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UK bishops bless Poland-inspired ‘Rosary on the Coast’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

GREAT BRITAIN, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — At least 15 of Great Britain’s Catholic bishops have blessed an initiative of the British laity, the Rosary on the Coast for Faith, Life and Peace.

Inspired by similar events in Poland and Ireland, the Rosary on the Coast will unite Catholics from all over England, Scotland, Wales, and their islands in prayer for “the re-flourishing of [their] faith, for the grace to build a culture of Life and for true peace to reign in the hearts of all people and nations.”  

It is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 29 at 3:00 p.m.

So far 197 spots around Great Britain and its islands, the Thames River, and the great Firth of Forth have been named as meeting places.

Eight bishops have indicated that they themselves will attend the prayers. They include Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth, Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia (Wales), Bishop Ralph Heskett of Hallam, Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, and Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.

Meanwhile, seven other bishops have voiced their support or sent messages of encouragement.

These include Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Islands, Bishop Terence Patrick Drainey of Middlesbrough, Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds, Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell, and Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia.  

Pope Francis has also signaled his approval of the mass prayer event. In a message to the organizers, apostolic nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams said that the pontiff “imparts to all those who participate in the Rosary on the Coast his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge under the protection of Our Blessed Lady, Mary Mother of the Church.”

Organizers say that the contexts for the mass gathering include hope for a new springtime of faith in the British Isles. The recent 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act has led to the deaths of almost nine million unborn children to date, and the current times are of “unprecedented global upheaval.”

The Catholic Herald has observed that the locations of the Rosary on the Coast are as far-flung as the island of Guernsey off the coast of France to St. Ninian’s Isle, which lies between Scotland and Norway.

A colourful online map pinpoints all the locations participants may choose from. The Rosary on the Coast website is still welcoming would-be prayer leaders to stake out new locations around Great Britain. Those who cannot travel to the prayer spots are invited nevertheless to join their prayers to those who can.

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Paul Ryan retires, leaving behind mixed record on life

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, announced that, as rumored, he would not seek reelection to Wisconsin’s first congressional district.

“What I realize is if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad,” Ryan said. “I just can’t let that happen.”

He added that he does not believe “whether I stay or go in 2019 is going to affect a person's individual race for Congress.”

Others contend that his departure makes the midterm elections more competitive by encouraging other Republican incumbents to retire.

In response to the news, several of America’s leading pro-life groups showered the outgoing speaker with praise. The National Right to Life Committee called Ryan a “pro-life hero if ever there was one.” Americans United for Life agreed that he was a “champion of pro-life legislation during his tenure.”

Ryan “has been a champion for unborn children, for their mothers, and an articulate communicator,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “who continually made the case for redirecting tax dollars away from America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, and championed conscience rights in health care.”

She cited the U.S. House’s successful October vote to ban most abortions at twenty weeks of pregnancy.

However, a closer examination reveals Ryan’s decidedly mixed record on the pro-life cause.

Throughout his two decades in the House of Representatives, Ryan has consistently voted pro-life, receiving 100% scores from the National Right to Life Committee and 0% scores from Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

As Speaker he presided over successful votes on several pieces of pro-life legislation, including the aforementioned 20-week ban, legislation to defund Planned Parenthood while repealing Obamacare, and a law allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood. He also pledged to defund the abortion giant via the budget reconciliation process.

“This is truly a new dawn for the unborn and for those women and men who defend them,” Ryan told the 2017 March for Life. “Know that we march with you and that we will not stop fighting until every life is protected under the law.”

Those promises often failed to translate to policy results.

Over the years, Ryan voted for and presided over multiple budget resolutions that continued the more than $500 million Planned Parenthood receives from taxpayers annually. Pro-life leaders called on the GOP to make defunding Planned Parenthood “non-negotiable” in budgets passed under Barack Obama, but Ryan defended not doing so on the grounds that “in divided government, no one gets exactly what they want.”

Last month, Ryan said that supporting the most recent budget was necessary to fund the military. But critics like Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, argue that under Ryan, the House forbade lawmakers from voting on amendments concerning Planned Parenthood or any other conservative objections to the bill.

“A more complete betrayal of the electorate I have not witnessed,” Massie tweeted.

Moreover, while Ryan’s House passed several pro-life measures, only the one letting states defund Planned Parenthood ever became law. It is true that the 20-week abortion ban and Obamacare repeal/Planned Parenthood defunding ultimately died in the Senate, beyond Ryan’s control – a fact Ryan himself referenced on occasion. However, he generally only made the point in response to criticism of his effectiveness, and did not proactively challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to fight for legislation the House sent him.

On Thursday, political consultant Christopher Jacobs argued at The Federalist that responsibility for not repealing Obamacare – and, by extension, not defunding Planned Parenthood – ultimately rested with Ryan. He noted that House leaders didn’t begin drafting their first Obamacare replacement until around the time of Trump’s inauguration. Once they had a bill, they attempted to rush it to a vote in just six weeks, with little opportunity to review or amend it.

“The relevant committee chairs and elected leaders share responsibility for these twin debacles,” Jacobs wrote. “But in the House, the buck stops with the speaker, placing the lion’s share of the blame on Ryan.”

Nobody has yet announced intentions to succeed Ryan as speaker, though Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA, are seen as the most likely. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH, is seen as a more conservative dark-horse contender, but said it was “way too early to talk about who’s running.”

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Alfie and Thomas Evans.
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Alfie Evans’ dad says police threatened to arrest him if he touched son

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By Calvin Freiburger

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LIVERPOOL, England, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The father of Alfie Evans says he can legally transport his 23-month-old son from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but has been threatened with arrest for so much as touching him.

“If I take Alfie, I’m gonna get arrested for assault,” Tom Evans said he was told by police. “If I pick Alfie up, with legal responsibilities and parental responsibilities, I’m getting told that I’m gonna get arrested for assault.” He made the comments in a Facebook Live video recorded outside the hospital this evening.

An administrator on the Alfie’s Army Facebook page clarified that Thomas Evans had not yet been detained.

READ: Police block Alfie Evans’ parents from taking him out of hospital

Evans continued that this warning came despite the fact that no law required Alfie to remain in that particular hospital, according to a letter provided to the family by the Christian Legal Centre. He said he had a van standing by with full medical equipment.

“As you all know we can legally take Alfie now no problem,” he said. “Doctors are doing their best to stop us from doing it,” despite the fact that there was “no order that says Alfie can't leave. In reality I could walk upstairs, pick Alfie up right now and take him out the hospital.”

Evans said that staff at the hospital are no longer looking after his son’s care.

“We've removed all duty of care from the doctors here,” Evans said, to the cheers of the crowd.

READ: Alfie Evans’ ‘army’ shows up outside hospital demanding baby’s release

In a subsequent Facebook Live video, Evans announced that Alfie’s ventilator would not be turned off tonight, and that the family was hoping to take a “flight out to Italy” soon, to a different care facility that would respect the parents’ wishes for different treatment options. Alfie's dad related that Polish doctors were on hand to help with the transfer. 

The Alfie’s Army page also relayed a message from Alfie’s parents saying they were currently in mediation with lawyers and Alder Hey, and asking for patience for word of further developments.

“We ask everybody to hold off with speculation and wait to hear from Thomas and Kate,” the post said. “Alfie’s parents themselves will update everybody on the outcome.”

Developing...

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Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella
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Pastor spent 2 years in jail for helping girl escape court-imposed lesbian ‘mom’

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Mennonite pastor who helped a girl and her birth mother escape the United States to evade her court-imposed lesbian “mother” has been freed after serving almost 24 months in a U.S. federal prison.

Kenneth Miller, a pastor with the Beachy Amish Mennonites of Virginia, was convicted in 2013 of having helped Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella (both unrelated to Kenneth Miller) to flee the United States. They left the country in late 2009 to evade court-imposed visits to Lisa’s former civil union partner, Janet Jenkins.

According to a website created by Kenneth Miller’s supporters, the pastor was released from prison on March 6, and “was given a grand welcome at our church by flashing lights, sirens, and a shower, courtesy of the Amish Auxiliary of the Stuarts Draft Volunteer Fire Dept.”

“We held a joyful and praise-filled welcome home service on Sunday,” the website added.

Kenneth Miller served his almost two-year sentence after he exhausted his appeals following his conviction in 2012 of “aiding an international kidnapping” for helping Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella to cross the border into Canada, where they took a flight from Toronto to Nicaragua in 2009.

Lisa and Isabella’s flight from the U.S. apparently was motivated by Lisa Miller’s deep concern that her daughter was being traumatized by her visits with Jenkins, and that her spiritual well-being was being threatened by Jenkins’ lesbian lifestyle, concerns she expressed in an extensive interview with LifeSite in 2008.

Pastor cheerfully accepted his sufferings for Christ

Miller bore his punishment with equanimity, writing inspiring letters from prison regarding his faith in Christ and the value of his suffering as a “prophetic protest” against the evils of modern society.

“As non-resistant bearers of the Truth, we should not sit by as ‘the quiet in the land’ while society around us falls into ruin,” wrote Miller from prison. “Rather our lives should be a prophetic protest, an exposé of Satan's tyranny, and we should not hesitate to oppose His lies with the Truth, by word and action.”

When his scheduled early release in December 2017 was canceled, Miller called it a “bitter pill,” and noted that God had not answered his prayers and those of his supporters asking God to bring about his early release. He would have to celebrate Christmas in prison, but expressed his thanks to God for his relationship with Christ.

“Sorry, dear friends! It appears your prayers weren't answered,” wrote Miller on Christmas day. “I admit some tears were shed into my pillow one night.”

“Or... were our prayers answered? Is it O.K. with us to get a ‘No’ from God? What is evidence of strong faith? Getting what we prayed for? When our prayers aren't answered in the way we wish, can we still be happy in God? Isn't that evidence of strong faith too?”

Meditating upon his sufferings, Miller concluded, “I'm not in prison on this Christmas morning, I'm free!” adding, “And I remembered that years ago I had given up my freedom to Christ. This means the Federal Government couldn't take from me what I had already given away.”

Miller has reportedly used his time behind bars to testify to fellow inmates regarding his faith in Christ and to lead Scripture studies.

He seems to be at peace about his decision to help Lisa and Isabella to escape her mandatory visits with Jenkins and has spoken highly of Lisa, whose reversion to Christian faith he sees as deeply genuine.

"It was obvious to me that Lisa Miller was a woman of great faith," wrote the pastor in 2013. "Her appearance and demeanor demonstrated that she was at peace with God and at peace with herself. The expression on her face reflected an inner joy that was even more remarkable in light of the difficult situation she was in at the time. It was evident to me in the short time I was with her that here was a woman who walked with God."

Pastor risked more prison time by refusing to testify against others who helped Lisa Miller

Before his entry into a federal prison in 2013, Miller had already served forty days in jail for refusing to testify against others also accused of aiding Lisa Miller and Isabella in their escape to Nicaragua.  He has since been threatened with more prison time for his refusal to testify.

Besides Kenneth Miller, another Mennonite pastor, Timothy Miller (also unrelated to Lisa and Isabella), has also been convicted of aiding Lisa Miller in her “kidnapping” of Isabella, although he was given credit for time served while awaiting trial, plus one year of probation. Another individual, Christian businessman Philip Zodhiates, has been convicted of “international parental kidnapping” and has been given a sentence of 36 months in prison. He is currently appealing.

Isabella was conceived by Lisa Miller through artificial insemination while in her civil union with Jenkins, who is not biologically related to Isabella. Isabella was never adopted by Jenkins, and Jenkins’ name was not included in Isabella’s birth certificate. Nonetheless, a Vermont court declared Jenkins to be Isabella’s “mother” after Lisa Miller left what she said was an abusive relationship with Jenkins and returned to the Christian faith of her youth.

Following their breakup and Lisa Miller’s repentance of her former homosexual lifestyle, she began to fight the visitations imposed by the court. Although expert testimony was submitted as evidence that Isabella was traumatized by the visits with Jenkins, the court refused to cancel the mandatory visits. Following the decision, Lisa Miller chose to flee the country with Isabella, who was then seven years old. The whereabouts of the two are now unknown.

Nicaragua Mennonite community persecuted for sheltering Miller, but defiant

The Mennonite community in Nicaragua, which is believed to have received Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella into their ranks, reported in 2012 that it has suffered persecution from Nicaraguan authorities, but remained defiant and even willing to suffer death to protect Isabella.

“Brethren and neighbors have been watched, interrogated and threatened,” and, “In some churches Sunday morning services have been watched and videoed,” wrote the Mennonite “Nicaraguan Brotherhood,” adding, “A house of one of the brethren was searched without a search warrant.”

“Some excommunicated brethren said that they were offered free visas, a trip to the states, study offers and easy ways to become a police officer if they would help find her. The policeman also suggested they rejoin the church but work as spies for them,” write the Brotherhood.

The Nicaraguan Mennonites said that they forgive their persecutors, but will stand firm in the defense of Isabella, who “has become an innocent victim of an ungodly agenda.”

“Her wellbeing has not been given much or any consideration. According to the Bible we believe that God has given Lisa sole responsibility to care and protect her own daughter since she has no known father. According to the Bible it is a war between good and evil, a battle between God and Satan. As congregations we stand united in this spiritual warfare against evil.”

They added that they are willing to suffer imprisonment or death in the cause of protecting Isabella.

“The fact is that suddenly we find ourselves having to choose between obeying God and man made laws,” they write. “We have chosen to obey God. We are willing to give up our rights, go to jail, or even die, for the cause of helping anyone become free from a sinful life and helping that person to live in obedience to God’s Word.”

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Mennonites: we are willing to die rather than betray girl to court-appointed lesbian ‘mother’

‘Here was a woman who walked with God,’ recalls pastor who helped ex-lesbian and daughter flee USA

Pastor imprisoned in lesbian ‘mother’ case tells judge: jail has only made my convictions stronger

Pastor who helped girl escape court-imposed lesbian ‘mother’ sentenced to 27 months: sentence stayed

Christian businessman receives felony conviction for helping girl escape lesbian ‘mother

Experts testify to trauma experienced by Isabella Miller in sworn testimony now published online

Cowardice: the state and homosexualist powers against a former lesbian and her daughter

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Arizona legislature passes bill to prevent forced abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Arizona legislature has passed a bill designed to prevent women from being coerced into abortions by imposing stricter standards on abortionists.

It also requires more detailed reporting on women’s reasons for, and complications from, abortion.

SB 1394 passed the state House Monday by a vote of 35 to 22, and passed the Senate Wednesday 17 to 13. It won the support of all but one Republican, Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, and was opposed by all but one Democrat, Sen. Catherine Miranda.

The bill requires abortion facilities to report to state health officials whether an abortion is elective or sought for specific medical reasons, as well as any known medical complications the woman experiences as a result of the abortion. It requires that the facility specify the medical specialty of the physician committing the abortion.

The bill also requires abortionists to ask women if they are being coerced into aborting, or if they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, or incest. Women are not required to answer.

Democratic state Sen. Katie Hobbs claimed that the bill’s purpose was “to simply harass and intimidate and shame the women who go into receive this constitutionally protected procedure,” the Associated Press reports. However, existing law already forbids women’s names from being reported, and the bill expressly forbids including in reports “any other information or identifier that would make it possible” to identify her.

“We need to reject the notion that asking a woman, allowing her the opportunity to disclose her coercion into having an abortion, is somehow shaming,” Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, the bill’s sponsor, said. Both pro-life and pro-abortion publications have reported on evidence that abortion coercion is common, with a 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor finding that as many as 64% of abortions involve coercion.

Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod originally proposed the measure, and celebrated its passage.

“This vote should have been unanimous by both houses,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that those who favor legalized abortion are so blinded by their ideology that they choose to oppose reporting requirements designed to help meet the needs of women and to assist policymakers.”

“This bill provides critical data to state policymakers as they seek to improve the health and wellbeing of Arizonans,” Herrod added. “Good policy requires good data.”

For years, experts have criticized the lack of consistent nationwide standards for reporting comprehensive, detailed abortion data.

“The most recent abortion surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) includes data from 2014,” Professor Michael New of Ave Maria University says. “Three states failed to report any data; California has not reported any abortion data to the CDC since 1997. At the state level, the timeliness, quality, and detail of the abortion data provided varies.”

SB 1394 now goes to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a pro-life Republican, for his final approval. He is expected to sign it.

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Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, speaks on Parliament Hill at the 2013 National March for Life. Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
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Toronto’s Cardinal takes on blasphemous ‘Sweet Jesus’ ice cream chain

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto was ignored by the founders of the Canadian ice cream chain “Sweet Jesus” when he tried to talk to them about their company’s offensive use of Our Lord’s name.

Collins wrote the company in November, and “asked for a meeting to learn more about the origin of the brand and to help explain to their corporate executives why some might take offence,” his communication director Neil MacCarthy revealed Monday in the Huffington Post.

“The spiritual leader of two million Catholics in the Greater Toronto Area never heard back.”

Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai founded the ice cream chain in Toronto in 2015. In October, its parent company, Mongrels and Misfits, announced plans for a massive expansion beyond the chain's 19 Canadian locations into the United States, where it currently has one store in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

But the company has since been hit by petitions and boycotts from Christian groups, including LifeSiteNews, objecting to its blasphemous use of Our Lord's name and to a marketing strategy built on deriding Christian faith and symbols.

Boycott ‘Sweet Jesus’ ice cream until they change name. Sign the petition here!

“The company’s name and logo are seriously offensive,” notes the petition on the Christian site Return To Order. “The first S in the word Jesus is a lightning strike, reminiscent of the Nazi style used by the SS, and the T in ‘SWEET’ is often shown as an inverted Cross on the company's various products ... We cannot remain silent while Our Lord is blasphemed!”

Moreover, the company’s ads brim with mocking depictions of Christian and Catholic symbols such as rosaries, a crucifix with a corpus, and angels. The ads also incorporate Satanic symbols, such as upside-down crosses, lightning bolts, skulls, roaring wildcats, and images that suggest vampires and blood.

Some ads disturbingly depict children with bruises who appear to be abused, leading to charges by critics the company could be seen as pandering to pedophiles, LifeSiteNews reported earlier.

Cardinal Collins “would have told Sweet Jesus executives that the upside-down cross that has been used on many of their products is a reminder to Christians that St. Peter, one of the 12 apostles in Jesus’ inner circle and the first pope of the Catholic Church, was crucified upside down,” wrote McCarthy.

The cardinal “would have emphasized that calling their bottled water ‘Holy Water’ has a sensitive meaning for the family members of a child who is baptized, or for all those who bless themselves with holy water as they enter a church.”

Collins released a pastoral letter February 1, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, in which he exhorted Catholics to show reverence and respect for their Savior’s name in three ways.

“We should use his name reverently in prayer. I strongly urge everyone to constantly pray the ‘Jesus prayer’: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner’,” he wrote.

“We should give some sign of our recognition that his Holy Name represents him and makes him present,” added Collins.

“When I was young, it was suggested that one bow the head when pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus. That is a good custom, and helps a bit to remind us of the adoration which we owe to the Lord of our lives. If we can more deeply become committed to that adoration, we pray that we will more effectively make the love of Jesus present in our suffering world through our actions,” he wrote.

And Christians should never use the name of Jesus irreverently, or to curse, or “in a trashy or trivial or flippant manner.” Moreover, “we should ask our friends who do not share our faith to respect the name of Jesus, as we are equally committed not to treat disrespectfully what is sacred to others.”

And McCarthy suggested one “simple way” to follow the example of Jesus in this case is “by taking a pass on ice cream tainted by insensitivity.”

And, he added, “on election day, we should remember how important it is to check the box that best corresponds with our values.”

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It’s ‘demonic’: Catholic watchdog group backs boycott of ‘Sweet Jesus’ ice cream chain

‘Sweet Jesus’ ice cream ‘mocks’ Christians for profit: LifeSite co-founder to NBC affiliate

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Passau Bishop Stefan Oster Wikimedia Commons
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German prelate explains why seven bishops asked Rome for ‘clarification’ on intercommunion

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By Maike Hickson

GERMANY, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, seven German bishops raised their voices in opposition to a majority decision of the German Bishops’ Conference to allow, in individual cases and under certain conditions, Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion. These seven bishops sent a letter to Rome asking for clarification. Now Bishop Stefan Oster, of Passau (Bavaria), explains why.

In the April 15 issue of his diocesan weekly newspaper Passauer Bistumsblatt, Bishop Oster says that it is care for the Blessed Sacrament that prompted he and his six fellow bishops to resist the new German episcopal guidelines for intercommunion.

These guidelines are expected to be published soon; the German bishops have already quoted a draft. That draft is available to Bishop Oster, who revealed some details about it in his critique.

“The Eucharist is for us Catholics so important that it essentially expresses our whole understanding of the Faith and of the Church,” Bishop Oster now explains in his statement.

He insists that the letter from the seven bishops comes after an “intensive” and “controversial” discussion during the meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference itself, at which “it was already openly debated whether and how one should turn to Rome for a further clarification of open questions.”

With these words, the Bavarian bishop Oster also indirectly opposes Cardinal Reinhard Marx – the German bishops’ president – who showed himself, in a published letter, to be surprised at the seven bishops’ Letter. Cardinal Marx also then insisted that it is well possible for a national bishops’ conference to “formulate criteria which permit the reception of Communion on the side of Christians who are not in union with the Church.”

In his own statement, Bishop Oster points out that the draft of the German bishops’ new guidelines speaks about “grave spiritual emergency situations” in which Protestant spouses may receive the Holy Eucharist. These emergency situations are now applied to the very fact that the couple of a mixed marriage may not receive Communion together, a fact which, in the eyes of the German bishops, may thereby “endanger that marriage.”

“We wish to receive a clarification as to whether this expansion of the interpretation of grave emergency situations is correct,” Oster now explains. To him, it does not seem a “simple” thing to “share the full Catholic understanding of the Eucharist,” while at the same time remaining in another denomination; and “thus to preserve for oneself, at the same time, that confession's own understanding, let's say of the Last Supper.” Oster does not see how this inner contradiction could – or should – be preserved of holding two different, incommensurate understandings of Holy Communion at the same time.

The Bavarian bishop also points out another weak point in the episcopal draft, namely that, while Protestant spouses may receive Holy Communion, Catholic spouses are explicitly excluded from receiving Protestant communion. The reason for this decision is, according to the draft, that there exist two different understandings of communion. Oster comments: “One assumes that the Protestant spouse somehow is capable of holding both understandings of faith at the same time, but the Catholic spouse not, because they do not fit together. I consider this position to be very difficult to explain!”

Additionally, Bishop Oster raises the question of the “connection between the Eucharist and Confession,” which “has not yet been clarified.”

Pointing to the fact that every First Holy Communicant is required to go to Confession prior to First Holy Communion – “because there exists an inner connection” between these two Sacraments – the German prelate thus says “here we wish a deeper clarification which has not yet been given.” How could the Catholic Church deal “with those faithful of other confessions concerning the Catholic [sacramental] confession in preparation for the Eucharist?” asks Oster.

Bishop Oster also gives caution about the use of the “exception in an individual case” approach in the matter of intercommunion, saying that, in general, the less informed public understands such a rule as a “general permission.” He sees here a “danger of a superficial reception” of the sacramental message and he also wishes to “avoid a banalization of the Eucharist.”

“After all, we rightfully call the Eucharist the Blessed Sacrament,” Oster adds, and it is important in his view “to grapple about the question of how we deal with it in a good manner.”

In conclusion, Bishop Oster stresses that the letter of the seven German bishops – which they sent immediately also to Cardinal Marx for his information – was not about “discrediting other bishops,” but, rather, an urgent desire “to receive a deeper clarification from Rome.”

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White House: Everyone should be free to speak on Facebook, other social media platforms

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration has weighed into the ongoing controversy over suppression of conservative speech on social media.

During a press briefing at the White House Wednesday, Breitbart News reporter Michelle Moons asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the administration was “concerned with Facebook’s efforts to silence conservatives.” Several lawmakers pressed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the subject during his congressional testimony Monday and Tuesday.

“Certainly, the White House would also support not just conservatives, but everyone having the ability to speak freely on a number of platforms across this country,” Sanders replied, “and certainly support the Constitution that provides that right.”

In addition to Facebook, conservatives have raised similar concerns over Google, YouTube, and Twitter.

Sens. Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Steve Scalise, Fred Upton, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers were among the lawmakers to raise the subject. They asked Zuckerberg about analysis finding that Facebook’s algorithm changes disproportionately impacted conservative publications, Facebook flagging a Catholic university’s ad featuring the San Damiano Cross as “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent” and Facebook rejecting a Michigan Republican candidate’s campaign ad.

Multiple lawmakers also pressed him on his website suppressing the reach of Diamond and Silk, two sisters behind a series of popular video blogs supporting Trump. Zuckerberg claimed that every example was an error that had since been corrected, rather than part of a deliberate pattern. He also said that his team had already contacted Diamond and Silk to resolve the issue.

The bloggers said on Tuesday that nobody from Facebook had contacted them about the situation, despite Facebook’s previous claims to have done so. On Thursday morning, Diamond and Silk announced that “Facebook has finally reached out to us through Twitter.” They pledged to keep their audience informed of further developments.

During his questioning, Cruz warned Zuckerberg that if Facebook was transitioning to a “neutral public forum” that exercised editorial preference for and against certain speech, it could potentially be held liable for allowing content deemed defamatory or otherwise damaging.

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'Alfie's Army' supporters show up in front of Alder Hey hospital, April 12, 2018.
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Alfie Evans’ ‘army’ shows up outside hospital demanding baby’s release

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LIVERPOOL, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An army of Alfie Evans’ supporters has rallied outside the hospital demanding that it honors the parents’ decision to remove the baby from the hospital. 

The supporters, dubbed “Alfie’s Army,” have gone as far as blocking the main road in front of the hospital until the baby is released. Some have made a roadblock with parked cars.

They are chanting, singing, and waving banners. 

As LifeSiteNews reported earlier today, Alfie’s parents are saying that police are blocking them from leaving Alder Hey Children’s Hospital even though they have a legal document saying that their child is free to leave.

Read: Police block Alfie Evans’ parents from taking him out of hospital

Dramatic moments of Alfie’s dad Tom trying to leave with his son were streamed on Facebook Live this afternoon. A relative also used Facebook Live to show police guarding hospital exits.

Answering an online summons, dozens of supporters of infant Alfie Evans and his family have gathered outside the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. 

An event posted to the “Alfie’s Army” Facebook page directs members to gather across the road from the hospital. The protest officially started at 8:30 PM British Summer Time (BST). 

Cars blared their horns as the crowd shouted “Release Alfie Evans” and “Save Alfie Evans.” 

Supporter Shelley Fergusson said she was “delighted” by the support. 

Over Facebook, Alfie’s more far-flung fans voiced their support. 

Margaret Murray of Scotland wrote, “We are and always will be Alfie's Army and I pray that God will make these people see sense. I pray that the Pope will intervene and get Alfie and you both to Italy for the treatment he deserves. I, for one, will never forgive or forget what Alder Hey have put you through. They are committing nothing short of murder. Sending you lots of love and hugs and I am praying that they eventually listen to you. Surely if a hospital will come and get him they have got to release him."

Developing...

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Pro-life group protests Bruce Rauner at GOP Governor’s Dinner

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By LSN

CHICAGO, Illinois, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When pro-life activists hold a protest against an elected official, it’s typically a Democrat. But on Thursday, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his guests encountered pro-life protestors as they arrived at the Chicago Hilton for the GOP Governor’s Dinner.

Staff and volunteers from the Pro-Life Action League were there to denounce Rauner for betraying the pro-life voters who elected him when he signed HB40, the taxpayer abortion funding bill.

“Gov. Rauner claims that he’s heard the message from the hundreds of thousands of Republicans who voted for his challenger in last month’s primary, but he hasn’t,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and organizer of Thursday’s protest. “We will not forget his betrayal in signing HB40 and forcing Illinois taxpayers to fund abortion. We will also continue to speak out for the thousands of unborn children the Governor will never hear from because he signed that bill.”

Gov. Rauner had initially stated that he intended to veto the legislation, before caving into pressure from abortion advocates.

Scheidler pointed out how ironic it is that the keynote address at the dinner was offered by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

“Gov. Walker just signed a bill removing abortion coverage from state employee health plans in Wisconsin,” Scheidler remarked. “Meanwhile, here in Illinois, Gov. Rauner has added abortion to state health plans. Illinois is already the abortion capital of the Midwest, and now thousands more unborn children will be aborted because of HB40.”

The Pro-Life Action League’s protest included large signs showing the unborn victims of abortion, and the group distributed literature on the devastating impact of HB40 to dinner attendees and the public.

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Seven porn-recovery and chastity groups you didn’t know existed

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By Claire Chretien
Women's United Recovery Coalition distributed purple and silver ribbons to raise awareness about female porn addiction at Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation's Global Summit last week.

April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pornography’s tentacles are deeply wrapped around modern culture and life. Children are exposed to porn, on average, around age 12. It normalizes violence against women, warps viewers’ perceptions of sex, changes the wiring of the brain, and fuels sex trafficking.

It’s also incredibly addicting, and as a result, a number of ministries now exist exclusively to help people free themselves of the habit. Many in the pro-life and pro-family movements are aware of programs like Fortify and accountability software like Covenant Eyes, designed to help people overcome porn addiction.

And there are ministries that help porn performers leave the industry, find healing, and learn that Jesus loves them.

At the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation’s Global Summit last week, LifeSiteNews discovered a number of unique pro-chastity groups that help specific populations hurt by pornography, and brings you information about them and others here.

1. Women United Recovery Coalition

CEO Lacy Bentley runs this eight-week online recovery program through which women work together to free themselves from porn.

“I’ve heard the argument that porn is empowering to women, and I’m wondering how that can be if they’re being raped and watching their counterparts be raped?” asked Bentley. She said many women feel like “they’re betraying their own kind” by watching misogynistic porn and want to quit, but “they can’t stop.”

Women United helps them to quit through private video-chat meetings with others.

“We don’t only talk about ‘mainstream’ porn like…videos,” Bentley told LifeSiteNews. “We’re talking about fan fiction, we’re talking about 50 Shades of Grey, [and] erotica.”

She said all kinds of pornographic material can trick girls into thinking abusive behavior is healthy, so she encourages them to “get the narcissist out of your head and out of your bed.”

2. Pure Desire Ministries

Pure Desire Ministries is a Protestant group that helps people heal from compulsive sexual sin. It offers clinical counseling and support groups.

“We affirm that God created us male and female, and that our gender expression is his assignment to us and not a fluid decision,” its website explains. “We honor God by living out our unique ‘maleness’ and ‘femaleness’. Further, we believe that God has defined marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Any sexual relationship outside of this covenant is contrary to his plan.”

READ: New documentary finds porn’s newest addicts are kids, and it’s devastating them

Dr. Ted and Diane Roberts founded Pure Desire Ministries because they “recognized the pervasiveness of sexual struggle in the church” and wanted to help end it.

At the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation’s Global Summit last week, LifeSiteNews spoke with two young men overcame pornography addictions through this program.

3. Changing Lanes

This is another Protestant porn and sexual sin recovery ministry. Its website says that 50 percent of pastors view pornography weekly and 61 percent of Christians believe no-strings-attached sex is acceptable, indicative of a major problem. Changing Lanes’ online support groups are “a safe, relational, and authentic community to heal in your journey through porn or sex addiction,” its website says. The website does not have a statement of faith, but its programs include prayer, accountability, and a “Christ-centered curriculum.”

4. Dirty Girls Ministries

This Christian group has its name for two reasons. The first is to actually target people – specifically, women – who are searching for pornography online.

“We get a lot of foot traffic from people looking for pornography,” founder Crystal Renaud told LifeSiteNews.

The second reason for the name is because women who struggle with porn often say it makes them feel dirty.

“Women write to us, they come to us, they say, for so long I felt dirty...you can come clean, it’s okay,” said Renaud. “Through accountability...and going through counseling and really surrendering my heart and soul to Jesus Christ, I was able to find recovery.”

Dirty Girls Ministries provides a daily Scripture-based email devotional called 90 Days to Wholeness, a number of free resources for women, and one-on-one coaching.

READ: Trump signs bill cracking down on websites that help sex traffickers

Renaud has written a book, Dirty Girls Come Clean, about how women can overcome and heal from pornography addictions. Written from an evangelical perspective, it provides practical and spiritual advice and features testimonies of women who have broken free from porn addiction.

The book is particularly interesting because it touches on the problem of Christian women who are addicted to sexual sin.

Renaud told LifeSiteNews that several years after she began her recovery from porn – she was first exposed to it at age 10 and addicted through about age 18 – she was working at a church when the pastor confessed he’d been having an affair with Renaud’s mentor for five years.

“It kind of opened my eyes to sexual sin and [the] sexual brokenness that is impacting so many people that maybe you wouldn’t even expect,” she recalled. “And God really put it on my heart to start this organization, Dirty Girls Ministries, to help other women who were in bondage like I was be set free through recovery and the work that it takes to do that.”

5. Heroic Virtue Warfare Institute

This ministry provides members of the military with Catholic resources on chastity and the dangers of porn. It also provides those in the military with a “Smartpack” of resources for overcoming addiction to pornography.

“The founders of HVWI have seen first-hand the devastation and destruction that pornography use and addiction brings to service members’ lives and careers,” its website says. “The Institute is dedicated to providing viable and relevant resources to help our service members free themselves from the clutches of such a ravenous addiction.”

The HVWI is under the patronage of St. Maria Goretti, a martyr for purity, and St. Augustine of Hippo, who famously overcome lust to be one of the Church’s greatest theologians.  

6. Beggar’s Daughter

LifeSiteNews has covered Jessica Harris, the founder of this apostolate, before. Harris was exposed to pornography at age 13 and was addicted to it during her teenage years. Through Beggar’s Daughter, Harris raises awareness about the harms pornography can cause women and the fact that women, like men, can be addicted to it. She’s written a memoir about these experiences, Beggar’s Daughter, and now speaks on college campuses and at churches. She was featured in Catholic apologist Matt Fradd’s book Delivered – True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity and has written a devotional for teen and college-aged women, Love Done Right: Reflections.

7. FreedomU

Freedom U helps consumers of commercial sex, especially men who view porn or hire prostitutes, to “live in freedom from compulsive and detrimental sexual behavior.”

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Police in Alder Hey hospital, April 12, 2018.
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Police block Alfie Evans’ parents from taking him out of hospital

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
Police vehicles at exits of Alder Hey Hospital, April 12, 2018.

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

Update April 13, 11:20 AM EST: Alfie Evans’ dad defends son’s ‘right to live’

Update April 13, 2018, 10:20 AM EST: Court seizes custody of Alfie Evans from parents

Update April 12, 2018, 5:41 PM EST: Alfie Evans’ dad says police threatened to arrest him if he touched son

Update April 12, 2018, 4:04 PM ESTAlfie Evans’ ‘army’ shows up outside hospital demanding baby’s release

LIVERPOOL, England, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Parents of Baby Alfie Evans are saying that police are blocking them from leaving Alder Hey Children’s Hospital even though they have a document from their legal representatives saying that their child is free to leave.

Dramatic moments of Alfie’s dad Tom trying to leave with his son were streamed on Facebook Live this afternoon. A relative also used Facebook Live to show police guarding hospital exits.

Alfie Evans’ parents are being prevented from removing their son from the hospital that wants him to die.

While the drama unfolds at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, LifeSiteNews has obtained a letter to Alfie’s father Tom from a representative of the Christian Legal Centre.

Pavel Stroilov has informed the father that he has the right to remove his son from the hospital. Nevertheless, police are there now to stop him. Friends are live-streaming the tense scene at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

An hour ago, Tom Evans filmed himself in his son’s room, saying, “So anyone joining in, I’m live in the baby’s room. There he is. Look at him. There he is. I’m here now with Alfie James.”

“There’s his stats,” he continued, filming the machines. “There’s his numbers. Look what I have in front of me,” he said and filmed the lawyer’s letter. “I have a documentation saying that I have the right to take my son out of …  this hospital.”

Evans said that he had removed duty of care from the hospital and given it to an air ambulance company.

“Alder Hey is stopping us. Alder Hey is calling the police. To murder my son. Alder Hey has phoned the police to stop me from taking my son out of the hospital.”  

“This is my son. Look at my healthy, healthy young boy who’s undiagnosed and is certainly not dying.”

“There’s the ventilator. We have all the equipment.”

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

Interrupted by hospital staff, Evans invited supporters to gather at the hospital for a protest.  Calling themselves “Alfie’s Army,” the family’s fans number almost 130,000 fans on Facebook alone.

“Look what the world’s coming to,” said Evans.

Behind the father, a young woman wiped away tears.

“Here we sit, eagerly waiting, for them to release our boy legally,” said Evans. “I’m shaking like a leaf. … They have phoned the police over a child.”

“Look how innocent the boy is,” he said, filming Alfie again. “He lies there eagerly waiting for his trip home. How can [it] come to this?”

Developing... 

***

LETTER FROM CHRISTIAN LEGAL CENTRE

Dear Tom,

You have asked me to clarify whether it would be legal for you to remove your son Alfie from Alder Hey Hospital without the Hospital’s consent. In Alfie’s situation, that would only be practical with the support of a team of medical professionals with the necessary life support equipment.

Subject to that, I can confirm that such a removal would be lawful under English law.

Alfie is only in hospital because you, his parents, voluntarily sought its healthcare services. Alfie retains the right to self-discharge from hospital. He is not imprisoned there. Because of his minority, it is for you, as his parents, to make a decision to self-discharge or to stay at hospital.

The effect of the declaratory orders made by Mr Justice Hayden in the High Court is to make it lawful for Alder Hey to withdraw his artificial ventilation treatment, and to protect Alder Hey and its staff from legal liability for that step. It is not the intention or effect of the order to circumvent Alfie’s personal liberty or your parental rights. It remains lawful for an alternative team of medical professionals, with your parental consent, to provide such medical treatment to Alfie as they professionally deem to be appropriate.

As you know, today Mr Justice Hayden made a further order scheduling the withdrawal of ventilation from Alfie for 12 noon this Friday 13 April. The legal position may arguably become more complicated if someone within the High Court’s jurisdiction continues to provide ventilation after that point. However, there is no doubt that, until that point in time, it remains entirely lawful to provide ventilation to Alfie; and that can be done by a medical service provider of your choice.

For these reasons, as a matter of law it is your right to come to Alder Hey Hospital with a team of medical professionals with their own life-support equipment, and move Alfie to such other place as you consider is best for him. You do not need any permission from Alder Hey Hospital or the Court to do so.

Hope this clarifies the matter.

Pavel Stroilov
Christian Legal Centre
Standing with Christians for Life

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Ashley's Glass's son Dylan, pictured here, was left to die. Ashley Glass
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10 bishops now withholding funds from Catholic charity over pro-abortion partners

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishops of Winnipeg and Vancouver have joined eight of their confrères in holding back this year’s ShareLife collection from Canada’s Catholic international aid organization, Development and Peace (D&P), over its partnerships with abortion-supporting groups.

These decisions are based on interim findings by an internal review of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. These findings revealed Development and Peace partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality, or pro-transgenderism.

An April 10 letter from Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg explaining the situation will be read at all diocesan parishes this Sunday. Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver released a pastoral letter on Wednesday announcing his decision.

 

 

The letters are similar to those issued by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Bishop William McGratten of Calgary Alberta, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Saskatoon.

Canada’s bishops have been “made aware of a recent appraisal” of these partners, “and have become concerned that a sizeable number of them have practices and positions which conflict with Catholic moral and social teachings, such as respect for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death,” wrote Gagnon.

His diocese is withholding the 2018 Share Lent donations “until such a time as we receive assurance from Development and Peace that its partner agencies comply with Catholic moral and social teaching and with the criteria of Caritas Internationalis (of which Development and Peace is a member).”

The annual Lenten collection for Development and Peace is “normally” not sent to the international aid agency until August, Gagnon wrote.

“That space of time should give Development and Peace ample opportunity to make the required reforms,” he stated. “It is very important that the concerns surrounding the recent review of D & P partners are attended to properly.”

Dioceses across Canada donate to D&P’s annual ShareLife or Share Lent campaign, which brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016-2017, according to a report by Edmonton’s Grandin Media.

In Toronto, D&P received $800,000 from ShareLife last year, according to the Catholic Register.

Toronto’s Cardinal Collins called the concerns about D&P “alarming” in his statement.

Development and Peace “is a significant recipient of funds collected as part of our annual ShareLife appeal. We consider our relationship with our donors to be that of a sacred trust,” wrote Collins.

“As CCODP is the development arm established by the Catholic bishops, it is critical to ensure that it allocates no funds to projects or groups that operate contrary to the moral and social teachings of the church,” added Collins.

Edmonton’s Smith said he was “shocked” by the revelations about D&P presented in February to the Assembly of Western and Northern Canadian Catholic Bishops in Winnipeg.

“An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” he wrote in his April 4 letter announcing his decision to withhold funding from the Catholic charity.

Some of those conflicts are with Catholic teaching on “abortion, contraception, sterilization, same-sex relations and gender theory,” according to Grandin Media.

The bishops’ review was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that is partnered with the Catholic aid association, it reported.

Romain Duguay, deputy executive director of Development and Peace, told Grandin Media that the organization is committed to upholding Church teaching, and is cooperating with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in the investigation.

“We will do our due diligence to respond to them and demonstrate that we are not doing anything against the position of the Church,” Duguay said.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a short statement Tuesday confirming “a joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP.”

The bishops’ conference “remains hopeful that any necessary clarifications will be determined shortly,” it stated.

A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lepine, and Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix are waiting for the review’s conclusion before making any decision on funding.  

See LifeSiteNews’ comprehensive coverage on Development and Peace funding here.

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Theologian: Here’s how Pope’s teaching is being used to reject Humanae Vitae

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, DC, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “If you insist upon the commandments, it’s like throwing stones at people.”  

Famed Catholic author Janet Smith, speaking to a group gathered at The Catholic University of America (CUA), in Washington, DC on April 5, warned of new challenges to the Church’s teaching against contraception that will arise in coming years, centered around the concepts of conscience and discernment.

In particular, theologians who Smith identifies as “discerners” will focus not on the authority of conscience as it is traditionally understood, but on a “very different understanding of what the conscience is. This is what we very much have to catch.”

“In a general sense, the interpreters, the discerners of Amoris Laetitia say that the development in moral theology in Amoris Laetitia is pastoral, not doctrinal,” said Smith.  This is key, because it frees them to say, “we’re not changing doctrine at all; we’re just changing how we apply doctrine.  We’re not even applying doctrine.  We’re just helping consciences discern.” 

Humanae Vitae won’t be rejected head-on because they’ve found a way to do an end run around it based on passages in Amoris Laetitia.  In essence, the discerners are saying, “So we don’t need to refute the arguments that defend Humanae Vitae because we’re not looking for a doctrinal change.  We don’t have to question the authority of doctrine because it’s not a doctrinal matter that we’re pushing here; We’re pushing a pastoral approach to these issues.”

In other words, “substantive matters are now irrelevant,” because “they read Amoris Laetitia in light of a psychological view of conscience,” while putting aside the traditional view of conscience.  Their view rejects “natural known moral norms.” 

Smith cited passages of Amoris Laetitia that provide the basis for this new understanding of conscience.

She began with paragraph 37, which reads:

We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations.  We have been called to form consciences, not replace them.

This sets the stage for elevating the “primacy of conscience” over objective moral norms.  Smith says that the theologian “discerners” interpret this to mean that “the individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis, in certain situations, which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage.”

She then highlighted paragraph 303, which reads:

Conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel.  It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while not yet fully the objective ideal.  In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.

Smith said that from this, the discerners conclude:  

  • We must “accompany consciences;”
  • We must not “impose” external norms;
  • Objective norms are “ideals,” not “what God is asking” in all circumstances;
  • and Veritatis Splendor is passé - in Amoris Laetitia we have a “paradigm shift.”

Further, moral norms are problematic to the discerners, who dismiss them as coming from external sources such as parents, the state, the prevailing culture, and even the Church.  “They impede, if not prevent, authenticity and moral maturation.”

She then commented on paragraph 305, which reads:

A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to be thrown at people’s lives.  This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, “sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families.

“So if you insist upon the commandments, it’s ‘like throwing stones at people,’” said Smith.

Along these same lines, the International Theological Commission has noted that “natural law could not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject; rather, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions. (Amoris Laetitia 305)

In other words, “moral norms are not determinative of what you can and cannot do.”  They are reduced to “inspiration that might guide your moral decisions.”

Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits.  By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God.  (Amoris Laetitia 305)

In essence, the discerners are pushing the idea that there are no absolute moral norms.  For them, natural law, “does not include universal, immutable norms” but instead is dynamic, experiential, historical, and cultural.”  Natural law is “gradually discovered, and could change if the culture changes.”

The discerners believe that it is more important for believers to follow one’s own conscience, one’s own truth, than to be submissive or obedient to God’s laws.  In fact, the discerners warn that to accept the imposition of outside norms over and above “the values to which one has committed one’s self,” is to risk doing violence to one’s self.   

Smith contrasted the discerners’ view of natural law with what the Second Vatican Council taught in Gaudium et Spes

In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose on himself, but which holds him in obedience.  Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that.  For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity  of man;  according to it he will be judged.  Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of man.  There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. (Gaudium et Spes 16)

Wrapping up, Smith underscored the dangerous implications of the discerners’ view for pastoral practice: It steers pastors and mentors from asking people “to do big sacrificial things.”

“We’re not recognizing the force of the natural law we have inside of us.  I thinks it’s cripples mentoring people,” she said.

Smith offered an example: “Many years ago at Notre Dame, a young man came to me.  Prom night was coming up and he had reserved a hotel room to share with his date, which everyone was doing.  Of course, they were going to have sex.”

Smith:  “Am I right to conclude that you intend to have sex?”

Student:  “Uhh, …. Yes.”

Smith:  “You know that is wrong don’t you?”

Student[pause]:  “Yes, I do.  What do I do now?”

Smith:  “Well, there’s a priest on every corner at Notre Dame.  Go find one and go to confession.  And call up the girl and tell the girl you’re getting a private room for her, and that you’re not having sex.  And then call me and tell me you did that.”  And he did.

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Alfie Evans in a recent photo with his eyes open, sucking his soother. Thomas Evans / Facebook
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Parents file last-minute appeal to save baby Alfie Evans

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LONDON, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Defying a British publication ban, foreign media are reporting that Alfie Evans’ life support will be removed tomorrow. However, his parents have appealed the decision in a last-minute attempt to be allowed to determine their son’s course of care.

Yesterday, Mr. Justice Hayden declared that the 23-month child’s life was “futile.” According to Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, the judge set April 13 as the date of Alfie’s death. This morning, Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, appealed this decision, asking the court to release their son into their care, so that they may take him to a hospital abroad.

The Vatican’s Il Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome is among those willing to take the child.

During the April 11 hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Alfie’s parents’ lawyer, Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal centre, argued that Alder Hey Children’s Hospital had no right to detain the child. His position was that Alfie’s parents have “primary responsibility for their son and full parental rights” which must not be superseded by the state. Thus, Alfie’s parents must be allowed to remove him and take him to another hospital.

Diamond also presented videos of the child, which show what look like improved cognitive engagement as he was being weaned off some of his stronger medications.

In response, Hayden ignored the topic of parental rights to voice concern for the infant’s “privacy,” as if publication of the videos had somehow hurt the child.

“[Alfie] has no say over those videos being taken and put on the Internet,” he said. “Those videos strike me as at times intrusive of his privacy.”

Hayden, 56, even attempted to identify with the 23-month-old child, saying, “I ask myself if I were in a bed in a hospital in that condition would I want videos of me in the public. I wonder why it is right for Alfie.”  

Diamond argued that the videos of Alfie’s movements were “fresh evidence,” and the judge agreed to watch them as a “kindness” to Alfie’s parents.

Afterwards the judge asked a representative of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) for her opinion on the wide distribution online of the videos of Alfie. She said CAFCASS would consider if this was in the child’s “best interests.” Hayden, shortly to pronounce Alfie’s death sentence, said that Alfie’s father must have compromised his son’s privacy because of his “distress and confusion.”

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

Benedetta Frigerio of La Nuova Bussola called the judge’s concern with the “privacy” of the child he was about to sentence to death “ironic.” She noted also Hayden’s “direct attacks” on Alfie’s father and concern for the Alder Hey medical team who had allegedly, in the judge’s words, “borne Mr Evans’ insults with extraordinary patience, generosity and kindness.”

Alfie was a healthy baby when he was born in May 2016. After being admitted to Alder Hey in December 2016 with a chest infection, he developed a serious illness which the doctors have been unable to diagnose. Experts acting on behalf of the hospital testified in earlier court proceedings that they saw no chance of recovery of brain activity and that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” for his life sustaining treatment to be withdrawn. Tom and Kate have been fighting to have their son released to hospitals in either Italy or Germany who have agreed to provide a second opinion and continue treatment.

Tom Evans and Kate James hope their appeal will be heard this afternoon and in the meantime, any action to end Alfie’s life will be delayed.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Legal Centre, said: “Thomas and Kate never leave Alfie’s side. They witness to his increasing responsiveness. The state cannot override their desire to seek further treatment for their son especially when such help is being offered by three different hospitals. The state must not pass and enforce a death sentence. Even at this eleventh hour, with heavy odds against us, we will fight to the end alongside Tom and Kate for their son’s life.”

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Rugby player Israel Folau Twitter.com/IzzyFolau
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Christian rugby star accused of ‘hate speech’ for saying homosexuals should ‘turn to God’

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By Calvin Freiburger

SYDNEY, Australia, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian athlete in Australia is refusing to back down from his comments about homosexuality, despite public backlash.

Israel Folau is a rugby player on the New South Wales Waratahs team. Last week, controversy erupted when he answered a question on social media by saying that God’s plan for homosexuals was “HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.” Last year, he said that while he has “love and respect” for all people, he would not support the country’s referendum to recognize same-sex “marriage.”

Backlash was swift. The sport’s leading union in the country, Rugby Australia, declared that it “supports all forms of inclusion, whether its sexuality, race, or gender.” The union’s chief sponsor, Qantas Airlines, said, “we find the comments very disappointing.”

A headline from the New Zealand sports site Rugby Heaven called Folau’s comments “hate speech,” while Welsh referee Nigel Owens lectured him that “being gay is not a choice.”

Tuariki Delamere, the former immigration minister of New Zealand, even suggested that his country could deny Folau from entering on the grounds that his views made him a “threat to the public order.”

On April 8, Folau tweeted a passage from Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake,” it read. “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Several stories have interpreted the tweet as the athlete claiming that the backlash to his comments constituted persecution, although he regularly shares Bible verses on Twitter.

Rugby Australia says it will not sanction Folau for his comments and hopes to renew his contract, which expires at the end of the season. Following a meeting with the player, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said the union hoped to strike a balance between him “stand[ing] up for what he believes in” and the union’s “position of inclusion.”

“He's been a really strong role model in the Pasifika community and we would like to see that he stays in rugby,” she added.

However, Rugby Australia also said it will “continue to dialogue” with Folau about how to use social media “in a way that can ensure that all of our stakeholders are respected,” which may suggest his future with the union and its sponsors is not entirely secure.

For his part, Folau made clear he is unwilling to compromise on his faith.

“He refused to guarantee he wouldn't make such comments again and will walk away from the game if necessary,” Rugby Heaven’s Andrew Webster reported. “The most important team in his life is ‘Team Jesus,’ as per his Twitter account.”

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Cardinal Schönborn Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
Edward Peters

Opinion,

Cdl. Schonborn foresees ordained women. Should we care?

Edward Peters
By

April 12, 2018 (In the Light of the Law) – Symptomatic of a society experiencing a breakdown of its order are, among other things, casual assertions by prestigious figures within that society that, if taken according to the plain meaning of their words, are deeply opposed to fundamental values within that society, but which, though uttered, raise nary an eyebrow among those charged with care for that society.

Recent comments from Viennese prelate Christoph Cdl. Schönborn, apparently supportive of ordaining women, are opposed, I suggest, to at least three fundamental ecclesiological values but they have occasioned, as far I have seen, no correction whatsoever from Church leadership, and thus seem to be a chilling illustration of the erosion of order in the Church.

Consider, please.

Apparently Schönborn holds that "The question of ordination [of women] is a question which clearly can only be clarified by a council. That cannot be decided upon by a pope alone. That is a question too big that it could be decided from the desk of a pope." There are least three serious errors in these remarks, all them ecclesiological, and all of them (assuming we are to take cardinals giving formal interviews at their word), quite disturbing.

First, the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood (and episcopate) was definitively ruled out on ecclesiological grounds by Pope John Paul II in Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994) n. 4 when he declared that "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women". Whatever additional sacramental, Scriptural, or historical arguments against female ordination John Paul II could have relied on, he framed his conclusive ruling against female sacerdotal ordination in terms of the Church's in-ability confer such orders on such persons. Schönborn's claim, therefore, that female "deaconesses, female priests, and female bishops" could someday happen is to contradict a central ecclesiological assertion set out inOrdinatio. 

Second, for Schönborn to say that a pope cannot, on his own, rule on (specifically, against) the possibility of female ordination is directly to challenge a pope's authority in the Church as set out in Canon 331, specifically, that the pope "possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely."* Given that John Paul II ruled (yes, from his desk,  gasp!) that the Church had no power ordain women to priesthood and that his ruling was "to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful", Schönborn's statement, I suggest, directly denies the authority of the pope to issue such an ecclesiological teaching and/or such a directive to the faithful.

Third, in the same breath wherein he denies the authority of a pope to rule as John Paul II ruled, Schönborn claims that the female ordination question (humoring him that there even is such a question in regard to the sacerdotal state) can only be decided by an ecumenical council, committing thereby, I suggest, the ecclesiological error of holding ecumenical councils to be superior to popes and coming thereby perilously close to crossing a line that few modern canonists thought ever could be crossed, that one marked out in Canon 1372, which states "A person who makes recourse against an act of the Roman Pontiff to an ecumenical council or the college of bishops is to be punished with a censure."

Now the modern Canon 1372 had, as it happens, a Pio-Benedictine predecessor norm, 1917 CIC 2332, which read as follows: Each and every one of whatever status, grade, or condition, even if they are regal, episcopal, or cardinatial, appealing from the laws, decrees, or mandates of the Roman Pontiff existing at that time to a Universal Council, are suspected of heresy and by that fact incur excommunication specially reserved to the Apostolic See ...

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The great Swiss/American canonist Dom Augustine, commenting on Canon 2332 (in his Commentary VIII: 327-328), granted that appealing to a general council rested on a theory that was "absurd" and "ridiculous", adding that such an attempt would be "neither excusable nor intelligible". He observed, in any case, that even cardinals could be charged under its terms and that "it makes no difference whether the general council appealed to is in session or to be held in the future". Finally, said the scholar, the papal act being contested could be any papal "decree, either dogmatical or disciplinary." Ordinatio, clearly, is a papal act both dogmatic anddisciplinary.

In sum, that such comments, coming from one of the most prestigious figures in the Church today, comments that, if understood according to their plain sense, expressly impugn the sufficiency of a prominent papal act, deny the capacity of a pope to issue such rulings on his own, and imply that an ecumenical council is the only authority that could decide certain ecclesiological matters, that such comments, I say, have not elicited, as far I can tell, a single fraternal correction, is, I think, a sign of how urgently a restoration of order in the Church is needed.

Unless, of course, Cdl. Schönborn is not to be regarded as one who says what he means and means what he says. + + +

* Canon 331 draws heavily here from Lumen genitum 22 and Christus Dominus 2, both of which conciliar documents Schönborn himself cited in crafting the accurate description of papal authority that he provided for the Catechism of the Catholic Church nn. 882 and 937. 

Published with permission from In the Light of the Law.

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Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates

Opinion,

A look back at one year of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court

Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates
By Elizabeth Slattery Tiffany Bates

April 12, 2018 (The Daily Signal) – Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Neil Gorsuch taking his seat on the Supreme Court.

In his first year, he has proven to be – as Donald Trump promised during his campaign – "very much in the mold" of Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he succeeded on the court.

Gorsuch quickly planted himself squarely in the textualist camp, aligning most closely with fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. Gorsuch's written opinions (including a handful from the last term and the current term) show a commitment to legal text and careful analysis.

He has shown a keen ability to write accessibly, allowing even the most casual observer to understand the law. His writings also demonstrate his belief that the judiciary is best when it is restrained, and it should refuse invitations to "update" laws rather than interpret them.

In his maiden opinion, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Gorsuch wrote that the proper role of the judiciary is to "apply, not amend, the work of the people's representatives."

Gorsuch has also expressed concerns about the federal government's expansion of power and infringement of states' authority. He dissented in a case dealing with federal courts exercising authority over state law claims, writing that, "The Court today clears away a fence that once marked a basic boundary between federal and state power."

He noted that "we've wandered so far from the idea of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers that we've begun to lose sight of what it looked like in the first place."

Gorsuch is equally concerned about states infringing the rights of individuals, an issue that has been prevalent in several free speech cases this term. During the oral argument in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, Gorsuch was skeptical of Minnesota's position that it could ban voters from wearing T-shirts with "some of the Bill of Rights and not others" when they enter polling places.

At the argument in NIFLA v. Becerra, he pressed California's lawyer for an explanation of why it's permissible for California to force private parties to advertise the state's free abortion services, thereby burdening their free speech.

In the oral argument in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of a Christian baker who declined to make custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings, Gorsuch expressed frustration with the state's mandate that the baker provide sensitivity training for his staff. Gorsuch asked, "Why isn't that compelled speech and possibly in violation of his free-exercise rights? Because presumably he has to tell his staff ... that his Christian beliefs are discriminatory."

Gorsuch hasn't shied away from powerfully dissenting from the court's refusal to hear important cases. He joined Thomas' dissent from denial in Peruta v. California, lamenting that the court continued to treat the Second Amendment as a "disfavored right."

He also joined Thomas' dissent from denial in Garco Construction v. Speer, a missed opportunity to limit Auer deference – the doctrine that gives great deference to agencies' interpretations of their own regulations. They called this doctrine "constitutionally suspect" because it transfers "the judge's exercise of interpretive judgment to the agency," which is "not properly constituted to exercise the judicial power."

Gorsuch's fidelity to the Constitution has made liberal court watchers apoplectic. He has been under a microscope since his name first topped the list of Trump's potential Supreme Court nominees.

Following his confirmation, this scrutiny has only increased. Seeking to sow seeds of discord, NPR's Nina Totenberg claimed to have inside information about a growing feud between Gorsuch and Justice Elena Kagan. Thomas dismissed those rumors in an interview last fall.

Liberal commentators, including The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and others, insolently criticized Gorsuch for asking too many questions during oral arguments, and fault him for frequently citing the Constitution and expressing his interest in getting back to first principles.

Elitist liberal academics pour over his opinions, looking for anything to nitpick, and encouraging people to mock his writing style with the silly hashtag #GorsuchStyle on Twitter.

But taking petty jabs at the justice shows just how little substantive criticism they can muster. In his first year, Gorsuch has shown that he works hard, writes clearly, and cares deeply about getting the law right.

When Gorsuch spoke last fall at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention, he said to great applause, "Tonight, I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Originalism has regained its place at the table of constitutional interpretation, and textualism in the reading of statutes has triumphed. And neither one is going anywhere on my watch."

That is something to celebrate.

Published with permission from The Daily Signal.

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giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com
Deal Hudson Deal Hudson

Opinion

No, Holy Father, abortion and immigration are not on the same level

Deal Hudson Deal Hudson
By Deal Hudson

April 12, 2018 (Newsmax) – Pope Francis gets it. He understands why 52 percent of Catholic voters helped to elect Donald Trump in the face of fierce resistance from nearly all the of the U.S. bishops, and the pontiff himself.

What Pope Francis gets is precisely what has historically pushed Catholic Democrats to vote for Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump – the abortion issue.

To remedy this, the pope has published an apostolic exhortation, "On the Call to Holiness in Today's World," with the resulting headline from The New York Times: "Pope Puts Caring for Immigrants and Abortion on Equal Footing" (Jason Horowitz, April 9, 2018).

The headline, unlike most on the Catholic Church, is not an exaggeration, as seen in the following from the pope: "Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned."

This is no mere throw-off line; he reiterates it, connecting the issue of abortion and immigration directly to politics: "Some Catholics consider it [migrants] a secondary issue compared to the 'grave' bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children." (Emphasis added.)

"Such a thing is understandable[.]" Yes, Pope Francis gets it – he realizes that a political candidate who is pro-life will attract Catholic voters when pitted against a rival who supports abortion on demand while insisting our national borders remain porous for the thousands of illegal immigrants who cross them each month.

The context of these statements in an exhortation on the "Call to Holiness" suggests tht Pope Francis realizes that the issue of abortion for Catholic voters is not a "single issue" at all – abortion connects to concerns about the moral dissipation of the culture in general.

Catholics regard a pro-life candidate as someone who will stand against the increasing tawdriness of culture which mocks religion and puts deviance on display. In other words, a pro-life candidate resonates with the still socially conservative America. (This is why I predicted that pro-life Catholics would support Trump as early as February 2016.)

In 2016, Catholic voters rocked the liberal, Democrat-aligned Catholic establishment by ignoring the nonstop attacks on Trump and his "wall" by Catholic bishops, priests, nuns, professors, and journalists. Indeed, their voices chimed in with the same message throughout the campaign: immigration is a "life issue," putting it on par with the defense of innocent life. Pope Francis now seeks to codify that message. But it won't succeed, and I will explain why.

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His apostolic exhortation ignores the basic moral problem in equating immigration with abortion: prudential judgment (see my explanation here). Any Catholic's opinion and action on what the bishops have called "Welcoming the Stranger Among Us" has no single answer.

Do we support the "catch and release" ordered by President Obama? Do we support enforcing our laws pertaining to entering the United States? Do we build walls? No Church teaching obligates a Catholic to a specific answer to these questions of public policy.

On the other hand, the question about whether to abort or not to abort has only one answer – no. Abortion is not a prudential matter. Some have called it one of the "non-negotiables," others a "settled issue," but the moral difference is clear.

Certainly Pope Francis is right about this: at a general level, both abortion and immigration do meet on equal ground – the principle of loving one's neighbor. But, as has been explained, that moral equality doesn't confer equality on the type of moral judgments Catholics are obliged to make. One is liable to a variety of answers, the other is not.

To give an example of the distinction, here is a portion of the letter written by then-president of the USCCB Archbishop Wilton Gregory to President Bush about the Iraq War: "People of good will may apply ethical principles and come to different prudential judgments, depending upon their assessment of the facts at hand and other issues" ("Letter to President Bush on Iraq," Sept. 13, 2002).

I'm not convinced that Pope Francis recognizes the "good will" of those Catholics who disagree with his view of immigration. As he puts it, "[t]his is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today's world, too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God."

Pope Francis has done his best to prop up the those Catholic Democrats who continue to promote abortion, support government funding of Planned Parenthood, and ignore the Church's teaching on life. His apostolic exhortation does not change Catholic moral teaching because, as I have shown, the claim the pope is trying to make cannot be rationally defended.

In spite of the headlines, the pope's gift to the Democrats will not be of much use to them in propping up their Catholic credentials. Lay Catholic voters will see through this claim just as they saw through the Church's barrage of anti-Trump rhetoric in the historic 2016 presidential election.

Published with permission from Newsmax.

Featured Image
Jazz Jennings talks about his book 'I am Jazz'.
Michael K. Laidlaw

Opinion,

An endocrinologist studies the transgender movement’s most popular kid’s book

Michael K. Laidlaw
By Michael Laidlaw

April 12, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – Recently, a group of parents asked me to review the book I Am Jazz to determine whether, from a medical point of view, it is suitable for children to read. They also asked this for the benefit of their school district, given that the topic of childhood gender dysphoria would be discussed at their upcoming school board meeting.

I have read the book I Am Jazz and examined the book's relationship to childhood gender dysphoria and its implications for adolescence and adulthood. I am a board-certified physician in Rocklin, California specializing in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Broadly, endocrinology is the study of hormones and glands and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving these hormones and glands. The following essay is a detailed presentation of my findings regarding this important topic.

Introduction

Children with gender dysphoria deserve our compassion and deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness, just like all other children. Their unique condition makes integrating in the school a challenge. Particularly when dealing with bathrooms and locker rooms, it would be advantageous for schools to have a comprehensive policy to address children with gender dysphoria.

To some degree, children who share a class with a gender-dysphoric child will need to be educated about what that means and how to address that situation. This should be done by parents and guardians primarily, but ideally in cooperation with teachers and staff.

Unfortunately, I Am Jazz actually works against educating children about gender dysphoria. In this essay, I use the book I Am Jazz and the TLC show of the same name to help illustrate medical facts about childhood gender dysphoria and adult transgenderism. I believe that if we know the facts about this condition, we will be much more compassionate and understanding toward people with this condition. This will also help in dealing with the parents of children without gender dysphoria who have to explain to their children how to cope with this condition.

The book I Am Jazz, by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, contains a number of factual inaccuracies and very significant omissions. I am very concerned that children or even adults who read these books will be given false ideas about transgenderism. This will lead to the harm of children, as has already happened at Rocklin Academy.

For context, I would highly recommend watching and listening to the I Am Jazz book being read by Jazz Jennings, which is available freely on Youtube. Throughout this essay, for the sake of clarity, I use the pronouns of Jazz's biological sex.

Factual Inaccuracies in I Am Jazz

Inaccuracy #1: About a quarter of the way through I Am Jazz, the author states: "I have a girl brain in a boy body." Jazz later goes to the doctor and relates: "Afterwards, the doctor spoke to my parents and I heard the word 'transgender' for the very first time."

The Facts: The book is written in a way to make you believe that Jazz was diagnosed as transgender. But this is not a diagnosis. The medical diagnosis is gender dysphoria. A biological male feeling and believing himself to be a girl and the distress that accompanies these feelings and beliefs is an example of gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder). Gender dysphoria is never mentioned in the book.

As a younger child, when Jazz went to see this doctor, he actually had the condition of gender dysphoria. He was not transgender at that point in time. In fact, most children who suffer from gender dysphoria will no longer experience it by the time they become adults. In other words, about 90 percent of biologically male children who believe they are female as young children, when allowed to go through normal puberty and enter adulthood as men, will identify as biological males.

Even the 2017 Endocrine Clinical Practice Guidelines for gender transition state flatly: "With current knowledge, we cannot predict the psychosexual outcome [whether or not a person eventually identifies as transgender] for any specific child."

This is not to say that the dysphoria is not a real condition for Jazz. It certainly has been, and that is very troubling for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the high prevalence of psychiatric conditions that may accompany gender dysphoria, such as depression, which Jazz also suffers from. This is discussed further below.

Inaccuracy #2: According to Jazz, "I have a girl brain but a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way!"

The Facts: The "born this way" narrative contradicts known medical facts involving twin studies. Gender identity has been defined as the innate sense that one feels one is male or female (or some combination of the two).

If gender identity is determined only by genes, then we would expect that identical twins would profess having the same gender identity nearly 100 percent of the time. This is not the case. In fact, the largest transexual twin study ever conducted included seventy-four pairs of identical twins. They were studied to determine in how many cases both twins would grow up to identify as transgender. In only twenty-one of the seventy-four pairs (28 percent) did both identical twins identify as transgender. This is consistent with the fact that multiple factors play a role in determining gender identity, including psychological and social factors. This study in fact shows that those factors are more important than any potential genetic contribution. Furthermore, no genetic studies have ever identified a transgender gene or genes.

Inaccuracy #3:  Jazz says: "I have a girl brain."

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The Facts: As to Jazz having a "girl brain," consider, what does the brain comprise? There are billions of neurons that make up this magnificent structure. Neurons are very specialized cells that transmit and store information. The control center, if you will, of every cell in the body is the nucleus, which contains DNA. The DNA is wound up into specialized units called chromosomes. There are 46 chromosomes in every human cell. Two of these are specialized chromosomes called sex chromosomes. Assuming normal development,  females have two X chromosomes, and males have one X and one Y chromosome. These sex chromosomes are present in every cell in the body. They remain in the cells from conception until death and do not change.

It follows from this that since Jazz is male, every cell of his brain has an X and a Y chromosome (whereas a girl brain would have two X chromosomes). Therefore Jazz in fact has a "boy brain" right down to the very level of the DNA.

There is further development of the male body at 8 weeks' gestation within the womb. At this point testosterone is involved in a very intricate process that changes tissues in the pelvis into male genitalia. And we know from the "I am Jazz" show that Jazz has male genitalia. Since the hormone testosterone is carried by the bloodstream throughout the whole body – including the pelvic region as well as the brain – we know that Jazz's brain was also filled with testosterone for development at that time.

This is further evidence that Jazz does not in fact have a "girl brain." He has a boy brain. It is his mind that is giving him the trouble. This is a psychological condition, rather than a biological one.

The authors of the book present false information to children and parents. Kids with gender dysphoria are not born that way. Jazz was born with a male brain that has not changed physically into a female brain. There are numerous psychological and social factors that account for the condition of gender dysphoria in children, some of which are discussed below.

Troubling Omissions

I Am Jazz contains a large number of glaring and very troubling omissions.

Omission #1: The authors fail to mention that Jazz suffers from depression.

At least 70 percent of people with gender dysphoria suffer from mental illness currently or in their lifetime. The most common comorbid mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and dissociative disorder. Jazz has depression, as he has discussed on the TLC program I Am Jazz.

Sadly, many people who identify as transgender never find out until it is too late that their gender dysphoria is actually closely tied in with a mental health condition. Walt Heyer is an author who has journeyed from male to female and back to male again. He had surgical and hormonal therapy to become "Laura" and lived that way for many years.

The first physician he saw for this condition sadly never looked further into his psychiatric conditions. Walt was eventually diagnosed with dissociative disorder. He also had problems with substance abuse and was abused as a child. In other words, numerous psychological and social factors contributed to his gender dysphoria. Had these been seriously investigated and treated by his physicians, there is a good chance he could have avoided his life-changing genital surgery.

Omission #2: The suicide rate of transgender individuals is alarmingly high.

Ninety percent of suicides are associated with a psychiatric condition. The risk of suicide coincides of course with the high prevalence of mental illness in this group of people. Depression, for example, is present in at least 50 percent of those who commit suicides.

The American public has been led to believe that the primary cause of transgender suicide is bullying and mistreatment by society. The facts are quite different.

A landmark government study in sexually liberal Sweden showed that people who identify as transgender have about eight times the risk of attempting suicide above the general population. Their risk of death by suicide is nineteen times higher. And the risk does not decline after surgery and hormonal therapy. Although the study was designed to simply analyze patients in their government database and not to study the effects of treatment, people who have had sex reassignment procedures remain at high risk for suicide both before and after therapy.

It seems that many people with gender dysphoria are being given surgical and hormonal treatment for a psychological condition or conditions.

Radical political activists apparently do not want the truth to be known about the association of transgender suicide with mental illness. If we care about people who identify as transgender, we must bring these facts to light.

Omission #3: Jazz is currently being given hormone blockers to stop him from going through normal pubertal development. These powerful hormones arrest the normal development of boys into fully developed men and of girls into fully developed women. In other words, Jazz is now a teenager who has not been allowed to go through puberty.

Many physicians and therapists from across the political spectrum are critical of affirming children as transgender and of the use of puberty blockers. This includes organizations such as the "left-leaning, open-minded, and pro-gay rights" group youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org and the right leaning American College of Pediatricians.

By current protocol, children with gender dysphoria are given these powerful hormones at around age eleven. This is too young for them to understand the implications of what will happen to their minds and bodies. Time is required for maturity of the developing adolescent mind, and hormones play an important role in this development. For Jazz, allowing normal production of testosterone would further the development of his adolescent brain and very likely lead him to different conclusions regarding his gender.

Again, in some 90 percent of children with gender dysphoria, the condition will have resolved by the time of going through normal pubertal development.

Warning: Omission #4 contains a graphic description of transgender surgery.

Omission #4: Jazz will need to have his child-sized penis surgically destroyed to create a false vagina.

What type of surgical procedure(s) is Jazz considering for the treatment of gender dysphoria? Typically, surgery turning a male into a trans-female involves dissecting the penis, turning the skin inside out, and placing it into a surgically created cavity to create a false vagina. After surgery, a dilator has to be placed in this artificial vagina to keep it from collapsing.

But Jazz has a problem. Since he still has a small child-sized penis (because of puberty blockers), he does not have enough skin to line the false vagina. Potential remedies include sewing in a section of intestine along with the penis skin to make the false vagina. In one episode, Jazz is actually offered two different surgeries: one surgery to create the false vagina and a second surgery two months later to attempt to form the labia. The need for two dangerous surgeries instead of one is directly related to the effects of puberty blockers.

Omission #5: Jazz currently suffers from sexual dysfunction and will likely have permanent damage.

The effects of puberty-blocking agents (started in early adolescent development) on long-term sexual function seem to be largely unstudied. However, from interviews with Jazz's surgeons, one can deduce the almost certain loss of sexual function. Or more accurately, the sexual development of the genitalia has not been allowed to occur in Jazz and never will occur under the current circumstances.

There are five pubertal development stages, which are known as Tanner Stages. They go from 1 (no development, prepuberty) to 5 (full adult development). This is what a pediatrician would use to determine the level of a child's development.

Current guidelines recommend starting puberty blockers at Tanner stage 2 (sparse pubic hairs, minimal testicular growth). This will reduce testosterone to very low levels. Because of this, Jazz's male genitalia are "locked in" at Tanner stage 2. There is by definition "no enlargement of the penis" to that point. That accounts for Jazz's child-size penis and the problems with surgery discussed earlier.

In an episode where Jazz visits a surgeon and has a discussion about sexual function, Jazz states: "I haven't experienced any sexual sensation." Regarding orgasm, Jazz says: "I don't know, I haven't experienced it." The male genitalia are awaiting testosterone to change from a pre-pubescent state to an adult state in which sexual function is possible.

In the normal adult state, there is full sexual function. In one episode, Jazz's pediatric endocrinologist states that Jazz has adult female levels of estrogen. This, however, has not given Jazz "any sexual sensation." This makes sense physiologically, as the male genitalia (penis, scrotum, testicles, etc.) are awaiting testosterone to develop, not estrogen.

Because of this, for adolescent males similar to Jazz who are receiving puberty blockers, I can see little to no sexual function occurring either now or into adulthood. They will not achieve even the equivalent sexual function of, say, an adult male who has gone through hormone treatment and sex reassignment surgery as an adult.

Omission #6: Jazz will very likely be rendered permanently infertile.

Again, because of puberty blockers, Jazz's male genitalia are stuck at Tanner stage 2. The estrogen he is receiving will allow for breast development to the level of an adult female. However, his testicles are unable to produce sperm capable of fertilizing an ovum. In fact, it is not even possible to store sperm for use in future fertility, because it has never been given the opportunity to develop within Jazz's testicles.

Once he has surgery to remove his testicles, Jazz will be forever infertile, with no chance to produce biological offspring.

Is this a decision that any adolescent child has the maturity and insight to make? I do not believe so. This is another reason that the use of puberty blocking agents in adolescents is highly unethical.

Omission #7: There is a high level of substance abuse among people who identify as transgender.

Fortunately, Jazz does not appear to use alcohol or other substances. Even when his family inexplicably takes him to a "drag queen" club for his sixteenth birthday, Jazz does not consume alcohol.

Studies show that people who identify as transgender are at increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse and that LGBT people"enter treatment with more severe substance abuse problems, greater psychopathology, and greater medical service utilization when compared with heterosexual clients." Again, this is understandable when one considers the degree of mental illness in gender dysphoric individuals. These substances may be used as coping mechanisms. Additionally, some children who grow up to identify as transgender have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, which again is correlated withsubstance abuse disorders.

Omission #8: There are a number of serious health risks associated with taking cross-sex hormones.

For biological males to take female hormones, such as estrogen, or biological females to take a male hormone, such as testosterone, is not without considerable health risk, particularly at the doses suggested. Males taking female hormones are at high risk for blood clots, which may be fatal if lodged in the lungs. They are also at increased risk for breast cancer, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, gallstones, and high levels of the lactation hormone prolactin. Females taking male hormones are at high risk for erythrocytosis (having a higher than normal number of red blood cells). They are also at increased risk for severe liver dysfunction, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension and breast or uterine cancer.

Furthermore, the use of puberty-blocking drugs in adolescents has been associated with incomplete mineralization of bone, meaning these children may be at future risk for osteoporosis. There is very little information on the use of these blockers on brain development, but the studies we do have show potential for cognitive impairment.

Omission #9: The mortality rate of those who identify as transgender is three times higher than that of the general population.

This should be a cause for alarm. Much of the increased risk of death has to do with the suicide rate, as detailed above. But the multitude of other health risks just mentioned play a role as well.

Entities such as the FDA demand rigorous studies to be done of medications and devices before they come to market. Many treatments never come to market because of poor study outcomes. Of those treatments that are made available, many are still pulled from the market or receive changes in labeling on account of serious adverse reactions.  It is very likely that if such rigorous studies were performed on transgender hormonal therapy and surgery then these therapies would never be approved for use because of the severe health outcomes including death.

Conclusion 

Primum non nocere is the Latin phrase for "first, do no harm" and is an admonition to physicians to seriously consider the risks of any treatment before applying it. Given the multitude of health risks, potential infertility, and sexual dysfunction associated with the hormonal and surgical treatment of gender dysphoria, I could not in good conscience recommend these treatments to any child or adolescent.

I Am Jazz contains false information and very troubling omissions. For these reasons, I believe that the book is not appropriate for children of any age to read. Children who are experiencing gender dysphoria will likely be harmed by this book, as will children who do not have the condition.

This harm has already occurred at Rocklin Academy in a kindergarten class where the book was read. A number of children in the class were emotionally harmed. It is unclear to me whether any of the teachers or authority figures at Rocklin Academy have recommended that the male child who dresses as a girl should be evaluated by qualified therapists and counselors for psychosocial factors or mental illness that may be leading to the gender dysphoria. If this has not happened, it should.

It is possible that with proper therapy the child's gender dysphoria could be alleviated. He could then be allowed to regain his masculine identity and therefore not suffer the very troubling life of transgenderism, with all its risks of increased mortality, suicide, mental illness, substance abuse, infertility, and other grave conditions detailed above.

Thank you very much for reading this essay. I hope that it will benefit not only the parents in the community requesting this information, but also the students suffering from gender dysphoria and the families, friends, teachers, and administrators who care for them.

Michael K. Laidlaw, MD is a board-certified physician in Rocklin, California specializing in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. 

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

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‘Queer theory’ scholar confirms parental concerns about purpose of gay clubs in Catholic schools

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By Jonathon van Maren

April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this week, a Catholic blogger tipped me off on Twitter, sending me the link to a PhD thesis published earlier this month titled, “Gay-Straight Alliances and Student Activism in Ontario Public Secular and Catholic High Schools,” written by Alicia A. Lapointe of the University of Western Ontario. Lapointe’s thesis essentially confirms what many parental rights advocates have been pointing out for years: That the prime function of GSAs is not simply to be a “support group,” as LGBT activists have claimed. Rather, these groups are intended to be a way of promoting a specific ideological agenda within the school system, especially within the Catholic school system.

Lapointe is up front about this, laying out her thesis as an “in-depth examination of the educative and activist function of the GSAs in two public and two public Catholic Ontario secondary schools,” which she conducts through the lens of “queer theory,” “critiquing the heteronormative underpinnings of schooling” as well as scrutinizing the “cisnormative infrastructure.” Not only does Lapointe lay out the activist role of GSAs within the Catholic school system, but she expresses frustration throughout her work whenever she feels that this activism is being inhibited by Catholic doctrine, and advocates directly for the ideologies she seeks to promote to be integrated directly into the school system. Her work, writes Lapointe, resulted in three major themes coming forward:

1: each GSA was a student-driven democratizing space that enabled youth to explore and circulate antihetero/cisnormative discourses (Fraser, 1990); 2) all GSAs served as a proxy in the absence of an ongoing systemic commitment to queer and trans-informed education; and 3) pastoral care and its regulatory moral authority within Catholic education impeded GSA development and functioning (Martino, 2014). The implications of the study are outlined in terms of the need for systemic support for anti-heteronormative and anti-cisnormative education so that the burden and responsibility for this education does not just fall on the shoulders of GSA members and gender and sexual minority youth in particular.

Throughout her thesis, Lapointe excoriates educators for not doing enough to promote the GSA clubs, even writing that when the student leaders of these clubs were given the opportunity to spread their message that this was a cop out, because educators should be promoting these ideologies themselves rather than relying on students:

If the board and educators fulfilled their educational duties, perhaps GSA members would not feel obligated to engage in queer- and trans-informed education and activism. Overall, by provoking the GSA to take on such a leadership role, the board abnegated its responsibility for providing education and resources that are needed to educate about sexual and gender diversity necessary for teachers to feel confident in addressing anti-hetero/cisnormativity in a more sustained manner through policy and curricular development

In other words, Lapointe feels that educators should be combatting “cisnormativity” – essentially, that queer theory should inform our entire educational system, including the Catholic school system. When GSA leaders attempted to make an assembly on LGBT issues mandatory and teachers instead insisted it be optional, Lapointe presents this as a grossly unfair decision – she believes that all students should be subject to her ideology. The teachers’ decision, she said, “exposed the extent to which heterosexual and cisgender regimes of truth are maintained at school. The censoring of a sexuality and gender-related assembly resembled the pervasiveness of heteronormativity and cisnormativity in GSA members’ formal education.” Notice here that Lapointe’s definition of censorship is not making something mandatory – a very revealing insight into the mind of a queer theory activist.

Lapointe also approvingly cites sessions where GSA activists present the concepts of “intersectionality” to educators in order for them to incorporate those concepts in their teaching and begin to root out the “heternormativity” that “underpins” their educational culture. Terms like “lesbophobia” and “heterosexism” were introduced, just in case anyone ran out of phobias and needed more. Activities like this, writes Lapointe, are “undeniably powerful because…’the GSA used the formal structures and practices of the school in order to transform it.’”

Lapointe’s analysis of Catholic schools is even more interesting. She cites the GSAs as a method of undermining Catholic teaching within the school system, and presents “minority rights” as conflicting with “religious freedom.” She quotes GSA activists explaining that their goal is to mainstream their ideologies within the school system – gone is any of the language of “support” that was used to justify the existence of these clubs in the first place. In many instances, the GSA activists have been extremely successful at both swaying students to their ideological position, as well as recruiting many educators to their cause. In each instance, Catholic doctrine is seen as an obstacle to overcome and neutralize as an influence in the Catholic schools.

If you want to know where activists like Lapointe and her allies in the GSA clubs want to go, consider this: Lapointe refers to “religious freedom” as nothing more than “a guise for religious bigotry.” LGBT activists have been saying this for years: Not only do they reject the idea that religious liberty is important, in many instances, they reject it as a valid concept altogether. Their strategy is to bring in ideological organizations under the guise of “support systems” or “anti-bullying initiatives,” and then promptly utilize these organizations as vehicles for transformative activism. They’re just getting started, too – as her thesis draws to a close, Lapointe suggests that things need to go much further: “Researchers ought to examine GSA participation and club-specific activities and initiatives in publicly-funded Ontario and Catholic K-8 schools, due to their recent emergence in elementary education.”

That’s where all of this is heading: Sex education informed by queer theory, from kindergarten until graduation. This is not about teaching children love and respect for everyone, no matter what – it is institutionalizing an entirely new way of conceptualizing reality – and banishing actual reality as heteronormative bigotry. This is happening right across Canada, from Vancouver to Toronto. Pay attention. Pull your kids out of public school. And please – find out what your kids are learning when they leave your home each morning.

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Christians have a big lesson to learn from the Left if we really want to evangelize

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By Doug Mainwaring

April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In March 1948, Douglas Hyde resigned as news editor of the London Daily Worker, renounced his twenty years as a member of the Communist Party, and became a Catholic. He wrote a short book, Dedication and Leadership, offering insights into the striking success of the spread of communism during the first half of the twentieth century, which contrasted with the relative stagnation of Christian Churches.

I was reminded of Hyde’s book while listening to Janet Smith speak at the Catholic University of America’s symposium observing the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.  Smith talked about how pastors and mentors often don’t ask people “to do big sacrificial things.”

That is a huge mistake.    

Here is a short litany of statements from Hyde, who shows why during the 20th century, communists did a far better job recruiting converts to their cause than Catholics did winning converts for Christ.  For our purposes today, it may be helpful to substitute the word "leftists" for "communists."

The paradox is that the Communists show a faith in their people which Christians, who are supposed to be the great defenders of the human person, are too often not prepared to show. They ask for a lot and they get the big response they expect.

And here is the key:

They say that if you make little demands on people, you will get a mean little response which is all you deserve, but, if you make big demands on them, you will get an heroic response . . . if you call for big sacrifices people will respond . . . and moreover, the relatively smaller sacrifices will come quite naturally.

Our own timidity, amplified by political correctness, makes us afraid of offending people with the full, sometimes hard, truths of the Gospel, but in so doing we end up denying them the Gospel.  

If the fullness of the Gospel is preached, we can expect more than “heroic” responses; we can expect transformed lives displaying the Gospel’s mighty power.

More:

The Communists make far bigger demands upon their people than the average Christian organization would ever dare to make . . . they have discovered that it is good psychology to ask for a lot. It is bad psychology and politics to ask for too little.

You must believe in the human material you have at your disposal. You must not be afraid to make big demands upon it and you must skillfully and intelligently call for sacrifices, following up each such call with another.

While Christianity trades in Absolute Truth, not psychology and politics, Hyde’s point is well taken.  And more than that:

When you have succeeded in making men believe that change is necessary and possible and that they are the ones who can achieve it; when you have convinced them that they and the small minority of whom they are a part can transform the world in their lifetime, you have achieved something very considerable indeed. You have put into their lives a dynamic force so powerful that you can bring them to do what would otherwise be impossible. The dull and humdrum becomes meaningful. Life becomes purposeful and immensely more worth living.

Catholics talk about membership in the mystical Body of Christ. But very few feel that sense of oneness which the Communist feels with men everywhere.

The Communists were right when they said that there is a great battle going on all over the world which in the final analysis is a struggle for men’s hearts and souls.

This is a turning point in man’s history, a terrible, yet tremendous time in which to live.

And here’s a final money quote:

The Christian may say that the Communists have the worst creed on earth. But what they have to appreciate is that Communists shout it from the housetops; while too often those who believe they have the best speak with a muted voice when they speak at all.

All of this bears upon the anemia, the malaise, of the Catholic Church in the western world today: Despite possessing the Truth––distilled, packed down and flowing over––we are not as victorious as we should be in the battle for hearts and minds.  Because of this, Christianity is losing its influence on civil society, evident at the ballot box and in legislative, judicial and executive measures. As a result, we live at a time when religious liberty is seriously imperiled in the western world.  

And all the while, the number of committed Catholics in our hemisphere is dwindling.  

The Catholic Church is a repository of the greatest truth, wisdom and experience known to mankind.  Yet there are forces acting both outside and within the church now encouraging us to cast aside the commandments and natural law in favor of appealing to people’s own sense of what is best for them. 

That is a losing strategy, behind which one can detect the whispers of the ancient serpent.

The pastoral practice of “accompaniment” does not reflect the Gospel preached in the early Church.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38).  

Peter did not ask the 3,000 gathered to make the most generous response possible based on their own personal truths.  He asked for the maximum, not the minimum: “Repent and change your life.” Yet we are too timid to tell people this, and theologians search for reasons to justify their own timidity, if not their lack of faith, in the Gospel.  

Cardinal Sarah has said, “To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church is not charity.”  We cannot be more compassionate than Christ, who said, “go and sin no more.”

Personal experience has taught me this is true: Years ago, while I was still living as a gay man, I would not have come back to the Catholic Church if I had been told it was ok to continue living the way I was and still call myself “Catholic.”  Instead, it was Christ’s words, “go and sin no more,” coupled with the promise of the Holy Spirit which drew me back, and brought healing to my life.

A few more words from Hyde:

Never in man’s history has a small group of people set out to win the world and achieved more in less time. Certainly [communists] have brought far more people under their sway by the methods they employ than anyone else has during the same period. Moreover, they have always worked through a minority.

Yet that describes exactly the history of the early Church, which spread like wildfire, despite the fact that believers often risked their lives for believing.

If the majority of members of an organization are half-hearted and largely inactive, then it is not surprising if others who join it soon conform to the general pattern.

The gospel of “affirmation” is not the Gospel.  The pastoral practice of “accompaniment” pales compared to the splendor of the Truth of the Gospel. These are concoctions of the minds of distracted theologians.  Only the Gospel which points to the Cross of Christ––and His blood shed there––is real and powerful, and is truly Good News.

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Catholic school board fights ‘transmisogyny’ on Day of Pink

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By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As a wave of rose-coloured propaganda enveloped the world on yesterday’s radically pro-homosexual Day of Pink 2018, an Ontario Catholic school board gave egregious evidence of being in lockstep with the LGBTQ+ agenda.

With seemingly no misgivings of causing scandal, confusion, or misleading the Catholic children in its care, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board gamely tweeted April 11:

 

Illustrating the tweet was a poster exhorting: “Let’s stop homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny.”

LifeSiteNews asked DPCDSB’s communication director for a definition of these terms that is in line with Catholic teaching, but did not hear back.

So the question remains: What do these words mean to DPCDSB? And do they have a place in a Catholic school lexicon — or any school’s?

After all, words matter.

Or in the words of one irate and mystified parent: “How do you even begin to tell a kid in SK or even in Grade 2 or 3 what ‘transmisogyny’ is? I don’t even know what it means.”

Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group, echoed those questions.

“What a scandal to have this Catholic school board promote anti-Christian slurs like ‘homophobia’ and ‘transphobia,’” said Fonseca, “and what the heck is ‘transmisogyny’?”  

“It looks like the Catholic school board has completely abandoned Catholic teaching, and is in the tank now with the ‘gay’ activist lobby and the insane ideology they’re pushing and indoctrinating our kids with,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“The fact is that ‘homophobia’ is a propaganda term invented by radical gay-activists for the purpose of vilifying and demonizing Christians,” he said.

“There’s no such thing as a mental illness called ‘homophobia,’” Fonseca continued. “It’s a political smear designed to marginalize Christians who simply believe that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others. That’s not a psychosis nor a phobia. It’s what every faithful Christian and most world religions and cultures believe. It’s a disgrace to behold a Catholic institution contributing to the vilification and oppression of Christians.”

And what would Pope Francis say?

Well, actually, even in his controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father condemned gender theory as “eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”

He wrote: “This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.”

And on other occasions, the Holy Father has excoriated those who teach gender theory to children.

“Today, in schools, they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” he told Polish bishops during the World Youth Day in 2016.

“And why teach this?” Pope Francis asked, criticizing textbooks supplied by “persons and institutions who donate money,” for “ideological colonization” supported by “very influential countries.”

“This is terrible,” the pontiff said. Referring to the “colonization” he said, “I’ll say it clearly with its first and last name — is gender.”

“God created man and woman,” the Holy Father went on to tell the Polish bishops. “God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite.”

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