All articles from November 29, 2017


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Politician tells teen raised by lesbians she has a right to a father: liberals furious

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

BRENTSVILLE, Virginia, November 29 (LifeSiteNews) – A local Republican politician is taking flak for telling a teenager being raised by lesbians that she has a right to a father.

Prince William County Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson spoke of 15-year-old Rose BruMar’s natural right to a father when the teen told her she’s being raised by “two moms.”

Lawson confirmed to local media that she said “every child deserves a mother and father” after Rose approached her outside Gainesville Middle School on election day.

According to Lawson’s account, she and the teen had a “pleasant and civil” conversation.

The teen told her, “One of my moms doesn’t like you.”

“That caught me by surprise a bit,” Lawson said. “She told me things about her family life, and I told her in a very polite way, I said I believe children deserve a mother and a father. It was not a debate about anything.”

One of Rose’s adoptive “moms,” Evelyn BruMar, is a Democratic activist who said Lawson’s comment “meant to hurt my daughter and devalue her.”

“File this one under ‘why is this news?’” Shaun Kenney of The Republican Standard wrote. “Lawson’s offense is that she holds an opinion different than the one instilled in the 15-year-old young lady — or at least, the one instilled in her by the lesbian couple responsible for her (upbringing). For that, is an apology required? Even on the table?”

On the progressive blog BlueVirginia.us, Kenny Boddye wrote an open letter to Lawson, saying, “I don’t believe your words came from a place of intentional malice,” but “your words are encouraging to those who would spread fear, hatred and bigotry in our society.”

Boddye said Lawson “essentially told a child that her family is invalid in your eyes and in the eyes of the Creator,” and “those words perpetuate intolerance.”

He went as far as to suggest that the exchange could be considered a “form of voter suppression.”

Lawson’s biography on the government’s website indicates she is a supporter of the Family Foundation, a pro-life, pro-marriage advocacy group in Virginia.

A number of adults who were raised by same-sex couples say they believe children have a right to a mother and a father. One such individual, Katy Faust, is an advocate for changing the “tenor of the debate surrounding all things family away from focusing on the desires of adults and toward prioritization of the rights of children.”

Faust has written extensively on the topic.

Now, she is a leader of Them Before Us, which “exists to advance social policies that encourage adults to actively respect the rights of children rather than expecting children to sacrifice their fundamental rights for the sake of adult desires.”

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Katarzyna Jachimowicz
Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

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‘God won’: Doctor fired for pro-life stance wins major court case in Norway

Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

SKIEN, Norway, November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, a Norwegian court sided with Katarzyna Jachimowicz, the physician from Poland who lost her job for objecting to inserting intrauterine devices (IUDs).

In 2016, she became the first medical professional in Norway sacked for exercising her conscience rights. On November 24, the appellate court ruled that her firing had been a violation of human rights.

Jachimowicz sued because she felt her rights were violated and that her dismissal by the state-run health care system was illegal. The court of appeals in Skien agreed with her and reversed the previous decision by the court in Notodden. The appellate court ruled her employer, the municipality of Sauherad, had to pay her 600,000 Norwegian Krone (about $73,000) in legal fees.

“God won,” Jachimowicz told the Polish Catholic magazine gosc.pl. She quoted famous Polish king John Sobieski III, who said “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit!” ("I came, I saw, God conquered") after his victory in the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Turks.

Just as Sobieski’s battle was a turning point in history, Jachimowicz’s case is a landmark in Norway, marking the country’s first legal victory for freedom of conscience.

Jachimowicz told LifeSiteNews that she attributes her victory to the prayers of numerous people. Specifically, she mentioned several Catholic contemplative orders in Poland as well as an Orthodox one. A Trappist monk living in Telemark in Norway also offered spiritual support.

Jachimowicz said countless priests prayed for her, as did youth groups and pro-lifers. The Rosary novena to Our Lady of Pompei was particularly useful, she said.

Happy and surprised with the win, she also was extremely grateful to her lawyer, Håkon Bleken, who combined skilled legal representation with personal support. She called Bleken and the head of the Norwegian Christian Medical Association Magnar Kleiven  “a dream team.”

Jachimowicz is a exceptionally educated and experienced Catholic doctor who started her career in Poland. In 2010, she moved with her family to the municipality of Sauherad in Norway to respond to the country’s shortage of medical professionals. With more than 20 years on the job, she fit well with the local family clinic. As a doctor with integrity and outstanding ethics, she had good relations with patients and was able to communicate with them in Polish, Russian, and Norwegian.

She did not refer them for abortions and was not inserting intrauterine devices (IUDs), which can act as abortifacients. However, this did not disturb the functioning of the clinic even once in her four years there. Her employer had known about her objections and accepted them before hiring her. Jachimowicz made sure those issues were clear because she was aware that family practice in Norway includes some gynecology and surgical skills.

In 2015, the situation for family doctors in Norway worsened after the government eliminated conscience protections for family doctors. Since then, it became illegal for them to refuse any form of birth control, including the insertion of IUDs, which are not considered abortifacients by the government.

Before firing her, her employer, the municipality of Sauherad, headed by Cecilie Stangeby of the health department, tried to pressure her to break her system of values. Faithful to her patients and her conscience, Jachimowicz did not want to leave or get fired. And with the support of her patients from different religions, colleagues at the Norwegian Christian Medical Association (Kristelig Legeoforening), some media and the Catholic Church in Norway, she went to court.

In February, she lost her first battle for the conscience protections and tolerance for family doctors. In the judge’s decision, he explained that the government had no desire to protect conscience in this case any further than absolutely necessary according to the European Convention on Human Rights. In doing so, the court put the interest of women first in accordance with “traditional Norwegian values.”

What’s more shocking, the Norwegian court saw Jachimowicz’s actions as a form of discrimination against women. It wrote that because of anatomical differences “men will not … have to go to a doctor other than their GP due to the doctor’s conscientious objection related to this type of reproductive preventive medical treatment.”

Bleken found the court’s explanation “very peculiar,” and was surprised with its reasoning. But with the latest ruling, he was able to convince two out of three judges that he was right.

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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Australian Senate votes to legalize same-sex ‘marriage’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SYDNEY, Australia, November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Australian Senate passed a bill today to legalize homosexual “marriage,” but it turned down conservative efforts to amend the bill that would allow religious business owners such as bakers, florists, and musicians to opt out of participating in same-sex weddings.  

Attempts to grant religious freedom to non-clergy to opt out of solemnizing homosexual “marriages” also were rebuffed, as were parental rights amendments that would allow parents of public school children to opt out of class instruction normalizing homosexuality.

The bill passed the Senate easily in a 43-12 vote. Upon passage, cheers went up both in the Senate chamber and outside on the streets, where gays and lesbians praised the legislation.

The Senate vote was a confirmation of the nation’s postal referendum, in which nearly 62 percent of 12 million respondents favored legalizing gay “marriage.” Australia has a population of more than 24 million.The strategy of a non-binding postal referendum was a last-ditch effort by homosexual activists after failing more than 20 times to get either the upper or lower houses of government to legalize gay “marriage.”

The popular mail-in worked to pressure reluctant legislators into voting for legalization. The bill is now expected to also pass in the House of Representatives and be signed into law, perhaps as early as next week. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he wanted to fast-track the law by December 7.

People of faith repeatedly warned that the law must include protections for religious objectors. “I do not think we have made these changes in a way which advances rights fully,” National Party Senator Matt Canavan said.

Conservatives hope to amend the legislation in the lower house to give religious liberty to those whose sincerely held beliefs differ with the gay agenda. Without such an amendment, only recognized clergy are exempt from government enforcement of participation in same-sex “marriage.”

Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney said he was “deeply disappointed” with the results of the national referendum, predicting the “further deconstruct(ion) of marriage and family in Australia.”

The archbishop commented how the postal vote was “a David and Goliath struggle with politicians, corporates, celebrities, journalists, professional and sporting organizations drowning out the voices of ordinary Australians and pressuring everyone to vote Yes.”

If the lower house works as fast as the upper house did and Turnbull’s promise of a law by Christmas is fulfilled, Australia will become the 26th nation to legalize homosexual “marriage.” As recently as 1997, some Australian states still had laws against sodomy.

“The Australian people voted to lessen discrimination, not to extend it, and we, the senate, have respected that vote by rejecting amendments which sought to extend discrimination,” openly lesbian Labor Senator Penny Wong said.  

Wong described the Senate vote as a “remarkable achievement” and an “historic event.” Australia’s first open homosexual woman said, “This parliament, this country, accept you for who you are ... It says you’re one of us.”

Openly gay Senator Dean Smith commented, “In the course of a generation, we have seen the LGBTI community move from rejection to tolerance, from tolerance to acceptance, and from acceptance to embrace.”

Attorney General George Brandis said, “By passing this bill, we are saying to those vulnerable young people there is nothing wrong with you,” he said.  “You are not unusual. You are not abnormal. You are just you.”

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Dr. Rebecca Gomperts and her floating abortion clinic (pictured above) was the focus of the documentary "Vessel." Women on Waves
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Canadian gov’t slams Catholic college after it refused to show pro-abortion film

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

OTTAWA, November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic university in Canada has been criticized by the Liberal government and mainstream media after it canceled screening a pro-abortion film that champions and facilitates killing pre-born children in countries where abortion is illegal.

St. Paul University in Ottawa told non-student organizers of a film festival last week that they would not be permitted to screen the pro-abortion film “Vessel” on the weekend in the school’s amphitheater. 

Organizers of the “Choice” festival were told by the Catholic university to either pick a different film or find a different venue. 

The Informed Choice Coalition of Ottawa organized the film festival to "present families with the range of choices available to them in the childbearing years and beyond." The organization, according to its website, "advocates for and supports the right to bodily autonomy in all healthcare-related decisions." 

“Vessel” is a documentary about the Dutch abortion organization Women on Waves. It tracks Dr. Rebecca Gomperts’ efforts to make use of a ship to travel to countries where abortion is illegal. Gomperts then provides chemical abortions to women onboard the vessel in unregulated international waters. Thousands of pre-born children have allegedly met their doom onboard Gomperts’ floating abortion facility.

Organizers of the event decided to screen the film at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is the direct killing of an innocent human life and is always gravely immoral. Parents send their children to Catholic universities with the expectation that Catholic moral teaching will be upheld and honored. 

Dr. Michel MacDonald, executive director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family —a group co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus — told LifeSiteNews that a Catholic university is well within its rights to stop a public screening of a pro-abortion film being organized by an outside group. 

“It is within the purview of a Pontifical Catholic university to decide what films can and cannot be shown to students by an outside group,” he said. 

“This decision has nothing to do with censoring free speech, but has everything to do with what St. John Paul II said about a Catholic university’s ‘responsibility ... to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth’ (Ex Corde Ecclesiae) which includes upholding the sanctity of life,” he added.  

“They are acting on their Catholic principles and they are taking a stand for the truth of the right to life of every unborn child by saying, ‘a pro-abortion film goes against what we stand for as Catholics.’”

It remains unclear who ultimately was behind the decision to cancel the film. Wendy Jolliffe, a volunteer with the Choice film festival, told Global News that school administration gave her the impression during a conversation she had with them that university leaders did not support the move. 

“From what I understood it was completely out of their hands,” she said. “It’s way up in the Catholic Church. Exactly what level it was, you’d have to check with them but I get the impression it was very high. It was not something they could control at the university.”

A Saint Paul University spokesperson said that the decision was made to cancel the film because of the university’s policy to not hold polarizing events on campus that could bring protesters, according to Global news. 

Saint Paul University did not return LifeSiteNews' request for comment. 

Liberal science Minister Kirsty Duncan criticized the Catholic university in sweeping terms for failing to allow the expression of a variety of views on campus. 

“Our government is committed to creating open spaces for Canadians to debate and express their views,” she said in a statement to reporters when asked about the university’s decision.

“We also firmly support a women’s (sic) right to choose. In a free society, we may disagree with a person’s views, but we must defend their right to hold them-unless those views promote hate,” she added. 

Duncan then challenged the Conservative party led by Andrew Scheer to criticize the university’s decision. 

“We will continue to fight to ensure the Charter rights of Canadians are upheld, and I only hope the Opposition will be consistent in their support for free speech on campus and across the country,” she said. 

Scheer was in the news last week after he called it “egregious” that Wilfrid Laurier University administration grilled a student and compared her actions to supporting Hitler after she showed students a clip that featured transgender critic Dr. Jordan Peterson. 

Mainstream media pressured Scheer to condemn the university’s decision, pointing to his party leadership campaign pledge to withdraw federal funding from university’s that do not protect free speech. 

But Scheer said Monday that the St. Paul case is different from the Wilfrid Laurier case. In the Wilfrid Laurier case, school administration teamed up against a student for portraying a point of view they did not agree with, while in the St. Paul case, school administration simply said no to an outside group.

Scheer through spokesman Jake Enwright said he “encourages all universities and colleges to promote free speech as well as the exchange of ideas and thoughts in an academic setting.”

“Conservatives recognize the rights of university administrations to decide which outside organizations are given permission to be on campus,” he said. 

Scheer’s point reflects what he said in a similar case in August, where he said, “I respect the right for universities to determine which outside groups they give a platform to. And so that’s within their purview.”

MacDonald wondered why, if people are truly concerned about free speech, they are not “up in arms” about pro-life clubs being banned by the student union at the University of Ottawa.

“Banning students on campus from having a pro-life club is actually censoring free speech,” he said. 

For respectful communications thanking St. Paul University for not showing the pro-abortion film:

Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4
Ph: 613-236-1393
Email: [email protected]

 
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Catholic Archdiocese sues D.C. transit authority for denying Christmas ad

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WASHINGTON, D.C., November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Archdiocese of Washington is suing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – the agency responsible for the city’s metro system – for rejecting a Christmas ad.

The Archdiocese is asking a federal court for injunctive relief that will allow them to run their ad, which invites people to “Find the Perfect Gift” this Christmas, on metro buses.

The website the ad sought to promote says “Jesus is the perfect gift” and lists Mass times, Advent and Christmas traditions, and ways to give gifts to the less fortunate through Catholic Charities.

“The rejected ad conveys a simple message of hope, and an invitation to participate in the Christmas season,” said Ed McFadden, secretary for communications for the Archdiocese of Washington. “Yet citing its guidelines, WMATA’s legal counsel said the ad ‘depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion.’”

“To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA’s guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags … if Christmas comes from a store … then it seems WMATA approves. But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch,” he said.

“WMATA's censors have rejected the Archdiocese of Washington's ‘Find the Perfect Gift’ ad campaign because depictions of sheep, shepherds, and stars constitute a ‘religious scene’ in violation of Metro policy,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, legal adviser with The Catholic Association.

The DC metro system, known for its chronic delays, inefficiency, fires, and shutdowns, is the butt of many local jokes. A number of social media accounts, including the “Unsuck DC Metro” one, highlight the daily struggles commuters face on the metro.

Metro has rejected ads before, and, as the “Unsuck DC Metro” account pointed out, ends up racking up legal fees defending their censorship.

 

“We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith,” said Kim Fiorentino, the Archdiocese’s chancellor and general counsel. “We look forward to presenting our case to affirm the right of all to express such viewpoints in the public square.”

In the summer of 2015, WMATA let Carafem, an abortion facility that styles itself as a “spa,” advertise its lethal services. It then barred Carafem from advertising.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is currently suing WMATA for rejecting ads from Carafem, Milo Yiannopoulos, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

WMATA didn’t allow the ACLU to run an ad showing the text of the First Amendment in English, Arabic, and Spanish. The left-wing group is also suing over that.

Fights over what ads are acceptable on the Metro became more common after Pamela Geller sought to purchase one showing a cartoon of Muhammed. WMATA responded by banning all “issue”-related ads.

According to Susan Timoney, secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese, “Our ad was designed to be placed on metro bus exteriors to reach the broadest audience and to invite everyone to experience the well-accepted joyful spirit of the season, or to share their many blessings with others less fortunate through service opportunities.”

“The Archdiocese wishes to encourage our society to help feed, clothe, and care for our most vulnerable neighbors, and to share our blessings, and welcome all who wish to hear the Good News,” said Timoney.

“Having opened up its bus stops and vehicles to a range of ads, WMATA cannot bar ads that evoke the ‘reason for the season,’” concluded Picciotti-Bayer. “We hope for a prompt resolution of this clear violation of the First Amendment so that the Archdiocese's message of generosity and call to faith be on display around the nation's capital this Christmas.”

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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Christian teacher suspended for ‘misgendering’ female students

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
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OXFORD, England, November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A teacher has been suspended and may lose his job because he accidentally called a girl a “girl.”

“This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad,” the Christian Legal Center’s Andrea Williams said. “If we collude in the transgender delusion, we do not serve our children well, we harm them.”

Joshua Sutcliffe taught math to junior and senior high students at Stonewall schools, which are committed “to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.” His pupils outperformed every other class in the subject.

A Christian, Sutcliffe respected the school’s pro-transgender policy by referring to all students by their chosen name. He avoided using “Xe,” “Xir,” “They,” or any gender-specific pronouns.

“I have a deep conviction that we are all made in God’s image, male and female,” Sutcliffe explained. However, “I have never looked to impose my convictions on others.  I just try to earnestly live out the Gospel of peace.”

On November 2, he made an honest mistake. Trying to encourage the hard work and improvement of a group of female students, which included one who has declared herself transgender, Sutcliffe told them, “Well done, girls.”  

He immediately apologized to the gender-confused student and said his blunder was unintentional. Nevertheless, that slip of the tongue may cost him his job, and cost his students a beloved teacher.

The girl’s mother issued a formal complaint against Sutcliffe for “misgendering” her would-be-male daughter. It wasn’t her first complaint about Sutcliffe’s Christianity.

“This is the second time that this parent made a complaint about me. The first time was for handing out Christian leaflets at the gay pride march,” Sutcliffe noted. “No other parent has made a complaint about me.”

School officials began an investigation and cut off Sutcliffe from his students, forcing him into “isolation” in the staff room. The school concluded Sutcliffe was guilty of “misgendering” the student, “demonstrating discriminatory behaviors” and violating “the school’s equality policy.” Sutcliffe was suspended.

Sutcliffe criticized the way his honest mistake was treated. “The aggressive way in which transgender ideology is being imposed is undermining my freedom of belief and conscience,” he said, “as well as the conscience of many people throughout our nation who believe that gender is assigned at birth.”

“The Stonewall community appears to intentionally go out looking to cause trouble with people who are earnestly living out the Faith in Christ,” he added. “I have seen paper slips that encourage members write down and trip up anyone not conforming to their ideology.”

In Sutcliffe’s assessment, the actions of the school “reflect an increasing trend of seeing Christians, people like me, being marginalized in the public square and our beliefs punished and silenced.” He told Church Militant that “anyone that doesn’t conform to their way of thinking” is discriminated against.

Watch Sutcliffe explain his perspective here.

This isn’t the first time Sutcliffe has been persecuted for his Christian faith. For a year and a half, he ran a very popular Bible club for more than a hundred students until the head teacher stopped it on a technicality while other groups such as the LGBTI Club, the Mindfulness Club, and the Qigong Club are permitted.

Sutcliffe took issue with categorizing transgender-enabling as a matter of “equality.” “The issue with that is that not all ideas are equal,” he explained. “Jumping off a bridge doesn’t have equal weight to opening the door for someone. Ideas and policies are up for rigorous debate. Every person is equal. Ideas are not equal.”

Others take issue with politically correct “equality” enforcement as well. Such a transgender policy is “child abuse,” according to the American College of Pediatricians president Dr. Michelle Cretella. She describes “transition” hormones as “chemical castration” and decries the growing trend of “surgical mutilation of children.”

“We must urge the silent majority of parents, grandparents and health professionals to speak out,” Dr. Cretella told Church Militant. “We must ... demand an end to this massive dangerous social experiment that is already having devastating effects upon our young people.”

Former transgender Walt Heyer, who underwent surgery to live as a woman for nearly a decade, agrees. He says sex “change” surgeries often fail because they cannot address core underlying “comorbid disorders” but are “only cosmetic.”

“It is biologically impossible to change a man into a woman or a woman into a man,” Heyer told Church Militant.

The solution, Williams suggests, is to respect children’s biological gender as they navigate through the often difficult teen years. “We all know how much we change during our teenage years,” the CLC leader pointed out. “It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender.’”

“If we encourage them to change gender, it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel,” she stated.

“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex,” Williams concluded. “If we collude in the transgender delusion, we do not serve our children well. We harm them.”

The media have featured Sutcliffe’s story several times.

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Michael D. O’Brien Michael D. O’Brien

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The New Phariseeism is preparing the way for Antichrist to arise

Michael D. O’Brien Michael D. O’Brien

Editor’s Note: The following is the third part of an in-depth essay by author and painter Michael D. O’Brien on the coming Great Apostasy. The first part is here, and the second part here. The entire essay can be viewed here.

November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines heresy as an “obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith.”1

Let there be no mistake about it: The spreading apostasy in our times has been caused only in part by the unprecedented power of secular forces brought against us. Its root cause is to be found in the heresies that have spread among us, a new kind of Phariseeism that would empty the Faith of its power and meaning, creating a psychological/spiritual milieu in which the spirit of anti-Christ is able to increasingly control men’s perceptions, thoughts, and emotional lives. It is this that makes it now possible for the actual “Man of Sin,” the Antichrist himself, to arise.

The overwhelmingly dominant problem within the Church of the West at this time of history is a Phariseeism that is connected to corrupt moral theology and disordered ecclesiology, whereby false teachers make people believe that they are the righteous, even if sinning in terms of sexual morality, or by teaching that such sin is not grave sin and is no impediment to reception of the sacraments. They feel self-justified by their belief in a new Gospel of social justice—and a very selective social justice it is—reducing the fullness of the Gospels to a false either/or choice: you are either a liberal dissident (“loving, compassionate”) or you are a Pharisee (a “dour legalist"). They make their peace with personal sin because they believe they are fulfilling the Gospel imperatives by helping the poor. And whenever their own hypocrisies and compromises with personal sin and error are questioned, they simply shoot the messenger, pointing the finger at anyone who stands in opposition to their agendas, demonizing the voice of truth by superficial comparisons to the legalistic Pharisees of the Gospels. The fact is, the new Pharisee not only neglects the “weightier matters,” he so often actively undermines them, and in the worst cases contributes to the death of the innocent. He does it, O most grievous of ironies, by appealing to mercy.

Thus, in the growing confusion in which we are all immersed, there is need for sober reflection on what, precisely, Jesus was rebuking in his interactions with the Pharisees of his times. The pertinent passages are to be found in Matthew 23: 1-39; Mark 7: 1-13; Mark 12: 35-40; Luke 11: 37-54; Luke 20: 45-47 (see also John 9: 1-41).

In each of these, Christ is, above all, confronting the Pharisees’ hypocrisy—their outward appearance of virtue, their inner corruption, greed and evil thoughts. (Matt 23: 27-28; Luke 12:1). They lay heavy burdens on man while neglecting the weightier matters of total fidelity to God. These hard sayings of Jesus can be properly understood only in their fullest context:

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28-31).

Jesus is clearly teaching that truly loving one’s neighbor is founded on total fidelity to the divine commandments. Without that context, the supposed righteousness of the old Pharisee degenerates into legalism without love. Equally, without that context, the supposed compassion of the new Pharisee tends to degenerate into superficial sentiment, self-indulgence and presumption. If love is not founded on total fidelity to God’s commandments, it is soon truncated and fosters short-range kindnesses that breed long-range cruelties. In Mark 7: 1-13, Jesus chastises the Pharisees for their disregard for God’s commandments, while they quibble over man-made fine points of their laws; for example, their allowing a person to neglect the basic needs of his aged parents because he has made a donation to the Temple treasury. In Matthew 23: 15, Jesus says that they make their converts twice as fit for hell as they are. In Luke 17: 3-4, he says, “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” In John 8: 2-11, where Jesus meets the woman caught in adultery, the Pharisees would have condemned her and stoned her to death. After Jesus has shamed their consciences and blocked their evil intent, he says to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and do not sin again.”

In these and numerous other examples in the New Testament, building upon the Old Testament, Jesus does not shy away from rebuking sinners, again and again calling them to repentance, for he knew that repentance is the precondition for receiving mercy, liberating us from slavery to sin. It is the truth that will set us free, says the Lord.

The old Pharisees were very much preoccupied with the minutiae of the Law and its observance. They were quick to judge the weak and to condemn all those who fell short of their exacting standards. They were generally heartless, lacking in mercy. Moreover, they themselves were “whited sepulchers,” teaching the Mosaic Law and its elaborate derivatives but inwardly corrupt. And the end-fruit of their blindness was made manifest when they engineered the torture and execution of the Author of Life.

In our own times, it is undeniable that vestiges of the old Phariseeism remain among believers. Leaping instantly to mind are stereotypical images, which is the result of two, perhaps three, generations of an unceasing refrain in the liberalized churches of the Western world. It proclaims that the only truly grave sin is “intolerance,” by which is meant making people feel uncomfortable about themselves. Hand in hand with this is the endless vilification of those who are doctrinally and liturgically correct, but supposedly inwardly lifeless.

It goes without saying that pastors and laypeople who are doctrinally and liturgically correct but who lack charity and authentic missionary zeal are at risk of the “yeast of the Pharisees.” Yet any sincere Christian is vigilant about the potential for Phariseeism within himself, just as he is on guard against his temptations to sin. He knows that without the grace of Jesus he would be both the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and the younger brother.

Does the Lord not say to us all, if we would hear: “Beware, my children, of the danger faced by the ‘elder son’ in the parable of the Prodigal Son, for you run the risk of sliding into Phariseeism.”?

And at the same time does he not cry out to each and every soul, “Repent of your sins! Come to me and live!” (Isaiah 55: 3-5; Ezekiel 33: 11; John 14: 6)?

To be continued…


Notes:

1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2089; CIC, The Code of Canon Law, can. 751.

 
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The problem with Catholic evangelization today in less than 150 words

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — There is a brilliant professor named Peter Kwasnewski. At LifeSite, we were so impressed with his writing that we hired him for weekly contributions. He has done another masterful job of presenting the gravest challenges to Catholic evangelization. Here is a quick summary:

“We have a missionary imperative from Christ to convert the world. But there are at least five serious obstacles to evangelizing today, any one of which would already deal a serious blow to the endeavor. First, the privatization of religion. Second, the rejection of original sin and the assumption of universal salvation. Third, the widespread doctrinal and moral confusion in the Church. Fourth, the banality and irreverence of mainstream Catholic worship. Fifth, the utter lack of ascetical demands. When you put all these together, you get Catholics who don’t think they should bother other people about religion, who assume that most people are already fine, who are not even quite sure they know what they believe, have nothing especially attractive to invite people to, and are not living and promoting a way of life that would respond to the needs of any serious searcher.”

You can read Peter’s whole piece on the subject at OnePeterFive.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

The Pulse,

Blasphemous ‘gaytivity’ set uses two Josephs

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

LOS ANGELES, California, November 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An LGBT activist and comedian is promoting a nativity scene with two St. Josephs and no Virgin Mary.

Some have dubbed this a “gaytivity scene.”

“Our neighbors’ two Joseph nativity is up & I’m beaming,” Cameron Esposito tweeted along with a photo of the blasphemous display.

One woman responded by tweeting a photo of her own “lesbian” nativity scene that uses two statues of Mary. The baby Jesus in that one is shown with a rainbow blanket.

Rhode Island’s Bishop Thomas Tobin called the nativity set with two Josephs “sacrilege.”

He posted on Facebook:

Just came across this photo of a “gay nativity” scene — two Josephs dressed in pink watching over the Christ Child. How sad that someone believes it’s okay (or funny or cool) to impose their own agenda on the holy Birth of Jesus. Pray for those who did so, for their change of heart, and that Jesus will forgive this sacrilege, this attack on the Christian Faith.

“Jesus had two dads and he turned out fine!” is a common sneer Christians face when they oppose same-sex “marriage.”

The truth is, everyone actually has two dads – our biological fathers on earth and our Heavenly Father.

And, we all actually have two mothers – our biological mothers on earth and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is our spiritual mother.

That doesn’t mean that deliberately depriving a child of his father or mother for the sake of adult desires is justified.

Every human being has a mother and a father. Each of them provides something unique to any children conceived by their union. Tragedies don’t always allow kids to be raised by both parents, but ideally they should be.  

And isn’t it interesting that those who twist Christianity to promote same-sex relationships are usually the same people clamoring for the Church to get out of the public square?

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