All articles from April 16, 2018

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Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Gerald Murray
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Pope’s new document has ‘very, very troubling’ parts: EWTN panel

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The just-released apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), is stirring up controversy and seems to take aim at some of the Pope’s critics in the Church.

EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo and the “papal posse” broke down the “troubling” parts of the document on The World Over on April 12.

“Because of the divisions which have gotten worse under this papacy,” said Faith & Reason Institute President Robert Royal, when Pope Francis “puts out a document like this which is largely good, we can’t read it without suspicions, or ... controversy.”

“There is a serious division now, and it comes to the fore even when he’s trying to deal with a relatively non-controversial subject like holiness,” he added.

“I enjoyed the parts which dealt with the supernatural life,” said Fr. Gerald Murray, a canon lawyer, “but I got to the section where the Pope deals with what he calls ‘neopelagianism’ and I just said to myself, ‘Wait a minute. What’s going on here?’”

“Then there’s another section on ‘neo-gnosticism,’” said Murray, adding, “These are, in my opinion, very serious problems in this document because he seems to be defending the controversial parts of Amoris Laetitia by lashing out at people who don’t agree with him. And I find that very, very troubling.”

In Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis states:

Not infrequently, contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few.  This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting.  The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its  simplicity, allure and savour.  This may well be a subtle form of pelagianism, for it appears to subject the life of grace to certain human structures … only to end up fossilized … or corrupt.

“It seems to me he’s talking about those who object to what he wrote in the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia,” said Murray, “where he’s saying in some cases people who are in invalid second marriages can be given communion while remaining in those adulterous unions.”

“You cannot categorize obedience to the Ten Commandments as a defect,” said Murray. “And it is not ‘a museum’ to say that what Christ said 2,000 years ago is what I believe today.”

Murray feels that through this passage, the Pope is stigmatizing people who wonder, “Why are we changing what St. John Paul II told us to do?”

“If there are legitimate reasons why the Pope thinks his point of view about giving communion to the divorced and remarried can be defended on the basis of Catholic doctrine and tradition,” said Murray, he should “state them so we can have a dialogue. This seems to be a discussion-ender, where he basically with invective stigmatizes those who don’t agree with him.”

“I respect and love the Pope,” said Murray, “but Holy Father, when we think you’ve made a mistake, charity demands we tell you that.”

The exact opposite is true

The gnostic and pelagian sections are “very poorly-written and are not first-rate thinking on these subjects,” said Royal.

The bigger question, according to Royal is, “Is it true that in this moment of the history of the Church that the problem is rigidity? I think it is exactly the opposite...We’ve got scores of colleges and universities that churn out students who have maybe gone to Catholic schools their whole lives and have gone through four years of [Catholic] college and who know virtually nothing about the faith, and therefore respect very little about the rules about marriage, Confession, and communion.”

“It seems that on a large scale it’s the exact opposite of what he’s trying to present,” reiterated Royal. “Maybe in the past at some point there was this rigidity ... but this is not even just a ‘Catholic thing.’”

“If you look around the secular world,” said Royal, “We’re living in a world that is ‘post-truth.’”

“We’re living in a world that is utterly chaotic, that has no fixed principles, so to want to hold on to some fundamental Catholic dogmas is not to be rigid, it’s to be sane … to seek sanity to in the utter chaos of the modern world.”   

Can truth be an idol?

Arroyo noted that the Pope expressed similar concerns recently during the Vatican Chrism Mass, warning Catholics not to make idols out of truths.

“Truth is not an idol,” clarified Fr. Murray, saying he was “stunned” by the Pope’s assertion. The contrary is true: “Truth is the remedy to idolatry.”

“This is very, very troubling, and I would say to the Holy Father: ‘The problem in the modern world is not that people think that the truth is an idol. They just don’t care about the truth because it’s not defended properly.’”

“There’s something that has to be fought here, and I have to say, overall since the very beginning, the Pope has not really wanted to argue these things,” added Royal. “He kind of walks away from these questions about truth and dogma because they’re hard and we understand he’s trying to invite people in – but we cannot lose this, otherwise we have nothing to offer people.”

Does the Pope see immigration and abortion as equivalent evils?

Arroyo suggested that Gaudete et Exsultate seems to equate the pro-life cause with caring for migrants, putting them on the same moral plane. He wondered, “Is this a return to the ‘seamless garment’?”

Royal pointed out the most serious flaw in the seamless garment philosophy: “That argument has been used for years by the Democratic Party to basically do nothing.” 

In fact, he said, it is used “to continue to support and foster an abortion culture in the United States. So by putting those things on an equal plane, it reduces the urgency of dealing with abortion, which ... is the ongoing murder of human beings on a daily basis.”

Thinly-veiled broadside against Cardinal Sarah

In his apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis wrote:

It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service.  Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness.

Arroyo called this a “kind of a sideswipe at Cardinal Sarah,” who authored a much-loved book titled The Power of Silence.

“Is there too much contemplation in the Church or in the world?” asked Royal. “I would actually argue the opposite. There are a lot of young people, and not so young people, in the western world who turn to Buddhism, and yoga, and Hinduism because they’re looking for a spirituality that is not just the spirituality of the everyday but is the spirituality that goes deeper.”  

“If we were to bring forward what our contemplative tradition is,” said Royal, “there’s a whole segment of young people in the modern world who would pay attention because it would show that the Catholic tradition has something to offer – something the world doesn’t have to offer; something that the other religions don’t have.”

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A plea for mercy: Thomas Evans asks Pope Francis to save little Alfie

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie Evans’ father has said he is knocking “on the Church’s door” asking for help to save his son from being euthanized, and is pleading that his “voice be brought to the Holy Father” so that Alfie can be transferred to “the Pope’s hospital” in Rome.

In a letter sent on Sunday to the archbishop of Liverpool, Thomas Evans also confirmed that he and Alfie are both baptized Catholics despite the archdiocese saying that they weren’t.

So far the archdiocese has made no comment on the case.  

Leaked internal memo

According to an internal memo from the archdiocese leaked today (published in full below), an archdiocesan auxiliary bishop has offered support “to doctors and staff” of Alder Hey children’s hospital, but “has not met with the parents who, it is understood, are not Roman Catholic.”

The level of ignorance reflected in the leaked memo is particularly astounding given the fact that the judge who ordered Alfie’s ventilator to be removed stated in his ruling that the child’s parents are Catholic, and even used Pope Francis’ words to justify his decision (Kate James, in fact, was baptized in a Protestant Church).

The internal memo, dated April 13, also describes the Alder Hey medical staff as acting “in the best interests of Alfie,” and it praises the hospital as a “centre of excellence.” It includes statements from the hospital and local police regarding recent peaceful protests outside the hospital, but fails to include any statement from Thomas Evans and Kate James.

A source close to the Vatican and to the Catholic Church in England told LifeSiteNews: “The statement from Peter Heneghan of the archdiocese of Liverpool is astounding for its blithe denial of Tom Evans’ professed Catholicism, for its lack of compassion and for the absence of anything pertaining to the Catholic faith. It might as well have been written by an ill-informed official from the local Council or NHS Trust.”

“Coupled with the conspicuous and unacceptable silence of Archbishop McMahon, we’re left to believe there’s something seriously rotten about the archdiocese of Liverpool,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A disturbing silence

The silence is particularly problematic because, in March, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the Vatican would not intervene in preventing the removal of Alfie’s ventilator,  insisting that the English bishops’ conference “can intervene on sensitive issues like these.”

“There is a local community that accompanies these people. They are able to know the situation more closely and more accurately. I would never want such an intense drama to be reduced to a battle on abstract principles,” Paglia told the Italian news agency Tempi.

However, so far the local archbishop and the bishops’ conference haven’t issued any comment, while the leaked archdiocesan press memo makes clear that no one from the archdiocese has met with Thomas Evans and Kate James, nor with little Alfie.

This morning, in fact, an Italian priest living in London made a four hour journey to Liverpool to administer the sacrament of the annointing of the sick to little Alfie, because he read that a priest of the archdiocese was contacted but replied, “it is not my job.”

“If the Church wants to be a Mother she has to draw close to the weak, to the sick, and to the least ones,” said Fr. Gabriele. The Italian priest noted how Alfie “responds” and “reacts” when his father draws near to him and kisses him. He also expressed deep concern that “the fifth commandement is being violated so supeficially,” but said “it is beautiful to see a father with such clear principles, who is capable of knowing good from evil.”

A plea for help

In his letter on Sunday to Archbishop McMahon of Liverpool, Thomas Evans said that as a “child of Holy Mother Church” he is looking to the archbishop as his “shepherd” and to the Holy Father “as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.”

“That’s why I knocked on the Church’s door asking for help in order to save my son from being euthanized,” Alfie’s father stressed.

Today a British judge dismissed an appeal made by the couple, that would have allowed them to remove their son from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and transfer him to the Bambino Gesú Hospital in Rome, which has offered to take Alfie.

At the hearing this afternoon in Westminster, Lord Justice Moylan stressed that Tom and Kate’s parental rights over Alfie “do not take precedence” over what the court has determined is in the child’s best interests. It is “wrong to say that the parents’ own views can trump that judicial determination,” the judge said.  

Here below we publish Thomas Evans’ letter to Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool.


Your Excellency

Archbishop Malcolm Patrick McMahon

Archdiocese of Liverpool

Your Excellency,

My name is Thomas Evans and I am Alfie’s father.

I felt great sadness reading the press release issued by the Archdiocese, concerning my son’s situation.

My greatest sorrow results from not having been recognized as a child of Holy Mother Church: I am Catholic, I was baptised and confirmed and I’m looking to you as my shepherd and to the Holy Father as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.

That’s why I knocked on the Church’s door asking for help in order to save my son from being euthanised!

Alfie is baptised like me and like you, Your Excellency. I would like that prayers for him and for us be addressed to the only real God.

I am aware that my son’s death is a real possibility and maybe is not a long way off. I know that heaven is waiting for him as I cannot imagine which kind of sin that innocent soul, nailed to his bed as to a cross, may have committed.

But I’m also aware that his life is precious before God’s eyes and that Alfie himself has a mission to accomplish. Perhaps his mission is to show the entire world the cruelty behind the judge’s words. For this judge stated that Alfie’s life is “futile”,  thus supporting the same opinion of the hospital which wants him to die by suffocation.

I am not a doctor, but I can see that my son is alive and I see that he’s not being treated. I’ve been asking the hospital for months and I’m still asking them to let us transfer our child, mine and Kate’s child, God’s child, to the Pope’s hospital which promised to take care of him, as long as Our Lord will allow it and until Alfie will have completed his journey.

Why do they not let us remove our child from that hospital? Have you asked yourself this question, Your Excellency?

We don’t want to force ourselves upon him and we don’t want therapeutic obstinacy but we would at least like his disease to be diagnosed and we would like him to receive the best possible treatment.

And we do not believe Alder Hey is able to grant this: they showed us and the entire world they are not able to and they just don’t want to do it.

They declare they want to replace medical treatment with palliative care.

But actually they have been handing out palliative care for months and now it’s that same palliative care they want to withdraw, together with the mechanical ventilation, in order to sedate him and let him die by suffocation.

It seems to me that this is neither right nor Christian.

In my opinion this is euthanasia and we do not want our child to be left to die in such a way. Moreover, this might set a further precedent like in Charlie Gard’s case in order to prevent parents from taking care of their sick children, considered a burden by the State because they are ill and “therefore” useless, unproductive and expensive.

So please, Your Excellency, do accept my request for help and bring my voice to the Holy Father, so that everything possible is done to help me and Alfie’s mum Kate to take our child out of Great Britain to be cured until the natural end of his earthly existence.

I invoke Your blessing and I pay mine and Kate’s respects.

Liverpool, 15 April 2018

Thomas Evans


Read the leaked memo from the Archdiocese of Liverpool:

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Judge lectures assault victim to use attacker’s fake pronoun

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By Calvin Freiburger

LONDON, England, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An English judge told an assault victim to use her attacker’s preferred gender pronoun, the latest development in the ongoing collision between feminist and transgender activists.

Maria Maclachlan, 61, is a self-described Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF), part of a faction that believes men who identify as female should not be recognized as women. The UK Telegraph reports that she was among the speakers for a TERF event in London’s Hyde Park last September. The event was meant to discuss potential changes to the UK’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

MacLachlan says that while filming a group of counter-protestors chanting "When TERFs attack, we strike back,” 26-year-old trans activist “Tara” Wolf punched her, knocking her to the ground.

During MacLachlan's testimony this week before the Hendon Magistrate’s Court, District Judge Kenneth Grant chided her for not referring to Wolf, a biological male, with female pronouns.

"The defendant wished to be referred to as a woman, so perhaps you could refer to her as 'she' for the purpose of the proceedings,” Grant said.

"I'm used to thinking of this person who is a male as male,” MacLachlan responded.

"A hooded figure suddenly ran at me, ran past me from left to right, knocking the camera from my hand,” she testified. "They swatted it. Although it was knocked out of my hand it was caught by the strap so it didn't hit the ground, which I thought was the intention."

Wolf claims he acted in self-defense, claiming that MacLachlan was shaking his partner "like a rag doll.” MacLachlan says she was only reacting to the unidentified partner kicking her first and attempting to grab her camera.

He also expressed fear that she was filming the event in order to out the group as transgendered.

“Terfs have a history of taking people's pictures and posting them in pages like, a database that makes us a target for the far-right,” he testified. [MacLachlan] “was trying to get people's faces.”

MacLachlan admits to tweeting a picture of Wolf’s face but denies that she meant to “out” anyone or even knew the group was transgendered.

“They were not easily perceived as trans,” she testified.

The Evening Standard adds that Wolf also admitted to posting "I wanna f*** up some terfs” on Facebook prior to the event.

Ultimately, the judge found Wolf guilty of assault, and ordered him to pay a total of £430 in fines and expenses. He rejected his self-defense argument on the grounds that multiple attendees on both sides had been filming the event.

However, Grant also rejected MacLachlan’s request for compensation, “due to the unhelpful way in which the victim was present” at the protest, including her repeated refusal to stop filming.

The judge also reiterated his displeasure at MacLachlan refusing to address the man as a woman.

“It was notable that when I asked Ms. Maclachlan to refer to Ms. Wolf as 'she,’ she did so with bad grace,” he said, “having asked her to do so she continued to refer to Ms. Wolf as 'he' and 'him.’”


The bizarre fight between feminists and trans activists shows we’re at war with reality

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Twitter suspends right-wing commentator Mark Dice for saying transsexualism is a mental illness

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Mark Dice conducting a 'man on the street' interview YouTube

April 16, 2018 ( – Right-wing commentator Mark Dice, famous for YouTube video interviews with random passers-by in public spaces, says that his Twitter account was suspended Thursday of last week after he implied that transgenderism is a mental illness.

The exchange that led to Dice’s suspension began with a tweet by Dice on April 10, in which he wrote, “58 different genders wasn't ‘inclusive’ enough for Facebook, so now instead of picking from a list of options, that section is a 'fill in the blank.'  The company is embracing mental illness on a massive scale.  #Zuckerberg”.

An outraged reader named “Davon” tweeted back to Dice, “Are you calling gender identity a mental illness? The fact that you're able to tweet this [EXPLETIVE] is proof enough that there's [no] liberal social media bias.”

Dice then responded to “Davon,” writing, “All of them but two, yes.”

Soon after the exchange, Dice’s response disappeared from his Twitter feed, and Dice announced via Facebook that Twitter had suspended his account until he agreed to delete the tweet.

“This is the tweet Twitter is trying to force me to delete, for 'violating' their terms of service,” wrote Dice. “They locked me out of my account until I 'agree' that what I said was wrong!”

“My reply was to a question someone tweeted to me asking if the countless gender expressions were a mental illness,” Dice continued. “It's time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gets grilled by Congress about the censorship of Conservatives. Unbelievable.”

Dice encouraged supporters to post the screen shot of his deleted tweet and send it to Twitter’s support accounts to encourage the company to “stop being cyber-fascists.”

“Peanut butter isn't a gender, you lunatics! Neither are the dozens of others that Cultural Marxists have concocted, and that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube embrace. The Left needs to stop this mass-mental illness,” wrote Dice.

It appears that the suspension lasted through the weekend, and was lifted on Monday. It is unclear how it was resolved.

Transsexualism, or “Gender Identity Disorder” is a category of mental illness that has long appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. The current edition of the manual, the “DSM-5,” changed the name of the condition from “transsexualism” to “gender dysphoria,” but the criteria for the condition remain largely the same, and continue to be the subject of psychiatric treatment. Nonetheless, many institutions now treat “transsexualism” as a legitimate form of social identity, and persecute those who hold to the psychiatric understanding of the condition as a mental disorder.

“Mark Dice,” whose real name is Mark Shouldice, has made a name for himself on the internet by posting YouTube videos of his “Man on the Street Interviews” with random passers-by who exhibit a disturbing ignorance of historical and political facts. Shouldice also posts videos criticizing “Social Justice Warriors,” gender ideology, and Democrat politicians.

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Pope Francis and Vatican Academy for Life President speak out on Alfie Evans case

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By Diane Montagna

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

ROME, April 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis and the president of the Vatican’s Academy for Life spoke out on Sunday about Alfie Evans, as the two-year-old’s parents battle to save their son’s life in the face of hospital and state rulings to turn off his life support.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter’s Square after the Regina Caeli (a traditional Marian prayer prayed during the Easter Season), Pope Francis said:

I entrust to your prayers persons like Vincent Lambert in France, and little Alfie Evans in England, and [persons] in various countries who live, sometimes for a long time, in a state of serious infirmity, and are medically assisted for their basic needs. They are delicate, very painful and complex situations. Let us pray that every sick person is always respected in his dignity and cared for in a way that is suitable to his condition, with the unanimous support of family members, doctors and other medical professionals, with great respect for life.

Vincent Lambert is a 42-year-old Frenchman who also faces a hospital and state imposed death sentence (by starvation), against his parents’will. In 2008 Vincent suffered severe head injuries in an automobile accident that left him a quadriplegic. But doctors who have reviewed his case say he is not sick, nor in a coma, breathes unassisted, and his internal organs function normally.

Lambert has been called the French “Terri Schiavo.”

“Alfie must be loved”

Earlier on Sunday, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, also issued a statement in support of little Alfie. He said:

The story of little Alfie Evans of Liverpool, of his young parents Tom and Kate, and of all the people who over these long and painful months of illness have worked in different ways for the good of this child, in recent days has unfolded in all its terrible tragic effects.

I pray for him and for the people involved, and I invite everyone to join in this intention before the Lord of life.

I strongly hope that dialogue and cooperation can be reopened between the parents, who understandably are devastated by suffering, and the hospital authorities where Alfie has been treated until now, so that together they might seek Alfie’s complete good, and so that care for his life might not be reduced to a legal dispute.

Alfie cannot be abandoned. Alfie must be loved, and so must his parents, through to the end.

Vatican City, April 15, 2018

Archbishop Paglia has come under fire for publicly siding with Judge Anthony Hayden’s decision to deny Alfie Evans life support against his parents’ will.

In his decision, the British judge said that “continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s best interest,” even though doctors from  the Vatican’s Bambino Gesú Hospital, having reviewed the case, offered to take little Alfie and provide him with full palliative care, including ventilation. 

A number of Paglia’s critics in Rome welcomed today’s statement, saying it is “very good.” But some say it doesn’t go quite far enough and is still too open to interpretation.

A father’s fight

Last Thursday afternoon, Tom and Kate Evans attempted to remove their 23-month-old son from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool after obtaining a legal document confirming they could legally do so.

The parents had a medical team and air ambulance on standby ready to transport Alfie to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome. However, the hospital called police, who threatened to arrest Alfie’s father for assault if he took his son. 

A court order was handed down later on Thursday, mandating that Alfie be kept on life support until Monday, April 16 when is parents and legal team will again return to court in yet another attempt to keep their son alive. They will ask a Court of Appeals to allow Alfie to remain on life support and receive further treatment for his undiagnosed condition.

“The family wishes to immediately move Alfie by air ambulance to the Bambino Gesú Hospital in Rome, which has offered free care for the rest of Alfie’s life, including the comfort and health-enhancing standard tracheostomy and PEG feeding tube which Alder Hey refuses to give,” a press release said.

“We are children of God, and that’s simple. No doctor is God, no doctor can play God,” Tom Evans said on Friday, as he vowed to “fight until Alfie dies on his own.”

Candlelight vigils continue to be held by “Alfie’s Army” outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

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Liberal columnist: Boycott Chick-fil-A because it’s ‘creepy’ and Christian

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By Calvin Freiburger

NEW YORK, New York, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a piece that quickly went viral on social media for its blatant disdain of anything remotely Christian, a New Yorker columnist called on Manhattan residents to resist Chick-fil-A’s “creepy infiltration” of the city.

Dan Piepenbring’s Friday article is a reaction to the popular Christian restaurant chain opening a fourth location in the area last month, with plans to open up to a dozen more. He describes New Yorkers as overwhelmingly embracing Chick-fil-A, with its latest location seeing customers line up “almost to the end of the block” and another location estimating that it sells one sandwich every six seconds.

This, Piepenbring writes, comes despite the fact that the chain “does not quite belong here.”

Chief among its allegedly out-of-place qualities is Chick-fil-A’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.” Its locations don’t open on Sundays, its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia displays religious imagery such as Bible verses and a Jesus statue, and it lists “to glorify God” as part of its corporate purpose. Piepenbring did not identify any examples of the company forcing religious beliefs or practices on its employees or customers.

Most notably, CEO Dan Cathy has received left-wing condemnations for years because he vocally opposed same-sex “marriage” and the company’s charitable arm has donated to a variety of socially-conservative organizations. 

There is little evidence that Cathy’s alleged “bigotry” translated to mistreatment of homosexual customers or employees. The left-wing Huffington Post reported in 2012 that “[s]everal of the gay and lesbian employees interviewed by The Huffington Post said that they liked their work, and had never witnessed incidents of homophobia or discrimination on the job.”

Some claimed they witnessed “homophobic” jokes by local managers and staff (who didn’t know about their employees’ sexuality, and didn’t aim the jokes at them specifically), but one worker at the company headquarters said his experience was “extremely positive.”

Chick-fil-A’s first standalone New York location saw substantial protests in 2015, and Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a boycott the next year, but Piepenbring laments that “[n]o such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost.”

Piepenbring goes on to criticizes the repeated invocation of the word “community” in Chick-fil-A materials, which he says “suggests an ulterior motive,” and its use of cows as mascots, begging customers to eat chicken instead of burgers.

“Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows’ Schadenfreude,” he writes.

The author acknowledges that Chick-fil-A also “donates thousands of pounds of food to New York Common Pantry,” which is just one of the companies’ charitable activities.

As a 2012 Atlantic piece summarized, Chick-fil-A “funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children's camp.” It has also “provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start.” It has also provided free food during tragedies and crises, such as the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting or the 2017 Atlanta airport blackout.

Regardless, Piepenbring maintains that “there’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food,” and that the company’s “politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety.”

“Enough, we can tell them. NO MOR,” he concludes, mimicking the trademark spelling in the cows’ “eat mor chikin” slogan.

Conservatives swiftly denounced the article.

The Washington Examiner’s Jenna Ellis called it the “essence of bigotry and intolerance,” for the author to suggest “the ouster of a company on the sole basis of its religious affiliation and sincerely held beliefs.”

At The Federalist, Nicole Russell speculated that liberals oppose Chick-fil-A because they “can’t stand the success of a Christian-run company selling folks fried chicken sandwiches successfully with a smile.”

And Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro concluded that Piepenbring’s column was the latest example of the sort of left-wing intolerance that provoked the United States to elect President Donald Trump: “Because not only will he eat Chick-fil-A, but because he doesn’t scorn companies just because their owners happen to believe the crazy Biblical notions that undergird Western civilization.”

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UN ‘human rights’ official: Time for ‘courage’ to demand abortion enshrinement

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

April 16, 2018 (C-Fam) – "Sexual and reproductive health and rights are integral to the dignity of women and girls," said Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore at a gathering of UN experts and bureaucrats in Geneva last month.

Gilmore invited some thirty international experts of two UN human rights treaty monitoring committees to "confront" the UN General Assembly and "defy" UN member states which have repeatedly refused to recognize an international right to abortion.

"This is not a time for optimism. This is not a time for hope. This is a time for courage," Gilmore said. Egging on the experts, she said that the limitations that member states had placed on their power and resources were a "pernicious intentional effort to counter your authority, to minimize the reach of your responsibilities, and dilute the authority with which you speak."

The remarks came as Gilmore, the second highest ranking UN human rights official, kicked off the first-ever joint meeting of the UN committees that review the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, considered foundational UN human rights treaties.

Gilmore reminded experts of the "supreme value of the human person" as the animating principle behind the human rights project.

Later, during Easter week, the Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the civil rights treaty, continued its review of a legal commentary that declares both a right to abortion and a right to die to be part of the right to life.

Citing comments on the draft commentary from Amnesty International and abortion groups, the experts agreed to find ways around, and to limit, the right to conscientious objection of medical providers and strengthen language on access abortion.

The committee members did not cite any of the comments of the United States, Poland, Egypt, Japan, and dozens of other states and pro-life groups insisting that abortion can in no way be considered a human right.

The discussion of the paragraphs on abortion and euthanasia began with congratulatory remarks for the Israeli law professor who is the main drafter of the commentary, and whose birthday was last week. In October he laughed off opposition to an international right to abortion.

"The gift I would want is having these paragraphs adopted as soon as possible," he joked once again. And he turned to the subject of euthanasia with the same levity.

"Luckily paragraph ten does not deal with any controversial issue, only suicide and euthanasia," he said.

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After discussing the paragraph briefly, the experts stopped short of saying the treaty included a "right to die," as in earlier drafts. They said it would be politically "safer" not to take that route. But they said the treaty did indeed permit euthanasia as an exercise of personal autonomy.

The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights also says women have a right to sexual and reproductive health under international law, including abortion. They insist this human right has evolved from UN treaties even though neither of the treaties' they monitor mentions such obligations.

The UN staff Gilmore oversees prepares the opinions of both committees. Gilmore became an international abortion celebrity after flipping Amnesty International from being neutral on abortion to advocating for abortion as a human right. She was hired by the UN human rights office in 2016 after several years at the UN Population Fund.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen


Cardinals should declare Pope Francis ‘in error’: Catholic lawyer

Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

DEERFIELD, IL, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Approximately 100 Catholics from the United States, Latin America, and Europe attended the 2018 Catholic Family News conference in northern Illinois last weekend.

Advertised as “The Weapons of Our Warfare,” the three-day long gathering at a Hyatt Regency hotel just outside Chicago featured talks by some of the most knowledgeable laymen and clergy engaged in the battle for and preservation of the Catholic faith, including renowned Church historian Roberto de Mattei.

The conference, which focused on Pope Francis and the family, was the first hosted by Catholic Family News, a Traditional Catholic newspaper, since 2016. John Vennari, the paper’s longtime editor who managed the organization since its founding in 1994, passed away after a long battle with cancer in April of 2017.

The crisis in the family

In his opening address, editor Matt Gaspers paid homage to his predecessor, assuring his audience that the fight for Tradition will continue. Gaspers then delivered a well-sourced, detailed speech, quoting Sr. Lucia and Our Lady in an effort to contextualize attacks presently being waged against the family.

“Although it is painful to witness this terrible crisis in the Church and the family, the fact that it is occurring should come as no surprise. Our Lady told us it would happen.” The “crisis in the Church and the family share the same root cause, namely, a crisis of fatherhood.” 

Gaspers made special mention of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who in March said it is “dangerous” to speak of the family as “the domestic church.”

Archbishop Paglia’s credibility is “next to nothing,” Gaspers said. He has “thoroughly dismantled the Pontifical Academy for Life and has commissioned homoerotic paintings.” The family is a patriarchal hierarchy of baptized persons whose head fills the role of teaching, governing, and sanctifying. As such, it is a reflection and microcosm of the universal Church, he said.

Gaspers also detailed how marriage and the family are “powerful weapons” that must be used in the restoration of Holy Mother Church.

True and false mercy

Traditional Franciscan priest Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea spoke about Confession, a timely topic given the implementation of Amoris Laetitia across the world and Pope Francis’ constant invocation of mercy. 

Extensively quoting St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), the patron saint of confessors, Fr. Relyea argued that there is a false sense of mercy being promoted in Rome. This sense of mercy is “twisted” and “disgusting,” he said.

Priests are “obliged to inform consciences” and to withhold absolution if the person confessing isn't amending their life. You are “crazy” if you think you are being merciful by telling someone cohabitating in an adulterous union that they are pleasing to God, the priest said in a Brooklyn accent.

Fr. Relyea incorporated the Four Last Things — Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell — into his remarks as well, recalling that although God shows mercy to those who fear Him, for those who abuse His mercy, He exercises justice.

The New York-born priest described the Pope’s 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia as “wicked.”  

Christian fraternity

In between speeches, conference attendees went to morning Mass, enjoyed evening refreshments, and frequented the vendor area, where Loreto Publications and the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation of Texas —  among other apostolates — sold books, missals, veils, and audio CD’s. 

The Francis papacy as well as the “Catholic Church: Where are you heading?” symposium held in Rome on April 7th (the same day of the conference) were common topics of conversation among guests.

Attendee Elizabeth Yore told LifeSiteNews she went to the conference because “It is incumbent upon the laity to mount a resistance, and to continue to mount a resistance to what is going on in the Vatican, especially now given that so few Bishops and Cardinals are willing to do so.”  

Internet-based Catholic radio station Magnificat Media broadcast live from the hotel as well. 

Prayer cards and literature on Freemasonry and Our Lady of Good Success were given to everyone who came.

Despite heresy, the Pope is still the Pope

Three speeches at the “Weapons of Our Warfare” conference focused on the papacy.

Church historian Roberto de Mattei said “true devotion” to the Chair of St. Peter requires Catholics to speak out against “the heresies” being promoted by Pope Francis, who, despite propagating heresy, remains the pope

Canadian Dominican priest Fr. Albert Kallio O.P. echoed de Mattei’s words. “Even if the pope is a heretic...that does not at all mean that by that very fact, ipso facto as we say in English, he would cease being pope.”

Rejecting the claim that Pope Francis has lost his office, Fr. Kallio said, “Even those who hold that a pope who is manifestly a heretic loses automatically his office [believe] that the manifestation required before the pope would lose his office takes place by a declaration declared by the authority of the Church, namely the bishops.” 

It seems God is allowing “a sort of eclipse” of the Church for the moment, he concluded.

Christopher Ferrara, a lawyer and prolific Catholic writer, delivered a strongly worded speech emphatically urging Catholics not only to put forth the Church’s perennial teachings but to expose the problematic teachings coming from Pope Francis.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Ferrara said “the most effective opposition to what has to be seen now as the most wayward pontificate in the history of the papacy will have to come from the upper hierarchy.”

Such an opposition would come in the form of a public statement made by a significant number of Cardinals that would declare Pope Francis is “in error, that he’s attempting to impose error upon the Church, that his effort to pass off these errors as ‘authentic magisterium’ is a fraud…and that the faithful cannot follow this pope in his errors,” Ferrara said.

Young Catholics need Tradition

Another talk particularly relevant to events taking place in the Church was that which was given by 21-year-old Alexandra Reis, Catholic Family News’ youth correspondent. 

“What can the youth do to fight the devil?” Reis rhetorically asked. Not staying updated with every piece of world news and constantly attending protests, she argued. Rather, they can fight the devil by fulfilling their daily duties of state.

If you want “real penance” and if you want to truly change the world, she said, try doing dirty dishes, try “getting out of bed right when your alarm goes off in the morning. Offer that up to Our Lady. Mary wants us to offer sacrifices to her heart.”

Reis told LifeSiteNews that today’s youth aren’t being taught about the virtues of purity and modesty. Millenials view religion “as a cross” and rebel against “simple acts.” In truth, “it is through the little things that we convert the world.” 

Other weapons of our warfare

Louis Tofari, owner of Romanitas Press, a publishing company that helps Catholics learn about the Roman Mass, delivered a talk on the liturgy.  

Tofari told LifeSiteNews that the Roman Mass “needs to be used to convert souls to Christianity and to restore the Social Reign of Christ the King.” 

Another fascinating topic covered at the conference was the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, a former slave born in the mid 1800s who was ordained a priest in Rome because no seminary in the United States would accept him due to being African American.

Catholic Family News’ web editor Brendan Young pleaded with Catholics to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Mother during a thoughtful address about St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Militia Immaculata. 

Dr. Andrew Childs from St. Mary’s Academy and College in St. Mary’s, Kansas gave an insightful lecture on music while Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X discussed the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Editor’s Note: visit the Catholic Family News website if you are interested in purchasing any of the talks in CD-format.

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Operation Rescue staff


Abortionist on trial for murder, media blackout ensues

Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff

April 16, 2018 (Operation Rescue) – The criminal trial of an abortionist, Robert Rho, who caused the death of an abortion patient in 2016, is currently underway in the Queens Supreme Court in New York. Although it is a case that should be of national interest, few people are aware of it. That's because the trial is experiencing a complete media blackout.

The trial involves the death of 30-year old Jaime Morales, who reported to the Liberty Women's Healthcare office in Flushing, New York, on July 9, 2016, for an elective second trimester abortion with clinic owner Robert Rho.

Rho thought that the abortion on Morales went without complication until staff noticed she was bleeding heavily in the recovery room. Rho determined that she required a second abortion procedure, but even that did nothing to control the profuse bleeding.

A woozy Morales continued to bleed and even collapsed once at the clinic. Even though she was too unstable to release, Rho discharged Morales to her sister, and they began the drive to the sister's home in the Bronx. Along the way Morales fell off the back seat of the car and became non-responsive as a result of continued hemorrhaging.

Morales was transported by ambulance to a Bronx-area hospital where she was pronounced dead later that evening.

According to news reports at the time, an autopsy revealed horrific internal injuries inflicted by Rho during one or both abortion procedures he conducted on her that day. Rho had lacerated her cervix, punctured her uterus and sliced her uterine artery. Any one of those injuries would cause heavy bleeding, but together, they proved catastrophic.

Had Rho not released Morales in her unstable condition, and instead called an ambulance, she might be alive today, and Rho would only be facing the possibility of a malpractice suit instead of jail time.

A grand jury was convened to investigate Morales death and indicted Rho on one count of Second Degree Manslaughter (Reckless Homicide), a Class C Felony that carries a penalty of 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison.

Rho was arrested and booked on October 11, 2016. He entered a "not guilty" plea during his arraignment the following day and was released on $400,000 bail.

At first Rho appeared remorseful for his actions that led to Morales' needless death. He surrendered his medical license and closed his abortion clinic. A speedy resolution to the criminal case was expected.

However, the case was marked by repeated delays. For the next eighteen months, Rho remained out on bail with scheduled hearings every three months.

It is assumed, but not confirmed, that a plea bargain was offered by Assistant District Attorney Brad A. Leventhal and rejected by Rho. A jury trial was set and now it appears that Rho is fighting for his freedom – an irony considering his victim, Ms. Morales, can never be freed from the grave where Rho put her.

Today, Rho's trial before a jury of his peers continues in the courtroom of Judge Gregory Lasak, but no information about the proceedings is available outside appearance notices on the Court's web page. The trial is expected to run through Friday, April 13, 2018.

"The trial delay resulted in the loss of what scant media attention there was in this case. We continue to follow it the best we can, but without being in the courtroom, it is impossible to know any details of the testimony and evidence, due to the media blackout," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "When a woman dies from a negligent abortion, it simply doesn't fit the mainstream media's pro-abortion agenda. It's better for them to ignore it and act like it never happened. In a way, the media bears some responsibility for cases like this because they refuse to report on the true dangers of abortion."

Operation Rescue has reported on this case since Rho's arrest in October 2016, and will report on the outcome of the trial when it is known.

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Tom Evans reads statement outside hospital April 16, 2018.
Peter Baklinski


Alfie Evans’ dad: ‘We will keep fighting all the way. We will never give up on you, Alfie.’

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski

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

LIVERPOOL, England, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Baby Alfie Evans' father Tom delivered a defiant message to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital after a UK judge rejected the parents' latest bid to save their son’s life.

In a statement tearfully read outside the hospital on Monday, Alfie Evans’ father accused the hospital of “lying to the police,” “stripping [Alfie] of his dignity,” “taking away the rights of him and his family to be together,” and “trying to dictate what is in Alfie’s best interests when we have several pieces of evidence showing Alder Hey to be acting contrary to Alfie’s best interest,” such as “leaving him in poor and squalid conditions...and with moldy tubes.”

Evans' mention of the hospital not allowing the family to be together was in reference to a letter he shared last week in which Alder Hey accused pro-Alfie protesters of causing “significant disruption” to other patients’ families and staff. This led to the hospital restricting the number of visitors to Alfie. Evans vehemently denied the charges.

Last week Evans also accused the hospital of abusing and neglecting his son in multiple ways, including a doctor adjusting his drugs without permission, a nurse falling asleep next to him, and allowing one of his lungs to collapse despite being in intensive care.

“How can this trust get away with it?” Evans asked on Monday. “They should forfeit ability to dictate Alfie’s best interests...not terminate his life because of their failures to diagnose him and treat him effectively.”

Alfie has an unidentified neurodegenerative condition that Alder Hey Hospital claims is untreatable. For months, Alfie’s parents have been locked in a legal battle with UK courts to stop the hospital from removing Alfie’s life support. Their appeals have been denied at every turn. 

Earlier today,  Lord Justices Davis and Moylan and Lady Justice King of the High Court of England and Wales rejected the parents’ latest appeal, allowing to stand a previous ruling that stopping his ventilator and letting him die would be in Alfie’s “best interests.”

READ: UK judge dismisses parents’ bid to save Alfie Evans’ life

Despite this latest defeat, Tom Evans vowed that he and Alfie’s mother Kate James will continue fighting, and will appeal Hayden’s ruling to the UK Supreme Court.

“We want them to know they can’t take him away, we’re never gonna back down.” Evans said. “Alfie, the family, and our cause is stronger than ever, and we will keep fighting all the way. We will never give up on you, Alfie.”

Tom Evans also shared to Facebook a picture of Alfie with his eyes open, along with a health update.

“Alfie has not yet Woke up,” Evans explained, “this is just after a very small seizure.” He said that Alfie “tried his best to stay awake but after a couple of minutes and a couple of very tired kid flickers he went back of to sleep.”

“He’s fighting not dying, he’s undiagnosed not terminal, HE HAS NOT GOT MITOCHONDRIAL!” Evans reiterated. “While you continue to lead us through the storm we will hold your hand all the way through it.”

Alfie timeline

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Carole Novielli

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A history of Planned Parenthood, Part II: From population control to abortion

Carole Novielli
By Carole Novielli
PPFA president Alan F Guttmacher speaks about abortion, 1965.
Lawrence Lader, abortion crusader.
Guttmacher: Abortion coercion possible.
Guttmacher: Compulsory birth control, 1970.
Image from 1940s birth control pamphlet published by Planned Parenthood.
Guttmacher on coercive population control, New York Times.
The Case for Legalized Abortion Now, edited by Alan F. Guttmacher.
Alan Guttmacher, 1973 (image credit: WGBH).
Babies by Choice or by Chance, by Alan F. Guttmacher.
Alan Guttmacher appointed head of obstetrics at Mount Sinai Hospital (image: New York Times, June 27, 1952).
Guttmacher named president of Planned Parenthood, 1967 (image: New York Times).
Alan Guttmacher calls 1960 abortion laws archaic.

Editor's note: This article is part two in a series on the history of Planned Parenthood. Read part one here.

April 16, 2018 (Live Action News) – Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's focus was eugenic sterilization and birth control, rather than decriminalizing abortion. But it wasn't a female eugenics crusader who rolled out the abortion agenda of Planned Parenthood – that came from Dr. Alan F. Guttmacher, a physician and past vice-president of the American Eugenics Society who was already steeped in abortion prior to his election as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 1962. Guttmacher worked with Mary S. Calderone, who joined Planned Parenthood's staff in 1953 as its medical director, a post she held until 1964. Years earlier, Guttmacher had vowed to work to decriminalize abortion, eventually persuading the PPFA board to commit the procedures.

Planned Parenthood was initially reluctant to perform abortions – that is, until Guttmacher came on the scene. Before making millions committing abortions, Planned Parenthood admitted that abortion takes human life. A Planned Parenthood pamphlet from 1952 reads, "Abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun."

Another pamphlet from Planned Parenthood Federation of America also describes abortion as a procedure that "kills life after it has begun" and one which is "dangerous" to a woman's "life and health."

In the early 1960s, abortion enthusiasts like Larry Lader bemoaned Planned Parenthood's lack of involvement with abortion, noting in his book, "Abortion II," that "Abortion never became a feminist plank in the United States among the suffragettes or depression radicals. It was ignored, even boycotted by Planned Parenthood women in those days."

Lader notes in his book, "Ideas Triumphant" how, other than the National Organization for Women (NOW), few groups were willing to support abortion: "In medicine, only the American Public Health Association (APHA) had taken a stand…. The huge network of Planned Parenthood Federation clinics remained on the sidelines except for its outspoken medical committee under Dr. Alan Guttmacher."

Lader expounds further in his book, "Abortion II," writing, "Planned Parenthood, with hundreds of chapters and clinics throughout the country, had been a particular disappointment. Legalized abortion, I insisted from the start, was the logical measure for contraception and an essential form of birth control. Under the leadership of Dr. Alan Guttmacher, the medical committee of Planned Parenthood-World Population proposed the 'abolition of existing statutes and criminal laws regarding abortion' in 1968. After this plank was approved by the members in 1969, Planned Parenthood chapters soon started abortion referrals, and even clinics, as an 'integral part of medical care.'"

Guttmacher was an avid eugenicist, who joined others of his day in voicing a concern about rising population growth.  In spite of national calls for coercion to slow down the rate of population growth, Guttmacher instead advocated the decriminalization of abortion as an effort that he felt would accomplish the same result. But, although Guttmacher had learned how to finesse the rhetoric, he did not discount the use of coercion altogether. In 1966, Guttmacher compared the world population with the threat of nuclear war, telling the Washington Post that governments may have to act officially to limit families. "It may be taken out of the voluntary category," Guttmacher said.

Population concerns drove public policy

In Michael W. Perry's compilation of one of Sanger's works with others of her period, "The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective: The Birth Control Classic," Perry writes of Alan Guttmacher, "In 1962, Alan Guttmacher, former vice president of the American Eugenics Association, assumed the presidency of Planned Parenthood. Soon, a 'population bomb' hysteria… was driving public policy. In 1969, a medical news magazine revealed what was really going on when it quoted Guttmacher, warning that if 'voluntary means' did not achieve the desired goals, 'Each country will have to decide its own form of coercion and determine when and how it should be employed. At present, the means available are compulsory sterilization and compulsory abortion.'"

"That's what [Margaret] Sanger intended to do with birth control…. So, why should it be surprising that Guttmacher felt the same?" Perry added.

This 1968 interview with Alan Guttmacher and a member of the clergy, which, according to Ball State University,  originated from WLBC-TV and was (possibly) a part of a segment titled, "Week in Review," demonstrates the concern the PPFA president had about the so-called "population crisis." Guttmacher began the interview by defining Planned Parenthood as a "movement which tries to make each child a wanted child born to responsible parents…."

In the interview, Alan Guttmacher, addressed the issue of population growth:

Now, I think everyone is conscious of the fact that in some areas of the world there is explosive type of population increase, unsupportable, in that it is outdistancing food, it retards economic development… and, what we are attempting to do, of course, is to encourage countries to curtail the rate of growth.

He added this about the threat of a global "population crisis:"

Now, I've been in this a really long time and I am encouraged because, we have governments becoming deeply involved. Each year, one or more – many governments make population control part of national policy.

In 1969, after seeking government funding for "family planning" specifically for "low income Americans," Guttmacher responded to criticism from some that population growth could be reduced by "voluntary methods" rather than government coercion. "I do not share their despair," he stated. "The appropriate response, in my view, is to mobilize rapidly a total, coordinated U.S. program by government, in collaboration with voluntary health services, in an all-out maximum effort to demonstrate what voluntary fertility control can accomplish in a free society."

A year later, in 1970, Guttmacher, told Boston Magazine that the United Nations should be the organization the United States used to carry out population control programs worldwide. Guttmacher explained his reasoning:

If you're going to curb population, it's extremely important not to have it done by the dammed Yankees, but by the UN. Because the thing is, then it's not considered genocide. If the United States goes to the black man or the yellow man and says slow down your reproduction rate, we're immediately suspected of having ulterior motives to keep the white man dominant in the world. If you can send in a colorful UN force, you've got much better leverage.

The fact is that Guttmacher understood that coercive means of population control would not be well received, especially by members of the Black community. The eugenics movement, of which he was a part, had come under criticism after the Nazis' implemented their eugenic "final solution" for a "pure race" – something many believe originated with American eugenics leaders.

"So even though the plan [of coercion] may be desirable and would make us a stronger nation, a less polluted nation, I feel it would be strategically unwise at this time," the former Planned Parenthood president told Lee McCall, a reporter for the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 1966.

The push for taxpayer-funded birth control for the poor and minorities

Guttmacher, who also founded Planned Parenthood's research arm and "special affiliate," the Guttmacher Institute, then proposed a blueprint to force taxpayers to pay for birth control access for the poor, as Live Action News detailed previously.

The plan was highly criticized by the Black community, which saw the move as a means of racist Black genocide.  "Among other things, this policy has brought the Planned Parenthood Federation under attack from black militants who see 'family planning' as a euphemism for race genocide," the NYT reported at that time. So, a 1966 internal memo from Alan Guttmacher and Fred Jaffe outlined a new "community relations program" for winning over the Black community by "form[ing] a liaison between Planned Parenthood and minority organizations." The plan, according to Planned Parenthood, was to emphasize that "all people have the opportunity to make their own choices," rather than, as the memo states, "exhortation telling them how many children they should have."

In its 1969 article entitled, "Dr. Guttmacher is the Evangelist of Birth Control," the New York Times was forced to acknowledge that many leaders sitting on Planned Parenthood's board were in favor of coercive measures of population control. While painting the picture of an agency which was pushing birth control on the "ghetto" rather than the "middle-class" who were having more than the optimal amount of children, the paper noted that a "sizable" number of Planned Parenthood's board was made up of "preponderantly white and well-to-do" people. They then quoted a Planned Parenthood board member who admitted the racist attitude of the organization when he stated, "What it all comes down to is that we want the poor to stop breeding while we retain our freedom to have large families. It's strictly a class point of view."

Guttmacher and Sanger were both (as eugenicists) concerned that the world population was a threat, but, Guttmacher, much savvier than Sanger, chose to couch his agenda as a "right." He even told the paper that they were not trying to take away anyone's rights, but trying to "show ghetto families how to space their children and avoid having children they don't want."

"Admittedly Guttmacher is buying time," writes the New York Times in that 1969 report. "He thinks the voluntary movement should set a deadline of 1980. If world population growth has not dropped below 1.5 percent by then, he says, 'we'll have to get tough.'"

Whatever Guttmacher meant by getting "tough" never materialized, because he believed decriminalizing abortion was the solution and noted this in a 1970 interview where he stated:

If we could get the abortion law liberalized, most of the 750,000 unwanted pregnancies would not lead to babies – rejected children, battered baby syndrome and illegal abortions.

Proposing the availability of "unlimited abortion" to curb population growth

And, in that same year, Guttmacher admitted to a 1970 Cornell Symposium, (according to an April 7, 1970, article published by the Cedar Rapids Gazette), that although he did not know when life began, he believed that "unlimited abortion" was the only way to reduce population growth, saying, "There is no question that the most effective way of reducing population growth is by unlimited abortion."

According to researcher and author Mary Meehan, "Guttmacher undoubtedly believed that [abortion] helped women; in fact, he had referred patients to an illegal abortionist as early as 1941. Yet he also had other motives, indicated by his service as vice president and board member of the American Eugenics Society."

In 1967, Guttmacher edited a book on legalizing abortion, where he admitted, "Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life." Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino agrees with this, stating that there is never a valid medical reason for abortion:

Guttmacher became Chief of Obstetrics at Baltimore's Sinai Hospital in 1942, eventually creating a staff committee of five to make decisions about abortion. Like Sanger, Guttmacher allegedly watched a woman die from an illegal abortion while serving as an intern in Baltimore. He later wrote of other women, "In a short period I witnessed three deaths from illegal abortions: a 16-year old with a multiperforated uterus, a mother of four who died of sepsis rejecting another child, and a patient in early menopause who fatally misinterpreted amenorrhea."

For years, Guttmacher referred women to physicians for illegal abortion procedures. He once wrote how an illegal abortionist, nicknamed Dr. T,  showed him the abortion technique. "His technique was to pack one inch gauze strips into the cervix and lower uterine segment the night before he was to evacuate the conceptus," Guttmacher wrote. "After 12 hours of packing, the cervix was wide open, and he was able to empty the uterus with an ovum forceps, followed by currettage without anesthesia. In advanced pregnancies he inserted intrauterine bougies, held in place by a vaginal pack until strong contractions commenced, which not infrequently took several days."

"These early medical experiences with the unavailability of abortions in reputable hospitals and the incidence of illegal abortions convinced me that permitting abortion only 'to preserve the life of the mother' was undesirable and unenforceable…. My sentiment was that as long as the law was as restrictive as it was, doctors should not breach it, but work to change the law – a position which I forthrightly espoused in the classroom," Guttmacher stated.

Dr. T later attended a 1950's Abortion in the United States conference sponsored by PPFA, which focused on abortion. PPFA leader Mary Calderone writes, "Those very concerned with the problem of abortion will be full of gratitude for this report; gratitude to the P.P.F.A. for convening the conference and for the frankness of the thirty-eight participants, who comprised eminent gynaecologists, psychiatrists and a few social workers. The highlight of the proceedings was an M.D.'s testimony as a convicted (but not imprisoned) abortionist. The chairman stated that Dr. T. was his valued friend, known for nearly three decades, and described him as 'an extremely competent abortionist … who some years ago fell into disagreement with the law and is no longer in practice".'"

The PPFA group heard from abortion advocates worldwide, and in the end, Calderone indicates that there was no clarion call to push for abortion reform.

In his book, "Babies by Choice or by Chance," published in 1959, Guttmacher allegedly deplored "the performance of abortion on virtual demand." But Guttmacher also noted how he had learned from experience how hospitals were "allowed to interpret and administer the abortion law of their respective states without supervision or interference from either the police, the courts or medical agencies."

In 1952, Guttmacher had relocated from Baltimore to New York, where he became the first Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, which had already been approving and performing abortions. "I was told that if a private patient was denied abortion in another institution, she frequently sought abortion at Mt. Sinai because of its well-known, relatively liberal policy," Guttmacher claimed.

By 1962, Guttmacher was at the helm of Planned Parenthood and he was positioned to put his dream of decriminalizing abortion into action. That same year, as chairman of the medical and scientific committee of the Human Betterment Foundation, Guttmacher called the existing abortion laws "archaic" and "idiotic."

"The idea that the fetus has a sacred right to survive from the moment of fertilization is a Judeo Christian creation," he said according to a May 2, 1962, Poughkeepsie Miscellany News report.

"I believe that a new abortion statute for New York and each of the other states is needed…. I think it is high time that a commission of physicians, lawyers, judges, sociologists, and religionists convened in an attempt to wrestle with the problem realistically…. The only way progress can be made is through an aroused citizenry. What we need in the United States is a uniform abortion law," Guttmacher wrote in "Babies by Choice."

A few years later, during a 1965 "Abortion and the Law" BBC program, Guttmacher, then president of PPFA, put forth the infamous "health" exception for abortion, stating (36:20):

Now, the law as you know is simply to preserve the life of the mother. This is wholly inadequate.

Number one, I'd preserve the life or health of the mother. And, as you know, health could be interpreted quite broadly and I think it should be. In 1960, the World Health Organization gave us splendid definition of health. They said health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being. Not simply the absence of illness and disease.

Second, I feel that abortion should be done, when competent medical opinion feels that there's strong likelihood of the current [inaudible] to result in the malformed or abnormal child. I think whenever pregnancy is the result of proved rape, incest, or the impregnation of a child of sixteen or less, with or without the consent, that we have legal grounds for interrupting this pregnancy.

Interestingly, this language comes directly from the 1959 American Law Institute's Model Penal Code on abortion. In our next report in this series, we will learn Guttmacher's connection to that organization and detail what led up to Planned Parenthood's decision to push for the decriminalization of abortion and begin referring for the procedure.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Eleventh Canadian bishop pulls Development and Peace funding over pro-abortion partnerships

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By Lianne Laurence

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Eleven Canadian bishops are now withholding this year’s Lenten collection from the bishops’ own charitable arm Development and Peace (D&P) over its ties to pro-abortion groups.

Bishop Joseph Phuong Nguyen of Kamloops, British Columbia, announced his decision in a letter April 13.

The bishops are withholding funding based on the interim findings of an ongoing investigation by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops into D&P’s global grantees.

A report in February revealed the Catholic international agency has partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality, or pro-transgenderism.

“Some partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching, that they may not fully respect the sanctity of human life from conception to its natural end,” wrote Nguyen in a letter virtually identical to those released by his fellow bishops.

Nguyen is joined in his action by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg, Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver, 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.

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

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

The bishops are withholding the 2018 collection from D&P “until such time as we receive clear assurance that its partner agencies comply with Catholic teaching and the criteria set out by Caritas Internationalis,” as Nguyen wrote.

Smith told Grandin Media he was shocked by the interim report to the Western and Northern bishops’ assembly in February, and Collins wrote the findings “produced alarming concerns about dozens of overseas organizations.”

Winnipeg’s annual D&P collection is usually not sent to the international aid agency until August, Gagnon wrote in his pastoral letter.

“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.”

LifeSiteNews has reported extensively for years on Development and Peace’s funding of pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-LGBT groups in the developing world. It reported last March D&P had been funding at least seven Latin American organizations that actively promote the legalization of abortion, including one in Haiti.

The bishops’ investigation was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that partnered with Development and Peace, Grandin Media reported.

A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal, Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau and Primate of Canada Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec City, are waiting for the final report of joint review before making any decisions on funding.  

However, “I assure donors from the Ottawa and Cornwall dioceses that only partnerships that are in conformity with Catholic social and moral teaching will receive our contributions,” Prendergast told LifeSiteNews.

The CCCB released a statement April 10 confirming a “joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP” into D&P’s partners in the Global South.

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

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Pro-lifers in Rome protest the removal of an approved billboard, April 14, 2018.
Estefania Aguirre


Mayor of Rome removes authorized pro-life billboard, pro-lifers protest

Estefania Aguirre
The pro-life billboard removed by Rome's mayor.

ROME, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – About 50 pro-life advocates gathered in Rome on Saturday to protest the mayor of Rome’s sudden decision to remove a pro-life billboard that had been initially authorized in the city.

They held a large white banner with the words “No Censura” [No Censorship] painted in bright red letters. Members of the group also wore white bandanas tied around their mouths. They held miniature versions of the banned billboard. 

The billboard depicted the image of a baby in a womb and the words “You were like this at 11 weeks. All your organs were present. Your heart was beating already from the third week after conception. You already sucked your thumb. And now you’re here because your mother has not aborted you.”

The poster was part of a campaign launched by Provita for the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the country, which falls on May 22.

Luca Scalise, one of the event’s organizers and member of Provita Onlus, told LifeSiteNews during the April 14 protest that the billboard’s message was backed by science. 

“There were no provocative or offensive sentences on the billboard,” he said. 

“Science is written on this poster, it’s what science affirms, a logical deduction on which even abortionists could agree,” he added. 

He criticized the mayor’s decision to remove the billboard. 

“This day and this symbolic sit-in is important because our freedom of expression and the defense of human life has been completely denied to us after the removal of a poster that was hung in a fully authorized manner,” he said. 

“We wonder how the removal of this poster, a violent act, is democratic,” he added. 

Maria Edima Venancio, a Brazilian living in Rome who was among the protesters, underscored the importance of the demonstration.

“This demonstration is important for freedom of speech and for the right to life, which is very important,” she said.

Provita had been initially authorized to have the image placed on the facade of a building on Via Gregorio VII street, relatively close to the Vatican, from April 3 – 15. The billboard had been paid for. Organizers had also obtained permission from the building’s residents to hang the billboard on the facade.

But Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome and member of the political party Five Star Movement, ordered its removal and had it taken down on April 6, without an explanation.

Among those pressuring for the billboard’s removal was Monica Cirinnà, the wife of the mayor of Fiumicino, greater Rome, and senator of the Partito Democratico who stressed that “it’s shameful that the streets of Rome allow posters against a law of the State and against women’s right to choose #immediateremoval” in a tweet on April 5.

Vita di Donna Onlus was among the main groups lobbying with an online petition for the poster’s removal.

Provita was denied permission to hold Saturday’s demonstration in front of the Campidoglio building – Rome’s municipality – and had to gather instead at Piazza Madonna di Loreto, hidden behind police vans that limit traffic on weekends between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum.

Towards the end of the protest, a young female tourist walking by grabbed and ripped a poster of one of the demonstrators and shouted at the group, but left within a few minutes despite no police intervention.

Provita is a non-profit organization dedicated to working to defend children, to defend life from conception to natural death, to support the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, and to defend the right of parents to educate their children.

According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica) and the Ministry of Health, there were 84,874 abortions in the country in 2016, down when compared to previous years. This average of 232 abortions a day, however, does not include the deaths caused by abortifacients such as Italy’s EllaOne.

Luca underscored that his organization “will continue its battle.”

“It is true that they want to silence us in all ways, but as long as we have life, we will try to fight for the lives of everyone else, from conception to natural death,” he said. 

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Alfie's Army / Facebook


UK judges dismisses parents’ bid to save Alfie Evans’ life

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

LONDON, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Three British judges have refused to overturn a previous judge’s decision that it is in baby Alfie Evans’ “best interest” to discontinue ventilation, which will likely cause his death. The decision also means that Alfie's parents cannot move their son from a Liverpool hospital for treatment in Italy. 

Alfie’s case was back in court today after his parents unsuccessfully attempted last week to remove their baby from Alder Hey children’s hospital and transfer him to a healthcare facility in Italy. The hearing was conducted in the Court of Justice in Westminster before Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan. 

The case ultimately revolves around the question of what a child’s “best interests’ are and whether courts or the parents have the final say.

Paul Diamond represented Alfie’s parents Thomas Evans and Kate James. He sought to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s decision last week that Alfie’s parents may not remove him from Alder Hey hospital. He argued that it was a deprivation of Alfie’s liberty in not letting him travel to a different hospital. 

The parents say that their 23-month-old son is not receiving the care and treatment that he needs. While hospital doctors say the baby is essentially braindead and has no quality of life, parents Tom and Kate have video footage showing the baby yawning, stretching, and responding to various stimuli. 

In his summing up, Lord Justice Moylan repeated the arguments made recently by Justice Hayden about the baby’s care.

Justice Hayden had previously ruled that “it was not in Alfie’s best interests to continue ventilation, that he should only receive palliative care, and that it should be carried out by Alder Hey,” stated Justice Moylan, as reported by Liverpool Echo.

Justice Moylan also said that the baby’s independent guardian has agreed with the hospital that withdrawing ventilation is in the baby’s “best interests.” He stressed that when conflicts arise between the parents’ preferences and the child’s best interests, then the child’s best interests must prevail.

The justice stated that the parental rights of Tom and Kate over Alife “do not take precedence.”

“Their views and rights do not take precedence and do not give them the choice to make the decisions regarding Alfie,” he stated. 

The justice also stated that it is “wrong to say that the parents’ own views can trump that judicial determination.”

“As has been determined with considerable clarity in this case, Alfie’s best interests are determinative and the court has decided what treatment he should or should not receive. It is precisely because of this judicial determination that Aflie has been kept in Alder Hey Hospital," he said.

Then the justices rejected permission to appeal the ruling using legal representations at the Court of Appeal. They did acknowledge, however, that Alfie's parents had the right to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court. They set a deadline of 4pm the next day. The decision was delivered today at the Court of Justice at about 4:20 PM London time.

The family's representative indicated that the appeal will be lodged. Treatment of Alfie will continue until the Supreme Court decision.

Alfie Evans, born May 9, 2016, is lying critically ill in Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation in Liverpool. His doctors agree that he has an undiagnosed neurological condition that has resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage. In February 2018, Alder Hey won a legal decision that continued life support was not in the child’s best interests. Alfie’s parents fought the decision to the Supreme Court and before the European Court of Human Rights. Courts have refused to allow the parents to determine what is in Alfie's best interest. 

Alfie timeline

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Maaike Rosendal


I was against abortion. Then it became real for me

Maaike Rosendal
By Maaike Rosendal

April 16, 2018 (Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform) – Memories are simultaneously wonderful and strange. At times they come to the fore without having been summonedOn other occasions they remain vague, despite the desire to recall them more clearly. No matter how far I go back in my memories, there's no recollection of first learning about abortion. Somehow, I knew that babies are being killed before being born, but that knowledge must have been too foreign to fully process. The day this concept became reality is burned into my soul.

It was cold and dreary, not unlike many fall days in my native country of the Netherlands. A pro-life organization had urged people to stand outside abortion clinics and I joined my dad when he went. On the side walk were several pro-lifers, some in conversation, others in prayer. A volunteer waited near the entrance with information about prenatal development and support services. This place even had extended hours.

I remember staring at the stately building with impressive architecture. Soft yellow lighting shone through the windows. So that's where they do abortions. A woman walked down the sidewalk. Would she join our group? She made a sharp turn toward the clinic, then paused to speak with the woman at the door. My heart felt like it spontaneously stopped for a second. Don't go inside. Please, don't go inside!

Conversation on the side walk ceased, I imagine every person interceding through fervent prayer. If she's pregnant, please soften her heart. Please save the baby. Please show her our love. Seconds felt like minutes. I believe she reached out for a pamphlet, then quickly took the steps to the clinic door. Her silhouette I'll never forget.

Whether an abortion took place that evening, I'll never know for sure, but when we left an hour or so later, she was still inside. Suddenly it dawned on me. My parents' prayers, the pro-life presentation at school, the pin the exact size of a baby's feet at ten weeks of pregnancy. My mind imagined the ugly practice inside that beautiful building. The heavy weight of comprehending reality felt crushing.    

On the way home, the condensation inside the car ran in little streams down the window. There were no words, and I was grateful for the sound of rain on the roof. Heaven weeps too, I thought.

All those memories came flooding back last week as I listened to Dr. Fraser Fellows describe how he performs late-term abortions less than an hour from where I live. When my colleague Oriyana showed the photographic evidence of his practice, however, he did not look. It's not a pleasant thing to do, Dr. Fellows admitted. But he seems like such a nice doctor, someone commented.

Perhaps that's the most unsettling part. Beautiful buildings hide bloody practices. Slogans promote choice without showing what is chosen. Philosophy professors leisurely debate the dehumanization of the pre-born. And friendly physicians recommend – even carry out – the killing of little children. How easy isn't it to miss the profoundness of what is taking place?

I've stood outside other abortion clinics since that first time as a young teen. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing a pregnant woman enter, to leave sometime later – often pale, teary, limping, or even vomiting. Each time my heart breaks for her. Each time I can't help but think of the child she's leaving behind.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to make a difference outside of Canadian abortion clinics, it's even more important to reach our neighbours prior to that 11th hour. And when we do, there are also no words to describe that feeling: the joy of seeing a pregnant woman choose life for her pre-born child.

Published with permission from the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.

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Christopher O. Tollefsen


Presenting a name for the post-Millennial generation

Christopher O. Tollefsen
By Christopher Tollefsen

April 16, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – "iGen" is both the title of Jean M. Twenge's most recent book (subtitle: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy, and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood), and the name she has coined for the generation succeeding the Millennials. Twenge, who has been studying generational differences for a quarter century, includes within iGen those born between 1995 and 2012, plus or minus a bit. What ties this generation together? It is their hitherto unknown relationship to social media and its technological platform: they are "the first generation to enter adolescence with smartphones already in their hands."

Twenge sees that smartphone as the thread running through ten features of this generation: heavy internet use, decline in person-to-person interaction, a rise in mental-health issues, a decline in religiosity, a concern with safety, a lack of civic involvement, income insecurity, "new attitudes towards sex, relationships, and children," inclusivity, and political independence. While her effort is primarily descriptive, she does see normative differences. She shows real concern over what she sees as a mental-health "crisis" but praises iGen for "leading the way toward more equality and acceptance" on LGBT issues.

Despite her attempt at a balanced assessment, however, I think the verdict to render on iGen on the basis of Twenge's book is even more negative than she does. I see it as a catalogue of deficits, of which four stand out.

Mental Health and Meaninglessness

First, as Twenge argues extensively, there is a mental-health deficit, one clearly correlated with screen time: "teens who spend more time on screens are more likely to be depressed, and those who spend more time on nonscreen activities are less likely to be depressed." This, in turn, leads to a higher risk of suicide. One reason for the connection between smartphone/internet use and depression is the predominance of cyberbullying. Another is the negative impact that excessive smartphone use has on sleep. And surely yet another is the simple disconnectedness from real things and real people that is experienced by those whose primary forms of personal interaction are mediated by a screen.

Twenge's advice in response to this is admirably direct: "Put down the phone." This is exactly right. But this will never happen unless parents are smarter about when to introduce smartphones in their children's lives. I was interested recently to hear of a "Wait Until 8th" movement, attempting to convince parents not to allow their children to use smartphones until at least eighth grade. That is a start, but what eighth-grader really needs constant access to the internet? "Nein until 9th" or "When? 10th" would be even better.

Second, there is a deficit of meaning. This deficit shows up in several places in Twenge's book. The smartphone and its virtual spaces seem to be the primary place where teens spend time together. Their capacity for and interest in serious personal relationships with others is deeply impaired. Another example: Twenge devotes a chapter to the declining religious participation of iGen. According to Twenge, by 2016, "one out of three 18-24 year olds said they did not believe in God." Twenge attributes this in part to "American culture's increasing focus on individualism," and this seems plausible. A third example: Twenge describes the attitude of iGen students entering college as "money is in, and meaning is out." Academics located in humanities departments will hear this as a familiar refrain, linked as it now is to the imperative, if you are teaching history, philosophy, or English literature, to show that the knowledge you are imparting can be made "to pay." The idea that some activities, including the pursuit of knowledge, are valuable for their own sake is uncommon, and results in a massively instrumentalizing attitude toward the value of a university education.

All three of these examples, and more, add up to a deficit in iGen of interest in genuine human goods for their own sake. Similarly, members of iGen are not particularly interested in marriage or meaningful work. Anecdotally, I have found recent college students, for the first time in my career, to show actual interest in plugging in to Robert Nozick's famous "experience machine." It could provide one with a lifetime of pleasure or the illusion of great activities, were you to plug in for good, but at the expense of any real personal relationships or genuine projects and pursuits. Nozick thought it obvious that one should not plug in; today's students, not so much.

Seeking Safety, Avoiding Risk

A third deficit is one of responsibility. Repeatedly, Twenge tells us that iGen is not interested in "growing up," nor does there appear to be any pressing need to do so. Far fewer teens are driving, or working; their parents are apparently willing to drive them where they need to go and provide what money they require. The aversion to driving is, in turn, linked at least in part to an overwhelming interest in personal safety. There are certainly benefits to this: today's teens are safer, affording to Twenge. But the aversion to risk demonstrated by iGen extends beyond the physical to "intellectual, social, and emotional risks."

It is here that Twenge locates the dismal recent phenomenon of "safe spaces" on college campuses. In a survey conducted by Twenge on her own campus, "three out of four students agreed" that safe spaces should be created on campus when controversial speakers were invited to speak. She notes further how increasingly common is the equation of speech with physical violence, and concludes that "all this focus on protection, safety, comfort, and home is the downside of teens growing up more slowly: they are unprepared to be independent and thus want college to be home."

Linking the theme of safety with the instrumentalization of higher education previously mentioned, Twenge writes:

To Boomer, GenX'er, and even many Millennial faculty and administrators, college is a place for learning and exploration, and that includes being exposed to ideas different from your own. That, they believe, is the whole point of going to college in the first place. iGen'ers disagree: college, they feel, is a place to prepare for a career in a safe environment.

As I mentioned earlier, iGen is largely descriptive, yet Twenge shows admirable awareness of the ways in which these generational characteristics are negative. That is easy enough with impaired mental health, but Twenge is alive to the fact that the loss of meaningful activity and the hyper-concern for safety are also deficits, as I have described them. Yet it seems to me that Twenge allows ideological agreement to trump sober assessment where a fourth deficit is concerned.

The Downside of Inclusivity

iGen is, Twenge says, "inclusive." They are deeply supportive of LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage, and their inclusivity is tied even to the decline of spiritual and religious interest and activity. After all, religion has "too many rules," many about sex. iGen'ers are not terribly interested in sex itself—porn is "safer." But they are resolutely opposed to anyone telling anyone else how to live their lives. At the same time, they are themselves not terribly tolerant of controversy and disagreement: as we've seen, they favor safe spaces and trigger warnings, and share a suspicion of microagressions.

They are, Twenge writes, politically independent (though she also accurately describes them as libertarian); but they are also fairly uninvolved, politically. They are suspicious of government, and, despite talking a good game, are "less likely to take political action: political participation reached all-time lows in 2014 and 2015." Your average iGen'er is, in Twenge's words "Not a huge news fan," and they are "considerably less informed than their predecessors."

Twenge is alert to some of the dangers here. iGen'ers are as polarized as the rest of the nation, and their smartphone dependence is a contributing factor. This could lead, she thinks, to "more candidates resort[ing] to the politics of celebrity to get iGen'ers' attention, with fame and bombastic proclamations the key to leading in the polls."

Yet she also sees some virtues:

iGen'ers are finding new ways to move for social change, from changing their Facebook profile picture to an equality sign to hashtagging a tweet about a cause. It might not be marching in the streets, but – as the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage showed – such pervasive awareness can start to shift the opinions of average Americans and eventually the law. Much of the awareness of Black Lives Matter spread online. That is where iGen'ers shine – not in traditional political action but in spreading the word about a new issue.

Elsewhere, she describes iGen as "leading the way toward more equality and acceptance."

Let's grant this as a descriptive matter. iGen is, in Twenge's words, "exquisitely tolerant," and has plausibly played an important role online in changing social attitudes—or at least in making life difficult for those whose attitudes have not yet changed. Suppose that we were to agree with Twenge in thinking that change of attitudes a good thing, and the social changes that have emerged from those attitudes as progress. Should we think it a good thing that iGen has played the role it has? Should we be pleased that they are "leading the way"?

I do not see how such sentiments could possibly be in line with the rest of the data Twenge has provided. iGen suffers intellectual and moral deficits: they are ill-informed, uninterested in pursuing relevant information, passionate without being active, afraid of debate with those who disagree, and uninterested in learning or exploration. "Hashtagging a tweet for a cause" and using social media to stigmatize those who disagree are not laudatory actions, they're symptoms of precisely these ills.

Who should be concerned with these symptoms? Everyone. But I suggest that those who should care the most are those who agree with the substance of iGen's views. If you are, like most iGen youth, a great supporter of LGBT acceptance and same sex marriage, they are the last people you should want as the voice of your cause, for their position is born not of study and argument but of unreasoned sentiment and intellectual torpor. These are the last grounds on which a defender of a cause—any cause—should wish them settled. Just causes should be settled by the truth, and by their defenders' reasoned acceptance of that truth.

And this, to mention just one further issue requiring more words than I have here available, brings me to Twenge's all-too-brief discussion "iGen'ers in the Classroom." As she notes, college students come to the classroom with little experience reading books "or even long magazine articles." A video of more than three minutes length is likely to tax their attention spans. What can be done to bring them to the point at which they can be intellectually informed participants in debates of national and international significance?

I have no silver bullet solution, but I worry that Twenge's suggestions are too capitulating to iGen's deficits: textbooks should cover less, classrooms should have more discussion, instructors should rely more on videos to capture students' attention. Against this, I can offer only the recommendation of a colleague of mine in English who has said that a professor must sometimes "dare to be boring". Looking back, I see that I have quoted that colleague once before in Public Discourse, in a 2009 essay marking the first anniversary of this journal, in a discussion of the requirements for reasoned "public discourse."

The topics of education, public discourse, and politics are deeply intertwined. If Twenge's descriptions of iGen are accurate, then the health of all three is in real jeopardy.

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

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Christopher Kaczor


Jordan Peterson takes a stab at Adam and Eve

Christopher Kaczor
By Christopher Kaczor

April 16, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – The most influential biblical interpreter in the world today is not a pastor, a scripture scholar, or a bishop. He's a Canadian clinical psychologist with no formal training in biblical studies and no church membership.

Jordan B. Peterson's bestselling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is biblically saturated. It draws from his immensely popular YouTube series, "The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories." Committed atheists rave online about the wisdom Peterson has shown them in the Bible, and countless people report that their lives have been changed for the better by his work.

Peterson holds that scripture is an unimaginably ancient and profound source of wisdom refined through the ages from the collective human imagination. Through time, these ancient stories have been shorn of all superfluity so that each phrase is saturated with meaning. Any story retold for thousands of years captures something enduring about the human condition.

In his interpretations of the biblical stories, Peterson shows the enduring power of a classic way of approaching the text. From at least the time of Origen of Alexandria, readers have distinguished various senses of scripture. The literal sense of scripture is what the human author intended to communicate, such as history, metaphor, poetry, or parable. The allegorical sense is how the passage is related to Christ, the eternal Word and the son of Mary. The moral sense is how the passage can help guide human behavior. And finally, the anagogical sense is how the passage relates to the ultimate human destiny of heaven or hell.

For the most part, Peterson does not attempt to provide the literal meaning of the text. He makes no claim to expertise in the original languages, cultures, or contexts of scripture but focuses rather on the allegorical, anagogical, and especially moral meanings of the text. As Augustine recommends in De Doctrina Christiana, Peterson draws on all forms of secular learning to inform his reading of the Bible. He marshals evolutionary biology, pagan mythology, Taoism, Milton, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Dostoevsky, and especially Carl Jung to offer a multidimensional understanding of the text. Peterson embodies the view of Aquinas, who argued that scripture has an inexhaustible depth of meaning.

Fresh Presentations of Biblical Stories

Perhaps the most important stories shaping Peterson's thought are those that are most controversial on the literal level: the first chapters of Genesis. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth in a chaotic and formless darkness. God says, "Let there be light." On Peterson's view, this truthful speech brings order out of the dark, formless chaos. Because they are made in the image of God, man and woman can also create order from chaos by the free choice of speaking and living the truth.

According to Peterson, the story of Adam and Eve contains enduring wisdom about the human condition. Why is the serpent in the garden? Chaos and order are omnipresent in human experience. Human life is unsustainable in pure chaos, but it is also stifled in pure order. The serpent represents the chaos in the otherwise orderly garden. Even if all the snakes could be banished from the garden, the snake of conflict between humans remains a possibility. And even if inter-human conflict could be eradicated, the snake within each person remains. Peterson's view of the human person is shaped by Alexander Solzhenitsyn's insight that "the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart." For this reason, Peterson notes, "A serpent, metaphorically speaking, will inevitably appear." The lesson he draws is that it is better to make one's children strong and competent than to attempt in vain to protect them from all snakes. To protect loved ones from all dangers is to make them like infants, depriving them of what could make them strong.

The serpent tempts the original parents to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, an attempt to have complete understanding. As Peterson says in his first book, Maps of Meaning, "The presumption of absolute knowledge, which is the cardinal sin of the rational spirit, is therefore prima facie equivalent to rejection of the hero – to rejection of Christ, of the Word of God, of the (divine) process that mediates between order and chaos." Peterson cites Lynne A. Isbell's The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well in which she argues that both the snake and the fruit are associated in our evolutionary past with increased vision and increased self-consciousness.

Once Adam and Eve eat the fruit, "the eyes of both [are] opened," and they become self-conscious. They realize that they are naked, unprotected, and vulnerable. They realize how they can be hurt, how they will die, and how anyone like them is also vulnerable to death and suffering. With awareness of human vulnerability, the human choice of malevolence becomes possible. Mere animals also die, but they lack the self-consciousness to project their own mortality into the future. Mere animals kill, but the malevolence of Cain against Abel is a possibility only for humankind.

The self-consciousness of the human person is linked to the bigger brains of the human species. Bigger brains and relatively small female hips lead to the birth of helpless human children. Babies require intensive care if they are to survive. A birth mother always has a physical connection to her child and almost always has an intense bond to her baby. So the child's vulnerability leads also to maternal vulnerability that facilitates male dominance.

Adam's punishment of toil for bread is also linked to self-consciousness. He realizes that however much he has today, tomorrow will come. Given his self-consciousness projected into the future, Adam now has concern for tomorrow. So he must work. The fall prompts Adam and Eve to sacrifice, to delay gratification for a higher good. Peterson notes, "The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future." To sacrifice is to give up something good now for the sake of something better in the future.

According to Peterson, Christ is the archetypal perfect man who gives up his own life (an ultimate sacrifice) for the sake of the greatest good for all. Christ rejects expediency, rejects the lie, and rejects a comfortable but meaningless existence. Peterson holds that "Christ is always he who is willing to confront evil – consciously, fully, and voluntarily – in the form that dwelt simultaneously within Him and in the world."

Mary is the archetypal mother who sacrifices her own beloved Son for the greatest good.

Is it right to bring a baby into this terrible world? Every woman asks herself that question. Some say no, and they have their reasons. Mary answers yes, voluntarily, knowing full well what's to come – as do all mothers, if they allow themselves to see. It's an act of supreme courage, when undertaken voluntarily.

In this too, Peterson creatively re-presents a classic motif in biblical interpretation, Christ as the new Adam and Mary as the New Eve who offer a sacrifice pleasing to God the Father.

Truthful speech brings order in the world. Lies, evasions of responsibility, and unwillingness to sacrifice make an internal and sometimes an external hell of the world. "Failure to make the proper sacrifices, failure to reveal yourself, failure to live and tell the truth – all that weakens you." The liar brings about an inner schizophrenia and self-weakening. "If you pay attention to what you do and say, you can learn to feel a state of internal division and weakness when you are misbehaving and misspeaking. It's an embodied sensation, not a thought." The Eternal Word is the truthful speech of God in opposition to all lies.

Echoing the natural law tradition, Peterson recognizes an innate human understanding of right and wrong prior to theory, "Don't waste time questioning how you know that what you are doing is wrong, if you are certain that it is. … You can know something is wrong or right without knowing why." As a result of his intensive study of the horrors and cruelty of Nazi concentration camps and Soviet gulags, Peterson also strongly affirms the existence of intrinsically evil acts, acts that ought never to be done.

Indeed, lies gave birth to the stunning atrocities of the twentieth century and continue to ruin lives today.

If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. In Paradise, everyone speaks the truth. That is what makes it a Paradise. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don't lie.

To live in the truth is to live in accordance with the Eternal Logos who is the truth itself.

An Incomplete Understanding of Christian Belief

Peterson does not claim to be an orthodox Christian, perhaps in part because of an incomplete understanding of Christian belief. For example, he writes,

First, [Christian belief caused the] devaluation of the significance of earthly life, as only the hereafter mattered. This also meant that it had become acceptable to overlook and shirk responsibility for the suffering that existed in the here-and-now.

There are some forms of Christianity that do shirk responsibility for alleviating suffering. In Wandering in Darkness, Eleonore Stump described the "stern-minded attitude" in which the only good that matters is eternal salvation.

However, even if salvation were the only intrinsic good, Christians hold that how we treat those who suffer matters for our eternal salvation. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus indicates that we have a duty to alleviate the suffering that exists in the here-and-now, or else we will not be saved, "Whatsoever you do for the least of these, you did for me" (Matt 25:40). These words of Jesus have inspired Christians to found hospitals, orphanages, and schools to meet the physical and the spiritual needs of the vulnerable. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and countless other saints, dedicated themselves in extraordinary ways to alleviating suffering in the poorest of the poor. Buddhism might be accused of indifference to human suffering, but mainstream Christianity cannot.

According to Peterson, another consequence of Christian belief is "passive acceptance of the status quo, because salvation could not be earned in any case through effort in this life . . ." He is certainly right that Christianity teaches that supernatural life cannot be earned. Just as no one can give himself physical life, so too no one can work his way into being an adopted child of God.

But the view that salvation is a divine gift rather than a human accomplishment does not justify the idea that Christians are called to passive acceptance of the status quo, whatever it may be. Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Francis Xavier, John Paul II, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn did not passively embrace the political, social, or religious status quo. These figures were tireless in their activity to change the world here and now for the better.

A third consequence of Christian belief described by Peterson is, "the right of the believer to reject any real moral burden (outside of the stated belief in salvation through Christ), because the Son of God has already done all the important work."

Christians believe that the work of Jesus is utterly irreplaceable, but this truth does not denigrate the moral burden of other human beings. In his strong recognition of the evils of Auschwitz and the gulags, Jordan accepts the classic Christian belief that there are some actions that human beings ought never to do. These beliefs often constitute a real moral burden for those who live them out. Thomas More lost his head rather than commit perjury. William Wilberforce felt in his bones the moral burden of ending slavery. It is difficult to exceed the ethical imperative felt by a Katherine Drexel or a Maximilian Kolbe.

Finally, Peterson's reading of scripture could find a greater completeness in a more nuanced approach to medieval intellectual history. In his first book, Maps of Meaning, Peterson wrote, "For the medieval mind, the body, the sensory, the physical world – 'matter,' in general – was valued as immoral and as corrupt, as ruled by demonic, unknown forces." While it is true that some medieval thinkers, such as the Manicheans and the Cathars, held that the body was evil, the mainstream Catholic tradition strongly rejected these dualistic conceptions. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas dedicated immense energy to combating a dualistic vision of reality that viewed matter as arising from dark powers. Indeed, an affirmation of the goodness of matter is found in Genesis itself with its repeated affirmations, "God saw that it was good." If all created things are made through the Word, then, as Gerard Manley Hopkins said, the "World is charged with the grandeur of God."

In his biblical interpretation, Jordan Peterson re-presents in powerful and fresh ways the stories that have animated Western culture. Christians have much to learn from him, even as his own engagement with the Bible could be enriched by the Christian tradition.

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

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Ben Sasse questioning Mark Zuckerberg
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Watch: Ben Sasse lays down law to Facebook’s Zuckerberg re: “hate speech”

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By Steve Jalsevac

April 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) —  This brief video exchange was included as part of a previous LifeSite report on the Senate Zuckerberg hearings. However, it is worth presenting again on its own because of the huge significance of Silicon Valley efforts to control "hate speech" on the Internet.

In today's world "hate" can mean anything one wants to define it to mean. "Hate speech" is a phrase re-invented by leftist idealogues to target and punish anyone who gets in the way of their agendas.

Amongst the "snowflake" millenial generation "hate" usually means an opinion that offends, emotionally hurts or disagrees with one's one opinion and which must therefore be suppressed or punished. That is, it has nothing whatever to do with truth or the millenia-old real definition of "hate."

It's yet another hijacking of an English language word for an ideological offensive. "Gays" and "trans" men and women are especially prone to lob "hate" bombs at those who will not celebrate their sexual preference or "gender"(another now perverted word).

Zuckerberg is in the process or hiring up to 20,000 new staff to police all Facebook posts and ads to eliminate "hate" or anything that is offensive, "unsafe", "dangerous," inappropriate, "Fake News, "etc.  

We have already seen time and time again that Facebook's definitions of "unsafe", "dangerous" and "Fake News" are radically different from what most of the public understands those terms to mean.  

The Facebook CEO admitted during the hearings that Silicon Valley is "an extremely left-leaning place." Therefore the policing of content by Facebook cannot end up being anything but a massive free-speech-crushing campaign run by those who define the terms.

Zuckerberg has no business implementing this Orwellian initiative if the role of Facebook is, as he constantly claims, "to connect people". It is rapidly becoming one of controlling people and what they are permitted to say. Google, YouTube and Twitter are now doing the same. That is genuinely "dangerous."

Here are just a few examples from a long list published on Breitbart, of former Obama and Clinton campaign and White House people now in senior positions at Facebook:

  • David Recordon, former Director of IT for Obama’s White House. Recordon was Engineering Director at Facebook prior to his role at the White House, and returned to the position after the 2016 election. He is currently Engineering Director for the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative.

  • David Ploufe, President, Policy and Advocacy for the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. Campaign Manager for Obama in 2008, and still sits on the board of the Obama Foundation.

  • Josh W. Higgins, currently Executive Creative Director at Facebook. Formerly Design Director at Obama for America.

  • Aneesh Raman, currently on the Economic Opportunity team at Facebook. Formerly held a number of positions in the Obama White House, including speechwriter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Associate Director for Strategic Communication at the Department of Defence, and Speechwriter to the President.

  • Lauryn Ogbechie, currently manager of Facebook’s Education Partnerships Team. Formerly Digital Organizing Manager at Obama for America.

  • Danielle Cwirko-Godycki, Leadership Recruiting at Facebook, formerly a volunteer at Hillary for America and a fellow at Organizing for America.

See the full list here.

With people like that in senior Facebook positions, freedom does not stand a chance. 

Facebook has been removing very many posts and Facebook pages, even by distinguished scholars, historians and medical and other professionals, and bible quotes, that include legitimate criticisms or expose serious problems with abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism and Islamism.  

Truth is clearly something to which Facebook gives a low priority. Infantile "hurt" and "offense" have obviously been the bigger factors Facebook staff have been using in their censoring decisions that dumb down the culture.

One thing struck me while watching Zuckerberg responding to his many critics during the hearings. He appeared to be astonishingly unaware of issues and immature in how he responded to difficult questions. There were many times when it seemed that the senators were interviewing a young teenager.

I have gotten the impression that most Facebook staff are similar "Geek" types who are whizes on software and computers but very juvenile on substantive issues of the day. They are therefore easily manipulated by the likes of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, George Soros and their Machiavellian army of conspirators.

Zuckerberg should stick to "connecting people" - that is his gift - and leave the policing of "dangerous," truly hateful (e.g. anti-semitic) or criminal sexual content to cooperation with legal authorities.

His army of 20,000 censors are guaranteed to drive millions away from Facebook. 

No one likes having Big Brother looking over their shoulder when they are merely trying to connect with others.

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