. 

Women get pregnant and they get abortions. Women wait for conceptions that they then track diligently through all gestational stages, holding their breath till a baby is born.

When women are waiting for pregnancy, they’re not allowed to say it hurts when reporters conjure up headlines about abortions that did happen, just not quite fast enough.

So many women in Canada waiting. But only one group has a loud lobby who will push non-stories to reporters.

The rest? They can wait.

Andrea Mrozek is the program director of Cardus Family. Prior to joining Cardus, she was the Executive Director at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada where she wrote and spoke about marriage, child care, women's issues and how family life affects the economy, and vice versa.

​Reprinted with permission from Convivium.

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​Media target Nova Scotia over worst abortion access in Canada

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General McMaster, Rex Tillerson. Jarod and Ivanka Kushner Shutterstock
Shoula Romano Horing

Opinion

An Ideological Coup against Trump?

Shoula Romano Horing

From the Editor: Most of this article concerns some issues that we would not normally cover. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of LifeSite. However, what the article does do is sound the alarm about a dramatic purging of conservatives that is going on within the higher levels of the Trump administration.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared, who are committed Democrats and social liberals,  now have much influence in the White House. One of the things that they had been insisting on was that Steve Bannon, who played a huge role in Trump's election, be fired. They got their wish. Bannon, who is likely more knowledgeable about the dangers of the climate change and New World Order globalists than anyone in the White House, was fired and will be replaced by a deep state obedient lacky. The removal of Steve Bannon from Trump's team should be of serious concern to all conservatives.

An Ideological Coup against Trump?

September 5, 2017 (AmericanThinker) — If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it is a duck.  Maybe it does not sound yet like a “purge” and an ideological coup, but it is starting to look like one, engineered by Generals McMaster and Kelly. It is designed to eliminate President Trump’s national security agenda of support to Israel, opposition to the Iran deal, and determination to name and combat radical Islamist terrorism.

 

On Friday, in a letter reported by the Federalist, Sebastian Gorka’s explained his “resignation” by expressing his unhappiness with the direction that the Trump administration’s foreign policy has taken as signaled by the President’s recent speech on Afghanistan. Gorka stated

"Regrettably, outside of yourself (President Trump), the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will 'Make America Great Again' have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan.... The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a critical element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”  

On Sunday, Aug. 27, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Gorka offered harsh criticism of McMaster's stance towards Islamists saying: 

“McMaster sees the threat of Islam through an Obama administration lens, meaning that religion has nothing to do with the war we are in.… He believes and he told me in his office that these people are just criminals.” 

A source close to the White House said that after Bannon was forced out, anti-Bannon factions began erecting bureaucratic roadblocks to undermine Gorka internally. 

Yahoo News reported that Kelly revoked Gorka’s security clearance, making it difficult if not impossible for him to continue his job. Other news outlets reported that Kelly has been restricting access to Trump as McMaster's detractors are trying to reach the president. 

As an Israeli who supports Trump and attended Trump’s inauguration to celebrate his win, I read with a heavy heart the reports leaking out of the White House that Sebastian Gorka did not resign but was forced out of his position as a security advisor to the President by General H.R. McMaster and General John Kelly.  

Mr. Gorka is the seventh Trump loyalist McMaster has forced out in recent months from the President’s National Security Team.  All have been attempting to carry out President Trump’s campaign promises to combat Iranian and radical Islamist terrorist threats, and to support Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Gorka was the third Trump loyalist forced out since General John F. Kelly, an old military colleague of McMaster, was appointed to be the chief of staff and reportedly encouraged McMaster to make any staffing changes he deems necessary. 

n his short term at the National Security Council (NSC), General McMaster has fired or forced out from the National Security Team, including the NSC, strong pro-Israel and anti-Iran officials such as Steve Bannon, K.T. McFarland, Adam Lovinger, Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and now Sebastian Gorka.

General McMaster quickly removed Bannon, the engineer of much of President Trump’s pro-Israel, anti-Islamist terrorism agenda, from the Principals Committee of the NSC. McMaster also removed K.T. McFarland, a veteran pro-Israel national security professional in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations and a key member of the team of Iran deal opponents originally gathered by Trump. Lovinger, a pro-Israel national security strategist from the Pentagon, was returned to the Pentagon with his security clearance revoked.

McMaster also fired Iran “hawk” Rich Higgins, the NSC’s director of strategic planning, after Higgins wrote a memo about personnel opposed to President Trump’s foreign policy agenda in the NSC.  McMaster also fired Derek Harvey, a senior director and expert on the Middle East and one of the best intelligence analysts on Iraq, after Harvey prepared a list of NSC Obama-era holdovers to be fired for leaking national security information to the press.  Instead, other conservatives were fired, such as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a strong opponent of the Iran deal, who tried to intensify efforts to counter Iran in the Middle East and controlled officials opposed to the president’s policies.   

As replacements for those fired, McMaster appointed individuals who are friendly with Obama-era ideologues who blame Israel for Palestinian terror, encourage negotiations with Hamas and are obsessed with the plan for Palestinian statehood. 

As David Steinberg from PJ Media wrote, “Indeed, one is hard-pressed to identify a member of the NSC brought in by McMaster with a history of aligning with President Trump on Iran or with his Mideast policy or by his willingness to treat Islamic doctrine as the root cause of terror and related Mideast strife.” 

But such nominations are not surprising if one understands McMaster’s own beliefs. He advised the president to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Iran deal, saying that Iran is merely violating the Iran deal’s “spirit” despite German intelligence reports that Iran is cheating and Trump’s promise to tear up or strictly enforce the Iran deal and punish violations.  Iran has refused to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into the Parchin nuclear facility or to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists, and has repeatedly tested intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Following the Obama administration’s practices, McMaster opposes using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” saying that the term isn’t helpful for U.S. goals because it does not help the U.S. in working with allies to defeat terrorist groups.“ 

Moreover, the general said that Jihadists terrorists aren’t true to their religion and terrorist organizations like ISIS represent a perversion of Islam and are thus un-Islamic

In addition, just before Trump’s visit to Israel, McMaster erroneously publicly claimed  that the President would recognize “Palestinian Self-determination“ and refused to state that the Western Wall,  one the holiest Jewish sites,  and the last remnant of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple, is in Israel and insisted that Netanyahu could not accompany Trump to the site after failing to convince the President not to visit there.

President Trump must wake up and realize the damage that Generals Kelly and McMaster are inflicting on his policies and on those who have been loyal to his ideology. President Trump should know that Israeli history is littered with heroic generals on the battlefield who were weak appeasers in national security when they became prime ministers, such as Israeli chiefs of staff Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.  He should realize that just because they are generals they are not necessarily the right advisors to implement Trump’s tough-minded agenda.

Shoula Romano Horing is an Israeli born and raised attorney. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com      

This article was originally published on American Thinker and is re-published with permission of the author.

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Cardinal claims ‘greatest Christians’ may have no ‘faith system’. Here’s why he’s wrong

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September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- An American cardinal appointed by Pope Francis has made the unbelievable statement that someone can be a “great” follower of Jesus Christ while having no “faith system.”

“Some of the greatest Christians I know are people who don’t actually have a kind of faith system that they believe in,” said Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich in an August 24 interview with Chicago Sun-Times.

The Cardinal made this astounding statement when asked what he tells people who struggle with their faith. 

I think the main problem with Cupich’s statement is that it is simply impossible for anyone to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ without subscribing to, at a bare minimum, what C.S. Lewis once famously coined as “mere Christianity.”

To be a Christian means that you have the basic “faith system” as taught by the Apostles and handed to future generations through the Bible and the teachings of the Church. 

At a bare minimum, to be a Christian means to believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior; that he died, rose from the dead, and will come again to judge the living and the dead; and that he was sent into the world to save mankind from sin and make heaven available to anyone who would repent and believe in him. To be a Christian means to belong to Christ through, and by means of, his mystical body, the Church. It means to believe and profess the same truths about Jesus Christ that the apostles believed and professed. 

You see, the very word “Christian” denotes having a rather solid and well-established “faith system” that the Christian believes and would even be willing to shed his blood for rather than deny it, if it came to that. 

The “greatest Christians” I know are the ones who witnessed to the truth of the Gospel with their lives. Some names that come to my mind are Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Maximillian Kolbe, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Chuck Colson.

These Christians were great because they lived according to a common “faith system” to which they all subscribed and which governed every aspect of their lives, from their thinking to their writings and actions. 

As canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters recently pointed out, for Cardinal Cupich to make such a statement is simply “confusing.” 

“I suggest, being ‘Christian’ has something to do with, among other things, professing faith in Jesus Christ; being a ‘great Christian’ has something to do with, among other things, proclaiming him boldly; and thus, holding out persons with no discernible beliefs as examples of the ‘greatest Christians’ is not helpful especially in days of so much confusion about the meaning of, and the importance of being, Christian,” he said. 

I’ll take this one step further: With Cardinal Cupich’s approval of Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians, habitual adulterers, and active homosexuals, and with his call for an “adult spirituality” where Christians use “freedom of conscience” to “discern truth” in their lives, I suggest that Cupich has next to no idea about what makes one a good Christian. 

His statement is not only unhelpful, it's downright misleading. All it will do is empower those who already struggle with the truths of the Christian faith from following these truths. And, unfortunately, maybe this is what Cupich had in mind. Whatever the case may be, a statement like this coming from a man Pope Francis has tasked with helping select future bishops is very alarming indeed. 

We live in a time when Christians are called to “greatness” precisely by first believing and then living in the public square the reality that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that he is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Only those Christians who have a deep rooted “faith system” for which they are willing to sacrifice everything will achieve such greatness, and, in the life to come, eternal life. 

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Liberal Antifa activists are ‘no different from neo-Nazis’

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A former speechwriter for George W. Bush stated that so-called “anti-fascist” activists who attack peaceful demonstrators are “no different from neo-Nazis.”

Writing in the The Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen described how a group of black-clad “anti-fascists” attacked several people at a peaceful “No Marxism in America” rally last month in Berkeley, California. The rally’s organizer, Amber Cummings, a self-described “transsexual female who embraces diversity,” had specifically discouraged white supremacists from attending. Nevertheless, Antifa turned up to attack the anti-Marxists with boots, sticks, pepper spray, and homemade shields with “No Hate” scrawled on them.

Thiessen observed that Antifa’s violent actions showed that their definition of “fascist” includes not just “neo-Nazis” but anyone who opposes their “totalitarian worldview.” He cited an interview with Mark Bray, the newly notorious Antifa advocate/Dartmouth University lecturer. Bray had described contemporary anti-fascists as “predominantly communists, socialists and anarchists” who think physical violence is “both ethically justifiable and strategically effective”.

“In other words,” wrote Thiessen, “no different than neo-Nazis.”

By attacking peaceful anti-Marxist demonstrators in Berkeley, Antifa have shown themselves to be, in Thiessen’s opinion “violent advocates” of totalitarian communism.

Thiessen’s mother and maternal grandfather both fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 as members of the Polish Home Army. Thiessen’s grandfather was killed by the Nazis’ German troops; Thiessen’s mother survived to witness the Stalinist terror. Since the United States defeated both Nazism and Communism, said Thiessen, Americans should be “repulsed” when Americans fly the flag of either “murderous ideology.”

Most Americans are disgusted by those who valorize Nazism, and rightly so. Unfortunately, Communism — whose victim count is even higher — is too often given a pass. Thiessen argued that it is the responsibility of both the left and the right to police their movements. Conservatives must condemn the racism of the alt-right, and liberals must distance themselves from Antifa.

At Thiessen’s instigation, Democrat Nancy Pelosi issued a condemnation of  the Antifa violence in Berkeley.  

“Good for her,” Thiessen wrote. “So why haven’t more leading Democrats done the same? After Charlottesville, the media rightly demanded that President Trump and all Republicans condemn the neo-Nazis and the KKK. So where are the calls for Democrats to condemn Antifa — and the brutal public condemnation for those who fail to do so?”

The violent “anti-fascists” at Berkeley also menaced Ashton Whitty, a member of the Berkeley College Republicans, and her friends.

A hooded activist growled, “We’re real hungry for supremacists and there’s more of us.”  

“This entire day made me realize how dangerous it is to be conservative in Berkeley,” Whitty told Campus Reform reporters. “Because the reality is, it's not about just Antifa or BAMN nesting with us or taking pictures of us to mess with us … it’s no longer a game for them.”  

“If you are publically conservative, they will dox you, they will take pictures of you on campus. They will know who you are. If they find you, and have the chance to, they will probably kill you,” she warned.

The first group described as Antifa was the Antifaschistische Aktion formed July 10, 1932, by the Communist Party of Germany. They had the support of Comintern, an international communist organization that hoped to create an international Soviet republic. Comintern was dissolved by Joseph Stalin in 1943.

The more immediate ancestor of contemporary Antifa groups was “Anti-Racist Action,” which was active in Canada and the U.S. in the 1990s. Their goal was to find and disrupt gatherings of neo-Nazis and beat them up. Many of the ARA activists were white skinheads wearing “punk” outfits, rendering them visually indistinguishable from their targets.

Today, Antifa recruits through small meetings and on social media. Many dress in black and wear masks so they cannot be identified by police. According to Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, Antifa activists are working to become more prominent in progressive movements.

“What they’re trying to do now is not only become prominent through violence at these high-profile rallies but also to reach out through small meetings and through social networking to cultivate disenfranchised progressives who heretofore were peaceful,” Levin told CNN.

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Women are harmed by watching porn too. This activist wants to help them stop

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September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Jessica Harris is doing something unique: She is a female speaker who addresses the issue of pornography. Not as someone who simply thinks pornography is damaging and evil, although she does think that. Not just as another Christian lecturer who talks about love and the “tough stuff,” although she does that, too. Jessica Harris speaks to women as someone who once used porn herself, and is on a mission to tell female porn users that she understands them — and that they can free themselves of the poison they’re taking, just like she did.

I wrote about Jessica’s story last year, but I’ve wanted to do a follow-up interview with her for some time to explore a question that many people ask: If pornography victimizes girls and women, why would girls participate in that? Within Christian circles, many still believe that pornography is more or less exclusively a “male sin,” and as rates of female porn use grow astronomically — Covenant Eyes estimated in 2016 that 76 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 view porn at least once a month — church leaders find themselves utterly unequipped to respond.

In order to address this problem, we first must understand it. I interviewed Jessica Harris to do just that.

Jonathon: Why would girls watch/read/look at violent pornography in which girls are being victimized?

Jessica: To be fair, I don’t know that many women initially start watching porn for the violence.  They don’t sign onto a site thinking, “I hate women and I want to watch them get abused.” It’s like video games. Most gamers don’t play games because they enjoy simulated murder. They play because other aspects of the game draw them in. It’s entertainment. 

In the same way, porn is presented as something entertaining, fun, and even empowering for women.  It’s not presented as “Come watch real live victims of human trafficking get assaulted." They can be drawn to it for many reasons, including personal pleasure, outside pressure, or simple curiosity. They might enjoy a certain storyline, for instance, or find a certain genre arouses them. Those motivations and rewards “drown out” the violence, if you will.  The online disconnect adds to that as well. A young girl might be rightly appalled at the idea of rape or sex trafficking , but when she sees that happening on a screen, it doesn’t seem as real to her. There is a sense of safety and distance found on the other side of a screen.

Jonathon: How does the consumption of this type of pornography differ in its impact on women as opposed to men?

Jessica: I think the effect on women is similar to the effect on men. It’s a teacher. A man watching violent pornography is “learning” what is acceptable and what women “find pleasurable.” He’s learning cause and effect, and response. This is how a woman should respond if he does this to her in real life. 

For a woman, especially a young girl, she is also learning. She is learning not only how she “should respond” but also what is “acceptable” behavior for men. It’s OK if he hits her like that, and calls her that name. If he does that and she says no, he may not listen, and she should enjoy it anyway. I feel it encourages her to lower her standards, especially in regards to relationships and how she expects others to treat her own body. The younger she is, the more detrimental these effects can be. A video depicting violent porn is going to have a different effect on an 11-year-old girl than it will a 35-year-old woman.

Jonathon: You've mentioned that violent pornography can "condition" women for victimization. How does this happen?

Jessica: Women are conditioned by porn in the same way any of us are conditioned by anything else we’re exposed to repeatedly. This is why you see backlash against unrealistic expectations created by things like hyper-edited magazine covers and ultra-thin models. This is why you’ll hear leaders voice frustration when things like crime and gun violence don’t seem to bother us anymore. We’ve seen it so much, it becomes the new normal. It becomes the new standard. 

When it comes to porn for many, it is their only exposure to sex. It is their sex education teacher. Therefore, it becomes one of the only reference points for what sexuality and relationship should look like. When scenes depict violence toward women, that can set women up to believe violence is normal, expected, and they should enjoy it. It eroticizes violence and at the same time desensitizes us to it.  

We have seen this happening even before the rise of violent internet pornography. A study of female college students in 1992 showed that exposing a woman to pornography as a child is "significantly related to subsequent adult rape fantasies and rape supportive beliefs … early contact with pornography exemplifies a broader socialization process for some women that portrays sexual aggression as culturally desirable to some extent." That's from 1992, which means the women interviewed were likely exposed to a porn magazine or a porn VHS. If this was a connection made decades ago with relatively "soft core" pornography, then imagine the extent that today's violent hardcore pornography could affect its viewers.

Jonathon: What is the number one thing you wish all women knew about the consumption of violent pornography?

Jessica: It can change you. It can tear down healthy walls you might have about what you find acceptable for your body and your relationships. On top of that, while some of it may be consensual, there can also be cases where women are trafficked or they are enduring the scenes just so they can get paid. In those instances, you really might be watching an actual assault or an actual rape. Watching this content feeds that culture. It's simple supply and demand. By consuming violent pornography, you encourage more of it.

Jonathon: In your opinion, what is the best way to break the cycle of silence and have an honest discussion about this topic?

Jessica: I think the first step is acknowledging women watch porn. Culturally, we can still act like porn is a thing "guys" do and girls are clueless about unless they stumble on dad's stash or their boyfriends show them. We think guys watch porn and girls read romance novels and fairy tales. There's this gender-specific distinction. That's not the case. When we acknowledge that, we help break the silence.  When I walk into a room to speak on this topic, I assume 50 percent of the women in the room watch pornography in some form, regardless of the ages. If it's a room full of teens and college students, I assume much closer to 100 percent. Right now, so many women, younger girls especially, don't feel it's something they can talk about, even though their friends are talking about it. Once you "break the ice," so to speak, and let them know this is an OK topic to talk about, they'll open up.  

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Hundreds warmly welcome Cardinal Burke during visit to Glasgow

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The Guides of Saint Joseph await Cardinal Burke. Dorothy Cummings McLean / LifeSiteNews
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A piper prepares to greet Cardinal Raymond Burke in Scotland. Dorothy Cummings McLean / LifeSiteNews

GLASGOW, Scotland, September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — “This is why I love Glasgow,” sighed someone as we drove around the city’s gritty periphery. “This, too,” he added as we passed a smashed bus shelter.

Strangely, for Glasgow, September 2 was a delightfully sunny day.

“We must be near the church,” said the driver. “There are some priests.”  

“Those aren’t priests,” I said, peering at the black-clad men walking up the winding road. “They’re hoodies.”

Edinburghers love to poke fun at Glasgow, but to Glasgow a dozen Edinburghers went, joining a crowd of more than 500 people at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Balornock for a Pontifical High Mass offered by American Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Mass was organized by Fred Stone of Una Voce Scotland, the nation’s traditional Latin Mass society. Stone sent an invitation to the Cardinal’s secretary, and the secretary found a blank spot in the Cardinal’s engagement calendar.

Babies, bagpipes and best shoes

My party arrived an hour early so the laity among us could stake out pew space. The little church, which normally seats 350, was filling up fast. To get to the nave, we had to cross the small parish hall. It had rows of chairs and a film screen set up for the sake of the overflow crowd. Both the inside and the outside of the church had been repainted for the big day, and the grounds had been tidied up, too.

“It was needed,”  Stone told me wryly.

Prominent among the growing congregation were couples with children. Traditionalist Girl Guides gathered in knots, chatting happily while waiting outside for the Cardinal. Young mothers cuddled their babies. Two girls in neat school uniforms held the Vatican flag aloft at the gateway to the little garden in front of the church while their mother, Marie Geraghty, dusted their carefully polished shoes.  

Geraghty, who lives in Glasgow, is a great fan of the Cardinal “because he speaks up for the truth,” she told me. She is longing for a resolution of the confusion that has befallen the Catholic church, to say nothing of a better appreciation of authentically Catholic values in Glasgow schools.

Bagpipe music filled the air as a young piper in Highland dress took up his post on the sidewalk. He limped slightly. The piper’s father, Michael, proudly told me that his son had recently fractured his ankle playing rugby but insisted on wearing his proper piper’s shoes.  

By a quarter to noon, a squad of priests were on the sidewalk arranging themselves by rank and years of ordination, and a platoon of altar servers had amassed outside a side door.

Photographers stood expectantly by the church entrance, and suddenly there emerged from the side door a most recognizable figure dressed in scarlet. The pipes skirled anew, and one of the most famous Cardinals in the Catholic Church cheerfully processed with 10 priests and 16 altar boys into a humble church in battered north Glasgow.

The choir burst into Edward Elgar’s “Ecce Sacerdos.” Balornock may not be the smartest part of Glasgow, but it has a great choir at Immaculate Heart. Directed by organist Fraser Pearce, 26, the Schola Una Voce provides Father Mark Morris and his parishioners with both Gregorian chant and polyphony for their traditional Latin liturgies.

Symbolism of the cappa magna

Before the Mass truly began, the Cardinal took his place on a borrowed scarlet-curtained throne and was stripped of his enormous scarlet cloak, the famous cappa magna. This action symbolized the Cardinal putting aside the trappings of ecclesiastical prestige before celebrating the liturgy. He was then redressed in the white alb of baptism, the dalmatic, the stole and the chasuble, symbolizing putting on “the new man” of Christ.

The Pontifical High Mass is rich with symbolism, gesture and music. Lasting two hours, it was not for the easily distracted. However, the entire congregation, which spilled out the doors of the hall to the pavement outside, was rapt. Even the babies kept their gurgling to a minimum. The liturgical silence was deep.

In his sermon, Cardinal Burke preached on the message of Fatima. Detailing the three parts of the revelations made to Sister Lucia, the Cardinal praised the Immaculate Heart of Mary “which never ceases to beat for us.” He held up Mary’s directions at the wedding feast of Cana — ”Do whatever [my Son] tells you” — as an expression of her “divine maternity.”

“How wonderfully she has shown her divine maternity to us at Fatima,” said Burke.

Cardinal Burke also acknowledged the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI’s motu proprio acknowledging that the Usus Antiquor — or Old Rite — of the Mass had never been abrogated and should be made available to the faithful. He invited the congregation to join the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage to Rome in September.

When Mass was ending, a waterfall of sound poured through the church and into the street as the entire congregation sang the Salve Regina. This was followed by a Te Deum, a traditional hymn of thanksgiving dating from the fourth century.

Youthful enthusiasm

After Mass, the happy crowds followed the Cardinal outside into the sunshine or paused at tables covered in cocktail sausages, sandwiches, sausage rolls and, eventually, cake. While stuffing myself with sandwiches, I chatted with Padraig, a 21-year-old university student who  traveled an hour by bus to get to the Pontifical High Mass.

“It’s the fullest and finest expression of the Roman Rite,” he explained. Padraig loved the Mass, but he was particularly impressed by the congregation. “I’ve never seen so many men at Mass all at once,” he said. “It was very moving to hear them all singing the Salve Regina.”

I also spoke to John, who was slightly abashed to have been buttonholed by a reporter at Cardinal Burke’s Mass. Not only is he a Scottish Episcopalian, he is the convenor of his church’s liturgical committee. John had been dragged along by Catholic friends. He said, however, that he was struck by the mix of people, particularly the young adults, children and babies, and by how many young people were involved, not just in the worship itself but in liturgical roles. Although a non-Catholic, John found himself caught up in the Mass; “I felt very included,” he said.

Scottish author Gerald Warner told me that he found the Mass a “most edifying and splendid occasion.” “We need more of them,” he declared. He observed that the Cardinal “bears up extremely well under what must be stressful circumstances [in the wake of Amoris Laetitia] — and the weight of the vestments!”

Tom, a 31-year-old doctor, traveled from Haddington with wife Felicity and their two little daughters to attend the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Burke, whom Tom described as “a good lad.” Tom said he takes his children to the old version of the Mass because “there are more younger couples at the Old Rite with kids [in Scotland], so people at the Old Rite are more understanding about kids.”

Mark Morris, 25, came from St. Andrews University by train to serve at the Mass. “There are few more beautiful things you can do as a young person than serve at the Usus Antiquor,” he told me. He also admires Cardinal Burke. “I don’t think I’ve ever met such a gentle and holy priest.”

Another young man, Adam Coates, 25, told me that he prefers to attend the Old Rite but that it is hard to find in the rural part of England where he lives. Of Cardinal Burke, he said, “He speaks the truth, and when you read what he says, he sounds like a saint. There’s clarity, boldness and authority there.”

Two middle-aged women, Julienne and Mary, stood in the middle of the hall discussing the homily. “I think [it] should be printed in LifeSiteNews,” said Mary. She declared that readers didn’t want to know what she thought but what Cardinal Burke had said. Julienne, the mother of two of the Girl Guides, told me that that the Guides, who sat in the front row, were the Cardinal’s honor guard.

Outside in the sunshine, Carolina Silva, 26, and her husband Miguel were smiling. They had traveled from Edinburgh to worship at their second Pontifical High Mass. “It was very beautiful to see … the reverence,” said Carolina. “And the music is much more beautiful than at normal [traditional] masses. They put in more of an effort for a special occasion.”

Carolina enjoyed the homily, too. “It was very good, especially because it was about Fatima and I am Portuguese! It’s always good to hear someone talking about the importance of Fatima.”

A more masculine form of the Mass

“Stop interviewing people and come along,” yelled my driver, so I obediently followed him. But I couldn’t resist asking the laconic altar server beside me in the back seat for the inside scoop. Euan, 23, is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Edinburgh University and has served at traditional Latin masses for a year and a half.

“I was quite nervous thinking about all the things that could go wrong,” said Euan. “I was at the practices so I knew.” Performing all the liturgical tasks correctly is very important, he thinks, “because [at Mass] we’re carrying out the most important function possible here on earth.”

Dozens of young men in a Scottish Catholic church on a Saturday afternoon seemed rather unusual, so I asked Euan why he thought some young men prefer the Old Rite.

“It’s a more masculine form of the Mass,” he said. “It leaves you alone. You’re free to engage if you want or you can focus on your private prayers. You’re not integral to what is going on.”

As for Cardinal Burke, Euan approves of the decisions he has made concerning Amoris Laetitia. “He’s got the right idea,” said the young engineer. “The sooner he makes the formal correction the better.”

On the following day, Sunday, September 3, the Catholic bishops of Scotland consecrated their country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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Liberals furious at President Trump for calling transgender Bradley Manning ‘he’ instead of ‘she’

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September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The LGBT world let out a communalGasp!” last week when President Trump referred to Bradley — a.k.a. Chelsea — Manning as “He.” The rest of the politically correct world joined in the exclamation of shock and horror.   

President Trump’s comments were made August 28 as he spoke about his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. PinkNews noted that his comments “were about perhaps the most notable transgender person to serve in the armed forces” and they “come as he enacts policy to ban transgender people from serving.”

Manning, recently released from prison after his sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama, has undergone medical "transition" treatments and has become both a transgender celebrity and a newly minted women’s fashion icon.  

Yet Manning “perpetrated one of the greatest leaks of classified government material in American history,” according to a recent New York Times opinion piece. The former U.S. Army private “transmitted 750,000 secret military records and State Department cables to WikiLeaks in 2010” while also placing “an untold number of innocent people’s lives in danger.”

In January, as one of the final official acts of his presidency, Obama took to the podium in the White House Press Briefing Room to announce his commutation of Bradley Manning’s prison sentence: “It has been my view that given, she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime” [italics added].

This was the first time a United States president referred to a man as a she and her.

President Trump has ignored the precedent former President Obama established.

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