All articles from August 7, 2018


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We must ‘eradicate’ Church’s gay networks to fight sex abuse: moral theologian

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By Lisa Bourne

August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The allegations of sexual misconduct made public in June against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick finally brought the decades-old open secret of the disgraced former cardinal’s sexually abusive behavior out in the open – also raising the question of the extent of the abuse, and how it was enabled and covered up by other U.S. prelates.

At the same time the exposure of “Uncle Ted” and his impressive rise in the Church – all while he apparently targeted young boys, seminarians and priests - bared as well the phenomenon of gay networks within the clergy of the Catholic Church.

Professor Janet Smith, a moral theologian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, addressed the subject of homosexual networks in the Church on Facebook this week, saying that doing away with them is necessary to restore the priesthood.

“Many people think the sexual scandal in the Church is that bishops knew about McCarrick and did nothing about it,” Smith said. “And too many clerics and laity think if a few heads roll, and some mechanism for reporting vicious bishops is put in place, we can move beyond this.”

“WRONG!” the theologian said. “The deeper problem is the presence of homosexual networks in the Church -- likely in dioceses all over the world and certainly in the Curia.”

Active homosexuality is not the only sinful conduct priests partake in, Smith said, but it is fundamental to addressing all clerical depravity.

“Yes, there are lots of other immoral behaviors - adultery, greed, luxuriousness, clericalism and substance abuse, for instance, that need to be addressed,” she stated, “but first things first.”

“Eradicating the homosexual networks from the Church would do a lot to purging the Church of immoral priests,” said Smith, “and doing so should help us get at the other problems.”

McCarrick allegations helped to shed light on the crisis

Reports have persisted for years of homosexual networks at varying levels within the Church up to and including the Roman Curia, whether labeled a “homosexual underground,” the “lavender” or “gay mafia.” The networks are said to protect and promote those clergy among and sympathetic to them, and punish those priests or seminarians who are not.

It wasn’t until McCarrick’s “time’s up” moment that broader light has been shown on the matter.

McCarrick was removed from public ministry June 20 over a credible allegation he molested an altar boy 50 years ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York.

The Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark, both in New Jersey, had gotten three allegations of sexual misconduct by McCarrick with adults decades ago.

Two of the allegations resulted in settlements.

Additional allegations against McCarrick have since surfaced. And numerous bishops and cardinals with ties to McCarrick have rushed to deny all knowledge of his abuse.

Numerous statements about the McCarrick scandal and the larger sex abuse crisis in the Church from individual bishops and their collective legislative body, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have yet to allay resulting questions, concerns, anger and frustration among Catholic laity.

Smith told LifeSiteNews the reason that homosexual networks must be addressed before any other corrupt conduct is that the networks do more to impede the work of the Church than priests involved in other kinds of immoral behavior. 

“They tend to protect each other and advance each other,” Smith said. “That can mean that sometimes the best priests and talents are prevented from assuming positions of responsibility.”

“We are receiving reports of seminarians and young priests who have been preyed upon by active homosexual priests and who have received no help from their bishops and have sometimes been silenced,” she continued. “How many good young men have not survived seminary or the priesthood for these reasons? How many young men won't even consider the priesthood for fear of entering such an environment?” 

It’s not about pedophilia

The Catholic Church sexual abuse crisis has by and large been mislabeled by the media and mistaken in the perceptions of many Catholics as an issue of pedophilia – the psychiatric disorder where an adult or older adolescent has sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

The Church’s own statistics on the abuse crisis indicate a vast prevalence of homosexual abuse of teenage boys.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice study of sex-abuse complaints commissioned by the USCCB in 2004 found that in more than 5,000 incidents, 81 percent involved priests with young male victims, and of the young male victims, 90 percent were teenage boys.

The report said as well that, “A very small percentage of the priests who had allegations of abuse were motivated by pathological disorders such as pedophilia.”

The USCCB’s National Review Board had also stated at the time that although the sex abuse crisis had no single cause, “an understanding of the crisis is not possible” without reference to “the presence of homosexually oriented priests.” The board had cited the data that “eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”

Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a member of the National Review Board, stated clearly what the problem was in an August 25, 2006 National Catholic Register editorial.

McHugh said that the John Jay study had revealed a crisis of “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”

The abuse statistics in a subsequent John Jay report affirmed the same.

Dodging the problem

Despite the data, the U.S. Church has failed to actively identify or address the issue of homosexual clergy, let alone power networks comprised of them.

The USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, produced at the Bishops’ semi-annual meeting in Dallas in 2002 after the sex abuse scandal first broke, focuses entirely on sexual abuse of minors and priests as perpetrators.

It does not address sexual misconduct with anyone over the age of 18, nor that of a priest carrying out sexual activity, non-consensual or not, with another man. And it does not contain provisions for bishops who either abuse or cover for abusers.

Various documents from the Vatican, along with Popes Benedict and Francis and other high-ranking prelates have all affirmed over several years the Church’s prohibition of individuals with homosexual tendencies being admitted to the seminary or to receiving holy orders.

“The crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior”

Veteran Catholic journalist Phil Lawler wrote about the clergy sex abuse scandal 10 years ago in his book The Faithful Departed, addressing the homosexuality component.

“Even if homosexual priests are no more likely than heterosexuals to violate their vows, however, it stands to reason that if and when they do engage in sexual activity, their partners are more likely to be male,” Lawler wrote. “Thus the sex-abuse scandal had serious implications for the debate on homosexuality.”

“Yet the National Review Board, in its first major report on the crisis, did not shrink from the obvious conclusion,” he added. "That 815 of the reported victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior."

“No place” in Church for those who call out “failure of the bishops”

Joseph Sciambra researches and writes extensively about homosexuality in the Church, and performs regular outreach for active homosexuals at Pride events.

After reporting abuse he witnessed at a religious community in California where he lived and worked before the scandal broke in 2002 he said he was treated like a liar by the local ordinary.

Subpoenaed to testify later when someone else sued the community, details about Sciambra’s past that would have only been known from his confessions with the priests were revealed in court.

“I have tried in all earnestness and charity to have a discussion with several bishops about the issue of gay-affirmative ministries within their dioceses,” Sciambra wrote in May – before the McCarrick scandal broke widely. “The universal reaction has been similar to what I experienced when I tried to report sex abuse – they throw up the shield, get a glazed look on their face and treat you like the enemy.”

“There is no place in the Catholic Church for someone who won’t be silent about the failure of the bishops to address this issue,” he said.

“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,” Father Edwin Palka wrote regarding the sex abuse crisis in a recent parish bulletin. Palka, pastor of Tampa, Florida's Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, followed up in more detail about his comments in another article the following week.

“I would rather err by protecting young men and women from weak clergy”

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M.Cap., spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity in Denver, said the incorrect interpretation of the John Jay study to say the Church’s sex abuse crisis was one of pedophilia made the focus on protecting pre-pubescent children, enabling “the problem of homosexuality among bishops to escape the notice of the Catholic Church almost entirely.”

Good bishops must speak up, he said in a recent blog post. Further, individuals who have been at all homosexually active must not be admitted to seminary, and seminarians must be able to refrain from impure thoughts or masturbation for at least a year before advancing to holy orders or religious life.

“There are those who will say that this regulation is too strict and unfair to homosexual and heterosexual young men who want to study for the priesthood,” Scanlon wrote. “But, if I am going to err, I would rather err by protecting young men and women from weak clergy, rather than risking their spiritual and psychological safety by being too lenient and wrapped up in consideration of political correctness and the so-called rights of homosexual and heterosexual weak priestly candidates.”

“No one has a right to be a priest or religious,” said Scanlon. “The Church must choose candidates for the priesthood and religious life based on what is best for the people —- not the desires or aspirations of the candidate.”

“We are sending seminarians into a corrupt Church”

Smith told LifeSiteNews she knows of many people with ideas on how the homosexual networks can be addressed, and that some sort of lay effort in response should soon coalesce. 

“Laity will be putting pressure on bishops to eradicate any homosexual network in their dioceses,” she said, “and eventually to work on eradicating other problems such as adulterous priests or substance abusers.” 

She clarified that "eradicate" does not in all instances mean asking for retirement, resignations, or laicizations. It may mean some of those things, she said, but if some priests sincerely repent and are willing to seek help and live true chastity, accommodations may be made. 

Smith added that there is great consolation that many seminaries are now addressing questions of achieving true chastity and forming seminarians with a love for Adoration and other devotions.

“Most seminaries have come a long way in the last 15 years but we are sending them into a corrupt Church,” she said. “One thing we will need to work on is forming seminarians to be bold and not to be afraid to challenge those who behave immorally, even those above them.”

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Pro-lifers denounce FDA for buying ‘fresh’ aborted baby parts for experiments on mice

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By Calvin Freiburger

SILVER SPRING, Maryland, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life leaders are outraged over revelations that the federal government continues to use human tissue from abortions in medical experiments, according to documents highlighted by CNS News.

A June 13, 2018 notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces that the agency has awarded a $15,900 contract to Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), a San Francisco Bay fetal tissue procurement firm, for the purpose of acquiring “Tissue for Humanized Mice.” The contract runs from July 15, 2018 to July 14, 2019.

This is one of eight contracts the FDA has signed with ABR since 2012, according to the U.S. General Services Administration, all for requirements such as “Humanized Mice,” “Human Fetal Tissue,” “Tissue Procurement for Humanized Mice,” or “Human Tissue.” The revelation is particularly concerning in light of ABR’s work with Planned Parenthood in the abortion giant’s 2015 scandal over selling aborted baby parts.

“Fresh human tissues are required for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system,” the latest notice explains. “This human immune system allows us to test biological drug products for safety and efficacy. This is necessary because these drug products do not bind non-human species drug targets.”

Experiments of this nature entail implanting human thymus and liver tissue and injecting stem cells from a human liver into the mouse, according to a 2017 article published in the Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science, resulting in a “mouse with a ‘humanized’ immune system.”

“Fetal tissue used in research is obtained from elective abortions,” the Congressional Research Service said in 2015, explaining that tissue from miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies is rarely used because the “timing or recognition of” such situations often makes the tissue “not suitable for research purposes.”

“[By] issuing a contract to acquire human fetal tissue to use in making mice with human immune systems, the FDA is using federal tax dollars to create a demand for human body parts that must be taken from babies who are aborted,” CNS News’ Terence Jeffrey explained. “Because it would not be able to create its ‘humanized mice’ without fresh tissue taken from aborted babies, the FDA also has an interest in the continuation of legalized abortions at a stage in fetal development when the tissue [...] can be retrieved.”

CNS News posed twenty questions to the FDA about the contract, including questions about what level of knowledge the FDA will have about specific abortions, the number and gestational ages of the babies to be aborted, the abortion methods to be used, and whether any of the abortions will take place at Planned Parenthood facilities.

Instead of providing specific answers, the FDA gave CNS News a statement promising that the agency is “committed to ensuring that its research is conducted responsibly, conforms with all legal requirements, and meets the highest ethical standards,” that it obtains the tissue “from a non-profit Tissue Procurement Organization (TPO) that have provided assurances that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements,” and that it “has in place systems” to ensure all tissue-related research “is in compliance with applicable federal, state and local regulations and guidelines.”

“FDA is not involved in the TPO’s sourcing of the tissue,” the statement stressed. Yet numerous pro-life leaders say the Trump administration should revoke the contract.

“It is unconscionable that the United States government is still paying top-dollar in taxpayer money for the freshest, most high-quality dismembered baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains,” said the Center for Medical Progress, the organization that first exposed Planned Parenthood’s organ trafficking. “HHS must provide full transparency and immediately terminate any and all such contracts, and the U.S. Department of Justice needs to do their job and hold ABR, Planned Parenthood, and those like them accountable to the law.”

Calling it “outrageous that the FDA would aid in the trafficking of aborted baby parts and fetal tissue” and warning that it “not only fosters government-sponsored participation in unethical research but continues use of outdated scientific methods,” Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Research Director Dr. David Prentice said in a statement to LifeSiteNews that the “government should lead in ethics and in science, and should rescind any contracts for or use of aborted fetal tissue.”

“Under no circumstances should the U.S. government be contracting with baby parts dealers like ABR – who have partnered with abortion giant Planned Parenthood – or taxpayers be forced to fund such atrocities,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser declared. “We call on Congress to pass the Roby Amendment to stop taxpayer funding of these repugnant practices and act swiftly to ban them altogether.”

"Every part of this transaction is a tragedy. A woman is driven to abort her baby, too often by coercion or abandonment, and there in the shadows is a government contractor waiting to tear apart the baby's body to deliver pieces in exchange for payment,” Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Legal Studies Cathy Ruse agreed. “The FDA owes the American people an explanation as to how such a contract could have been approved. Americans demand to have a more ethical government--one that does not traffic in the remains of human beings.”

President Donald Trump has actively pursued pro-life policies during his first two years in office, though his signature of March’s $1.3 trillion spending omnibus that continued to fund Planned Parenthood was a disappointment to many pro-lifers. Last December, the Trump Justice Department (DOJ) requested documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of Planned Parenthood, which many took to mean the administration was finally investigating the baby parts scandal. The DOJ has not updated the public on the investigation since then, however.

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Letter exposing McCarrick abuse didn’t stop Cardinal O’Malley from fundraising with him

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By Claire Chretien
Ex-Cardinal McCarrick and Cardinal Sean O'Malley in Cuba

ANALYSIS

August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley continues to be close to the center of the now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sex abuse scandal.

Church Militant discovered that O’Malley invited McCarrick to an archdiocesan fundraiser three months after receiving a letter complaining of McCarrick’s predation. O’Malley runs a new papal commission on preventing child abuse.

Of the damning letter, O’Malley says he “did not personally receive” it.

According to O’Malley, “In keeping with the practice for matters concerning the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston, which was shared with Fr. Ramsey in reply.”

“I have blown the whistle for 30 years without getting anywhere,” Fr. Ramsey told the New York Times as details of McCarrick’s monstrous abuses began to emerge.

O’Malley’s statement, which read more like something from an attorney than a prince of the Church tasked with ridding the clergy of pedophiles, does not indicate whether O’Malley actually knew of the letter’s contents and existence – only that he did not “personally” receive it.

Did Father Robert Kickham, the cardinal’s secretary, really not say anything to his boss about such a shocking allegation made against one of the most well-known cardinals in the U.S.? Why did O’Malley’s staff, if they knew about the abuse allegations that didn’t “fall under [their] purview,” not at least mention it to him before he brought McCarrick in to join him in soliciting funds from Catholics in the northeast?

“Church Militant asked the Boston archdiocese why it would welcome McCarrick to the fundraiser after receiving a letter detailing his serial sex abuse, but did not receive a response as of press time,” the outlet reported. “It remains unclear whether he was also invited to subsequent fundraisers.”

Just days after that fundraising gala, which raised $1.8 million for the Archdiocese of Boston, O’Malley flew to Cuba with McCarrick to join Pope Francis for Mass.

“We had a wonderful group of people including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who had learned about the trip and wanted to go with us as well,” O’Malley wrote on his blog. That blog post features photos of Cuban children that their group met. There are also photos of O’Malley, McCarrick, and other bishops together at Mass.

McCarrick, who was the face of the U.S. bishops’ clerical sex abuse damage-control campaign in 2002 and was known for being an excellent fundraiser, is accused of molesting underage boys and abusing adult male seminarians over whom he had significant authority. The Archdiocese of New York found the allegation McCarrick molested an altar boy 50 years ago credible. Another victim, who had been the first baby McCarrick baptized as a priest, came forward, too, detailing horrific abuse for decades. McCarrick had been a close family friend.

The Dioceses of Trenton, Metuchen, and Newark paid an $80,000 settlement to a former priest who told them of McCarrick’s predatory behavior; another priest received a $100,000 settlement.

The existence of these settlements has raised many questions about which bishops knew about McCarrick and when. Once the news of McCarrick’s abuse and the settlements became public, the current bishops of Metuchen and Newark – Bishop James F. Checchio and Pope Francis-appointed left-wing Cardinal Joseph Tobin – apologized to one of the ex-priests.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who succeeded McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, had his vicar general send a letter to D.C. priests saying Wuerl didn’t know about the settlements until media reports about them. That vicar general, Monsignor Charles Antonicelli, was McCarrick’s secretary when he was the archbishop of Washington.

Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals on July 27.

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LGBTQ+ supporter Lydia Notten received an award from a Catholic college.
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Catholic diocese gives leadership award to pro-LGBT student

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By Lianne Laurence

HAMILTON, Ontario, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario Catholic diocese won’t say why it gave an award for exemplary Catholic leadership to a Catholic university graduate with a Twitter account that abounds with pro-LGBTQIA+ sentiments.

“A decision by the diocese has been made not to participate in the story, not to issue any comment on this,” Hamilton diocesan communication director Pam Aleman told LifeSiteNews.

The Diocese of Hamilton student awards recognize academic excellence and conduct that “exemplifies Catholic leadership qualities, Christian values, and a commitment to service in the community.”

This year’s choice for St. Jerome’s University (SJU), the Catholic college at the University of Waterloo, is Lydia Notten, a graduate of its sexuality, marriage and family studies program.

Notten, who received the award from chancellor Msgr. Murray Kroetsch, is described on the diocesan website as having “fostered a community and culture of equality and human dignity for all.”

But her public Twitter account, as documented below, is devoid of any reference to Catholicism while uncritically promoting the LGBTQIA+ life.

(Perhaps that’s no surprise given that SJU’s sexuality, marriage and family studies department invited transgender activist Sason Bear Bergman to speak at its 2015 symposium. A biological woman who identifies as a trans “man,” and married to J Wallace Skelton, equity adviser for the Toronto District School Board, Bergman infamously wrote in the Huffington Post her goal was “indoctrinate your children into my LGBTQ agenda (And I’m not a bit sorry).”)

Aleman told LifeSiteNews the diocesan student awards, also given to graduates of each Catholic high school, are awarded “on behalf of the diocese, but schools — high schools, universities — they choose who they give this award to.”

St. Jerome’s University (SJU) refused to comment on how it selects its choice for the diocesan award.

“We do not discuss these matters and will not be making comments on our students or graduates,” communications officer Allannah Cormier told LifeSiteNews in an email.

Award winner’s mom pro-LGBT director of education

Notten is the daughter of Loretta Notten, director of education for Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB).

Notten’s mother tweeted her “solidarity with LGBQT” with an image of a rainbow-coloured heart to show empathy for those affected by the tragedy after the June 2016 Orlando gay-night club massacre.

More significantly, Notten sent an email urging students and staff to wear purple shirts and fly school flags at half-mast to “stand up to homophobia and all hate crimes” and be in “solidarity with all LGBTQ persons.”

American writer Joseph Sciambra, who left the homosexual life and returned his Catholic faith 18 years ago, faulted WCDSB for its politically loaded response to the horrific shooting.

“I think it is wonderful and noble for any Catholic to pray for those who died so needlessly in the Orlando massacre, but a Catholic can do this without adopting the vocabulary or the symbols of the modern ‘gay rights’ movement,” he told LifeSiteNews at that time.

Director Notten’s tweet showed she’s either “naive or she has an agenda,” added Sciambra.

“As a Catholic educator, she should have known better,” he said, pointing out that terms such as “gay,” “lesbian,” or “LGBTQ” reduce persons created in the image and likeness of God to no more the sum of their drives and attractions.

Notten’s other daughter, Julianna Notten, is a self-described “queer woman” and  filmmaker, whose film “Erin’s guide to kissing girls,” features a 12-year-old lesbian protagonist.

Director’s predecessor bishops’ pro-sex-ed secretary

Problematic tweets from Waterloo-area Catholics aren’t new.

Indeed, they’ve come from the bishops’ general secretary Roger Lawler, who is also Loretta Notten’s predecessor as WCDSB director of education.

Lawler held the post for 15 years before being hired in September 2014 by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.

Under Lawler’s watch, the WCDSB approved a number of controversial materials for school use and adopted policies that critics said “created an air of tolerance towards active homosexuality,” and which LifeSiteNews documented in detail in 2015.

A partisan Liberal, Lawler tweeted support for former Kathleen Wynne’s controversial sex-ed in 2015, and in 2017 tweeted outrage with American President Trump for rescinding the Mexico City policy and thereby “cut(ting) off family planning for millions of poor women globally” and “reinstat(ing])Reagan-era abortion restrictions.”

ACBO president, London Archbishop Roger Fabbro, did not respond when LifeSiteNews brought these tweets to his attention. Lawler has since made his Twitter account private.

Problematic tweets from diocesan award winner As for Diocese of Hamilton award winner Lydia Notten, she was tweeting support of the LGBTQIA+ agenda as early as 2015:

More recently, Notten tweeted frequent praise of Netflix reality show Queer Eye, in which five homosexual men give lifestyle and beauty advice to “straight” men.

“I am so here for the #Fab5 tearing down toxic masculinity one day at a time,” she tweeted June 20, two days after this:

Listen I know I have been tweeting a lot about @QueerEye lately but a) I firmly believe this show can change the world and b) I have yet to watch an episode where they don't speak directly to my soul c) I need everyone to watch this show

Notten promoted the Queer Eye episode on trans “man” Skyler, retweeting this from Equality California, the “nation’s largest statewide #LGBTQ civil rights organization”: https://twitter.com/eqca/status/1008103194520686594

Notable retweets by Notten include this observation in March 2018 by self-identified queer poet “the one with the ☭ tatto”:

Notten informed followers in June that the “A” in LGBTQIA+ is for “Asexuality” after Melissa Fabello, self-described “body acceptance activist, sexuality scholar, and patriarchy smasher” blasted those who mistakenly assumed it stood for “Allies”:

 

She urged followers on June 22 to sign a Lead Now petition objecting to newly elected Premier Doug Ford’s plan to repeal the sex-ed:

Notten opined the NDP was the best option:

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Terminally ill pro-life teenager forgives online bullies

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WACO, Texas, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Imagine telling a sick teenager that his cancer is giving his mom a late-term abortion.

Online trolls didn’t just imagine this: several of them wrote it on Jeremiah Thomas’ social media -- and elsewhere -- after the story of Jeremiah and the Make a Wish Foundation broke. As his “legacy wish,” Jeremiah asked to speak with the governor of Texas about ending abortion. The hate-filled messages in response have to be seen to be believed.  

But according to his mother, Kendra Thomas, Jeremiah has forgiven them.

“I pity them,” he told her. “To have that much darkness in your heart that you’d want a kid with cancer to die. Makes me wonder what happened to them in their life. It’s a scary place to be -- mentally and spiritually. I pray God would have mercy on them.”

Jeremiah, 16, was diagnosed with bone cancer in March 2018, less than a year after receiving baptism and becoming a teen preacher, witnessing to Christ outside of abortion clinics. When Jeremiah, a star athlete, heard that he had a cancerous tumor on his chest, he thought that his dreams to play college football and to become a minister were over. However, Jeremiah decided that he would continue to preach as long as he could, from his wheelchair.

His most recent video is an example.

“I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth,” Jeremiah said in his open letter, “but with the time that I do have, I want it to count for my God and for my generation.”

“This is my call to my generation: leave it all behind and come back home.”

Jeremiah told young viewers that they had grown up in a culture of death.

“This culture of death I speak of consists of abortion, homosexuality, and suicide. One-third of our generation has been wiped out due to abortion. Over 25 million people have died as a result of AIDS. Even without AIDS, the life expectancy of a homosexual man or women is about 33 years shorter than that of a heterosexual. More young people die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.”

“We have been handed a bill of goods that has completely destroyed us. In our nation, we have chosen death and received the curse.”

He compared teens today with the prodigal son, far from the Father, but like the loving father in the story, God is waiting for them.

“If you suffer from depression,” Jeremiah said, “there is hope in Jesus Christ. … If you’re contemplating suicide or abortion, there’s abundant life to be found in Christ.”

He said abortion was an abomination, turning “mothers into murderers and men into cowards.”

“It is our generation’s duty to rise up and abolish abortion,” Jeremiah declared.

He had a few choice words for left-wing college campus demonstrators “who think they’re fighting the establishment.”

“You ARE the establishment,” he said. “Your professors are liberal. Your parents are probably liberal. Your friends are liberal. The music you listen to is liberal. Hollywood is liberal, so the movies you watch are liberal. So tell me, who or what are you truly rebelling against?”

He said that if students really wanted to be rebels, they should fight for freedom. He held up pro-lifers as “true examples of counter-culture” in their effort to eradicate abortion.

Jeremiah has an upbeat attitude toward those who mock him. “Feels good to be hated for Christ,” he said. “Feels like I’m actually doing something.”

Jeremiah’s father, Rusty Thomas, is the director of pro-life group Operation Save America (formerly known as Operation Rescue).  

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New US bishop blasts ‘silence of so many bishops’ on McCarrick

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By Doug Mainwaring

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, August 7, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – A newly-minted U.S. bishop has pledged to “change the culture among clergy” and “rebuild trust” with the laity in reaction to the ex-Cardinal McCarrick sexual abuse scandal. 

Bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri, the Most Rev. W. Shawn McKnight, S.T.D., issued a statement to his diocese which in a few words expresses the strong, if not visceral, reaction experienced by many lay people, but which has been mostly absent in the trickle of statements by other more seasoned U.S. cardinals and bishops.

“Your warm welcome of me contrasts sharply with the sting of the recent reports of scandal regarding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the silence of so many bishops who knew about him,” began Bishop McKnight.  

“It is almost unbearable,’ he said. “How could a brother bishop disrespect with such callousness the dignity of young boys, seminarians and priests over decades and no one called him on the carpet?” 

“It is inexplicable to me,” he continued.  “This cannot continue, and I hope with God’s grace there will be a change of culture among the clergy.” 

Bishop McKnight’s predecessor had lost the trust of many faithful Catholics in the diocese by pushing the LGBT agenda into diocesan schools. Pro-family leaders have argued that the LGBT movement attacks and corrupts children with a sexual ideology contrary to God’s plan for humanity. 

Last year, former Jefferson City Bishop John Gaydos defended a proposed plan to allow transgender-identifying students to register in diocesan schools, insisting to priests in an internal memo that it promotes Catholic moral teaching. He dismissed opposition and subsequent media reporting as “public furor” coming from “outside our diocese.” He also called the pushback “falsehoods” and a “misinformation campaign.”

His policy aimed to allow students who identify as "transgender" or “LGBTQ” or who live with same-sex couples to attend its schools. 

A draft version of the policy stated that administrators in the diocese were “looking carefully and deeply at the question of human sexuality and the development of the human person in the light of students who identify as LGBTQ, students being raised by same-sex parents and those in non-traditional marriage.”

The proposed diocesan plan caused significant controversy among members of the diocese. They charged that it was covertly drafted by members of diocesan leadership, parts of it conflicted with Church teaching, and that it embraced gender ideology and immoral sexual behavior. Critics also say it would put children in diocesan schools at risk.

Catholic families in the diocese were upset as well that no parents or pastors with parish schools were consulted in crafting the “Pastoral Process of Accompaniment and Dialogue.”

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Parents of trans teens sue Ohio judge for refusing to approve gender-confused name changes

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By Calvin Freiburger

CLEVELAND, Ohio, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Three Ohio mothers are suing a probate judge in Warren County for telling them he won’t approve their gender-confused children’s attempts to legally change their names until they’re legal adults.

Stephanie Whitaker, Jennifer Saul, and a woman identified only as Jane Doe all have teenage children they say are receiving both therapy and medical treatment for gender dysphoria. The mothers say both they and their children’s doctors support changing their names, WCPO reports.

However, they’re suing Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby in federal court for what they say is a legally-unfounded pattern of hostility to such requests. The lawsuit (which can be read in full here) alleges that Kirby has flouted standard procedure by assigning transgender name change hearings to himself while delegating more routine name-change cases to magistrate judges.

Notably, Whitaker’s child is the only one of the three to actually have been denied so far, with Saul’s hearing set for August 14 and Doe’s not yet filed.

“Forcing children to wait until they’re 18 to change their names increases their risk of being outed and bullied, having violence perpetrated against them and having depressive symptoms,” their attorney Joshua Langdon told NBC News. He claimed the name changes were important for documents such as driver’s licenses and college applications, and that calling trans teens by their birth names was even a contributing factor to attempted suicide.

In court Kirby reportedly prodded teens about their preferred restrooms and locker rooms and whether their desires to transition were related to their sexual attraction, and speculated as to whether Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner “set the stage” for the current wave of gender “transitions.”

Kirby said he based his denials on a judge’s responsibility to consider a child’s best interests. "The court is sympathetic to the parents of the child and their desire to assuage their child," he said in one case. "In essence, the court isn’t saying ‘no’ to the name change. The court is simply saying ‘not yet.' Age. Develop. Mature.”

But the “only time the court is supposed to step in is if there’s a disagreement among the parties,” Langdon argues, claiming that Kirby has exceeded his authority.

According to LegalZoom, Ohio “allows the change for any reason a parent or legal guardian deems sufficient,” with the only restriction being that names cannot be changed “for fraudulent purposes” such as evading legal penalties or obligations related to identity fraud or sex abuse.

“The judge failed to consider the evidence presented by the families and doctors that the name change is in the best interest of the teenager and, instead, substituted his own skeptical views,” attorney Joshua Engel claimed.

However, when The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow pressed Engel on claiming Kirby “intentionally discriminated against transgender people” despite approving name changes for transgender adults, Engel’s answer–that adult approvals were “not a relevant comparator” because “the Court is required to consider the ‘best interest of the child’”–seemingly admitted that Kirby has legal authority to exercise personal discretion in such cases.

As for the core question of gender-confused teens’ best interests, many experts dispute the judgment of the plaintiffs’ doctors.

Studies indicate that between 80-90 percent of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence. In cases where it persists, even “identity” reinforcement up to and including full gender “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm.

Last year, the University of Cambridge’s Stonewall report found that 96% of trans students in Scotland attempted self-harm through actions such as cutting themselves, and 40% attempted suicide. 40% in the United States have attempted suicide, as well, according to a 2016 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). According to a 2011 study out of Sweden, trans people remain 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, even after sex-reassignment surgery.

The American Psychiatric Association still classifies gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, as did the World Health Organization until this June.

Officials from Kirby’s office say the judge, who has served on the bench since 1996 and teaches criminal justice at Miami University Hamilton, has been unable to comment on the story as he’s been out of state.

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Vatican archbishop: Critics of Pope Francis are not faithful to Tradition

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By Diane Montagna

VATICAN CITY, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Those who criticize the teaching of Pope Francis on the basis of former magisterial documents are not faithful to the tradition of the Catholic Church, a high-ranking Vatican official has said. 

In an interview with Vatican News, to mark the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of Veritatis Splendor Pope John Paul II’s 1993 landmark encyclical on certain fundamentals of the Catholic Church’s moral teaching — Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, said “there is no foothold for challenging the magisterium of Pope Francis in the light of the previous magisterium.”

Asked about “sectors of the Church” who criticize Pope Francis for “depart[ing] from Catholic doctrine” — and who often point to Veritatis Splendor as the basis for their criticism — Fisichella said he believes “one should never use the magisterium as an instrument to dispute the development of doctrine.”

“When it is used as an instrument, then I fear there is no desire to discover the truth, and also no fidelity to the tradition of the Church,” he added, asserting that “instead, we must reiterate how much continuity there is in the development.” 

The Italian archbishop also said he believes it is important “to read carefully all of Pope Francis’ teaching and not just some of his interviews. A mosaic is revealed by the whole set of tiles, not just one tile,” he said, adding that the “mosaic” of the current pontificate displays “a great openness” in the work of Evangelization, of not “putting the norm before proclamation.”

Archbishop Fisichella is perhaps best known to pro-life advocates for an article he wrote for L’Osservatore Romano in 2009 criticizing a local bishop and seeming to support the actions of Brazilian abortionists who aborted the twins of a sexually abused girl. Pope Benedict XVI removed Fisichella as the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life after the article appeared in the Vatican newspaper.  

In this week’s interview, Fisichella says the three “great elements” of Pope Francis’ pontificate are “the encounter with the person of Jesus, the constant proclamation the Church must announce, and that pastors are called to go out to meet everyone.”

“This is the idea of the Church ‘going forth’ and therefore also the ability — as Evangelii Gaudium notes – to accompany our contemporaries, to walk alongside them in order to understand them, to really understand their needs and at times even, perhaps, to take a step backwards. This dimension emerges together with the need for mercy. The Jubilee of Mercy was the concrete sign of how Pope Francis has identified and guided his Pontificate,” he explained.

Archbishop Fisichella said that Veritatis Splendor (promulgated by Pope John Paul II on August 6, 1993) was released in a “cultural context marked by secularism and, consequently, by a strong philosophical relativism.” Within this context, he said, the encyclical, presents “the fundamental points which remain as references for Christian doctrine.”

When we speak of truth, he said, we have to always keep in mind a “dynamic” concept. “Truth is not a fixist dimension,” he added, applying a biological evolutionary model to theological truth. 

Fixism is the non-scientific theory that the species alive today are identical to those of the past and that evolution does not happen.

“For Christians, truth is first and foremost that living World that the Lord has left us. Let us not forget that Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ Therefore, the dimension of truth opens to personal encounter: it is the truth of the Gospel, the truth represented by the person of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The truth, he explained, “is the entire content that Jesus wanted to transmit to his disciples and that comes to us through the Apostles. It is a truth that opens more and more to a discovery of the mystery that has been revealed. There are some fundamental points that remain as in the dogmatic and moral teaching of the Church. These are elements that remain in their immutability,” Fisichella said. 

“Obviously, all of this requires on the part of theologians — as the encyclical Vertiatis Splendor maintains — a great work of interpretation. The unchanging norm is based on the truth of the Gospel.”

Fisichella also insisted that the Catholic Church cannot accept an idea of truth which is “closed in” on itself. “The truth, by its very nature, refers to fidelity but also to freedom. ‘The truth shall make you free.’”

“A truth that opens up more and more is a truth that makes every believer, every man, discover a deeper freedom. This, however, also requires fidelity. The link between fidelity and truth is a typical link of the biblical conception of truth.”

In comments to LifeSiteNews, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski — a Thomist scholar who openly criticized Pope Francis’ change in the Catechism’s treatment of capital punishment as contradicting both the natural law and the deposit of faith and who argued that the change is not a mere prudential judgment but a matter of principle — offered this response to Archbishop Fisichella’s remarks: 

All of the proponents of the revolution in moral doctrine always invoke a specious and vague concept of ‘development of doctrine.’ It has become a mantra by which any position can be defended, so long as it bears some element of remote resemblance, without the need for argumentation or the actual preservation of substance. Remember, the rule given for development is that any new insight must totally respect the truths already attained, in their very specificity. So there could be a new insight into Christology, but not such that Jesus Christ ceased to be confessed as true God and true man. Similarly, in the field of morals, there are many new insights into marriage, but none that would ever justify its dissolution, or the use of contraception, or communion for adulterers; and it is no less true with regard to the death penalty, which, however often or rarely it should be used, is contained within the very power of the state as God’s representative in the governance of human affairs.

Unpacking the August 6 Fisichella interview, point by point, Dr. Kwasniewski said: 

Characteristically, Fisichella hides in vagueness: “we must reiterate how much continuity there is in the development.” Translated from Vaticanese, this means: “we must keep repeating, till we’re blue in the face, that the rabbit we pulled out of the hat is the same as the frog we put in.” Using code language, he speaks of putting “proclamation" before “the norm,” which means, there are no absolute norms that govern proclamation and pastoral accompaniment. 

Then, in a move familiar from Walter Kasper’s theology of revelation, Truth is a “dynamic concept, not a fixist dimension, a ‘living’ word,” i.e., not capable of being propositionally expressed once and for all (as in the Church’s de fide statements and judgments). In this way, rather than having a fixed point of reference for Christian life and thought, which in Fisichella’s way of thinking would be “closed in on itself,” we have a “truth that opens up more and more.” 

Whatever this means, it apparently means that we have to be prepared “to take a step backwards,” i.e., renounce the traditional moral teaching of the Church for the sake of “accompany[ing] our contemporaries.” This, again in code language, is what he means by “a great work of interpretation,” which here translates to a clever work of deconstruction, utilizing points in John Paul II’s encyclical as “references,” but not as indisputable givens.

Kwasniewski summed up Fisichella’s comments, saying: “The cumulative effect of Fisichella’s Orwellian twists and turns is that we can chuck out whatever in Veritatis Splendor (or Humanae Vitae or Familiaris Consortio, etc.) no longer seems to fit with the needs of modern Western people as seen by Pope Francis.”

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Democrat Senator: More Facebook censorship needed for ‘the survival of our democracy’

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By Claire Chretien

August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It is crucial for “the survival of our democracy” that Facebook censor more websites, according to one Democrat Senator.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted his support of this week’s mass social media censorship of Infowars, urging censorship of other websites he says promote “lies and hate.”

Donald Trump, Jr. weighed in, asking how long it will be before Democrats try to censor conservative news outlets like Breitbart and the Daily Caller.

Sen. Murphy retorted by claiming President Trump is engaging in a “DAILY” campaign to “censor” the media. He also said that warning about a slippery slope is a “right wing tripe.”

Many conservatives argue that Facebook and Google essentially have monopolies on the distribution and sharing of information, and are using these monopolies to unfairly target certain viewpoints for censorship. When Facebook banned Alex Jones' personal account for 30 days late last month, Sen. Ted Cruz asked, “Who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?”

Sen. Murphy even admitted the extreme power social media companies have, saying Americans should ask why big tech censorship feels like government censorship.

Jay Caruso, an editorial writer for the Dallas News, called Sen. Murphy’s comments “chilling.” Other Twitter users insinuated his views are those a dictator would hold.

Conservatives worried about increasing social media censorship say Facebook has ceased being a neutral, public platform. It is unclear why the Senator thinks silencing certain viewpoints is good for democracy, or what his definition of “hate” is.

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‘Shut up and die’: Pro-life politician’s home vandalized with spray paint, condoms

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By Calvin Freiburger

SOMERSET, England, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Left-wing vandals targeted Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s home and his wife’s car last week, as detailed in photos compiled by The Sun.

The incident took place while the pro-family, Catholic lawmaker’s family was taking a vacation in New York City.

As first discovered by his maid, the messages spray-painted on the family’s garage, patio window, bench, and garden umbrella included “shut up and die,” “posh scum,” “politics death,” anarchist symbols, and some obscenities. The vandals had also scattered condoms on their lawn and driveway, and hung condoms from a small cross in the garden.

The green Land Rover owned by his wife Helena de Chair, meanwhile, had been defaced with the message “SCUM” and an anarchist symbol, with a purple dildo attached to the hood.

Local police say they are currently investigating. The perpetrators’ identities are unknown, though police believe the condoms to be referencing Rees-Mogg’s Catholic stance on birth control, and The Sun says they are “thought to be anti-Brexit anarchists.”

For his part, Rees-Mogg appears to be taking the incident in stride.

"It looks to me like a bunch of...somebody had a pint or two too many scrumpy,” he told The Sun. The politician also said the graffiti “all wiped off very easily,” so “this drunken protest will not even have a short-term effect.”

Rees-Mogg is an avowed Catholic father of six who has said he strives to pray the rosary every single day, named his sixth child Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher, and prefers the Traditional Latin Mass for its focus on the Eucharist.

He has also endured media attacks for his public declarations that he is “completely opposed to abortion” and that “marriage is a sacrament and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church and not with Parliament.” In May, he drew attention for debating BBC host Jo Coburn’s suggestion that his faith-based opinions disqualified him from public office.

"It is really important to get to the heart of this because this country believes in religious tolerance. We are a very tolerant nation,” Rees-Mogg noted. “And the act of tolerance is to tolerate things you do not agree with not just ones you do agree with and the problem with liberal tolerance is it has got to the point of only tolerating what it likes.”

As for his New York trip, Rees-Mogg wrote in his most recent column that it was “always refreshing to visit the United States,” in part because the “belief in the power of the individual combined with the rights of property, the rule of law and a settled democratic constitution have combined to make the US a uniquely successful nation.”

He also praised Donald Trump’s “remarkable” presidency for “deliver[ing] on his electoral promises to ensure that he maintains faith with his voting base,” despite having “hardly left a rule of diplomacy unbroken.” Rees-Mogg suggested “other democratically elected politicians would do well to heed” that example.

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Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Wave of sexual abuse accusations hits Lincoln diocese

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By Lisa Bourne

LINCOLN, Nebraska, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fallout continues from allegations of sexual misconduct leveled recently against clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lincoln Bishop James Conley has had to issue a subsequent statement following the diocese’s August 1 acknowledgement of reports of misconduct from the 1990’s against its deceased former vocations director. The statement comes after additional more current allegations surfaced related to a current priest in the Lincoln diocese.

Conley wrote the faithful on August 4 conceding the result of the new abuse stories left many feeling they’d been lied to and asking for forgiveness for “the potential betrayal of the good people of the diocese.”

And following Conley’s second statement Saturday, yet further allegations came to light Monday against another priest in the diocese. All of this is the latest chapter in a component of the Church’s sex abuse crisis illustrating that actively homosexual clergy, sexual abuse, and abuse of power can occur anywhere, even in a diocese known for its orthodoxy and strong vocations numbers. 

In his August 4 statement Conley directly named the late Msgr. Leonard Kalin, the diocese’s former vocations director and head of the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska, explaining that the diocese had received just one complaint against him before now, back in 1998.

The diocese’s review board would investigate the current allegations against Kalin, he said, and also the matter with current Lincoln priest Father Charles Townsend - the situation coming to public light in the wake of the more recent allegations surfaced against Kalin. 

Conley explained that he had removed Townsend from ministry for treatment at the time Townsend was accused last year of having an “emotionally inappropriate, non-sexual relationship” with a 19-year-old male altar server involving alcohol. 

However, Conley said while he tried to address it with integrity, he said he did not encourage an open discussion about it with priests, parishioners, or those involved. And even though the diocese was not legally obligated to report the incident, he said, it would have been prudent to do so. Further, since the young man had reached the age of majority, the diocese did not tell his parents about the incident. 

“I deeply regret this lack of transparency and breach of trust,” Conley said.

Conley denied having covered anything up or requiring anyone to keep silent about it, though, as had been reported by a number of parties.

Townsend has since been removed again from ministry while the review board looks at the situation, Conley said, and the matter also reported to civil authorities. Conley had also met with the altar server and his parents since the subsequent report surfaced about Townsend, apologizing for not being more forthcoming to the latter in light of the young man having reached the age of majority. 

“These recent reports have led me to reflect on the ways we have handled the moral failings of our priests,” Conley said. “I am working to rectify my failures to ensure that we consult appropriately and act with transparency in any matter involving a boundary violation.” 

Conley celebrated each of the Masses at the parish where Townsend has been pastor this past weekend, conveying the message in his statement. A new pastor will be appointed later in the week, and Conley was to conduct a congregation-wide meeting at the parish Monday evening.

More allegations 

But then The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher broke news Monday afternoon of a 37-year old Lincoln man hailing from a leading family in the Lincoln diocese who reports being molested when he was an adolescent by his uncle, a priest of the diocese now retired. 

The priest denies the charge.

The Lincoln man reports as well that there is at least one other victim of his uncle, who was 14-years-old at the time of the incident which he said occurred when the uncle was a seminarian. The other victim is currently not willing to come forward.

Conley has suspended the accused priest from active ministry and the alleged victim was offered $3,000 to cover any counseling costs, according to Dreher, based on correspondence between the diocese and the alleged victim, but the public has not been notified of the fact the accused priest has been removed from ministry nor why.

Conley banned the accused priest from providing sacramental assistance in parishes as retired priests typically do, though he can celebrate Mass at his retired priests’ residence and for priest retreats, and he can concelebrate with the bishop at diocesan liturgies. 

The accused priest, who has agreed to having his internet usage monitored, is a Facebook user with minors among his Facebook friends.

A chain of revelations

The latest reports of abuse follow Conley’s August 4 letter, which was in follow-up to his statement August 1 responding to an account also published by Dreher and written by Peter Mitchell, a former Lincoln priest who reported sexual misconduct and other scandalous behavior on the part of Kalin.

Mitchell’s account was published August 1, followed by the first statement from Conley and another statement from the diocese. In the diocesan statement, Mitchell’s allegations were acknowledged though not addressed, the diocese also mentioning that Mitchell was laicized after he’d broken his vow of celibacy - which Mitchell disclosed in his piece for Dreher, and for which he took responsibility. 

On August 2 and 3 Dreher wrote about another man now living overseas who’d been a student at the University of Nebraska and active at the Newman Student Center when Kalin was pastor there. 

The man had responded on Facebook with his experience after reading Mitchell’s article in Dreher’s column, saying he had experienced unwanted advances from Kalin, and that he knew of another victim. The man wanted to vouch for Mitchell’s story, and he has also written to Conley with his concern. His story wasn’t the only report of concerning behavior Dreher had heard regarding Kalin.

Dreher also received a comment on his published account of Mitchell’s experience regarding the situation involving Townsend, including that Townsend was returned to his parish to continue supervising the young priest who’d reported him.

Dreher had received additional reports on the pastor as well and multiple reports saying the younger priest was ordered to remain silent about the matter by the diocese.

No comment

Last week when Dreher inquired about the abuse account from the man now living overseas, the diocese had referred Dreher to its attorneys. But the attorneys advised him they had no information regarding ongoing cases and could only perform information intake on potential new allegations.

The priest accused in the latest case brought up by the 37-year-old Lincoln man had been sent away for some sort of treatment in 2000, the alleged victim told Dreher, but the diocesan attorneys would not comment on this either. 

The other reported victim of the Lincoln man’s uncle, 14 at the time of the claimed abuse, reported it back then to a priest, who suppressed it, Dreher writes, the alleged victim telling Dreher via phone Sunday evening, “Had the priest who was told about that reported it at the time, and had the diocese taken action, I wouldn’t have been molested.”

When the accused priest was sent away in 2000, the parish had been told similar to the Townsend situation; that it was for health reasons.

Correspondence from May between the latest alleged victim and Lincoln’s chancellor indicated that after an investigation Conley determined there was insufficient evidence to merit a canonical trial of the alleged assault, Dreher reports, the case having been reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which referred it back to Conley. 

The alleged victim from Lincoln is concerned about his uncle remaining actively friends with minors on Facebook. He said he came forward because Mitchell’s testimony had given him the courage to do so, and he fears his uncle may have hurt more people.

“How many priests like him are still in a position of power?” he asked. “How many other children are still vulnerable? How many priests who have allegations against them have moved up in the ranks, and stayed quiet to protect each other?”

The Lincoln man is also concerned that his uncle has been unable to get help, rather, “he just kept being moved from parish to parish.”

He also spoke up on behalf of Lincoln’s priests, saying, “I think some of the most amazing priests in the country are in our diocese. They deserve to have honest, truly transparent leadership within the diocese that they love and serve.”

He repeatedly expressed his love of priests to Dreher, along with loyalty to the Church and still, love for his uncle, despite the molestation. 

But asked by Dreher whether he and his wife would raise their future children Catholic, he responded, “I can’t right now, knowing what I know.”

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Judge upholds transgender bathrooms: Female ‘students do not have a fundamental privacy right’

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By Claire Chretien

OREGON, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Boys will continue to be allowed in girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in Oregon after a judge dismissed a lawsuit against that policy, saying, “high school students do not have a fundamental privacy right to not share school restrooms, lockers, and showers with transgender students whose biological sex is different than theirs.”

Students who are unwillingly subjected to seeing students of the opposite sex are not having their rights violated, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez wrote.

This ruling “reveals everything people need to know to understand the utter corruption of our court system,” Julie Quist, Board Chair of the Child Protection League (CPL), told LifeSiteNews. “Decency and respect for our children…are being cast aside for the political advantage of a militant political force that is systematically violating the innocence, dignity and freedom of our children and all of us.”

The lawsuit against Oregon schools allowing boys in girls’ restrooms and vice versa was filed by parents and students in Dallas, Oregon. This gender-free policy caused “embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, intimidation, fear, apprehension, and stress produced by using the restroom with students of the opposite sex,” they said in the lawsuit.

The problems began when the Dallas School District allowed a girl to change in the boys’ locker rooms. She didn’t like changing in the gender-neutral bathroom because it was too far away and other students noticed, according to the Washington Post.

“This ruling, and others like it, is a hostile takeover,” Quist continued. “CPL urges parents to immediately begin to take steps to remove their children from any public schools where this policy is being enforced, and to take seriously a new burden of their responsibility of citizenship to throw out all incumbent elected officials everywhere who will not fight for them. If we love our children, it's that important.”

School districts across the country have faced a slew of legal issues over whether to allow gender-confused boys in girls’ restrooms or hotel rooms on school trips and vice versa. The Obama administration threatened to pull federal funding from schools that didn’t enact transgender-approved policies. The Trump administration dropped that effort.

In 2017, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case about transgender school bathrooms, kicking it back to a lower court.

Recently, the number of children who are homeschooled has been rising anywhere from three percent to eight percent each year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

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Christine de Marcellus Vollmer

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Sins, crimes and the Pope

Christine de Marcellus Vollmer
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August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- As a mother with the God-given responsibility to bring to holiness seven children and share in the responsibility of 26 grandchildren, I am dismayed to hear Pope Francis’ recent statement that some of the homosexual activities within seminaries are “sins of youth” and “not crimes.” When the sin is against youth, and power by elders is involved, this seems to be a crime against youth.  

As Christians, we are called to saintliness. We are taught to avoid offending the Lord, which means to abide by His Commandments. There are the first 10 and then the new ones, given by Jesus Himself.

Based upon Commandments 6 and 9, which make very plain how much sexual sins offend God, the New Law of love refines these to show how important is purity. As Christians, we are to value and preserve not only our own but that of others.  

He who destroys the innocence or purity of another, particularly the young, deserves worse, according to Our Lord, than a millstone around the neck and to be thrown into the sea.

For the seduction and introduction into disgusting homosexual practices of young seminarians who have entered the seminary with the highest vocations, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and others like him are due the punishment of the millstone.

Instead, McCarrick was elected to lead the ‘investigation’ into ‘abuse’!

Again, Pope Francis calls these “sins of youth” and “not crimes.” Pope Francis considers, from his high position, that only destroying the innocence of “minors” constitutes a “crime.” Lawyer talk -- now they call it “vatican-speak” -- to cover what has truly been a crime against the Church.

That an entire generation of young vocations following the call of St. John Paul II to renew the Church with a fresh vision of the Gospel message should have been pressured, seduced, convinced to lower themselves to revolting, lewd practices as they slowly accepted that these must be a part of priestly life … is a horrific crime!  

It is a crime against the youth.   

It is a crime against families who entrust their children and their very souls to those priests.  

It is a crime against the Church.

It is, worst of all, a crime against God.

We are supposed to pray for sinners. I am not sure we were enjoined by Jesus to pray for those deserving of the millstone treatment.  

I will pray for Pope Francis, however, for the error of putting in positions of great importance so many men with perverted thinking … men who have been doing these things, allowing them to continue, or just standing silent, as a generation of young people are led to serious sin and distance from God.

He must rescind a number of appointments. He should do so before the hungry press and angry Catholics bring out the sordid private lives of those he has named to all the positions having to do with sexuality.

He must do this before Dublin, or I fear the scandal will deepen. The youth do not deserve this. Families do not deserve this. The Church certainly does not deserve this.

Christine de Marcellus Vollmer is a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pontifical Council for Family and current vice president for the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family.

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Rick Fitzgibbons, MD

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How bishops can begin to regain laity’s trust in wake of McCarrick sex-abuse scandal

Rick Fitzgibbons, MD
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August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Trust is the foundation for loving relationships and is essential, for example, for the stability and health of marriages.  As I relate regularly in my work as a psychiatrist with married couples, there is benefit in putting the struggle with trust in a spiritual-psychological perspective that goes back to the first human couple, Adam and Eve.

Eve was tempted by the snake not to trust God the Father and she gave into mistrust.  Adam’s major psychological mistake was that of failing to correct his wife and tell her that they would continue to trust the Father and His plan for their lives.

In 1968 another event occurred in the release of Humanae Vitae that resulted in a similar decision, in perhaps the majority of bishops, priests and laity in the world, not to trust in God the Father’s plan for human sexuality and marriage.  The consequences have been disastrous to the sacraments of Holy Orders and, marriage.  Epidemics of narcissism, divorce, out of wedlock births, fatherless youth, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography and the clerical homosexual abuse of adolescent males and seminarians, as well as infidelity to vows quickly followed.  

John Paul II’s Advice Rejected

In a recent article on then-Cardinal McCarrick, the Hierarchy in the United States, and the Vatican enabling him, I recalled the advice of St. Pope John Paul II gave at his meeting on the crisis in the Church with then-Cardinal McCarrick and three other members of the American Hierarchy on April 23, 2002:

People must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life.

This advice was never implemented.

The present international crisis of homosexually aggressive behavior by bishops and priests in the Church makes it abundantly clear that this essential teaching has been rejected by large numbers of priests and religious.  In addition, what is most troubling is that members of the Hierarchy appointed by Pope Francis in the Vatican and in the United States are actively involved in undermining the teaching of the Church on sexual morality, particularly homosexuality and marriage.  

Further, it is almost inconceivable to see that these members of the Hierarchy and priesthood are deeply involved in promoting LGBT ideology at the World Meeting of Families and the Synod on Youth.  Their role markedly impairs the ability of laity, who has recently been severely traumatized by the McCarrick, Honduran and Chilean scandals, to trust in the Holy Father and in these meetings.

Mandatory Conferences on Sexual Morality

The importance of teaching the Church’s truth on sexual morality and homosexuality has never been as needed as it is today.  Such teaching is essential to the restoration of trust by the laity in the Hierarchy and the priesthood.

Over thirty years ago a non-Catholic sexual partner of a priest in one diocese identified to the Vicar for Clergy the names of many priests in that diocese who were involved in the homosexual lifestyle. The bishop arranged for the Rev. John Harvey, O.S.F.S., the founder of Courage — the only international program in the Church for those with same-sex attraction that is loyal to Church’s teaching — and me to give two mandatory one-day conferences.

Today, such mandatory conferences are greatly needed for all the hierarchy in the United States, for priests in all dioceses and religious communities, for staffs of bishops’ offices and for seminarians.

Such conferences should also be required of the Hierarchy and staff serving in the Vatican.

Monitoring of Bishops & Religious Superiors and Clergy

After such conferences, bishops should be required to write to all the priests in their diocese annually in support of the Church’s teaching on sexual morality and Humanae Vitae with the requirement that it be read at Sunday Masses.  The priests in the diocese should be informed that they are expected to end their silence and preach regularly on sexual morality and chastity.

Bishops should communicate that those priests and seminarians with same-sex attractions (SSA) are expected to address those attractions in spiritual direction and in consultation with Courage. (www.couragerc.net). Bishops with SSA should do likewise.

While priests often preach on matters related to the love of God and of neighbor, the sixth and the ninth commandments — 20% of the commandments — are almost never taught.

Furthermore, the bishop should be required to read this letter yearly to a new organization comprised of bishops and laity that is dedicated to protecting the Church from sexual heresy and abuse.  The laity should be essential members of such an oversight, as it is clear that the bishops by themselves have been unable to address the problem.

If a bishop fails in his mission to teach the truth and to be a spiritual father to his priests and the laity, he should be warned by the pope that he risks being removed from his diocese.

Bishops who presently are trying to remove from ministry spiritually and psychologically healthy priests who are loyal to the Church’s teaching on sexual morality should also be warned to cease their hostile behaviors or be removed. 

Priests who fail to read and to preach on the bishop’s annual letter on sexual morality should be strongly corrected. Required programs should also be developed for priests on understanding the origins of sexual conflicts and on preaching the liberating truth about marriage and sexual morality as described in Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio.  

Benefits to Bishops and Priests

Such preaching would configure bishops and priests more closely to Christ, help them to offer up their gift of sexuality more fully to Him, strengthen their spiritual and psychological health by building their confidence, make them less vulnerable to sexual temptations, and lead to less fear in preaching the countercultural truth about sexual morality and marriage.

End Programs hostile to the Truth

Again, for reasons that are incomprehensible, one Pope-Francis-appointed bishop has endorsed the pro-LGBT New Way Ministry that undermines Church teaching on homosexuality and, for this reason, was censured by Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal Sarah has strongly criticized in the Wall Street Journal a high-ranking priest — who is a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications — for his pro-LGBT book that undermines Church teaching on homosexuality.

With all due respect, clergy that support sexual heresy damage the ability of the Church to respond to the crisis in the Church caused by the homosexual abuse of adolescents, seminarians, and adults by members of the Hierarchy and priests.

Psychological Obstacles to Preaching the Truth

Most Catholics have never heard a homily that explains the importance of Humanae Vitae for marriage, family life, youth, and the priesthood and the severe spiritual, psychological, medical and cultural harm that ignoring its teaching has caused. The major reasons for this severe negligence in spiritual fatherhood in members of the Hierarchy and priests is lack of confidence on a human level and in the Holy Spirit, as well as fear of rejection by brother priests and bishops. And there is selfishness as well, that prevents sacrificial self-giving, that is, it’s simply too hard to do.

Growth in a number of virtues can strengthen priests in their vocation to protect the sheep and themselves.  These include courage, gratitude for one’s personal and spiritual gifts, more trust in God with one’s ministry, as well as forgiveness of those in the hierarchy and priesthood who have damaged the Church by being hostile to Humanae Vitae and its teaching of self-denial and generosity.  

Healing the betrayal wound 

The betrayal pain of sadness, intense anger, and mistrust experienced by the laity and loyal priests and Bishops toward Archbishop McCarrick is similar to that experienced by the children of divorce who have been abandoned by narcissistic fathers. The psychological reality is that the first step in the healing process of forgiving him and his supporters in the United States and the Vatican is for many not humanly possible.

In two American Psychological Association textbooks that I have co-authored on treating excessive anger, forgiveness is described as occurring in one of three ways.  These are cognitively by a decision to do so, emotionally when one truly feels like forgiving, and spiritually when one is unable to forgive with one’s mind or heart and gives the anger to the Lord.  At the present time for most Catholics, the most effective method of addressing this betrayal of Christ and His Church is spiritual forgiveness on a daily basis.

Forgiving those in the Hierarchy, priesthood, and laity who knew of McCarrick’s behaviors and enabled them for decades by their silence is important in the healing process.

Requests in Parishes

The laity should ask their pastors to end their silence on preaching the truth about sexual morality and chastity.  They should challenge them to be spiritual fathers/shepherds who follow the Lord and not the culture and who are willing to lay down their lives to protect the sheep.  

If the pastor expresses passive-aggressive anger by refusing to teach the truth on marriage, sexual morality, and particularly homosexuality, fornication, and adultery, parishioners should inform him that they will no longer be contributing to the parish until he does so. 

There is every reason to be hopeful that the Lord will take us through this very difficult time in the Church in which sexual heresy has been allowed to fester, grow and be enabled for the past fifty years.  

The active role of laity is essential in this process to protect the Church from a repetition of the cover-up in the Dallas Charter and in the post-crisis programs.  They failed to identify the role of the failure to teach sexual morality in the crisis and tried to focus on pedophilia, when in fact, the homosexual predation of adolescent males, the primary victims, was the major focus of the abuse.

Unless sexual morality and Humanae Vitae are taught, trust in bishops and in priests cannot be restored.  Any member of the hierarchy or priesthood who won’t engage in such teaching is not trustworthy, because he shows he doesn’t love the Church’s perennial teaching that undergirds such trust. 

Editor's note: Rick Fitzgibbons, M.D., is a member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family,  has taught at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at Catholic University of America and has served as a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican. He is the co-author of Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, APA Books, 2014. His forthcoming book on strengthening Catholic marriages will be published in the Spring by Ignatius Press.

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Message to Catholic bishops: How NOT to do damage control

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By Steve Jalsevac

Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.

August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Since the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandals first broke in US secular media in 2002, LifeSite has published hundreds of reports related to the scandals. From the very beginning we warned that the sex abuse crisis much more about homosexuality among the clergy than about pedophilia, a conclusion that the US bishops consistently avoided admitting. Over and over again we wrote that, despite the many measures implemented by the US bishops following the revelations of the scandals, there was one issue that was still not being addressed - the prevalence of active homosexuals among the clergy and the need to remove all such homosexuals from clerical roles at all levels. 

Anyway, here we are again, inevitably because the bishops have still refused to publicly address the problem. Secular media have again blown the whistle that there have been credible accusations that a cardinal of the Church has been involved in homosexual advances on seminarians and even an 11-year old boy. 

So, how are Church authorities responding to this latest storm of credible accusations? Generally, with the exception of some strong initial actions, the same as always - dishonesty, covering up, ineffective proposals, etc. 

Then yesterday I came across this list from Politickles that seemed to exactly sum up what the bishops have been doing for decades in response to the rot that keeps being exposed. 

Enjoy. There is sadly a lot of truth to this as our experiences over the past 16 years and more have proven.

How Not to Do DAMAGE CONTROL

The first rule of damage control is to anticipate things that can go wrong and make sure they don’t.  Amazingly enough, most people don’t get this simple rule and respond in the worst possible way. If you want to be just as stupid, here are a few tips for compounding the problem you could have avoided.

  • Worm your way into a position for which you’re unqualified.

  • Create a culture of incompetence and dishonesty.

  • When a problem arises, ignore it.

  • When others bring the problem to your attention, deny it.

  • When it becomes impossible to deny, insist that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.

  • When it becomes clear that the problem is truly serious, declare that you are preoccupied with much more important matters from which you cannot be distracted.

  • When it is suggested that the problem may be more important than those other matters, malign the people who drew attention to the problem.

  • When that doesn’t work, pretend that you knew nothing about the problem and blame it on someone else.

  • When that person is exonerated and the cloud of suspicion settles over your head, announce that you will launch an investigation to find out how the problem arose and who the culprits are.

  • Appoint the culprits to the investigative committee (happens all the time).

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What Christians can learn from this beautiful depiction of the Last Supper

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Jacopo Robusti, otherwise known as Tintoretto (1519–1594), may not be a household name like Rembrandt or Van Gogh, but, as is the case with so many great artists, he ought to be—especially for believers who may rejoice in and learn from his exquisite art, which he placed in service of the mysteries of the Christian Faith.

Tintoretto was a pupil of Titian in Venice, albeit short-lived in that capacity. The story is told that the older Titian quickly recognized what a gift his pupil had, and in the competitive spirit of Renaissance workshops, kicked him out lest he learn too many of the master’s secrets and rival him. The precaution was in vain, as the pupil was capable of learning on his own.

In his work, there is a certain moodiness of atmosphere, a dark shadowy feel that serves as the dramatic backdrop to divine light, in a way one also sees, albeit with different aesthetic priorities, in El Greco’s work. On the narrative and compositional surface, Tintoretto’s paintings tend to be busy, even chaotic, yet they possess an underlying sense of calm, a supernatural gravity. The hidden purpose of divine Providence is holding together the variety of persons, objects, and activities, ordering them to the manifestation of His glory.

We see this magnificently displayed in his painting of The Last Supper, completed in 1594, the last year of the painter’s life. The final meal of Our Lord’s mortal life had, of course, already been painted countless times by earlier Renaissance artists, who helped themselves to large doses of poetic license by placing the event in broad daylight, often outdoors, or in a tidy geometrical space. Tintoretto, under the influence of mannerism, approaches it quite differently. For him, the Last Supper is the ultimate chiaroscuro of good and evil.

Set within a dark space illuminated primarily by a more-than-ordinarily potent oil lamp in the top left, the supper is a swirl of motion and revelation, as the Lord, standing in the center, feeds the Apostle to His right with His most sacred Body. (As is seen in many paintings of the Last Supper, Jesus is placing the Eucharistic morsel directly into the apostle’s mouth, which is implied in the Jewish custom of dipping bread into wine before consuming it—a form of intinction practiced to this day by Eastern Christians.)

The halo around Christ’s head stands at the very center of the painting, as if to say: Here indeed is the true light of the world, the light that shines in the darkness, a light the darkness has not overcome, in spite of its best efforts. The Lord is dressed in a red tunic with a blue outer garment, colors that Tintoretto’s contemporaries might have connected with their use in The School of Athens by Raphael: red for fire, and blue for its opposite element, water—symbols alike of divine love and divine judgment.

The apostles—those who are in a state of grace—are recognizable in the eleven gently illuminated heads. Gone are the awkward early medieval disc-haloes that one-point perspective had converted into saucers or platters; in their place, a soft play of supernatural light around their otherwise shadowy countenances. The apostle to the Lord’s left gazes contemplatively. Other apostles gesticulate, lean over, rise up, gripped in anxiety about the treachery, provoked to wonder by the mystical supper. The apostle nearest to the viewer even motions to a beggar to stop bothering him, as there is something more important to pay attention to. In keeping with an artistic convention, Judas is the only disciple depicted sitting on the opposite side of the table, dressed in better garb than the others—in fact, in a garb remarkably like that of a Cardinal—with a hand gesture that suggests detached, critical commentary, as if theorizing at a Synod about new rules for communion.

Meanwhile, a number of waiters busy themselves with food, drink, and dishes, seemingly oblivious to the unfolding of the new and everlasting covenant. How sharply it should pierce us when we think of the indifference and apathy of so many in our world to this ultimate manifestation of divine love that occurs every day throughout the world! Wherever the sacred mysteries of the Body and Blood of our crucified and risen Savior are celebrated, there are, to be sure, some on the inside like the eleven and some like Judas, but many more on the outside, preoccupied servants intent on their worldly business, blind to the light shining from the face of Christ. In fact, some behave like the cat in the lower middle of the painting, an irrational animal whose only appetite is for material food. Tintoretto, like Dante, tours us through heaven and hell: we see holiness, active and contemplative; we see malice; and we see the lukewarm absence of either.

But perhaps the most wondrous touch of all in this painting is Tintoretto’s lifting for us of the veil separating the invisible realm from the visible, showing hosts of angels surrounding the Son of God, giving Him the homage that is His due. Spirits from the realms of light, they bring their own luminosity with them into a darkness to which they are impervious. They are like living flames of love, fully awake and alert to the meaning of what is taking place in the Heart of Jesus, in His hands, in this feast that anticipates and symbolizes the bloody sacrifice of Calvary on the morrow, which opens the way to the heavenly wedding feast of which the angels already partake.

The whole painting is therefore a catechism on sight and blindness. What is it that we see when we attend Mass? What would we have seen at the Last Supper, or at the foot of the Cross? Do we see with the eyes of faith the glory of the Son of God, sacrificed for our sins, risen for our salvation, offered at the altar for our lifelong redemption, fed to us for our pilgrimage to eternity? Do we profess and believe in this light shining in the darkness of the world that threatens to engulf us, and in the chiaroscuro of the Church on earth made up of saints and sinners?

Where, in which part, under which character, are you and I located in this bustling scene of liturgy and life?

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