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After rising from the ashes left by a fire that destroyed its former home, New Brunswick Right to Life has rebuilt its pro-life Women’s Care Centre at that same location, right next door to abortion provider Clinic 554 (building on right) in Fredericton
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Fredericton pro-lifers rebuild burned-down pregnancy center right next to abortion mill

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By James Risdon

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life group is back in operation next door to a privately-run abortion mill in New Brunswick’s capital city less than two years after a fire gutted its old building. 

The blaze started in a third-floor apartment of New Brunswick Right to Life’s Mother and Child House, which also housed its Women’s Care Centre, at 562 Brunswick Street in downtown Fredericton on the last weekend of July, 2016.

Next door to the pro-life organization was the site of the former Morgentaler abortion center. It’s now home to Clinic 554 which performs abortions for $700 to $850, depending on the preborn baby’s gestational age.  

New Brunswick’s pro-lifers were disheartened at the loss of their building next door to the abortion center.

“Devastating … Shocking and very saddening,” said New Brunswick Right to Life (NBRTL) president Elizabeth Crouchman about the fire. “We thought, ‘This is the end. What can we do?’”

The destruction of the group’s building was particularly troubling because the organization was then in the middle of a transition. Long-time executive director Peter Ryan was leaving. Heather Hughes, the association’s current top exec, had just taken over the reins.

Office equipment was damaged beyond repair. Files were destroyed by water damage and smoke.

In the wake of the fire, NBRTL moved into a temporary location in downtown Fredericton. It was cramped. The group couldn’t offer all its usual services. 

“We couldn’t offer ultrasounds,” said Crouchman. “It meant young women who felt they were pregnant and didn’t know what to do had to go see a doctor.”

Soon it also became clear the fire-gutted three-story house which had been the organization’s base of operations was too damaged and too old to make a renovation feasible. 

The group decided that to demolish and rebuild at the old location, next door to the abortion center, was the best option. 

On the ground floor, New Brunswick Right to Life’s Women’s Care Centre would – as it had before the fire – offer pregnancy counseling, pregnancy tests, and limited obstetrical ultrasounds. The association’s offices were to be on the second floor.  

All of this is allowed under the City of Fredericton’s zoning bylaw. 

Still, there was a snag. 

In its application for a building permit, NBRTL had also asked the city for two minor variances. The first was to allow its new home to be 1.9 metres lower than the minimum height allowed, two storeys instead of three. The other variance was to go ahead with only as much parking space as is usually allowed in the city’s centre. 

With that, the group’s plans went to Fredericton’s planning advisory committee, a public process. The abortion business next door did not approve of the proposal. Abortion supporters accused the pro-life group of harassment, lying, and interfering with the abortion center’s operations. In several emails to the city’s planning department, they insisted NBRTL be denied a permit to rebuild and operate next to Clinic 554. 

Fredericton resident and abortion supporter Nicole Smith wrote: “As a volunteer, it was my job to stand outside of the Morgentaler Clinic and to usher our patents past the aggressive harassment of the protestors from the ‘women’s care centre.’”

“I watched people from the centre scream at young women, stick their heads inside open car windows and yell at patients’ children, try to physically block patients’ entrance into the building and lie to patients in order to frighten them out of entering the building,” she added. 

Smith also alleged women were lured into the pro-life Women’s Care Centre and shown “horrifying and false images of mutilated infant bodies and … told lies about the risks to their own health if they went through with the abortion procedure.”

But Crouchman countered that pro-lifers have the right of assembly and also the right to their religious beliefs. 

“If you’re intimidated by prayer, by someone who does not share your point of view, that’s very sad because that’s freedom of speech,” she said. 

The president of the pro-life group said those trying to prevent the Women’s Care Centre from rising from the ashes were well-funded. 

“They bring in a great deal of money and we are just a small little group trying to help women,” she said.

Despite resistance from pro-abortion advocates, the City of Fredericton nevertheless approved the pro-life group’s plans. 

Today, the Women’s Care Centre is back in operation. 

Its new $30,000 ultrasound machine along with other pieces of life-saving equipment will not be operational until the Women’s Care Centre officially opens later this year, likely in October.  

Despite this, however, the organization is still offering counseling and pregnancy tests. It is now more accessible for the disabled. There is an elevator. And there’s air-conditioning, something very much appreciated during the July heatwave. 

The space is now custom-designed to meet NBRTL’s needs and the needs of every woman seeking help and an alternative to abortion. 

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Abortion lobby moves to repeal Massachusetts’ century-old abortion ban, unenforced since Roe

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By Calvin Freiburger

BOSTON, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As speculation about the next Supreme Court justice runs rampant, the abortion lobby is taking steps to keep abortion-on-demand legal regardless of whether he or she votes to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Pro-abortion lawmakers in Massachusetts are working to repeal the state’s century-old abortion ban, which has remained on the books yet has gone unenforced since Roe, the Boston Globe reports. The NARAL-backed bill would also repeal old contraception laws that are also unenforced due to judicial precedent.

The Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young (NASTY) Women Act, named after a campaign trail insult President Donald Trump leveled at his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton which feminists embraced as a rallying cry, passed the state Senate 38-0 in January, and is now before the Democrat-controlled state House.

“We think it’s a real issue. We fear some prosecutor might see it or use it. And then we’ve got this period where a woman or a doctor could go to jail,” NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts executive director Rebecca Hart Holder said. “We want to remove any ambiguity and latent danger from the Massachusetts General Laws to ensure that women have unfettered access to abortion care when and if they need it.”

Concern over Roe’s future has heightened ever since Trump’s election, and intensified when Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement last week gave Trump the opportunity to nominate a second Supreme Court justice. He reportedly plans to announce his choice on Monday evening.

Pro-lifers are hopeful they will be able to pass laws directly banning abortion, while abortion advocates are angry they may no longer be able to cite Roe to strike down pro-life state laws.

Repealing Roe would not directly ban abortion nationwide, but rather restore the right of individual states to decide abortion’s legality for themselves. Abortion would automatically become illegal, however, in the ten states whose pre-Roe abortion bans remain on the books, or the four states that have passed newer laws that will automatically take effect upon Roe’s overturn.

Pro-life advocates say the NASTY Women Act is just partisan play-acting, noting that a 1981 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found a “right” to taxpayer-subsidized abortion in the state Constitution, regardless of Roe. The “proposal is more about agitprop, fund-raising, and posturing than lawmaking,” CJ Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts told the Globe.

That ruling makes the act “something of a sideshow,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life board chairman David Franks added. But instead of fighting the bill, he said his group would “continue conducting our educational activities to make the case to the people of the Commonwealth that we believe the [state] Constitution of John Adams is suffused with the same principles as the Declaration of Independence, that every human life has real dignity.”

A spokeswoman for Democrat House Speaker Robert DeLeo said that he “shares [the] concerns” of the abortion lobby, and that he will be meeting NARAL about the bill. House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano indicated his support, though pro-abortion Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has yet to take a position.

Americans United for Life ranks Massachusetts as one of the ten most pro-abortion states in America. The House has until the close of its current session at the end of July to vote on the legislation.

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UK to ban ‘abhorrent’ practice of treating unwanted homosexual attraction

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By Calvin Freiburger

LONDON, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom plans to impose a nationwide ban on any practice of reparative or “conversion” therapy for individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, unwanted or not, the government announced in a new report.

“[T]he abhorrent practice of conversion therapy is still alive in our country,” the Government Equalities Office (GEO) announced in its newly-released LGBT Action Plan for “improving the lives” of LGBT people. “We will bring forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK, and take further action on hate crime as part of our upcoming refresh of the 2016 Hate Crime Action Plan.”

The 4.5-million-pound ($5.9 million) report surveyed more than 108,000 LGBT individuals, NBC News reports. It “will set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society, from health and education to tackling discrimination and addressing the burning injustices that LGBT people face,” British Prime Minister Theresa May declared.

Citing that 2% of survey respondents have experienced “harmful” treatment and an additional 5% have been offered it, the GEO confirmed it intends to “fully consider all legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy.”

More than half of respondents said religious groups conducted their therapy, while others said it was carried out by medical professionals, community members, family members, or members of other kinds of unidentified organizations.

“[W]e are not prepared to stand idly by,” the report declared. “Our intent is protect people who are vulnerable to harm or violence, whether that occurs in a medical, commercial or faith-based context.”

Reparative therapy is intensely controversial in large part because it challenges the notion that sexual attraction is biologically rooted and unchangeable. Its detractors claim the practice is dangerous and ineffective, often by characterizing it with examples of outdated fringe practices that physically harm patients against their will. In reality, most modern reparative therapy consists of traditional counseling.

In 2009, American Psychological Association task force admitted there were "no scientifically rigorous studies of recent SOCE [Sexual Orientation Change Efforts] that would enable us to make a definitive statement about whether recent SOCE is safe or harmful and for whom."

Despite the GEO purporting to act in homosexuals’ own best interests, many former homosexuals have attested that they wanted and benefitted from the treatment.

"At the very heart of the homosexual condition is conflict about gender. In the boy, we usually see a gender wound that traces back to childhood. He comes to see himself as different from the other boys," wrote Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the pioneer of reparative therapy who died last year. “Gender woundedness usually exists as a silent, secret fear — one that the boy’s parents and loved ones only vaguely suspect. The boy has felt this way for as long as he is able to remember. That differentness creates a feeling of inferiority and isolates him from other males."

David Pickup, one of the ex-gay individuals helped by Nicolosi, says that he grew up as a "sensitive boy" who was "defensively detached" from his father, as well as sexually molested. As such, he was "set up for homosexuality" and attributes his former same-sex urges to a sense of "gender identity inferiority." But with therapy, he was able to raise his self-esteem as a man, satisfy his "male emotional needs" that were lacking in his relationship with his father.

"My same-sex attractions automatically, spontaneously [...] through this therapy began to lessen and dissipate," Pickup explained. "So reparative therapy really worked for me. It helped save my life."

In recent years, even some homosexual academics have begun admitting that sexual attraction is changeable. In 2016, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Dr. Lisa Diamond advised LGBT activists to “stop saying ‘born that way and can’t change’ for political purposes, because the other side knows it’s not true as much as we do.”

The UK's report went on to claim that the government was “not trying to prevent LGBT people from seeking legitimate medical support or spiritual support from their faith leader in the exploration of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” an assurance seemingly at odds with the blanket declaration that conversion therapy would no longer be accessible at all.

Tellingly, the GEO admitted that it “did not provide a definition of conversion therapy in the survey,” potentially enabling the lines to be blurred between abusive fringe practices that are commonly presented as representative examples, and the type of legitimate counseling supported by mainstream religious groups.

The therapy ban was just one of 75 pro-LGBT commitments contained in the plan. Others include more stringent reporting and policing of anti-LGBT hate crimes; the appointment of a national LGBT health adviser; increasing school anti-bullying initiatives; greater attention on LGBT domestic violence, homelessness, and asylum cases; better reporting of online LGBT “abuse”; and more.

The Action Plan is a statement of intent rather than a set of proposals, so the full details of the conversion therapy ban and the other proposed policies will have to be decided in the future by either Parliament or administrators.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan Credit: Steve Jalsevac, LifeSiteNews.com
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Dear Cld. Dolan: Please discipline Catholic abortion supporters, not immigration-law supporters

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By LifeSiteNews staff

July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic professor and writer has penned an open letter (full text below) to New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, asking him to invoke Canon 915 to discipline Catholics who are abortion activists, not those who implement Trump’s border enforcement policies. 

The letter, written by Prof. Christopher Manion, comes in response to Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson calling upon his fellow bishops to support "canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved" in implementing President Trump's immigration policy.

“Your Eminence, your colleagues’ renewed enthusiasm for Canon Law at Fort Lauderdale will lift the spirits of the faithful. I assure you that the Catholic laity will support you all when you instruct your priests that Canon 915 shall be faithfully followed in your dioceses,” Manion states in his open letter. 

“Curiously, Bp. Weisenburger cited the correct Canon, but he chose [the] wrong target – immigration law enforcement,” he adds. 

Manion, who has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, urged the Cardinal to apply Canon 915 to those Catholics who publicly promote the “truly scandalous and objective evil of abortion.”

“Your Eminence, you are the USCCB’s spokesman and designated leader on pro-life issues. You are uniquely qualified to urge your brother bishops to focus on the truly scandalous and objective evil of abortion that demands their attention and action. Specifically, you can encourage them to apply the magisterial teaching of the Church consistent with the binding Church law contained in Canon 915,” he wrote. 

***

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Chairman
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Washington, D.C. 

Your Eminence:

I write you in your capacity as Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. I am a Catholic baptized in Sacred Heart Church on the campus of Notre Dame, where my father had begun teaching in 1919. Like you, I was raised one of five children raised in the fifties in a faithful midwestern family. I’ve been working hard to love the faith, practice it, and defend it ever since. 

At the USCCB’s recent meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson received significant support from your colleagues for his suggestion that the bishops resurrect Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which says: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty, and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” [Emphasis added]

I welcome the news that our bishops are willing to obey Canon 915, especially because, as you recently observed, for years most bishops had essentially decided to put Canon 915 into cold storage – down there with Humane Vitae

Your Eminence, your colleagues’ renewed enthusiasm for Canon Law at Fort Lauderdale will lift the spirits of the faithful. I assure you that the Catholic laity will support you all when you instruct your priests that Canon 915 shall be faithfully followed in your dioceses.

Curiously, Bp. Weisenburger cited the correct Canon, but he chose [the] wrong target – immigration law enforcement. As you have pointed out, clearly and soundly, the responsibility of addressing that prudential issue belongs firmly in the realm of the laity, not the hierarchy.

You will recall your 2011 exchange with Rep. Paul Ryan, who chaired the House Budget Committee at the time. Mr. Ryan had been criticized by one of your colleagues for his “immoral” budget. 

“We bishops are very conscious that we are pastors, never politicians,” you wrote. “As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, it is the lay faithful who have the specific charism of political leadership and decision (Lumen Gentium, 31; Apostolicam Actuositatem 13).” You gently corrected your brother bishop and assured the Congressman that good Catholics can prayerfully disagree on political particulars, informed by our conscience and the Gospel, confident that our bishops will support our right to do so – even if they personally disagree.

Your Eminence, the Church emphasizes that immigration law clearly belongs to this prudential realm.  To make things perfectly clear, the Catholic Catechism reiterates that the particulars of immigration law are the responsibility of the laity, and, in particular, of “political authorities.” (CCC 2241.2)

But not when it comes to abortion!

Your Eminence, when it comes to abortion, and the formal, obstinate, and manifest support of abortion, we’re talking about an “unspeakable crime” that “poison[s] human society” [LG 51, 27]. And it is that objective evil which you combat with every breath, a battle in which your brother bishops have made you their leader.

Your Excellency, your fellow prelates elected you to lead them – and us – in the battle to save the lives of unborn children. But many of them seem to spend most of their time advocating their prudential agenda on issues such as health care, taxes, welfare, the weather, and amnesty for illegal aliens. Unfortunately, many of them employ truly shocking epithets to attack those among the faithful laity who disagree with those prudential views.

Yet, as you helpfully clarified for Congressman Ryan, all of these are issues on which good Catholics – and good citizens – can and do disagree.

Your Eminence, you are the USCCB’s spokesman and designated leader on pro-life issues. You are uniquely qualified to urge your brother bishops to focus on the truly scandalous and objective evil of abortion that demands their attention and action. Specifically, you can encourage them to apply the magisterial teaching of the Church consistent with the binding Church law contained in Canon 915.

This clarion call will provide all of our shepherds the opportunity to raise high the standard of truth which has, alas, been hidden for decades. As you told the Wall Street Journal in 2012, our shepherds have had “laryngitis” on Humanae Vitae since “the mid- and late '60s.” 

Isn’t fifty years of silence enough, Your Eminence?

Cardinal Dolan, now is the time to bring these eternal truths “out of the shadows”! Bishop Weisenburger has demonstrated that our shepherds can muster the fortitude to regain their authentic and authoritative voice, preach the eternal truths of the Faith, and defend that faith by applying Canon 915, which your colleagues have now resuscitated.

Let’s face it, Your Eminence: Catholic politicians who consistently and obdurately support “abortion rights” are indeed “obstinately persevering” in the support of this “manifest grave sin.” This year, ten of them are running for the U.S. Senate, and literally dozens (including Bp. Weisenburger’s own congressman, Rep. Raúl Grijalva) are running for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Please, your Eminence, in addressing your brother bishops, echo the words of Saint John Paul II – “Do not be afraid!” Already two of your colleagues – Bishop Paprocki of Springfield and Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City – have invoked Canon 915. It works. They have experienced no retaliation, no revoking of federal funding, no threat to revoke the tax exemption of the Church’s various NGO’s.

Moreover, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chosen by your colleagues to succeed you as Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has spoken strongly in support of following Canon Law.

Your Eminence: please rally your brother bishops around the immutable truths of the faith! Ask them to defend the unborn and to abandon their silence – not only on Humanae Vitae but in the face of the scandal that dozens of Catholics running for the US Congress and Senate this year who are public and persistent supporters of “abortion rights.”

Cardinal Dolan, you are admired and respected by your colleagues, and revered by millions of the faithful. In this critical moment, God has placed you in the position of speaking up for life, for the Church, and for the timeless truths of the Faith.

I urge you to lift high the Cross and encourage your brother bishops to do the same. Yes, you will face vilification and scorn from your friends in the media; the secular elites will counter with a barrage of vulgar epithets; and pro-abortion politicians will heap upon you high dudgeon and scorn. 

But haven’t the enemies of the Risen Word done that for two thousand years?

Your Eminence – in the words of Saint John Paul II, “Do not be afraid!”

Faithfully,

Christopher Manion, KM

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UN bestows ‘Population Award’ on abortion-centered Planned Parenthood affiliates

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By Carmel Nisha

July 5, 2018 (International Youth Coalition)The United Nations awarded two affiliates of Planned Parenthood with the Population Award last week at the ceremony at UN headquarters. Hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this award celebrates individuals and institutions for the 'most outstanding work in increasing public awareness of population questions or to their solutions,' including family planning and 'population control'. The 2018 Population Award was given to Sir Prince Ramsey in the individual category and Guttmacher and Save a Child's Heart in the organization category.

The Chair of the session, Martha Pobe Permanent Rep of Ghana to UN, set the stage with false alarm in her opening remarks that "215 million worldwide do not have access to modern methods of family planning".

Natalia Kanim, the Executive Director of UNFPA, lauded Sir Ramsey for his contributions in healthcare in Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean and "for championing globally for more than three decades people's health including their right to healthy Reproductive Right and Family planning and raising awareness in the fight against HIV and AIDS epidemic."

In his acceptance speech Sir Ramsey thanked Planned Parenthood, who supported his nomination for the award. In the past, he has served the board of Caribbean Family Planning Association as Vice President of Antiguan Planned Parenthood Association and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Ms. Ann Starrs, President of Guttmacher, received the award on behalf of the Institute. Guttmacher received the award in the organization category for "50 years of commitment to advancing family planning and sexual and reproductive health and Reproductive Rights worldwide."

Ms Starrs, in her acceptance speech, proudly spoke about Guttmacher's work in achieving changes in laws and policies in countries especially developing nations regarding abortion and Sex education. She specified Guttmacher's influence in decriminalization of abortion in Rwanda, Mexico, Colombia, and Uganda. In the United States, she said "Access for minors to confidential contraceptive services and comprehensive school based sexuality education" was one of their achievements. In bragging about the institute's work in providing data to influence policy changes, Ms. Starrs quoted their study on unmet need for family planning which claims globally 214 million women are in need of modern contraceptives. However this massive and misleading number has been long since debunked.

Guttmacher Institute, which was found in 1968, was a part of Planned Parenthood Federation of America until 2007 and maintains close ties with Planned Parenthood to this day.

It is not surprising to note that two affiliates of Planned Parenthood were honored with the United Nations Population award. The 2016 UN Population Award honoree was also a long term affiliate of Planned Parenthood. Similarly in 200620082009 and 2012.

Stefano Generini, Vice President for Center for Legal Studies at C-Fam remarked that "It shows how embedded Planned Parenthood is in the fabric of the United Nations. Sadly, it is something The US State Department and USAID have a huge responsibility for. The Trump administration may quite possibly be the only force that can shake things up to change this."

Amina J Mohammed, the Deputy General who presented the awards, remarked that "since it was first conferred 35 years ago this award has become a touchstone to global efforts to put people at the center of sustainable development. Population is after all not just about numbers but about people."

However, it is important to mention that the first ever recipient of this award in 1983 was Indira Gandhi then Prime Minister of India who was responsible for 11 million forced sterilization in two years and other brutal population control efforts in the country, some of them at gun point.

The 2018 Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which made the selections, was chaired by Ghana, and includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Benin, Gambia, Haiti, Iran, Israel, Paraguay and Poland.

Published with permission from the International Youth Coalition.

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LGBT activists angry that Scarlett Johansson is playing a transgender ‘man’

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Like most of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Scarlett Johansson is a vocal advocate for abortion-on-demand, but her dutiful service to one of the most cherished liberal causes has failed to insulate her from left-wing ire over an upcoming role.

The Avengers and Lost in Translation star is taking the lead role in Rub & Tugbased on the true story of lesbian crime kingpin Jean Marie Gill. Gill rose to power in 1970s Pittsburgh by “essentially taking on the physical identity of a man.”

The casting of straight, “cis-female” Johansson as Gill has outraged her fellow liberals, who demand transgender roles be played by actual transgender actors, the Huffington Post reports.

“Look, I’ve really liked Scarlett Johansson in some of her films, but I think the actor playing a trans man should BE a trans man if at all possible,” one disgruntled critic wrote on social media.

“Scarlett Johansson fancies herself intellectual but she refuses to learn anything,” another said.

Fortune’s Aric Jenkins wrote that the casting “highlights an industry-wide problem,” while CNN’s Nicole Chavez wrote a list of four trans actors and actresses who “could have been cast instead.”

“While the details of Gill's transition are murky, it's clear that he lived and presented as male,” OUT’s Rose Dommu wrote, “so why exactly is a cisgender woman playing him in a film?” Gill was a biological woman, as is Johansson.

“LGBTQ” actresses joined in the fray as well. Transparent's Trace Lysette accused Johansson and other non-trans actors of “steal[ing] our narrative and our opportunity” while “pat[ting] yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived.”

Indya Moore from POSE accused her of “reducing the existential experience of a trans man as playing dress up,” and Sense 8’s Jamie Clayton complained that the “real issue” was the fact that trans actors “never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS.”

A representative for Johansson responded in a statement telling critics "they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment,” a reference to other actors who have played transgender roles without significant backlash.

Pro-trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston called the “sarcastic” reply “deeply unnecessary” and called on Hollywood to “do better.” Others faulted her for invoking Tambor, who was fired from Transparent in February over allegations of sexual harassment.

Johansson previously faced backlash for playing an Asian character in an American adaptation of the Japanese Ghost in the Shell.

The real-life Jean Marie Gill spent ten years in prison for tax fraud and was involved in criminal activities such as operating prostitution and steroid rings. Deadline’s announcement describes the film version as featuring a “complex anti-hero,” so the favorability with which Rub & Tug presents her remains to be seen.

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Mother-versus-son assisted suicide case takes strange turn

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

July 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children)In May, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee wrote an article revealing that the celebrated writer and journalist Katharine Whitehorn has Alzheimer's disease.

"She wouldn't want to live like this"

Toynbee begins by praising Katharine Whitehorn's career and legacy, and commiserating with her mental decline, but the article develops into an argument for assisted suicide. She points out that Ms Whitehorn wrote in favour of the "right to die" and reports that "her sons say without doubt that if the real Katharine could see herself now she would be horrified, never having wanted to end up as she is." But she goes further, asking, "Who wants to leave family and friends with a final memory of themselves as a vegetable, a distortion, an alien being?"

She asserts, "surely the real Katharine Whitehorn, the one in her right mind, is custodian of herself, arbiter of what or who is her real self and when to discard an empty husk?" Polly Toynbee also recently argued that assisted suicide laws were necessary to prevent another Gosport, despite the report making very clear that the people killed there were not at the end of their lives. 

Who decides?

However, it seems that Katharine Whitehorn's son, Bernard Lyall, thinks rather differently about his mother's condition. He agrees that "Kath had argued for the right to die, has a living will, and would have been horrified to see herself like this." However, he says, "now the power to let her go has fallen to me, it's not so simple."

He asks a very pertinent question: "But even if we were allowed to proactively end someone's life on their earlier instruction, should their younger self be allowed to make such decisions about the person they are now? Polly thinks so, and the young Kath might well have agreed. But the young Kath isn't here, and the old one is, usually, pretty content."

"Humiliating" for whom?

Mr Lyall also takes issue with some of the derogatory comments Toynbee makes about those with mental decline. He continues: "So I can't help wondering about this vicarious sense of shame, at what Polly, in another piece on the right to die, has termed 'humiliating mental collapse'. Who, exactly, is humiliated here? Who is ashamed? Not Kath, I can tell you, not any more. Should we be humiliated on her behalf?"

For him, what is important is helping his mother live with Alzheimer's, and the importance of talking about it honestly while that is still possible. 

A position of ignorance 

Niall McCrae is an experienced mental health nurse and lecturer at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King's College London, and has written extensively on dementia and euthanasia. He writes: "When someone says 'if I ever get dementia, please put me out of my misery', it is understandable, but arises from a position of ignorance." He quotes the results of surveys that "show that many people see dementia as a fate worse than death, even in its early stages. People tend to anticipate a miserable and humiliating existence defined by the disease; they do not foresee capacity for resilience and adaptation."

"The worst indignity is to deny personhood."

However, researchers have been "surprised by how highly people with advanced dementia rate their quality of life (González-Salvador et al. 2000)...Quality of life is consistently perceived better by people with dementia than from the viewpoint of informal or paid carers. Although a broader range of variables is considered by carers (Hoe et al. 2006), the expectations of people with dementia may be more realistic."

McCrae goes on to talk about the "malignant social psychology [that] is imposed on people with dementia by others; this includes diagnostic overshadowing, whereby all behaviour is attributed to pathology." In her talk about vegetables and aliens, this is surely what Polly Toynbee is doing to Katharine Whitehorn. As McCrae says, "The worst indignity is to deny personhood."

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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UK hospital may have been hosting ‘Britain’s most prolific child-killer’

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

July 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children)The hospital in Chester, southeast of Liverpool, asked police in May 2017 to investigate a sudden, unexplained mortality-rate spike in the unit that houses premature babies and those needing special care.

The probe initially focused on the deaths of eight babies, but police confirmed on Tuesday that the investgation had widened to include a total of 17 deaths and 15 non-fatal collapses of babies between March 2015 and July 2016. The babies collapsed with heart and lung failure but, unusually, it was impossible to resuscitate them.

"Britain's most prolific child killer"

When doctors couldn't determine how they died, the police were asked to rule out "unnatural causes of death."

November 2016 report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health initially found no "definitive explanation" for the increase in neonatal mortality, but pointed out that the neonatal unit had "inadequate staffing".

Lucy Letby, 28, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murdering eight babies and attempting to kill six more at the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital. She has also had her home searched in connection with this investigation.

A conviction for eight murders would make Ms Letby Britain's most prolific child killer.

"A number of bereaved families"

The Times pointed out that the tragic deaths of these babies threatens to shake confidence in the NHS as it marks its 70th anniversary.

Meanwhile, Mr Hughes, who is leading the investigation, said: 'This is a highly complex and very sensitive investigation and, as you can appreciate, we need to ensure we do everything we possibly can to try to establish in detail what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.'

'Due to the nature of the case and, as part of our ongoing enquiries, we have consulted with a number of medical specialists to ensure that we carry out as thorough an investigation as possible.'

'We have also spoken to a large number of people to gather as much information as we can.' He added: 'We recognise that this investigation has a huge impact on all of the families, staff, and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public.'

'Parents of all the babies are continuing to be kept fully updated and are being supported throughout the process by specially trained officers. '

'This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.'

Culture of Euthanasia

Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC commented, "This distressing case, following on from what has recently been revealed about practices in Gosport, reminds us that the deaths of babies and vulnerable adults need to be given special attention. This is not least because in a culture accustomed to abortion, and growing more accustomed to the idea of euthanasia, those who fall into certain categories of patient can be overlooked when it comes to investigations of possible maltreatment. We hope that the families of those who died will be honoured by a just and thorough investigation of these tragic deaths."

If you know of a patient at risk, or have concerns, please contact our Patients First Network for advice.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Teen dies four years after being declared legally ‘brain dead’ by doctors

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By Lianne Laurence

OAKLAND, California, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Jahi McMath, declared dead four-and-a-half years ago at age 13 by California doctors, has died in New Jersey, her family announced last week.

Nailah Winkfield said her daughter died on June 22 from excessive bleeding and liver failure after surgery for an intestinal issue in a New Jersey hospital, Associated Press reported June 28.

Winkfield gained national prominence when she fought California’s laws and medical establishment to keep Jahi alive after doctors pronounced her brain-dead in December 2013.

“I miss her already, because I gave up everything for Jahi,” she said in a Tuesday press conference in San Francisco.

“And I have no regrets, not one. The only regret I ever had was bringing her to the hospital to get her tonsils removed, that’s the only regret I’ll ever have,” she said.

“Everything that I did, from selling my house, to quitting my job, to moving across the country, giving up all the time I gave up with my family, it was all worth it.” 

Jahi went into cardiac arrest and lost oxygen to her brain after suffering severe bleeding following surgery at the Children’s Hospital Oakland (now the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland) for sleep apnea and to remove her tonsils.

Doctors then refused to treat Jahi because the “brain dead” diagnosis classified her as legally dead according to a 1983 California state law. 

Winkfield and her husband Marvin, Jahi’s step-father, won court approval in 2014 to move their daughter to New Jersey, which allows families to reject a diagnosis of “brain death” on religious grounds.

But Winkfield had to agree to a death certificate in order to move Jahi out of state, according to Dr. Paul Byrne, a well-known opponent of the concept of “brain death” who flew from Ohio to California to advocate for Winkfield after he saw her on TV pleading “for someone to help her.”

Jahi was “alive in California, but the mother had to go along with the death certificate, because that was the only way they would release her,”  Byrne told LifeSiteNews. 

“And then they released her to the mother as a dead body.”

But the Winkfields launched a court action in 2015 to nullify the death certificate the Alameda County coroner’s office issued, according to the SF Chronicle

They also launched a lawsuit against the hospital, the state and Alameda County officials for alleged medical malpractice, it reported.

Indeed, the family’s lawyer Christopher Dolan suggested the hospital was delaying the case until Jahi died, according to the Mercury News.

That’s because California caps damages for wrongful death at $250,000, but damages for ongoing medical expenses resulting from malpractice could run to millions.

Another family lawyer, Bruce Brusavich, told the SF Chronicle June 29 he was going to contact the court about Jahi’s death and request the malpractice trial proceed in February as scheduled.

If the case proceeds and a jury declares the 2013 California death certificate null, it would be the first time a court has done so, and would allow the family to seek damages for medical expenses up to Jahi’s June 22 death, reported SF Gate.

If the jury upholds the 2013 death certificate, the claim for damages would be restricted to $250,000 for wrongful death.

The Winkfields say their daughter’s New Jersey death certificate should supplant California’s 2013 death certificate. 

“My child was never dead, she was always alive and I thank God that the state of New Jersey realized that and that’s why she has a whole other death certificate with a whole other cause of death,” Winkfield told the press conference.

That’s echoed by lawyer Dolan, who says the second death certificate is proof the California death certificate is invalid, the Chronicle reported.

“How do you issue a death certificate on someone who is already dead?” asked Dolan.

At the time of her death, Jahi had just turned 17 and had been living at home in an undisclosed city, where she received up to 16 hours of home care a day from doctors and nurses that was covered by New Jersey’s Medicaid program, reported SFGate.

Although Jahi relied on a ventilator and a feeding tube, neurologist Dr. Alan Shewmon asserted last year her condition was improving, the SF Chronicle reported in July 2017.

“Jahi McMath is a living, severely disabled young lady, who currently fulfills neither the standard diagnostic guidelines for brain death nor California’s statutory definition of death,” Shewmon, a professor emeritus of pediatrics and neurology at UCLA, declared in an court affidavit filed in June 2017.

Winkfield said as much at Tuesday’s press conference.

“There’s no way in the world that I would be holding onto a corpse for 4½ years,” she said, noting that Jahi started menstruating during that time and appeared to communicate through hand movements.

“They really didn't want Jahi to live, they didn't want her to beat the odds, but that little black girl from Oakland made history and I'm so proud of her,” said Winkfield.

Dr. Byrne sees dark and sinister motives behind the idea of “brain death,” which he excoriated as entirely bogus and driven by profit.

The organ transplant industry billed “$34 billion in 2017” and is a “multi-billion industry completely dependent on getting healthy organs from living persons,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“‘Brain death’ is something that was made up so they could pretend that somebody is dead while the heart is beating and there’s circulation and respiration,” said Byrne.

“It’s completely fake. It’s fake death, and they’re not dead.”

Many people, however, have been “brainwashed,” and they “get in the medical system, and they think it’s okay, and they go along with it,” he said.

But then there are times “when someone demonstrates the love for their child like Nailah did for Jahi,” and they stand up and say, “No, she’s not dead. No, you can’t stop her treatment.”

Jahi McMath’s funeral will be held Friday morning, July 6, at the Acts Gospel Church in Oakland, California.

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Pro-life activist exposes Planned Parenthood’s strategy to go on aborting after Roe is overturned

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As pro-life Americans hopefully anticipate a new Supreme Court justice that may vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, a leading national pro-life advocate says that pro-lifers are overlooking the rise of an even bigger obstacle to ending abortion.

On Saturday, Save the 1 founder and president Rebecca Kiessling warned that the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision Friday to strike down a state law requiring women to wait 72 hours before having abortions was part of a broader legal strategy to immunize their court victories by rooting them in state Constitutions rather than Roe.

“This has been the latest strategy of the abortion lobby and Planned Parenthood. They've been suing in State Courts and no one has been paying attention,” she wrote on Facebook. “Other states such as North Dakota have found a broader right to an abortion under their state constitutions than there is pursuant to Roe versus Wade and they have been overturning even reasonable regulations.”

Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote in his majority opinion that the law “violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions on women are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the state.” The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld shorter 24-hour waiting periods as compatible with the federal Constitution.

“So this whole discussion of Justice Kennedy retiring and President Trump getting to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice is really rendered moot because, when Roe is overturned, abortion will be legal in every blue state as well as in every red state where there is a liberal judiciary,” Kiessling continued.

Despite keeping Roe in effect, the Supreme Court has upheld a variety of additional regulations on abortion, including prohibitions on non-physicians performing abortions, parental notification and consent requirements, excluding abortion funding from state Medicaid programs, and informed consent requirements. But in an interview with LifeSiteNews, Kiessling explained why those would be harder to uphold under the legal regime Planned Parenthood is trying to establish.

“This happened not just in Iowa, it happened in North Dakota several years ago, this is happening in Minnesota,” she said, “Planned Parenthood, as a strategy, preparing for Roe v. Wade to be potentially overturned, has been filing cases in state court, in pro-life red states that are passing abortion regulations [...] and they have been getting reasonable regulations overturned which would be upheld by the US Supreme Court, and they’re finding a broader right to abortion under state constitutions.”

Kiessling predicted preborn children are “going to end up getting worse off than they are under Roe v. Wade,” because while states like Michigan have a pro-life judiciary thanks to judicial elections and the work of Right to Life of Michigan, many Republican states where judges are appointed and therefore not accountable to voters have “very liberal judiciaries.”

“Nobody reports on that. It almost like the dirty little secret in the pro-life movement because it -- reporting doom and gloom -- doesn’t help raise funds,” Kiessling lamented. “What helps raise funds is telling people, ‘we’re so close, send us money!’ I’m getting a flurry of emails now: ‘Kennedy’s retiring, we’re almost there, we’re so close to ending abortion!’ No we’re not. We’re not even close.”

But Kiessling also offered a solution, which was for pro-lifers to not merely attempt to overturn Roe and toss it to the states, but to convince the Supreme Court to protect the preborn as persons under the 14th Amendment. She cited Save the 1’s motion to intervene in the legal battle over Iowa’s recently-enacted heartbeat law as the “only hope” of countering this latest strategy.

Enacted in May, the heartbeat law bans abortions on most babies with detectable heartbeats, but was amended at the last minute to include exceptions for rape, incest, and fetal abnormalities. Attorneys for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Iowa City’s Emma Goldman Clinic sued almost immediately, and a district judge has temporarily blocked the law’s enforcement.

Save the 1 wants to get the exceptions stricken from the bill as a violation of the affected babies’ rights to life, due process, and equal protection under the law, a change Kiessling says will not only make the law more pro-life, but will actually strengthen its ability to challenge both Roe and these state rulings.

“We have the only Federal claim within the case, which is the #personhood claim under the Fourteenth Amendment -- not just for those in our people group who were conceived in rape and with fetal abnormality diagnoses, but also for all pre-born children,” Kiessling wrote. “Otherwise, with the recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling, the heartbeat law is dead in Iowa and the only way to fix that is to amend the state constitution.”

“We’re arguing that the heartbeat establishes personhood and that the exceptions violate due process and equal protection for all persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. The reason why the state can’t make that personhood claim is because the law has exceptions, and they can’t make the claim without being hypocrites,” she elaborated to LifeSiteNews. She also noted that only a federal claim, such as invoking the 14th Amendment, could move a dispute about the state Constitution into federal jurisdiction.

Planned Parenthood “didn’t even mention Roe v. Wade because they didn’t want it in federal court,” she stressed.

Kiessling cited Footnote 54 of Roe’s majority opinion, which argued that Texas law’s inclusion of an exception for saving the mother’s life, its identification of abortion-seeking women as neither principals nor accomplices, and its lesser penalty for abortions than other murders, suggested the state didn’t believe its own argument that the fetus was a full legal person.

“In Roe versus Wade, the court pointed out how Texas had exceptions and exceptions, and those undermined the state’s whole argument for personhood,” Kiessling summarized. “And so the Supreme Court said, ‘Texas, you don’t even believe that this is a person.’”

“We are doing a huge favor to the pro-life movement in Iowa and nationally, by being involved in this case,” Kiessling declared. “I am a chess player, you have to think several steps ahead. You have to look at the whole board, and you have to think multiple moves ahead.”

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Traditional priest removed by Cdl. Cupich: I’m ‘innocent of accusations’

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By Lisa Bourne

CHICAGO, Illinois, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – While inconsistencies and questions persist in the removal from ministry of Father Frank Phillips, CR, by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, the traditional priest has publicly declared that he is innocent of all accusations.

Last week statements made by a representative of the Archdiocese of Chicago as to why Cupich is withholding Phillips’ faculties did not square with the findings of a review board directed by Cupich to investigate the priest for alleged misconduct - the review board reportedly concluding that Phillips had not violated any secular criminal, civil or canon law. 

Then on Friday the superior for Phillips’ religious congregation issued an odd letter stating reports of Phillips’ exoneration by the review board were “without foundation,” despite his having written an opinion in May after the review board’s findings that Philips should be restored to full canonical faculties and also restored as superior of his local religious community. 

Then later the same day Phillips released a statement announcing that he would “be returning to serve God in any capacity under the direction of the Provincial of the Congregation of the Resurrection to build up the Kingdom of God.” 

“My prayers were answered when the review board returned its finding of no criminal violation, civil violation, or canonical violation in my case,” he stated. “The review board found me innocent of the accusations which I have vehemently denied.”

Phillips also said there was a misunderstanding on his status, and that his faculties were suspended by Cupich only in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Cupich removed Phillips in March as pastor for St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago and superior of the associated order, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, allegedly for “credible accusations of improper conduct involving adult males."

Because Phillips is a member of the Resurrectionist Congregation, the investigation was assigned to his religious community, which appointed the independent review board to hear and consider evidence. 

The review board was then to prepare written findings for the appropriate canonical authority, in this case, Cupich, with any recommendation for action coming from Father Gene Szarek, the Resurrectionists’ superior.

A June 20 press statement from Protect Our Priests, the independent group of parishioners and supporters of Phillips,’ announced that Phillips had been exonerated, referencing both the review board’s findings and Szarek’s written opinion on the matter.

“The Review Board has concluded that Fr. Phillips has not violated any secular criminal, civil or canon law,” the group’s June 20 statement said.

“Fr. Phillips, having been exonerated thusly, and this in turn confirmed by the votum of The Rt. Rev. Gene Szarek, C.R., Ph.D. Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Resurrection upon receipt of the Review Board Report. We now prayerfully await the response of His Eminence, Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, for the return of our pastor,” the group stated.

Cupich, however, declined to return Phillips’ faculties, the announcement of which came via a one-sentence statement in a June 24 letter signed by Father Szarek included in St. John Cantius bulletins.

“We accept the Archdiocese’s decision that Fr. Phillips’ faculties for public ministry will remain withdrawn and that he not return as pastor of St John Cantius and as Superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius,” was all parishioners were given in the way of an explanation.

Comments from archdiocesan spokeswoman Paula Waters then appeared in the June 25 Chicago Tribune and are shown below:

Although Phillips was not found to have violated any church or secular law, archdiocese spokeswoman Paula Waters said there was other information that warranted his removal and a continued ban on his administering sacraments in public within the archdiocese. Waters declined to detail the findings against Phillips.

“There are standards for behavior,” Waters said. The review board “did not recommend that he be returned as the pastor of St. John Cantius. And so, based on their recommendation that he not return and on other factors, the cardinal decided that his faculties to minister would remain withdrawn.”

The comments by the archdiocesan spokeswoman “were extremely misleading and arguably constituted outright falsehood,” Catholic blogger Oakes Spalding, a member of the parish, wrote on his blog. “The archdiocese has all along appeared selectively unforthcoming about the entire matter. A blunt observer might be excused for concluding that it is now lying.”

Spalding posted the text of the recommendation or votum (opinion) written by Father Szarek in its entirety. The votum is the cover letter for the 22-page document of conclusions of the three-person review board - a judge, an attorney, and a psychologist – compiled after two days of testimony on misconduct allegations against Phillips.

Spalding has had proximity to the Father Phillips case as it has unfolded and been an exclusive source for some of the pertaining information in the case. He said as well the Protect our Priests press statement would have been written by someone who’s read the review board findings. 

Along with the votum text, Spalding remarked on the review board’s findings, presumably having seen them himself, indicating that they support Phillips’ exoneration and suggest the likelihood the charges against him were at least in part politically motivated.

Spalding then went on in his blog to detail inaccuracies in Waters’ statements on the findings and Father Szarek’s May 21 votum.

Waters said that the review board “did not recommend” that Phillips be returned as pastor of St. John Cantius, and that “based on their recommendation that he not return and on other factors, the cardinal decided that his faculties to minister would remain withdrawn.” 

“Actually, the Review Board made no recommendation either way. It was not their role to do so,” Spalding said. “But it did claim as part of the findings that the original accusations were not credible. Waters did not mention that.”

Additionally, said Spalding, “If you read the Votum carefully, Father Szarek’s recommendation that Father Phillips not return was based only on two things; "the Cardinal's own preference," and Phillips' age. 

The former was a misleading basis for the archdiocesan spokeswoman to independently justify the cardinal’s recent decision to keep Phillips withdrawn from ministry, he said, and Phillips being 68 years old means he is less than two years away from mandatory retirement as a pastor. 

“Because of a certain amount of ambiguity between the allegations of the accusers and the testimony of witnesses, including Fr. Phillips himself, I will be instructing Fr. Phillips to undertake a psychological assessment and possible sensitivity training in the very near future,” Father Szarek stated in the votum.

Spalding noted that if the behavior implied in that statement were serious enough, it presumably would have been cited by the archdiocese in the cardinal’s reasoning for maintaining his withdrawal of Phillips.

The findings do show that Phillips arguably exhibited imprudence and/or bad judgment in a number of areas, Spalding said, though he did not include them in his post.

“As for the original charges made by the accusers, the findings were quite clear that they were not credible,” said Spalding.

“I think a fair reading of the findings exonerates Fr. Phillips from the sort of sexual activity or wrongdoing, including homosexual relationships and homosexual advances or behavior, that people have imagined might constitute ‘inappropriate conduct,’ he said. “In addition, to put it more bluntly for these charged times, the findings do not establish or even indicate that Fr. Phillips is or might be homosexual.”

The Protect Our Priests press release had also cited the "mendacity, falsehoods, spitefulness and malevolent connivance" of the accusers. 

Two things were not mentioned by Waters in her comments on why Cupich was keeping Phillips from ministry: One was that Father Szarek had recommended both that Phillips be restored to full canonical faculties and the other was that Phillips remain as superior of the Canons Regular.

“One might argue that Ms. Waters had no obligation to mention those points, though, obviously, using only one part of the votum to support a decision that contradicted the recommendations of most of the votum is misleading spin of the highest level,” Spalding stated. “Is this how the Archdiocese would publicly conduct itself?”

Spalding had also reported that a source inside the religious hierarchy confirmed for him that it was Cupich - and not Fr. Szarek - who wrote the June 24 letter to St. John Cantius parishioners, calling it a terse note, announcing that Phillips would not be allowed to return to public ministry and that he’d seen documentary evidence of this.

“The letter] was constructed in concert with Cardinal Cupich," the source said, adding that other internet reports claiming [Szarek's] authority on it were 'fake news.'

Then came Szarek’s June 29 letter, which oddly stated, “I wish to reaffirm what I wrote to the parishioners of St. John Cantius, namely that I accept the decisions of the Archdiocese of Chicago regarding Father Frank C. Phillips, C.R.”

He then went on to state, “The reports that the Independent Review Board exonerated Fr. Phillips are without foundation.”  

In addition to Phillips’ explicit profession of innocence Friday directly contradicting Szarek’s letter that day stating that “reports that an Independent Review Board exonerated Fr. Phillips are without foundation,” Spalding noted another contrast between Szarek’s June 29 letter and his earlier one from June 24.    

Szarek wrote June 29 that “Father Phillips will receive support and care by the Congregation of the Resurrection,” wherein the previous letter signed by him “but written by or under the authority of Cardinal Cupich” said, Phillips “will be receiving support and will reside at a Resurrectionist facility away from your parish.”

This earlier statement inferred a confined existence would be ahead for Phillips, which conflicts with Phillips’ Friday statement, in which Phillips had said, “I am returning to serve God in any capacity under the direction of the Provincial of the Congregation of the Resurrection to build up the Kingdom of God.”

Phillips’ statement also dispelled the idea that Cupich had stopped him from functioning as a priest anywhere but in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and let it be known he was consulting with “other Church leaders.”

“I am currently in Rome engaged in consultations with the Congregation of the Resurrection and other Church leaders,” he said. “I have heard there is a misunderstanding concerning my status. Currently, by decree of Cardinal Cupich my faculties are suspended only in the Archdiocese of Chicago. I am free to continue in my calling to serve God in all other geographical locations on the planet. Therefore, I will continue to say Mass for you daily and petition for reconciliation with the Cardinal.”

Spalding noted that Phillips’ press release did not theoretically contradict any of the statements the Chicago archdiocese has made in the case, except for the claim that the allegations were "credible" in the first place.

This is because that although the archdiocese has taken clear actions in the case, he said, it has said very little, or very little of substance, instead speaking in vague terms, dropping hints or making insinuations, “or use(ing) others - Fr. Szarek - to do its speaking for it.”

Spalding added that the archdiocese took something that might have been much more easily resolved, presumably a fair investigation leading to a dismissal of not credible charges, and “instead created something much bigger,” leaving its credibility in the matter “quite low.”

In his press statement, Phillips thanked Szarek, “for providing an independent review board to examine the accusations against” him, and he thanked the members of the review board “who spent hours listening to the accusers as well as individuals who gave testimony of the facts and on behalf of (his) character.” 

“I assure you I have done nothing that would scandalize the faithful,” Phillips stated.

Phillips is pursuing a canon law case seeking reinstatement.

The GoFundMe page established for Father Phillips legal defense and the Protect Our Priests website have combined fundraising efforts to facilitate tax-deductible status.

The text of the votum is below:

Congregation of the Resurrection

Gene Szarek, C.R., Ph.D. Provincial Superior USA Province

VOTUM

OF THE PROVINCIAL SUPERIOR IN THE MATTER OF FATHER FRANK PHILLIPS, C.R.

21 May 2018

In response to the findings of the Independent Review Board (which follow), I propose the following resolution:

1)  IMMEDIATE ASSESSMENT: Because of a certain amount of ambiguity between the allegations of the accusers and the testimony of witnesses, including Fr. Phillips himself, I will be instructing Fr. Phillips to undertake a psychological assessment and possible sensitivity training in the very near future.

2)  PASTORATE: Because of his age (68) and out of respect for the Cardinal's own preference, I judge that Fr. Phillips should not return to the parish as its pastor.

3)  CANONICAL FACULTIES: Because no civil or ecclesiastical crime has been established. It's seems fair and just to restore the canonical faculties of Fr. Phillips. His accusers, when asked what should happen to Fr. Phillips as a result of their accusation, thought that his removal from the parish was all that they desired (see report, in various places).

4) SUPERIOR GENERALSHIP: This is a sensitive issue. As Founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, the ideal would be his restoration as their superior general. Because the Canons are ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago and because all major superiors of men merely recommend or nominate priests for appointments, which are made only by the authority of the Archbishop, there is no fear that Fr. Phillips could possibly interfere in some way with the decisions of the Archbishop. The historical reality of his being the Founder and his ongoing provision of spiritual leadership would be salutary for all. He would obviously not reside at the parish (see #2, above), but at some place determined by his Resurrectionist major superior. If the above recommendation is unfeasible, then at least he and the Canons should not be prevented from communication.

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She almost aborted her baby. But a pink rosary and unexpected text message held her back

K.V. Turley
By

LONDON, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On a winter’s day in 2009, a young Romanian woman was walking down a London street on her way to an abortion center. 

She was eight weeks pregnant. 

The weeks prior to her decision to go there had been traumatic. 

On 3 October she had found she was pregnant. She telephoned the father of the child, her then boyfriend’s response was immediate: “You have to have an abortion.” But she didn’t want to. Instinctively she knew it was wrong and wished to carry on with her pregnancy. 

He pressed her further: “Are you going to be a father to the child?” She was confused. He then told her something she did not know: “I can’t have another child.” With this new information, the pregnant woman knew she was on her own, in more ways than one. And then, when he realized that she was going to continue with the pregnancy, he began to laugh mockingly down the phone line at her predicament. 

A few weeks later the same boyfriend re-appeared in the woman’s life, this time with his cousin. Together they tried to pressure the woman into having an abortion.  

Still, the woman persisted in her desire to have the baby. That said she had never felt so alone. Everything had changed on that morning she discovered she was pregnant. She had collapsed on seeing the test results. Later, all she could remember was how everything had suddenly turned black, and, indeed, seemed to remain so in the weeks that were to follow. 

At that time she had been working as a nanny in London. Until then, her employers were happy with her work. They had made her part of their family. She had a job, money and accommodation. All of that changed when she told her employers she was pregnant. They asked her to leave immediately.  As well as pregnant she was now unemployed and homeless in a foreign country. 

She called her parents in Romania. Her mother told her to have an abortion. Her parents had little else to say to her. 

Now she was becoming desperate, increasingly so. Frantically, she searched for help – any help - practical, emotional, anything, but found only indifference.  It was clear that she was alone and that everyone around her was pointing to one solution only. Reluctantly, she started to listen to that advice. In the end, she decided to have an abortion. 

So on that winter’s day, it was a solitary figure that made its way to an abortion center in central London. As she drew near the place, she began to cry. She steadied herself as best she could, as all around her the impersonal hustle of the city continued, but still the tears rolled down her cheeks. And, yet, inside her head there seemed to be two competing voices, one telling her to stop and turn back, another telling her to go through with the abortion. Through her mounting depression, she struggled on. 

Finally, the street name she had been searching for came into view. As she drew near to the doorway of the abortion center, a woman approached her. She held out a leaflet with the image of a baby in a womb. The Romanian woman recognized the image instantly for she had gone for a scan weeks previously. Then, she had witnessed with delight the images on the screen of her own baby moving in her womb; while watching, the expectant mother had felt an unexpected joy. She turned to the stranger beside her still holding the photograph. 

“Can you help me?” 

The woman facing her replied: “ Yes, I can help you.” The two began exchanging some information, included phone numbers.

At that moment, the door of the abortion center flew open. An employee of the center stood staring at the two women talking. Recognizing the woman holding the leaflet, the employee’s face turned to anger. 

The stranger who had offered to help was an older woman. She continued to look straight at the Romanian woman, before drawing something from a pocket and handing it to the woman. It was a pink plastic rosary. The younger woman took it. And, as she did so, she turned to the abortionist in the doorway and said: “They can help me.” And with that, she left clutching the recently received rosary accompanied by a woman whom she had just met. 

That was not the end of the matter though. Days later the Romanian would return to the same place. 

The advice and the promises of help seemed too good to be true for the pregnant Romanian. The voices in her head kept telling her this, and more so now that “the clock was ticking”, if she did not go through with the abortion soon she would have to keep the baby. So, days later, she returned to the abortion center. 

The same woman who had given her the rosary was again standing outside. This time the Romanian went straight past her into the center. 

Inside the abortion center, she now recalls only two emotions: fear and tension. She also remembered a distinctly uneasy feeling from the moment she found herself there. It was as if the center walls were closing in on her, suffocating her, crushing the life within her. 

A disinterested center receptionist gave her a form to fill out, and then sent her off to a dingy waiting room. 

As the Romanian was sitting there, form in hand, her phone lit up unexpectedly. There was a message: 

“We can help you. We can help you today. We can help you now”. 

The Romanian woman knew where this message had come from. At that moment she knew the older woman was still standing outside. She was waiting to help her, and her unborn child. Immediately, the pregnant woman got up to leave. A center employee had been watching her though. As the Romanian made to go, the abortionist grabbed her arm. With a strange look in her eyes, the center employee then began telling her all the reasons she must have an abortion, over and over, insistently, persistently. 

This moment changed everything for the Romanian. She stood there looking into the face of another woman, one urging her to kill her unborn child; in contrast, she thought of the woman standing outside wanting only to care for both her and the child she carried in her womb. 

Now the Romanian felt a wave of revulsion as she looked again into the contorted face before her. Feeling only disgust, she slowly removed the hand that held her, and then, as quickly as she could manage, fled the center and all the hopeless gloom enshrouded there. 

She never returned for the rest of the story is a happy one. The Romanian was found a place to live; she was assisted financially; she was given support in attending various medical appointments; she was helped emotionally and practically throughout her pregnancy until, some months later, at a London hospital, a smiling baby girl was given into her welcoming arms. 

***

What you have just read is the story of Alina Dulgheriu. The organization that helped her and for which she is forever grateful is the pro-life charity Good Counsel Network. 

Alina’s story has not ended there, however. Today, she is at the center of a legal challenge to the so-called ‘buffer zones’ that have been imposed on anyone offering support and help to pregnant mothers going, or being taken to, an abortion center. What Alina wants the British authorities to recognize is that there are many women who are in as difficult situations as she found herself. These are women desperately in need of real help, not abortion, as the answer to the predicament they find themselves in on account of an unwanted pregnancy. 

In the years since her own unplanned pregnancy, Alina too has found herself outside abortion centers offering help to women. Sometimes alongside the older woman who had offered to help her. In fact, she has stood outside the same center that she had entered on that day some years back. The employee of the center who had tried to convince her to end her pregnancy still spies on Alina through the window of the center. 

This week the High Court in London decided upon the legal challenge that Alina had brought. She and others like her will not be allowed to continue to offer help to pregnant mothers. The full force of the law is to be usefd to prevent them from doing so. Regardless, Alina is determined to continue in her struggle for the welfare of those pregnant women and the children they carry in their wombs. 

Alina is now a passionate advocate for and defender of the unborn child. Her personal experiences have made her so. What makes her unique is that she knows exactly how the women feel entering such places. She knows the darkness that pervades their lives, the pressure from without, and the self-loathing from within. Today she comes to their side not to moralize or judge but to offer the hand of friendship and a willingness to help in practical ways. 

And, while so doing, she carries an object with her, one that has grown more precious as the years have passed since it was first presented to her one bleak winter’s day outside an abortion center, namely, a pink plastic rosary.

Editor’s note: Alina Dulgheriu has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £50,000 to fund an ongoing legal challenge against the “buffer zones”.

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A breakdown of Trump’s top choices for the Supreme Court

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By Claire Chretien

Calvin Freiburger contributed to this report.

ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s been far from a quiet midsummer in the nation’s capital as President Trump gears up to nominate a Supreme Court justice whose judicial philosophy could have a significant effect on the future of abortion and family issues.

The retirement of pro-homosexual and sometimes pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy has led to much media speculation about whether Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand in the U.S., and even Obergefell v. Hodges, which imposed same-sex “marriage” in every state, could be overturned.

The Associated Press is reporting that President Trump has narrowed his list of potential nominees down to three judges: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge.

Those three have all met with the president. The others with whom Trump has met or spoken are Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, Thomas Hardiman, Joan Larsen, and Amul Thapar. The details of Trump and Lee's conversation aren't clear.

Trump says he will announce his pick by July 9.

Of the rumored top three, NPR reported this afternoon that "two sources close to the process" tell them Barrett and Kavanaugh are on the "inside track" and are the top two.

The potential nominees are on the list of Supreme Court candidates from whom Trump says he will pick. It’s also possible Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, or Texas Judge Don Willett could be nominated. The latter is known for his humorous Twitter feed.

And given Trump’s unconventional style, the nominee could also be someone on the list who hasn’t gotten much public attention since Kennedy’s retirement. Rumors about who the nominee will be are constantly in flux.

One of Trump’s campaign promises was that he would nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices. He says he’s “probably” not asking the candidates about where they stand on Roe v. Wade but that they’ll be “conservative.”

Nominees don’t typically say how they would rule on future cases during their U.S. Senate confirmation hearings but are grilled about contentious cases nonetheless.

In order to confirm Trump’s nominee, a simple majority in the Senate will have to vote for him or her.

Republicans likely have 51 votes in favor of the nominee – but Sen. John McCain, one of those key votes, has cancer and hasn’t voted since December. Without McCain, the vote could be 50-49 and the nomination would still succeed. But McCain not voting would require a “yes” from pro-abortion Republicans Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Collins says she won’t support anyone who demonstrates “hostility” toward legal abortion. She voted to confirm Gorsuch and recently said she doesn’t think he would vote against Roe v. Wade, even though most legal experts and commentators predict he would.

The three Democrats who voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, could also determine whether the nomination fails. They are all up for re-election in states that voted heavily for Trump.

If all Senate Democrats vote no, either Collins or Murkowski could kill the nomination. If all Democrats vote no, both would need to vote yes for the nominee to be confirmed. There is also the possibility of McCain resigning and letting another (presumably pro-life) Republican take his place.

Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett became a hero to social conservatives when, during her confirmation hearing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein attacked her for her Catholic faith, saying, “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.”

She faced similar remarks from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, who asked her if she considers herself an “orthodox Catholic.”

So stunning were the Democrats’ questions, asked in spite of the fact that the U.S. Constitution prohibits any “religious test” from being a “qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” that the president of Princeton University condemned them.

Feinstein’s comments inspired Catholics to make and sell t-shirts and mugs saying the dogma “lives loudly” within them.

Barrett, a former University of Notre Dame law professor and member of that school’s Faculty for Life group, was eventually confirmed. Three Democrats (Manchin, Donnelly, and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia) joined the Republican “yes” votes.

As soon as Trump nominated her to become a judge, Barrett became subject to attacks from a leftist group called the “Alliance for Justice” that warned she was a threat to “reproductive rights.”

In October 2015, Barrett signed a letter with other prominent female Catholic intellectuals to the prelates at the Ordinary Synod on the Family expressing “solidarity with our sisters in the developing world against what Pope Francis has described as ‘forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family.’”

“We see the teachings of the Church as truth—a source of authentic freedom, equality, and happiness for women,” the letter said. The Church's teachings on human sexuality, human life, and marriage “provide a sure guide to the Christian life, promote women’s flourishing, and serve to protect the poor and most vulnerable among us.”

It has also been reported, and used as a bludgeon by Planned Parenthood, that Barrett signed a letter published by Becket (formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) criticizing the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. That letter does not appear at what the abortion industry lists as the original location on the group’s website.

Barrett has seven children. She is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Brett Kavanaugh

Some pro-life advocates have been wary of Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As a D.C. Court of Appeals judge, Kavanaugh sided with Priests for Life when it fought the Obama administration over being forced to fund its employees' contraception. 

However, he also suggested the government has a “compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of...religious organizations” who do not want to be involved in assisting with contraception.  

“Unlike other dissenters, who maintained that there is no compelling government interest in facilitating access to contraception, Kavanaugh would have ruled that a compelling interest does exist, but the government can achieve it in other ways,” Edith Roberts at SCOTUS blog explained.

(The case was eventually settled and the Trump administration has been dismantling and ending the anti-conscience rules imposed by the Obama administration.)

White House sources told the Washington Examiner that pro-life advocates had expressed concern over Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Ed Wheelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Kelly Shackleford of First Liberty Institute maintain that Kavanaugh has a strong record on religious liberty.

Kavanaugh “volunteered his time almost 20 years ago to work on a religious liberty case at the [U.S.] Supreme Court with me and Jay Sekulow,” according to Shackleford. “He has been committed to the Constitution and religious liberty for a long time.”

As Vox reported, Kavanaugh “represented Cuban child Elian Gonzalez pro bono during the conservative battle to keep him from returning to Cuba.”

Roberts called Kavanaugh’s position in Garza v. Hargan, about whether illegal immigrant minors have the right to a government-facilitated abortion on U.S. soil, “conservative” but noted he “did not go as far as one of his colleagues.”

She further explained:

In Garza v. Hargan, a pregnant undocumented teen in immigration custody wanted to obtain an abortion, but was prevented by her government custodians from doing so. Kavanaugh wrote a panel decision vacating a district-court order that required the government to allow the teen to leave the detention facility to obtain the abortion; the panel imposed an additional waiting period to give the government time to obtain a sponsor. The en banc court reversed. Kavanaugh dissented, arguing that the en banc ruling was “ultimately based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.” In a separate dissent, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson maintained that as a noncitizen, the teen had no due-process right to the abortion. Kavanaugh, in contrast, noted that the government had conceded the teen’s right to an abortion. He went on to assert that delaying the procedure while the government sought a sponsor was permissible under the Supreme Court’s precedent because it did not impose an undue burden on that right. At the government’s request, the Supreme Court vacated the D.C. Circuit’s decision this month in a per curiam decision in Azar v. Garza, ruling that the case became moot through no fault of the government’s when the teen obtained the abortion.

Raymond Kethledge

Kethledge, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, doesn’t have much of a record on social issues, but tends to write textualist opinions.

As LifeSiteNews has previously reported, when Trump added him to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees, NARAL fretted that Judge Kethledge “was the Judiciary Committee counsel for Sen. Spencer Abraham while Sen. Abraham was pushing for the Federal Abortion Ban. He also supported the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito.” He was part of an opinion citing IRS officials’ years of resistance to turning over documents about alleged discrimination against conservative organizations.

Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, took it upon himself to tweet his concerns about Kethledge today, warning that Kethledge must have passed Trump’s “litmus test” on overturning Roe v. Wade and will pose a threat to “women’s reproductive freedom.”

Schumer also cited Kethledge’s aforementioned role as counsel for Sen. Abraham. Schumer didn’t elaborate on the type of abortion procedure for which Abraham was pushing to abolish – a law that the Supreme Court later upheld because it blurred the line between abortion and infanticide.

Sen. Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee is well-known to the pro-life and pro-family movements for his strong record defending the right to life and religious freedom in the U.S. Senate.

He's said Roe v. Wade "has insinuated into the law a poisonous notion, the notion that some human beings may be treated as things" in a speech outlining the humanity of the pre-born given on the Senate floor during this year's March for Life. 

Lee's pro-life voting record includes voting for and defending the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban most abortions on babies after 20 weeks.

If Lee were to be nominated, his Senate seat could possibly go to a Democrat, something he and/or Trump may not be willing to risk. His nomination would also put any Democrats with whom he's closely worked in an awkward position were they to vote against or strongly oppose his nomination. The Daily Caller has reported that Lee is out of the running.

Joan Larsen

Larsen is 48, meaning she could likely serve on the court for another 30 or more years. A number of pro-life leaders wrote a letter to Trump when he was in the process of picking Scalia's replacement urging him against nominating Larsen. They labeled her a candidate who lacks a "pro-life record." According to that letter, she has publicly mentioned Roe but never condemned it.

Last year Andy Schlafly, son of the late Phyllis Schlafly, sparred with Ed Whelan over Larsen's credentials.

Larsen's "paper trail as a state supreme court justice is thin," Amy Howe of SCOTUS blog wrote. "During her short tenure on the bench, she has not addressed any hot-button issues...Beyond her legal opinions, Larsen’s paper trail is similarly slender but right-leaning. In 2012, she donated $500 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. She is listed as an 'expert' on the website of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, and has moderated panels organized by the group. However, when she was nominated to the Michigan Supreme Court, she indicated that she wasn’t sure whether she is actually considered a member of the Federalist Society."

Larsen has written that it would be an "understatement in the extreme" to call the Supreme Court's nixing of a Texas law prohibiting sodomy "revolutionary" but criticized the way the majority decision cited international law.

Howe explained:

Larsen’s other writings, although few, also reflect a conservative bent. In 2004, she published an article in the Ohio State Law Journal on the Supreme Court’s use of foreign and international laws to interpret the U.S. Constitution. Suggesting that it “would be an understatement in the extreme to call the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas” – in which the justices, by a vote of 6-3, struck down a Texas law criminalizing consensual private sexual activity by same-sex couples – “revolutionary,” Larsen criticized the majority’s failure to offer “a thoughtful and thorough justification” for its reliance on international law. “Until they do,” Larsen asserted, “it seems we are better off to abandon this particular use of foreign and international law.” 

Larsen is also a former Scalia clerk.

Thomas Hardiman

Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit was rumored to be a top contender to replace Scalia, ultimately losing that spot to Gorsuch. Abortion lobby group NARAL has criticized Hardiman for apparently making a donation to the National Right to Life Committee before becoming a judge. Hardiman also doesn't have much of a paper trail on the abortion issue. He ruled in favor of a pro-life activist's free speech rights outside the Liberty Bell.

And, "in April, Hardiman allowed the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns, to intervene in a lawsuit against Trump’s plan to expand employer exemptions from an Obamacare birth control insurance requirement," Reuters reported on July 3. "Though the case was not directly about abortion, groups favoring abortion rights worry that Hardiman’s ruling signals his sympathies on the issue."

The far-left publication Think Progress labeled Hardiman "one of the more enigmatic names on Trump’s list of potential judges " as "he appears to have had more luck steering away from controversial cases than his colleagues on the Eighth Circuit."  

Trump’s full list of potential Supreme Court nominees can be viewed here

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Vatican profiles Al Gore praising Francis’ ‘spiritual leadership’ on ‘solving climate crisis’

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Vatican News profiles Al Gore July 4, 2018. Vatican News / screen grab

July 5, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican News, the Holy See's "information system," featured former U.S. Vice President Al Gore praising Pope Francis for his “spiritual leadership” and for being a “moral force” in combating what he called a “manmade” “climate crisis.”

“In particular, his papal encyclical, Laudato si, marked a crucial step for the Catholic church in leading the world to commit to addressing the climate crisis ahead of the Paris Agreement,” said Gore. “Virtually all of my Catholic colleagues and friends are thrilled to the marrow of their bones that he is providing this kind of spiritual leadership. As am I.”  

The former Vice President spoke about Pope Francis in an interview with the Vatican News service published July 4.

Gore sees the pontiff as playing a unique role in the globalist crusade against “global warming” because of his position as head of the Catholic Church, and he hopes other religious leaders will follow suit.

“Spiritual teaching obviously plays a crucial role in communities around the world,” continued Gore. “The Pope is a model for leaders of other faith traditions to communicate the dangers posed by the climate crisis and our duty as stewards of God’s creation to solve it.” 

In Pope Francis, the globalists have found a willing participant in what many view as a manufactured crisis, meant to concentrate more power and influence under global elites while escaping genuine scientific scrutiny.  Global warming, now known as “climate change,” is increasingly perceived as suspect, based on manipulated scientific data and unreliable computer modelling, and so has become difficult for promoters such as Gore to justify and sustain.  

Prof. Michael Hart, author of  Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, told LifeSiteNews in a 2016 interview that globalists are using the “poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives.”

He said Pope Francis was being “naïve and unwise” in “commenting favorably on the climate change movement” as found in his encyclical Laudato Si’.

When asked if climate change was a real issue, he replied: “No, the real issue is the hunger for power to change economic and political systems in order to achieve a wide-ranging agenda. In the words of former UNFCCC Secretary Christiana Figueres, the goal of ‘the whole climate change process is the complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.’”

Critics have pointed out that if “climate change” can be successfully converted from a scientific issue to a spiritual one in the largest church in Christendom, then the globalist quest to centralize power under their control becomes much easier.  

“The climate crisis is now the biggest existential challenge humanity has ever faced,” asserts Gore, who does not shy away from attempting to exploit Scripture to find moral authority for his cause. “And it is not only humanity that is at risk; according to the world’s biologists, up to half of all the living species with which we share this Earth are in danger of extinction during this century. When Noah was instructed to gather two of every species in his ark in order to ‘keep them alive with thee,’ I believe that instruction is also meant for us.”

LifeSiteNews’ Steve Jalsevac warned in 2014 that global warming/climate change has become a “cultish religion” that is replacing true religion. 

“Today’s persistence of the global warming/climate change alarmism in the face of the mountain of evidence in recent years undermining their claims has changed the movement into more of a cultish religion,” observed Steve Jalsevac in 2014.  “Its adherents are doing whatever they can to convert the entire world to their one religion which has as its goal to change how all people and nations of the world live their lives.”

“Sadly, Catholic hierarchy, bishops’ conferences and even the Vatican have been entering into support of this movement and controversy which is far beyond their realm of competence,” continued Jalsevac.  “They see it a ‘social justice’ issue, but the difficulty is in sorting out who is really telling the truth. It is noteworthy that the usual liberal, social justice minded Catholics who place the life and family issues as a low priority are usually the Catholics who are most into the global warming, bottled water, environmental issues and changing political structures agendas as their highest priorities.”

“There is much evidence that the climate change movement is the latest and largest-ever-in-history scheme by globalist elites to impose a secularist, anti-life and anti-family New World Order with world governance and removal of all national borders,” wrote Jalsevac last year.  “It would ultimately destroy most of the traditional rights and freedoms and sovereignty of individual nations that have been won at great cost in the past.”

“Opposing the climate change movement, which Cardinal George Pell astutely saw as symptomatic of a pagan emptiness, is also about resisting an international assault on Christian civilization,” said Jalsevac.  “More have come to see this, regardless of the aggressive support for the climate change movement and world governance by Pope Francis, his many globalist friends who are close associates of George Soros, such as Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki Moon, and many progressive, high level clerics in the institutional Catholic Church.”

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Pope Francis with Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops conference.
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A handy timeline of the controversy over the German bishops’ intercommunion plan

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By Diane Montagna

Analysis

ROME, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite strong opposition from senior Vatican officials and several members of the German episcopate, the permanent council of the German bishops’ conference last week went ahead and published their controversial ‘intercommunion’ handout, with the tacit but sufficient approval of Pope Francis.

The first indication that Pope Francis could favor the kind of innovations initially proposed by German Cardinal Walter Kasper came when he visited the Roman Lutheran congregation in November 2015 accompanied by the Cardinal, and delivered an ambiguous response to a woman asking why she was unable to receive Communion in the Church of her Catholic spouse. Pope Francis’ answer appeared to suggest that if she was comfortable in her conscience doing so she should feel free.

The implications of this were taken up in a document prepared by the German bishops conference but opposed by a minority of its members in March. Since then, a war of attrition over the admissibility of such proposals has been waged within Germany and the Roman Curia leading to a cacophony of opposed legal and doctrinal pronouncements of disputed and varying authority.

Confused? The following timeline is offered as a guide for the concerned reader.

Timeline

November 15, 2015: Pope Francis visits the Lutheran community in Rome. Asked by a Lutheran woman married to a Roman Catholic what can be done so that they can receive Communion together, Pope Francis appears to suggest that if she is comfortable in her conscience receiving the Holy Eucharist she should feel free. He tells her: “Speak with the Lord and move forward. I dare not say more.” Watch their exchange here.

January 15, 2017: A group of Finnish Lutherans were offered Holy Communion by priests at a Mass held in St. Peter's Basilica. Prior to the Mass, the delegation led by Lutheran Bishop Samuel Salmi had met privately with Pope Francis. According to Salmi, at the time of communion the non-Catholics placed their right hands on their left shoulders, a traditional way of indicating that they were ineligible to receive the Eucharist. However, the celebrating priests insisted on giving them Communion. Salmi told a newspaper “I myself accepted it [Holy Communion].” He added that “this was not a coincidence.”

February 20, 2018: The German Bishops’ Conference votes by a large majority at their spring conference to produce a pastoral guide allowing a Protestant spouse of a Catholic to receive the Holy Eucharist in some cases. At the time, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said there was no need for the  spouse to convert to Catholicism. 

March 22, 2018: In a letter to the Vatican, seven bishops oppose the handout, arguing that the vote was not “right” because the issue of intercommunion is not a “pastoral one,” but “a question of the faith and unity of the Church, which is not subject to a vote.”

April 8, 2018: A delegation of German bishops representing the opposing sides are sent a confidential letter summoning them to Rome for a meeting with Vatican officials at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

May 3, 2018: A meeting between German Bishops and Vatican officials is held at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Luis Ladaria, SJ, prefect of the CDF, ends the meeting with a message from Pope Francis directing the German bishops to reach a unanimous decision if possible.

May 5, 2018: Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, issues a statement saying Pope Francis’ failure to give German bishops proper directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church, points to a drift towards apostasy from the truth.

May 24, 2018: Archbishop Luis Ladaria, SJ, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, meets with Pope Francis to finalize a letter to German Bishops regarding their intercommunion proposal.

May 25, 2018: Archbishop Luis Ladaria sends a letter to the German Bishops saying that the Pope has come to the conclusion that the document is not ready to be published, because it is a matter that “touches on the faith of the Church and has relevance for the universal Church.” Ladaria also tells the German bishops it has effects for ecumenical relations with the Orthodox and other Christians, and concerns the law of the Church. Ladaria explains that the “competent dicasteries of the Holy See” have been charged with “producing a timely clarification of these questions at the level of the universal Church.” In a note that seems added on to an already prepared text, he says: “In particular, it seems appropriate to leave the judgment on the existence of an ‘imminent grave necessity’ to the diocesan bishop.”

June 11, 2018: Cardinal Reinhard Marx meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican during the latest C9 meetings.

June 12, 2018: Cardinal Marx sends Pope Francis a letter outlining the content of the meeting. The letter is initialed with an “F” and dated by Pope Francis.

June 21, 2018: During his inflight press conference on his return from the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Pope Francis tells a German reporter, for an agency with close ties to the German bishops’ conference, that Archbishop Ladaria’s letter has not “put the breaks on” the intercommunion proposal. He tells journalists that the difficulty he has with the handout is “not so much the content,” but that if approved by the bishops’ conference, it “immediately becomes universal.” He said it falls to the diocesan bishop to ascertain whether a Protestant spouse who is married to a Catholic may receive the Holy Eucharist. 

June 25, 2018: Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, Germany — one of the main authors of the intercommunion proposal — says in an interview that the German bishops were inspired in their proposal by Pope Francis' words in November 2015 during his visit to the Lutheran community in Rome. Recalling a conversation with the Pope one week after the visit, Bishop Feige said:

During the German bishops’ so-called Ad Limina visit to Rome [in November of 2015], I directly asked the Pope one week later [after the pope’s comments in the Lutheran Church of Rome] how we are to understand his words. He then repeated, nearly verbatim, that which he had said in the Christuskirche: “Generally, I cannot change anything, but speak with the Lord and move forward.”

Feige concludes, saying: “With our handout, we only took the Pope at his words.”

June 27, 2018: The permanent council of the German Bishops’ publish their pastoral handout as is but remove any reference attributing it to the bishops’ conference. In a statement, they stress that it is not a document of the bishops’ conference but rather an aid to diocesan bishops.

June 27, 2018: Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn decides to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics living in his diocese to receive holy Communion "in individual cases.”

Part of the origins of this dispute go back to the celebrated 2000 document Dominus Iesus, in which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, speaking with the apostolic authority of Pope John Paul II, taught:

The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church. Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.

At the time, this document provoked considerable uproar among those with heterodox views of ecumenism. The Anglican leader Rowan Williams famously complained upon his return from his first audience with the newly elected Benedict XVI, author of Dominus Iesus, that, having been grouped not with the Orthodox bishops but with the leaders of Protestant communities, “I felt as though I ought to be wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘gravely deficient’ written on it.”

He was alluding to Dominus Iesus description of non-Christian religions. In fact, Dominus Iesus merely described the Church of England as “not a Church in the proper sense.” Why Rowan Williams would have grouped it with non-Christian religions is a question best left to him. Be that as it may, as indicated above, Dominus Iesus expresses the hope that the common baptism shared between Catholics and their separated brethren will ultimately lead them to the “integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.”

For those, however, with more heterodox “ecumenical” views, this is asking too much, certainly of our separated brethren and possibly of themselves. In the hope of softening this twofold burden, theologians and ecclesiastics of the stamp of Cardinal Kasper have long aspired to make a breach in the Church’s ecclesiastical discipline through the admission of non-Catholic Christians “lacking a valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery” to the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

As a consequence, such proposals inspire intense passions both in those who make them and those who oppose them. A perceived weak point in the defenses surrounding the Holy Eucharist is canon 844, which envisages the admission of non-Catholic Christians in vaguely defined “grave circumstances” to Communion. However, such individuals would, according to Canon 844, “manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments,” be “properly disposed” and be unable to have access to their ministers.

Prelates such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider and canonists have called for a reform of Canon 844. How they and Cardinal Kasper understand this canon radically differ, and until this is resolved, this canon poses a significant challenge to Eucharistic discipline.

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William Kilpatrick

Opinion, ,

How should Islam be taught in schools?

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

July 5, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – Should schools teach about Islam, and if so, how should they teach it? There's a general consensus among educators that when dealing with controversial subjects, schools should maintain a distinction between teaching and preaching – between an objective presentation and advocacy.

But some contend that line has already been crossed in regard to Islam in the classroom. In Chatham, New Jersey, a parent is suing the school system for forcing 7th grade students to watch a set of videos in their World Cultures and Geography class that essentially proselytize for Islam. One five-minute video declares that:

  • God gave Muhammed the noble Quran
  • The Quran is a perfect guide for humanity
  • Islam is a shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism
  • The Beautiful Quran is guidance for the wise and sensible.

The video ends with an invitation of sorts: "May God help us all to find the true faith, Islam."

The fact is, many American schools have blurred the line between teaching and preaching. One commonly used lesson plan requires grade-schoolers to write out the shahada – the Islamic confession of faith which states: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." This type of teaching ties in with the Deweyian precept that one learns by doing – that you have to experience something from the inside before you can understand it. Thus, teachers see no problem with the shahada lesson. But there are limits to experiential learning. If one were to propose that students learn the Apostles' Creed in order to better understand Christianity, alarm bells would start to sound.

The simple solution to the problem of preaching in the classroom is to cut out the advocacy and just stick to the facts. But that's easier said than done. Complete objectivity is nearly impossible – especially in regard to such a large and complex subject as Islam.

Take Islamic history. Even if you were able to get everyone to agree on the facts, there are so many facts spread over its 1,400 year history that it would be impossible to cover them all. So you need to be highly selective. You need to find a number of diverse groups to agree on what the essential facts are, and on how they should be prioritized.

For example, is it more important to know that Muhammad was the founder of a new religion, or that he was a conquering warlord? Both are essential facts, but Muslim advocacy groups might want the second fact to be de-emphasized or even omitted from the curriculum. In fact, many history texts do downplay Islamic conquests, preferring instead to talk about Islamic expansion.

Which facts should be prioritized? With all due respect to the multicultural view, it seems to me that American schools, while striving to be as objective as possible, should teach those things about Islam that best serve American interests, and – more broadly – the interests of Western Civilization.

This may sound a bit ethnocentric, so let me explain. Islam has been at war with Western nations for 1,400 hundred years. And, because of its perpetual-war doctrine, it still is. Iranian leaders encourage chants of "Death to America" on a regular basis, and – given their obsession with nuclear weapons – there is no reason to suppose that this is mere rhetoric. Meanwhile, the President of Turkey has warned the Austrian government that its plan to close radical mosques in Austria will lead to a war between "the cross and the crescent." He has issued similar warnings to Greece and other European nations. Since President Erdogan has given many indications that he plans to restore the Caliphate to Turkey, he must be taken seriously. Another reason to take him seriously is that he commands the second largest army in NATO (after the U.S.).

While the U.S. is relatively secure from outside attacks, it is still vulnerable to internal subversion. Indeed, a Muslim Brotherhood document written in 1991, and discovered in a search of an Annandale Virginia home in 2004, outlines a strategic plan to infiltrate key American institutions such as the media, churches, and schools. There is a good deal of evidence that the Brotherhood's strategy has been highly successful – or else we wouldn't need to have this discussion as to whether or not public school kids should be learning the shahada by heart.

Since Islam has historically been an enemy to the West, and still is, it makes sense that the subject of Islam should be taught from the perspective of national security and cultural survival, not from the perspective of multiculturalists and Islamic advocates.

Currently, the main thing that students learn about Islam is the fairly innocuous "five pillars of Islam." The five pillars – confession of faith, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage – give the reassuring impression that Islam is just like any other religion. In other words, there's nothing to worry about.

But from the perspective of cultural survival, there are a few other things that American students ought to know about Islam. They could, for example, learn five ways in which sharia law is at odds with the Constitution, five ways in which women are oppressed in Islam, and five "slay-them-wherever-you-find-them"-type quotes from the Koran.

In history and "world culture" classes, students learn a lot about Islam's "Golden Age," and Islam's supposed invention of just about every good thing on earth. For the sake of balance, maybe they should also learn about Muhammad's massacre of between 700-900 Jews in Medina, the estimated one million Europeans who were taken into slavery in North Africa, and the Armenian Genocide of 1914–1923 which resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Christians, and became the model for the Nazi Holocaust.

If American students learn about all the crimes of the West, why should they be kept in the dark about the crimes of other cultures? One ought to know that these things have happened and that they can happen again.

If all this seems long-ago-and-far-away-ish, and therefore no longer "relevant" to the interests of the modern 14-year-old, there are plenty of current events that should raise a few "relevant" red flags. Social Studies teachers love to talk about families separated at the border, police brutality, school shootings, and other things that are happening now. So why not also talk about the extermination of Christians in the name of Allah in the Middle East and parts of Africa? Why not talk about the brutalization of Europeans at the hands of Muslim migrants? For example, why not discuss the rape of thousands of English girls by Muslim "grooming" gangs? That's a topic that would certainly be of interest to American teens. Shouldn't they be given projects and assignments that will help them to better empathize with the plight of their English peers?

Numerous Islamic clerics have talked about conquering Europe through a combination of immigration and high birth rates. Various commentators familiar with the European scene predict that large parts of it will come under Islamic control within twenty to thirty years if present trends continue. It's difficult to imagine anything more "relevant" than learning that your civilization may soon be replaced by another.

Maybe you think that cultural survival is not the business of the schools. Perhaps you're of the mind that it's up to the president, Congress, and the Army to take care of this. Maybe so; the Army is our first line of defense. However, at a deeper level, the schools are the ultimate line of defense. They form our future soldiers, police, congressmen, and presidents. Hopefully they will prepare men and women who will strive to avoid war, but if war comes, it is vital that those who are called to defend our country believe it is worth defending. This also applies to defending our culture against cultural jihad. This is certainly a frontline task, and it's one that soldiers are not equipped to handle. Teachers, on the other hand, are in the midst of this battle. Whether or not they realize it is another matter.

It's not that schools teach that nothing is worth defending; but the causes they advocate are generally left-liberal causes – that is, movements that tend to subvert rather than preserve culture. Many teachers are quite passionate about these cultural crusades, and they expect their students to be equally committed.

The proper response to this one-sided advocacy is not to insist that schools never take sides. They should take sides – the side of the culture to which they belong. That statement needs qualification, of course. We don't want to instill an attitude of "my country right or wrong," but we should want to encourage an informed patriotism. And to be informed, one needs to know the bad as well as the good. Students – especially in the upper grades – should be encouraged to think critically about their heritage. Just as in individual lives, so also in the lives of nations, the ability to look objectively at oneself or one's culture makes it possible to correct one's errors. As the historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., observed, self-criticism is built into the very fabric of the West. Thus, "the crimes of the West in time generated their own antidotes."

This ability to self-criticize is one of the things that separates our culture from Islamic cultures. As Islam is considered to be the perfect system, there is nothing to criticize. Thus, Muslim schools do not teach that the massacre of the Medina Jews was a shameful episode in Islamic history, and Turkish schools do not teach their students to "never forget" the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. The official Turkish position is that there was no genocide.

Unfortunately, however, the tendency to self-criticize can be taken to extremes. The problem in the West is not that students lack knowledge of the sins of the West. The problem is, that's all they know. They don't know about the great benefits that the West has conferred on mankind. They don't know the overarching narrative and the unifying ideals that hold the U.S. together as a society. In short, the schools are failing to help students identify with their own culture. And if they don't identify with it, why should they defend it? The great folly of our contemporary schools is that they are extinguishing the instinct for self-preservation.

Traditionally, it was believed that the school's job was to transmit not only knowledge, but also the cultural heritage. In addition to learning the ABCs, school was also the place where you learned the story of your nation, your culture, and your civilization. You learned that you were part of that story and that you had a responsibility to play your part well. You learned that although there were shameful episodes in American history, there was much of which to be proud.

In their turn, teachers felt a responsibility to tell the story of American history as objectively as possible. They did not, however, feel an obligation to be neutral about every issue. There were likely very few World War II-era teachers who remained neutral regarding the Axis and the Allies.

A quip attributed to Robert Frost defines a liberal as "a man who is too broadminded to take his own side in an argument." Right now there is an argument going on between two very different civilizations. As the contrasting claims of the two cultures butt up against each other, educational institutions can no longer afford to take the relativist view that one system or society is as good as another. They need to learn to take their own side. Like it or not, they have a dog in this fight.

This article originally appeared in the June 27, 2018 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Amy Contrada

Opinion, ,

How to get started opposing the transgender movement

Amy Contrada
By Amy Contrada

July 5, 2018 (American Thinker) – The transgender war on cultural norms is not just about restrooms and pronouns. It's about denying biological fact and quotidian reality. It's about an epidemic of irrationality, a cultural contagion, a mass delusion claiming more victims every day. It's about silencing free thinkers who refuse to bow to the radical "gender" ideology.

Absurd theories that deny scientific fact have been adopted by the mainstream press, the entertainment industry, the medical establishmentpublic schoolsuniversitiescorporate management, and government agencies. People who fear social isolation and charges of bigotry are following along.

How do those of us still grounded in reality fight this insanity? Not with misguided "compassion" or compromise, but with straight talk and tough love. Let's not waste our time analyzing or answering absurd gender theories with logical rebuttals. Those ideas don't deserve that respect. And the useful idiots who swallow the trans lies – whether as promotersallies, or victims – will not listen to reason or science.

Oppose trans activism

Refuse to go along with trans madness that declares:

  • "Sex is assigned at birth" by doctors.
  • Gender identity is inborn.
  • A three-year-old can know he's "trapped in the wrong body."
  • Some girls have penises; some boys have vaginas.
  • Blocking puberty in pre-adolescent children is sound medical practice.
  • A man can gestate and birth a baby.
  • Gender stereotypes are bad (unless you adopt one as your "authentic" trans identity).
  • A person's choice of new name and pronouns must be respected.
  • A person determines his appropriate restroom, locker room, sports team, etc.
  • "Transgender" persons' feelings take precedence over everyone else's.

Recognize only biological sex classifications: male and female.

Avoid using the politically loaded word "gender."

Point out that there is no biological basis for transgenderism. Someone cannot be "trapped in the wrong body." We're all in the bodies we were meant to be in.

Trust medical professional associations that oppose this anti-science ideology. (See herehereherehere, and here.)

Disseminate reliable research and commentary. (See hereherehereherehere, and here.)

Do not affirm a person's self-identification as transgender (or genderqueernon-binarygender non-conformingneutroisagendertwo-spirit, etc.). Affirmation normalizes this mental disorder. True respect comes from recognizing a trans-identified person's authentic, not costumed, humanity.

Emphasize that people who identify as transgender need psychological counseling to escape their delusion.

Show true compassion by encouraging trans-identifying persons to accept their natural bodies. Help them avoid a lifetime of medical interventions (cross-sex hormones, surgeries, cosmetic procedures, counseling), infertility, stress-inducing efforts to "pass" as the opposite sex, and suicidal thinking and attempts.

Explain that there is no such thing as a transgender child. There are children who are confused, emotionally neglected, even abused. Parents who affirm trans identities in children are themselves confused or needy, vulnerable to social pressures, or willfully misguided by health care professionals.

Speak out against the ghoulish medical procedures being inflicted on children, including puberty-blockers. To prevent puberty in a healthy young body is medical malpractice. Halting the development of a child's sexual organs, then adding cross-sex hormones, will guarantee sterility. That is a violation of a child's human rights.  "Gender" clinics for children should be shut down.

Oppose laws or policies granting special rights to trans-identifying persons. They already have all the rights they need as males and females. Non-discrimination policies protecting ill defined "gender identity" are superfluous. 

Demand that single-sex public restrooms and locker rooms allow only males or females. Attempts at compromise (e.g., single-stall restrooms for trans-identifying persons) effectively concede that trans identities are legitimate. In any case, such compromise measures will be opposed as "discriminatory."

Refuse to play trans language games, whether it's using their new words ("cisgender"), using their silly pronouns (zezirzirs), or saying "they" or "he" when it's really "she."

Monitor and challenge trans-affirming policies in your local schools.

Schools are under "gender" assault – but there's new hope

What's happening in the schools is especially important. Gender-identity non-discrimination laws or policies applied to schools are intended to disrupt and radically transform all of society, not just support "trans children" in school. If children attend a school where boys can be girls and vice versa, many of these future adults will have been effectively brainwashed.

The Obama administration attempted to force public schools to enforce "gender" ideology across the board (not just in restrooms and locker rooms; see here and here). The Trump administration backed off from enforcing those regulations. But while the tables may be turning at the federal level, this is not true in many locales.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has devised guidelines that may help restore sanity in schools. ADF explains that there is no federal law or regulation requiring schools to make allowances for trans-identifying students in restrooms and locker rooms.

ADF's "Student Physical Privacy Policy" for school private facilities is online here. The document commendably uses only the word "sex"; there's no recognition of "transgender boys" (females) or "transgender girls" (males).

The Obama administration threatened schools with loss of federal funds if they didn't implement radical trans-affirming policies. But now ADF warns: "Granting students access to opposite-sex changing areas could subject schools to tort liability for violating students' and parents' rights." This could mean legal challenges even in states with laws mandating transgender-affirming school policies.

(Let the ACLU bring its "discrimination" lawsuits against schools that refuse to kowtow to transgender demands! With more conservatives being appointed to our federal courts, there is some hope we can bring an end to supporting trans-identifying children who upend the entire school environment.)

Let's hope ADF's clarification doesn't stop with restrooms and locker rooms, but eventually expands to include resistance to other trans-affirming policies in the schools.

After all, rightly understood, a child's trans identification is a family issue. Parents should deal with their children's mental health problems privately, outside of school. It is unfair to drag the whole community into a family's distress. Communities need more outside support for that commonsense approach.

Speak out!

Don't try to convince brainwashed trans allies to reject trans insanity. But do embolden people who know in their hearts and minds that trans ideology is utterly false and destructive. They will resist if they see others doing so.

What's really at stake is thought control. Government and institutions are forcing people to deny reality and accept a destructive, nonsensical ideology – accustoming us to obey the most idiotic directives. If people can accept as fact that "some boys have vaginas and some girls have penises," they'll roll over for anything.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael

Opinion,

The case against ordaining female deacons

Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael
By Michael Hichborn

Editor's note: The following is the text of a speech Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, delivered to a group of over 100 faithful Catholics in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 25, 2018.

July 5, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – The topic I've been asked to speak on this evening is the proposal that the Church should ordain women to the diaconate.  Now...most faithful Catholics who hear such ideas would immediately balk at the notion and dismiss the possibility as the utterance of disaffected heretics seeking to remake the Church in their own image and likeness.  Rest assured, your intuition on the matter is absolutely right, but the issue isn't as simple as that.  Historically, there have been deaconesses, but what is important here is to explore the nature of what was called a deaconess in the ancient Church and what is being proposed today.  So, we're going to divide this topic into two parts.  In the first part, we'll discuss the historical context of women as deacons...both in terms of what we know from true history, and what is being discussed on by those proffering the idea that women today should be ordained deacons.  And then, we'll take a look at the reason why this is such a hot topic now, and who the organizations are that are pushing women's ordination to the diaconate.

History

In order to put everything into context, we have to begin with the Scripture passage that seems to open the door to the entire discussion.  What I'm going to read to you is from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 16, verses 1-5:

And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church, that is in Cenchrae: That you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you. For she also hath assisted many, and myself also. Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles,) And the church which is in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved: who is the first-fruits of Asia in Christ.

The key phrase here is "ministry of the Church," because the Greek root of this passage is, "Diakonon," which has caused organizations such as our neighbors here to believe that Phoebe was an ordained deaconess.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Fr. George Leo Haydock, in his commentaries on Scripture explains:

Phœbe, who is in the ministry, or employed in the ministry, as women, called diaconissæ, used to be, privately instructing catechumens, assisting particularly at the baptizing of women, distributing charities, etc.

In other words, Phoebe was very much like a nun.  Not an ordained minister, but a woman who administers in service to the Church.  If we look elsewhere in Scripture, we can see the manner in which St. Paul specifically outlined the selection and ordination of male deacons, and he never once provides for the ordination of women to the diaconate.  In St. Paul's first letter to Timothy, he outlines the character requisites for men to be selected for the clergy.

A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher, Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.  But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Deacons in like manner chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre: Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved: and so let them minister, having no crime.

The women in like manner chaste, not slanderers, but sober, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife: who rule well their children, and their own houses.

Notice that St. Paul mentions both men and women here, but does NOT mention women with regard to selection for the clergy, in particular for the diaconate.  If Phoebe were an ordained deaconess, then the prescription for the selection for ordained deaconesses would have been included here, but it was not.

And quite possibly the most definitive statement on the ordination of deacons to be found in the New Testament is in the beginning of Acts 6:

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.  So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.

These men were not ordained as priests, but were ordained and given the task of carrying out the division of goods.  And the Apostles made very clear that men were selected for this.  If Phoebe was an ordained deaconess, then this process of selecting and ordaining deacons would not have specified only men, as it does here in Acts.

But the question of deaconesses is not limited to Scripture alone.  In the early Church, through the middle ages, there is mention of deaconesses.

The earliest description of the duties of deaconesses, comes from a 3rdcentury, Eastern Church document called the Didascalia Apostolorum.  While the duties and responsibilities of male deacons were rather far-reaching, the ministry of deaconesses were limited to working with other women in highly specific ways.  Primarily, deaconesses were responsible for preparing female catechumens for baptism by anointing their bodies.  Because the early Church conducted these anointings and full immersion baptisms in the nude, it would have been highly inappropriate for male priests and deacons to be involved, hence the duties and responsibilities of deaconesses ministering to women.

That said...there is a question regarding the ordination of women as deaconesses.  The single largest body of work discussing role of deaconesses is the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, or simply called the Apostolic Constitution.  The constitutions comprise 8 books that were written over the course of time between 200 and 400 AD.

In these Constitutions, it is very clear that the primary role of deacons and deaconesses was the care of the Church's poor.  But what those who propose the ordination of women as deacons like to point to is that The Apostolic Constitutions do mention a kind of ordination with the laying on of hands.  Here's what it says:

Concerning a deaconess...: 'Bishop, you shall lay your hands upon her in the presence of the presbytery, and of the deacons and the deaconesses, and shall say: "O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who did replenish with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who did not disdain that your only begotten Son should be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, did ordain women to be keepers of your holy gates, — do you now also look down upon this your servant, who is to be ordained to the office of deaconess, and grant her your Holy Spirit, and cleanse her from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to your glory, and the praise of your Christ, with whom glory and adoration be to you and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen."' (Book VIII, Section XIX, XX)

But what the women's ordination crowd of today fails to address is the fact that the described "ordination" is vastly different from the ordination of men as deacons.  In the ordination of men to the diaconate, the invocation of the Holy Spirit speaks of a power, which is not mentioned in the rite for women.  It says:

fill him with the spirit and with power as thou didst fill Stephen the martyr and follower of the sufferings of thy Christ".

This invocation of power is vitally important because the rite for the deacon also mentions the possibility of advancing in clerical offices, such as priest or bishop, but it makes NO such mention of this type in the rite for deaconesses.  The Constitution instructs the bishop to pray that the candidate may be "worthy to discharge acceptably the ministration of a deacon, steadily, unblameably, and without reproof, that thereby he may attain a higher degree.

And just to put to bed any notion that the Apostolic Constitution indicates that the women's ordination as a deaconess constitutes Holy Orders of some sort, Volume 8, number 27 says clearly and definitively, "the deaconess gives no blessing, she fulfills no function of priest or deacon."

So, while it may be said that there was a kind of ordination for women as deaconesses, it was NOT an ordination to a clerical rank, but for the administration of certain duties related to other women.  Nothing more.

What's interesting about this is that the First Council of Nicea, held in 325, addressed this very issue of the ordaining of deaconesses.  It must be remembered that the canons of a council are to be held as more definitive than the Apostolic Constitution.  Canon 19 of the Council of Nicea says:

Similarly, in regard to the deaconesses, as with all who are enrolled in the register, the same procedure is to be observed. We have made mention of the deaconesses, who have been enrolled in this position, although, not having been in any way ordained, they are certainly to be numbered among the laity.

But the Council of Nicea appears not to have completely put the matter to rest, as abuses began to arise.  Because of this, it was necessary for this matter to again be addressed in the Council of Nimes, which took place in approximately 396 AD.  The second of seven canons established at the Council of Nimes expressly forbids the ordination of women as deaconesses.  And 50 years later, at the Council of Orange, the whole question of the ordination of women as deaconesses was definitively closed.  It said:

In no way whatsoever should deaconesses ever be ordained. If there already are deaconesses, they should bow their heads beneath the blessing which is given to all the people.

Bear in mind that these councils and these authoritative declarations were made because of the abuses that were taking place in the Church!  Imagine that...liturgical and clerical abuse in the Catholic Church, dissenting from the authority of the hierarchy.  Who'd have thought THAT was possible?

But let's make one last point on the historical context of deaconesses before we move on.

Organizations like Voice of the Faithful and FutureChurch...both of which are being represented right out in the hallway here for the Association of United States Catholic Priests annual assembly...these organizations have established what they believe the duties of deaconesses would be.  In a June 1, 2017 press release, these two organizations called for the ordination of women to the diaconate, saying:

Restoring women deacons – especially in underserved or missionary territories – would mean that women could:

  • Preach during Eucharistic celebrations.
  • Serve as single judges in annulment proceedings.
  • Officiate the Rite of Marriage.

Not only does this not match the historic context of the duties performed by deaconesses in the Church, but it completely contradicts the immutable mandate established by St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy. He says:

A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet. (1 Timothy 2:12)

Either St. Paul was schizophrenic, a liar, or he meant something completely at odds with what FutureChurch, Voice of the Faithful and other heretical sects are proposing.  If Phoebe was an ordained deaconess, with the power and authority to conduct baptisms, funerals, marriage ceremonies, read the Gospels in Mass, and even give sermons, then St. Paul would be permitting her to conduct those very same acts which he condemned in his letter to Timothy.

But this all begs the question...why is this a topic now?  What is the end game?  Why do organizations like FutureChurch, the AUSCP, Voice of the Faithful, and others want to see the Church open the way to ordaining women to the diaconate with the authority to read the Gospel, preach sermons, baptize, officiate marriages, conduct grave-side funerary rites, and so forth?

It's because they lost the argument about the possibility of women's priestly ordination and they are looking for another avenue.  It's that simple.

In his 1994 Apostolic Letter ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS, Pope John Paul II stated with absolute clarity:

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

As we established earlier, the ordination of a deaconess in the early Church was specifically excluded as a step in the process of priestly ordination.  And, since the ordination of a deacon is the first stage of a three-fold ordination (deacon, priest, and bishop) this should have ended the conversation, and for a while, it did.  But because Pope John Paul II's declaration only implied the deaconate without specifically mentioning it, the women's ordination movement feels free to continue to push their agenda.  Now, the ordination of women to the deaconate is far less than what the women's ordination movement would ever want, so why are they cheering so much about the possibility of women being ordained as deacons now?

In their line of thinking, the ordination of women as deaconesses may be an end-run to a higher post.  In short, they seem to think that if women can become ordained deacons, then they could possibly be elevated as cardinals.  Why?  Because contrary to popular thinking, one does not have to be a priest in order to be a cardinal, and in fact, there is such a thing as cardinal deacons.  As absurd as it may sound, this appears to be the thought process.  In 2013, Dr. Phyllis Zagano (who is a long-time advocate of the ordination of deaconesses, and was appointed to Pope Francis' Special Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women) made note of an article that cited her work in promoting the ordination of deaconesses to the possibility of women being made Cardinals.  Dr. Zagano said:

The huge Spanish daily El Pais even ran a story opining the pope was ready to name women as cardinals, noting that two laymen became cardinals in the 19th century and reminding its readers that the tradition of women ordained as deacons could be restarted at any moment.

Following Dr. Zagano's article, the dissident publication US Catholicexpanded on the idea.  Here is how it laid out the case:

Although there have been lay cardinals in the church's past, today canon law states that cardinals have to be ordained. But, the newspaper's Brazil correspondent, Juan Arias, argues, "cardinals don't have to be priests, they can be deacons." Canon 350 of the church's code of canon law specifically lists the possibility of "cardinal deacons."

And so Arias lays out a papal two-step. The opening of the diaconate to women, he asserts, "is one of the reforms that Francis has in mind," although again he gives no indication of how he is reading the pope's mind here. But he quotes the work of Phyllis Zagano, who laid out the case for women deacons in a 2012 interview with U.S. Catholic.

And once that's done, comes Step 2: "Any woman who is appointed deaconess can indeed become a cardinal without having to change canonical law," writes Arias.

So, here's the process.  If a woman can be ordained to the diaconate, with all the powers and authority of male deacons, then they can also be made cardinals.  If a woman can be a cardinal, they suppose, then a woman could also participate in a conclave to select the next pope.  In their twisted way of thinking, this could even open up the way to the possibility of a female pope.

For now, this is a pipe-dream...but it is most certainly THEIR dream!  But until that happens, they have some thoughts on other steps that can be taken.

Our neighbors here at the Association of US Catholic Priests, passed a resolution in 2013 in support of the ordination of women as deaconesses.

Not only does this resolution "promote ongoing discussion" on the ordination of women as deacons, but it takes things a step further.  The resolution specifically called for the ordination of women as deacons and a rewriting of Canon law to lift restrictions against the ordination of women.  The passed resolution says:

Proposal 7

Be it resolved The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) supports the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and recommends:

  • That the ongoing discussion of the ordination of women to the diaconate continue;
  • That the US Catholic Bishops publicly support the restoration of the ancient
    practice of ordaining deaconesses; (cf. Constitution of the Holy Apostles, 8. 19-20)
  • That the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) request
    amendment of canon 1024 which restricts valid sacred ordination to baptized males

But, this support for female deacons is not intended to be an end in itself.  Rather, it is a stepping stone to the priestly ordination of women.  The AUSCP's Proposal 7 was immediately followed by a resolution for the ordination of women as priestesses:

Proposal 8

"Be it resolved that the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP), call for the study of, and an open discussion for the ordination of women and married men to the priesthood." Rationale:

  • This is a first necessary step (…study and discussion…)
  • The People of God need shepherds
  • The people of God need sacraments

Let's review the progression...AUSCP asserts its full-throated support for the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and the removal of restrictions to the ordination of women.  Following that, AUSCP proposes "open  discussion" on the ordination of women to the priestesshood.  In the rationale, it calls "open discussion" a necessary first step toward ordaining women as priestesses.  It's worth noting that "open discussion" is never truly about an academic exercise directed toward Truth, but is more in line with the directed dialogue initiated by the serpent in Eden.  In other words, just the possibility of having this discussion is necessary for getting what they want...ordained women.  But, before there can be a dialogue about the viability of ordaining women as priestesses, there must first be something to talk about and something to show as support for their position.  And so, the AUSCP proposed the idea of "priestless parishes."

On its website, the AUSCP has a document titled, "PASTORAL CARE IN AND THROUGH PRIESTLESS PARISHES."  The document never specifies deaconesses or priestesses, but when considered in the light of the proposals I just mentioned, the push for "priestless parishes" takes on a much darker tone than even the title suggests.

It's bad enough to consider the proposal for a parish without a priestly pastor.  But this proposal suggests an avenue by which deaconesses could take the place of priests as "Pastoral Leaders" of a parish.  The proposal suggests that Pastoral Leaders will:

take responsibility for the day to day coordination of parish activities, and take initiative as needed to motivate, to correct, and to affirm persons who work in the parish ministries; and where needed, provide conflict resolution and reconciliation. To be a true pastoral leader he/she must lead worship where appropriate, and likewise break open the Word.  In short, he/she would be in the role of pastor, excepting sacramental ministry, and under the supervision of the canonical pastor.

Here's the thing...the current code of Canon Law permits only males to lead in liturgical worship.  But...the reasoning goes...if a woman can take on the administrative duties of a deacon, and the priest is stretched too thin, why not allow her to also act in his place while he is away.  Ordaining a woman as a deaconess would allow women to read the Gospels, give sermons, and conduct baptisms, weddings, and funerals.  Women are already distributing Holy Communion, so why not let them conduct Communion Services in the absence of a priest?  The only thing she couldn't do is consecrate.

So, as an answer to the priest shortage crisis, the AUSCP and others propose the ordination of women to the diaconate.  The next step is to appoint them as pastoral leaders in "priestless parishes," where a local priest runs around several parishes to conduct an occasional Mass to consecrate enough hosts to last until his next visit.  In this capacity, the deaconess/pastoral leader will conduct Communion services without the Mass, looking for all intents and purposes like a priestess without actually being one.  And then, if AUSCP (and its cohorts) can get some bishop somewhere to experiment with their proposal for "priestless parishes," implementing ordained deaconesses as Pastoral Leaders, then it can proceed to its second proposal, which is open discussion for the ordination of women as priestesses.  At this point, since women would already be doing just about everything else a priest does, with the exception of consecration, the logical next step is "simply" ordaining women to the priestesshood.

The bottom line here is that all of this comes down to the desire for women to be ordained as priestesses.  This is NOT a Catholic idea, it never has been, and it never will be.  But it is worth noting that, of all the religious ideas that have ever floated around the world throughout history, the notion of a priestess has NEVER been considered in Judaism, in Christianity, or even in Islam.  The only place we find priestesses is in pagan worship.  This movement is a pagan movement.  It is evil, it is dangerous, and it is anti-Catholic.  The Church, which is the Bride of Christ, will never have a priestess...but She does have a mother.  Our Lady, who is highest in all of God's creation, has already crushed the head of the serpent with its deadly lies.   And she has given us the Weapon to fight against the paganizing of our Beloved Church.  She asked us at Fatima to pray the Rosary daily for the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.  So, if we are to see the end of the wicked designs of organizations like FutureChurch, AUSCP, Voice of the Faithful and others, we must pray the Rosary for the crushing of their plans and the conversion of their members.

God love you.

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

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Opinion, ,

Remembering a happier time, when sexual perversions didn’t run our lives

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By Anthony Esolen

July 5, 2018 (The Catholic Thing)Do you remember a time, readers, when you could spend a whole day, actually a whole month, occasionally even a year, and not give one passing thought to the issue of sexual perversions?

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought it a good idea to have drag queens do story-hour for children in a public library? When people who fell into sexual perversion, or who are alleged to have done so, or who are alleged to have wanted to do so though they did not, or who are alleged to have been the sorts of people who would have wanted to do so if they had known What We Know Now, were not held up for the admiration of children, in their school textbooks?

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought that a man who said he was a woman or a woman who said she was a man was in touch with reality and not prey to a destructive fantasy or delusion?

Do you remember a time when liberals, precisely because they were liberals, held men and women up to high standards of sexual decency, and (wrongly) believed that they were capable of maintaining those standards without the ministrations of the Church?

Do you remember a time when it would not have occurred to you in a hundred years that your priest was anything other than an ordinary man, a real man, following the special call of the Lord? A man who in another life, with a different call, would have been married with a passel of children, a pillar of his community?

Do you remember a time when a priest could march alongside miners and auto workers and look like one of them, not like a breathless female reporter in the locker room of a football team? Do you remember when nobody, absolutely nobody, would have considered that a female reporter should even be in that locker room?

Do you remember a time when divorce was a scandal? I do. Do you remember a time when family-owned motels would not let unmarried people book one room instead of two? Do you remember a time when boys and girls actually dated, and when the vast territory between loneliness and going to bed as a married couple had not been strafed and scorched and left with not a single healthy custom standing – a cultural Nagasaki and Hiroshima, from sea to sea?

And now this, about Cardinal McCarrick. 
The cardinal, choosing his words precisely, says he has no memory of ever having engaged in the sexual abuse of the erstwhile young man who is now accusing him.

About that accusation I have no confident opinion, nor need I have. For when you have a gorilla in the living room, thrashing the furniture, chewing the upholstery, and defecating in plain sight and smell, you do not ask whether it was also the gorilla who smashed the light bulb.

The cardinal has cautiously denied one sin, while not bothering to address the thousand others. For all these years, according to witnesses at last speaking out, he has been vesting in lavender, compromising young men in his charge, including those who he made sure would see his misdeeds though they did not participate in them, and exerting all the subtle pressure of power and prestige to keep those who demurred – who did not enjoy bunking with Uncle Ted – from speaking out.

He has pointedly not said, "I have never had sexual relations with a seminarian or a priest."
 It was a perversion of the male protective brotherhood, whose noblest and purest manifestation is the apostolic band.

Unlike those brothers the apostles, who went forth into the world to lay down their lives for Christ and the Church, these bands in our day have used the Church as a cover, and a means of procurement. They have turned the Church inward upon themselves and their essentially narcissistic and childish desires and deeds.

We should not then be surprised that the Church, in their hands, becomes contentedly anti-apostolic and anti-evangelistic. The leaders make common cause with ambitious women against their enemies: ordinary, healthy, self-assured, masculine men and the women who love and esteem them.

The Mass itself is made soft and effeminate – neither masculine nor feminine. I have often noted that every single hymn in vast repertory of Christian hymnody that has anything to do with fighting for Christ, hymns going back all the way to Prudentius and Venantius Fortunatus, has been banished from the hymnals, except for For All the Saints.

That one exception we may attribute to the need to have something or other for All Saints' Day, and even then, in many hymnals I have seen, the lyrics are made squishy, or the stanzas with the most fight in them are simply dropped.
 These leaders are simply not interested in taking on the world.

But that is the raison d'être of the brotherhood. Men who are friends, soldiers in the field, do not gaze into each other's eyes, melting. Your drill sergeant does not call himself Uncle Ted. He does not write lovey letters to you, after he has snuggled you into a compromise. He does not engage in spiritual bribery and blackmail.

Men who stand shoulder to shoulder – you can picture them in your mind's eye, leaning against a fence or a car or a tank – look out in the same direction, towards the world to conquer. That has been the orientation, the direction to take, of every true leader of men the Church has known, from Peter and Paul to Benedict, from Francis and Dominic to Ignatius, from John Bosco to Jose Maria Escriva.

We have the Lord's own choice to follow, ordaining men to form that band of brothers. Men, not just anatomical males. They might get something done.

Note: The image is The Last General Absolution of the Munster Fusiliers at Rue du Bois by Fortunino Matania, 1916. It is assumed that the painting was destroyed during the German blitz of London in WWII. Certainly the original is missing.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Trudeau poses with topless woman at Toronto’s 2014 Pride Parade.
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Blogs,

Trudeau’s hypocrisy in dealing with ‘groping’ allegations shows what he really thinks of women

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By Jonathon van Maren

July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On July 2, the Globe and Mail published an interview titled “Conservative status of women critic Rachael Harder challenges Liberal version of feminism,” and the 31-year-old Lethbridge MP pulled no punches in her conversation with parliamentary reporter Laura Stone.

Harder, who was blocked by Liberal and NDP members of the House of Commons committee on the status of women last year from taking her place as the chair because of her pro-life convictions, is not backing down. “I’ll always advocate for the pre-born,” she told Stone—and then took aim directly at Justin Trudeau. “The Prime Minister is dictating to women and girls across this country what a right type of woman or girl looks like,” she noted. “That’s incredibly ignorant.” 

Although Ms. Harder obviously had no control over the timing, July 2 turned out to be a pretty lousy day for Trudeau’s feminist reputation. The Daily Mail published a column detailing allegations that he groped a female reporter at a music festival in Creston, BC, eighteen years ago—with Trudeau claiming that he “doesn’t remember any negative interactions” that day. CNN also published a story on the allegations, noting that the anonymous woman had talked to several people about the alleged interaction right after it took place.

A few hours later, The Guardian came out with an article that examined an editorial written by the woman herself, recounting that Trudeau had allegedly apologized to the journalist later: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”

In the several days since then, nearly every major newspaper in Canada—even the Toronto Star—has come out in nearly universal condemnation of Trudeau’s reaction to the allegations, noting that he is refusing to abide by the rules that he set for his own colleagues. After all, the Star noted, a number of Liberals have been swiftly and harshly punished for allegations that are not nearly as serious as the accusation leveled against Trudeau—but because the Prime Minister insisted publicly at the time that his behavior had always been above reproach, he has neatly boxed himself into a corner. 

He now has only a few choices at his disposal. He can call the woman a liar, which would fly in the face of his stated position that allegations should be believed. He can admit that he did it and grovel for forgiveness while hoping people won’t expect him to impose his own standard on himself. Or he can carry on with his vague lawyer-speak of “not remembering” any “negative interactions,” which says precisely nothing. For all we know, Trudeau found his alleged groping experience to be quite a positive interaction from his perspective, and thus his slippery response is technically truthful.

Either way, nobody seems to be buying it.

Regardless of how the allegations against Trudeau play out, what this new information has done is lend an air of rank hypocrisy to the Liberal preening about their feminist agenda.

Liberal cabinet ministers have been denouncing Rachael Harder’s comments to the Globe with great indignation since the interview was published, all the while ignoring the fact that a dark cloud looms over the head of their feminist flagbearer. It is a bit rich to see them huffing and puffing in outrage over the sheer gall of Rachael Harder for daring to advocate for her own deeply held convictions, while surely sweating nervously that one of their female colleagues across the aisle might choose to take the topical opportunity to inquire about the current condition of Trudeau’s “zero tolerance” policy for Liberal politicians accused of sexual harassment.

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Catholics are called to confront the secular world and establish Christ’s kingdom

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – What kind of presence are Christians supposed to have in the world around them? What kind of influence are they supposed to have on the cultural life of the community to which they belong? What is the basic relationship between “secular” society and the Christians who dwell in it as citizens, receiving certain goods from it, of course, but also—and one hopes more energetically—giving to it something that it would otherwise lack, to its own imperilment?

For Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, the question of Christianity in the world comes down to this: the willingness of Christians, in spite of all opposition and setbacks, to continue patiently and courageously in bearing witness to Christ and to his Gospel, in living according to his teaching, and in translating this teaching as well as they can into the rhythms and structures of everyday life—not excluding, but neither being identified with or collapsed into, politics and political society.

We have seen both errors in our time: the error of the liberation theologians, who took their inspiration from Karl Marx; the error, in a different way, of classical liberals, who speak as if the flourishing of markets and the extension of technological benefits to as many people as possible were an answer to the human predicament, a sort of secular Gospel that has power to liberate man from ignorance and vice.

In contrast, Paul VI writes: “What matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures—not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots” (§20). He continues:

The kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture or cultures. . . . The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times. Therefore every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelization of culture, or more correctly of cultures. They have to be regenerated by an encounter with the Gospel.

It is a short step from here to the role of the laity in the world—a major theme of Vatican II, but still neglected in the contemporary Church, where “involvement” has been construed as parish busy work and clericalization rather than brave interventions and concerted efforts in the cultural spheres proper to the non-ordained. Paul VI understood what was demanded of the lay faithful:

Lay people, whose particular vocation places them in the midst of the world and in charge of the most varied temporal tasks, must for this very reason exercise a very special form of evangelization. Their primary and immediate task is not to establish and develop the ecclesial community—this is the specific role of the pastors—but to put to use every Christian and evangelical possibility latent but already present and active in the affairs of the world. Their own field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, society and economics, but also the world of culture, of the sciences and the arts, of international life, of the mass media. It also includes other realities which are open to evangelization, such as human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work, suffering. The more Gospel-inspired lay people there are engaged in these realities, clearly involved in them, competent to promote them and conscious that they must exercise to the full their Christian powers which are often buried and suffocated, the more these realities will be at the service of the kingdom of God and therefore of salvation in Jesus Christ, without in any way losing or sacrificing their human content but rather pointing to a transcendent dimension which is often disregarded. (§70)

Paul VI echoes Vatican II’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, which called for an intensive involvement of lay Catholics in every aspect of social life—against the dominant contemporary conception, traceable to the Enlightenment, that religion is a private affair that should not make waves in the public square. (Religion is like a hat or a coat; you take it off and hang it at the door before going inside the offices of government or business.)

On the contrary, the vocation of the Christian is to seek to transform the world by the energetic exercise of moral and theological virtues, not in pure solitude, as a hermit might do, but in society, and as a public activity and witness. The Council did not ask that the State be separated still further from the Church (“equivalent to the separation of human legislation from Christian and divine legislation,” as Leo XIII succinctly put it), but rather, that the laity infuse the spirit of the Gospel into all temporal realities. Thus, Gaudium et Spes §43 exhorts the laity to “impress the divine law on the affairs of the earthly city.”

Apostolicam Actuositatem was still more precise. In §7, the Council Fathers, recognizing the “intrinsic value” of temporal realities, note how easily they can be perverted to the grave harm of mankind, and issue a call to Christians, especially the laity, to transform the temporal order according to the Gospel—without, needless to say, aspiring to a simple fusion of temporal and spiritual societies, as has occurred historically in a number of ways: the Caesaropapism of Byzantium, the Erastianism of some Western nation-states, the Gallicanism and Josephinism of the Enlightenment.

Surely modern Christians have tended towards the opposite extreme, that is, the divorcing of personal conviction from public life, which is a perilous attitude. The conclusion in Apostolicam Actuositatem §7 is unequivocal:

The whole Church must work vigorously in order that men may become capable of rectifying the distortion of the temporal order and directing it to God through Christ. Pastors must clearly state the principles concerning the purpose of creation and the use of temporal things and must offer the moral and spiritual aids by which the temporal order may be renewed in Christ.

The same document defines the social apostolate as “the effort to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which one lives” (§13).

These are our marching orders. The fight is difficult, more difficult than ever, but we must be clear on what we are fighting for. We are not looking for tolerance; we will not settle for religious liberty; we are not expecting heaven on earth. We are looking for the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ, which has existed here below, which still does exist in the Church and in Catholics, and which can bring to all men a wisdom, justice, mercy, and joy they would never otherwise know.

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