All articles from November 14, 2017

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Mary Wagner and Obianuju Ekeocha in Toronto, Nov. 2017. Uju Ekeocha / Twitter
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African activist shares moving story of meeting Canadian jailed for pro-life witness

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Bursting into tears is something Obianuju Ekeocha just doesn’t do.

After all, the Nigerian-born founder of Culture of Life Africa is a pro-life advocate, and like so many involved in that mission, “we’ve seen it all, we’ve seen so many difficult things.”

Indeed, for those who don’t know, Ekeocha has sangfroid to spare.

She faced down a hostile BBC television host to unflappably debunk the myth that contraception is a “human right” and the answer to poverty in Africa.

She coolly rebuked a socialist Danish delegate at the United Nations for the neo-colonialism in pushing abortion without asking Africans if they want it — which they don’t.

She researched and wrote a book on the abortion agenda in Africa that Ignatius Press will publish this spring, and her documentary on the same subject, Strings Attached, is in post-production and also set for release in early 2018.

And with a B.Sc. in microbiology from the University of Nigeria, and a Masters in biomedical science from the University of East London, she has done all this while working full time as a specialist biomedical scientist in Canterbury, England.

But all this seemed of little account when Ekeocha met Canadian pro-life activist Mary Wagner for the first time.

On the final leg of a seven-day Campaign Life Coalition-sponsored trip to Canada, Ekeocha was in CLC’s Toronto office before an activist meeting when Wagner walked in.

“We just saw each other, and she called me Uju, and something just broke within me,” Ekeocha told LifeSiteNews in a wide-ranging interview.

“I ran up to her and I embraced her,” she said.

“As we hugged, so much emotions, you know, just came up within me and I started to weep like a child. This is so very much unlike me.”

Wagner, “for those who don’t know, is a woman, very peaceful, very gentle, and very holy, if I may say that,” who has lived “about four years of her life in prison for no other reason other than the fact that she has gone peacefully to abortion clinics, and she has tried to beg women to not abort their babies; she has peacefully offered them roses and pamphlets,” Ekeocha explained.

"It was like the dam broke and I started to weep, and I was crying, you know, as she was telling me how much they were praying for me and how, how she was so happy with the work I was doing and I just kept feeling, ‘What have I done?,’” she added.

“We talked quite a bit,” Ekeocha said.

“I just kept feeling so grateful for this amazing woman that not even many people know about, but whose witness is so powerful that I know will be heard of in the generations to come when abortion … becomes unthinkable, and then they begin to litigate us as far as history is concerned,” she observed.

“It is people like Mary Wagner who made the ultimate sacrifice, I think, whose names will be heard at that time.”

During her November 4-10 trip, Ekeocha blasted Canada’s foreign policy for pushing abortion and contraception in Africa instead of responding to people’s genuine needs. She accused Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government of tying abortion to foreign aid, and of funding radical feminist groups that oppose and undermine Africa’s mainstream women’s movements, which have always valued motherhood and traditional family.

In Ottawa, Ekeocha met privately with several MPs, spoke at a parliamentary breakfast organized by MP David Anderson, at a CLC Ottawa activist meeting, and a CLC clergy luncheon attended several faith leaders, including Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. In Toronto, she attended the Cardinal Collins breakfast and spoke at the activist meeting, attended by 60 people, including Wagner.

Originally from British Columbia, Wagner is currently seeking funds to continue a constitutional challenge to have the unborn child recognized in Canadian law.


WATCH: African woman schools UN delegate on why pushing abortion is ‘neo-colonialism’
African pro-life activist schools BBC anchor for using ‘colonial talk’ to push contraception on Africa
Pro-life leader seeks financial support for court case protecting the unborn

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Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York at the November 2017 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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U.S. bishop refuses to say if Amoris Laetitia allows adulterers to receive Communion

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By Claire Chretien

Update at 2:13 p.m. on November 14: The U.S. bishops voted 223 to 12 to develop a “formal statement” of a Renewed Pastoral Plan for Marriage and Family Life Ministry and Advocacy in light of Amoris Laetitia. Three bishops abstained from voting.

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Representing the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, refused to say this afternoon whether Amoris Laetitia allows Catholics living in adultery to receive Holy Communion.

“That’s not an answer I’m going to provide for you,” Malone said.

He’d been asked point-blank by a representative of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property: “Does Amoris Laetitia allow permanent Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion?”

“The whole point of my presence here and the presence earlier in the assembly ... was to advance the pastoral plan on marriage, the hope of which is to help people enter into and live happier, holier, healthier, deeper marriages and to form consciences about what marriage is,” Malone continued. “So, hopefully going forward, we’ll have – this is a hope and a prayer and a goal – we’ll have fewer broken marriages and divorces.”

“It’s not in my provenance to respond to that question right here,” he concluded.

This morning, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) discussed the creation of a new “pastoral plan” on marriage and family in light of Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia. They voted on whether to begin creating such a pastoral statement. The vote was done by paper; its results are expected to be announced this afternoon.

Malone told his fellow bishops a USCCB statement of this nature would be “an important” way to respond to Amoris Laetitia.

“A pastoral plan would encourage a broader reading of Amoris Laetitia and seek to advance more conversation and engagement around strengthening marriage and family life,” said Malone.

“It would be a framework and resource” on marriage and family, he said. Its four proposed pillars would be “prayer and faithful witness,” “pastoral ministry and accompaniment,” “education on marriage and family life,” and “public policy and advocacy.”

“I just think it’s really been a tragedy that the reception of this document has been so poor,” Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron said during the discussion. A guidance like this would be an opportunity for bishops to “seize control” of the debate over the exhortation, which Barron noted has been largely focused on chapter 8.

Chapter 8 is the infamous chapter in which Pope Francis seemingly suggested those living unrepentantly in a state of adultery may receive Holy Communion. The Catholic Church has always taught that doing so would be sacrilege. The pope hasn’t clarified if this is what he meant, despite receiving a dubia, or formal request, from four cardinals asking him about it.

Chapter 8 “got all of the headlines, so to speak,” former USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said. “I fully support our moving forward” in the creation of this plan.

Barron called Amoris Laetitia an “extraordinarily rich document.” His comments were met with light applause.

Malone spoke about creating a pastoral plan because Archbishop Charles Chaput, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, is in Rome preparing for the next synod, which is on youth.

Other bishops weighed in on the need to address the economic disparity between married couples and unmarried couples and the need to emphasize young adults.

During the USCCB’s spring meeting in June 2017, representatives of the conference refused to say whether Amoris Laetitia guarantees Holy Communion for actively homosexual couples.

At their November 2016 meeting, the bishops first began discussing their response to Amoris Laetitia. Kurtz wouldn’t say exactly where the document stands on Communion for the divorced and remarried.  

Pope Francis “very clearly” said he has no desire to “make any canonical changes or any new doctrine” related to Amoris Laetitia, Kurtz told LifeSiteNews, but “we do need to school ourselves a little more in the rightful use of the internal forum.”

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Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards.
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FBI signals criminal probe into Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of aborted baby parts

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By Pete Baklinski

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The FBI has requested unredacted documents from Congress that were obtained during the 2015 hearings on Planned Parenthood’s allegedly illegal trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit, reported The Hill. Pro-life activists have welcomed the move as a first sign of a criminal probe into the abortion giant. 

Reported The Hill

The request was made in recent days, the sources said, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), last December referred Planned Parenthood and several other abortion providers to the FBI for investigation after a lengthy probe into the transfers of fetal tissue.

Grassley said at the time that his committee had uncovered enough evidence in its final investigative report to show abortion providers had transferred tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to firms for use in research by charging dollar amounts above their actual costs.

The Justice Department declined comment, saying it does not confirm nor deny whether an investigation is taking place.

It was two summers ago that the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood’s illegal selling of aborted baby parts, including hearts, lungs, livers, and brains, for profit. 

The videos led to Planned Parenthood facing investigations at both state and federal levels. The abortion organization has so far managed to dodge any conviction for the wrongdoing suggested in the undercover videos. 

Pro-life groups around the country welcomed the news of a possible criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood. 

“We welcome the Justice Department’s investigation of Planned Parenthood,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. 

“Not content with their status as the nation’s largest abortion business, evidence shows Planned Parenthood sought to squeeze every last opportunity for cash from the sale of hearts, brains, lungs, and livers of the unborn children whose lives they end,” she said. 

“Planned Parenthood and its associates are terrified of having their sordid business model exposed. We commend the Trump administration for holding them accountable and urge Congress to follow through on the promise to redirect the half billion dollars in taxpayer funding the abortion giant receives each year,” she added. 

Planned Parenthood has reacted by saying it “strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department.”

“These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research,” said Dana Singiser, vice president of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, reported The Hill

But David Daleiden, founder and project lead at the Center for Medical Progress, said that his undercover videos of Planned Parenthood show otherwise. 

“After Planned Parenthood’s top doctors were caught on camera casually negotiating the sale of aborted baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains, two Congressional investigations confirmed there were ‘systematic’ violations of federal law in Planned Parenthood’s aborted baby parts business and issued criminal referrals to the FBI and US DOJ,” he said in a statement. 

“The FBI’s investigation of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer-funded, criminal abortion enterprise is long overdue. Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts is the greatest human atrocity of our times and must finally be brought to justice under the law,” he added. 

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said the FBI's request for documents on the abortion giant “gives us hope that justice will be served for the millions of Americans who have fallen victim to the deceptive and exploitive practices of the abortion industry.”

Catherine Glenn Foster, CEO and president of Americans United for Life, echoed Mancini, saying she was “encouraged to see signs of an investigation moving forward.” 

“There is a great deal of evidence showing the abortion industry has skirted both state and federal laws that serve as the bare-minimum protection for the dignity of human life. … We hope that this unprecedented investigation will uncover the truth. Only a thorough investigation by the Justice Department will ensure that women and their unborn children are protected from the dangerous motivations behind this criminal conduct,” she said. 

A video released earlier this month by the Center for Medical Progress shows a former abortion worker discussing the intimate relationship between baby parts harvester StemExpress, LLC, and Planned Parenthood.

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Godelieva de Troyer
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Pro-family group files lawsuit on behalf of man whose mother was euthanized without him knowing

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

November 14, 2017 (SPUC) — The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Tom Mortier, a Belgian man whose mother was euthanised without him being informed.

No chance to say goodbye

In April 2012, Godelieva De Troyer, who was 64 and in good physical health but had a history of severe mental health problems, was killed by lethal injection by Wim Distelmans, Belgium’s leading euthanasia proponent and provider. Her son Tom Mortier was only informed when "hospital officials asked him to come to the morgue to fill out the paperwork necessary for turning over his mother’s remains to the department of experimental anatomy, per her request."

"I have a trauma now,” Mortier told Sohrab Ahmari of Commentary Magazine. "There is no care for me! Nothing! It all has to go here," tapping his heart. According to the article, "his mother’s death transformed the chemistry professor from a mild supporter of Belgium’s ultra-liberal euthanasia law into its most outspoken opponent.  "Going to a hospital and getting an injection isn’t much different from someone jumping in front of a train," he said. "Is this humane? I don’t think this is humane."

Lethal corruption

Mr. Mortier has tried to initiate criminal proceedings in Belgium, but local prosecutors dismissed his complaint against Distelmans, citing a "lack of evidence." Prof Distelmans, who has also authorised a number of other controversial euthanasia cases, such as that of 45-year-old deaf twins, and a 44-year-old whose sex change operation had failed, is co-Chairman of the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee that monitors euthanasia cases since its inception.

ADF has cited this glaring conflict of interest in their application to the ECHR. They also argue that Belgium have violated articles 2 and 8 of the Convention of Human Rights, the right to life, and the right to respect for private and family life. In particular, they point out that Mrs. de Troyer was able to dispense with her treating physician of more than 20 years and consult different psychiatrists until she found one willing to authorise euthanasia. Moreover, the doctor who carried out the euthanasia did so after she had donated 2500 euros to his organisation.

As Mr. Mortier says, "The big problem in our society is that apparently we have lost the meaning of taking care of each other."

Do we want this in the UK?

Meanwhile, Dignity in Dying have released a report bewailing the fact that only a quarter of British people can afford to "outsource" their death to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Commenting on the report, Dr. Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing Alliance said: "This is not new research but an attempt by a campaign group Dignity in Dying – the former Voluntary Euthanasia Society — to boost a flagging campaign that has consistently failed to achieve any legal change over the last 12 years. They have essentially carried out a survey of their own supporters and cherry-picked the most extreme quotes in the desperate hope of capturing a few headlines."

​Reprinted with permission from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn.

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UK schools to host ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ for students as young as two

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Starting tomorrow, men dressed as women will be reading stories to children as young as two at a chain of London nursery schools.

The London Early Years Foundation has “teamed up” with “Drag Queen Story Time” to “connect children and drag queens through the art of storytelling and fun interactive events,” according to the chain’s press release.

Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) is the brainchild of Bristol’s Thomas Canham, a 25-year-old inspired by New York City’s Drag Queen Story Hour. When the producers of American television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tweeted news of the New York program, Canham tweeted back, “Why can’t we have something like this in the UK?” To his surprise, the producers wrote back suggesting he start his own group.

Canham, described as a “call centre employee” and as a “law student,” launched his Drag Queen Story Time project in May. He set up a Crowdfunder campaign to buy storybooks and pay for mandatory police checks on volunteers. He recruited around 30 men for his project.

As Canham told the Bristol Post at the time, “I have had interest from a variety of different queens — from young and old, drag veterans to really fresh queens — so I think it will be a really positive experience to help foster new drag talent.”

But it’s not just for the drag queens. This week, the UK Metro commuter paper reported that DQST was “created with the hope of providing children as young as two with ‘queer role models.’” Canham’s volunteers read children stories they loved as children, lead them in well-known children’s songs adapted to include a drag theme, and then read a feminist fairy tale or story that questions gender norms. Books Canham has selected  And Tango Makes Three, My Princess Boy, Red: A Crayon’s Story and Introducing Teddy.

According to, a website for teachers, in June Canham planned to contact Bristol schools asking for access to their classrooms. Meanwhile, “Drag Queen Story Time” will be appearing at seven of the London Early Years Foundations’ nurseries this winter. If the program is successful, the drag performers will appear at the other 37 sites.

According to the London Early Years Foundation, the DQST project “aims to teach children of all ages to spread a message of tolerance and kindness.” It will include not just story time but “a Hallowe’en drag disco, face painting and high tea.” The first event will be in the LEYF daycare in SoHo on November 15.  

According to the manager of the SoHO nursery, Greg Stewart Lane, “We live in a world where people face homophobia, racism and general discrimination on a daily basis. Yet these are all learnt behaviours – we aren’t born with any form of hatred, you get taught it over time. If events like DQST can help curtail this and teach children about tolerance and kindness, then that has to be a good thing.”

This view echoes Canham’s remarks to the Bristol Post: "For me the project is about drag queens providing fun and inclusive reading for children about issues around misogyny, homophobia, racism, LGBTQ and gender fluidity in a way which they can understand. … Racism, homophobia, misogyny and the like are all learnt behaviours – we aren’t born with any form of hatred, you get taught it over time. And if projects like these can go some small way to helping prevent or curtail that, then it can only be a good thing."

Dr. Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians, disagrees that Drag Queen Story Time is a good thing for children. She says that although most children know by age three they are a girl or a boy, it is not until they are five that they understand that boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be women. It is not until age seven that most understand that “cosmetic changes” don’t alter sex.

“Due to these cognitive limitations of childhood, many preschoolers will believe that when a man cross-dresses and applies makeup he actually becomes a woman,”  Cretella told LifeSiteNews. “Consequently, it is disruptive to preschool and early elementary school children's cognitive and psychological development to expose them to drag queen story hours and gender-bending story books.

“Schools and public libraries that embrace transgenderism are gaslighting our kids.”

Canham told the Daily Mail that parents love Drag Queen Story Time and “the children love it too — especially when you’ve got a six-year-old boy there in a princess dress which he isn’t allowed to wear at home because his dad doesn’t like it.”  

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California elementary schools to use pro-LGBT history textbooks

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SACRAMENTO, California, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Children in California will be learning to identify historical personages by their sexuality.

The Advocate reported that the California state board of education approved “10 LGBT-inclusive history textbooks” for elementary school students in grades K-8 last week. It also rejected two textbooks on the grounds that they did not include “LGBT history.” The exclusion of LGBT history violates California’s FAIR Education Act.

The FAIR Education Act, once informally called the LGBT History Bill, was written by Senator Mark Leno. FAIR stands for “Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful.” It ensures that the political, economic and social contributions of people with disabilities as well as those people identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are included in textbooks of California’s state-funded schools. It also added sexual orientation and religion to a list of characteristics that California schools already could not present in a negative way.

In 2008, Mark Leno became the first openly gay man to be elected to the California State Senate. He introduced the LGBT History Bill in 2011. Fifty-eight other bills penned by Leno were made into law, including the California Universal HealthCare Act and the establishment of Harvey Milk Day in California.

When the LGBT History Bill was presented, there was opposition from traditional family organizations. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family told LifeSiteNews that the Bill was unnecessary because “California has some of the most pro-active laws in the nation in this regard already on the books.”

Cushman added, “The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions. It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”

However, homosexual rights advocates welcome the new LBGT-inclusive textbooks. Rick Zbur, head of Equality California, told the Advocate that this “is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions of LGBT people.”

“Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBTQ people … ”

Renata Moreira, executive director of the pro-homosexuality Our Family Coalition, told the Advocate that “LGBTQ students, and those with LGBTQ families, will finally be able to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California.

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NY Times op-ed calls pro-life websites ‘fake news’, demands Facebook silence them

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By Lianne Laurence

NEW YORK, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook must start cracking down on “anti-abortion fake news,” according to an opinion piece in Friday’s online edition of the The New York Times.

British journalist Rossalyn Warren raised a rallying cry to abortion advocates to lobby Facebook to black out sites like LifeNews and Live Action, which she accused of producing “vast amounts of misinformation” — such as the correlation between abortion and breast cancer.

Indeed, articles from these sites are “more shared” on Facebook than “evidence-based, credible articles about abortion from reputable news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post,” she complained.

According to Warren, whose work has appeared in the Guardian and Buzzfeed, the problem is that Facebook’s criteria to assess what’s fake news doesn’t generally apply to pro-life sites.

Facebook targets sites that mimic existing sites, or are financially motivated. But “anti-abortion” sites are neither, as they publish their own content, and are motivated not by profit but ideology, Warren wrote.

Moreover, Facebook only started to crack down on fake sites after “intense scrutiny” and public pressure following the last U.S. election, and it’s only going after “the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain,” Warren noted.

“That’s why those of us who are concerned by the misinformation around reproductive rights need to make ourselves heard,” she asserted.

Pressure must be brought to bear on Facebook to censor anti-abortion misinformation, Warren said.

After all, with a referendum on abortion coming in Ireland, “abortion-rights campaigners have expressed concern over the role of misinformation on social media platforms like Facebook in the lead-up to the vote,” she added.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of Dublin’s Life Institute, who is campaigning to keep Ireland safe for unborn children, blasted Warren’s article as “laughable.”

“Her comments on the Irish referendum are indicative of just how far abortion extremists will go to shut down fair debate,” Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“She can’t give any real examples of pro-life ‘fake news’ yet wants Facebook to sit in judgment as to what pro-life sites can or can’t report or say.”

Warren’s “real issue here is that social media has given every person – including pro-life activists – the right and the means to break the media’s stranglehold on who should hear what facts,” she said.

“Irish pro-life messages and articles, like this one on why #RepealKills or this one on the #Humanity of the baby, enjoy far greater organic growth than their pro-abortion counterparts,” added Uí Bhriain.

Social media is a great boon for pro-lifers, given that the “abortion debate in Ireland has been totally skewed by the bias of the pro-abortion media with many journalists campaigning to overturn our pro-life laws,” she told LifeSiteNews.

“This year alone they eagerly covered the fake news of a ‘Strike for Repeal (pro-abortion strike)’ which never happened, and spun a lie by telling the world that Ireland locked up a woman who sought an abortion, among many other examples.

The New York Times, long considered the newspaper of record for the United States, is ranked 18th in the world for subscriptions, with three million paid subscribers for its print and online editions in 2017.

But it has its own history of fake news, notably the egregious case of Walter Duranty.

The Pulizer-prize winning New York Times Moscow bureau chief infamously denied the famine in Ukraine carried out under Soviet strongman Josef Stalin, in which at least 10 million Ukrainians starved to death.

“Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda,” Duranty wrote.

The Pulitzer Board has never withdrawn Duranty’s award, one of 122 Pulitzers awarded to New York Times journalists through the years, though it investigated the case twice, most recently in 2003.

“That The New York Times would publish an article attempting to shut down a free and fair debate in Ireland is shameful,” Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews.

“It is particularly ironic that this effort at censorship is coming from abortion supporters,” she observed.

“These are the same people who deny basic science when they deny the humanity of the baby; they deny the horrific reality of abortion; they deny the sale of baby body parts even when these actions are caught on camera; they refuse to report on the practice of paying bonuses to abortion clinic staff because it might upset their pro-abortion narrative,” said Uí Bhriain.

“Now, not only do they want to ignore the truth, they want to stop anyone else reporting it either,” she said.

“Pro-life voices will not be silenced, especially in this referendum on the right to life of our most vulnerable citizens.”

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Pro-life bishop beats ultra-liberal Cdl. Cupich to head US bishops’ pro-life office

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By Claire Chretien

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Strongly pro-life Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, beat extremely liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, to be the next head of the U.S. bishops' pro-life efforts this morning. 

Naumann won the race to be Chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He won 54 percent of the election with 96 bishops supporting him. Cupich won 46 percent of the vote with 82 bishops supporting him.

The contest between Cupich and Naumann presented the U.S. bishops with an opportunity to define their vision for pro-life activism.

The vote was also a “barometer of support for Pope Francis among the American hierarchy,” the Wall Street Journal astutely noted. Cupich and Naumann “represent the ideological poles of the U.S. church and have articulated different visions of what being pro-life should mean.”

Cupich is widely known as one of the most left-wing prelates in the U.S. Catholic Church. Pope Francis appointed him to the prominent position of Archbishop of Chicago. Pope Francis made Cupich a cardinal in 2016. The pontiff also has given Cupich a key role in picking new U.S. bishops.

In May 2017, at Naumann’s direction, the Archdiocese of Kansas City began to cut ties with the Girl Scouts over their promotion of abortion and transgenderism.

“Our greatest responsibility as a Church is to the children and young people in our care,” said Naumann. “It is essential that all youth programs at our parishes affirm virtues and values consistent with our Catholic faith.”

“Girl Scouts USA ... are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel,” he said. He told parishes to instead start troops of American Heritage Girls, an alternative to the Girl Scouts that doesn’t promote abortion.

During the 2016 presidential election, Naumann skewered pro-abortion Catholic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, for being an “orthodox” Democrat but a “cafeteria Catholic.”

In his critique of Kaine, Naumann touched on many of the problems with being “personally” against abortion but publicly voting for and favoring pro-abortion policies.

“Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life?” Naumann asked.

Cupich has risen to power during the current pontificate. Before then, he was known as the bishop who asked priests and seminarians not to pray outside abortion centers and who locked Catholics out of their parish during the Easter Triduum to prevent them from holding Traditional Latin Masses. The parish was forced to conduct its Good Friday liturgy on the sidewalk.

Cupich has resurrected many of the “seamless garment” arguments of former Chicago Archbishop Joseph Bernardin equating intrinsic evils like abortion with social ills like poverty. Left-wing Bernardin was the archbishop of Chicago from 1982 to 1996.

After equating abortion with non-moral issues, Bernardin and Cupich seemingly then ignore abortion and direct attacks on human life to push for liberal political causes.

In August 2015, in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trafficking scandal, Cupich wrote that unemployment and hunger are just as appalling as the killing of millions of children in the womb and the damages that many of their mothers have experienced.

When the governor of Illinois promised to veto a law mandating taxpayer-funded abortion (he later broke this promise), Cupich thanked him “for this principled stand.”

“Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be,” he said.

“I pray that this divisive issue will be put behind us and our government officials will now concentrate on the many difficult challenges facing Illinois,” Cupich continued. “Most importantly, our political leaders must find a way to cooperate and craft a budget that serves all our people.”

Cupich’s statement implied that abortion is wrong because it’s a “divisive” issue and that taxpayer-funded abortions are wrong because most Americans oppose them.

Cupich’s statements in support of gun control and immigration have much more strongly-worded.

On Monday, Cupich lamented “the poisoning rhetoric that many times is degrading of immigrants and even demonizing of them.”

There’s something wrong in our churches when people leave Mass with that “rhetoric” still “echoing” in them, Cupich said. This shows the necessity of “a call to conversion of our people.”

Cupich has called Jesuit Father James Martin a “foremost evangelizer” of youth. Martin is one of the most vocal pro-gay priests in the Church. He says same-sex couples should be able to kiss during Mass, that opposing same-sex “marriage” is akin to racism, and that same-sex attracted priests should “come out.”

“Priests for Life congratulates Archbishop Joseph Naumann on his election to be the next Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities,” Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews.

“We have known and interacted with him for nearly 25 years, since he was Director of the Archdiocesan Pro-life Committee in Saint Louis, and he has always been an encouragement to our efforts,” said Pavone. “We look forward to working with him and the other bishops who serve the committee, as well as  the staff of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities, headed by Tom Grenchik.”

Naumann has spoken out against pornography and created resources for those hurt by addiction and exposure to it.

“We fail our people if we’re not courageous in preaching about chastity, as well as offering opportunities to help those seeking to live chastely,” Naumann said in 2011. “When we live chaste lives, we are witnesses of our faith in the world. Chastity also frees us from those things that can enslave us and leave us feeling isolated and sad.”

“Pro-life people around the country need to understand that the bishops’ pro-life committee is not meant to do the work that all the rest of us are entrusted with doing,” said Pavone. “It is a resource for the Bishops’ Conference. It is not an ‘approval board’ from which pro-life groups or activities have to get a stamp of approval in order to do their work. Rather, as Priests for Life has been told over the years, the bishops want to encourage all who are doing their part to advance the culture of life. And we look forward to doing the same!”

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Cardinal Raymond Burke during visit to Canterbury to venerate relics of St. Thomas More. October 15, 2017. Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews
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Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane
By Diane Montagna

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day since the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.

In a new interview, which has been first published by the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Burke presents the “gravity” of the current situation in the Church, which he says “is continually worsening,” as bishops from Philadelphia to Malta offer divergent and “at times incompatible” interpretations of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).

This mix of interpretations, Cardinal Burke says, is endangering “essential matters of the deposit of faith” and “has led some to propose a paradigm shift regarding the Church’s entire moral practice.” Furthermore, His Eminence adds, the current confusion is “increasingly eroding” the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice, “especially when it comes to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.”

Today’s final plea comes exactly one year after four senior cardinals — American Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, and German Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner — went public with five questions, or dubia, which they had sent to Pope Francis, seeking simple “yes” or “no” answers about certain controversial passages of Amoris Laetitia. 

A longstanding method aimed at clarifying certain issues of doctrine or practice, the cardinals submitted the dubia to the Pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to ascertain if these passages, particularly paragraphs 300-305 of AL Chapter 8, are consistent with past papal teaching. 

The most contentious dubium is whether some remarried divorcees without an annulment and living in an objective state of adultery are allowed to receive Holy Communion.

Hand-delivered to the Holy Father on September 19, 2016, the dubia met with no response. Motivated by pastoral concern, on November 14, 2016, the four cardinals decided to inform the people of God of the initiative, publishing the dubia with a statement entitled: ‘Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia.’ 

Several months later, having still received no response, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra — founding president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family —  wrote a second letter to the Holy Father on behalf of the cardinals requesting a private audience. This letter, too, went unanswered. 

Cardinal Meisner died on July 5, 2017. Cardinal Caffarra died two months later, on September 6, 2017. 

Cardinal Burke told the Register that he intends in this new interview to honor the two deceased Cardinals by underlining the position of the dubia signatories and by giving a summary of the situation.   

“The concern was and is to determine precisely what the Pope wanted to teach as Successor of Peter,” he said.

“Clarity provides the light necessary for accompanying families on the way of Christian discipleship,” His Eminence says in a final and urgent plea to Pope Francis that he confirm his brothers in the faith. “It is obscurity that keeps us from seeing the path and that hinders the evangelizing action of the Church, as Jesus says, ‘Night comes, when no one can work’ (Jn 9:4).”

Burke has indicated in previous interviews that a "formal correction" of the Pope from cardinals may become "necessary" so as to provide a "clear presentation of the Church's teaching on the points at issue."

Here below is the full interview with His Eminence, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Your Eminence, at what stage are we since you, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, and the two recently deceased cardinals, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, made the dubia public a year ago this week?

One year after the publication of the dubia on Amoris Laetitia, which have not received any response from the Holy Father, we observe an increasing confusion about the ways of interpreting the Apostolic Exhortation. Hence our concern for the Church’s situation and for her mission in the world becomes ever more urgent. I, of course, remain in regular communication with Cardinal Walter Brandmüller regarding these gravest of matters. Both of us remain in profound union with the two late Cardinals Joachim Meisner and Carlo Caffarra, who have passed away in the course of the last months. Thus, I once again present the gravity of the situation which is continually worsening.

Much has been said about the dangers of the ambiguous nature of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, stressing that it is open to much interpretation. Why is clarity so important?

Clarity in teaching does not imply any rigidity, which would impede people from walking on the Gospel path, but, on the contrary, clarity provides the light necessary for accompanying families on the way of Christian discipleship. It is obscurity that keeps us from seeing the path and that hinders the evangelizing action of the Church, as Jesus says, “Night comes, when no one can work” (Jn 9:4).

Could you explain more about the current situation in light of the dubia?

The current situation, far from diminishing the importance of the dubia or questions, makes them still more pressing. It is not at all – as some have suggested – a matter of an “affected ignorance,” which poses doubts only because it is unwilling to accept a given teaching. Rather, the concern was and is to determine precisely what the Pope wanted to teach as Successor of Peter. Thus, the questions arise from the recognition of the Petrine office that Pope Francis has received from the Lord for the purpose of confirming his brothers in the faith. The Magisterium is God’s gift to the Church to provide clarity on issues that regard the deposit of the faith. By their very nature, affirmations that lack this clarity cannot be qualified expressions of the magisterium.

Why is it so dangerous in your view for there to be differing interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, particularly over the pastoral approach of those living in irregular unions, and specifically over civilly remarried divorcees not living in continence and receiving Holy Communion?

It is evident that some of Amoris Laetitia’s indications regarding essential aspects of the faith and of the practice of the Christian life have received various interpretations that are divergent and at times incompatible with each other. This incontestable fact confirms that these indications are ambivalent, permitting a variety of readings, many of which are in contrast to Catholic doctrine. The questions we Cardinals have raised thus regard what exactly the Holy Father has taught and how his teaching harmonizes with the deposit of the faith, given that the magisterium “is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed” (Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, n. 10).

Hasn’t the Pope made clear where he stands, through his letter to Argentine bishops in which he said there is “no other interpretation” than the guidelines those bishops issued — guidelines which left open the possibility of some sexually-active unmarried couples receiving the Holy Eucharist?

Contrary to what some have claimed, we cannot consider the Pope’s letter to the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires, written shortly before receiving the dubia and containing comments on the bishops’ pastoral guidelines, an adequate response to the questions posed. On the one hand, these guidelines can be interpreted in different ways; on the other, it is not clear that this letter is a magisterial text, in which the Pope intended to speak to the universal Church as the Successor of Peter. The fact that the letter first became known because it had been leaked to the press – and was only later made public by the Holy See – raises a reasonable doubt about the Holy Father’s intention to direct it to the universal Church. In addition, it would turn out to be quite astonishing – and contrary to Pope Francis’ explicitly formulated desire to leave the concrete application of Amoris Laetitia to the bishops of each country (cf. AL 3) – that now he should impose on the universal Church what are only the concrete directives of a particular region. And shouldn’t the different dispositions promulgated by various bishops in their dioceses from Philadelphia to Malta then all be considered invalid? A teaching that is not sufficiently determined with respect to its authority and its effective content cannot cast into doubt the clarity of the Church’s constant teaching which, in any case, remains always normative.

Are you also concerned that, by some bishops’ conferences allowing certain remarried divorcees living more uxorio (having sexual relations) to receive Holy Communion without a firm purpose of amendment, they are contradicting previous papal teaching, in particular Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation, Familiaris Consortio?

Yes, the dubia or questions remain open. Those who assert that the discipline taught by Familiaris Consortio 84 has changed contradict each other when it comes to explaining the reasons and the consequences. Some go as far as to say that the divorced in a new union, who continue to live more uxorio, do not find themselves in an objective state of mortal sin (citing in support AL 303); others deny this interpretation (citing in support AL 305), yet completely leave it up to the judgment of conscience to determine the criteria of access to the sacraments. It seems that the goal of the interpreters is to arrive, in whatever way, at a change in discipline, while the reasons they adduce to this end are of no importance. Nor do they show any concern about how much they put into danger essential matters of the deposit of faith.

What tangible effect has this mix of interpretations had?

This hermeneutical confusion has already produced a sad result. In fact, the ambiguity regarding a concrete point of the pastoral care of the family has led some to propose a paradigm shift regarding the Church’s entire moral practice, the foundations of which have been authoritatively taught by Saint John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor.  

Indeed a process has been put into motion that is subversive of essential parts of the Tradition. Concerning Christian morality, some claim that absolute moral norms need to be relativized and that a subjective, self-referential conscience needs to be given an – ultimately equivocal – primacy in matters touching morals. What is at stake, therefore, is in no way secondary to the kerygma or basic gospel message. We are speaking about whether or not a person’s encounter with Christ can, by the grace of God, give form to the path of the Christian life so that it may be in harmony with the Creator’s wise design. To understand how far-reaching these proposed changes are, it is enough to think of what would happen if this reasoning were to be applied to other cases, such as that of a medical doctor performing abortions, of a politician belonging to a ring of corruption, of a suffering person deciding to make a request for assisted suicide...

Some have said the most pernicious effect of all of this is that it represents an attack on the Sacraments as well as the Church’s moral teaching. How is this so?  

Over and above the moral debate, the sense of the ecclesial sacramental practice is increasingly eroding in the Church, especially when it comes to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The decisive criterion for admission to the sacraments has always been the coherence of a person’s way of life with the teachings of Jesus. If instead the decisive criterion were now to become the absence of a person’s subjective culpability – as some interpreters of Amoris Laetitia have suggested – would this not change the very nature of the sacraments? In fact, the sacraments are not private encounters with God, nor are they means of social integration into a community. Rather, they are visible and effective signs of our incorporation into Christ and His Church, in and by which the Church publicly professes and actuates her faith. Thus by turning a person’s subjective diminished culpability or lack of culpability into the decisive criterion for the admission to the sacraments, one would endanger the very regula fidei, the rule of faith, which the sacraments proclaim and actuate not only by words but also by visible gestures. How could the Church continue to be the universal sacrament of salvation if the meaning of the sacraments were to be emptied of its content?

Despite you and many others, including over 250 academics and priests who issued a filial correction, clearly having very serious misgivings about the effects of these passages in Amoris Laetitia, and because you have so far received no response from the Holy Father, are you here making a final plea to him?

Yes, for these grave reasons, one year after rendering public the dubia, I again turn to the Holy Father and to the whole Church, emphasizing how urgent it is that, in exercising the ministry he has received from the Lord, the Pope should confirm his brothers in the faith with a clear expression of the teaching regarding both Christian morality and the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice.

Editor's note: Cardinal Burke's full interview was republished by permission of

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Satan’s hatred for God is most obvious in his hatred for virginity, marriage, and procreation

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)Last week, we looked at how Lucifer, by refusing to serve the God of fruitfulness and sacrificial love, merited his own everlasting isolation and barrenness, and how he ever seeks to draw human souls into his realm of selfishness. In particular, the refusal to subordinate the natural to the supernatural is his defining trait, and explains why he hates celibacy and virginity more than anything else in the world.

Satan hates marriage for much the same reason: it, too, is a life of self-sacrifice made possible only by divine blessing, a state ordered to the multiplication of children of God who will have the potential to receive supernatural elevation by grace and to enjoy heavenly glory, of which the devil deprived himself. The power of generation in man — how mysterious it is! To be invited into partnership with the Author of life! To stand, in procreation, at the origin of being ex nihilo: this is a power no angelic spirit has. It is a direct participation in God’s creative act. As the great Thomist theologian Scheeben explains, if Adam and Eve had not fallen, they would have transmitted not only natural life to their offspring, but also the condition of supernatural life: their children would have been conceived and born in a state of grace. This is why the devil so hated Adam and Eve, resplendent in grace as they were: he knew that from their loins would spring an entire race of beings destined for immortal glory with the angels. Even though we are now fallen and no longer conceive “sons of God,” the privilege of procreation and the freedom to cooperate with Christ in the sanctification of our children remain ours. As Pope Pius XI eloquently testifies in the greatest papal document ever written on marriage and family:

How great a boon of God this (good of offspring) is, and how great a blessing of matrimony is clear from a consideration of man’s dignity and of his sublime end. For man surpasses all other visible creatures by the superiority of his rational nature alone. Besides, God wishes men to be born not only that they should live and fill the earth, but much more that they may be worshippers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him forever in heaven; and this end, since man is raised by God in a marvelous way to the supernatural order, surpasses all that eye hath seen, and ear heard, and all that hath entered into the heart of man. From which it is easily seen how great a gift of divine goodness and how remarkable a fruit of marriage are children born by the omnipotent power of God through the cooperation of those bound in wedlock.

For although Christian spouses even if sanctified themselves cannot transmit sanctification to their progeny, nay, although the very natural process of generating life has become the way of death by which original sin is passed on to posterity, nevertheless, they share to some extent in the blessings of that primeval marriage of Paradise, since it is theirs to offer their offspring to the Church in order that by this most fruitful Mother of the children of God they may be regenerated through the laver of baptism unto supernatural justice and finally be made living members of Christ, partakers of immortal life, and heirs of that eternal glory to which we all aspire from our inmost heart. (Encyclical Casti Connubii, no. 12)

Satan did what he could to thwart this plan — and so he does with each of us, if we let him. The devil opposes natural as well as supernatural generation: he seeks to prevent men and women from using the gift of their sexuality to bring more life into the world; he seeks to prevail upon them to kill the fruit they bear; he seeks to lead them away from the source of immortality in the sacraments of the Church. Hating procreation, he has bent all his efforts toward either preventing it through contraception or destroying its fruits through abortion. Contraception is an abomination of desolation in the midst of the temple, which is the human body sanctified by the Holy Spirit: through contraception, the Lord and Giver of Life is cast out as if He were an evil spirit, and in his place is welcomed the spirit of lust and avarice, to make its home in the barren womb, like a church with no tabernacle and no Real Presence.

Contrary to the demonic spirit of selfishness, spouses give up their right of self-determination over their own bodies when they vow their faithful love to each other until death, come what may. Christ, too, is faithful to His Church, come what may, and never gives up on her sinful members until all who are destined for glory have reached the fatherland. In light of God’s faithfulness to sinful Israel and Christ’s faithfulness to His still-imperfect Church, divorce is an unredeemable fiction, adultery an abomination, and Eucharistic communion for those who are “remarried” an act of sacrilege by which the Savior is spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified in His Sacrament.

Let us make no mistake about it: Lucifer, with the pseudo-patience of an immortal spirit, has slowly built up an anti-religion, a counterfeit Catholicism, that has for its purpose the eternal damnation of men, just as the Catholic religion has for its purpose their eternal salvation. Divorce, and with it, adultery, is the anti-sacrament of Marriage; contraception, and from it, abortion, is the anti-sacrament of Baptism; the self-indulgence of masturbation and homosexual activity is the anti-sacrament of Confirmation, which produces self-control and fortitude; euthanasia is the anti-sacrament of Extreme Unction. In place of holy orders, there is negligent fatherhood and man-hating feminism; in place of penance, there is the hedonistic satisfaction of every bodily appetite; in place of the Eucharist, there is idolatry of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

It is far from coincidental that the sacred liturgy had to fall into ruins first before the devil could carry out his attack on virginity and celibacy. These latter have no meaning, no purpose, apart from the wedding feast of the Lamb to which the liturgy gives us access. When the liturgy is drained of adoration, beauty, and contemplation, it can no longer awaken, nourish, and direct an all-consuming hunger and thirst for God’s kingdom. It will no longer stir up priestly and religious vocations or sustain them to the end. The Mass and the Divine Office had to be brought low before celibacy and virginity could be felled. The so-called “irreversible liturgical reform” had to predate the supposedly irreversible decline in “traditional models of ministry and service.”

In reality, the Church’s authentic liturgy, in all its depth and splendor, always summons forth abundant vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. This, again, is why the devil hates the usus antiquior with such implacable fury. Wherever the traditional liturgy returns, celibacy and virginity blossom anew — as do marriages in which husband and wife sacrificially welcome many children. Satan hates it all and is at work, sleeplessly, to fight against it, using every means at his disposal.

We are now in a better position to see the connection between Sr. Lucia’s statement that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family” and Pope Siricius’ castigation of Jovinian for denying the superiority of the celibate or virginal life dedicated to God. False teachings on marriage and the “relaxation” of the required discipline of clerical celibacy are two flanks of a single army laying siege to the City of God on earth. Any word, any action against the sanctity of marriage, the good of the family, or the exalted vocations of clerical and religious life finds its origin in the General of this army, the Enemy of mankind. As we endure the worst doctrinal confusion, moral laxity, and liturgical uprootedness the Church has ever suffered, may the Lord, mighty in battle (Ps 23:8), save His people and bless His inheritance (Ps 27:9).

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