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James Risdon

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Evangelical leader hammers home the importance of Christians voting in fall election

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, Aug. 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An American evangelical powerhouse is urging Christians in the United States to make their voices heard at the ballot box or possibly face the same kind of losses to freedom as in Canada.

“We must vote, vote, vote to elect leaders who will defend what has been purchased with the blood of patriots who died to protect our liberty,” writes Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Family Talk, in his August newsletter.

The highly-influential evangelical’s exhortation to vote comes as America gets ready to head to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm election that will see all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate seats up for grabs.

Two years ago, Republican candidate Donald Trump took the White House in an election that saw only 55.7 percent of Americans of voting age cast their ballots. That was down from 62.3 percent of Americans of voting age who took part in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and far below the level of voter turnout in many other industrialized nations.

In Denmark, Belgium and Sweden, more than 80 percent of citizens of voting age cast their ballots in their last elections. New Zealand and Australia both had voter turnouts of more than 75 percent.

At just a tad above 62 percent, Canada’s voter turnout is close to that of its neighbor to the south.

And the political happenings in the Great White North should serve as a warning to American Christians, noted Dobson.

“Let me illustrate what can happen in a country that doesn't respect basic human rights as they have been understood historically,” he writes in his newsletter. “The Parliament of Canada, our neighbor to the north, passed an act into law on June 19, 2017. It is called the [transgender rights bill], and it imposes jail time and fines on anyone who uses inappropriate pronouns with regard to gender identity, gender expression, race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction of an offense for which a pardon has been granted.

“Forget laws protecting freedom of speech,” wrote Dobson. “Violations of this act are considered to be hate crimes in Canada's Criminal Code. Its passage has been lauded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as ‘another step toward equality.’ No! It is a step toward tyranny for our Canadian friends.”

Although Americans and citizens of other western nations are not yet facing similar tyranny, a growing political correctness in the mainstream media influences elections and can lead to the loss of much-cherished freedoms in West, warned Dobson.

“America and other western nations have for decades been losing their God-given rights that define us as a free people,” he wrote. “We are not experiencing Nazi-like tyranny yet, but we are steadily being expected to think, speak, write, and act in a prescribed manner in conformity with what is now called ‘political correctness.’ The mainstream media has become a tool to influence elections and spread this belief system.

“Sadly, the rights handed down to us by our forefathers more than 200 years ago are gradually being overridden, ignored, contradicted, or disregarded by the courts and legislature. Alas, we are less free now than we were even five years ago.”

Chiding the desperation of the political left in America for going so far as to mock Supreme Court of the United States nominee Brett Kavanaugh for such trivial matters as putting ketchup on his food, Dobson makes it clear that Christians must beef up their political clout.

“So far, President Donald Trump has nominated 44 judges who have been confirmed to the bench, and there are many others (88) in the pipeline,” wrote Dobson. “There is hope for additional conservative and common-sense decisions to be handed down in the future. This is a matter for sincere prayer among those of us who have longed for relief from judicial tyranny.”

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Hundreds of Argentinean doctors join massive march against abortion

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Not all of Argentina’s doctors fancy the thought of killing unborn babies.

Hundreds of pro-life Argentinian doctors have taken to the streets to witness against the evil of abortion in the run-up to the Senate’s vote on a bill that would legalize the procedure.

If passed into law, the measure will endanger the lives of all unborn children up to 14 weeks’ gestation. In addition, it will allow for the killing of disabled children, children who were conceived in rape, and children who endanger the life of their mothers, either physically or psychologically, until birth. Currently, it is legal abort babies conceived in rape or who present a physical threat to their mother’s health, but only up to 14 weeks’ gestation.

Writing for the Associated Press, journalist Almudena Calatrava reported that some of the pro-life doctors have carried “fetus-shaped dolls” and signs saying “I’m a doctor, not a murderer.” At a recent protest, she wrote, “they laid white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.”

These doctors represent only a tiny number of pro-life demonstrators in Argentina. During a nationwide pro-life rally in March, 50,000 people marched for life in capital city Buenos Aires. Crowds of up to 20,000 gathered in other towns. One participant tweeted that there were “literally millions (of pro-life marchers) throughout the country.”

Medical associations in Pope Francis’ homeland are divided on the abortion issue. The Argentina Medical Association wants legalized abortion, purportedly to discourage women from seeking illegal abortions. Argentina’s National Academy of Medicine, however, believes in the right to life of the unborn child and the right of medical personnel to refuse to commit abortions.

In a 2011 statement, the Academia Nacional de Medicina (ANM) asserted, “Nothing good come from society when death is chosen as a solution.” It also underscored its support of professionals who refuse, for ethical or religious reasons, to end unborn human life.

The ethical society’s then-president, Juan M. Ghirlanda, who signed the document, stated that Argentina’s public health system needs proposals that protect both the life of a pregnant woman and the life of her unborn child. Legalizing abortions and forcing doctors to perform them are not acceptable solution to the nation’s increasing numbers of back-alley abortions.

"The ANM considers that the unborn child, scientifically and biologically, is a human being whose existence begins at the moment of conception," the document asserted.

It also cited the Hippocratic Oath, which Argentinian doctors pledge. In the original Oath, doctors vowed, “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion.”

The ANM document concluded, "Medical thought based on Hippocratic ethics has defended human life as an inalienable right from conception, so the National Academy of Medicine calls on all doctors in the country to maintain fidelity to (that which) they undertook under oath. "

In addition, Argentina’s Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Societies has complained that it wasn’t consulted on the bill, and that doctors who refuse to commit abortions will be penalized. Conscientious objectors would have to register and therefore be blacklisted by hospitals interested in hiring only potential abortionists.  

Another worry is the bill’s demand that a baby be aborted within five days of his or her mother’s request. Gynecologists state that this could lead to prosecution of doctors who don’t want to perform the abortion on grounds of the mother’s safety, or when it is impossible to find a willing physician that quickly.

Finally, there is the specter of rampant late-term abortions, and abortions performed merely because the mother finds her pregnancy stressful or embarrassing.  

Ernesto Beruti, chief of Obstetrics at Austral University Hospital in Buenos Aires, told Calatrava that he was willing to go to jail rather than commit abortion.

“Even if the law is passed, I’m not going to eliminate the life of a human being,” he said. “The most important right is the right to live.”

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Facebook blocks Republican judge from boosting video of nephew overcoming severe birth defect

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By Calvin Freiburger

WELDON SPRING, Missouri, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A feel-good video about a Missouri judicial candidate’s nephew overcoming a severe birth defect is the latest to be rejected as “shocking, disrespectful,” and/or “sensational” under the social media giant’s controversial ad approval system.

Chris McDonough is a municipal court judge and a Republican candidate for circuit court judge in St. Charles County. On his campaign website he touts respect for “God's greatest gift - human life,” declares that a “judge's role is to interpret and apply the law as it is written, not as the judge would like it to have been written,” and highlights the endorsement of social conservative leader and former Eagle Forum president Ed Martin.

As part of his pro-life messaging, McDonough has highlighted the case of his nephew Albert, who was prenatally diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a rare condition that can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties. His parents were told he only had about a 25% chance of survival.

“In my family, we’ve had some very personal experiences that have made me appreciate firsthand how precious and fragile the gift of human life is,” McDonough wrote in the introduction to a July 29 video about the case. “The most recent was the birth of our nephew, Albert. He is a miracle. This is his story. This is a story about life, our first unalienable right.”

“Oftentimes, parents given this type of diagnosis are given the option of termination. But Albert was always our child, he was never a choice,” Albert’s mother said. As the video transitions from images of infant Albert in intensive care to footage of McDonough playing with Albert as a happy, seemingly-healthy little boy, she begins talking about the comfort and strength he gave the couple and their son.

“Our brother-in-law Chris McDonough was one of the biggest supporters and one of the most special people on our journey, always telling us how things would work out in the end, to keep plugging forward, making us laugh all along the way, and now is perhaps one of Albert’s favorite people in the world,” she said.

“Albert has one lung and a little bit of another lung, but as you can see he’s very energetic and doesn’t let that stop him,” his mother explains. “He continues to have problems, but again he just keeps pushing forward and doesn’t let these challenges impact his fun and his energy as a toddler.”

“We stand with Chris McDonough because he, like us, believes that a child is not a choice,” she concludes.

When McDonough wanted to boost the video as a Facebook ad, however, he met a message conservatives have become increasingly familiar with over the past year.

“Your Ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies,” a Facebook message told him, according to Gateway Pundit. “We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

The message suggested that he could fix the problem by “removing this type of content from your ad and/or using a different image or video.” The video contains no violent imagery, insulting language, or anything harsher than benign affirmations of the sanctity of life. The word “abortion” isn’t even used.

McDonough called out Facebook on Sunday for blocking another candidate’s pro-gun ad, and thanked Gateway Pundit on Tuesday for publicizing his own case.

Facebook has come under fire for numerous instances of improperly flagging conservative, Christian, or pro-life content as “inappropriate,” a problem that has only intensified since it rolled out a new set of advertising rules in May that have identified a wide range of journalistic and educational content as “political.”

The restrictions are examples of what conservative critics say is part of the social media giant’s systematic discrimination against conservative voices, including algorithm changes that have been shown to disproportionately impact right-of-center publications over liberal ones. The scandal may be one factor contributing to the company’s current struggles in the stock market.

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Pro-abortion org. slams abortion reversal as ‘human experimentation’ but backs fetal tissue research

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The abortion lobby’s hostility to abortion pill reversal is well known, but a recent tweet by pro-abortion organization NARAL may set a new standard for hypocrisy.

The Mifepristone abortion pill, or RU-486, works by blocking the natural hormone progesterone that developing babies require to survive. Abortion pill reversal consists of administering extra progesterone to counteract mifepristone’s effects, ideally within 24 hours of taking the abortion pill.

Though the practice is relatively new, its pioneers credit it with helping more than 400 women save their babies since 2007, and say they have even had successes when the treatment begins within 72 hours of taking the abortion pill. Overall, they say they have seen a 55% success rate, meaning that while reversing a chemical abortion is far from certain, it has the capacity to save many babies.

On Wednesday, NARAL Pro-Choice America published a tweet leveling a curious charge at abortion reversal, that it constitutes “human experimentation” and “perpetuate[s] the myth that people who get an abortion often regret it.”

The tweet linked to a July 28 Truthout article by pro-abortion activist Shireen Rose Shakouri accusing abortion reversal pioneer George Delgado of engaging in “medical experimentation” that’s “likely being pushed disproportionately on women of color.”

She does not offer evidence that Delgaudo’s trials have harmed anyone, however, nor does she support the speculation that he targeted minorities. Instead, she recalls historical horror stories of medical experiments completely unrelated to abortion or pro-lifers (she also highlights the unethical trials on Puerto Rican women used to test the first birth control pill, which pro-lifers would argue reflects more on Shakouri’s side than Delgado’s).

Regardless, trials of new medical treatments is not what most people take "human experimentation" to mean. Moreover, NARAL’s newfound stance against “medical experimentation” stands in stark contrast to not only its support of abortion, which ends the lives of preborn humans, but its express support for medical experiments that entail the certainty of human death.

NARAL calls “research using fetal tissue” – i.e., tissue taken from aborted babies – an “important area of science” that “hold[s] unique promise for medical research.” It has also specifically invoked embryonic stem cell research – in which embryonic humans are killed to obtain stem cells – in its attacks on many pro-life policies and figures, including personhood laws, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

As for abortion defenders’ insistence that abortion regret is a “myth,” pro-life groups such as LifeSiteNews, Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, After Abortion, and Abortion Recovery International collect many first-hand accounts of women attesting to the heartbreak they endured after their abortions.

While abortion defenders regularly cite a 2015 study claiming 95% of women are happy about their abortions, pro-life analysts have questioned its methodology. Pro-lifers have also highlighted studies linking abortion to increased suicide attempts, long-term clinical depression, psychiatric illness requiring hospitalization, and substance abuse.

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Argentina Senate gives preliminary OK to abortion legalization bill; final vote August 8

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By Calvin Freiburger

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Senate of Argentina voted Wednesday to approve the finalized text of a bill that would legalize abortion nationwide, with a final vote slated for August 8.

The bill would legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, as well as late-term abortions in cases of fetal deformity or to protect mothers’ “psychological” health. If successful, the legislation would erase Argentina’s constitutional protection for preborn babies except in cases of rape or threats to a mother’s life.

Despite the vote, observers still expect the August 8 vote, which will decide the proposal’s ultimate fate, to be close. The country’s chamber of deputies narrowly approved the legislation in June, and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has said he will not veto the bill (despite claiming to be pro-life), in deference to the will of the legislature.

Legalizing abortion would be a sea change for the predominantly Catholic nation, which faces intense international pressure from groups like Amnesty International and the World Bank to erase its protections for the preborn.

Pro-abortion activists claim Argentina’s abortion laws fail to significantly restrict abortions, instead abandoning women to fatal complications and other life-altering dangers of illegal abortions. Americans United for Life (AUL) addressed the arguments in a 2012 report on the state of abortion in Latin America.

Citing statistics from Argentina’s National Ministry of Health, AUL found that illegal abortions represent a small percentage of maternal deaths (74 of 306 in 2007). It also quoted the World Health Organization as acknowledging that “hospital structure” was the “most important variable” to determining maternal deaths.

The legislation has sparked intense protests from both sides, with pro-abortion protestors donning green scarves and brandishing brooms, and pro-lifers displaying models of preborn babies.

Pro-life doctors have been a particularly passionate highlight of the demonstrations, with some waving signs declaring "I'm a doctor, not a murderer,” and others laid white medical coats outside of the presidential palace as part of a recent protest.

To “destroy a human embryo means impeding the birth of a human being,” the country’s Academy of Medicine declared in a statement opposing the bill. "Nothing good can come when society chooses death as a solution.” The Argentina Medical Society, on the other hand, supports legalization.

Yahoo News reported that the current language “provides for conscientious objection for practitioners” and not “hospitals,” but others remain wary. “Doctors can’t work under the threat of prison time,” said gynecology head Maria de los Angeles Carmona of Eva Peron Hospital.

“How far are we willing to go to? Jail,” Austral University Hospital obstetrics head Ernesto Beruti declared. “Even if the law is passed, I’m not going to eliminate the life of a human being. The most important right is the right to live.”

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‘The first 1000 days of life’ are ‘vital’: UK parliamentary study

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

August 2, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – The House of Commons, Health and Social Care Committee's most recent inquiry, "The first 1000 days of life", has been warmly welcomed by SPUC. The inquiry launched this month aims to explore the early years of development. Specifically, it will examine a child's life from conception until 2 years of age, seeking to discover the factors affecting mental and physical growth.  

Life from conception

In their announcement, the Select Committee said: "The early years of a child's life, from conception to age 2, is vital to their ongoing physical, mental and emotional health and development. From the moment of conception, every aspect of a baby's environment influences its physical, emotional and social development."

SPUC leaders have welcomed the Inquiry, praising the committee's acknowledgement of the presence and significance of life from the moment of conception as "modern and progressive".

SPUC Parliamentary spokesman Michael Robinson said: "As both a father and human rights activist I am privileged to have witnessed the development and growth of my sons from conception to birth.

"I can testify to the significance and humanity of the unborn. As science develops so does our understanding of the most remarkable and profound stages of life. I therefore welcome this initial step on the road towards a civilised culture which respects every human life from conception to natural death."

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

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Breitbart tech expert calls for ‘regulation’ of Silicon Valley’s ‘progressive racket’

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With no signs that public outcry has convinced companies like Facebook and Twitter to voluntarily stop discriminating against conservative voices, some conservatives are arguing that it’s time for government intervention.

Since at least the 2016 election, Facebook and Twitter have been belaguered by ongoing allegations that they improperly restrict conservative content while giving preferential treatment to liberal material. Both rely on left-wing organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center for help weeding out allegedly “hateful” content, and both have rejected numerous pro-life advertisements.

Both companies deny any political motivations, and insist they’re merely trying to prioritize “healthy” and “meaningful” conversations. Insiders at both, however, have admitted to targeting figures and topics of interest to conservative users.

In response, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, has argued that if Facebook insists on making editorial judgements rather than acting as the “neutral public forum” it claims to be, the government should revoke the platform’s statutory immunity against potential being held liable for third-party material.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-CA, said over the weekend he was “looking at any legal remedies we can go through” in response to Twitter temporarily shadow-banning himself and other prominent Republicans last week. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, was also shadow-banned, and has filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint on the grounds that restricting himself but not his Democrat opponent was the functional equivalent of an illegal corporate donation.

On Tuesday, Breitbart technology expert Allum Bokhari argued that regulation was the only way to solve the problem, highlighting several reasons why competing with conservative alternatives isn’t a viable strategy.

He noted that Gab.ai, a social media platform dedicated to allowing anything short of “illegal activity, spam, and abuse” and relying on users themselves to opt out of any objectionable content beyond that, is banned from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store for permitting hateful speech. This effectively forbids Gab from releasing an app on the vast majority of smartphones (although a mobile version of the website can still be accessed via web browsers).

The same is true of payment processors,” Bokhari continued. “Want to raise money for a conservative cause online? Sorry, Patreon and GoFundMe won’t let you. Want to build a free-speech friendly alternative to Patreon and GoFundMe? Sorry, PayPal and Stripe won’t process your customers’ payments. Want to build a competitor to PayPal and Stripe? You still need Visa and MasterCard to play ball.”

He went on to note that even DNS registrars, the “underlying architecture of the internet” upon which web addresses depend, have begun shutting down websites based on content, not only neo-Nazi websites such as the Daily Stormer, but merely conservative ones such as Rebel Media, as well.

Gab itself was threatened similarly last year over a user’s anti-Semitic post. Yet while its absolutist approach to speech remains controversial, Bokhari observed, Twitter continues to allow white nationalist leader Richard Spencer and Mark Zuckerberg recently declared that he would not ban Holocaust deniers from Facebook.

The concept that free speech must be upheld for even the most abhorrent speakers used to be a bipartisan principle, summarized by the left-wing ACLU’s famous defense of a 1978 neo-Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois. The premise was that making any exceptions for “hateful” or “extreme” speech would set a precedent that could be extended to more mainstream views, a fear conservatives argue has come true in recent years.

“Competition is impossible when your website can be kicked off the internet, your app can be banned from smartphones, and your financial backers can be banned from supporting you through the web,” Bokhari argued. “More importantly, they must act before the Democrats — who have no intention of preserving internet freedom, and in fact, want to restrict it – do.”

He noted that congressional Democrats have drafted proposals of their own that would further imperil online speech, such as by undermining user anonymity.

“If Republicans want tech companies to be obliged to protect the freedom and choice of their users rather than restrict them,” Bokhari concluded, “the race is on.”

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New Canadian anti-hate group labels Christian activist ‘notorious homophobe’

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s (CAN) lurid red-and-black website launched last month vindicates conservative warnings it will march in lockstep with its American counterpart Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in what it labels as “hate.”

The group defines a hate group as “a group which, as demonstrated by statements by its leaders or its activities, is overtly hateful towards, or creates an environment of overt hatred towards, an identifiable group as defined in the Criminal Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and/or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Organizations to be listed as a “hate group” will include, for example, those who promote “extreme misogyny” and those which are “anti-LGBTQ+.” Labels such as these are frequently applied by the left to pro-life as well as pro-family organizations. 

“Toronto police arrest notorious homophobe Bill Whatcott,” reads a blog headline on antihate.ca.

Whatcott, a Christian activist, was charged with the indictable criminal offence of “promoting hatred” against an identifiable group, namely, the homosexual community. Toronto police laid the charge and issued a Canada-wide warrant for Whatcott in May, almost two years after he and five others marched in Toronto’ 2016 Pride Parade disguised as a “gay zombies” to distribute pamphlets warning of the physical and spiritual dangers of sodomy.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network said that it “welcomes this news” of Whatcott’s charge by police. 

REAL Women vice president Gwen Landolt predicted CAN would target pro-family groups when it announced, with its initial launch in May, that the Alabama-based SPLC had given it start-up funds.

CAN was formed by more than 15 academics, journalists, legal experts and community leaders, and its chair is Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, CBC reported.

CAN executive director Evan Balgord told TVO at that time that Canada’s anti-hate network will emulate the SPLC, which operates a website with a “hate” map and a “hate watch.”

“I realized there was a real sense amongst people who cover this issue that we didn’t have an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center here in Canada,” said Balgord, a research affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society and a journalist who investigates far-right groups. 

“Something well-resourced, official, and that could speak authoritatively on these issues in Canada,” he added.

That “immediately raises red flags,” Landolt told LifeSiteNews. 

“If any organization is concerning in the United States, it’s the Southern Poverty Law Center, because they determine what’s ‘hate’,” she said.

“And ‘hate’ to them is anything that is not an expression of aggressive politically correct thought on homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism. Anything and anyone who doesn’t fall and agree with those propositions, they define as hateful.”

Indeed, topping SPLC’s list of trending Twitter hashtags it considered to be promoting “hate” this January was “#merrychristmas.”

Along with “Merry Christmas” the SPLC Hate Tracker website also listed #christmas, #merrychristmaseve and #jesus in top trends used by what it described as “far-right Twitter users.”

Of far greater significance, Floyd Lee Corkins, the man who shot a Family Research Council security guard and intended to kill more staffers for being “anti-gay” in 2013, said SPLC’s “hate map” helped him select a target, and James Hodgkinson, who shot House Republican Whip Steve Scalise last summer, followed SPLC on Facebook. SPLC condemned both crimes.

But SPLC was proven in June to be far from what CAN’s Balgord aspires to, that is, “something well-resourced, official, and that could speak authoritatively on these issues.” 

Indeed, five days before CAN launched its Twitter and website June 21, SPLC announced it had paid out $3.375 million to settle a defamation suit with British-based Quilliam Foundation, and founder Maajid Nawaz, for falsely labelling them “anti-Muslim extremists.”

Forty-eight conservative organizations — including Family Research Council, the Ruth Institute, Liberty Counsel, and Eagle Forum — thereupon issued a letter calling on governments, corporations, and media to disavow SPLC’s “ongoing effort to defame and vilify mainstream conservative organizations.”

It remains to be seen if that call will be heeded, but given CAN’s connection to SPLC, this turn of events can only undermine the fledgling Canadian anti-hate network’s credibility in its fight against the alt-right.

Related:

Far-left law center settles defamation suit with public apology, $3.4 million payment 

Canadian court allows ‘hate crime’ charge against Christian activist 

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‘Doctrinal error’: Catholics react to Pope Francis’ new teaching against death penalty

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics around the world learned today the news that Pope Francis has altered the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on capital punishment. Numerous Catholic theologians, historians, and philosophers who are faithful to perennial Catholic doctrine have reacted to the Pope's new teaching with alarm.

The Argentinian pontiff has replaced passage n. 2267, which preserved the perennial teaching that legitimate authority may, in limited circumstances, use capital punishment, with new paragraphs, one including a statement that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

According to the Pope, a “new understanding” of the significance of “penal sanctions imposed by the state” has emerged that allows the Church to now state that  “the death penalty is inadmissible.”

READ: Pope Francis changes Catechism to declare death penalty ‘inadmissible’

Many have noted that the replaced teaching appears to fly in the face of established Catholic teaching that legitimate civil authority has the right to use capital punishment. Even St. John Paul II, who was personally opposed to the death penalty, upheld magisterial teaching on this issue.

Respected critics have pointed out that the option of capital punishment is supported by the scriptures, the unanimous agreement of the Fathers of the Early Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas and the writings of several popes, most notably  Pope Pius X and Pope Pius XII.

Mainstream media ran headlines blaring “Pope Francis changes Catholic Church teaching.”

The new teaching caused concern to many faithful Catholics. Some were quick to suggest Pope Francis may have committed heresy. Others attempted to interpret the “new understanding” proposed by the Pope in light of previous Catholic teaching.  

Noted liturgist Dr. Peter Kwasniewski called Pope Francis’ novel doctrine “the boldest and most reckless move to date in a pontificate that was already out of control and sowing confusion on a massive scale.”

Writing this morning for LifeSiteNews, Kwasniewski said that only the College of Cardinals has the right to judge if Francis is a formal heretic, but that they must not permit this doctrinal error to go unopposed.

“Whether Francis is a formal heretic—that is, fully aware that what he is teaching on capital punishment is contrary to Catholic doctrine, and proves pertinacious in maintaining his position in spite of rebuke—is a matter to be adjudicated by the College of Cardinals,” he wrote. 

“No doubt exists, however, that orthodox bishops of the Catholic Church must oppose this doctrinal error and refuse to use the altered edition of the Catechism or any catechetical materials based on it.”

Dr. Joseph Shaw of Oxford University told LifeSiteNews that Francis’ change to the Catechism has made it “less accurate” and thus less valuable.

“Catechisms are not usually regarded as magisterial documents in their own right, but as systematic summaries of magisterial documents,” Shaw stated by email.  

“Their value lies in their accuracy as reflections of the Church’s perennial teaching. With this change by Pope Francis, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has become less accurate than it was before, since it is clear from both the teaching and the practice of the Church over two millennia, and the clear and consistent message of Scripture, that capital punishment is not incompatible with the dignity of the criminal, nor with his redemption.” 

Shaw noted that the text published today appealed to “contingent historical circumstances” like the modern--and hardly universal--penal system, which considerations are “irrelevant” to the question as to whether capital punishment is “always and everywhere wrong.”  More seriously, it casts doubt on Pope Francis’s advisors’ loyalty to the magisterium of the Church: 

“This development brings to a head the troubling question of whether the Holy Father’s theological advisors see themselves as bound by the definitive statements of past popes, including the well-known account of capital punishment given by Pope Pius XII,” Shaw wrote.  

“If they are not bound by past popes, there is no reason why future popes should be bound by this statement, and indeed the authority of Pope Francis over Catholics today is called into question.’

Carl Olson, the editor of Catholic World Report, told LifeSiteNews that the new text made him wonder what other novelties are in the works.

"If this can be changed--something that is clearly part of at least the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church--what else can be changed or tweaked?” he asked.  “And I think that is a big part of the plan here." 

This opinion was seconded by a Church historian who spoke under condition of anonymity. 

“What [Francis] wants to do is overthrow the principle that Catholic doctrine is unchanging,” he told LifeSiteNews. “He wants a Hegelian principle of constant change. That’s what his master [Cardinal Walter] Kasper believes, and so [this change] is a test case.”  

In 1967, Walter Kasper wrote that the idea of a changeless God was “an offense to man” and a false idol:

The God who is enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offence to man. One must deny him for man’s sake, because he claims for himself the dignity and honour that belong by right to man…. We must resist this God, however, not only for man’s sake, but also for God’s sake. He is not the true God at all, but rather a wretched idol. For a God who is only along side of and above history, who is not himself history, is a finite God. If we call such a being God, then for the sake of the Absolute we must become absolute atheists. Such a God springs from a rigid worldview; he is the guarantor of the status quo and the enemy of the new.”

The Church historian told LifeSiteNews what Francis was “really attacking” was the First Vatican Council’s anathema against claiming that advances in knowledge could change the meaning of Church teachings, something he seems to do in his new text when he talks of “a new understanding.” 

Vatican I pronounced, “If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.”

Dr. Michael Sirilla, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, told LifeSiteNews via email that the new passage was “ambiguous” enough to avoid contradicting Church teaching directly.

“The late Cardinal Avery Dulles and more recently Dr. Edward Feser have shown that the Church definitively teaches that capital punishment is not intrinsically immoral,” Sirilla wrote. 

“The recent CDF document and the changes to the [Catechism] are ambiguous enough to avoid explicitly contradicting definitive Church teaching by their use of the term ‘inadmissible’ with respect to capital punishment,” he continued. “Notably, they do not say that it is ‘intrinsically immoral’ and thereby avoid contradicting prior magisterial teaching.”  

Sirilla noted, however, that the change was likely to lead to confusion and called for a clarification.

“... the ambiguity of the term ‘inadmissible’ will likely lead most faithful Catholics to think erroneously that capital punishment is intrinsically immoral,” he said.  “What we need now is a clear and precise magisterial clarification of exactly what is meant by the term ‘inadmissible’ – which is not a term used in any formal sense by Catholic moral theologians.” 

In his definitive book on the Catholic theology of the death penalty, By Man Let His Blood Be Shed, Dr. Edward Feser wrote that human dignity was the reason God gave human authorities the right to execute murderers: “Whosoever shall shed a man’s blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God” (Genesis 9:6). 

In an article he wrote for Catholic World Report this January, Feser asserted that the death penalty is legitimate in principle and that “not even a pope can reverse this teaching.”

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James Risdon

News,

Woman who sued Planet Fitness over ‘transgender’ man in locker room wins appeal

James Risdon
By

LANSING, Michigan, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Stripped of her Planet Fitness membership three years ago for complaining about a man who thinks he’s a woman in the women’s locker rooms, a Michigan woman is still seeking justice. 

But she’s a lot closer due to a victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals last week. With that ruling, her legal team is hoping to be able to get a favorable decision from a Midland Circuit Court judge before the end of this year. 

“[The appellate court] pretty much ruled that we won based on the Michigan Consumer Protection Act,” said attorney Dave Kallman in an interview. “We’ll be filing our motion in the next two to three weeks … [and] be heard by the end of September, early October.”

It’s been a long, discouraging process for Yvette Cormier. She and her family have received threats of violence on the family’s phone, said her attorney. 

Certainly, a small sampling of the backlash by the LGBTQ community is up for anyone to see online. 

On Hornet, a gay social network, Cormier has been derided as a transphobe. On Twitter, user Dwayne Hoover wrote, “F*** you, Yvette.” On Twitter, transsexual that goes by the name of Athena Addams accused Cormier of discriminating “against a trans woman for using the locker room.” Facebook user Keith Phillipson penned, “Effing backwoods hicks.”

Here’s what the court documents reveal.  

In late February, Cormier had only been a member of the Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan for a month when she walked into the women’s locker room and saw a man who identified as a “woman,” a so-called "transgendered" person, there. Local news website mlive.com has identified the man as "Carlotta" Sklodowska.

Front desk staff at the gym dismissed Cormier’s complaints, telling her Planet Fitness’ policy is to allow members to have access to whatever locker room corresponds with their self-identified gender. The company’s management backed that up.

Unsatisfied, Cormier began to warn other women over the next few days. 

And Planet Fitness responded by yanking her membership. 

A legal battle ensued. 

Cormier took Planet Fitness to court for invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Michigan Consumer Protection Act violations.

But the Midland Circuit Court threw out her case - the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed.

According to the appellate court, Planet Fitness’ policy of allowing biological men to undress in women’s locker rooms was not sufficient grounds to conclude Cormier had suffered emotional distress.

“Transgender rights and policies are polarizing issues and each individual may have a feeling on the issue and on what locker room such individuals should be using,” wrote the three appellate court justices in their decision. “Regardless of whether an average member of the community may find the policy outrageous, the fact is that plaintiff did not suffer severe emotional distress as a matter of law.”

In the Supreme Court of Michigan, the case was bounced back to the appellate court so that it could re-examine Cormier’s claims of consumer protection act violations. 

At the Christian Liberty Counsel ministry, the Supreme Court of Michigan’s ruling was received with enthusiasm. 

“We commend the Michigan Supreme Court in this decision against Planet Fitness which is endangering women by allowing men in the women's facilities and punishing those who object,” said Mat Staver, the organization’s founder and chairman.

“This is a safety issue for women who understandably do not want to share a locker room with men. This is also discrimination based on sex and violation of state law. Planet Fitness cannot have secret policies and expect to get away with it," he said.

During the drawn-out, legal battle, many of the claims made by Cormier have been thrown out of court. Her claims that Planet Fitness violated certain parts of the state’s consumer protection laws, though, remain. 

It’s those claims the Midland Circuit Court will have to decide later this year. 

If that court decision goes in Cormier’s favor, she will likely be able to get back the cost of her Planet Fitness membership – but nothing else – and Planet Fitness would then be stuck with all the legal costs. There is no longer any possibility of Cormier getting awarded anything from the court for any damage to her reputation or other, emotional losses. 

Throughout North America, so-called “transgender rights” vary greatly from place to place. 

Despite repeated attempts by LGBTQ activists and some legislators, Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act does not include sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in its list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. 

According to Kallman, public sentiment in that state is overwhelmingly in favor of keeping men who identify as women out of women’s locker rooms and bathrooms.

“I don’t think there’s anyone out there that thinks it’s alright for their 15-year-old daughter to be showering with a biologically-intact, 40-year-old man,” he said. 

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Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

News,

BREAKING: Pope Francis changes Catechism to declare death penalty ‘inadmissible’

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By Diane Montagna

Editor's Note: See LifeSiteNews columnist Peter Kwasniewski's reaction to today's news: "Pope Francis’ change to Catechism contradicts natural law and the deposit of Faith."

ROME, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has revised the 1992 Catechism promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II, to teach that the death penalty is “inadmissible” and that the Church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

In a rescript, or papal decree, issued this morning, the Pope has replaced n. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the following text:

The death penalty 

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. 

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. 

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

_______________________________________ 

[1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5. 

Number 2267 of the 1992 Catechism, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, came under the subheading “legitimate defense,” and read:

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” (John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56. 69 Cf. Gen 4:10.)

Pope Francis formally approved today’s rescript on May 11, 2018. The rescript was signed by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J.

RELATED: Scholars raise concerns over Pope Francis remarks on how doctrine develops

In an explanatory letter to bishops, dated August 1 and approved by Pope Francis on June 28, Cardinal Ladaria argued on the basis of the teaching of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI that Pope Francis’ “reformulation” of the Catechism represents an “authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.”  

Here below is the full text of Archbishop Ladaria’s explanatory letter to bishops:

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH 

Letter to the Bishops 

regarding the new revision of number 2267 

of the Catechism of the Catholic Church 

on the death penalty

1. The Holy Father Pope Francis, in his Discourse on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, by which John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church, asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point that has taken place in recent times.[1] This development centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: “Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.”[2]

2. It is in the same light that one should understand the attitude towards the death penalty that is expressed ever more widely in the teaching of pastors and in the sensibility of the people of God. If, in fact, the political and social situation of the past made the death penalty an acceptable means for the protection of the common good, today the increasing understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes, the deepened understanding of the significance of penal sanctions applied by the State, and the development of more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens have given rise to a new awareness that recognizes the inadmissibility of the death penalty and, therefore, calling for its abolition.

3. In this development, the teaching of the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitæ of John Paul II is of great importance. The Holy Father enumerated among the signs of hope for a new culture of life “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defense’ on the part of society. Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform.”[3] The teaching of Evangelium vitæ was then included in the editio typica of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In it, the death penalty is not presented as a proportionate penalty for the gravity of the crime, but it can be justified if it is “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor,” even if in reality “cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender today are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (n. 2267).

4. John Paul II also intervened on other occasions against the death penalty, appealing both to respect for the dignity of the person as well as to the means that today’s society possesses to defend itself from criminals. Thus, in the Christmas Message of 1998, he wished “the world the consensus concerning the need for urgent and adequate measures … to end the death penalty.”[4] The following month in the United States, he repeated, “A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”[5]

5. The motivation to be committed to the abolition of the death penalty was continued with the subsequent Pontiffs. Benedict XVI recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty.”[6] He later wished a group of the faithful that “your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”[7]

6. In this same prospective, Pope Francis has reaffirmed that “today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned’s crime may have been.”[8] The death penalty, regardless of the means of execution, “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”[9] Furthermore, it is to be rejected “due to the defective selectivity of the criminal justice system and in the face of the possibility of judicial error.”[10] It is in this light that Pope Francis has asked for a revision of the formulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty in a manner that affirms that “no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and the dignity of the person.”[11]

7. The new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by Pope Francis, situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine.[12] The new text, following the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in Evangelium vitæ, affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes. This conclusion is reached taking into account the new understanding of penal sanctions applied by the modern State, which should be oriented above all to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the criminal. Finally, given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems, the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people. Certainly, it remains the duty of public authorities to defend the life of citizens, as has always been taught by the Magisterium and is confirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in numbers 2265 and 2266.

8. All of this shows that the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.

9. The new revision affirms that the understanding of the inadmissibility of the death penalty grew “in the light of the Gospel.”[13] The Gospel, in fact, helps to understand better the order of creation that the Son of God assumed, purified, and brought to fulfillment. It also invites us to the mercy and patience of the Lord that gives to each person the time to convert oneself.

10. The new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 28 June 2018, has approved the present Letter, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 13 June 2018, and ordered its publication. 

Rome, from the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1 August 2018, Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I. 
Prefect 

X Giacomo Morandi 
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri 
Secretary 

_____________________________________________________ 

[1] Cf. Francis, Address to participants in the meeting promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization (11 October 2017): L’Osservatore Romano (13 October 2017), 4. 

[2] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitæ (25 March 1995), n. 9: AAS 87 (1995), 411. 

[3] Ibid., n. 27: AAS 87 (1995), 432. 

[4] John Paul II, Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II: Christmas 1998 (25 December 1998), n. 5: Insegnamenti XXI,2 (1998), 1348. 

[5] Id., Homily in the Trans World Dome of St. Louis (27 January 1999): Insegnamenti XXII,1 (1999), 269; cf. Homily for Mass in the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Mexico City (23 January 1999): “There must be an end to the unnecessary recourse to the death penalty”: Insegnamenti XXII,1 (1999), 123. 

[6] Benedict XVI, Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation Africæ munus (19 November 2011), n. 83: AAS 104 (2012), 276. 

[7] Id., General Audience (30 November 2011): Insegnamenti VII,2 (2011), 813. 

[8] Francis, Letter to the President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty (20 March 2015): L’Osservatore Romano (20-21 March 2015), 7. 

[9] Ibid. 

[10] Ibid. 

[11] Francis, Address to participants in the meeting promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization (11 October 2017): L’Osservatore Romano (13 October 2017), 5. 

[12] Cf. Vincent of Lérins, Commonitorium, cap. 23: PL 50, 667-669. In reference to the death penalty, treating the stipulations of the precepts of the Decalogue, the Pontifical Biblical Commission spoke of the “refinement” of the moral positions of the Church: “In the course of history and of the development of civilization, the Church too, meditating on the Scriptures, has refined her moral stance on the death penalty and on war, which is now becoming more and more absolute. Underlying this stance, which may seem radical, is the same anthropological basis, the fundamental dignity of the human person, created in the image of God.” (The Bible and Morality: Biblical Roots of Christian Conduct, 2008, n. 98). 

[13] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, The Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 4. 

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Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony

Opinion, ,

Homosexuality is not the only issue behind the McCarrick sex scandal

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By Anthony Esolen

August 2, 2018 (Newman Society) – More than fifty years ago, a group of prelates, priests, and cherry-picked leaders in Catholic higher education published the so-called "Land O' Lakes Statement," a declaration of independence made on behalf of Catholic colleges from the oversight of, and from influence by, the Holy See, local bishops, and the magisterium of the Church. The ostensible reason for it was that the Church was seen by its secular counterparts as retrograde and sluggish in producing scholars and statesmen of international recognition. That is, Notre Dame, the school whose president, Father Theodore Hesburgh, led the signatories, was not yet Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. A petitio principii if there ever was one, for why should Notre Dame have wanted to be one of those schools, which were all in the very quick process of abandoning most of their classical and Christian heritage?

We know, of course, what was at issue here. It was a preemptive strike against what Pope Paul VI would issue in 1968, namely the encyclical Humanae vitae. For the business of contraception, abortion, fornication, and every other sexual sin for which there is a name was on the table for reconsideration. A mere ten years later, the authors of Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought (1977), would find it somewhat difficult even to condemn sexual activity with animals, let alone anything else that human beings might do, so long as they did it with the appropriate funny internal flutter (if I may adapt Frank Sheed's wonderful phrase), a flutter of love, whatever love is, and mutuality, and sincerity, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I bring the matter up, because one of the signers at Land O' Lakes was the now disgraced Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, at that time the president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. McCarrick was also one of the main movers in Dallas in 2002, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops twisted themselves into pretzels so as not to bring up the staggeringly plain facts of the clergy sex scandal. That is, more than four-fifths of the victims were boys, and most of those boys were big kids, not little kids – big enough to resist the advances of a grown man. They were seduced, not overcome by sheer physical force. That, as I've said elsewhere, does not make the deed less miserable. In a crucial way it makes it worse, because the boys were inveigled into cooperation with their own defilement, and so they could never say that they had no part in it.

In an interview with USA Today, from June 2002, speaking about the upcoming conference in Dallas, McCarrick tries to parry the whole question of homosexuality. When the interviewer brings it up, he engages in another petitio principii: for the real question is whether someone who has engaged in, and who feels a strong desire to engage again in, actions contrary to nature and to the division of the human race into male and female, suffers from a severe moral and psychological syndrome, one that would disqualify him from the priesthood or from any line of work that would put him in contact with boys and young men. So, responding to the suggestion that homosexual men not be admitted to the seminary, McCarrick makes the standard move, balancing homosexuality with heterosexuality:

"You want someone who can live a chaste life; that is key for me. If somebody who would like to go into the seminary says, 'All my life, I've tried to be chaste, I'm a heterosexual, and I have tried to be celibate, and I have proven that I can be,' I think you say 'Fine.' If someone says to you, 'All my life I've tried to be chaste, I have a homosexual orientation, but I've always tried to be chaste,' I think you do that one case by case. Probably beginning in this next school year, the question of admission to seminaries will be discussed. It might be that the overwhelming weight of opinion will say that homosexuals should not be ever admitted to seminary. I'm not there yet. But if that's what they tell me to do, then that's what we'll do. Certainly, I'm there if we say anyone who has been active in a gay life should not be admitted."

I detest having to parse a bishop's sentences, but when he will not speak frankly, he leaves us little choice. We notice that all that is required of the homosexual here is that he has "tried to be chaste." I can try to hold my place on the field of battle. I can try hard to do it, and then I can run away. I can try not to sin. But in the cases of fornication and sodomy, trying is not good enough. We are not talking here about sins of intemperance, including what used to be called self-abuse. We are talking about sins that you actually have to plan in advance, as McCarrick himself did. It may be difficult to refrain from the lewd thought or the untoward glance. It is not difficult to keep your clothes on.

We should perhaps not say that McCarrick was a flat liar when he uttered that final sentence: "I'm there if we say that anyone who has been active in a gay life should not be admitted." He may by then have repented of his deeds, after all. He may also be slurring the word "active," or the word "life." Never underestimate the human capacity to draw distinctions in our favor. A man may say, "Pornography is not a part of my life," and mean it, while still he views it once in a while, casually – as if it were something he stumbled upon at times, or at least did not strive too hard to avoid. A man may say, "I am not an active adulterer," because he has not committed adultery in several years and has no intention to do so in the near future.

But what has all the turmoil in the Church and in Catholic colleges been about, ultimately? Not controversies over the Trinity, not scholars hurling books at each other's heads for misinterpreting Augustine, not even profound disagreements over such important matters as evolution, the character and the dangers of democracy, the licit use of money, or the relative blessings of work and leisure. Not community and what it is, not culture and why it is fading, not the duties we owe to both our ancestors and our posterity. Nothing of that. Consider Land O' Lakes and the recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick to be bookends on a shelf, and every book between the bookends is about nothing more respectable, nothing more complicated, and nothing less grubby than how to do what you want with your groin and have a nice day afterwards.

(Anthony Esolen is professor of English Renaissance and classical literature at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H. He is a prolific author and has translated several epic poems of the West. He is a graduate of Princeton and the University of North Carolina. He is on the advisory board of the Catholic Education Resource Center.)

Published with permission from the Newman Society.

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Colin Flaherty

Opinion,

Is Silicon Valley digging its own grave?

Colin Flaherty
By

August 2, 2018 (American Thinker) – Maybe someday the children of Silicon Valley will hear the same kind of stories Delaware kids used to hear about the DuPont family: how they built roads and schools and universities and became the world leader in what was then the world's most important industry: chemicals.

Delaware's hometown industrial giant owned large stakes in G.M., the Empire State Building, Broadway shows, Indian motorcycles, gunpowder, nylon, and lots of other expensive toys that fueled the industrial age. DuPont employed 12 percent of the workforce in Delaware.

But somewhere along the way, it all became too much: DuPont was charging too much for gunpowder and making too much money selling paint and fabrics to G.M. Finally, federal trust busters broke them up.

As kids, we never really knew why, other than that was just the natural order of things that governments did to rich and powerful and successful people – the kind who supplied the ammo and explosives to win two world wars.

Maybe there was some price-fixing, some collusion, some "nod, nod, wink, wink" kind of thing as well. Apparently, it was really, really bad, because that company received, in effect, if not the death penalty, then life without parole.

But whatever the DuPont family and their companies did with their economic power, they never dreamed of committing one tenth of the abuse we see every day from the hyper-monopolists at YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, et al. These, even in the face of unprecedented corporate abuse, are untouched by cowering government regulators.

Republican leaders in Washington are finally starting to figure out what conservative publishers – big and small – have known for years: we are targets of banning and censorship based solely on our ideology. All of this is made possible by the monopolistic powers of America's biggest liberals, all while YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter deny it on one hand, then explain why it is necessary on the other.

Instead of listing all the conservative web and news sites that have seen their traffic and business slashed in half by the liberal-anarchist-socialist hive mind – including Breitbart, American Thinker, Alex Jones, Dennis Prager, Jared Taylor – it would be easier to say that no conservative publisher knows any conservative leader who has not been censored, banned, removed, or thwarted.

Everyone. All at great financial expense.

Let's admit this, too: the threat of censorship is causing a lot of people to pull a lot of punches. This is true especially in the area where they feel most vulnerable: black violence and denial wildly out of proportion.

Meanwhile, traditional liberal sites flourish with their newfound placement privilege in the algorithms of these information bullies. All at great profit. All by people who never figured out the difference between fact-gathering and spell-weaving.

No matter what they say or how they say it, the liberal sites are largely immune to this intellectual blackmail. How else do you suppose Salon, the Young Turks, and the hundreds of their clones stay in business?

Now these same people responsible for the greatest abuses in industrial history are creating even more abuse: the monopolists at YouTube, etc. think that depending on the Southern Poverty Law Center for help with censoring conservatives will fool lawmakers into thinking the censorship happens at arm's length.

The SPLC also helps the FBI with the same kind of unverified hocus-pocus the FBI is supposed to protect us from, not corrode. It's called the Bill of Rights.

Even conservative TV and radio networks are afraid to challenge the authority of these gatekeepers.

As someone whose videos and writings on black violence and media denial have been bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated, I've seen these abuses up close. Most of the abuse comes from the family jewels: their algorithms, the most tightly guarded secret formulas in history.

This much we do know: the algorithms are fueled by organized liberal complaints that almost always take the form of "we do not like what that site said" more than "what that site said is wrong."

Make no mistake: the internet can be a rough place for obscenity and vulgarity of all kinds. When that happens on my channels, I ban offenders with a speed that would astonish even the most enthusiastic member of the YouTube thought police.

But obscenity is not what most of the banning is about.

Most of the banning is a result of groups of liberals targeting the YouTube, et al. algorithms with complaints, and YouTube, etc. taking these unmoderated, unverified, largely false allegations like an easy mark for a carnival barker.

We never learn why, other than what we can figure out from the cackling hyenas and their mocking emails bragging about their censorship. And how easy it was. And how fun it was to take down a YouTube channel like mine with 120 million views and 65,000 subscribers.

Not that Google and YouTube, et al. need help. This 2017 headline from the black website TheRoot.com tells the whole story: "Google Just Dropped $11,000,000 to Make Sure #BlackLivesMatter." That includes videos, conferences, grants, and lots of sympathy for the Greatest Lie of Our Generation: the Hoax of Black Victimization. All from companies where fewer than 2 percent of the employees are black.

And please, let's not pretend this manipulation was not intended to affect the outcome of the 2016 election and other conservative goals. YouTube, et al. did its part to kill conservative thought leaders. Hillary's gang tried but could not finish the job. But YouTube, et al. have doubled down, reminding the hayseeds that the big city folks know what is best.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, more and more members of Congress are pretending this is the first they have heard of this. All that's missing is for Congressman Nunes or Issa or Gowdy or any of the other members who are so big on talk and so short of action to look into the lens and order Jeff Sessions to "round up the usual suspects."

And when YouTube, et al. hear about the kabuki investigations, they laugh at us and wait for the day they can tell their children how, like with the DuPonts, they conquered their world, except this time they were laughing and bragging at their victims, with nothing but sniveling compliance from the people who are supposed to make sure this never happens.

(Colin Flaherty is the author of that scintillating bestseller Don't Make the Black Kids Angry. He has been kicked off YouTube at great expense five times. Now you can find his videos at Minds.com/ColinFlaherty.)

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Ontario’s Catholic teacher union betrays parents, children

Everyday For Life Canada
By Everyday For Life Canada

August 2, 2018 (Everyday For Life Canada) –The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association's response to the repeal of the controversial 2015 sex-curriculum proves once again how the union continues to betray Catholic education and parental rights. Here's their July 18 "Statement on the Repeal of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum" from their website:

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) expresses great disappointment with the government's decision to revert to the outdated Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Prior to the introduction of the revised curriculum in 2015, the most recent update took place in 1998. This was a time before smart phones, social media, and progress in the understanding of different sexual orientations and gender identities. In this respect, the 2015 curriculum made major and necessary updates to respond to developments in law, technology, and society. Also, in developing the curriculum, the Ministry of Education consulted with thousands of parents and educators, as well as a broad cross-section of experts and stakeholder organizations.

"A modern and comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum is key to promoting healthy living," says Liz Stuart, President of OECTA. "The role of the publicly funded education system should be to foster awareness and respect. To this end, it is important for teachers to have relevant, up-to-date information and resources. By going backward, we are doing students a disservice, leaving them without the tools and knowledge to manage their relationships and personal well-being."

Catholic teachers have been teaching family life education through the Fully Alive program for more than 30 years. When the Health and Physical Education curriculum was developed, the Institute for Catholic Education provided input to the government, and worked with all Catholic partners to update Fully Alive and present the new curriculum expectations through the lens of our Catholic faith. As the government embarks on a new round of consultations, Catholic teachers will continue to advocate for a curriculum that properly equips students to face the realities of modern society.

OECTA has accepted the biased and dangerous idea of "gender identity." This is not just Catholic teaching, but it's also unscientific and beyond common sense. The distorted thinking defies nature itself.

OECTA has bought the lie of "equity, inclusive and sexual rights education." And even after you label it with the nice sounding language of "to strive for more peace, respect, and compassion in our society. Rather than seeing difference and separation, we seek to embrace all that unites us as people" it is still a lie. Parents want teachers to work with them and not with "Catholic stakeholders and partners." It's parents that should direct the moral education of their children and not the unknown Institute for Catholic Education.

Liz Stuart is wrong in saying that “A modern and comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum is key to promoting healthy living." What children really need is to be told the truth. Young minds need loving guidance from their parents and teachers as they navigate this earthly pilgrimage to try and save their souls. Enough already of the lies and distortions of comprehensive sex-education. There is nothing "comprehensive" in the mechanics of sex. Worshipping at the altar of the gonads leads to the loss of one's soul. In this latest pathetic reaction to the repeal of the sex curriculum, OECTA has completely rejected its Catholic heritage and the very reason to exist. If OECTA were truly Catholic, it would be a strong force in getting the radical sex-curriculum withdrawn.

However, the political response should come as no surprise to parents who have been following the work of OECTA in recent years. It's OECTA that promotes dialogue about "gender equity and ending gender-based violence." They want students and teachers to celebrate and recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, International Women’s Day and United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. OECTA has partnered with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust to push or LGBTQ issues and establishing gay/straight alliances in schools. OECTA is a big supporter of World Pride parade and the annual Pride parade in Toronto.

So, OECTA's support for the radical sex-curriculum of 2015 is in line with what they believe and promote. But the deception is in the fact that they continue to call themselves Catholic. And they are not. It's false advertising. Since the bishops have refused to make the union accountable, it's up to parents to be vigilant and protect their children from an organization that is more concerned about its political work and financial bottom line than the spiritual lives of children. It's a betrayal of Catholic education and parental rights.

Published with permission from Everyday For Life Canada.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Austin Ruse

Opinion, ,

Hungary’s pro-Christianity prime minister defends ‘traditional family’ in epic speech

Austin Ruse
By Austin Ruse

August 2, 2018 (C-Fam) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán appears to relish giving indigestion to elites of Western Europe and the European Union. He did it again on July 29 in the Romanian spa town of Băile Tuşnad at an annual event called the Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp.

His speech was nothing short of a call to political arms for center-right Europeans to rise up and take over the European Parliament in the coming elections.

Orbán is particularly pleased to have been given another term with a clear mandate for his vision of a stronger Hungary, which includes Hungary becoming "one of the European Union's five best countries in which to live and work," by 2030 to halt Hungary's demographic decline, and to build a new Hungarian Defense Force. He also has eyes for reviving the economic, political, cultural, and military role of Central Europe.

Orbán argues that Central Europe possesses a "special culture," one that is different from Western Europe. He articulated five tenets for building up Central Europe including that "every European country has the right to defend its Christian culture, and to reject the ideology of multiculturalism." This is part of the Hungarian leader's ongoing efforts to repel what he sees as an Islamic invasion of what used to be a Christian continent.

Taking a swipe at the sexual ideologues of the European Union and the United States, Orbán's second tenet was that "every country has the right to defend the traditional family model and is entitled to assert that every child has the right to a mother and a father."

Orbán insisted upon the right of every country to defend its borders, and a right to reject immigration. He also calls for one-nation one-vote "on the most important issues, and that this right must not be denied in the European Union."

He praised what he sees as Europe's shift to the political right. He mentioned specifically the recent German federal election and the Austrian and Italian electoral results: "We can see that a shift to the right is a general trend across the whole of Europe."

Orban's critics have called his populist government authoritarian and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called his anti-immigration policies racist. Orban's supporters, however, voted him handily into a third term in April.

In his speech, Orbán explained that Europe is in decline, that "it was once a great civilization." He said, "This was so because it dared to think, it dared to act, it was brave, and it embarked upon great endeavors." He said this is no longer so because Europe has rejected its Christian foundation. He called out the spirit of censorship and political correctness in Western European countries. He specifically singled out European leaders who, he said, "are inadequate, and that they've been unable to defend Europe against immigration."

He took dead aim at George Soros's vision of an open society, one that is at odds with Christianity. "In Christian Europe, there was honor in work, man had dignity, men and women were equal, the family was the basis of the nation, the nation was the basis of Europe, and states guaranteed security. In today's open-society Europe there are no borders; European people can be readily replaced with immigrants; the family has been transformed into an optional, fluid form of cohabitation; the nation, national identity, and national pride are seen as negative and obsolete notions; and the state no longer guarantees security in Europe," he said.

Orbán has once more caused European and some American elites to reach for their antacids.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Alan Fimister

Opinion,

Pope’s change to Catechism on death penalty is distressingly ambiguous

Alan Fimister
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August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A certain degree of consternation has greeted the decision of Pope Francis to amend the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that deals with the death penalty. It is widely assumed that the revised text is intended to exclude in principle recourse to the death penalty by the civil power. This would be alarming as the legitimacy of the death penalty in principle is the teaching of scripture, the unanimous doctrine of the fathers and the teaching of all of Pope Francis’s predecessors.

It is probably the case that the impression that this is indeed what Pope Francis has done, is, as they say, ‘past the point of correction.’ However, for what it’s worth, while this is a distressingly ambiguous text which will certainly tend to create an impression of rupture, it need not be read that way.

The new section cites three reasons for the inadmissibility of the death penalty “today”:

  1. “increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes”
  2. “a new understanding … of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the State”
  3. “more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption”

If the assertion here is merely that the death penalty, while legitimate in principle, is inadmissible in the concrete circumstances of 2018, and if the third consideration cited by the text — “the development of more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens” — is being held up as necessary and sufficient by itself for the conclusion that in present circumstances the death penalty is illegitimate, then the assertion is not irreconcilable with the divinely revealed doctrine, definitively taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium, that the death penalty is admissible in principle. However, this would mean the assertion is merely a prudential judgment.

What do we mean by ‘a prudential judgment’? Some things are questions of right and wrong, true and false, but other questions are matters of expediency. Such questions of expedience are proper to the clergy (e.g. what topic to preach on today) while others are proper to the laity (e.g. should we use daylight saving time in this country). Vatican II teaches that “the effort to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which one lives, is so much the duty and responsibility of the laity that it can never be performed properly by others.” It is the task of the magisterium to lay out the principles of faith and morals and the task of the laity to conform the civil order to those principles and so to judge their application in various concrete circumstances. The judgment that we now possess “more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens” is thus one that is “so much the duty and responsibility of the laity that it can never be performed properly by others.”

If, on the other hand, it is being asserted that “an increasing awareness [of] the dignity of the person” and “a new understanding ... of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state” have caused ‘the Church’ to teach the inadmissibility of the death penalty in principle, then this assertion is contrary to the dogmatic teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium and the defined doctrine of Vatican I that it can never be the case that given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands.

It should also be pointed out (as Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette do in their recent study “By Man Shall His Blood be Shed”) that the reason God gives for the death penalty in Genesis is precisely human dignity: “Whosoever shall shed man’s blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God” (Genesis 9:6).

For these reasons, i.e. the fact that such prudential judgment is proper to the laity; the moral certitude that this passage will be understood as overthrowing definitive teaching (whatever the intention in this case); and the difficulty (though not impossibility) of reconciling this text with the dogma that the death penalty is legitimate in principle and with the defined doctrine that “the progress of knowledge” may never alter the sense of such a dogma, one cannot help feeling that this new section of the Catechism is deeply unfortunate.

Dr. Alan Fimister is Assistant Professor of Theology at St John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado and the Director of the Dialogos Institute. He is the author of “Robert Schuman: Neo-Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe” and specializes in Church History and Catholic Political Philosophy.

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So many big-name liberals claiming to be ‘male feminists’ are really sexual predators

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By Jonathon van Maren

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It is hardly shocking, in this era of exposed progressive hypocrisies, to discover that some impeccably progressive public figure has a closet full of nasty secrets. 

There was the paradigm-shattering discovery that Harvey Weinstein and a score or so of other Planned Parenthood donors were actually sexual predators. There was the abrupt downfall of feminist hero and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was apparently enthusiastic about abortion and beating up his girlfriends. Senator Al Franken, who served as a relentless and reliable attack dog for the abortion industry on a variety of committees, was forced to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been accused of groping a female reporter back when he didn’t have a carefully constructed image to uphold.

These examples and many more have triggered a series of discussions on the not-so savoury reality of the “male feminist,” Clintonian men who know all the right buzzwords and support all the right causes but also happen to be pigs. Many now-conservative women who left the Left have written about the predatory men that they were forced to deal with in progressive circles—men who would, incidentally, be fierce in their defence of the right of women to abort any children that might be conceived in their casual encounters. As it turns out, there are plenty of selfish reasons a man might be fervent in his support of reproductive rights, and they have nothing to do with a passion for the works of Gloria Steinem.

One of those men, it turns out, is Cenk Uygur, the host and creator of The Young Turks, a popular left-wing YouTube show. Uygur, who never passes up a chance to discuss his feminism and support for abortion, turns out to have been a very different sort of bro in the early 2000s, when he ran a blog recently uncovered by The Wrap. Uygur, it turns out, has written that women are “genetically flawed” because they don’t want to sleep around enough (especially with him), wrote that women should be sexually available for men very early in the dating process, and details evenings where he managed to successfully round a few bases with several dozen women. 

It gets worse. In another blog post, Uygur’s buddy (David Koller, now senior vice president of operations at the Young Turks), describes teenage girls “around 14-16” as “whores in training.” As recently as 2013, in fact, Uygur was tweeting out explicit admiration of a variety of female attributes that did not include anything remotely feminist, and would certainly not pass muster in the #MeToo era. Uygur responded to the discovery of these blog posts by The Wrap by admitting they were “ugly,” insisting he and his buddy had never picked up any underage girls, and noting that he deeply regretted “having written that stuff when I was a different guy.”

So what does Uygur mean when he says that he was a “different guy” back then? He means that he was (apparently as recently as 2013, if his tweets are any indication) a right-winger. “If someone said that today, I would heavily criticize them on the [Young Turks] show and rightfully so, and I have,” he told The Wrap. “I’ve criticized myself over the years. I had not yet matured and I was still a conservative who thought that stuff was politically incorrect and edgy.” How very big of him, to criticize some fictitious, conservative version of Cenk.

It’s also a colossal cop-out. The reality is that conservatives have opposed the very Sexual Revolution that Cenk and his progressive pervert pals have championed as a way of life. There is nothing conservative—nothing—about demanding that women acquiesce to the sexual demands of men like Cenk in a dating relationship, or referring to teenage girls in crude, pornographic language, or documenting long nights of hedonistic activities. Perhaps a few crude pretenders like Milo Yiannopoulos think that talking about women that way is conservative because he, like Cenk, has confused “conservative” with “edgy,” but no reasonable person with a basic grasp of conservatism can make that claim without being phenomenally and intentionally disingenuous. 

And as it turns out, Cenk must have been a “conservative” very, very recently—at least according to one former Young Turks staff member who spoke to The Wrap on the condition of anonymity, relating how Uygur “still makes comments that make female staffers uncomfortable.” Apparently, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. “Cenk is just a knucklehead. He’s a boy. He talks about women the way I talked when I was 13,” the former staff member related. “He’s obsessed with body count—basically, how many people you [had sex with]. This is an important number to him.”

There you have it. Cenk Uygur, the Feminist-In-Chief of The Young[ish] Turks, turns out to be just like so many other progressive abortion enthusiasts: A man who claims he respects women, but acts and speaks as if they are sex objects. And what does he do when he gets caught? He does the only thing he can think of: He claims that he is one of those “conservatives” he loves to hate so very much, because it is the only thing he can think of doing to squirm away from the evidence, written by his own hand, that he is nothing but a shallow hypocrite that champions the Sexual Revolution so that he can increase his “body count” of women.

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Pope’s change to Catechism contradicts natural law and the deposit of Faith

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In the boldest and most reckless move to date in a pontificate that was already out of control and sowing confusion on a massive scale, the Vatican has announced Pope Francis’s substitution, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of a new doctrine on capital punishment.

Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church for 2,000 years have upheld the intrinsic legitimacy of the death penalty for grave crimes against the common good of Church or State. There had never been any doubt in the minds of anyone on this subject. It was not a point of contention in the Schism between East and West, or in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, or in the period of the Enlightenment—in short, it was one of those rare subjects on which agreement could be found not only within the Church, but with nearly everyone.

The reason is simple: according to the natural law and Scripture alike, the rulers of a State, acting as representatives of divine justice and as custodians of the common good, may exercise an authority over life and death that they do not possess as private persons. In other words, it is God, always God, who has the right of life and death, and if the State shares in His divine authority, it has, at least in principle, the authority to end the life of a criminal. That the State does share in divine authority is the constant dogmatic teaching of the Church, found most explicitly (and repeatedly) in the Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII.

RELATED: Pope Francis changes Catechism to declare death penalty ‘inadmissible’

Lest there be any doubts on this matter, Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette published a comprehensive overview of the subject: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017). In this hard-hitting book, Feser and Bessette present the natural law arguments in favor of capital punishment, furnish a veritable catalogue of citations from Scripture, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and Popes that uphold its legitimacy, and mount a critique of the logical fallacies and doctrinal contradictions—be they those of American bishops, or even of the Bishop of Rome—who attempt to wiggle out of this unanimous witness of faith and reason.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, like Feser and Bessette’s book, frequently quotes authoritative witnesses to Catholic doctrine from a period of 2,000 years (and more, if we add Old Testament references). It is hardly surprising, on the other hand, that the new Catechism text imposed by Francis cites but one source: a speech that Francis himself gave to participants in a meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization on 11 October 2017. Francis, creating doctrine ex nihilo, has only himself to cite.

Some may say that Francis is not being revolutionary here, since Pope John Paul II was also opposed to capital punishment. But there is a crucial difference. John Paul II never questioned the admissibility of the death penalty as such; indeed, he could not have done so, because there is no way to reject this penalty without repudiating the foundations of Catholic Social Teaching. Instead, John Paul II recommended favoring the approach of detention, clemency, and rehabilitation. About such prudential issues, Christians and Catholics can indeed disagree with one another, presenting various arguments pro and con.

The matter at hand could not be more grave. If Pope Francis is right, only one conclusion follows: “the Church was wrong in a major issue literally of life and death,” as a blogger wrote this morning:

If such a certain doctrine of the Church (of the possibility of the death penalty at least in some situations), affirmed by Christ Himself in Scripture—when, confronted by Pilate who affirmed his right to inflict capital punishment, told him, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above,” affirming that it is a power granted to the State in its authority, even if, as all governmental powers, it can be exercised illegitimately and unjustly—can be changed, then anything can be changed. A “development” of doctrine may bring about anything: from the end of the “intrinsic[ally] disordered” nature of homosexuality to the priestly ordination of women, from the possibility of contraception in “some” cases to the acceptance of the Lutheran understanding of the Real Presence in the Eucharist as a possible interpretation of what the Church has always believed—and so on.

With this move, Pope Francis has shown himself to be openly heretical on a point of major importance, teaching a pure and simple novelty—“the boldness of a personal opinion becoming a completely new and unprecedented ‘teaching’ of the Church,” as Rorate Caeli stated. “The current Pope has far exceeded his authority: his authority is to guard and protect the doctrine that was received from Christ and the Apostles, not to alter it according to his personal views.”

Francis may be banking on an assumption—false at least for the United States—that most Catholics are already (more or less) opposed to the death penalty, and therefore, that it is an obvious place to commence the official program of “renovating” the Church’s morality, while not ruffling too many feathers. He sees that if this change to the Catechism is accepted, it will be relatively easy to proceed to the other issues mentioned above: a change in the Catechism on homosexuality, a change on contraception, a change on conditions for admission to Holy Communion, a change on women’s ordination, and so forth.

Whether Francis is a formal heretic—that is, fully aware that what he is teaching on capital punishment is contrary to Catholic doctrine, and proves pertinacious in maintaining his position in spite of rebuke—is a matter to be adjudicated by the College of Cardinals. No doubt exists, however, that orthodox bishops of the Catholic Church must oppose this doctrinal error and refuse to use the altered edition of the Catechism or any catechetical materials based on it.

May St. Alphonsus Liguori, patron saint of moral theologians, whose feast is celebrated on August 1st and August 2nd, intercede for the Pope and for the entire Catholic Church, that the Lord in His mercy may quickly end this period of doctrinal chaos.

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Friedrich Nietzsche
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Atheist who said ‘God is dead’ has something surprising to teach Christians about marriage

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In spite of being notoriously anti-Christian, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has left us in his writings many insights that admit of a Christian “re-reading.” It’s like transposing a score from minor to major and changing the tempo and dynamics: you will get a very different piece of music, though many notes on the page will look the same.

As a grad student in philosophy, I copied down the following passage from Thus Spake Zarathustra in my journal:

You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one, the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses, the master of your virtues? This I ask you. Or is it the animal and need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace with yourself? Let your victory and your freedom long for a child. You shall build living monuments to your victory and your liberation. You shall build over and beyond yourself, but first you must build yourself, perpendicular in body and soul. You shall not only reproduce yourself, but produce something higher. May the garden of marriage help you in that! 

Surely there are problems with Nietzsche’s perspective in this passage. But what would happen if we re-read it in a Christian light?

The fundamental reason for marriage is the procreation and education of offspring, in the absence of which one cannot explain why male and female sexes even exist to begin with. Christian parents strive to generate, raise up, and leave behind worthy Christian sons and daughters who will surpass their parents. This will-to-marriage for the sake of descendants who will climb higher and conquer more could well describe the Catholic ideal of matrimony for the sake of rearing saints.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that husband and wife should “pay the debt” to each other both from the virtue of justice, because they belong to each other—justice, after all, is to give what is due—and from the virtue of religion, to broaden the fields of the kingdom of God. There is no bourgeois fluff in this honest picture of marriage: it is a common endeavor, a labor of joy and pain, a meeting-point of creation and sacrifice, done for the reign of justice and religion. Man and woman are given to each other for the sake of producing something higher than themselves: a family, God’s family, the domestic church, citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Nietzsche spoke of “building yourself, perpendicular in body and soul,” so that from an ethically superior man would arise living monuments to a victory over mediocrity and to a liberation from the self-imposed limits of the rest of men. Isn’t Nietzsche, whether he intends it or not, describing nothing other than the supreme victory of Christ on Calvary, which unleashed into the world a power of love that can never be equaled, surpassed, exhausted, or suppressed, and with it, the liberation of mankind from our guilty pact with sin, death, and the devil? 

Those words of Jesus as He was about to plunge into His hour of obedience, surrender, and conquest ring out down through the ages, swallowing Nietzsche in their grandeur: “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:31–32). In the “hour” when He is glorified, the hour when the Son of Man is lifted up on the Cross, drawing to Himself everyone who believes in Him, now is the judgment of this world—not the world as God created it, but the world of fallen man who exalts himself, the world of darkness, hatred, egoism, which the Son of Man exposes as a darkness unworthy of man. Now shall the ruler of this world, the ringleader of hatred, lies, and self-aggrandizement, be cast out, driven out—by what? By the Cross of Jesus. Wherever His Cross is, there is love, love that gives all of itself to the final drop of blood; and this is absolutely incompatible with selfishness. 

Hence the devil cannot function, cannot act, wherever this love is present and active. The devil is driven out, or exorcised, from the hearts of believers who are “possessed” by the Spirit of Truth, “dispossessed” of the lying spirit. That is why the traditional rites of baptism in East and West have always contained an exorcism, indeed multiple exorcisms. Whoever clings to the Cross of Christ is freed from the reign of the devil and ushered into the light—that is, eternal life, which is to know the Father and the Son, the glory of an infinite love. This love is the truth of reality. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16).

It is the unexpected arrival in our world of Jesus’ testimony to THE truth of reality—the one non-negotiable truth—that leads to krisis, that is, to the separation between light and darkness and to judgment as well as condemnation (all of these being possible meanings of the Greek krisis/krino). The Son of God is sent for this purpose, to testify to the truth and to win over souls who are searching for the truth. “Socratic souls,” we might call them, souls hungry for meaning and hope.

In Jesus Christ, we have the origin, the model, and the full realization of man: not the ridiculous Übermensch or “superman” hypothesized by Nietzsche, but the God-man, King of kings and Lord of lords. No one was ever more “perpendicular in body and soul” than the one who was lifted up on the Cross and who stood up in the resurrection. He drank the cup of bitterness and transformed it into the blood of love. He gave Himself to His immaculate Bride forever, and she in turn gives herself for ever, one flesh, one spirit. From His victory in freedom, from her ardent surrender, proceed innumerable children in this fertile garden of marriage. 

How blessed, how privileged we are to be taken up into His fertility, into “the power of an indestructible life” (Heb 7:16), into that cloud of witnesses who conquered the accuser by the blood of the Lamb (Rev 12:10–11).

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Tessya Whatley
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Gosnell movie actress brings real-life experience to role: She chose not to abort her baby

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By Lianne Laurence

August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tessya Whatley’s role in the upcoming movie about notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell isn’t just an act.

What happens to Whatley in the drama also happened to her.

“I also was young and pregnant once,” she told the Daily Wire in an exclusive interview. “I went to actually abort my baby, and the nurse had let me hear my son’s heartbeat.”

As Whatley lay on the surgical table listening to her baby’s heartbeat while the nurse was out of the room, “I just started crying and decided it was something I couldn’t do, I couldn’t kill my baby,” she said.

“So I put my clothes on, I went out to my grandpa, I told him I couldn’t do it, he said, ‘let’s go,’” the actress recounted.

“My baby is now six years old.”

Whatley’s character, Viola Brown, also considers abortion but changes her mind in the film dramatization of the grisly saga of Philadelphia abortionist Gosnell.

Gosnell was sent to prison for life five years ago on three first-degree murder convictions for killing babies who survived abortion by sticking scissors in their necks and severing their spinal cords.

According to the 280-page Grand Jury report, Gosnell allegedly killed hundreds of babies by this method in his filthy, blood-spattered “house of horrors,” where he kept the feet of his tiny victims in jars.

After a nearly two-month trial that mainstream media initially avoided for weeks, Gosnell was also convicted of one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 41-year-old patient.

Four years in the making, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is set to open in 750 theatres on October 12.

It’s directed by conservative actor Nick Searcy (Shape of Water) and stars Dean Cain (Lois and Clark), and was created and produced by husband-and-wife team Phelim McAllen and Ann McElhinney (Fracknation), who also wrote a book on Gosnell, and Magdalena Segieda (Fracknation).

The film’s shoestring budget was raised in a record-breaking campaign when nearly 30,000 people contributed $2.3 million in 45 days on crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.

Whatley told Daily Wire that she’ll be forever in debt to the abortion center nurse who let her hear her baby’s heartbeat, because that’s “something they’re also not supposed to do.”

“My son has been so much joy to me,” Whatley said. “When I look at him, I just can’t believe I was going to kill somebody so precious.”

Her advice to women seeking abortion is to seize whatever chance they may be offered to change their mind, she said.

“I’m so thankful to that nurse for giving me the opportunity to change my mind and have my baby,” Whatley said.

“I’m so happy to have him, and if you have that opportunity, don’t kill your baby, have your baby. It’s hard, but have your baby. It will mean everything to you.”

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