All articles from January 09, 2018


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City hall to review all-ages naked swimming party after petition goes viral

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CALGARY, January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Calgary city council will decide Wednesday whether or not to cancel a private all-ages nude swim party at its Southland Leisure Centre after a petition to stop the event went viral.

CBC reported last Friday that Calgary Nude Recreation rented the city-run recreation center for a “Naked Water Slides and Wave Pool” event on January 14.

But the nudist group encourages children at its gatherings, according to its Meetup page.

“This group is family oriented and kid friendly and open to people of all ages, body types, all genders, sexual orientations, and anyone else in between,” it states.

That raised alarm bells for the conservative website Dailywire.com.

It blasted the nudist club for encouraging children to attend, and slammed Calgary city hall for renting to the group and providing paid staff to run the leisure center during the after-hours private event.

Alarm bells also went off for Canadian April Parker, who launched a change.org petition to stop the event. It's been signed by 16,236 people and counting.

“Sexual predators will be on the prowl - having an event like that is just like Christmas to them,” Parker’s petition contends.

“Children with previous sexual abuse traumas will be heavily effected if they attend the event” and there is an “extremely high chance of photos and videos being taken without consent, considered child pornography.”

Calgary city council is now reconsidering the matter, CBC reported Tuesday.

“Given the attention this event has received, we are undertaking a review with the event organizer to ensure the privacy and security of participants can be maintained,” the city said in a statement, as reported by CBC.

The nudist club posted a response to the petition on its Facebook page defending the nude swim gathering, which has sold out at 181 tickets.

“The suggestion that our events should be marketed as ‘adult only’ entertainment illustrates the disconnect between what people THINK social nudity is about versus what social nudity is ACTUALLY about,” it said.

The club asserts on its Meetup page that “all recreational events associated with this group are strictly non sexual and are intended to create a safe space to express ourselves in our most vulnerable and natural state all the while having fun!”

That’s because “being naked is awesome! The meetups are not a place to show off your body to others, compare or stare, but rather a place that you can enjoy being naked, in your rawest self expression in a safe and welcoming, non judgmental environment.”

The “nude policy” for Calgary Nude Recreation states that “For men nudity is REQUIRED. For women topless at minimum is REQUIRED (let the ladies be free!), or all nude, should you desire. If your gender falls between, please make the decision on what feels best for you.”

According to the CBC, the Surrey Skinnydippers in British Columbia won the right to hold private nude swimming events at a public pool after a four year court battle.

Parker and the petitioners maintain their chief concern is the presence of children.

“I respect the concept and believe in an 18+ setting it could be a popular event,” her petition states.

“However, having naked children around a bunch of naked adults doesn’t seem like a good idea for any reason. Realistically there is a lot of mental illness out there that this event could trigger/effect,” she writes.

“I have seen a large group of people talking about the event on Facebook and not a lot of people seemed to be impressed with the whole idea. Please sign the petition to put this event to rest! Or at least until they make it age appropriate!” Parker’s petition says.

“Please take this into heavy consideration, and if you have kids or grandkids,” she urged. “Take a look at them and ask yourself if it feels right for them to run around naked with naked older folks. Not all parents make great choices for their kids, so let’s not make these bad choices available to them please!”

To sign the petition, go here.

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Pro-life group sues Trudeau gov’t for tying pro-abortion pledge to summer job funds

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TORONTO, January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Toronto Right to Life Association is suing Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for violating the Charter by requiring employers sign an “attestation” supporting abortion and transgender rights to receive summer job funding grants.

“Toronto Right to Life feels it’s important to defend our rights and fight back against this discrimination, so that we can continue to be a voice for voiceless preborn children,” said group president Blaise Alleyne.

Calgary-based constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson filed an application January 4 with the federal court asking the Liberals’ pro-abortion attestation requirement be quashed on the grounds it is “compelled speech.”

“Compelling individuals to adopt certain beliefs in order to receive benefits…is a breach of their conscience rights, religious rights, expression rights and right to equality under the Charter,” Crosson told LifeSiteNews.

“And of course, this doesn’t just affect individuals with certain beliefs, it affects everyone in Canada,” she said.

This is “because if one individual with a certain set of beliefs can be compelled, anyone can be compelled to agree with the government’s opinion on a particular social issue,” Crosson explained.

Canada Summer Jobs grants funds to non-profit groups, small businesses, and public sector employers to create jobs for students from 15 to 30 years of age.

Formerly, it was up to individual members of Parliament to approve applications for the program.

But Liberal employment minister Patty Hajdu introduced new criteria December 19, after making it clear last year she would change how the program is administered to prevent pro-life groups from receiving funds.

To be eligible for the program, employers must now sign an attestation that their “core mandate” and the jobs they create respect Charter values, including “reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

The Liberals assert on the Canada Summer Job website the attestation is “consistent with individual human rights in Canada.”

These include “sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions. These rights are at the core of the Government of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies,” the website states.

 

 

The Liberal requirement sparked widespread outrage among pro-life groups, with a number of them, including LifeSiteNews and Campaign Life Coalition, launching petitions opposing the measure.

Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, described the move as a “ground-breaking first step on the inevitable path to raw totalitarianism and open persecution with the sanction of the state” and warned that Trudeau “is transforming the Liberal Party into a hate group against Christians.”

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition! Click here.

Toronto Right to Life appears to be the only pro-life group so far to take the Liberals to court over the matter.

The group already successfully sued the Liberals when Hajdu’s ministry denied them summer job grants in 2017.

Crosson represented TRTL, as well as Guelph Right to Life and the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform in the legal action, which the Liberals settled out of court in November.

The government admitted the pro-life groups were “denied funding on the basis of a criteria neither set out in the applicant’s guide nor included in the MP’s list of local priorities for 2017,” according to TRTL’s January 4 notice of application.

Alleyne told LifeSiteNews his group received $10,000 from the Liberal settlement, the equivalent of job grants for four students.

In the current lawsuit, Crosson is seeking a court order to “stay,” or block enforcement of, the attestation until the Charter challenge is heard, she told LifeSiteNews.

She expects to be in court within a few days to argue for the stay, but no date has yet been set.

Meanwhile, February 2 is the application deadline for Canada Summer Jobs in 2018. Toronto Right to Life has submitted a paper application.

It included a cover letter stating that TRTL supported Canadian law, the Charter and human rights law, but could not sign the attestation on grounds of conscience.

“We believe the minister does not have the jurisdiction under law to compel us to make a statement that conflicts with our conscience rights under the Charter,” the TRTL letter stated.

“We respectfully decline to make a statement that is inconsistent with our fundamental personal beliefs about the value of life and the right to life under Section 7 of the Charter,” it continued.

TRTL received confirmation the materials were delivered to Service Canada December 22, according to its application.

The attestation requirement “affects all employers applying for funding under the program program, pro-life organization or pro-life individuals who might be running totally different business,” Alleyne told LifeSiteNews. “We’re standing up for our rights but in a way that we will hope will combat discrimination against pro-life Canadians in general.”

His group is currently raising money to cover the costs of this enormous legal battle.

“We’re a pretty small organization taking on a pretty big legal challenge, so donations are certainly appreciated,” he said.

“We want to make sure that we have the resources to see this battle through and to defend the right, not only for Toronto Right to Life, but for other pro-life Canadians who are facing this discrimination,” he said.

Donations to TRTL can be made here, or here.

 

Related:

Canada won’t fund student summer jobs unless employers support abortion

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Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins
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Notre Dame pres. shouldn’t attend March for Life while providing ‘abortifacient’ coverage: Alumni

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SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It would be “hypocritical” for Notre Dame University’s president to attend the March for Life given his role in allowing abortifacient birth-control coverage through insurance to students and staff, concerned alumni are saying.

A Notre Dame alumni association, the Sycamore Trust, was disappointed when the university, under the presidency of Father John Jenkins, CSC, bowed to Obama’s HHS ‘contraception’ mandate which enjoined employers to provide their employees with health coverage that included “services” such as contraceptives and sterilization. The group expressed grave concern when the university did not except the new faith-based exemption offered by the Trump administration. 

Father Jenkins has participated in the March for Life in the Capitol since 2010, but critics say that this year it would be better if he stayed away. 

“I certainly hope he will have the grace not to accompany the students and faculty,” Sycamore Trust’s Bill Dempsey told LifeSiteNews. “It would be hypocritical and a severe embarrassment to the students and faculty [if he did].”

“It is hard to imagine him delivering a pro-life homily after having turned the university into an agent for the distribution of abortifacients and contraceptives to students and employees,” he said. 

Notre Dame did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ request for comment before press time.

Manufactures of common hormonal contraceptives, such as the IUD, have made clear the abortive effects of contraception. According to the manufacturer of Mirena, the IUD makes a woman’s body hostile to new life in three ways: It thickens the woman’s cervical mucus to prevent sperm from traveling to an egg; it prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg; and if a sperm and egg do unite, the IUD thins the lining of the uterus, making it impossible for the newly conceived human being to implant on the uterine wall.

Notre Dame alumnus Brian Simboli has argued that even if there is a medical dispute about whether contraceptives act as abortifacients, “morality requires that one should treat them as having these effects.”

“The pro-life community, on balance, has hardly yet addressed the serious implications of this principle,” he wrote.

Simboli told LifeSiteNews that Notre Dame’s failure to stand up against the HHS mandate was a tragedy.

“It is a tragedy that a university with an about 12 billion dollar endowment, and so much potential to help the pro-life cause, did not stand up to the HHS mandate about abortifacients,” he said. “There is no way the Obama administration would have risked the political capital had Notre Dame done so at the get-go.” 

Simboli blames Father Jenkins for Notre Dame’s refusal of the exemption from the mandate offered by the Trump administration. Notre Dame chose instead to let the university’s health plan contractors continue to provide free abortifacients and contraceptives to its students and employees. 

“One can only wonder, in light of recent events at Notre Dame, precisely what Fr. Jenkins meant when he says that “I am one in whose heart ‘dogma beats loudly,” said Simboli.

Simboli was referring to a letter Jenkins wrote to Senator Diane Feinstein in response to her remark to Notre Dame professor Amy Coney Barrett, during her judicial confirmation hearing, that “dogma lives loudly in you.”  The remark was interpreted by many Catholics as an anti-Catholic slur. 

“I am one in whose heart ‘dogma lives loudly,’ as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation,” Jenkins wrote.

Under Jenkins’ tenure, however, Notre Dame has permitted various offenses against Catholic teaching. In 2006, Notre Dame permitted both the performance of  The Vagina Monologues, an obscene play in which one character exults in her statutory rape by an older woman. That same year, it allowed a film festival showcasing same-sex sexual desire. Then, in 2009, Notre Dame invited abortion extremist and then-U.S.-President Barack Obama to speak at a commencement ceremony where he was awarded a Doctorate of Laws. 

"He is the president of the United States,” Father Jenkins said at the time, “and there was a tradition of Notre Dame inviting presidents to be commencement speakers and receive honorary degrees, and we continue that tradition."

But Jenkins broke that tradition this year when he neglected to invite President Trump to Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony, choosing instead to honor Vice-President Mike Pence

In welcoming Obama to Notre Dame, Jenkins disregarded the petitions of 367,000 individuals, including 83 cardinals, bishops, archbishops and his own local ordinary, to rescind the invitation. He also ignored requests for “dialogue” from the 88 protesters arrested for “criminal trespass” as they peacefully protested Obama’s presence on campus.

The 2018 March for Life, the largest pro-life rally in the world, will take place in Washington D.C. on January 19.

Editor's note: In an earlier version of this report, LifeSiteNews referred to Fr. Jenkins as "William," whereas his name is "John."

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University researcher suspended for possibly selling aborted baby body parts

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The University of New Mexico suspended and is investigating a researcher who “transferred” aborted baby parts from a late-term abortion facility to a private company.

According to a university memo obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, Dr. Robin Ohls “acquired fetal tissue for months from the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion clinic and transferred it to a private company in Michigan.”

That private company is Zietchick Research Institute LLC, the recipient of at least three federal research/technology grants for small businesses. It has one employee.

Ohls is barred from entering her lab until the investigation is over.

The illegal practice of trafficking human baby body parts is widespread across the abortion industry, the revolutionary 2015 videos from the Center for Medical Progress revealed.

Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) is one of America’s most notorious late-term abortion facilities. The facility commits abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.

In 2016, the U.S. House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives recommended the University of New Mexico be prosecuted for their participation in the fetal body parts trade. The report said the University had acquired the body parts from SWO.

However, the state’s Attorney General, Democrat Hector Balderas, is not prosecuting the entities.

According to the new memo suspending Ohls, the University’s Health Sciences Center (HSC) “was concerned that...an issue was being raised that would potentially infringe on the University’s policy to not buy or sell human tissue” and “appropriate research compliance approvals and processes protocols had not been followed.”

Pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue, which has extensively documented SWO’s abuses, noted the irony of the Albuquerque Journal running “contradictory stories”: one on Balderas not prosecuting SWO or the University, and the other on Ohls’ suspension for potentially breaking the law.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman speculated Balderas isn’t prosecuting the abortion center and the University for political reasons.

“I guess his political career was more important to him than doing his sworn duty to uphold the law,” said Newman. “Fortunately, the Department of Justice has opened an active investigation into Planned Parenthood aborted baby body parts scheme, and are also investigating the UNM/SWO referrals, so there is still some hope that justice will be done.”

Officials at the University’s HSC have for years “misled the public and protected the lawbreakers in the midst of systemic violations of laws and regulations," said Elisa Martinez, executive director of New Mexico Alliance for Life. "UNM HSC officials have attempted to conceal the suspension of Robin Ohls, in order to mislead the public and pretend nothing is going on.”

“The entire system is corrupted” under its current leadership of Chancellor Paul Roth, Martinez said, demanding he “be removed immediately.”

Local and national pro-life groups have for years focused on exposing the practices of SWO with the hopes of shutting it down. One of SWO’s abortionists is 80-year-old Curtis Boyd, who began committing illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade.

A 23-year-old woman died after an abortion at SWO in February 2017.

In October 2017, Abortion Free New Mexico released an undercover call with the facility revealing its staff offering to abort a 37-week-old baby for $17,000. In another undercover call, a SWO employee said they “euthanize” pre-born babies and deliver them “stillborn.”

SWO workers told a 27-week-pregnant Live Action undercover investigator in footage released in 2013 to “just sit on the toilet if the baby comes” and a doctor and nurse would meet her at her hotel room.

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Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara
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Cardinal: Those who practice homosexuality, contraception, adultery cannot receive Communion

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, Mexico, rejected the possibility of giving Holy Communion to people who commit the sins of homosexuality, contraception, and adultery, in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. 

He also called homosexuality a “psychological illness” that leads to the self-destruction of its practitioners. He accused the elite financial class of the Anglo-Saxon countries of seeking to impose gender ideology on developing countries. 

Asked about proposals to give practicing homosexuals Holy Communion if they are in “good conscience” about their behavior, Sandoval responded, “They can't be in good conscience. Chastity is a universal precept. All of us must maintain chastity.”

The cardinal added that chastity is not something required exclusively of those who suffer from homosexual impulses, but of everyone according to his particular situation. 

“So just as those who have normal tendencies, and aren't married, have to abstain, so those who have abnormal tendencies must also abstain,” said Sandoval, adding, “Even more so, knowing that homosexuality is a psychological illness which can be cured. Let them seek a cure, because homosexuality is never permitted.”

“That's what Genesis is about. Gomorrah . . . what happened with Sodom and Gomorrah? What happened? They gave vent to their desires and were destroyed in that way,” said the Cardinal.

“There are many people who have the misfortune of being homosexual but who live chastely,” said Sandoval. “Those, yes, are going to enter into the kingdom of God. But those who practice it will not enter the kingdom of God. St. Paul says that. And homosexuality is condemned, totally condemned, in the Old Testament, in Genesis, and by St. Paul in the New Testament.”

Sandoval also rejected proposals to give Holy Communion to Catholics who use artificial birth control, noting that “contraception is decisively condemned, totally condemned, in Blessed Paul VI's Humanae vitae. It's totally condemned because it runs counter to human nature and against the plan of God. All forms of contraception.”

The Cardinal said that Pope Francis had been misunderstood regarding giving Holy Communion to those who are divorced and remarried, and pointed to Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, which gave “a series of very wise and very concrete conditions that were established by the Holy Father, John Paul II."

"It's necessary to return to them," he said. "They give a response to the confusion over chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia.” He observed that Familiaris consortio requires that those who have divorced and invalidly remarried cannot receive Holy Communion unless they abstain from the sexual act. 

Sandoval made his remarks in an interview with LifeSiteNews in late August of last year. 

Many bishops lacking in courage

Cardinal Sandoval told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that the progress of the culture of death in Mexico is continuing, despite a “great exorcism” that was performed on the country in 2015. He put part of the blame on bishops whom he said often don’t have the courage to speak the truth.

Asked LifeSiteNews: “In 2015 you did a rite of ‘great exorcism’ . . . for all of Mexico in response to attacks against the value of human life in the country. How has the situation changed in the country since then? Is it better, worse, or the same in your opinion?”

Responded the Cardinal: “Yes, I did that exorcism in the cathedral of San Luis Potosi with the doors closed and with few people at the request of the archbishop of San Luis Potosí, who asked me to do the exorcism, fundamentally because he was having many problems with the local government with his priests, and with those of his priests who were out of control were being pursued by the authorities.”

“And I added also the supplication of our Lord for family and life. I added that it would be for all of Mexico so that God would aid us to enable us to fight against that current that seeks to destroy life and family. An exorcism is an act of supplication. It's a supplication made to God to repulse evil, to repulse the devil who is working underneath all of these nefarious initiatives.”

“Your question is, ‘What is the state of things in Mexico now?’ It's worse. I say that it's worse. Well, why is it worse? Because God permits it to be so. Or because of our sins, because we haven't known how to pray and act as we should.” 

Asked LifeSiteNews: “So you also see this problem in part as a symptom of a lack of action on the part of some Catholic prelates?”

Responded the Cardinal: “Yes. I think that the need is, above all, for systematic and solid catechesis for the people, that is, to preach the Gospel, as St. Paul said, in season and out of season, to instruct the people regarding the importance of the family and the value of the family, regarding the nature of Christian morality that Our Lord Jesus Christ left to us and really, to form their consciences from childhood." 

"Yes, we have been lacking in that. And furthermore, when the government undertakes initiatives, in one state or another here in Mexico, well, it's necessary to protest and it's necessary to ask the people to oppose them. . . . And I think that there is a lack, in many bishops, of that ‘parrhesia,’ as St. Paul says, that courage to announce and to denounce.”

Anglo-Saxon elite seeking to establish 'new order' of anti-family, global government

Cardinal Sandoval said that the impetus for initiatives to create homosexual “marriage” and impose gender ideology in Latin America were coming from foreign powers, principally from wealthy and powerful interests in the Anglo-Saxon countries, who are seeking to impose a “new order” and a global government on the world.

“They are forcing this on countries here in Latin America, most of all, by means of the economy,” said Sandoval. “Our countries are underdeveloped, they need help, they're in debt, they need loans, and they can be denied to them if they don't implement these policies. They can raise the interest rates on the debts they have, things like that.”

“So, that policy comes -- so say many --  from an Anglo-Saxon elite that is very dominant over international organizations, like the UN and others, and they have this plan to arrive at the ‘new order.’ And the ‘new order’ is one global government, one economy, one culture, one religion by which they can eliminate the Christian faith, or confuse it with the others.”

“[They claim that] it's necessary to eliminate the family in which men are formed with conscience and character, who defend themselves. And it's necessary to eliminate national independence, so that everyone is subject to an international authority. So you see it as a plan carried out by rich and powerful countries to impose themselves,” said Sandoval.

Cardinal Sandoval is one of the strongest pro-life voices in Latin America and emeritus archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, where he took on anti-Catholic government officials and repeatedly defied attempts by politicians to attack the right to life and family values. Repeated attempts have been made by public officials and political pressure groups in Mexico to prosecute Sandoval in response to his pro-life activities, but to no avail.  

The cardinal expressed similar sentiments in a recent public act of reparation for the sins of Mexicans against life and family, in which he said, “We have sinned by committing the worst, most grave, and most cruel crime of all, that of abortion, practiced throughout our country, sometimes with the consent of iniquitous laws and sometimes in secret, in hiding, but always with cruelty, with malice that takes advantage of the innocent and defenseless.”

“We have sinned, O Lord, accepting and promoting gender ideology, which with its package of perversions aggresses against family and life, with the unconfessed purpose of ruining societies, subjugating and plundering them,” he said.

***

Interview excerpts:

About the 2015 exorcism:

Cardinal Sandoval: Yes, I did that exorcism in the cathedral of San Luis Potosi with the doors closed and with few people at the request of the archbishop of San Luis Potosí, who asked me to do the exorcism fundamentally because he was having many problems with the local government regarding his priests, and with those of his priests who were out of control and who were being pursued by the authorities. And I added also the supplication of our Lord for family and life. I added that it would be for all of Mexico so that God would aid us to enable us to fight against that current that seeks to destroy life and family.

An exorcism is an act of supplication. It's a supplication made to God to repulse evil, to repulse the devil who is working underneath all of these nefarious initiatives. So God knows if he hears us or does not hear us. Your question is, "What is the state of things in Mexico now?" It's worse. I say that it's worse. Well, why is it worse? Because God permits it to be so. Or because of our sins, because we haven't known how to pray and act as we should. So you also see this problem in part as a symptom of a lack of action on the part of some Catholic prelates? They can do their own exorcisms or, additionally, preach the Gospel more forcefully, or how do you see it? Yes. I think that the need is, above all, for systematic and solid catechesis for the people.

That is, to preach the Gospel, as St. Paul said, in season and out of season, to instruct the people regarding the importance of the family and the value of the family, regarding the nature of Christian morality that Our Lord Jesus Christ left to us and really, to form their consciences from childhood.

Yes, we have been lacking in that.

And furthermore, when the government undertakes initiatives, in one state or another here in Mexico, well, it's necessary to protest and it's necessary to ask the people to oppose them. Because supposedly -- supposedly --  this is a democratic country. I think that democracy exists in very few countries. For the rest, they give them a false democracy. But we're assuming the existence of a democracy, so there is the right here to protest the laws if one is not in agreement with the opinion of the majority of the citizens. And I think that there is a lack, in many bishops, of that "parresía," as St. Paul says that courage to announce and to denounce.

About confusion over giving Holy Communion to adulterers:

Cardinal Sandoval: The confusion has come, above all,  with the very understanding and kindly attitude of Pope Francis, which has been misinterpreted, and with chapter seven -- no, chapter eight -- of Amoris Laetitia, which speaks of having much understanding and mercy regarding particular situations, etc., in which those who have gotten married and divorced could or can receive Holy Communion -- married and divorced who unite with someone else.

The thing that is very clear, the point that is very clear, in Familiaris Consortio, which is by the Holy Father who is now a saint, John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio [paragraph] number 84 he speaks of three or four situations in which those who are divorced and remarried could be accepted in the sacraments of penance and communion (confession and communion).

I remember it, more or less, in this way: The Holy Father says that if one of them is gravely ill and doesn't have anyone to care for them except the person with whom they are living they may stay by their side, living like siblings, -- that is, without the use of the sexual act. Living like siblings. If they have children, various children, who would be neglected they could, perhaps, continue to live together, but always agreeing to live like brother and sister.

And furthermore, if it is known that they are divorced and have gotten remarried they would have to receive the sacraments somewhere else, where there wouldn't be any scandal. So it was a series of very wise and very concrete conditions that were established by the Holy Father, John Paul II. It's necessary to return to them. They give a response to the confusion over chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia

LifeSiteNews: Have we forgotten today, in the Church, this issue of scandal regarding the sacraments? How do you view this?

Cardinal Sandoval: I think so. I think that sometimes people are more lax, that there are lower standards. They're going to lose the notion of "sin." If they don't know the commandments, if they don't know them any more, how are they going to keep them? So they are guilty of sin, but because they aren't aware that they're living a bad life although the natural law is written on the heart, they say, "Well, I'm not guilty of a grave sin, I can receive communion," and they go up to receive communion. They're in sin. Because of a lack of instruction, because they lack an enlightened conscience.

On contraception being acceptable or not:

Cardinal Sandoval: Contraception is decisively condemned, totally condemned, in Blessed Paul VI's Humanae Vitae. It's totally condemned because it runs counter to human nature and against the plan of God. All forms of contraception.

But, there is an option, there is an option for those who are married, and who are unable to have children or cannot do so without inconvenience. Because they're very poor and they are no longer able to bring them up, because they might have transmissible diseases, as in this case, and other similar cases. So the Holy Father speaks of the natural method. He recommends the natural method [Natural Family Planning (NFP)], which is based on the providence of God, who made it that the woman is not always fertile. Within her cycle of 28 days, she has some days of infertility.

And now, with modern research, it can be known very well when the woman is fertile and when she's not. So that the natural method may be used to avoid having children.

It's not contraception. It's simply using the reality that the woman is not fertile all the time.

So it's not contraception. It's the natural method.

I think that the best [form of it] that has been proposed is that of Billings, from Australia. So the Holy Father prohibited contraception, but indicated a way by which those who in their consciences, before God, can't have children, have sexual relations but avoid having children. But it is always necessary to be submissive to the providence of God. A Christian is always submissive to the providence of God. 

I was present for the funeral of Cardinal Prionio who was from Argentina, and was working in the Holy See. Cardinal Pironio was a great man. And John Paul II, who celebrated the mass in St. Peter's Basilica, said that the mother of Cardinal Pironio, when she had her first child she appeared to be in very bad health, on the brink of death.

And the doctor told her, "You can't have a family, because you're going to die."

And so the mother was very anguished because she wanted to have more children.

She went to the bishop in [the town of] La Plata, And she told him what the doctor had told her.

And he told her, "Daughter, that's what the doctor says, but he who is in heaven is the one who decides."

And after that, she had 21 children! 

And the twenty-first was Cardinal Pironio. So it's necessary to have faith -- that's what the pope said in the funeral mass of Cardinal Eduardo Pironio. It's always necessary to have faith in the providence of God 

LifeSiteNews: And also, today we are hearing that even those who are living in homosexual relationships can receive Holy Communion if they are [doing so] "in good conscience."

Cardinal Sandoval: No. That's an abuse also. They can't be in good conscience. Chastity is a universal precept. All of us must maintain chastity.

For those who are married, there is conjugal chastity. Which is their fidelity to one another, between the husband and the wife, conjugal fidelity, conjugal chastity. In the case of singles, it is that they abstain, and those who are homosexuals, those who have attractions to the same sex, also abstaining. So just as those who have normal tendencies, and aren't married, have to abstain, so those who have abnormal tendencies must also abstain.

Even more so, knowing that homosexuality is a psychological illness which can be cured. Let them seek a cure, because homosexuality is never permitted. That's what Genesis is about. Gomorrah . . . what happened with  Sodom and Gomorrah? What happened?

He destroyed them . . .

They gave vent to their desires and were destroyed in that way. And St. Paul says clearly, in one of his letters — where he gives a list of those who will not possess the kingdom of God —, he says that homosexuals will not enter into the kingdom of God.

This means those homosexuals who practice it, not those who control themselves and maintain a correct life, and there are many people who have the misfortune of being homosexual but who live chastely. Those, yes, are going to enter into the kingdom of God. But those who practice it will not enter the kingdom of God. St. Paul says that. And homosexuality is condemned, totally condemned, in the Old Testament, in Genesis, and by St. Paul in the New Testament.

On resisting temptation:

Cardinal Sandoval: All of us can resist temptations, all of us, no matter how great they are, by the grace of God. Alone, no, alone no. And the Council of Trent, when it spoke of the grace of God and of justification said that man cannot, by his efforts alone, keep the law of God. He needs the grace of God to keep [the law of God].

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Pro-life activists attend the 2015 annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. American Life League
The Editors

News

The full list of awesome events happening during March for Life week in D.C.

The Editors

Editor’s Note: We are updating this page in the lead-up to the march as information is available. Please email additions or changes to [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The annual March for Life draws hundreds of thousands of pro-life citizens to Washington, D.C. every year. And this year's event is drawing special interest because of all the Trump administration has done in the last year to advance pro-life policies and measures.

But the massive march on Friday, January 19, is just the climax of a whole series of amazing pro-life events in the D.C. area in the days surrounding it.

Here is the full list of events that you'll definitely want to check out. Please note some of the listed events require an RSVP. 

This year, a plenary indulgence is available to Catholics attending the March for Life if the usual conditions are met.

We are striving to make this comprehensive, so if we've missed something please send it along!

March for Life 2018 Events

Thursday, January 18, 2018

8:00 am - 10:00 am         
Protest at DC Planned Parenthood with national pro-life leaders       
1225 4th St. NE           

8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Anglicans for Life Summit
6565 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, VA

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
March for Life Conference
Renaissance Hotel
*Keynote: Stephanie Gray

9:00 am - 8:00 pm
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Hotel

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm           
Law of Life Summit
Renaissance Hotel

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm           
March for Life Youth Rally
Renaissance Hotel

3:00 pm
Angelic Warfare Confraternity Enrollment Ceremony
Dominican House of Studies (across the street from the Basilica)
487 Michigan Ave NE

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm         
Pro Women’s Healthcare Centers Launch Event
Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE (across the street from the Basilica)     

5:30 pm
Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Celebrant: Cardinal Timothy Dolan      

6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Celebrate Life with CFRs and Paul J. Kim
Mother Seton Parish, Germantown, MD

6:30 pm - 10:00 pm        
Young Adult Night for Life 
With Adoration, Confession, cash bar
St. Charles Catholic Church
3304 Washington Boulevard, Arlington, VA, 22201                                  

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
OneVoiceDC 
Renaissance Hotel

7:30 pm– 10:00 pm
Diocese of Arlington’s Life is Very Good Evening Prayer 
EagleBank Arena at George Mason University
4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, VA   

Friday, January 19, 2018

5:30 am - 6 pm
Hospitality for Marchers at St. Peter's on Capitol Hill 
313 2nd St. SE

6:45 am - 10:30 am
Archdiocese of Washington Youth Rally
Capital One Arena, 601 F St NW, Verizon Center

7:30 am
Closing Mass for the Solemn Prayer Vigil for Life 
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception    

7:30 am Morning Mass for Life     
St. Mary Mother of God, 727 Fifth Street, NW

8:30 am Tridentine Mass offered by the Institute of Christ the King   
St. Mary Mother of God, 727 Fifth Street, NW

8:00 am - 10:30 am
March for Life Expo   
Renaissance Hotel

8:30 am
Pro-Life Con       
Family Research Council
801 G Street, N.W.

7:30 am - 10:30 am
National Prayer Service - Priests for Life 
DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St NW

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Diocese of Arlington’s Life is Very Good Morning Rally
EagleBank Arena at George Mason University
4500 Patriot Cir, Fairfax, VA 22030

9:00 am
Anglicans for Life Summit Prayer and Worship Service
6565 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, VA

11:00 am          
Pray to defund Planned Parenthood at Sen. McConnell’s Office
Russell Senate Office Building

11:45 am-12:30 pm         
Liturgy for the Preborn at the Time of Death (CEC for Life)   
In front of the US Supreme Court
1 First St, NE, DC

March for Life begins starting at ​National Mall – 12th St.: 
11:30 am March for Life Musical Opening featuring Plumb! 
12:00 pm Rally Program begins followed by the March up Constitution Avenue to Supreme Court and Capitol Building
After finishing marching, listen to Silent No More testimonies outside the Supreme Court
                  

4:00 p.m.
Nellie Gray Solemn High Extraordinary Form Mass   
St. Mary Mother of God, 727 Fifth Street, NW

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm   
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Hotel   

4:00 pm
Building a Culture of Life Happy Hour
201 Bar
201 Massachusetts Ave NE,
Washington, DC 20002

6:00 pm                           
March for Life Rose Dinner
Renaissance Hotel Grand Ballroom
*Keynote: Pam Tebow

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm           
Latinos por la Vida Concierto
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
3305 Glen Carlyn Rd, Falls Church, VA 22041

Saturday, January 20, 2018

8:00 am - 7:00 pm           
Students for Life of America National Conference 
First Baptist Church Glenarden Event Center
600 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

8:30 am - 4:30 pm           
Latinos por la Vida Conferencia
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
3305 Glen Carlyn Rd, Falls Church, VA 22041

9:00 am
Tridentine Mass with the Society of St. Pius X       
Renaissance Hotel Meeting Room 12/13/14

9:30 am - 4:00 pm          
Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life 
Georgetown University
*Keynote: Lila Rose

7:00 pm
The Bitter Fruits of the Sexual Revolution          
With Prof. Stephane Mercier
Tradition Family Property Washington, D.C. Bureau
1344 Merrie Ridge Road, McLean, VA 22101

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William Kilpatrick

Opinion,

Islam and secularism want to monopolize the public square. Here’s why that’s concerning

William Kilpatrick

January 9, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – Secularists like to advise Christians that, for the sake of social harmony, they ought to keep their religion to themselves. Religion, they argue, is a private affair between an individual and his designated deity, and ought not to be dragged into the public square. Moreover, they helpfully add, it’s an imposition on others to confront them with beliefs that they may find offensive.

As for themselves, secularists have no qualms about imposing their own values on everyone within reach. They are convinced of the rightness of their beliefs, and consequently they don’t think twice about forcing Christian bakers, florists, and photographers to endorse gay weddings. They are also convinced that they know what’s best for your children. And what’s best for them, they are quite certain, is that they learn all the latest fashions in gender identity and marriage equality.

In his groundbreaking 1984 book, The Naked Public Square, Richard John Neuhaus argued that the public square can never be naked for long. In other words, it cannot be neutral about values: “If it is not clothed with the ‘meanings’ borne by religion, new ‘meanings’ will be imposed by virtue of the ambitions of the modern state.”

In short, the committed secularist won’t be satisfied with the removal of the crèche from the town square. He’ll insist that it be replaced with something that more accurately reflects American diversity—say, a monument to Margaret Sanger or a statue of James Obergefell. Of course, secular society’s reach extends well beyond the town green. The religion of secularism is constantly being advanced in a variety of venues—in courtrooms, school rooms, and in the newly remodeled bathrooms that accommodate the newly invented genders.

Fr. Neuhaus was right in predicting that “a perverse notion of the disestablishment of religion leads to the establishment of the state as Church.” The secular state quickly moves to enshrine whatever values it currently smiles upon. And it defends them as though they were divinely revealed dogma. But, despite his prescience, Neuhaus did fail to anticipate another development—namely, that the Judeo-Christian tradition might be displaced from the public square not only by the state, but also by another religion.

The possibility that Islam would one day be a contender for control of the public square probably didn’t enter his mind. That’s no surprise. Except for the blip caused by the Iranian Revolution, Islam wasn’t on anyone’s radar in the early eighties. Yet Islam is now well on its way to controlling the public square in parts of Europe. And, were it not for the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Clinton machine, the U.S. would now be playing catch-up.

As has often been observed, Islam is a political religion. Some, like Dutch MP Geert Wilders, contend that it is almost totally political with only a thin and deceptive veneer of religiosity. Whatever the exact proportion of politics to religion, it’s hard to deny that the political dimension looms large in Islam. Muhammad, after all, was a warlord. He conquered all of Arabia, and within a relatively short time after his death, his followers conquered an area larger than the Roman Empire. Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, one of the most important twentieth-century Islamic theorists, wrote that “Islam requires the earth—not just a portion, but the whole planet.”

But, although Islamists think globally, they are patient enough to act locally. In European cities these days it’s not unusual to be forced to take a detour because the street ahead has been blocked by Muslims kneeling in prayer. Ostensibly, these gatherings are meant to demonstrate that there are not enough mosques, and that therefore the government must pay for more to be built. The ulterior agenda is to stake a territorial claim. It’s the Islamic version of “we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re in your face.” In this case, “We’re here, there are quite a number of us, and we’re ready for a confrontation. Give us what we want, or we can make your life unpleasant.”

Sometimes, the public square is literally a public square, or a street, or a park. Controlling the public square does not necessarily entail control of geographical territory, but it helps. And Muslims actually do control an increasing number of the public streets on the continent. When Muslims migrate to Europe, they tend to congregate in ghettos, some of which have earned the label “no-go-zones” because they are largely off-limits to non-Muslims. As Europeans are now discovering, such concentrated population pockets provide quite a bit of political leverage.

Some observers say that these Muslim enclaves are part of a deliberate strategy to Islamize Europe. They act to deter assimilation, and they allow Muslim leaders to gain a high degree of control over the Muslim population. In addition, the “zones” facilitate the formation of voting blocs and make it easier for Muslim activists to apply pressure to local and national governments.

Like secularists in the U.S., Muslims in Europe and the UK are accustomed to making demands, and equally accustomed to having their demands met. Whether the demand is for halal menus, prayer rooms in schools, special washing facilities, or exemption from Holocaust studies, European Muslims usually get what they want.

Islamists and secularists share a desire to monopolize the public square. Both also see Christians as a particular enemy of their expansionist ambitions. Consequently, both seek to minimize the influence of Christianity in the public square. Although Muslims in the West lack the numbers to directly limit the influence of Christians, they can do so indirectly by letting it be known that they are mightily offended by various Christian beliefs and practices. They can then rely on state and local authorities and lukewarm Christians to do the rest.

Thus, many of the traditional Christmas markets in Europe have been given new, non-offensive titles. Amsterdam’s Christmas Market is now “Winter Parade,” Brussels’ is now “Winter Pleasures,” and so on—“Wintermarkt,” “Winterville,” “Winter Festival”: anything but “Christmas Market.”

Secularists are already inclined to de-Christianize Christmas, and the fact that many Muslims are offended by Christmas gives them an excuse to speed up the process. In Luneburg, Germany a school Christmas party was postponed because a Muslim student complained about the singing of Christmas carols. In London, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims issued a report aimed at drawing attention to the humanity of Muslims during Christmas. The report was titled “A Very Merry Muslim Christmas.” In Langon, France, teachers pulled 83 students out of a showing of The Star, an animated movie about the birth of Jesus, once it dawned on them that the subject was “too Christian.”

In Muslim-majority countries, restrictions on Christians are much more severe. Christians who try to take their religion with them into the public square risk jail or even execution at the hands of vigilante mobs. This attitude goes back to the beginnings of Islam—to the “Conditions of Omar” which were established by the second Caliph shortly after the death of Muhammad. The “Conditions” were a list of “dos” and “don’ts” that governed the lives of conquered Christians. Among other things Christians:

  • were not allowed to build or repair churches
  • were not to clang cymbals except lightly, and were not to sing loudly.
  • were not to display crosses on churches or raise their voices in prayer.
  • were not to make their religion appealing, nor try to convert anyone to it.

These rules, which are now being re-established in many Muslim countries, display an attitude toward Christianity that is quite similar to that of today’s secularists: keep it quiet, keep it to yourself, and keep it out of the public square. For the time being, Muslims and secularists are working in tandem to exclude Christians from the public squares. If and when that goal is accomplished, Muslims in the West will almost certainly move to push secularists to the sidelines. Once they have served their purpose, the services of committed secularists will no longer be needed.

But for the time being, Christians still have time to recognize the double threat and reassert their own values and beliefs. Thanks to Richard Neuhaus, many Christians do understand the importance of the public square. They realize that they can’t afford to confine their faith to church and home because if they do, they will eventually be safe neither at church nor at home. There are very practical reasons for Christians not to hide their light under a bushel.

Thanks to Christian thinkers such as Neuhaus, many Christians are well aware that secular society will grab every inch of the public square if they are allowed to do so. It’s high time that Christians also understand that Islam will do the same if given half a chance. Indeed, the subjugation of the public square to Allah is the raison d’être of Islam.

This article originally appeared in the January 2, 2018 edition of Crisis.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Blogs

The porn industry wants your kids. Here’s what you can do to stop them

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the most serious threats to families, marriages, and children is the porn industry. Court documents tell us that a huge percentage of divorces are as a result of the compulsive porn use of one of the spouses. Ugly statistics tell us that the average age of first exposure to porn is now age 9. And, new research is explaining how pornography is actually warping our minds, changing our attractions, and mainstreaming sexual violence. 

I spend a lot of time researching this problem and speaking about it in high schools and to parents, and so occasionally it is important for me to realize that there are many anti-porn warriors out there who are doing magnificent work and making real progress. In that regard, 2017 was a very encouraging year.

Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee all declared pornography a public health crisis, following on the heels of South Dakota and Utah. The state of Virginia declared that pornography was “harmful.” Georgia is examining the issue in committee, and will hopefully follow suit. Florida is also considering a resolution to declare porn a public health crisis.

As public awareness regarding the harms of pornography grows, organizations like the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) are reporting positive changes, as well. In March of 2017, Twitter actually changed the way the platform functioned so that users typing in hashtags or keywords to search for pornography would find no results. This change is extremely important—Twitter (along with Instagram) was one of the most notorious distributors of pornography among the social media platforms. NCOSE hopes that this is simply one step in the right direction.

Another company that has bowed under pressure is Verizon, which has now created an “opt-in system” for those subscribing to FiOS IPTV services so that pornography flicks and porn channels will not simply be automatically sent into the homes of new customers. Verizon still sells pornography, but after NCOSE met with Verizon’s CEO and launched several massive campaigns, the company, like Twitter, has begun to take steps to reduce the availability of pornography. 

The most significant victory NCOSE attained in 2017—at least in my view—was their successful campaign to have EBSCO Information Services, which “offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more," begin to remove sexually graphic content from elementary schools.​ After months of discussion with NCOSE, EBSCO is taking steps to remove access to porn, and NCOSE believes that many of these solutions will be effective.

There is another anti-porn development on the horizon for 2018 that I am very excited about. Dan Armstrong of Covenant Eyes, one of North America’s leading Internet accountability and filtering systems, hopes to launch their newest development: Image-recognition and artificial intelligence capable of identifying pornography. The difficulty companies like Covenant Eyes face is that as fast as they develop software and filters to block porn, porn companies are finding ways to reach kids anyway.

One of the porn industry’s dirty little secrets is that they actually target kids, tagging hardcore porn videos with phrases like “Dora the Explorer” to lure kids in. But with this new software, protections can be ramped up even further.

But the number one most encouraging thing for me would be if parents could start taking the porn threat more seriously. Over 70% of parents haven’t placed Internet controls or filters on their computers or technological devices—and their kids will—I repeat, will—find porn, view porn, and perhaps even become addicted to porn.

The good news is that there are many sophisticated organizations dedicated solely to helping you prevent that, and these organizations are incredibly effective. If every parent who has a problem with their child seeing porn in 2018 decided to step up and do what it takes to prevent their child from seeing porn, we could see revolutionary changes.

Make it your New Year’s resolution, and we’ll have even better news in the fight against porn when 2019 begins.

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

Blogs

Why the Amoris Laetitia controversy is so important and will not go away

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

January 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Some people I know have mentioned that they are weary of the debate over Amoris Laetitia. At a recent USCCB meeting, an American bishop said that the richness of this apostolic exhortation has been eclipsed by the excessive preoccupation of the conservative blogosphere with the problems of chapter 8, and that the “narrative” about the document has to be seized back and replenished. I’m sure there are many who wish the whole conversation would just go away.

But I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. It’s not possible. What’s more, it’s not desirable. If a banquet is full of delicious and nourishing foods but the wine has a drop of cyanide in it, the meal is still deadly, and the one who prepared it is still responsible for the outcome. Chapter 8, which has provoked a veritable firestorm of confusion and contradiction in moral theology and the discipline of the sacraments, has done vastly more harm than any amount of good the rest of the document may ever accomplish.

The devil is a clever strategist. He knows that the best way to establish error is not to argue for it, but to keep repeating it ad nauseam, so that people already disposed to the error will come to accept it without argument as part of the ambiance, and those who oppose it will surrender from sheer exhaustion. This is why we must never tire of pointing out the intrinsic error of, and the host of evil consequences that follow from, the proposal to admit to the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist a “divorced and remarried Catholic,” i.e., a Catholic living more uxorio (sharing the bed) with someone who is not his or her actual spouse in the eyes of God and the Church. For this is not just one small error. It is an error that, by logical implication, touches and corrupts every aspect of Catholic faith and morals. To take just one example, it would invalidate the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture.

Proponents of sacraments for already-married persons continuing to live in a sexually active relationship with someone other than their original spouse(s) have never hidden their agenda. This was true during the two Synods (of which the telltale event that sticks in my mind was the theft of the copies of Remaining in the Truth of Christ from the mailboxes of the synodal participants). It has remained true in the entire period following Amoris Laetitia.

For 2,000 years, the Church has seen certain actions in the realm of human sexuality, e.g., fornication, masturbation, pornography, incest, and pedophilia, as intrinsically evil, regardless of intention. Such actions, deliberately chosen, are always and everywhere wrong to do, displeasing to God, incompatible with grace and inheriting eternal life.

Adultery is no less serious a sin than the others just mentioned. If there are now pastoral situations that allow us to admit adulterers to “penance” and communion without any intention on their part to end sexual relations with someone not their spouse, why would we deny the same sacraments to those who fornicate, masturbate, produce or view pornography, or practice incest or pedophilia? They may feel regrets or even “anguish” about it, but if they have no firm intention of amending their life by God’s grace, they do not have repentance.

What, after all, is “repentance”? For a murderer or a thief, repentance is being sorry for having killed or stolen, making restitution for the crime, and resolving earnestly not to kill or steal again. For a liar, it is to be sorry for lying and to resolve not to tell lies in the future. For a blasphemer, it is to bewail his blasphemy and firmly intend never to do it again. For a fornicator, repentance is to be sincerely sorry for having had sexual intercourse outside of marriage, and to firmly intend never to do so again.

It is no different with adultery. A person who is “civilly remarried” while his or her sacramental (i.e., only real) spouse is still alive and who has sexual intercourse with the civil partner is committing adultery—there is no way around this fact. Therefore, repentance for such a person is to be sorry for having sinned against fidelity to an indissoluble bond by having slept with someone who is not one’s lawful spouse in the eyes of God, and firmly and sincerely to intend never to do it again. This, and nothing else, is the repentance required to make a valid Confession and, a fortiori, to be admitted to the Eucharistic nuptial banquet.

This, of course, is exactly what St. John Paul II taught in Familiaris Consortio, grounding it in Sacred Scripture:

The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

This is not legalism or rigorism or any other -ism. It is simply the truth. It is not possible to contradict this Catholic teaching, given consummate expression by John Paul II, without placing oneself outside of the Catholic Faith and at odds with the divine law. It is the very opposite of mercy to create confusion among the faithful about the Gospel’s “demands of radicalness and perfection” (Familiaris Consortio 33). The Church is a merciful Mother who exercises her mercy by proclaiming the fullness of the truth that saves us from our sins and calling people to conversion, for which God is always ready to provide the grace.

Recently I heard St. Alphonus Liguori invoked as one who would support Pope Francis’s “gradualist” approach. Whatever limited gradualism the patron saint of moral theologians accepted, he would be appalled to find his name used in support of Communion for a man or woman who, while not intending to forego future adulterous sexual acts, would still be admitted to Communion. At this point, we are clearly working against the entire doctrine of the sacraments as it has been handed down by the Fathers, Doctors, Councils, and Popes.

Nevertheless, any priest or bishop who still follows the hitherto unbroken doctrine and practice of the Church is now labeled a legalist, a rigorist, a Pharisee, a hater, etc. Moreover, entire episcopates are now divided against each other with regard to who may receive the sacraments. Such a turning against our tradition and against one another can never be from the Holy Spirit. Nor can it be from the Holy Spirit to contradict the perennial magisterium enunciated in such a clear, declarative, and normative way by John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Reconciliatio et Poenitentia, Veritatis Splendor, and other documents. If John Paul II is wrong in what he taught so many times and in so authoritative a manner, then there is no Pope who may ever be trusted again when it comes to morality.

“Mercy” is invoked today to cover a multitude of sins, but the Church has never pitted mercy against law or justice. This is the ancient error of antinomianism (nothing new under the sun). Mercy in the New Covenant is extended to the repentant sinner, not to the sinner who clings to his sin. Mercy will be given seventy times seven times to the sinner who repents and falls again out of human weakness, but only as long as he genuinely intended and intends to stop sinning. There has never been any disagreement about this—until now.

The progressives like to invoke the “ancient Church” and pretend that the liturgical reform after Vatican II was a return to ancient practices (which it mostly was not). Curiously enough, the progressives never want to imitate the penitential discipline of the early Church, whereby fornicators or adulterers could be banished for years not only from the sacraments but from the church building itself, to be readmitted only if they had done serious penance and had utterly overcome and forsworn their sinful behavior. The reason is simple: ancient Christians really believed what they professed, and they zealously kept the Eucharist away from anyone who was not worthy of it—worthy in the sense of being among the baptized and living a life in harmony with the Ten Commandments, free from mortal sins. Have we forgotten that Christianity teaches self-denial, asceticism, as the narrow road to perfection, the premise of all spiritual development? The Eucharist is not a point of departure but a place of arrival. The point of departure, for the Fathers of the Church, was the rudiments of moral virtue, fasting and abstinence, prayer, the reading of Scripture, and other disciplines, which prepare the soul to partake of the heavenly feast.

Certainly the Church is a “field hospital,” and we must bend over backwards to take care of each wounded person who comes our way. At the same time, a doctor does not apply the same remedy to each disease, knowing that a medicine that cures in one case may kill in another. This is how the Church Fathers speak of the Holy Eucharist: it is food for the wayfarer who is living according to God’s revealed law; it is poison for anyone else. It is only when we have a well-founded confidence that we are wearing the wedding garment of charity and sanctifying grace (cf. Matt 22:11) that we may dare to approach “the divine, holy, pure, immortal, heavenly, life-creating, and awesome Mysteries of Christ” (Byzantine Divine Liturgy). Otherwise, as every liturgical rite says before Communion, we eat and drink “judgment and condemnation.”

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