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French pharmacist punished for refusing to sell IUDs appeals to human rights court

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life pharmacist whose license was suspended in 2016 after he refused to sell intrauterine devices (IUDs) is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

In 2015, a customer entered Bruno Pichon’s pharmacy hoping to fill a prescription for an IUD, explained the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), which is representing Pichon. He explained why he did not stock any, and suggested that she obtain it from one of several nearby pharmacies.

In 2016, French authorities punished Pichon with a week-long suspension of his ability to practice, Gènéthique reports, because of the device’s capacity to function as an abortifacient. French law has some conscience protections for other healthcare providers, but not pharmacists.

“The prohibition to practice pharmacy for one week may seem like a light sentence, [but] the true significance of this sentence is that it obliges Mr Pichon to sell IUDs and other similar products (such as the morning-after pill) in the future, i.e. this sentence forces him to go against his conscience or leave the profession,” the ECLJ wrote.

After multiple unsuccessful appeals in France, Pichon is now taking his case before the European human rights tribunal. The ECRJ argues that French and international precedent is on his side.

“No standard requires pharmacists to hold certain products in stock,” they write, citing previous French court rulings that determined pharmacists can’t be punished for not providing contraceptives if they have no contraceptives to provide.

More significantly, they note, the ECHR affirmed in 2011 that states have an obligation to “guarantee […] the effective exercise of the freedom of conscience of health care professionals,” and that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed resolutions endorsing “the right to conscientious objection in the context of legal medical care.”

Unfortunately, Pichon’s legal struggle and inability to practice led him to “leave his profession at the age of 63, five years before the deadline he had set,” the ECLJ added. “He has sold his pharmacy and is no longer registered as a pharmacist.”

But while victory in the European court would come too late for Pichon himself, they noted, he hopes his efforts will benefit others in the future who could otherwise be “forced to leave their chosen profession” for “follow[ing] their convictions.”

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Canonist Fr. Gerald Murray and writer Robert Royal discussed Pope Francis’ change to catechetical teachings on the death penalty with host Raymond Arroyo Aug. 2, 2018. EWTN / Youtube screen grab
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Pope’s new teaching against death penalty is ‘break’ with Catholic teaching: EWTN panel

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK CITY, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has directly contradicted “the perennial teaching of the Church,” a U.S. canon lawyer said on an EWTN show last night. 

Canonist Father Gerald Murray and writer Robert Royal, known to EWTN audiences as the “Papal Posse”, discussed Pope Francis’ change to catechetical teachings on the death penalty with host Raymond Arroyo on his “The World Over” show. 

Calling the Pope’s innovation a “bombshell”, Arroyo contrasted the “Old Teaching” which allowed for capital punishment in the “very rare, if not practically non-existent” circumstances when it was “absolutely necessary” with the “New Teaching” that the “death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”  

Murray told Arroyo that the Pope’s action was “very troubling” because it went against Church doctrine.

“...He is directly contradicting the perennial teaching of the Church on the morality of the death penalty,” the priest said. “It was once considered moral, perfectly good, in fact, something that was in accord with Divine revelation.”

Robert Royal wondered why Pope Francis’ new teaching was necessary. He observed that Pope John Paul II had already promulgated the idea that the reasons for capital punishment are “practically non-existent”.

‘That I think is about as far as you can go as a pope in talking about this,” Royal said. 

Murray said he had difficulty understanding why Pope Francis said that to execute a person guilty of a serious crime violated the dignity of the human person.

“We have an ontological dignity as created by God,” he stated. “We have a supernatural dignity as baptized persons. And the dignity of the human being adheres in him. He cannot lose his dignity no matter what other people do to him, or even what he does to himself.” 

“Violating human dignity means violating God’s law because human dignity comes from God.” 

Nevertheless, the human person can certainly lose the exercise of certain rights, Murray believes, which is why there is incarceration and any punishment for crime at all. 

The priest believes that the Church was right to permit capital punishment in the past, and he does not believe Pope Francis can say that she wasn’t.  

“To say that the Catholic Church violated the dignity of people until now by saying that it was moral for certain criminals to be executed, I have a great problem in accepting that,” Murray said. “I do not believe that the teaching of the Church up to this moment is immoral, and I don’t think the pope has the power to change that teaching.”

“His job as pope is to preserve and uphold the doctrine of the faith, not to rewrite it.” 

Robert Royal concurred that the pope can’t change doctrine, saying “It seems to me that this goes beyond his proper authority.” 

He agreed with Arroyo that sometimes the death penalty is a practical necessity, not only in developing countries, where an expensive prison system is an injustice to poor and even starving populations, but in the USA, in light of recent murders of correction officers by inmates. 

“It’s an awful thing to kill another human being, but occasionally it has to happen,” Royal said. “Police have to do this. People in warfare have to do this…”

He suggested that Pope Francis is “sentimental” in his approach to the question of human dignity, and Gerald Murray later pointed out that “human dignity” includes everyone else, including murder victims.  Human dignity is not about evading just punishment. 

“In fact,” said Royal, “it is one expression of respecting a person’s human dignity to hold them responsible when they do a terrible thing.” 

Murray said that the question of any punishment had come up, especially as there is at least one much more serious penalty than capital punishment. 

“Is it an offence against human dignity for God to damn someone to hell?” he asked. “We say no. If someone is deserving of eternal punishment in hell, then that is in accordance with the divine will, and that’s a good thing.” 

Raymond Arroyo cited the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, an authority on the licitness of the death penalty, saying that capital punishment can be merciful, as the knowledge of impending death can bring the condemned into a state of redemption. 

Asked if Pope Francis’ change to doctrine was an “evolution or a break,” both Royal and Murray said it was a break. Royal also noted that Francis has also spoken out against life imprisonment and even the eternal punishment of the damned. 

Murray disagreed with Cardinal Ladaria’s claims that Francis’ change to the catechism was in “continuity” with doctrine. 

“You can’t go from saying it is moral for the state to execute certain criminals to saying it is immoral for the state to execute certain criminals,” he stated. “You can’t say that’s a development. That’s an overthrow, and that’s a change.”

He said he found it worrying because the death penalty was a particular target of liberals, and liberals have a lot of targets besides it, including Catholic teachings on marriage and sexuality.

“Are all of those things going to be subject to an evolving societal understanding?” he wondered. 

Royal agreed that to change teaching on life and death would have “incalculable consequences in all sort of different areas.” 

LGBT ‘Catholic’ groups have already put forward the position that if the Pope can reverse Church teaching on the death penalty, then he should be able to do the same for homosexuality. 

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Massachusetts fails to ban therapy for unwanted gay attractions before August deadline

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By Calvin Freiburger

BOSTON, Massachusetts, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Treatment for unwanted homosexual attraction will remain legal in Massachusetts for the time being, with legislation to ban it failing to pass by the August 1 end of the current legislative session.

H.4664 would have banned healthcare providers from performing any practice on a minor that “attempts or purports to impose change of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” with penalties up to and including suspension or revocation of their medical licenses.

It passed the state House of Representatives in June, but not without being amended to remove a provision that would have required teachers and doctors to report hearing about conversion-therapy efforts to social services, the New Boston Post reports. Critics feared the passage could have potentially led to the state taking children away from their parents.

The Senate failed to take up the bill until July 31, at which point it passed the older, un-amended version of the bill. The two chambers were unable to reconcile the differences between the two versions before the deadline.

“This lack of action on a terrible bill gave the small minority of pro-family legislators in both the House and the Senate the procedural ability to stop passage of the bill with a single objection,” Massachusetts Family Institute president Andrew Beckwith said. It’s “proof once again that even in Massachusetts, the voice of pro-family supporters and the efforts of a handful of faithful legislators can make a huge difference.”

The state pro-family group MassResistance celebrated the bill’s defeat as well, but lamented the lack of opposition it received from ostensibly pro-family GOP lawmakers and warned the battle was not over.

“Although the LGBT activists have admitted defeat in the press, there are some sleazy and even illegal tactics that are often used to slither legislation through after the formal session ends,” they wrote. “For example, between now and the end of 2018 there are twice-weekly ‘informal’ sessions of the House and Senate where as little as 2 members (at least one Democrat and one Republican) vote on so-called ‘non-controversial’ matters. They could try to push it through one of those.”

Senate Rules Committee Chair Mark Montigny, a Democrat, lamented the bill’s defeat and signaled that not only will he support trying again in the next session, he wants to “come back with Section 2,” the controversial provision that was too extreme for the House.

Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is intensely controversial in large part because it challenges the conventional wisdom that sexual attraction is biologically rooted and unchangeable, with liberals characterizing it as harmful and discredited “junk science.” But many former homosexuals, such as Angel Colon and David Pickup, say they successfully overcame unwanted same-sex attractions and want others to be able to find help to do the same.

As for gender identity, a variety of scientific literature indicates that reinforcing gender confusion is destructive to children’s mental and emotional well-being. Studies indicate that between 80-90 percent of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, while even full gender “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide.

Liberal Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was expected to sign H.4664 into law, which would have made Massachusetts the 15th state to ban therapy for unwanted gay attractions.

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Notre Dame refuses to revoke McCarrick’s honorary degree. Alumni protest

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By Doug Mainwaring

SOUTH BEND, Ind., August 3, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – The University of Notre Dame refuses to follow the example of other Catholic universities in revoking an honorary degree awarded to disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick unless sexual accusations levied against him are proven in a Vatican court.  

"While the University finds the alleged actions reprehensible and has no reason to question the review board's findings, it recognizes that McCarrick maintains his innocence and that a final decision in the case will come only after a canonical trial in Rome," Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins wrote in a statement Thursday.

An influential Notre Dame alumni group is now calling for the honorary degree awarded to McCarrick a decade ago to be withdrawn. 

Sycamore Trust president, Bill Dempsey, called on Notre Dame president, Father John Jenkins, and the Fellows of the University to promptly revoke the honorary degree it awarded Archbishop McCarrick.

Dear Father Jenkins,

On behalf of the officers and trustees of Sycamore Trust, I write to urge the swift revocation of the honorary degree Notre Dame awarded Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in 2008.

There is no time to waste. Other Catholic schools will surely soon follow Fordham University and The Catholic University of America in revoking their honorary degrees. The headline two days ago was “It’s 9 am, Is McCarrick still a Doctor of Laws at ND?”  Notre Dame should be seen as a leader, not a laggard, in this important matter.

Very truly yours,

William Dempsey


cc: Fellows of the University

In recent weeks, the Vatican removed McCarrick from public ministry and the College of Cardinals due to credible reports of decades of predatory sexual behavior toward young seminarians and boys.

The Sycamore Trust letter also suggests that concerned Catholics send individual messages to Father Jenkins.

Contact information: 

Rev. John I. Jenkins
[email protected]

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Prominent Ugandan LGBT activist renounces ‘sin’ of homosexuality

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By Calvin Freiburger

KAMPALA, Uganda, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Val Kalende, a prominent activist for pro-homosexual causes in Uganda, has renounced her former lifestyle, which she now considers a sin.

Kalende is a self-described “preacher’s kid” and journalist who left her career at the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor in 2007 to focus on LGBT activism, according to a 2015 Daily Xtra profile, going on to work with organizations such as Freedom and Roam Uganda, Sexual Minorities Uganda, and the Dignity Initiative. She left the country for Canada as a refugee in 2015, following the 2014 passage of legislation to criminalize homosexual behavior.

“Val Kalende is here to stay,” declared the headline of the profile, which notes that she identified as “genderqueer” and preferred to be referenced with the pronoun “they.”

On Tuesday, however, Edge reported that Kalende is a changed woman who is even getting married, announcing the news live on Uganda’s Salt TV.

“I joined lesbianism right after Makerere University. I’m born of Christian parents. All of them cut their ties with me for being gay. I became an orphan,” she explained, according to Edge’s English translation of her remarks. But “I became rebellious. We always wondered why the world forced us to become girls who do not love men [...] Right now, I have no peace of mind. I sometimes break down and cry wondering why am like this. I’m now back home and have been saved.”

“Not sure how to do this or if I have to. It’s draining. But I know people have questions and they mean well,” Kalende elaborated on Facebook, according to the Monitor. “I’d be glad to respond to questions concerning what I have learned about the sin of same-sex attraction and the mystery that surrounds the homosexual lifestyle, especially for Christians, parents and people with family members or friends who struggle with same-sex attractions.”

“I understand my introverted nature makes it uncomfortable for people to reach out to me but I am pretty much an open person when it comes to issues I am passionate about,” she continued. “I am not an authority on sexuality let alone what qualifies for sinful nature, but I, sure, have an awareness that could help folks out there. Feel free to message me privately or leave your questions below this post.”

Kalende said the revelation has been a long time coming, but that she waited to announce it because she “wanted to take time to do the important work on myself before making a public confession.” The Monitor added that she is not accepting interviews at this time, and wants to rest with her family.

Kalende did not elaborate on what this means for the policies she formerly championed, but her defection leaves a sizeable hole in Ugandan LGBT activism.

“Val is going through another interesting transition and needs our love and understanding even in this moment,” LGBT activist Dr. Stella Nyanzi wrote, while at the same suggesting she could “relapse” back into homosexuality because “sexuality is fluid,” and implying that “dangerous” religion’s “tenterhooks” may be the true cause of her conversion.

Sexual Minorities Uganda executive director Frank Mugisha told the Monitor he respected her personal decision but was concerned that it would “psychologically affect many members who may feel threatened.” He gave a very different statement to the UK’s PinkNews, however, which quotes him as saying he’s “very much worried about her” and has not been able to personally discuss it with her.

Friendly Atheist editor Hemant Mehta responded to the news by speculating that her declaration was a sham to reunite with her family: “We shouldn’t rule out the possibility that she made this announcement due to social pressure rather than a sincere change of heart.”

Many LGBT activists intensely dispute the notion that sexual attraction can be changed, though in recent years some voices such as Dr. Lisa Diamond have advised their allies to “stop saying ‘born that way and can’t change’ for political purposes, because the other side knows it’s not true as much as we do.” Many former homosexuals say therapy helped them overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.

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LGBT ‘Catholic’ groups: If Pope can reverse Church teaching on death penalty, why not homosexuality?

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-homosexual dissident 'Catholic' groups see in Pope Francis’ ‘changing’ of the Church’s teaching on the death penalty the hope that the Church will one day also change its teaching against homosexuality. 

New Ways Ministry called the change in the Catechism proof that "Church teaching can change."

"It’s important for Catholic advocates for LGBT equality to take note of this change because for decades Catholic opponents of LGBT equality argued that it is impossible to change church teaching.  They often pointed to the fact that condemnations of  same-sex relationships were inscribed in the Catechism, and so were not open for discussion or change. Yet, the teaching on the death penalty is in the Catechism, too, and, in fact, to make this change in teaching, it was the text of the Catechism that Francis changed," the group stated on its website. 

New Ways Ministry, which works to "promote the acceptance of LGBT people," said that Pope Francis' move will help advance "LGBT equality" in a number of ways. 

"First, we now have a clear, explicit contemporary example of church teaching changing, and also a look into how it can be done: with a papal change to the Catechism," it stated. 

"Second,  we can see that the process that brought about this change has been decades of theological debate and discussion, and not just a papal whim.  That means the theological and even ecclesial discussions and debates right now about LGBT people have great potential to shape future changes in church teaching in regard to those topics," it added. 

The pro-gay group was not the only one to see the significance of Pope Francis' rewrite of the Catechism. 

In a post that appeared yesterday on Twitter, Lexington-based “Fortunate Families” wrote: 

The church cannot change its teaching. That is what so many others say about other topics, for example regarding LGBTQ persons. But doctrine develops. Today’s news is a sterling example. 

"The idea first floated by [the] Pope on Catechism’s 25th anniversary last fall to signify development of doctrine,” the tweet continued, “rescript issued today sees Francis issue edit of the 1994 official text, now deeming capital punishment ‘inadmissible’-- the new formulation.” 

“Development of doctrine”, legitimately used to describe how the Catholic Church refines and expands, but never undermines or rejects, what was taught earlier, has now been interpreted by some to mean the erasure of settled Church teaching. 

Critics say Pope Francis attempted to do that yesterday when he promulgated a new teaching concerning the death penalty in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, saying that it was “inadmissible.” The perennial teaching of the Church, based on Scripture and unanimously accepted by the Church Fathers and every pope until Francis, is that legitimate civil authority may impose the death penalty on a malefactor. Although both Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI were strongly opposed to capital punishment--and John Paul’s Catechism strongly circumscribed it--neither pope denied this principle.   

Pope Francis’ innovation has already become a club for American liberals to beat conservatives with. Jane Fleming Kleeb, Chair of the Democratic Party in Nebraska, has tweeted “Let's be clear Nebraskans, @GovRicketts is going against the teachings of the church. We can change leaders by voting different on Nov. 6--Democrats are against the death penalty.” 

Fortunate Families, founded in 1992 by Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata, the Catholic parents of a same-sex attracted man, is a group of Catholic religious and laypeople who dissent on authentic Church teaching regarding sexuality and marriage. From 2010 until this July Fortunate Families was part of a coalition with Call to Action, the banned Dignity, and the censured New Ways ministry. 

Astonishingly, since November 2017 Bishop John Stowe, OFM of Lexington has served as the dissident group’s “ecclesial advisor”. Stowe is one of the five bishops who have endorsed Fr. James Martin’s pro-LGBT book Building a Bridge. The bishop was appointed to the Lexington diocese by Pope Francis in 2015. 

Fortunate Families was last in the news when a Lexington Catholic church stretched an LGBT flag across its front lawn. The first executive director of the group, Stan “JR” Zerkowski, is a parishioner at St. Paul’s parish, and told media that he hoped the banner got wide publicity. 

“This is a church that is open to all people and I hope this sign gets that across,” he said in the TV report. “I don’t think a Catholic Church has ever had a sign like this before in front of it during Pride Week or any other time. However, in other parts of the country we see this regularly.”  

The banner read “LBGTQ+ Catholic /Family, Friends & Allies/all are welcome”, insinuating that at other Catholic churches Catholics who experience same-sex desires or suffer from gender dysphoria are barred from the worship of God.  

Former homosexual Joseph Sciambra retweeted the group’s Twitter message, saying “Bishop Stowe’s ‘Fortunate Families’ believe that the [Catechism of the Catholic Church] will also ‘change’ in terms of homosexuality. FF operatives are embedded within several dioceses around the US.” 

Sciambra, a survivor of the San Francisco 1990s “gay scene”, is dedicated to helping people with same-sex attractions avoid being trapped in what he says is a dangerous way of life. 

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Retreats for ‘gay priests, brothers’ and ‘lesbian sisters’ to take place in Milwaukee archdiocese

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August 3, 2018 (Joseph Sciambra) – From October 2 to 4, 2018, Fr. Bryan Massingale will lead "a retreat for gay priests, brothers, and deacons" at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The Siena Retreat Center is overseen by the Racine Dominican Sisters. The retreat is sponsored by the dissident pro-gay marriage group New Ways Ministry. Later this year, on November 16-18, 2018, the Siena Retreat Center will also host a conference for "lesbian sisters, congregational leaders, and vocation & formation ministers." The speakers include Cristina L.H. Traina, the chair of religious studies at Northwestern University. Traina is a member of St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois, Archdiocese of Chicago, where she is active in the Gay and Lesbian Ministry. In 2013, concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage, she wrote:

Same-sex marriage initiatives do not require Catholic clergy to marry gay and lesbian couples and do not devalue heterosexual marriage or encourage casual sex. If anything, same-sex marriage enshrines stable two-parent households as profoundly valuable, all things being equal, to children's welfare.

In a separate article, she again argued for an acceptance of same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church:

Pope Benedict acknowledged the integrity of people who want to use condoms to forestall the spread of an often-fatal disease, though the Catholic Church teaches that sex should be confined to marriage and that monogamy and abstinence are better protection than condoms against HIV/AIDS. American bishops could follow suit by acknowledging the integrity of same-sex couples who want to marry, declare their fidelity, and raise children together, though the Catholic Church teaches that marriage should be confined to heterosexual couples.

Traina concluded:

The implication of the popes' actions is clear: marriage equality could be an important stepping stone to a holy life and therefore just might be good law.

Bryan Massingale is currently a professor of theology at Fordham University. In 2017, Massingale spoke at New Ways Ministry's Eight National Symposium. In 1999, the co-founders of New Ways Ministry were officially silenced by the Vatican. In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, archbishop of Chicago and then-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization "New Ways Ministry" (excerpted here):

No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

According to an article from the National Catholic Reporter about the 2017 New Ways Ministry Symposium:

Massingale, a priest of the Milwaukee archdiocese, shared a note he had received in 2002 from Rembert Weakland, who earlier that year had resigned as archbishop of Milwaukee after a man he'd had an affair with two decades earlier and he had paid to $450,000 to keep it quiet made the relationship public. Weakland wrote: "On the gay issue, the level of fears is so high that the official teaching of the church skates so very close to the edge of a new 'theology of contempt.'"

Massingale added:

The situation leaves the church in an often contradictory corridor or "open closet," ... one in which gays "are to be accepted sensitively and compassionately, as long as there is little or no public acknowledgment of their sexual identity,' lifestyle' or 'culture.'"

On March 16, 2018, Massingale was a panel presenter at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress for a workshop entitled "Transgender in Our Schools: One Bread, One Body." On the topic of transgenderism and the Catholic Church, Massingale stated that the Church is in "a period of discernment":

So, what do we do when we don't understand? It means the Catholic Church is all over the board on this. It means if you go to Holy Rosary College, and you transition as a student, they will welcome you with open arms, and the campus ministry will accept you and they will provide housing and accommodations. Or you go to Saint Kundykunda's, try not to pick anybody ... and you transition, you can be expelled. Because that's the kind of place we are at right now because the Catholic Church is in a period of discernment as we are trying to understand what we don't understand.

Concerning a change in Church teaching with regard to homosexual activity, in comparison to the process that took place in the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran churches, Massingale argued:

They all went through a messy period marked by a divergence of opinion and open disagreement on approach[.] ... We can't expect the Catholic experience to be any different. The differences we see among official leaders are part of a normal process of coming to a different place.

He continued:

I think this is a call for us as Catholics to accept the reality that we live in a church that's in the midst of hesitant but real change and development. How do we help our people to understand that this isn't something that's entirely new in church history?

He would later add:

We're in this transitional time when we're moving out of one paradigm of understanding human sexuality and into another. That's part of the mess we're in, but it is our faith as Catholics that this mess contains the ground for new life and new birth.

Specifically addressing the transgender issue and the Catholic Church, Massingale said:

Because trans people are not talking about choosing their gender. They are talking about a process of discovery. And it's very different than I woke up one day and I am going to be a woman. No, it's not that simple. What it does say though is that the Catholic Church is like most of us. We're afraid. What are we afraid of? We're afraid that if we make room for that which we do not understand that we could be falling into moral chaos somewhere. 

On April 5, 2018, Jesuit James Martin promoted the upcoming retreat for gay priests at Siena Retreat Center on his official Facebook page. In 2017, when Archdiocese of Milwaukee priest Greg Greiten came out publicly as gay, Martin praised Greiten as "a pioneer." Archbishop Listecki of Milwaukee released the following statement:

We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation.

Please contact:

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
[email protected]

Published with permission from Joseph Sciambra.

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Priest: ‘Evil’ gay bishops ‘persecute, blackmail’ faithful priests who might expose their secret

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By James Risdon

TAMPA, Florida, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “Evil” homosexual bishops set out to “punish, humiliate and blackmail” decent, God-fearing priests if these threaten to blow the whistle on the gay “mafia” within the Roman Catholic church, says a parish priest. 

In the bulletin and on the website of the Epiphany of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church, Father Edwin Palka does not mince words about the terrible extent of the damage done by what he calls the gay “Lavender Mafia” within the church. His writing offers light on why the sexual abuse crisis within the U.S. church has continued to rage unabated for decades. 

“Many people still don’t (I believe most priests still don’t) understand just how evil the active homosexual or homosexual activist … priests and bishops are,” writes the pastor of that Tampa, Florida parish.  

“Not understanding the extent of their depravity and wrongly thinking that they are simply ‘normal’ men who just struggle with their sexual desires and sometimes might fail to remain chaste but are really, truly repentant when it happens and strive to ‘confess my sins, do penance and amend my life, amen’, they cannot possibly grasp the hellish depths to which … [homosexual activist] … clergy will go to persecute, lambaste, punish, humiliate and blackmail anyone who stands in their way or threatens their way of life,” writes Palka. 

Estimates of the number of priests who are homosexual vary widely. In one article, an associate professor of religious studies at John Carroll University warned as far back as 16 years ago that studies suggested the percentage of Catholic priests who were homosexual could be as high as 50 per cent. That’s roughly 16 times more the percentage of gay men in the general population. 

But that astoundingly high estimate of homosexuality in the clergy is perfectly in line with the revelations of Father Dariusz Oko, a priest who became world-famous in 2013 for his essay on clerical homosexuality, With the Pope Against Homoheresy

In that essay, Oko alleged homosexual priests and bishops had abused seminarians, teenagers, and children and that there was a gay mafia of powerful clerics protecting these men.

“According to reliable estimates, it is estimated that about 30 to 40 per cent of priests and 40 to 50 per cent of bishops in the USA have homosexual inclinations,” Oko told LifeSiteNews in an interview last month.  

That gay mafia has a tremendous and terrible impact on good priests who teach the truth about homosexuality as revealed by the church. 

And the gay mafia’s power over good priests starts in seminary school, according to Palka.  

These students who will one day perhaps become priests are asked to provide a great deal of personal detail, including their history with chastity, sexual activity, criminal undertakings, and worst fears about the challenges of living out their vows or promises.

“His file grows thicker the longer he remains in the seminary and it continues to grow after ordination, and includes self-revealed and other-revealed (from formation directors, vocation directors, letters from parishioners, etc.) information regarding his struggles, mental issues, physical problems, and moral failings before, during and after formation, any perceived ‘hostility toward women’ or ‘rigidity’ or ‘uber Catholicism’ or ‘hard preaching’ and many more such things,” writes Palka. 

None of this information is protected by the seal of the confessional and it follows this man throughout his time in the seminary and afterwards if he becomes ordained into the priesthood. The purpose of this file of information is to help the seminarian and priest grow and meet the challenges of his vocation. 

“This file is always meant to help him so that by working with his spiritual director he can improve in every aspect of his life, so that he can overcome fears and failings, so that he has a benchmark by which to gauge his improvements in holiness and competence,” writes Palka. “It is also meant to help his bishop and any of his future bishops understand the priest, to figure out where to place him on assignment or which assignment to keep him away from for his own good.”

But that information can also be used for nefarious purposes by evil bishops.

Using two fictitious scenarios, Palka shows how priests can be set up. 

In the first, a priest who struggles with his own homosexual urges to remain chaste and live out his vows in obedience to the church can be manipulated by a homosexual activist bishop and set up to fail.

“Suppose a priest’s file reveals that as a teen he was sexually abused by an adult male. As a result of this formative abuse, he struggled with homosexual desires as an adolescent and into his early adulthood but always remained chaste,” writes Palka. “Once ordained as a priest he spoke out fervently against the acceptance and promotion and legalization of homosexual activity and other sexual sins. 

“His … [homosexual activist] … bishop, knowing his past, makes him the Boy Scout chaplain where he will be working closely with the bishop’s handpicked and openly-active homosexual lay diocesan Scout leaders, hoping and even encouraging (vicariously, through his minions) him to finally fall to his boyhood abuse-induced homosexual desires and sexually abuse one or more of the Scouts,” writes Palka. 

But it’s not just homosexual priests who can be manipulated in this way, notes Palka. 

A heterosexual priest who was sexually active before being ordained and who dares to speak out against homosexuality could similarly be assigned to be the chaplain of a girls’ high school in the hope he would succumb to temptation, writes Palka.

“Think this is far fetched? Don’t be fooled,” he warns. 

Although he declined to be interviewed by LifeSiteNews, insisting he prefers to collect his thoughts and express them in writing in the parish bulletin, Palka did agree online the gay mafia in the church is not at all above exploiting the seal of the confessional to bind decent priests into silence and even to pick up other priests to commit homosexual acts with them. 

“These men know the way the church works and they use that knowledge for their own evil ends … They have embraced evil,” he writes. “There is a huge difference between a weak man striving for holiness and a man who has sold his soul to the devil. And oftentimes the former appears to be ‘bad’ because he admits his sin while the latter appears ‘nice’ because he is as adept at lying as his father, the prince of lies, is.

“That type of priest will also use the confessional to see if he can pick up a new ‘date’ by seeing how his confessor reacts to his revealed (not repented) sins,” writes Palka.

The pastor of the Epiphany of Our Lord parish has promised to publish another article on Saturday detailing more of the destructive uses to which evil bishops put the personal information offered up by seminarians and priests, showing how even ex-priests are not safe from this plotting. 

Related stories: 

Cardinal McCarrick and the gay mafia: corruption of clergy now rivals the age of the Borgias

Details of the homosexual molestation charges against Cardinal McCarrick

McCarrick is ‘tip of the iceberg’: Polish priest who warned of gay bishops 5 years ago

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Support rises for religious Americans’ right not to participate in same-sex events

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Public opinion on whether business owners should be forced to participate in same-sex “weddings” has shifted significantly over the past year, a new survey reveals.

Forty six percent of Americans believe business owners such as bakers, florists, caterers, invitation designers, photographers, and venue hosts should be allowed to refuse service and 48 percent do not, according to a newly-released survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). In August 2017, just 41 percent sided with business owners and 53 percent favored coercion.

While white Americans’ views on the subject remain largely unchanged, support for conscience rights rose most sharply among black Americans, 45 percent of whom answered that businesses should be allowed to refuse service (up from 36 percent last year). Only a minority of Hispanics agree, but there too the share rose from 26 percent to 34 percent.

Republican support for the right to refuse rose by six points, while Democrat opinions remained relatively constant. More men (52 percent) than women (40 percent) support business owners, as well.

PRRI also found that while white Evangelicals are the most likely religious group to support the right to refuse (70 percent), the position only enjoys narrow support among both white and black mainline Protestants. American Catholics and religiously unaffiliated Americans are most likely to say businesses should be forced to promote same-sex unions, according to the survey, at 58 percent each.

At the same time, the poll found strong support for same-sex “marriage” itself, with 64 percent of Americans supporting it and only 28 percent opposed. Support for the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that forced every state to recognize same-sex “marriage,” Obergefell v. Hodges, is almost identical. 

Seventy-one percent of respondents said they support LGBT “nondiscrimination” laws in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

“The debate over same-sex marriage in the U.S. is quickly coming to an end,” PRRI Research Director Dan Cox said. While many Republican politicians seemingly concede to Democrats that same-sex “marriage” is a “settled” question, it’s unclear how much of recent years’ polling is really due to a paradigm shift in public opinion.

Past studies indicate that LGBT polling may be susceptible to the Bradley effect, a phenomenon in which respondents give pollsters what they think is the culturally-approved answer instead of their true opinion, and pro-family advocates argue that pro-LGBT activists still employ lawsuits and boycott campaigns because they continue to lack confidence that voters will adopt their policies through open debate.

Even so, the fact that the public’s pro-homosexual sympathies don’t translate to forcing religious Americans to comply is striking.

“While support for same-sex marriage and broad rights for LGBT people continue to increase, opinions are less settled in specific areas such as religiously based service refusals, especially in the context of wedding service providers,” PRRI CEO Robert Jones observed.

The reduced support for coerced participation in same-sex “weddings” may be the latest sign of backlash against gay activists’ overreach.

In March, the pro-homosexual GLAAD found that that the American public’s “acceptance of LGBTQ people” has actually begun to decrease, which social conservatives attribute to the LGBT lobby’s transition from “live and let live” arguments to infringing on the religious, conscience, and privacy rights of Americans who disagree with them.

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Arkansas can continue denying Planned Parenthood funding

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By Calvin Freiburger

LITTLE ROCK, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Arkansas may continue to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, thanks to a federal judge who  refused Monday to grant the abortion giant's latest request to restore the funding.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson canceled the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015, a move the organization took to court. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker originally sided with them but was reversed by an appeals court, the Associated Press reports, and came down against the abortion giant this time around, saying that she would not issue a new ruling. 

Arkansas Online explains that Baker’s 2015 ruling was based on the argument that Medicaid patients had the right to procure services from whichever provider they prefer, which an 8th Circuit panel rejected. Planned Parenthood’s latest argument was that canceling the contract violated it and its patients’ rights to equal protection and freedom of association.

The three women serving as the plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood’s original complaint claimed that the abortion giant was their preferred medical provider for a variety of reasons related to convenience and customer satisfaction. Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood’s two Arkansas locations by a factor of 89.

This week, Baker ruled that the Planned Parenthood centers "have not met their burden of proof for a preliminary injunction on their constitutional claims," reasoning that the lack of a judicial consensus on similar questions nationwide shows that the abortionists’ likelihood of succeeding on the merits can’t be determined yet.

Medicaid visits accounted for approximately 20% of all Planned Parenthood’s patients at its Little Rock and Fayetteville centers in 2017, suggesting that the abortion giant has a significant financial stake in the outcome.

Hutchinson’s original move to cut off Planned Parenthood was driven by the 2015 release of the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos that exposed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ organs for illegal profit, as well as a variety of other quotes alluding to potential crimes and generally shocking language about the destruction of human life.

Baker’s ruling is the second major setback Planned Parenthood has suffered in Arkansas recently. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a state law requiring physicians who dispense abortion-inducing drugs to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, which forced it to cancel abortion appointments. Planned Parenthood’s Arkansas facilities only perform chemical abortions.  The unaffiliated Family Planning Services in Little Rock is the only abortion facility in the state to commit surgical abortions.

A final ruling on the merits of the case is still pending.

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Fr. James Martin in a March 7, 2018 America Magazine Youtube video titled ‘Spiritual Insights for LGBT Catholics.’ America Magazine / Youtube
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Catholic group asks bishop to disinvite pro-LGBT priest from World Meeting of Families

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

DUBLIN, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An organization of lay Catholics has called for the invitation of a controversial LGBT-activist priest and Vatican advisor to speak at the upcoming World Meeting of Families to be rescinded. 

The Irish branch of the Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) organization is asking Catholics to sign a letter to Ireland’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the host of the Vatican-backed conference, asking that American Fr. James Martin, SJ be disinvited. (Full letter below.) 

“We are disappointed and greatly concerned that Fr. James Martin, SJ will speak at the event, casting a shadow over the proceedings,” reads the letter. “Fr. Martin is well known for his dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality.” 

So far, 2,400 people have signed the letter. 

TFP objects to Fr. Martin’s use of the expression “LGBT Catholics” because it makes no distinction between chaste Catholics who struggle to master their same-sex attractions and people who “have yielded” to homosexual sex. 

The organization also opposes Fr. Martin’s support for New Ways Ministry, which the letter says is a “pro homosexual and lesbian religious organisation...declared gravely unacceptable by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”  

TFP observes that Fr. Martin disagrees with the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s description of homosexual attraction as “gravely disordered” and states that this disagreement could “prevent” people with same-sex desires from “arriving at a true understanding of their condition.” 

This, the TFP believes, “is a great disservice to those whom [Fr. Martin] purports to help.” 

In an additional summary of reasons why they believe Fr. Martin is an inappropriate choice of speaker for the August event, the organization mentions the priest’s tweet of a “blasphemous depiction” of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The long-time editor of American Jesuit magazine America, Martin is scheduled to speak at the World Meeting of Families on Thursday, August 23 at 11:30. His presentation is titled “Showing Welcome and Respect in our Parishes for ‘LGBT’ People and their Families.”

Fr. Martin has already lost speaking engagements, thanks to the complaints of concerned Catholics. They have included appearances at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; at an Annual Investiture Dinner of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City; and for a Catholic charity in London, England.


Dear Archbishop Martin,

The hosting by your Archdiocese of the World Meeting of Families should be a joyful occasion for Ireland. The choice of Dublin as venue by Pope Francis should serve as a consolation for Ireland at a difficult time and is of course the effective reason for the Pope’s pastoral visit.

We are disappointed and greatly concerned that Fr. James Martin, S.J. will speak at the event, casting a shadow over its proceedings. Fr. Martin is well known for his dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality. He has articulated views which condone homosexual behaviour in contradiction of the Magisterium.

To present just one of Fr. Martin’s quotes:  

“LGBT Catholics bring unique gifts to the church—both as individuals and as a community. These gifts build up the church in special ways, as St. Paul wrote when he compared the People of God to a human body (1 Cor. 12:12-27).”

Fr. Martin makes no distinction between people who struggle courageously with same sex attraction (who cannot therefore be considered “LGBT”) and those who have yielded to an immoral and unnatural lifestyle condemned by the same Apostle whom he quotes above.

Fr. Martin is a supporter of New Ways Ministry, a pro homosexual and lesbian religious organisation which has been declared gravely unacceptable by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has publicly accepted an award from this group, delivered a talk at their event and subsequently developed this talk in to a book.

Fr. Martin is also in disagreement with the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s reference to homosexual inclination as “gravely disordered”.  In this way he would prevent those with same sex inclination from arriving at a true understanding of their condition in the light of church teaching and God’s mercy. This is a great disservice to those whom he purports to help.

We believe that sowing error and confusion should have no place at the World Meeting of Families. For this reason, we strongly request you to disinvite Fr. James Martin from speaking at so important an event.

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Catholic Hollywood star Patricia Heaton slams US bishops’ handling of McCarrick sex-abuse scandal

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By Lisa Bourne

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life actress and Hollywood celebrity Patricia Heaton sharply criticized a statement from USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo regarding disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on Twitter early Thursday morning, saying the Bishops’ had their shot at addressing the sexual abuse scandal and blew it.

Cardinal DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement on Wednesday in which he expressed “anger, sadness, and shame” for the “grievous moral failure within the Church” regarding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s sex-abuse accusations. 

“Dear Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, The laity does not care how much shame you feel,” Heaton, who is Catholic, said. “We want all those who perpetrated and covered up sexual abuse OUT. Also, victims of abuse should not ‘come forward’ but go directly to the police. You had your chance to help; you failed,” she added.

Also criticizing DiNardo for expressing how the McCarrick accusations have affected the Bishops, the Christian actress told him the Catholic laity wants sexual abusers in the Church and those who covered for them removed from office. 

Heaton has been an honorary chair of Feminists for Life of America and has been continually vocal in her support of the pro-life cause for years.

Her tweet captured the anger and frustration felt by many among the Catholic laity toward Church hierarchy since the McCarrick accusations surfaced for the enabling and covering for sexual predators among their ranks.

The news broke June 20 that McCarrick had been removed from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. He will face a canonical trial.

Since then additional accounts of McCarrick’s alleged abuse have surfaced – along with reports that McCarrick’s abuse was widely known for years but neither addressed by Church leadership nor allowed to be reported in the mainstream media.

Also since then, various U.S. Church prelates have insisted publicly they did not know about the alleged abuse perpetrated by McCarrick on young boys, seminarians, and priests. 

Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals July 28. 

DiNardo released his statement August 1. He acknowledged that the Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality, saying that a "spiritual conversion" from bishops was needed. He did not acknowledge, however, the prominent role homosexuality is playing in the Church’s sexual morality crisis.

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Pro-abortion Andrew Cuomo pushes bill to end death penalty in ‘solidarity’ with Pope Francis

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By Calvin Freiburger

ALBANY, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The left-wing governor of New York announced Thursday that he will promote legislation to abolish the death penalty in his state, invoking Pope Francis’ controversial new change to the 1992 Catechism promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II on the subject.

Earlier that day, the Pope issued a papal decree revising n. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to declare that a “new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state,” and therefore “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” It also declared that the Church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

The passage previously read that authorities should limit themselves to “non-lethal means [...] to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor” and “cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent,’” but granted that “traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty” when absolutely necessary.

Many Catholics have expressed alarm for what they call a doctrinal error that distorts Catholic teaching, while secular media and the political Left have celebrated the announcement.

“The death penalty is morally indefensible and has no place in the 21st century,” New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Thursday. 

“By declaring the death penalty inadmissible in all cases and working to end the practice globally, Pope Francis is ushering in a more righteous world for us all,” Cuomo announced Thursday. 

“Today, in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of my father [former Gov. Mario Cuomo], I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty -- and its ugly stain in our history -- from State law once and for all,” he declared. He did not yet identify a specific piece of legislation he was backing.

The elder Cuomo vetoed legislation enacting capital punishment every year of his 12-year tenure as governor, but Republican Gov. George Pataki finally signed it in 1995, ABC-13 reports. His son’s stand is more symbolic than practical, however, as the New York Supreme Court struck down capital punishment as unconstitutional in 2004, and the state has not executed anyone since 1963.

Cuomo’s “solidarity” with the pope and defense of convicted murderers’ right to life stands in stark contrast to his position on abortion, which Francis has called a “violat[ion]” of “fundamental rights.” Cuomo’s pro-abortion advocacy includes permitting abortion effectively until birth, forcing taxpayers and insurance companies to pay for abortion, and a similarly-symbolic push to codify Roe v. Wade in state law.

The inconsistency did not go unnoticed on social media:

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Cardinal Newman Society


Cleaning up Catholic education is essential to solving the sex abuse crisis

Cardinal Newman Society
By Cardinal Newman Society

August 3, 2018 (Cardinal Newman Society) – In light of the terrible scandals confronting the Church in recent days, may we (once again) propose a key part of the solution to widespread infidelity, dissent and scandal?

We propose the renewal of faithful Catholic education.

The Church has been repeatedly wounded by the predatory, criminal and obscene abuse of innocent boys and men by trusted leaders, including former Cardinal McCarrick and those who enabled him.

How can we still be in this situation? After the 2002 scandals, the faithful stood with the bishops and trusted them to end not just the sex abuse scandals – which we were assured were all in the past – but also to work to rebuild and strengthen Catholic identity across the Church's institutions.

But here we are 16 years later. Church attendance is plummeting, young people are abandoning the faith, and heterodox Catholic colleges, leaders and organizations have persisted in dissent and scandal without consequence or public correction.

If you wonder how we got here, Anthony Esolen's article on the McCarrick scandals at the Newman Society's website is a must-read. McCarrick, he points out, was one of the signers of the infamous "Land O' Lakes Statement" in 1967, which paved the way to outright dissent and academic opposition to Humanae Vitae a year later.

Esolen rightly finds that the Cardinal's behavior – and the apparent tolerance for that behavior by other bishops – had much the same cause as the decline of Catholic education.

And it can be corrected, if all of us in the Church demand fidelity and true Catholic formation in our homes, our schools, our colleges, and our seminaries.

But this will be easier said than done. In many corners of the institutional Church, we seem to be rushing to meet the (fallen) world where it is, instead of boldly and confidently proclaiming that true happiness is found in Truth, in the Way of Christ. Just look at the agendas, marketing materials and speaking lineups of the upcoming World Meeting of Families and the Synod on Young People.

More than ever, what our families need… what the Church needs… what all the world needs, is a revitalization of truly faithful Catholic education.

Still, in too many Catholic elementary and secondary schools, we find the influence of the utilitarian Common Core and secular textbooks and curricula, often embraced by well-meaning but apparently poorly catechized educators. The Newman Society's Catholic Is Our Core project exposed the inadequacy of the Common Core, and thankfully many dioceses have abandoned it. A number of them have embraced our faithful Catholic Curriculum Standards. But there is still so much more to be done.

With regard to Catholic colleges, it is well past time for the Church – the bishops, the clergy and religious, and parents – to publicly reject those that undermine fundamental Church teachings while claiming a Catholic identity! This scandal has done enormous damage to souls.

The most heterodox of the Catholic colleges serve as incubators for practically every bad idea in the Church today. Dissident educators and their college leaders bear direct responsibility for leading young people astray – and yet we cannot ignore the painful fact that the Church's continued endorsement of these institutions leads many Catholic families to send their sons and daughters to be corrupted by sin and relativism.

More than a quarter of Catholic colleges allow overnight, opposite-sex visitation in student bedrooms! What effect do you suppose that has on students and their faith? Where are Church leaders and Catholic parents on this? Why are they not demanding that it stop?

This is just one example of how the Church's silence on public scandal and the collapse of Catholic moral formation have fostered infidelity and dissent.

The good news is that there is a renewal of Catholic education underway: at Newman Guide colleges; at Catholic Education Honor Roll schools, including lay-run independent Catholic schools that get too little support and attention from the Church; in the exploding Catholic homeschool community that also gets too little support and attention from the Church; and in lay Catholic organizations like the Newman Society, FOCUS, ICLE, the Augustine Institute, and so many others.

Thanks be to God for this!

And thanks also for those orthodox and holy priests and bishops who faithfully live their vocations and proclaim the Truth of Christ. We have met and worked closely with many of them, and they need our prayers and support more than ever.

We need the entire Church, both clergy and laity, to demand fidelity from every Catholic and every institution which claims a Catholic identity. It's an expression of the greatest love to uphold Truth, Beauty and Goodness in Catholic education and throughout the Church. May we love our young people and fellow Catholics more deeply and fervently in these times of dissent and confusion.

Published with permission from the Cardinal Newman Society.

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Richard Jack Rail


We’ve moved beyond the culture wars. Leftists want to destroy the US

Richard Jack Rail
By Richard Rail

August 3, 2018 (American Thinker) – Progressives continue to astonish normal people with their complete incomprehension of normals (as Kurt Schlichter calls them) as human beings. Perhaps that's because they don't see us as human beings. They call us unsavory names – deplorables, bitter clingers, toothless, plus every dirty word they can think of. They throw nasty, biological things. They spit on people. They shove people, break windows, start fights, and go out of their way to ensure that everybody has a bad day.

Today's normal was a fifties liberal and, in many cases, a sixties liberal. In those days, you could be a conservative Democrat or a liberal Republican, and it raised no eyebrows. Today's prog, or extremist lefty, thinks all normals are extras from the movie Deliverance. Yet most of the time we dress about as they do, take the same public transportation, shop in the same supermarkets, and live in the same neighborhoods. If we really were toothless and illiterate, it would immediately stand out. It doesn't.

In the almost 70 years since 1950, normals haven't changed much. We still believe in God, pay taxes, get up and go to work, and keep to ourselves. We're raising families, after all, and that matters more than anything else. Unlike the prog caricature of us, we're responsible people. When we gather in large numbers, you almost can't tell we were ever there because we clean up behind ourselves. We speak quietly and respectfully, treat our women like ladies, and control our kids. Nobody fears normals because nobody has any reason to.

This contrasts starkly with progs, who gather in large numbers to riot, scream obscenities, carry signs, and trash the place. They get up in others' faces and scream and rage as if out of control, sometimes putting a normal person in fear for his life. All this is intended to communicate public unhappiness over this issue or that, but all it really puts across is that a bunch of wilding lunatics are loose again.

Liberals, similar to but reputedly more reasonable than progs, always notice the single MAGA hat in a crowd but never the destructive prog behavior raging all around them. And it's liberals who write the columns and tweets next day, dripping venom about the hateful normals. Yet any objective, disinterested observer would notice that it's progressives who regularly run out of control in angry, violent spasms of incivility and ugliness.

This isn't "culture war." Culture has nothing to do with it. It's war on normality by Brownshirts, incited or paid for by the likes of George Soros and Tom Steyer. It has now graduated from street-fighting to trying to take down the U.S. government.

I will never understand these people's hatred of America. They are unreachable by reason. It seems clear that they are trying to provoke a heavy, violent reaction from us so they can then haul out the artillery. They missed their big chance with Barama in the saddle but had been biding their time right along. They'll just continue that until their next big chance. They need to be able to declare martial law.

Be ready.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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David Warren

Opinion, ,

Not even the Borgia Popes tried to ‘revise’ Church teaching

David Warren

August 3, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – While writing this column, on another topic, I was distracted by a friend. He had me look at the news for "the latest" from Pope Francis. I was told he had changed Church teaching on the death penalty, by an amendment to the Catechism. Quickly checking the usual Internet sites, I found this rumor confirmed in many places. While I do not trust "the meejah," generally, I fear in this instance the reports are true.

Moreover, I was expecting this to happen. The "new teaching" had been signaled by the Holy Father many times. He has also, incidentally, signaled his opposition to life imprisonment, on the same grounds, as an affront to human dignity, and an impediment to redemption.

I am no Vaticanist, and thus no expert to predict whether this will be his only formal alteration of the Catechism, or the first in a series. It provides a precedent that future popes may work with, alas. Bergoglio has broken the lock on the door, but I think he takes a longer view of his action.

On many fronts he has done, or proposed, something similar: "just one little change," for instance, about admitting the divorced to Communion, or refusing to reply to reasonable dubia, or making whimsical statements on the afterlife and a great range of other topics, most memorably: "Who am I to judge?"

At a time when the Catholic Church endures spiritual catastrophe, he has decisively re-focused from the interior and sacred, to the exterior and profane – in effect from religion to politics, of an unmistakably left-liberal stamp, changing the demeanor of his office by his dress and gestures, his appointments, and so forth.

My impression – that he is systematically undermining the integrity of Catholic teaching, and politicizing what was once apolitical – may be discounted. It is only my opinion. In the realm of fact, I simply notice that the Church is at war within herself, with rival factions, "traditionalist" and "modernist." One would have to be obtuse not to notice.

On the question of capital punishment, my first, rather naïve question was, "Can he do that?"

Of course he can. Any pope could have rewritten any part of the Catechism, with which he happened personally to disagree, at any time through the centuries. But even popes such as Borgias and Medicis never tried it on. They broke rules but did not try to "revise" them.

The damage that is done, and will be done, by this latest breach of "papal etiquette," is broader and will be broader than first appears. Beyond the creation of a precedent for altering Church teaching by papal fiat, it confirms the politicization of our doctrine. Henceforth, and for the foreseeable future, the Holy See (even after Bergoglio's demise) is re-oriented to social and political issues.

Let me try to explain what may seem over-subtle. The very character of the Church is subverted by this. The question of salvation – the centrality of Jesus Christ, in other words – is replaced with very worldly, subsidiary questions of "who gets what." Worse, in some ways, than being contradicted, Christ is progressively ignored.

For the questions on which we are now focused are the very ones which Christ pointedly avoided. His Kingdom was not of this world, and explicitly in the Gospels, the authority of Pontius Pilate was not challenged. The thief crucified with Our Lord acknowledged the validity of his death sentence.

Christ's own representative human dignity was compatible with being stripped and tortured, publicly humiliated, marched to His execution, mocked upon the Cross. This was a matter that went beyond shallow issues of political injustice.

The very sanctity of innumerable saints was untainted by martyrdom. For human dignity is conferred by God in the Creation, not by the State. The "capital punishment" even of the innocent – and especially of the innocent – cannot be reduced to public policy. Or, it cannot be so reduced in the teaching of Holy Church.

We received, at the foundation of our Church, a transcendent teaching. Death itself has no dominion: this is what Christ taught. His willingness to make himself the exemplar of martyrdom is diminished when questions of "social justice" are "prioritized."

At another level, the rewrite of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism brings into scandal all the previous social doctrine of the Church. It compels the thoughtful observer to consider how far ecclesiastical efforts to accommodate the realities of industrial, social, and political revolutions through the last two centuries may have led us astray.

Have we not got here by increments, in which the teaching of the Church was not altered, but the spirit of obedience was disrupted? Now we accept the alteration of the teaching itself, because it is not in accord with "the times." Have we not been pushing at the edges for a while?

Perhaps we sometimes forget that "the times" include a future we cannot know, as well as a past that will always be murky.

I was myself opposed to capital punishment most of my life. And when I changed my view, I nevertheless held that it was poor tactics so to insist upon it, that it comes to dominate and emotionalize all discussion of crime and punishment.

The wisdom of restricting ourselves to Christian inspiration – to what can be apprehended in Scripture and Tradition from our beginnings – was previously understood. Perhaps the greatest (and most monstrous) achievement of modernity was to unhinge this.

Christ did not teach for his place and time. He taught for all places and all times. If we acknowledge that He was and remains "very God of very God" (et cetera), we acknowledge that He had the power to foresee all exigencies. He taught nothing that would need to be "updated."

"Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's." The statement was not some passing tactical feint. It embodies the whole Catholic attitude to the worldly.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Robert Royal

Opinion, ,

Rocked by scandals, the Vatican should cancel the pro-LGBT World Meeting of Families

Robert Royal
By Robert Royal

August 3, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – Last week, a highly influential Italian magazine, Famiglia Cristiana, put on its cover Matteo Salvini, the head of one of the two major parties now jointly running the Italian government. Both parties – one Right, the other Left (actually a vaguely anarchic creation of comedian Beppe Grillo) – advocate sharp controls on illegal immigration. As do the majority of Italians and people in other European countries where illegal immigration has become overwhelming. For that, Salvini – a professed Catholic – was compared to Satan in a blaring headline: "Get behind me, Salvini!"

This is neither a personal nor an ideological attack, says the cover: "It's a question of the Gospel."

One may be forgiven for thinking, rather, it's a question of profound unseriousness on the part of a Catholic magazine that ought to know better, the very same unseriousness that continues to distract large parts of the Church from something diabolically serious – and contrary to the Gospel – just now.

Like other political questions, immigrants and refugees present a serious issue, on which several different Christian approaches are perfectly compatible with the Gospel. You may, as Pope Francis has done, argue that we have an obligation to accept as many refugees as we can, prudently (his word).

And by that same principle, you may find it prudent – if your country is being inundated – to seek other ways of solving the crisis, as some European governments have already been doing, by helping countries to create opportunities and to retain their own young people (which is to say their future). And to prevent dangerous and illegal crossings of the Mediterranean.

Either way, you are involved in political deliberation, not diabolical opposition to the Gospel.

You want diabolical? As many of us have been saying for decades, Catholic politicians around the world have supported allowing the direct killing of innocents in abortion and euthanasia. One American Catholic, then-Vice President Joe Biden, actually performed a "wedding" for two men in 2016 – which seems to have been his way of daring the American bishops to do something. They didn't.

Somehow such figures never seem to show up on the covers of influential Catholic publications with headlines suggesting they are doing the work of Satan. And we haven't really started yet to take the measure of those passive bishops who averted their eyes when their fellows have been involved in cover-ups of horrific abuse and – demonically in some cases – perpetrated abuse themselves.

Indeed, it will be interesting to see if ex-Cardinal McCarrick or a host of diabolical malefactors in Chile and Honduras, America and Rome, and many cases in nations yet to come are publicly chastised in Catholic publications as we come to know the extent of a deadly element within the Church.

Claims of innocence are not going to be enough any longer, nor the protections of the old-boy networks. Take the case of Cardinal Kevin Farrell, one-time auxiliary bishop of Washington D.C., who claims, implausibly, not to have known anything irregular about McCarrick, with whom he lived for six years.

Perhaps he means to say that he did not know about the specific cases: the settlements that were paid to two men, or the underage victim who has come forward. But the beach house, the seminary gropings, etc. He didn't know about what everyone else had heard?

It seems highly unlikely, though it's just barely possible. And if so – a big if – Cardinal Farrell himself may now become a victim of McCarrick's evil deeds. Farrell will be one of the speakers at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin later this month. [I will be there too, speaking at a parallel event organized by Lumen Fidei. We'll be bringing you reports here at TCT on both events.] Whether he's to blame or not, his credibility as head of the new Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life has been damaged. And will not be restored unless there's a thorough investigation of what he and others knew – and didn't know.

And the same goes now for many Church figures around the world.

The Dublin meeting is taking place at a time when the Church is heading into yet another dark time. The scandal reaches to the highest levels of the Vatican. Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, a member of the pope's own council of nine cardinals, may – like McCarrick – have to resign as secular authorities pursue him for cover-up of abuse. A Chilean commission is threatening to rescind the citizenship of his successor, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, an Italian who received Chilean citizenship a decade ago.

And all this is just the barest beginning of what inevitably will be a wave of charges and investigations in many places, including the Vatican, now that the process has really started.

Pope Francis mishandled the Chilean situation, but he is not to blame for this widespread crisis, which goes back decades. St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict tried to get a grip on it – Benedict laicized 400 priests as pope – but also failed in several ways. The current divisions in the Church over the pope's initiatives should not lead us to waste time and energy on assigning blame. We need swift, broad, deep action, and support for the pope in any good steps he takes.

It won't happen, but the Church would do well to cancel the Dublin gathering and instead lead a two-day procession of public penitence for what has happened, in Ireland as well. And make it an annual thing. And while we're at it, instead of discussing LGBTs and varied "forms of families" in Dublin and at the upcoming Synod on Youth in October, the Church should put such matters on hold, and clean up its own house first.

The mission of the Church is holiness, which does not preclude social engagement, to be sure, since solidarity and love of neighbor are like unto the primary command: to love the Lord. But there's a sharp reckoning coming now. It's reckless to ignore it.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Pope Francis speaks to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Oct. 11, 2017. L’Osservatore Romano
Roberto de Mattei


Whoever says death penalty is evil in itself ‘falls into heresy’: Church historian

Roberto de Mattei
By Roberto de Mattei

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The lawfulness of the death penalty is a truth de fide tenenda, defined by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church, in a constant and unequivocal manner. Whoever affirms that capital punishment is in itself an evil, falls into heresy.

The teaching of the Church was clearly expressed in a letter dated December 18, 1208, in which Innocent III condemned the Waldensian position with these words, reported by Denzinger:

De potestate saeculari asserimus, quod sine peccato mortali potest iudicium sanguinis exercere, dummodo ad inferendam vindictam non odio, sed iudicio, non incaute, sed consulte procedat” (Enchiridion symbolorum,definitionum et declaratium de rebus fidei et morum, edited by Peter Hünermann S.J., n. 795).

That is: “With regard to the secular power, we affirm that it can exercise a judgment of blood without mortal sin, provided that in carrying out the punishment it proceeds, not out of hatred, but judiciously, not in a precipitous manner, but with caution.” (Innocent III, DS 795/425).

The same position was reaffirmed by the Catechism of the Council of Trent (Part III, n. 328), by the Major Catechism of Saint Pius X (Part III, n. 413) and by the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2267). Pope Francis has now signed a rescript which modifies the Catechism with this new formulation:

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,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

According to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the new text follows in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II, in the encyclical Evangelium vitae, but there is a radical difference. John Paul II, in Evangelium vitae, holds that the Church, in the current historical circumstances, ought to favor the abolition of the death penalty, but he affirms that the death penalty is not unjust per se, and the commandment “You shall not kill” has absolute value only “when it refers to the innocent person” (nos. 56-57). Pope Francis instead considers capital punishment inadmissible in itself, openly denying a truth infallibly defined by the ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

To justify this change, an appeal is made to changed sociological conditions. In Pope Francis’ rescript, it says:

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.

However, the notion of “human dignity” does not change depending on historical times and circumstances, just as the moral significance of justice and punishment does not change. Pius XII explains that when the State resorts to the death penalty, it does not claim to be the master of human life, but only recognizes that the criminal, through a kind of moral suicide, has deprived himself of the right to life. According to Pope Pius XII:

Even when it comes to the execution of one sentenced to death, the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. It is then reserved to the public authority to deprive the condemned of the ‘good’ of life, in expiation of his fault, after he has deprived himself of his ‘right’ to life for his crime. (Address to Participants in the International Histopathology of the Nervous System Conference, Sunday, September 14, 1952, n. 28)

For their part, theologians and moralists over the centuries, from St. Thomas Aquinas to St. Alphonsus de Liguori, have explained how the death penalty is  justified not only by the need to protect the community, but also has a retributive character, in that it restores a violated moral order, and an expiatory value, as with the death of the Good Thief, which united him to the supreme sacrifice of Our Lord. 

Pope Francis’ new rescript expresses that theological evolutionism, condemned by Saint Pius X in Pascendi, and by Pius XII in Humani generis, which has nothing to do with the homogeneous development of doctrine treated of by Cardinal John Henry Newman. The condition for the development of dogma is, in fact, that the new theological statements do not contradict the previous teaching of the Church, but limit themselves to making it explicit and deepening it.

Finally, as in the case of the condemnation of contraception, we are not dealing here with theological opinions that may legitimately be debated, but with moral truths that belong to the Depositum fidei, and that therefore must be accepted in order to remain Catholic. We hope that theologians and the Pastors of the Church will intervene as soon as possible to publicly correct this latest grave error of Pope Francis. 

Roberto de Mattei is an Italian historian and president of the Lepanto Foundation. He has taught at various universities and has served as vice-president of the National Research Council, Italy’s leading scientific institution. 

Translation from the Italian by Diane Montagna

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Never Trump columnist George Will: Pro-lifers voting for Trump is ‘defensible’

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By Jonathon van Maren

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The unlikely ascent of Donald J. Trump from Manhattan billionaire to the Oval Office is a fascinating and complex story, and his rise has left very few neutral bystanders. Nearly everyone has a strong opinion on the 45th president of the United States, from the perpetually distraught progressives of the Left to the still-skeptical old-guard conservatives of the Right. Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, have for the most part only seen their loyalty deepen—especially social conservatives who have seen their gamble on a Trump presidency consistently paying off

It has been particularly interesting to see men who have been long-time friends take such opposite views of Trump. Conrad Black, for example, has recently written a biography titled Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other, in which he dismisses much of Never Trump criticisms as so much fussing over appearances. When I asked him last month whether discussions between himself and old friends like George Will and David Frum on Donald Trump are productive, Black responded in the negative. “The whole thing is rather painful,” he told me. “I mean, some of these people are very close friends of mine and we just can’t discuss that. There’s just no point to it. They are not rational on the subject.” 

The issue I am primarily interested in as someone who works in the pro-life movement, of course, is abortion. I pointed out that Donald Trump had been supportive of abortion until just before the launch of his political career, and discovered that Conrad Black (who knows Trump personally) had a rather simple analysis of it all. “He went on television and gave a guarded comment when asked about partial-birth abortion, having no clue what it was,” Black replied. “But once he found out what it was, he was opposed to it.” Based on Trump’s description of late-term abortion during a debate with Clinton as ripping “the baby out of the womb of the mother,” Black may be right.

On the other side of the Trump question, I’ve been wondering for some time what the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will thinks about the political pro-life movement’s gamble on Donald Trump. George Will is a staunch pro-lifer, and some of his most powerful writing has been on abortion—I first read his columns on abortion culture years ago. He is also one of Trump’s most eloquent and magnificently contemptuous critics, someone who finds Trump simply unfit for office and has employed all of his impressive rhetorical talent in pointing that out. He has even advised Americans to vote the Republicans out in November. And yet, many pro-lifers voted for Trump because the other option was Hillary Clinton. What does Will think of their choice?

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to pose this question to George Will myself when he was kind enough to agree to an interview on conservatism in the Trump era. We discussed a wide range of issues, and then I posed the question I’d been wondering about. “Pro-life voters in the United States are generally single-issue voters,” I noted. “They look at the sixty million aborted babies as a historic injustice, and regardless of what other infelicities a candidate might have, they are worth voting for on the chance that they might in some way mitigate that injustice or start to put in place justices that will lead to abortion being ended. To what degree was the pro-life movement’s gamble on Trump a justified or understandable one, in your view?”

Will barely paused. “If you are a single-issue pro-life voter, it was a defensible vote,” he replied. “Because the Supreme Court took custody of the abortion issue, removing it from normal political give-and-take with Roe v. Wade in 1973. Therefore, the Constitution’s Article III courts are everything to such a single-issue voter. So I understand that.” Will went on to disagree with Black and say that there is no indication that Trump is actually pro-life, and to voice his suspicion that even a conservative Supreme Court would decline to overturn Roe v. Wade (something many pro-life activists also fear.) But I had my answer: Even one of Trump’s fiercest critics was willing to say that for those who place the defence of pre-born babies as their highest priority, a vote for Trump was defensible.

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Flashback: Pope condemns ‘horrendous crime’ of sodomy, hands guilty clerics to secular authorities

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The year was 1568, but the situation in the Catholic Church was uncomfortably similar to our own. After many decades of corruption and moral decadence, the Church faced the scandal of a clergy who were widely reputed to be involved in the “horrendous crime” of sodomy. When the saintly Pope Pius V was elected in in 1566, he decided to act.  

Since the middle of the 15th century, the papacy had been mired in almost continuous scandal as wealthy and powerful Italian families vied for control of the Holy See and the lucrative benefices it controlled. The mentality and behavior of the pontiffs was ostentatiously worldly, and they became infamous throughout Europe for their nepotistic exploitation of ecclesiastical and governmental offices. Their spending on expensive art and frivolous entertainments brought the papacy close to bankruptcy. Some were even credibly accused of bribing the cardinals to secure their election, and of selling cardinal appointments.

This atmosphere of moral mediocrity and laxity was accompanied by an increasing problem with sexual immorality among the clergy, and particularly the practice of sodomy.

The problem even seemed to have reached the papacy during the wretched pontificate of Julius III, who in 1550 appointed a teenage boy of uncertain parentage as his “cardinal nephew,” giving him powers roughly equivalent to today’s Cardinal Secretary of State, one of the highest positions in the Vatican.

The young Cardinal Innocenzo Ciocchi Del Monte, who had no formal education and was completely unfit for his post, was strongly rumored to share the pope’s bed, and his strange appointment and relationship with the pontiff were openly derided in Rome. Following the death of his papal patron in 1555, Innocenzo was accused of both rape and murder, and suffered multiple banishments to monasteries. He died in isolation and obscurity, having never achieved social acceptance from the other cardinals.

Pope Pius V immediately sought to address the crisis upon his accession to the papal throne. In 1566, the year of his election, he issued a reform bull, Cum primum, which sought to suppress clerical vice, including sodomy. In paragraph 11, the bull stated, “If anyone perpetrates the nefarious crime against nature, because of which the wrath of God came up on the children of unbelief, they are to be turned over to the secular court, and if they are a cleric, they are to be stripped of all [clerical] order and to be subjected to a similar penalty.” However, this provision appears not to have had the effect desired by the pontiff.

Two years later, Pope Pius V issued a new decree directed solely against the practice of sodomy among the clergy. It was titled Horrendum illud scelus – “That horrendous crime,” for which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God.

“That horrendous crime, for which polluted and filthy cities were burned by the frightful judgment of God, pains Us most bitterly, and gravely stirs our soul, so that, insofar as it is possible, we might strive to crush it,” wrote Pius.

Pius noted that the Third Lateran Council (1179) had decreed that those clerics guilty of sodomy, the crime for which “the wrath of God came upon the children of unbelief,” were to be confined in monasteries or be removed from the clerical order altogether. However, the pope expressed his concern that such a penalty was too mild, particularly for those who “do not fear the death of the soul.”

“Lest the contagion of such a disgrace, from the hope of impunity – which is the greatest incentive to sin – strengthen in boldness, we have decided that the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime are to be more gravely punished, so that the avenger of the civil laws, the secular sword, might certainly deter those who do not fear the death of the soul,” wrote Pius.

He therefore decreed that “any and all priests and other secular and regular Clergy of whatever grade and dignity who practice such a dire sin we deprive of every clerical privilege, and of every Ecclesiastical office, dignity, and benefit, by the authority of the present canon,” and added that  they should then be “handed over to the secular power, which may exact from them that same punishment that is received by laity who have fallen into this ruin, which is found to be constituted in legitimate ordinances.”

At that time, the “legitimate ordinances” of many jurisdictions in Europe decreed death, castration, or forfeiture of one’s property for the crime of sodomy.

Click here to learn about St. Peter Damian’s struggle against an epidemic of sodomy and corruption among the clergy of the eleventh century, a story with great relevance for the Catholic Church today.

Pius V’s decree was the latest of a long line of canons and decrees issued by the Catholic Church to penalize sexual immorality, both among the clergy and the laity. Since the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church had provided various penalties for those clerics and religious who committed homosexual acts and other crimes of sexual perversion. Early canon law required those guilty of such acts to do long penances while under an interdict from receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion. Some canons specified that penance be performed in a monastery, while others mentioned degradation from the clerical state.

In 1049, in response to a letter from St. Peter Damian alerting him to an epidemic of sodomy among priests and monks, Pope St. Leo IX responded with a letter condemning the behavior and determining that the worst perpetrators must be removed from the clerical state, while others must do penances in accordance with the traditional canons.

In the thirteenth century an ecumenical council took up the issue. The Third Lateran Council (1179) decreed: “Let all who are found guilty of that unnatural vice for which the wrath of God came down upon the sons of disobedience and destroyed the five cities with fire, if they are clerics be expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance; if they are laymen they are to incur excommunication and be completely separated from the society of the faithful.”

However, Pope St. Pius V’s decree was the strongest of all, requiring all clergy guilty of such behavior to lose their titles and their clerical state, and to be turned over to the secular authorities for punishments normally only given to laity. This was a particularly difficult punishment for clergy to endure, given that they normally enjoyed the right to an ecclesiastical trial and penalty for any infractions of the law that they might commit.

Below is my complete translation of Pope St. Pius V’s Horrendum illud scelus, which can also be found in PDF form here:

P  I  U  S ,  B  I  S  H  O  P

Servant of the Servants of God: For perpetual memory

That horrendous crime, for which polluted and filthy cities were burned by the frightful judgment of God, pains Us most bitterly, and gravely stirs our soul, so that, insofar as it is possible, we might strive to crush it.

§ I. It is reasonably established in the [Third] Lateran Council that any Clerics who are discovered in that act of incontinence that is against nature, because of which the wrath of God came upon the children of unbelief, should be expelled from the clergy, or be cast into monasteries for the purpose of doing penance.

§ 2. However, lest the contagion of such a disgrace, from the hope of impunity – which is the greatest incentive to sin – strengthen in boldness, we have decided that the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime are to be more gravely punished, so that the avenger of the civil laws, the secular sword, might certainly deter those who do not fear the death of the soul.

§ 3. And therefore, seeking to more completely and forcefully pursue what We already decreed regarding this matter at the beginning of our Pontificate, any and all priests and other secular and regular Clergy of whatever grade and dignity who practice such a dire sin we deprive of every clerical privilege, and of every Ecclesiastical office, dignity, and benefit, by the authority of the present canon. So that, having been degraded by Ecclesiastical Judgment, they may be handed over to the secular power, which may exact from them that same punishment that is received by laity who have fallen into this ruin, which is found to be constituted in legitimate ordinances.

“Nulli ergo, etc.” (Note: The Nulli ergo is a reference to a standard clause following many papal bulls that read, roughly, as follows: “Let no one whosoever infringe this page of our declaration or to dare to oppose it.” It is normally followed by the Si quis clause, which reads, “If, however, anyone attempts to do so, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of his holy Apostles Peter and Paul.” Often only the first two words of the clause are given in reference works like the Magnum Bullarium Romanum, followed by “etc.”)

Given at St. Peter’s in Rome, in the year of the incarnation of the Lord 1568, on the third Kalends of September (August 30), in the third year of our Pontificate.



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Pope’s change to Catechism is not just a prudential judgment, but a rejection of dogma

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In the avalanche of reactions to Pope Francis’s audacious move to modify the Catechism so that it says the opposite of what the Church and every published catechism had ever taught before, there is one line of argument that has surfaced a great deal: “Pope Francis is not making a doctrinal statement about the illegitimacy always and everywhere of the death penalty but merely a prudential judgment about the inopportuneness of its use at this time in history.”

In a recent article, Dr Alan Fimister correctly points out that even if this reading were plausible, the Pope has overstepped his jurisdiction by offering an opinion about a contingent matter of political judgment, which is the proper realm of the laity and not of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, as per the teaching of the Magisterium (e.g., Leo XIII in Immortale Dei).

As much as I might wish that this interpretation of the papal “correction” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church were true, I cannot concur with it, because it fails to do justice to the actual presentation of the new teaching in the revised text of 2267. Let us take each paragraph:

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.

The implication here is that it used to be thought—indeed, by everyone in the Catholic tradition—that capital punishment could be employed by a legitimate authority. But such a thing can be thought no more. And why?

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.

Today, in modern times—so the argument goes—we have made a new discovery, foreign to the earlier philosophical and theological tradition, that human persons have a dignity that cannot be lost, no matter what crime they may commit. This is certainly a surprising claim to make, as, on the one hand, the truth of the metaphysical dignity that consists in being made to the image and likeness of God is present from the first page of the Bible and has been universally upheld by all Catholic philosophers and theologians of all centuries, and, on the other hand, the moral dignity that consists in living in accordance with that image and likeness can obviously be lost by serious crime. One can never forfeit the right to be treated as a person, but one can forfeit the right to be included as a member of civil society. It is the same with supernatural dignity: a baptized person is forever a Christian, distinguished from the non-baptized by the sacramental character indelibly marked on the essence of his soul; but a Christian enjoys the further dignity of being an adopted son of God so long as he is in a state of sanctifying grace, and thus the one who commits mortal sin forfeits this dignity and, if he dies in that state, will suffer the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.

This second paragraph, although it mentions the contingent issue of reliable systems of detention, is advancing the view that we are now aware of an intrinsic and inalienable dignity of the human person that must be respected to the point of never utilizing the death penalty. In other words, the Catholic tradition prior to Francis failed to recognize this dignity and contradicted it in practice by using (or defending the use of) capital punishment. This claim is, to use the classic language of theological censures, at very least temerarious, and more likely proximate to heresy.

Then comes the conclusion Francis has been driving towards:

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,” and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

All doubt of the nature of this novel teaching is removed by this final paragraph. The reason “the Church” now declares the death penalty “inadmissible”—let us give this word its full force: unable to be admitted, incapable of entry (and this is said without qualification of time or place)—is that “it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” It is, in and of itself, contrary to human dignity and the human good. The death penalty is wrong, not because we have better detention systems, and not because modern governments are already too cavalier in their treatment of human life (which is unfortunately true). It is wrong because the “the light of the Gospel” shows us that it goes against something always and everywhere true, namely, the inviolable dignity of the person.

If this is not a philosophical and theological assertion, I do not know what is. If this is not intended to be a magisterial statement about what is intrinsically right and wrong, I do not know what is. In short, the replacement text for 2267 leaves no room for maintaining that the Pope is recommending a shift in policy or a temporary adjustment. He is indeed promoting a shift in policy—nothing short of “worldwide abolition.” But he is doing so because he believes that the thing in itself is and cannot but be wrong.

This is precisely where he himself is wrong and can be known to be wrong, for two reasons.

First, there is no need to beat around the bush: this new teaching is simply contrary to what the Church has always officially taught. One example among a thousand, taken from the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, will suffice to illustrate the traditional doctrine:

The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thou shalt not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives. In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps 101:8).

A dogmatic theologian cited yesterday at OnePeterFive explains:

In the case of the dogma of the intrinsic morality of the death penalty, the denial of this dogma is formally heretical, since it contradicts a doctrine which is contained in divine revelation and which has been proposed as such by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church.

That is, to state that the death penalty is inadmissible for theoretical reasons, as we have seen is the Pope’s position, is contrary to established dogma, and therefore formally heretical.

Second, the new teaching requires a false understanding of “development of doctrine,” the wand that enables a magisterial magician to put a frog in the hat and pull out a rabbit. As the letter from the CDF cheerfully and blusteringly tells us: “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.” Voila, just like that—a rescript rabbit!

But the letter gives away too much. For it claims that the new statement is a development of doctrine, so it is not just a “prudential matter,” a “juridical matter” as some would have it, but a matter of what is true always and everywhere: it is the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the death penalty, not its recommended social policy. This logically requires that “inadmissibility” be a roundabout way of saying illegitimacy, and therefore, immorality. (Would not a Catholic who continued to espouse the death penalty, or who meted it out, or who administered it, now have to be considered to be acting immorally?)

The Pope has thus avoided the easy road. He could have said “This is not expedient” and left it at that, as did John Paul II. But he chose the high road: “This is now Catholic doctrine, as more fully understood in our times.” As Fr. Zuhlsdorf commented yesterday, the notion of the development of doctrine in play is clearly not that of John Henry Newman, for whom development refines and expands, but does not undermine or reject, what was taught earlier. When a later teaching departs from an earlier one, it is a corruption, not a development.

Pope Francis is obviously and sadly wedded to a conception of papal authority that has little to do with the First Vatican Council’s articulation of the papacy’s inherently conservative nature, by which it receives and transmits, in its integrity, the apostolic faith as it passes through the ages—growing in expression, yes, but not morphing into something different or opposed to itself. Tragically, by functioning as a doctrinal maverick, the pope offers to Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and the entire world the spectacle of a papacy that confirms rather than denies the familiar anti-Catholic caricature of papal positivism and hyperultramontanism that reasonable and faithful people could do nothing other than reject.

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