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Repeal of Ontario’s radical sex-ed curriculum upsets Catholic principals’ group

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s plan to repeal the former Liberal government’s radical sex-ed curriculum has upset Ontario’s association of Catholic principals.

“Our concerns are centered around the belief that our students must be taught the most current curriculum,” Jennifer Yust, president of the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario, said in an August 3 press release.

CPCO is a non-profit association representing 2,100 principals and vice principals in Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.

It stated that returning to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum “negates the input” of all those consulted on the Liberal sex-ed curriculum.

That includes “thousands of parents, educators, child-care professionals, the Institute for Catholic Education, and other organizations/affiliations who helped shape the curriculum that has been in place since 2015,” CPCO stated.

But Lou Iacobelli, a retired Catholic teacher and chair of the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund (PRIEDF), blasted CPCO for “playing politics.”

“Yust is not doing her job, which is to defend Catholic education and help protect the souls of the children who attend those schools,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“She should respect the fact that the new government of Ontario has repealed the curriculum and instruct her membership to follow the change in policy.”

Moreover, CPCO’s contention students must be taught “the most current curriculum” could “mean so many things,” Iacobelli noted.

It could mean “allowing Benjamin Levin, the convicted child predator who helped to develop the curriculum, to be invited as a school guest speaker,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Or it could “refer to the teaching of fluid gender identity. The ideology is not Catholic,” added Iacobelli.

Indeed, the Wynne sex-ed curriculum introduced homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, oral and anal sex in Grade 7, and taught there are six genders, rather than two sexes.

As for “other organizations/affiliations who helped shape the curriculum,” Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition has pointed out the Liberals consulted abortion advocate Planned Parenthood Toronto, Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA), and Queer Ontario.

“Planned Parenthood publishes sex-ed resources for 13-year olds like Anal Play 101 that encourages the unhealthy practice of ‘fisting,’ along with the pamphlet Making Sex Feel Good, which seems to encourage children to view pornography,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview.

“OPHEA publishes radical sex-ed resources like ‘The Guide to Getting it On” book. Queer Ontario advocates for the normalization of sexual bondage and group sex,” he said.

Critics of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum, which the Liberals rolled out despite unprecedented parental backlash, note that it’s virtually identical to the 2010 version that Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty did nix because of public outcry.

The 2010 version was part of a curriculum overhaul called for under the Equity and Inclusivity Strategy, which then-Minister of Education Wynne implemented in 2009 under the direction of deputy minister of education Ben Levin.

Levin was sentenced in 2015 to three years in prison for three child pornography-related convictions, including counseling another to commit sexual assault, in this case, of a minor.

When the Liberals released the sex-ed in February 2015, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto said ICE would produce resources to ensure Catholic schools taught it through a Catholic lens.

The Liberals had already consulted ICE, “most especially, with respect to necessary resources to support the implementation process,” ICE executive director Michael Pautler told LifeSiteNews at that time.

ICE subsequently received $250,000 from the Wynne government to develop these materials, a 2016 freedom of information request revealed.

However, a 2016 LifeSiteNews analysis blasted ICE’s curriculum additions as dangerously insufficient:

The newly developed Catholic resources begin, almost innocuously, in Grade 1 by teaching kids in a mixed classroom about sexual difference and giving them keywords like “gender” and “diversity.” But, by the time the kids hit Grade 8, practically every major outcome of the 1960s sexual revolt has been inculcated into them, including often-neutral portrayals of contraception, homosexuality, transgenderism, and gender theory.

The Liberals also consulted the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE) on its sex-ed program, and OAPCE president Brian Evoy said his organization was “very much in favour of the curriculum and all of the changes that will be made.”

OAPCE has two representatives on ICE’s board, as does CPCO, as does the notoriously dissident Catholic teachers’ union, OECTA, whose former president, James Ryan, recently opined “most teachers will simply ignore” Ford’s repeal of the Wynne sex-ed.

Roger Lawler, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario’s general secretary, is also listed as a director of ICE. Lawler, a partisan Liberal, tweeted his support of the Liberal sex-ed in 2016.

Meanwhile, when it comes to adapting a ministry sex-ed to a Catholic lens, the “elephant in the room” is Fully Alive, the sex-ed curriculum the Ontario bishops developed in the 1990s.

Fully Alive has been criticized — notably by a bishop and a canon lawyer — for sexualizing children from a young age, ignoring the Church’s teaching on grace, sin, and modesty, and presenting an overall anthropology at odds with the Church’s vision of the human person.

The late Msgr. Vincent Foy, a Toronto canonist, strongly criticized Fully Alive for “victimiz(ing) children” by its “inherent de-sacralization of sex,” by “desensitizing them in the sacred and private area of sexuality,” and by “leaving them prone to sexual experimentation.”

And the late Bishop Roman Danylak of Toronto criticized the Fully Alive sex-ed program in 1998 as “gravely flawed” because it “deviates from the Church's teaching on family life education.”

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Argentina Senate defeats bill to legalize abortion

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By Calvin Freiburger

BUENOS AIRES, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Senate of Argentina voted Thursday to reject a bill that would have erased the country’s constitutional protection for most preborn babies and legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill would have also legalized late-term abortions in cases of fetal deformity or to protect mothers’ “psychological” health. The Catholic nation currently allows abortions only for rape or threats to a mother’s life.

The Argentinian Senate gave its preliminary approval to the bill’s finalized text last week. Just days before the final vote, Senator Silvina García Larraburu withdrew her support for the bill, citing her “most intimate convictions.” Thirty-eight senators ultimately voted against the bill and 31 in favor, CNN reports, with two abstentions and one absentee.

The Senate was the final step deciding the fate of Argentina’s abortion laws. The country’s chamber of deputies approved the legislation by a 129-123 vote in June, and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri said he would follow whatever decision the legislature made, despite claiming to be pro-life.

Argentina would have been the third Latin American country to make abortion generally legal, Reuters reports, after Cuba and Uruguay.

Wednesday’s vote followed a contentious public debate both domestically and worldwide, with more than 3 million Argentinians marching to protest repeal and international “human rights” watchdogs such as Amnesty International and the World Bank pressuring Argentina for protecting the rights of preborn humans. Polls showed the public narrowly divided on the question in the run-up to the vote.

The pro-life demonstrators included hundreds of doctors, some of whom waved signs declaring "I'm a doctor, not a murderer” and laid down white medical coats outside of the presidential palace to affirm that abortion is incompatible with their chosen profession. Argentina’s Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Societies noted that it wasn’t consulted on the bill, and expressed concern that doctors who refuse to commit abortions would have been penalized.

Yahoo News reported that the bill’s language “provides for conscientious objection for practitioners,” though others remain wary because hospitals as a whole received no such guarantee. Doctors also fear that the requirement that abortion requests be fulfilled within five days could further punish doctors with reservations about particular cases, or even willing providers who can’t find an abortionist that quickly.

Pro-abortion activists, meanwhile, donned green scarves and brandished brooms, with one Argentinian game programmer even releasing an unofficial mod for the computer game Doom that replaces a monster the player shoots to death with a giant cardboard fetus model used by pro-lifers.

Amnesty International took out a back-page ad in the New York Times featuring a coat hanger and claiming complications from illegal abortions are “the leading cause of maternal deaths in Argentina.”

That has been one of repeal supporters’ most repeated talking points, as well as claiming Argentina’s abortion laws fail to prevent half a million abortions a year. Therefore, they argue, banning abortion accomplishes nothing but make abortions happening anyway more dangerous.

Americans United for Life disputed such claims in a 2012 report on the state of abortion in Latin America. Citing statistics from Argentina’s National Ministry of Health, it found that illegal abortions represent a small percentage of maternal deaths, 74 out of 306 in 2007.

Further, the report quoted the World Health Organization as acknowledging that “hospital structure” was the “most important variable” to determining maternal deaths. “The availability of essential obstetric care, active emergencies and experts” must be addressed to save women’s lives, AUL concluded, rather than legalizing abortion.

Ultimately, the vote narrowly averted a major sea change, with Argentina almost following Ireland as another predominantly Catholic nation abandoning the faith’s traditional protection of human life. But despite the relief felt by pro-life advocates today, the closeness of the votes in both chambers suggests the right to life is far from secure.

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Twitter CEO dissents from social media push to ban Infowars

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter will not be among the social media platforms blocking conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, according to CEO Jack Dorsey.

Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify all banned the page, channel, and podcasts of the host’s InfoWars platform from their services earlier this week, citing Jones for “hate speech.” For years Jones has been little more than a curiosity outside of his fan base, but in recent years he has been the subject of more mainstream attention due to a defamation lawsuit by the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims and his perceived closeness to President Donald Trump.

Many conservatives raised eyebrows at the rapid succession of the bans, speculating they were part of a coordinated campaign. But Twitter’s Dorsey has no intentions of joining it, the Washington Times reports.

“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” Dorsey explained Tuesday. “We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”

The Twitter chief continued that while he considers Jones a purveyor of “unsubstantiated rumors,” the only result of “succumb[ing] and simply react[ing] to outside pressure” and banning voices like his entirely would simply give “fuel to new conspiracy theories.” Instead, he argued that the solution to fake news on social media is for journalists to “document, validate, and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions.”

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, a fierce critic of Jones, echoed the sentiments of many mainstream conservatives on Monday when he argued that most tech companies were setting a dangerous precedent that would extend far beyond Jones himself.

“Much of what Jones and his employees say is absolutely rotten pig excrement, but there’s no definition of hate speech that has a limiting principle,” he wrote. “Is it ‘using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender’ to state that transgender people suffer from a mental disorder? Or that they are not in fact members of the gender to which they claim membership? What constitutes ‘hate speech’ when discussing the relationship between radical Islam and terrorism? None of this has been made clear.”

As if to unintentionally reinforce Shapiro’s point, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, took to Twitter to not only celebrate Jones’ ban, but to argue that InfoWars was merely the “tip of a giant iceberg” and social media companies “must do more than take down one website.”

Despite Dorsey’s stand against censorship in this case, many conservatives doubt the depth or sincerity of his commitment to an uninhibited exchange of ideas.

Twitter insiders have previously admitted to shadow-banning conservative users and censoring hashtags of interest to conservatives during the 2016 election. The company has attempted to block several pro-life ads, allows left-wing groups such as the pro-homosexual GLAAD to advise it on “trust and safety” issues, and enlists the anti-Christian group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to help weed out “hateful conduct and harassment.”

Most recently, the platform came under fire for temporarily excluding several prominent Republicans from its drop-down search bar, a supposed technical error that did not apply to their Democrat counterparts. Twitter received widespread mockery for its explanation of the incident, which claimed “We do not shadow ban” while admitting users “may have to do more work to find” accounts flagged by Twitter’s algorithm.

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45 Hollywood groups sign letter demanding transgender ‘inclusion’ in movies

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By Calvin Freiburger

HOLLYWOOD, California, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of more than 45 groups, talent agencies, and production companies released an open letter Tuesday demanding that the film industry depict transgender characters more often and in more flattering ways.

A joint project of the gay lobbying group GLAAD and the Time’s Up group’s 5050by2020 initiative, the letter’s signatories include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Color of Change, the Sundance Institute, Sony Pictures Classics, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the production companies of J.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, and more.

“As a community, trans people are fighting every day to be seen and accepted as human beings,” the letter declares, citing policies such as keeping gender-confused individuals out of the military and letting businesses restrict bathrooms by biological sex, and unrelated ills such as transgender unemployment, murders, and suicides as evidence that trans people are “struggling to survive” in an “unsafe” world.

The group claims that Hollywood has the power to cure America’s alleged ignorance of and bigotry toward trans people by telling empathetic stories, but chides the film industry for portraying them “almost exclusively as tragic victims, psychotic killers and one-dimensional stereotypes.”

To alleviate the situation, the group asks “to be brought to the table” to provide input on “rich and diverse stories” that will contribute to “changing America’s understanding about who trans people are.” Accompanying the letter is a “guide to creating trans-inclusive culture,” containing suggestions such as having “experienced trans people” review scripts and source material on trans-related projects, holding transgender sensitivity training for casts and crew, and hiring trans people “in every area of your project, from directing, to costumes, to lighting, to craft services, to accounting” even when making content that isn’t specifically about transgenderism.

In particular, the guide declares that “today it is a mistake” to cast non-trans actors in trans roles out of a need to anchor the project with a recognized star. “It simply isn’t cost effective to take this risk,” it claims; “recent projects which cast cis actors to play trans roles have felt the tide of public opinion turn against them and have taken a hit at the box office.”

It could be argued that those films’ performance issues had more to do with audience disinterest in the subject matter rather than casting, however. Last month, Scarlett Johansson dropped out of the lead role in a biopic about a cross-dressing 1970s kingpin following outcry from transgender advocates; rather than recast an obscure trans actor in the role, however, the production is currently in limbo.

Despite imitating another person’s characteristics and experiences being the essence of acting, the guide argues that trans roles must be reserved for trans actors to push back against society’s “belief that trans people aren’t real,” that “your chromosomes are more important than your own knowledge of yourself.”

In fact, sex is rooted in an individual’s chromosomes and reflected in hundreds of genetic characteristics. While there are extremely rare cases of hermaphroditism, in which people are born with ambiguous genitalia or their apparent sex doesn’t match their chromosomes, the American Psychiatric Association classifies gender dysphoria as as a mental disorder, as did the World Health Organization, until this June.

Most children displaying signs of gender confusion tend to outgrow it on their own, but a variety of studies warn that reinforcing their misconceptions can lead to a variety of emotional and mental health problems, including suicide and self-harm. Such problems often persist regardless of whether an individual’s perceived “identity” is indulged, up to and including gender reassignment surgery.

While LGBT “representation” is steadily rising on American television, GLAAD has been complaining for the past several years about the lack of gay characters or themes in major movies. GLAAD’s own research, as well as comic book retailers’ revolt last year against the Disney-owned entertainment giant Marvel, suggests an unavoidable conflict between activists’ increasing demands for identity politics and mainstream audiences’ decreasing willingness to be lectured in their entertainment.

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Report: Cardinal close to Pope is protecting cadre of gay seminarians in Honduras

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Disturbing new details have emerged regarding Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga’s potential mishandling of a crisis involving widespread homosexual activity at the major seminary in his archdiocese.

Cardinal Maradiaga is an influential confidant of Pope Francis and a member of the C9 Group of cardinals advising him on Church and curial reform.

On August 4, respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, of the National Catholic Register, tweeted an update on the seminary crisis in Honduras, saying: “Latest word from Honduras: All homosexual seminarians have been sent away except those in Tegucigalpa archdiocese who joke they have a very strong and powerful ‘patron saint’: ++ Maradiaga. The cardinal has ‘again used his weight to break rules and agreements with other bishops.'”

In late July, the National Catholic Register reported that nearly 50 seminarians from Tegucigalpa’s major seminary had joined in writing a letter to their formators, protesting what they say is a widespread entrenched pattern of homosexual activity at the institution. 

In the letter, the seminarians told their superiors that “irrefutable evidence” exists that a homosexual network pervades the seminary and is being protected by its rector. 

In June, the letter was circulated to the Catholic bishops of Honduras.

Edward Pentin has told LifeSiteNews regarding his Aug. 4 tweet that, according to his sources, “about 40 seminarians [out of a total of 180] are actively homosexual, and about 20 more who are in the closet. Many repress it to be able to reach ordination but once ordained, they are ‘free and unbridled.’”

The source informed Pentin that “48 young people were sent away from the seminary, following instructions from the Congregation for the Clergy (headed by Cardinal Beniamino Stella). But, he added, “some bishops have cheated: it is true that the seminarians of the ‘gay club’ will not be in the seminary, but instead they have been sent to parishes for a ‘pastoral’ year.” 

“The most notable case,” the source explained, “is San Pedro Sula, where 12 young men will be distributed in parishes. Tegucigalpa is the other case; one of the six under Maradiaga was expelled, the others were sent to parishes for a year of pastoral work,” he said, confirming Edward Pentin’s tweet.  

“None of these dioceses has a ‘plan’ for training, accompaniment and therapeutic assistance established for their seminarians. Everything they are doing is outside the Ratio Fundamentalis [Institutionis] Studiorum,” the source told Pentin, referring to a document on the formation of future priests issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy in 2016. 

“The need for a commission from Rome is urgent. Urge Monsignor Wong [a Mexican archbishop who serves as secretary for seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy] to do something. The seminary is in a very bad state.”

Today’s update on the Honduran seminary crisis comes one week after the National Catholic Register released the documentation used in their initial reporting. The Register released the documents after the Honduran bishops issued a statement blaming the Register for the bishops’ own mishandling and cover-up of a homosexual crisis in their major seminary in the Tegucigalpa archdiocese.

The documentation includes the letter of the 48 seminarians complaining of the ‘epidemic’ of homosexuality at the Tegucigalpa major seminary; comments from a seminarian who signed the letter; and a suicide note from a seminarian in the diocese who tried unsuccessfully to take his own life in April, after he discovered his male lover in the seminary was in another relationship. All the documentation can be viewed here.

The Register reportedly also obtained, but has chosen not to publish, “graphic photographic evidence of homosexual pornography, exchanged on WhatsApp between seminarians who did not sign the letter, as well as other obscene messages.” According to the Register, “the exchanges have been verified as authentic by computer specialists at the Catholic University of Honduras who searched computer memory and handed the exchanges to the country’s bishops.”

The Register first reported on the disturbing allegations at the Honduran major seminary after the scandal broke in the United States surrounding alleged sexual abuse of seminarians and minors by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington D.C.. 

As noted in their reporting, the Honduran allegations “echo some key aspects” of the current scandal unfolding in the U.S.: 

Just as the revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick have provoked troubling questions about what his brother U.S. bishops and the Vatican knew about his interactions with seminarians and about why nothing was disclosed publicly for so long, the Honduran allegations call into question the actions of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa.

While Cardinal Maradiaga — a key confidante of Pope Francis who is coordinator of the ‘C9’ group of cardinals advising him on reforming Church governance and the Roman Curia — is not himself the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct, he is now under fire for appearing to have disregarded a wealth of evidence of homosexual misconduct by Bishop Pineda, whose resignation as auxiliary bishop was accepted by Pope Francis July 20.

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Pennsylvania governor announces ‘LGBT Affairs’ commission to push gay agenda

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By Calvin Freiburger

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pennsylvania’s Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order Monday creating the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, a body dedicated to promoting homosexual and transgender interests in a wide variety of ways.

“The creation of the commission on LGBTQ Affairs is one step of many we have taken to ensure obstacles are removed for anyone who is facing an unfair disadvantage based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” Wolf said. “It’s a step we took together with our stakeholder and advocacy groups and one that those involved asked for – a commission to help coordinate and drive statewide equality efforts.”

The commission will be led by executive director Todd Snovel, the assistant dean for engagement and inclusion at Lebanon Valley College; Anne Wakabayashi as chair, and Shaashawn Dial and Tyler Titus as co-vice chairs. All 40 members are listed in the press release, which noted the commission is the first of its kind and follows existing state commissions for blacks, Asians, Latinos, and women.

Other commissioners prominent in state activism include LGBTQ Victory Fund political director Sean Meloy, William Way LGBT Community Center director Chris Bartlett, the Philadelphia Youth Network’s Jere Mahaffey, state Sen. Larry Farnese, and state Rep. Brian Sims.

Wolf’s executive order declares a need to “acknowledge the myriad contributions of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, while also recognizing challenges still faced by many LGBTQ Pennsylvanians,” and details several functions in pursuit of those ends.

The commission will give the governor advice and recommendations on LGBT-related policy questions, work with state agencies to “strengthen the enforcement of the Commonwealth’s antidiscriminatory hiring, retention and promotion policies,” and liaise with federal, state, and local governments to ensure LGBT-related programs “are effectively utilized and promoted.”

The body will also help community organizations develop programs and other ways to “expand and enhance the civic, social, educational, cultural and economic status of LGBTQ individuals and communities;” identify resources such as scholarships and mentoring programs to benefit “LGBTQ individuals and communities;” and promote the “cultural arts of LGBTQ communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

While pro-homosexual activists are celebrating the news, pro-family advocates are much more wary.

On Tuesday, the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA) responded to the announcement by warning that the commission would “specifically target those with deeply held religious beliefs that homosexuality and transgenderism are wrong,” and effectively make the 40 commissioners into “lobbyists pushing their agenda in the halls of the Capitol and pressuring our elected officials to ‘toe’ the line when it comes to LGBT issues.” The group further noted that while the commissioners are unpaid, they will be reimbursed for travel. “How much will this cost PA taxpayers?” they asked.

“This effort again shows Governor Wolf’s misunderstanding of what the average Pennsylvanian wants,” AFA of PA president Diane Gramley said. “He obviously thinks normalizing homosexuality and allowing men in women’s bathrooms is at the top of the list.  Pennsylvanians are a fair-minded people, but they do not want this agenda pushed on them and that is the exact purpose of this commission.”

While the new commission may currently be the only one of its exact kind in the United States, other bodies in both Pennsylvania and other states have served similar functions.

Philadelphia Gay News reported that former Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp formed a Council for Sexual Minorities in 1976, and various states, including Pennsylvania, have so-called “human rights commissions” that have attempted to punish private citizens for various deviations from homosexual or transgender dogma.

First elected in 2014, Wolf is a left-wing governor who has also aggressively promoted abortion since his days as a Planned Parenthood volunteer. In office, he has vetoed legislation that would have banned late-term and dismemberment abortions, promised to veto legislation banning abortions that target Down syndrome children and abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats, and praised a Planned Parenthood facility, Keystone-Warminster, which has repeatedly failed state health inspections.

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Cardinal Blase Cupich Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Catholics tell Cdl. Cupich: Clerical sex abuse ‘has everything to do with homosexuality’

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By Claire Chretien

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – According to Pope Francis-appointed Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, homosexuality in the clergy isn’t the main issue in the sex abuse crisis, and saying so is a “diversion” away from the real issue, clericalism.

Cupich, one of the most left-leaning, pro-gay bishops in the country, made these comments in an interview with America magazine.

“In the weeks since allegations were made against Archbishop McCarrick, some commentators and clergy have suggested that allowing gay men to be priests has created a culture ripe for the kind of abuse Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have committed,” the Jesuit publication reported. “But Cardinal Cupich said he ‘would be very careful’ in accepting that conclusion, noting that similar claims made during the height of the child sexual abuse crisis in the 2000s were refuted by an independent 2011 report compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.”

Cupich also praised the Dallas Charter, the U.S. bishops’ document on dealing with sex abuser priests, as having been effective at removing now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, even though it specifically avoids addressing consequences for predatory bishops. He made a number of other comments about the need for “a review to confirm if policies that already were in place were not followed” and how “shocked” he was to learn about McCarrick’s pederasty.

“Cardinal Cupich sounds more like a bureaucrat than a pastor,” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute and the author of the forthcoming book The Sexual State, told LifeSiteNews. “I am particularly concerned that he is recycling the old canard from the 2002 go-round of clerical sex abuse: ‘this has nothing to do with homosexuality.’”

“Both the 2004 and the 2011 John Jay Reports concluded that 80% of the cases of sexual abuse of minors were of adolescent boys,” she pointed out. “That has something to do with homosexual activity. The current crisis is about seminarians being sexually harassed by their superiors. That has something to do with homosexual activity.”

Austin Ruse, President of the Center for Family and Human Rights, echoed Morse’s sentiments.

"Cardinal Cupich continues the false narrative that the sex abuse scandals in 2002 had nothing to do with homosexuality when in fact, more than 80% of the cases were adult men assaulting teen boys,” the international pro-life and pro-family activist said. “Then and now this scandal has everything to do with homosexuality. We simply will not allow them to get away with this narrative, particularly since McCarrick's sexual predation was on adult men.”

George Neumayr, author of The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives and a book about former President Obama’s attacks on religious freedom, had strong words for Cupich and Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the latter of whom recently said the U.S. bishops should investigate themselves.

“These charlatans don’t need a new bureaucratic panel; they need an exorcist,” he wrote on Facebook.

Father Thomas Berg, a professor of moral theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, tweeted that Cupich’s “immediate defensiveness about homosexuality in the priesthood...typifies what is so wrong in episcopal culture.”

Cupich is either ‘completely out of touch with reality’ or ‘a liar’

Dr. Janet Smith, a moral theologian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, said, “I believe that [Cardinal] Cupich is correct that clericalism is a great problem in the Church perhaps as seriously for how priests and seminarians are treated by their fellow priests as laity are treated by priests. Too many priests are petty tyrants who will not share power and who wield their power to their own advantage rather than to serve others.”  

“So yes, clericalism does need to be addressed and one hopes that when the problem of homosexual networks in diocese[s] and orders is eliminated, other problems in the priesthood can be addressed,” she told LifeSiteNews. “What those who are involved in homosexual networks are guilty of is not just ‘sexual misbehavior’ or ‘sexual misconduct’; it sometimes involves assault and misuse of power and just plain old mortal sin.”

Another thing Cupich said to America was that he thinks the Church needs new structures to report what the magazine described as “sexual misconduct not involving children.” America wrote:

“If there was a misstep in this, so that people did not have the means by which they could put forward a complaint with objectivity and security, [knowing] that it would be acted on, then we need to put [that] in place,” Cardinal Cupich said.

But, he said, there is no need to “invent any new machinery” in order to adopt policies for reporting such allegations.

“An H.R. department would know how to help us do that, and we should learn from those best practices,” the cardinal said.

“We have heard so many stories of priests brave enough to report immoral sexual advances and forced sexual contact that have been ignored by bishops or which have been used against the priests who report, to very much want to have an investigation into dioceses to find out whether bishops have [dealt] well or poorly with reports of priests, heterosexual and homosexual, who have behaved immorally and been reported,” Smith continued. “This is a deep ugly problem that simply good ‘HR’ offices are not capable of addressing.”

Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute, said Cupich’s interview “shows that he is either completely out of touch with reality or he is a liar.”

“His praise [for] the Dallas Charter for the protection of children as ‘effective in removing the former Cardinal’ is a sick joke!” Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “That charter was not only drafted by McCarrick, but it specifically omitted bishops from actionable culpability. How could it have played a role in McCarrick's removal when all of the bishops who would have known about what McCarrick was doing were complicit in covering it all up?”

Hichborn, too, noted it is bizarre that Cupich would say the John Jay reports – which showed that most priestly sex abuse cases involved post-pubescent males – proved homosexuality in the clergy is not a major issue.

“It simply isn't possible that the main driving force behind the scandal isn't homosexual priests when the vast majority of the victims are males,” he said. “And since he read the report, Cardinal Cupich knows this.”

“Given the revelations surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, it's clear that there has got to be a complete and thorough removal of ALL homosexual clergymen from the Church,” said Hichborn. “All of them! And it won't happen unless the laity not only demand it, but withhold their financial contributions to the bishops until we are sure that every single homosexual priest is removed.”

Bishops who ‘deny the homosexual angle’ should be investigated too

“The lay faithful are not going to be diverted by attempts to change the subject. Clergy living active homosexual lives are causing a lot of problems in the Church,” Dr. Morse told LifeSiteNews. “They are hurting their victims.They are also hurting the good, holy and innocent priests who are all under suspicion.”

If the bishops won't face these problems, the laity will have to find new and imaginative ways of applying pressure,” she warned. On her blog, she crunched numbers from the John Jay reports to demonstrate how they do, in fact, show homosexuality is a big issue in clerical sex abuse cases – and that the reports are “no comfort at all in today’s context,” given they do not address harassment seminarians face from superiors and the problem of adult-on-adult sexual predation. 

Ruse called for scrutiny of those in the Church who support parishes that defy Catholic teaching on sexual morality.

“Our investigations should include all those who support and promote so-called gay affirming parishes and even those who deny the homosexual angle,” he said.

Dr. Smith said a purge of sexually corrupt priests will leave the Church with a “small priesthood” but one that is more pure.

“Bishops must go through their memories and files to dig out what accusations there have been of sexually sinful behavior by priests but especially by priests involved in networks that harm other individuals,” Dr. Smith suggested. “If the bishop doesn't have ‘proof’ of the alleged immoral behavior [he needs] to use what moral means there are to obtain [it].”

“And then they should ask unrepentant priests to seek laicization. We will have a small priesthood and likely fewer parishes...but we need a [clergy] that strives at all times for holiness and who can truly manifest their stature of being ‘in persona Christi’ in more than a window dressing way,” said the professor.

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Katie Yoder

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Actress Mila Kunis shocked that anyone opposes Planned Parenthood

Katie Yoder
By Katie Yoder

August 8, 2018 (NewsBusters) – Actress Mila Kunis is admitting she didn't know there was an "opposing side" to Planned Parenthood until pro-lifers made donations in her name.

On July 30, Kunis spoke on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast. While news outlets foused on her opinion of President Trump, she also commented on Planned Parenthood. She admitted she was "impressed" by pro-lifers, but agreed they were "spiteful" – even though she didn't know they existed until last year.

At the beginning of the interview, Kunis revealed that she once had a "blow-up" with a relative of her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, about President Trump and "women's rights."

She remembered this person as saying, "He's not going to do anything against women's rights," while she responded, "No, but he is. Like, these are the things that will happen if he wins."

That led host Maron to ask Kunis more about her stance on the issue, and, in particular, her donations to Planned Parenthood. She publicized those donations last year, when she told late-night host Conan O'Brien about her "protest" against Vice President Mike Pence.

"As a reminder that there are women out there in the world that may or may not agree with his platform, I put him on a list of re-occurring donations that are made in his name to Planned Parenthood," she said to applause on Conan. "Every month to his office, he gets a little letter that says like, an anonymous donation has been made in your name."

She confirmed to Maron that she's still donating to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.

"It's not that big of a deal," she said of her comments on Conan. "I thought it was a funny joke. I was going to always donate to Planned Parenthood anyways." 

But then she admitted that "some people didn't find it funny" – and responded by donating to presumably pro-life causes in her name.

"So there's an address that was listed online that's not necessarily my personal address, but it's listed as if it's my personal address," she said. "So then people started giving donations to the opposing side, which I didn't even know that there was one. Okay, I don't want to promote it, whatever it is."

Among others, Kunis may have referred to pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, which received nearly $300,000 after her appearance on Conan.

Kunis stressed that "thousands of envelopes daily would come."

"In return, I was like, at least I'm proud of people for putting their money where their mouth is," she said in response. "So like, okay, donate to your cause. If you really want this one thing to succeed, go ahead. I'm not mad at it. I was, you know, actually pretty impressed with people trying to like get one on top of me."

Maron, who also donates to Planned Parenthood, concluded that, "That side is really good a spiteful, grassroot organizing."

While laughing, Kunis agreed. "Well, yeah, exactly. Yes, as we all know."

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Diana Robinson / Flickr
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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New York launches public awareness campaign to promote abortion, ‘fight back’ against Trump

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By Calvin Freiburger

ALBANY, New York, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – No longer content to preside over some of the most permissive abortion laws in the nation, New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a new “public awareness” campaign to promote abortion centers and counter what he calls pro-life “misinformation.”

The campaign is called “Know Your Options,” according to a press release from the governor’s office, and it consists of subway ads encouraging women to visit a state website that purports to help them “get the facts” and connect to “comprehensive family planning services.”

“These actions are in direct response to widespread reports of organizations known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs misrepresenting themselves as health centers to dissuade those seeking abortion from going through with that choice,” the announcement claims. “These reports show that CPCs often use false and misleading advertising and offer free services to attract women into their offices, where they then allegedly misinform and mislead those who seek pregnancy-related information.”

The press release does not cite any of these “widespread reports,” though abortion defenders have attacked CPCs for years. Pro-lifers have addressed such claims at length.

"While the federal government wages war on women's reproductive rights, New York will fight back to protect women's access to comprehensive, safe and affordable health care," Cuomo declared. "In New York, we refuse to let President Trump and Washington take us backwards and jeopardize the rights of New Yorkers. We are launching this public awareness campaign to combat the insidious spread of misleading, medically inaccurate information about reproductive health and to ensure all New York women know the options they are legally entitled to."

The website helps visitors look up health plans and licensed providers in the state, as well as New York’s health programs for low-income women. The latter provide “contraceptive (birth control) education, counseling and a broad range of methods (including long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs and implants)” and “health education in community settings to [...] promote access to reproductive and preventive health services,” as well as less controversial services.

The “Think You Might Be Pregnant?” section directs viewers to resources on prenatal care, parenting support, New York adoption services, and abortion. In-clinic abortions “are safe, outpatient procedures,” the website claims, while medication abortions entail “giv[ing] you medicine at an office visit and then allow[ing] you to go home with more medicine to end the pregnancy.”

“Insurance, including Medicaid, covers abortion services so that cost is not a barrier,” it continues.

In an implicit swipe at CPCs, the website stresses that women should make sure they are turning to “Quality Family Planning Providers,” who offer information “without pressure or bias,” provide the “most up to date scientifically-proven reproductive health services available,” and are “licensed to provide services in NYS and be able to tell you what kind of license they have.”

Abortion advocates often claim that CPCs misrepresent themselves as medical facilities despite not being licensed. Pro-life activist and former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson has responded by noting that leading CPC groups Heartbeat International and Care Net do recommend that CPCs which offer ultrasounds or lab tests employ licensed medical professionals, whereas Planned Parenthood does not require licensing for its own workers performing those functions.

In addition to disputing the various pro-abortion claims against CPCs, pro-lifers argue that many of these attacks could be more accurately directed at Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers, from lack of options and poor health standards to false information and pressure to choose abortion.

Cuomo’s latest move to promote abortion is part of a long record of pro-abortion advocacy, which includes permitting abortion effectively until birth, forcing taxpayers and insurance companies to pay for abortion, a largely-symbolic push to codify Roe v. Wade in state law, and declaring that “right-to-life” supporters “have no place in the state of New York.”

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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Do abortion-supporters care about the danger and destruction of the abortion pill?

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

August 8, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Abortion supporters appear determined to ignore the dangers of DIY abortion in their support to license abortion pills for home consumption. BPAS Chief Executive Ann Furedi recently branded abortion pills "safe and simple" in a Spiked Magazine article this week.

With an array of pro-abortion publications peddling the same message, they also appear to possess the same blind-spot. Whilst repeating snappy slogans such as 'we trust women' they refuse to acknowledge the 24 women who consumed abortion pills and are now dead. The cause of death? Abortion pills. The same pills branded 'safe and simple' by Furedi.

Fatal complications

Two women in the United Kingdom have been killed by abortion pills in the past five years according to the 2017 abortion statistics. The same statistics also exposed that medical abortions hold a higher complication rate compared to surgical abortions. Complications include sepsis and haemorrhaging.

It was only this year that the Food and Drug Administration updated their guidance to reveal the disturbing fact that 22 American women have been killed by abortion pills. The official website stated: "As of December 2017, there were reports of 22 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal."

It is reported that the deceased women perished from a range of complications associated with the abortion pills including; liver failure, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome and haemorrhaging.

Indifference to suffering

However, the FDA report further described the appalling side effects inflicted upon women taking the pills. Between 2000-2012, there were 2740 cases of severe complications. In the last five years, there have been 289 complications each year including, 273 hospitalisations,103 infections and 182 cases of blood loss resulting in urgent transfusions.

It appears that publications and providers such as Furedi simply refuse to acknowledge findings that do not match their agenda of liberalising abortion. The deaths of women are disregarded and the suffering of thousands ignored.

SPUC Director of Communications and Campaigns Michael Robinson said: "It is perplexing that women who claim to care for their fellow women refuse to acknowledge 24 of their sisters now dead and continue to reject the suffering of thousands."

SPUC Scotland's legal challenge on the Scottish Governments policy of providing abortion pills at home was heard in May and a judgement is expected around the end of August.

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

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Benjamin and Kirsten Watson meet with Pregnancy Clinic clients and their families during tour of the life-saving pregnancy center.
Karen Ingle

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Pro-life NFL star Ben Watson donates ultrasound machine to pregnancy center

Karen Ingle
By Karen Ingle
The Watsons tour the Pregnancy Clinic's "prayer room," once the scene of late-term abortions.
Benjamin Watson signs the football of ten-year-old Julius, a Maryland boy whose life was saved thanks to an ultrasound at the Pregnancy Clinic.
Benjamin and Kirsten Watson pose with Pregnancy Clinic Executive Director Pamela Palumbo and an unborn baby via ultrasound.

August 8, 2018 (Pregnancy Help News) – If not for then-Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson and his wife Kirsten, Maryland's Severna Park Pregnancy Clinic staff might today be defending life without their strongest weapon.

The clinic's long-lived ultrasound machine lingered just one mechanical failure away from its demise.

But because of the Watsons' generosity, a new, state-of-the-art 3D/4D ultrasound machine took pride of place in the Severna Park clinic on June 1.

To celebrate this gift – which he made through the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission and Focus on the Family's Option Ultrasound Program – the staff, board, and two client families granted their benefactors' wish to tour a pregnancy clinic serving primarily women at risk for abortion from the Baltimore area.

Pregnancy Clinic Ministries' CEO Pamela Palumbo led the tour, explaining how her three clinics, including one in Bowie and another in Annapolis, defend life against Maryland's completely unrestricted abortion industry.

Via ultrasound, they let women see what's happening inside their bodies early in pregnancy – vital knowledge for the 7,000 women who call them each year, most of whom start out asking, "How much are your abortions?"

That question is not at all surprising in the Severna Park clinic. That clinic occupies part of a three-story commercial building that once belonged to Gynecare Center, an abortion clinic.

"When we walked into the place, we found they had left overnight," Palumbo said. "There were still bloody sponges on the floor, blood stains on the floor, client files they had left behind. They didn't close; they simply moved to a very discreet location where they wouldn't have people out front protesting and holding signs and praying."

Severna Park Pregnancy Clinic opened there in 2005. Even seven years later, Palumbo discovered, the abortion clinic had never changed the address on its website, leading women to find the life-affirming clinic welcoming them in its place.

By the time the Watsons came for their tour, they found all the rooms decorated and completely repainted – with one exception. After praying over the new ultrasound machine with the clinic board and staff, the Watsons were invited through wide accordion doors into the "prayer room," once the scene of unreported numbers of late-term abortions.

There they found walls now covered with Scripture verses handwritten by previous pro-life visitors. And on the floor lay a throw rug which Palumbo lifted to reveal the last blood stain testifying to the room's history.

"I have been in this room a half a dozen times and it is emotional for me each time," Pregnancy Clinic's accountant Jim Anderson said. "I will never be comfortable standing in this room. When Mrs. Watson took off her shoes and got as low to the ground as she could to write on the wall – it was very powerful." Mr. Watson, making the most of his height, left a message near the ceiling.

Ultrasounds and Fathers

During the tour, Watson and the Pregnancy Clinic staff also discussed their shared desire to empower fathers. Watson, father of five and author of The New Dad's Play Book, spent part of his time at the clinic talking one-on-one with a ten-year-old boy named Julius about what it means to be a Christian man.

Julius's mother, Talana Hamilton, told Watson she chose to give birth to her son after an ultrasound at the clinic. Because of that choice, Julius was alive to receive manhood tips and an autographed football from Watson, his Ravens hero.

Another client, a dad named Dave Norman, told the Watsons an ultrasound saved his whole family. Norman and his now-wife Justine were on a self-destructive path of addiction until they saw their pre-born daughter on the screen. Both parents decided to "get clean and stay clean" for the sake of their child.

Part of the clinic's strong connection to fathers like Dave is due to their "MVPs," Palumbo said. MVPs, or Male Volunteer Presence, are men equipped to talk with the fathers who accompany their partners to their appointments.

"Our MVPs have been trained to give dads education on abortion, to talk to them about what's going on and about what it means to be a father – which means to step up and protect – and also what the woman could potentially be going through," she said. "We want to give the men information to empower them in ways no one has ever encouraged them before."

Hearing that, Watson not only signed Palumbo's copy of his book, but also went on to mail her a case of them for the new dads.

Why the Gift of Ultrasound?

In a recent Facebook post, Benjamin Watson explained what drove his donation: "Years ago, after a 3D/4D ultrasound for our first child, we envisioned the day when we would be able to give other families this gift… For me, as I yawned after seeing my daughter yawn in utero, the pregnancy became real in a much more tangible way."

For Palumbo and her team, every day that their clinics can provide 3D/4D ultrasound means fewer women will believe the lie that "it's not a baby."

"This is an instant-gratification society," she said, noting how today's women may come to a center as soon as they miss a period. "With the transvaginal internal Doppler, even when the baby is too small to be visually clear, we can pick up the heartbeat at six weeks and three days. That's really important for this generation."

Watson, who recently left Baltimore to play for the New Orleans Saints, highlighted the value of ultrasound on his Facebook post, saying, "Seeing life inside the womb not only affirms its beauty and dignity but encourages the mother and father that their child is worth fighting for."

But the battle for the lives of babies and their parents is far from over.

"We prayed again in that room that the blood of other babies would not be spilled, and we would not forget this is still happening even though this clinic is now a place of light and life," Palumbo said. "This is still happening in other places, and that fight is still on. We must not let our guard down."

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

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Allowing death penalty is Catholic doctrine and cannot be overturned: two Catholic profs

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LOS ANGELES & CLAREMONT, California, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two U.S. Catholic professors who authored what many consider to be a rigorous defense of Catholic teaching on capital punishment say that Pope Francis’ new teaching on the subject appears to be “contradicting scripture, tradition, and all previous popes.” And, he may be “committing a doctrinal error.” 

It‘s been a busy week for Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette, joint authors of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment. Published by Ignatius Press in May 2017, the work is a comprehensive guide to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the death penalty.  Thanks to Pope Francis’ surprise alteration to the Catechism of the Catholic Church last week, both men are now in the spotlight. 

Feser, an assistant professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, told LifeSiteNews that the new teaching, “like many of Pope Francis's doctrinal statements, is obscure.”

“On the one hand, the CDF letter announcing the change asserts that the new teaching ‘is not in contradiction’ with previous teaching. On the other hand, the pope is saying that the death penalty should never be used -- which goes beyond John Paul II's teaching that it should be ‘very rare’ -- and Francis justifies this claim on doctrinal grounds, rather than the prudential grounds that John Paul appealed to,” he said. 

“Moreover, Pope Francis claims that the use of capital punishment conflicts with ‘the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ which makes it sound like it is intrinsically contrary to natural law.  So, the actual substance of the teaching seems to be that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong.  If that is what the pope is saying, then he is contradicting scripture, tradition, and all previous popes, and is therefore committing a doctrinal error, which is possible when popes do not speak ex-cathedra [from the chair],” he added.

To believe that the Church can contradict its doctrines, whether concerning artificial contraception or capital punishment or other moral teachings, is “not compatible with what the Church says about herself.”  

‘We are defending the integrity of the Church’

Feser said that when their book came out, he and Joseph Bessette received a torrent of personal attacks, criticism he calls “childish nonsense.” 

“We are defending the integrity of the Church,” he said. 

Feser pointed out that many defenders of the Church’s perennial doctrine, like the late Cardinal Avery Dulles and Cardinal Charles J. Chaput, are themselves personally opposed to the death penalty.  Nevertheless, they do not deny the teaching. 

“It’s so odd that so many people want to make it personal,” the philosopher said. “Just look at the arguments.” 

Feser sees Pope Francis’s change to the catechism as highly problematic. 

“As in other instances in the past five years, ambiguity is a factor,” he said. “But I think it is worse than that.”

He notes that Cardinal Ladaria presented an introductory letter stating that Francis’s change is “not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium” but not explaining how it isn’t a rupture. And if it is true that capital punishment is inadmissible because it is “an attack on dignity”, then it follows, Feser said, that the Law of Moses was “an attack on dignity” and that Pope John Paul II’s assertion that capital punishment was legitimate in rare circumstances was an “attack on dignity.” 

In Pope Francis’s defense, the philosopher said that it was possible that the pontiff was just not interested in doctrine. Feser was unsure this was a defense, however, as “safeguard of doctrine is the pope’s job.” However, given remarks Pope Francis made last October, when he said that capital punishment was “per se contrary to the Gospel”, the change to the catechism is “less bad than what it looked like we were getting”, Feser believes, as this earlier formulation made it sound as if capital punishment were “intrinsically evil.” 

In terms of a truly authentic development on Church doctrine on capital punishment, Feser argues Pope John Paul II took it as far as he could take it, and moreover that he didn’t take it as far as people think. Although many people believe JP2 restricted it to only to prevent the direct endangerment of the innocent, “if you actually read [Evangelium Vitae], it’s not really there,” the philosopher said. The perennial doctrine of the Church is that capital punishment is legitimate also as a deterrent and as retributive justice. 

“The only thing that can be done is recommending against [the death penalty] in practice,” Feser said. The principle, however, must remain. 

He underscored that these are not just his “assertions.”

“We analyse this in painstaking fashion in our book,” Feser said and voiced some frustration with how little his and Bessette’s critics are willing to engage with their arguments.  They are not only unable to grasp the evidence, not only that the Church has never decreed that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, but that many social scientists do believe it has a deterrent value. Feser said that it was “rash” and “irresponsible” for Churchmen with no sociological expertise to “throw out bromides” about human dignity.  If the death penalty is a deterrent, then those who wish to abolish it are “risking the lives of the innocent.”

‘Pro-life’ is not a ‘magic theological bullet’

Impatient of sentimentality and anti-intellectualism, Feser is similarly dismissive of those who say that people who are against abortion but support the death penalty aren’t really pro-life. 

“‘Pro-life’ is a modern American political slogan,” Feser declared. “It has no philosophical or theological content at all.”

The word is not a “magic theological bullet,” he stressed. He pointed out that one could just as easily tell someone that they aren’t “pro-freedom” because they support the incarceration of people guilty of crimes. Scripture is very clear that one can lose the right to life through murder; there is a difference between protecting the right to life of the innocent and that of the guilty, just as there is a difference between unjustly depriving the innocent of their freedom and justly locking up the guilty in prison.   

Feser was raised a Catholic, but his philosophical studies gradually led to atheism. However, the history of philosophy, ancient and medieval, brought him back to the faith. 

The philosopher’s interest in the death penalty was prompted by Pope John Paul II. Feser had supported the use of capital punishment, both as an atheist and as a Catholic, but he noticed that John Paul II’s personal opposition was changing people’s perceptions of what the Church actually taught.  

“I saw people being pushed to an extreme [abolitionist] position,” Feser said. 

He was troubled by what he saw as “an attack on the rationality and consistency” of the Catholic Church, when it was that very rationality and consistency that he admired. He had previously been looking for “wiggle-room” on the teaching against artificial contraception, but had been impressed that Paul VI had affirmed the teaching “when the whole world was against him.”

“I was impressed by the sheer intransigence,” he chuckled. 

Feser’s co-author Joseph Bessette, a professor of government and ethics at Claremont McKenna College in California, told LifeSiteNews via email that he first became interested in capital punishment while growing up in Massachusetts, where it was a “hotly debated topic” in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Later, in the early 1980s I worked in the prosecutor’s office in Chicago.  That’s where I first learned from prosecutors of the gruesome details of the relatively few murders that resulted in a death sentence,” Bessette recalled.   

When he began to teach a course on “Crime and Public Policy” in the early 1990s, Bessette devoted three weeks to the death penalty, but didn’t pay close attention to Church doctrines on the topic, as he knew the Church had “always taught that the death penalty could be a legitimate punishment for heinous crimes if necessary to secure public safety.”  

But a student’s remark inspired him to take another look. 

“One day a student in my course said, ‘Well, I am a Catholic.  So I am against the death penalty.’ I affirmed the Church’s traditional teaching and then sought to learn more about the Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (1995) and the revision in the language in the Catechism between 1992 and 1997.” 

‘The simple fact is that the death penalty saves lives’

Bessette believes that in revising the Catechism to state the death penalty is “inadmissible”, Pope Francis has attempted to “overturn” two millennia of Church teaching. 

“Moreover, by strongly implying that Catholics must support the abolition of the death penalty, he has allied the Church with a public policy that would undermine just punishment and cost the lives of innocent human beings,” he asserted. “The simple fact is that the death penalty saves lives.”

Bessette says that he and Feser present a “large body of evidence” in their book to support this conclusion. 

Unfortunately, Pope Francis and many Catholic clerics simply presume that public safety would not be jeopardized if capital punishment were abolished,” he continued. 

He said he did not expect Catholic priests “no matter what their rank” to be experts in criminal justice, and that unless a public policy is intrinsically evil, it is up to citizens and government “to decide how best to promote the common good.”

“This is what the Church has always taught,” Bessette stressed.  “By falsely claiming

that the principles of Catholicism call for rejecting the death penalty in all circumstances,

the pope undermines the authority of the Magisterium, preempts the proper authority of public officials, and jeopardizes public safety and the common good.”

In defense of those who seek to protect the unborn while supporting capital punishment, Bessette said there was no contradiction.

“There is absolutely no inconsistency between being pro-life and pro-death penalty,” he said.  “The Church has always taught that it is never licit to take an innocent human life.”  

Bessette cited John Paul II, saying the pope affirmed this principle unambiguously in Evangelium Vitae.

The late pontiff wrote:  “[T]he commandment 'You shall not kill' has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. . . . [T]he absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium… Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral (EV 57)”

“Similarly,” Bessette added,  “the current Catechism says, ‘The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation’ ([CCCC] 2273).”

“Killing in self-defense or killing a vicious murderer has absolutely no relationship to this prohibition of intentionally killing the innocent, and the Church has always understood and taught this.”  

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British Lord David Alton
K.V. Turley

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European politicians urge Argentina not to liberalize abortion laws

K.V. Turley
By

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – After more than sixty Irish TDs and Senators signed a letter calling on the Argentinian Senate to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, another, very different letter has been sent to the same legislature from British and Irish Parliamentarians.

The pro-abortion letter was organised by Amnesty International. It is sent ahead of the vote in Argentina’s Senate on August 8. This vote will decide whether a bill legalising abortion for the first 14 weeks becomes law. In June, the same bill narrowly passed through the lower house of Argentina’s Congress. 

In the pro-abortion letter, TDs and Senators claimed that by criminalising abortion, Argentina is “violating women and girl’s human rights”. It went on to point to “our experience in Ireland [which] illustrates that legislating to safeguard women’s access to safe and lawful abortion services is both necessary and possible. We urge that you, the members of the Argentinian Senate, now seize this momentous opportunity to put an end to the injustices against women and girls by voting favour of this Bill.”

The letter is signed by elected representatives from all the main Irish political parties and some Independents. Notably one political party, Sinn Fein, has signed this letter on behalf of all its members.  

In contrast another letter has been sent to the Argentinian Senate ahead of the August 8 vote. It comes from an English Lord and an Irish Senator. In their letter pro-life advocates Lord David Alton and Senator Rónán Mullen point out that there is no right to abortion in human rights law as understood by the European Court of Human Rights. They also point out that as recently as 1990, Argentina signed up to a United Nations Convention affording legal protection to the unborn.

The full text of the letter:

Dear Senadoras y Senadores,

We write to you as you consider the legislation currently before the Argentine Senate which proposes to allow abortion on demand up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

This legislation would, by design, remove the right to life from the unborn child at the earliest stages of development. The right to life is a core fundamental right in international human rights law. There is no right to abortion in human rights law; in Europe, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has reiterated this fact on numerous occasions. Furthermore, Argentina ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990; the preamble of the Convention declares as follows:

“[T]he child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” [Emphasis added].

The unborn child is a living human being and is entitled to all of the same rights as other members of the human family. The consistent pressure to introduce abortion in Argentina from foreign organisations lacks a basis in international law and should be ignored.

The destruction of an unborn child up to 14 weeks of pregnancy ignores the scientific realities that the unborn baby has arms, legs, toes, fingers, ears and a face at the 10-12 weeks stage of pregnancy. The ending of pregnancy by taking the life of the unborn child for no medical reason whatsoever is not healthcare.

We would urge Argentina not to make the mistakes of other countries by accepting this legislation. A truly compassionate solution to an unwanted pregnancy is to offer all the necessary support to a woman to use the adoption process to place her baby with a loving family if she does not wish to raise the child. This offers the baby an opportunity to grow up in an environment where they are cherished. 

Abortion is not compassionate for either the woman or the child. Real compassion is based on protecting life, not ending it.

A line is crossed when we take away the right to life. We respectfully urge you to uphold true human rights and compassion by rejecting legislation that would remove the right to life from the unborn child. By rejecting the proposed legislation, you would be acting to protect the most vulnerable member of the human family - the unborn child.

Yours sincerely

Prof the Lord Alton of Liverpool
Senator Rónán Mullen

Argentina currently allows access to abortion in specific cases, including rape and risk to the mother’s life. An estimated 500,000 abortions take place in Argentina every year representing four out of ten pregnancies.

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St. Cajetan's life provides us with a good example of what to do when the Church is in dark times.
Gregory DiPippo

Opinion,

A saint to remember in evil days for the Church

Gregory DiPippo
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The Vision of St Cajetan, by Michelangelo Buonocore, 1733. While praying in the Chapel of the Crib at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome on Christmas Eve, the Saint beheld the Virgin Mary, who then passed the Baby Jesus to him to hold; he is frequently represented this way in art.
Pope Leo X, with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici (left), the future Clement VII, and Luigi de’ Rossi, painted by Raphael in 1518-19.
The high altar of San Paolo Maggiore, the Theatine church of Naples. The order did not unlearn the important lesson imparted to the Church by earlier Orders like the Cistercians and Franciscans, that the poverty of religious is not practiced by impoverishing the house of God.
The altar of the crypt, containing the Saints’ relics.
A sixteenth century image of one of the sessions of the Council of Trent, from the Tyrol region (now part of northern Italy) which includes Trent. (Public domain image from Wikipedia.)

August 8, 2018 (New Liturgical Movement) – In the last few weeks, Catholics have been very forcibly reminded of the serious problems of doctrinal and moral corruption that run rampant in the Church. I do not intend to address these issues here, as they are being addressed quite amply elsewhere. However, yesterday was the feast of a Saint whose life provides us with a good example of what to do when the Church is in dark times.

St Cajetan was one of the founders of the Clerks Regular of the Divine Providence, the very first order of Clerks Regular. They are usually referred to as the Theatines, since one of the other founders, Gian Pietro Caraffa, was bishop of the city of Chieti, “Theate” in Latin, in the Abruzzo region; he would later be elected Pope with the name Paul IV (1555-59). Cajetan himself was born to a noble family of Vicenza in the Venetian Republic, but spent much of his life in Rome. After studying theology and both civil and canon law, he came to the capital of Christendom in 1506, convinced that he was called to do some great work there. He was ordained a priest in 1516, and was actively involved in the foundation or revival of several small confraternities, both in Rome itself and northern Italy, through which zealous and devout Christians, clergy and laity, were able to keep the true spirit of their faith alive.

The revised Butler’s Lives of the Saints describes the state of the Church in his time as “not less than shocking. The general corruption weakened the Church before the assaults of Protestantism and provided an apparent excuse for that revolt, and the decay of religion with its accompaniment of moral wickedness was not checked by the clergy, many of whom, high and low, secular and regular were themselves sunk in iniquity and indifference. (my emphasis) The Church was ‘sick in head and members’.”

To elaborate on this solely in reference to Rome: St Cajetan was ordained in the reign of Pope Leo X. Bad historians, who abound in every age, have in some respects unfairly tarnished the reputation of the two Medici Popes of the early 16th century, Leo (1513-21) and his cousin Clement VII (1523-34), along with that of their entire family. Nevertheless, Leo presided over one of great abject failures among the ecumenical councils, Lateran V (1512-17), which was called in part to deal with serious abuses that had become almost omnipresent in the Church, and did absolutely nothing to correct them. (The agenda of the Council of Trent is to no small degree that of Lateran V, done properly.) The failure of Lateran V did much to encourage the Protestant revolt, which could credibly point to the two highest authorities in the Church, the Pope and the ecumenical council, as evidence that things had gone badly wrong within it. Clement VII would then steer Rome into one of its greatest political catastrophes, the infamous Sack of 1527.

Among those who participated in the conclaves that elected them was one Alessandro Farnese; his sister Giulia was the mistress of the infamous Pope Alexander VI Borgia, who made him a cardinal in 1493. In accordance with one of the common abuses that Lateran V notoriously failed to correct, Cardinal Farnese held several incompatible benefices at the same time, in order to draw the revenues attached to them. He was simultaneously first a Cardinal-Deacon, then a Cardinal-Bishop, while also administrator of a see in France, archpriest of the Lateran basilica in Rome, and bishop of Parma, holding the latter two positions until his election as Pope in 1534. In the early years of his episcopacy, he fathered five children.

Butler’s Lives goes on to say, “The spectacle shocked and distressed Cajetan, and in 1523 he went back to Rome to confer with his friends … They agreed that little could be done otherwise than by reviving in the clergy the spirit and zeal of those holy pastors who first planted the faith; and to put them in mind what this spirit ought to be, and what it obliges them to, a plan was formed for instituting an order of regular clergy upon the model of lives of the Apostles.” The name “Clerks Regular of the Divine Providence” refers to the fact that, in imitation of the poverty of the Apostles, whose spirit they hoped to revive in the Church, they neither begged like the mendicants, nor accepted permanent endowments like the monks, but lived on whatever might be offered to them spontaneously by the faithful.

At the time of the Sack of Rome, the Theatines numbered only twelve members; their Roman house was almost destroyed in the sack, and Cajetan himself was cruelly treated by soldiers who hoped to extort money from him, assuming (as well they might) that a cleric in Rome must be rather wealthy. The community was forced to flee to Venice. After serving for a time as superior, Cajetan was sent to Verona, where he and his confreres worked in support of a reform-minded bishop against the fierce opposition of both the clergy and laity. He then went to Naples, where he spent the rest of his life, and where the reforming principles promoted by his order bore greater and longer-lasting fruit. The Breviary lessons for his feast day note that “more than once he detected and put to flight the evils and subterfuges of heresies.” This refers to his successful opposition in Naples of three heretics (two of them apostate friars) who had been corrupting the faith of the people.

What would a man like Cajetan have thought when a man with a past like that of Alessandro Farnese was elected Pope in 1534, taking the name Paul III? What would he have thought of the fact that within a month of his election, the new Pope had appointed his 14-year-old grandson, also called Alessandro, as his own successor in the see of Parma, raising him to the cardinalate shortly thereafter? Was he perhaps tempted to despair on learning that another papal grandson, Guido, was raised to the cardinalate alongside his cousin? Or did he sigh with relief, thinking that Guido, at the ripe age of 16, was at least more experienced in ecclesiastical affairs, since he had been a bishop since shortly before his tenth birthday?

And yet, almost from the moment of his ascent to the Chair of Peter, Paul III showed himself the first Pope to actively and effectively work to oppose the Reformation, not only as a challenge to the Faith, but as a problem of internal reform. In 1540, he formally recognized the Society of Jesus, the shock troops of the Counter-Reformation, and despite political difficulties of every sort imaginable, began the Council of Trent in 1545. Among the many cardinals he made in his twelve consistories is numbered yet another of his grandsons, but also Gian Pietro Carafa, who was as ardent a reformer as Pope as he had been as a religious priest and then bishop, and a good many other worthy men. One of his two English cardinals, St John Fisher, died as a martyr for his opposition to England’s new pastoral approach to adultery. The other, Reginald Pole, was for the same reason very nearly murdered in a park outside Rome by men in the pay of his kinsman, King Henry VIII.

In The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, Mons. Philip Hughes wrote that “It fell to (Card. Pole) to write the opening address of the legates to the council--a frank admission that it was clerical sin mainly that had brought religion to this pass, and a passionate plea for sincerity in the deliberations. One who was present has recorded that as the secretary of the council read the speech, the bishops instinctively turned to look at Pole, recognising from its tone and content who was its actual author. Paul III could have given no clearer sign of his own sincerity than (this) in the direction of the longed-for council.”

St Cajetan’s ministry in Rome, and that of his order, was certainly important, but never very large, and would be overshadowed by that of his near contemporary St Ignatius, the founder of what would become a vastly larger and more widespread order of Clerks Regular, and by St Philip Neri and the Oratory in the following generation. He belonged to the generation of good men who suffered through evil days, trusting that the evils they deplored, but could oppose only partially or not at all, would come to an end in God’s time and by His grace. Though they knew not the day nor the hour, their good example laid the groundwork for the sweeping and highly effective reforms of the Counter-Reformation. Therefore, if the corruption and heresy we read about from the days of St Cajetan seem depressingly familiar, let us take encouragement from his example. Let us each do what we can so that future generations remember the Catholics of these days as those who laid the groundwork for the next Catholic Reformation.

Gregory DiPippo is editor of New Liturgical Movement, a website devoted to promoting sacred liturgy and liturgical arts. This article is reprinted with permission.

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Opinion, ,

Ordinary Catholics have had enough of bishops mincing words

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By Anthony Esolen

August 8, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – Let us hear no more from priests, prelates, and Catholic writers dissenting from the truth – from reason, from Scripture, from the constant and clear teaching of the Church in the matter of the creation of mankind male and female, the one-flesh union willed by God from the beginning, the raising of boys to be men and girls to be women, made for one another, the goodness and the reality of sex and its natural expressions in human culture, the created nature of marriage which is as obvious to the old pagan as to the Christian, the inadmissibility of severing the pleasure of the sexual act from its biological aim and its bodily meaning, the indissolubility of marriage, and the warnings by the last several popes, of loneliness and confusion and unhappiness that result from the evil of all kinds of mockery of marriage, including consensual and habitual fornication.

Let us hear no more about softening the sense that acts that violate the structure of the sexes themselves are perverse. Let us have no more ungrateful denigration of genuine masculinity and femininity. Let us see no more of the craven submission to all of the foul lies of mass entertainment and mass education, so that a Catholic school is but a year or two behind the times – the New York Times.

Let us hear no more about pronouns from you priests, prelates, and Catholic writers who perpetrated outrages upon the souls and bodies of young priests and seminarians, and you who covered for them, for reasons best known and kept to yourselves, but for no reason sufficient to excuse you, and to prevent you from doing the honorable thing. If you have a position of authority, and you did nothing, you should resign. You may be replaced. You are not indispensable. Enough already.

Several years ago, the bishop of the Canadian diocese where we live in the summer was caught in a routine check at an airport. He had pornographic images of children in his possession. The Canadian media would not be more specific than that. He had to resign in disgrace, and he did a little bit of time, not much, in prison. He is now, according to word I have from an orthodox priest, living with another man. No surprise to anyone. He had made a habit of flying to peculiar destinations across the world, destinations that had no connection whatever to the ethnic or cultural character of his largely rural diocese. In those places flesh is cheap.

If it is true that he has settled down now to a comfortable elderly life of sin, it is an example not of repentance but of contumacy and defiance. Where is the shame? This diocese was not rife with homosexual priests preying upon adolescent boys, but it had a few, and the parishes, hardly flush with money, have been reduced to penury by the costs of the settlements. He knew that at the time and he knows it still. An elderly lady in our village bequeathed $165,000 to her beloved neighborhood church to keep it open, and the parishioners sweat blood to do work on the building themselves rather than hiring a contractor. All of that money was rifled.

Every single parish was picked clean, and now the diocese has no seminarians, and still there is no shame from the chancery.

I do not pretend that the faithful in the pews are without sin. In part, we have gotten even worse leadership from our shepherds than we deserved, but we did not deserve much. Everyone has been scorched and smudged and smutted up by the sexual devolution. Everyone has made a habit of winking and turning away. No one is blameless. "The Church is a harlot in the stews because I helped put her there" – that is what every Christian ought to say, because it is no more than the truth.

Yet some Christians, some Roman Catholics, have been fighting a thankless fight not only to repent of their wrong but to heal what they have hurt, and rebuild what they have knocked down.

Now it is that we need our shepherds to lead us in that fight, not to check us at every pass, to weigh our spirits down with the smog of their bureaucratic verbiage, and to smile at those in the know and give them the tacit sign that nothing will change. I lead no battle against the episcopacy, which was most to blame for the scandals of the last fifteen years and which administered to itself no punishment at all, but instead laid a flattering unction to their collective episcopal souls.

I want to believe in the bishops. I certainly accept the authority of the office. But if you do not want to fight the fight that is before us, you need to get out of the way and let a man who is willing to do it be the general. No more blandness and tea. Every single prelate, priest, or Catholic author who knew about the spiritual incest and the creepy perversions of the now disgraced former bishop of the nation's capital and who did nothing should, for just this once, own up to the failure and leave.

Please, leave. Retire, pray, read, think, do anything at all that the Lord may smile upon, but do not any longer for one moment burden the Church with your dead weight. You are an embarrassment to both believer and infidel. Leave.

Let us give a chance, meanwhile, to the true young men, priests of God who are young enough to be under no illusions about what has happened in the generations before theirs. How could they possibly fare worse than have their never-maturing elders?

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Jonathan Abbamonte

Opinion, ,

What Trump can do to hit abortion facilities where it hurts

Jonathan Abbamonte
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August 8, 2018 (Population Research Institute) – In June, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new rule proposal that, if adopted, would stop funding for abortion providers through the Department's Title X family planning program. Pro-life advocates have been calling the new rule the "Protect Life Rule." This rule is a good first step, but there are several ways it could be strengthened.

As currently written, the Protect Life Rule would prohibit Title X funding for organizations that perform, promote, offer referrals for, or lobby for abortion unless they maintain a "bright line" of separation between Title X services and abortion. It would prevent abortion providers from offering Title X services in the same facilities and clinics where they perform abortions. Importantly, it would also do away with a Clinton-era regulation that requires all Title X grantees to provide abortion counseling and referrals.

The Protect Life Rule is expected to hit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood hard. Planned Parenthood spends nearly $60 million in funds derived from Title X grants every year, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. Title X is the second largest source of government funding for Planned Parenthood, representing approximately 11% of all federal and state funds the organization receives.

Democratic governors in 14 states have already sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to disapprove the Protect Life Rule, threatening to explore "all possible avenues, including legal options" to stop the policy from taking effect. Signatories include Democrat Governors Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, Steve Bullock of Montana, Kate Brown of Oregon, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, and Ralph Northam of Virginia.

Despite the governors' threat, the Protect Life Rule is not likely to be ruled unconstitutional in federal court. A nearly identical version of the Protect Life Rule was put in place by HHS under the Reagan and first Bush administrations. When a legal challenge to this Reagan-Bush Title X rule was brought to the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan (1991), the Supreme Court sided decisively in favor of the government. The Court upheld the rule on both statutory and constitutional grounds.[1]

Federal law under the Public Health Service (PHS) Act prohibits Title X funds from being spent in "programs where abortion is a method of family planning."[2] But despite this provision of the PHS Act, under the Clinton, second Bush and Obama administrations, HHS has allowed abortion providers to use the same facilities, waiting rooms, exam rooms, phone numbers, staff, workstations, and the same financial and patient records for both Title X services and for abortion.

Currently, providers that offer Title X services in facilities that are also used for abortion are only required by the government to pro-rate the costs when utilizing common areas. This has raised serious concerns that federal funds are being commingled with the provider's abortion activities. It has also raised fungibility concerns that Title X money is being used to indirectly support a Title X grantee's abortion business by providing revenue for the same facilities that engage in abortion activities. Under current federal regulations, Title X grantees are also required to offer abortion counseling and to provide abortion referrals upon client request, a practice clearly contrary to both the spirit and letter of the PHS Act.

The Protect Life Rule, if adopted by HHS, would help prevent the commingling of Title X funds with abortion services and it would be a step in the right direction in protecting the conscience rights of health care workers.

But while the Protect Life Rule is a significant improvement over the status quo, the proposed rule still falls short of ensuring that Title X funds are not being used to support abortion in Title X projects. The rule also still needs improvement in the area of safeguarding the conscience rights of health care workers in Title X programs. Below, we have listed some recommendations for how HHS can improve the Protect Life Rule. To see a more detailed and complete explanation of these points, you can read our full comment submitted to HHS here.

Our recommendations are:

  1. Stop Title X projects from offering passive abortion referrals

Currently, federal regulations allow Title X grantees to provide abortion referrals to Title X clients if they ask for one or when "medically indicated."[3] Title X doctors are allowed to provide patients with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of abortion clinics but are not permitted to take further action such as scheduling an appointment at an abortion clinic on the patient's behalf.[4]
The Protect Life Rule would limit, but not eliminate, the ability of Title X providers to provide abortion referrals. The Protect Life Rule explicitly prohibits Title X projects from providing direct abortion referrals such as providing and identifying for the patient names, addresses and phone numbers of abortion providers. The Rule would also prohibit Title X clinics from providing "any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion."[5]

However, the Rule, by design, carves out a specific loophole for abortion referrals. The Rule allows Title X doctors to provide patients who want an abortion with a list that includes contact information for both comprehensive health providers and health providers that offer abortion. Title X doctors would only be able to provide this list to patients who have clearly stated that it is their intention to have an abortion and doctors would also be free not to provide this list if they so choose.

While the Rule would prohibit Title X providers from identifying for their patients which providers on the list offer abortion, ultimately, Title X doctors, under this mechanism, would still be providing their patients with information on where they can obtain an abortion. All the patient would have to do in order to find out which ones offer abortion would be to simply call each provider on the list.

It is not clear why HHS has created this loophole in the Protect Life Rule. According to the HHS' own reasoned analysis for the Rule, the PHS Act's prohibition on abortion "includes any action that directly or indirectly facilitates, encourages, or supports in any way the use of abortion as a method of family planning" (emphasis added).[6]

A version of the Protect Life Rule that was in place during the Reagan and first Bush administrations also included the abortion referral loophole. HHS attempts to justify its position for including the loophole in its proposed rule by pointing to a provision in the annual budget act that stipulates that "all pregnancy counseling shall be nondirective."[7]

While federal law does require that all pregnancy counseling provided through a Title X program be "nondirective," there is nothing requiring Title X projects to offer pregnancy counseling in the first place. Indeed, even the HHS in the new proposed rule makes it clear that Title X projects are not supposed to provide pregnancy services of any kind. In its reasoned analysis for the proposed rule, HHS states:

"pregnant women must be referred for appropriate prenatal care services, rather than receiving them within a Title X project, because those services are not part of family planning services within the Title X program."[8]

There is no need, then, for Title X projects to be providing pregnancy counseling as these services are outside of the scope of the Title X program. And consequently, HHS should revise its proposed rule to prohibit Title X grantees from providing abortion referrals of any kind, including through providing clients with lists that include information on abortion providers.

HHS needs to decide whether it considers pregnancy counseling a part of Title X programming or it not. The HHS' current position is logically untenable. It cannot claim to provide pregnancy counseling in some situations and not others. This inconsistency could weaken the Department's position should the Rule be challenged in court.

  1. Stop Title X funding for organizations that perform or promote abortion at off-site locations

Under current federal regulations, abortion clinics are eligible to receive Title X grants.

The Protect Life Rule would by and large prevent facilities that perform abortion from receiving Title X funding. The Protect Life Rule would require Title X grantees to use separate facility entrances and exits, different waiting rooms, exam rooms, phone numbers, accounting and patient records, websites, and workstations for Title X services and for abortion. The Protect Life Rule would thus require Title X projects to maintain "physical and financial separation" from abortion activities.[9]

However, the Protect Life Rule would not stop funding to organizations that provide abortion at separate off-site locations. To illustrate what this means, consider the following hypothetical scenario. Under the Protect Life Rule, a Planned Parenthood clinic that provides on-site abortions (we'll call this "clinic 1") would not be eligible to receive Title X funding. But a Planned Parenthood clinic (in the same city let's say, we'll call it "clinic 2") that does not offer abortion inducing drugs or in-clinic abortions on-site may still qualify for Title X funding – that is, if they agree to remove all abortion brochures and information from that clinic and if that clinic agreed not to provide abortion referrals, et cetera. In this hypothetical scenario, both clinic 1 and clinic 2 would be operated by the same Planned Parenthood affiliate, that is to say, they would both be operated by the same organization. But clinic 2 would be eligible to receive Title X funding and the other would not.

Imagine now a scenario where a potential client is seeking Title X services. It is not stretch of the imagination to conceive that the client may accidentally go to clinic 1 expecting to receive Title X services. After all, clinic 2 on the other side of town does. Why would clinic 1, which is operated by the same organization, not also have Title X services? It seems like a logical assumption. But since clinic 1 isn't bound by the Protect Life Rule, the clinic is free to offer the client abortion information and counseling, something the client would not have otherwise have been forced to endure had they gone to clinic 2 instead.

And since both clinic 1 and clinic 2 are operated by the same organization, there are also fungibility concerns with funding clinic 2. By providing Title X funding to clinic 2, the government could be indirectly supporting the abortion business of clinic 1 if Title X funds are being used to subsidize the organization on the whole. By funding clinic 2, the government is necessarily endorsing the organization as well. This could create a false impression for many Americans that the Title X program promotes abortion.

In order to prevent this, HHS needs to revise the Protect Life Rule to require Title X grantees to maintain complete "organizational separation" when engaging in prohibited abortion activities. This means that an organization that wishes to engage in abortion activities must do so with an organization that is legally distinct from the organization receiving Title X funding.

Under this arrangement, the Title X grantee would still be able to engage in abortion activities, but they would have to use a different organization in order to do so. And while even this arrangement is not entirely satisfactory (i.e. the grantee still gets federal funds while being allowed to promote abortion with another organization), it is about the best pro-life advocates can hope for until Roe v. Wade is overturned and the right to life for the unborn is restored.

The Supreme Court in FCC v. League of Women Voters of California (1984) ruled that it is impermissible for the government to force an organization to surrender a fundamental right as a precondition for receiving a government grant. However, in FCC v. League of Women Voters of California and in Regan v. Taxation With Representation (1983) the Court found that it is permissible for the government to require organizations receiving a government benefit (such as a grant, for instance) to establish a separate organization with which to engage in First Amendment activities that the government does not want to subsidize.[10] Consequently, HHS cannot require organizations applying for Title X grants to surrender their First Amendment right to free speech (remember, the Protect Life Rule prohibits Title X projects from promoting or lobbying for abortion). However, HHS is able to require Title X grantees to establish a separate organization for engaging in abortion-related activities that the American taxpayers don't want to pay for.

  1. Exempt health care workers in Title X projects from having to provide assistance or referrals for contraceptive methods that violate their religious beliefs

There are also concerns, under the HHS proposed rule, that there are not sufficient safeguards in place to protect the conscience rights of health care workers when faced with having to provide assistance or referrals for contraceptive methods which may violate their religious beliefs.

Federal regulations currently allow Title X grantees to only provide Natural Family Planning if they so choose – just so long as the Title X project on the whole offers "a broad range" of family planning methods and services.[11] As a result, organizations receiving Title X grants would not have to provide contraceptive methods that they do not want to provide. However, this does not stop Title X grantees from forcing their employees to provide or assist in providing contraceptive methods that may violate their religious beliefs.

Furthermore, the PHS Act and federal regulations appear to require Title X grantees to provide referrals for contraceptive methods that they do not provide themselves.[12] This arrangement could be problematic for some organizations or health care workers that may be opposed on religious grounds to providing referrals for certain contraceptive methods.

Federal law under the Church Amendments prohibit Title X grants from requiring any health care worker to perform or assist in an abortion or sterilization in violation of their religious or moral beliefs.[13] The Church Amendments also allow organizations receiving Title X funds to refuse to make abortion or sterilization available in their clinics or facilities.[14] But neither the Church Amendments nor the Department's regulations on Title X specifically exempt health care workers from having to participate in their employer's activities in providing other contraceptive methods besides permanent sterilization.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), however, states that the government "shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion."[15] The government can only choose to significantly abridge the right to free exercise of religion if (and only if) it can prove that a) such a restriction advances a "compelling interest" of the government and b) that such an interest is advanced in the "least restrictive means" possible.[16] Essentially, RFRA makes it clear that any attempt to restrict the free exercise of religion by the government is subject to strict scrutiny, i.e. it is subject to the most rigorous standard of judicial review.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration's HHS Contraceptive Mandate, forcing all employers to pay for all FDA-approved methods of contraception in their employee's health care plans, was a violation of RFRA.

As federal regulations on Title X appear to require Title X grantees to provide referrals for all family planning methods except abortion, the situation is not wholly different from the Hobby Lobby case. Thus, HHS, in compliance with its statutory requirements under RFRA, should revise its proposed rule to specifically exempt health care workers in Title X projects from being required to offer referrals or assistance in providing family planning methods which violate their religious beliefs.

  1. Make it clear that providing training or technical assistance in support of abortion are prohibited under the Protect Life Rule

The Protect Life Rule makes it clear that Title X projects "may not perform, promote, refer for, or support, abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion."[17] It would seem from this that HHS would consider training and technical assistance for abortion as activities that "support" abortion.

Indeed, it would clearly seem contrary to the PHS Act if Title X grantees were allowed to use Title X funds to provide training on abortion methods, training on abortion lobbying, or technical assistance for abortion clinics by tracking abortion service statistics or abortion equipment inventory.

However, HHS should not leave room for interpretation on this point. Training and technical assistance are noteworthy and distinct activities on par with performing, promoting, or referring for abortion. §59.16 of HHS' proposed rule further specifies that Title X projects may not lobby for abortion, take legal action on abortion issues, advertise for abortion, or pay dues to associations that promote abortion as a significant part of their activities. Providing training or technical assistance for abortion is not an uncommon activity for organizations that engage in abortion advocacy. Thus, a specific prohibition on training and technical assistance (TA) in support of abortion – or for that matter, training or TA in support of organizations that promote abortion as a more than insignificant part of their activities – would provide greater clarity in implementing the Department's regulations.

In summary, the Trump Administration's Protect Life Rule is an excellent first step. HHS should be lauded for proposing these much-needed revisions to Title X regulations. But adopting the suggestions we provide here would strengthen the Rule even further.

[1] See Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991); see also Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,503 (Jun. 1, 2018) (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 59).

[2] Public Health Service Act, sec. 1008 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 300a–6).

[3] See 42 C.F.R. § 59.5(a)(5); see also 42 C.F.R. §59.5(b)(1).

[4] Provision of Abortion-Related Services in Family Planning Services Projects, 65 Fed. Reg. 41,281 (Jul. 3, 2000).

[5] 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,531 (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. § 59.14(a)).

[6] Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,505 (Jun. 1, 2018) (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 59).

[7] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Div. H, Title II, Pub. L. No. 115–141, 132 Stat. 716-17 (2018).

[8] Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,505 (Jun. 1, 2018) (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 59).

[9] Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,519 (Jun. 1, 2018) (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 59).

[10] See Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173, 196 (1991) (quoting FCC v. League of Women Voters, 468 U.S. 364, 400 (1984)). See also Regan v. Taxation With Representation, 461 U.S. 540 (1983): In this case, the Supreme Court found that the government was not required to extend 501(c)(3) status to an organization that engaged in lobbying as a substantial part of its activities. The Court reasoned that it appeared that the defendant in this case could maintain both a 501(c)(4) organization for lobbying activities and a separate 501(c)(3) for non-lobbying activities. With this arrangement, the Court found "The IRS apparently requires only that the two groups be separately incorporated and keep records adequate to show that tax-deductible contributions are not used to pay for lobbying. This is not unduly burdensome" Regan v. Taxation With Representation, 461 U.S. 540, 544 (1983).

[11] See 42 C.F.R. § 59.5(a)(1); see also Public Health Service Act, sec. 1001 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 300(a)).

[12] The PHS Act requires States applying for federal Title X funding to demonstrate to the HHS a "plan for a coordinated and comprehensive program of family planning services" (Public Health Service Act, sec. 1002 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 300a(a))). Implicit in the term "coordinated" is the ability of Title X providers to offer referral services. Under current federal regulations, Title X grantees are required to "Provide for coordination and use of referral arrangements with other providers" (42 C.F.R. § 59.5(b)(8)). Thus, it would seem that the Department would require Title X grantees to provide referrals for contraceptive services that they do not provide themselves. The Protect Life Rule would only modify this requirement by prohibiting Title X doctors from making abortion referrals but would not otherwise provide any exemptions for health care worker objecting to contraceptive methods referrals on religious grounds.

[13] "Church Amendments," 42 U.S.C. § 300a–7(b).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb–1(a)).

[16] Id. at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb–1(b).

[17] 83 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,531 (proposed rule to be codified at 42 C.F.R. § 59.14(a)).

Published with permission from the Population Research Institute.

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Tanya Granic Allen

Opinion, , ,

Liberals invert reality by calling opposition to Wynne’s sex ed ‘extreme’

Tanya Granic Allen
By Tanya Granic Allen

August 8, 2018 (The Post Millennial) – Kathleen Wynne's sex-ed curriculum is back in the news. Since the legislature resumed on July 16, Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath has mentioned my name just about every day in question period, always connected to the PC government's plans regarding the repeal of the Wynne sex-ed, and always with the same colourful description of me: "radical extremist."

As near as I can tell, Ms. Horwath has resorted to name-calling either because she is against practicing members of faith from voicing their opinions, which would be a dangerous area for her to tread, or because I believe parents should have a bigger voice in how schools teach sensitive topics to their children.

Neither are "radical" nor "extreme" and Ms. Horwath should drop her act of enlightened arrogance and stick to the topic rather than bully and smear those who voice a differing opinion.

For the last few years, I have led an ongoing campaign against the Wynne sex-ed agenda. That campaign's goal is to persuade the government of Ontario to respect the parents – to "repeal and replace" Kathleen Wynne's bigoted, culturally insensitive, and anti-parent sex-ed curriculum – a curriculum that is the centrepiece of the most radical and extreme attempt at social engineering in Ontario's history.

Wynne's social engineering agenda started off as an "update" to the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, an update which Premier Ford rightly points out was imposed on Ontario parents without proper consultation. Wynne's "update" was met with ferocious and vocal opposition from tens of thousands of Ontario parents, including many outdoor protests in the cold winter of 2015, when the update was first announced.

Why were parents so outraged? Many found the explicit nature of the content objectionable, especially for younger children. Others found that certain topics had the effect of sexualizing children. These were the first and immediate concerns.

As more information has become available, parents are now confronted by the "on-trend" junk science that goes by the name of "gender identity theory". This unscientific nonsense – basically, Kathleen Wynne social studies – includes the following falsehoods: that there are six "genders" (although I think we're up to 112 internationally now); that "gender" is somehow divorced from one's sexuality or biology; and that the total elimination of traditional "male" and "female" identities is somehow both a possible and desirable outcome.

This last point has even led to totalitarian efforts to discourage or suppress of the use of terms such as "boy" and "girl". Another outrage was Bill 28, a Wynne-era law that eliminated the words "mother" and "father" from the birth registration process.

The most dangerous initiative flowing from Wynne's "gender theory," however, came with Bill 89, a new law passed only last year which, among other things, allows the government to seize children from their homes when the parents are not supportive in seeking out medical treatment for their child to switch sexes. In the short year since Bill 89 passed, I have already heard of cases where children have been removed from the custody of parents who were resisting the "sex change" of their child.

Underlying all of this extreme, left-wing, anti-family social engineering is the smug, nanny-state attitude of the education "experts". They are so very confident about how smart they are and how stupid and unenlightened are the rest of us. They are so certain that they know what is best for Ontario families and children: better than the parents, and especially better than immigrant parents from less enlightened places like, say, Asia, or Africa, or eastern Europe. So much for the left-liberal ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism!

Ms. Horwath, it should be noted, was, and remains, an enthusiastic supporter of this left-wing, Wynne-sponsored, anti-family agenda.

Am I a "radical extremist" because I believe parents should assert their rights as the first and primary educators of their children, a right enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Am I a "radical extremist" for insisting that parents be provided sufficient and advance notice as to when such sex-ed classes are taught so that they might then be able to exercise their option to remove their children from a particular class?

In today's politically correct climate, perhaps I am "radical" for wanting to protect children and defend parental rights. Maybe I am "radical" to maintain that parents have a better appreciation for what each of their individual children can deal with and at what age than the so-called experts in downtown Toronto.

Perhaps it is radical to insist that words like "mother" and "father" and "boy" and "girl" still have a place in Ontario society and ought not to be banned or forcibly suppressed by the "Big Brother" or "Big Person" nanny state.

Are such views now radical? I suppose so! But the extremists have clearly revealed themselves: Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath and today's NDP.

They are the extremists who insist that they know what is best for your children; that their ideas of sexual morality are superior and more enlightened than yours; and that if your child attends a publicly funded school, then you ought not even be notified of what your child will be taught, and when, and you will not be able to remove your child from that class.

Now that Wynne's party has been reduced to a miserable seven seats in the Legislature, the mantle of defending her anti-parent, culturally insensitive and mandatory experiment in social engineering has passed to Ms. Horwath and her NDP. Perhaps Ms. Horwath has the same electoral death wish that afflicted the Wynne Liberals. So be it! When it comes to the sex-ed curriculum and the left-wing, anti-family agenda, I am happy to name the enemy here: it is the now the Horwath/ NDP sex-ed agenda.

Published with permission from The Post Millennial.

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William Kilpatrick

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Bill Clinton, James Patterson join European elites in submission to Islam

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

August 8, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – Bill Clinton, along with co-author James Patterson, has written a thriller. The plot of The President is Missing concerns the uncovering of a cyberterror attack that threatens all of America. President Duncan's problems are compounded by a possible impeachment for having held a telephone conversation with "the most dangerous and prolific cyberterrorist in the world – a man named Sulliman Cindoruk, the leader of a group called 'Sons of Jihad.'"

"Ah," you may be thinking, "the Muslim connection!" But not so fast. As President Duncan informs us, "He's Turkish-born, but he's not Muslim." What's that? A Turkish jihadist who's not Muslim? According to the Turkish State, 99 percent of Turks are Muslims. What are the chances that a non-Muslim Turk would be a jihadist leader? And – seeing that jihad is an Islamic concept – how can you have a non-Islamic form of jihad?

Does Bill Clinton really believe this nonsense? Or is he just inserting the obligatory "this-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam" clause expected of authors who write thrillers about terror? According to the description on Amazon, "this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years." But to me, the most terrifying thing is that a former president of the United States may actually hold such a naïve view of Islamic terrorism. The novel might more accurately be entitled "The President is Missing the Point".

The President is Missing is yet one more example of popular culture running interference for Islam. The story reminds me of other popular thrillers that make a point of telling the reader/viewer that terrorism has nothing to do with you know what. A few years ago Liam Neeson starred in Non-Stop, a thriller about an unidentified terrorist who begins to murder one passenger every twenty minutes on board a trans-Atlantic flight. Who is the terrorist? To throw you off track, the filmmakers first cast suspicion on a Muslim doctor wearing Muslim garb and a full beard. Of course, if you're foolish enough to believe he is the culprit, it just goes to show what an unsophisticated "Islamophobe" you are. As it turns out, the doctor is one of the heroes of the story, and the real terrorist is an American combat veteran.

A similar switcheroo occurred in 2002, when Paramount released The Sum of All Fears, a thriller based on Tom Clancy's 1991 novel of the same name. In the book, Palestinian terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb in Denver at the Super Bowl. In the movie, the terrorists are transformed into neo-Nazis. That may be because the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) launched a two-year lobbying campaign against using Muslims villains in the film version.

Over in Europe, they're having similar problems with fiction that comes in conflict with the politically correct fiction that Islam has nothing to do with anything bad. Michel Houellebecq, the author of Submission, an entirely plausible novel about the Islamization of French Universities, has come under fire for being racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic. Houellebecq is currently under 24-hour police protection – presumably, if you buy the party line about Islam – to keep him safe from all those angry book reviewers.

Another example – this one from the category of non-fiction – comes from Germany. In 2010 Thilo Sarrazin, a respected economist, wrote a book which took aim at his country's immigration policies, especially in regard to Muslim migrants. As a result, he came in for bitter criticism, and was pushed out of his prestigious position at the Bundesbank. However, since Germany is Abolishing Itself became a best-seller, Random House again signed with Sarrazin in 2016 for a new book entitled Hostile Takeover: How Islam Hampers Progress and Threatens Society. It was scheduled to come out in early July, but at the last moment Random House changed its mind for fear that the book would stir up "Islamophobia." All of which seems to confirm the books title: Hostile Takeover. Random House hasn't been taken over by Islam in the full sense of the term. But it seems willing to let Islam call the shots on what kind of books can be published about Islam.

The book titles are prescient: Hostile TakeoverSubmission, and to mention another entry in the death-of-Europe book club, The French Suicide ("Le Suicide Francais") by Eric Zemmour. There have been a number of suicide-of-the-West type of books over the decades but their authors didn't lose their jobs, require police protection, or have to dodge bullets (as in the case of Danish author, Lars Hedegaard). This time, however, the suicide seems much closer at hand.

A glaring example concerns the Bataclan Theater in Paris. On November 13, 2015 three Muslim terrorists entered the theater and opened fire on the crowd, murdering 130 people and injuring 413. When the theater reopened a year later, the musician Sting sang a song called "Inshallah" – "If it be your will, it shall come to pass," or simply, "Allah willing." For the second anniversary of the attacks, smiling politicians released balloons outside the theater. For the upcoming third anniversary of the massacre, the theater management has scheduled an Islamic rap concert featuring an "artist" named Medine (after Medina) whose "lyrics are filled with hatred towards non-Muslims, France, and the West." One of his most popular songs is called "jihad."

If you instinctively think of this as an outrage, you're not alone. According to Professor Guy Milliere:

Organizations representing the families of the Bataclan victims said that an Islamic rap concert praising jihad, in a place where people were murdered and tortured by jihadists, would be an insult to the memory of the victims, and asked that the concert be cancelled.

But Milliere, an authority on French culture and politics thinks it unlikely that the concert will be cancelled. France, he says, is already in submission mode: "Macron and the French government…speak and act as if the enemy has won and as if they want to gain some time and enjoy the moment before the final surrender."

The situation is much the same in England. On June 3 London's Southwark Cathedral hosted a "Grand Iftar Service" on the anniversary of last year's London Bridge terror attack. In that attack Islamic terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then began stabbing people in the nearby Borough Market area. Altogether they killed eight people and injured 48 others. What better way to mark the anniversary of an Islamic jihad attack than to celebrate with a "Grand Iftar Service"?

Next thing you know, Islamists and their liberal allies will want to build a large Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attack. Oh wait! They've already tried that. Fortunately, it didn't work out the way they hoped. But elsewhere, cultural jihad has been a great success. Not a day goes by without a half-dozen new examples of capitulation to Islamic cultural demands. Textbook publishers whitewash Islamic history. Lectures that might be offensive to Islam are cancelled. A college library cautions students not to wish others a "Merry Christmas." KFC stores in Australia refuse to sell bacon in their sandwiches. Swimming pools are segregated to accommodate Muslim wishes. Santa Lucia Day celebrations in Sweden are cancelled lest Muslims take offense, European Jews are advised not to wear kippahs in public, and Muslim rape gang activities in England are covered up by the authorities for fear of seeming racist.

The escalating submission to Islam has three causes.

First and foremost, is simple fear. Publishers remember what happened at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and they don't want it to happen to them. Theater owners saw what happened at the Bataclan Theater and the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, and they reason that prudence is the better part of valor.

The second factor that contributes to the submission is a genuine desire to be tolerant and welcoming, combined with a genuine naiveté about Islam. Even at this late stage, there are still many people who believe that if Europeans just tried harder to be nice to Muslim migrants, everything would work out fine.

The third factor is cultural shame. Like others in the West, Europeans have been taught that their culture has a record of predation unmatched in history. To many, Western culture doesn't seem worth defending. They've lost faith in their culture and, in a great many cases, they've lost faith in Christianity. The only faith they have left is in relativism. And if, as relativists claim, one culture is as good as another, what difference does it make if Islam takes over? Life will still go on as usual. Won't it?

Ironically, Catholic leaders and Catholic activists are often in the forefront of those who seem to have lost faith in their culture. They decry nationalism (which, in Europe, often involves a defense of Christian culture), while promoting a utopian universalism which not only asserts that all men are equal before God, but also that all cultures and belief systems are equally good.

Thus, Catholic leaders, while still affirming the wrongness of individual suicide, have become intimately involved in Europe's cultural suicide. They continue to encourage mass Muslim migration at a point in time where other European leaders are abandoning the idea post haste. Street priests, nuns, and missionaries backed by bishops and heads of communities organize street protests against Italy's new, more stringent migrant policies. Others help Muslims build mosques to show their community spirit. And one Italian bishop says he is ready to "turn all the churches into mosques" if it were useful to the cause of Muslim migration.

One wonders what Church leaders would do if St. Peter's were bombed by Islamic jihadists. Would they host a "Grand Iftar Service" at the site on the anniversary of the event as a sign of their continued solidarity with Islam? Don't dismiss the idea as preposterous and unthinkable. We live in strange times.

Published with permission from the Turning Point Project. The original article appeared in the July 26, 2018 edition of Catholic World Report.

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Riccardo Cascioli

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Can faithful Christians save the World Meeting of Families from the gay lobby?

Riccardo Cascioli
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August 8, 2018 (La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana) – The scandal of the bishops involved in homosexual activities or responsible for child and adult abuse, has rocked the Church. The severe gravity of the facts that have emerged so far, demands nothing less than a thorough investigation in order to understand the extent and causes of this phenomenon. Above all, it is obvious that the homosexual wave has reached such high levels in the Vatican that it is even influencing the next World Meeting of Families that will take place in Ireland from August 21st to 26th and which will culminate in a meeting with Pope Francis during the last two days.

If some drastic decisions have to be taken, then the first should focus on the meeting in Dublin: the programme must be reviewed as well as the position of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the president of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, whose very presence in this role of responsibility, is embarrassing to say the least.

But let's proceed with a certain order of the facts. First of all, what has come to light through the cases in the United States (Cardinal McCarrick and others), Chile and Honduras – which heavily involve cardinals very close to Pope Francis – should have led to the conviction by now, that the real problem in the clergy is homosexuality. In the overwhelming majority of cases, including those recognised in the past decades, child abuse is a consequence, or extension of homosexual activity. This is the fundamental node, as we have been saying for years; simply talking about pedophilia is a way of diverting attention from the real problem: homosexuality.

This leads to the second point, which is the scenario that we must keep in mind to understand not only the cases that have emerged in recent years but above all what is emerging from the more recent cases that call bishops and cardinals into question. For this, once again we need to look back at the "Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons" (October 1, 1986), signed by the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Among other things, Ratzinger denounced – and we are in 1986 – the existence of a gay lobby in the Church in league with gay organisations outside the Church to subvert Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It would take too long to cite the whole document, but points 8 and 9 describe perfectly what then might have seemed an exaggeration but that today is a reality for all to see. There is a real network of homosexual clergymen who not only hide their immoral activities, but who during these years have carried out a clear agenda to subvert Catholic doctrine. It is what the Polish priest Dariusz Oko called "Omoeresia".

There are different ways in which this operates: from the theology that is taught in seminaries and in pontifical universities that calls into question "the truth about the human person" – as Ratzinger says, to the increasing pressures to bless homosexual unions; from the pastoral care for homosexual persons which legitimises their sexual activity, to the request for civil recognition of gay unions. Let's also cite just a few more recent cases: the multiplication of vigils last May against homophobia in Italian dioceses; the pastoral care for homosexual persons entrusted in large part to associations and groups that pursue the recognition of a homosexual lifestyle; the preparatory document for the Synod of Youth, which for the first time adopted LGBT terminology; the open alignment of the Italian Episcopal Conference in favour of the recognition of civil unions (albeit in a more moderate form than the law actually approved); the important role that the Italian bishops daily newspaper Avvenire has been playing for many years in trying to change the mentality of Catholics regarding homosexuality; the appointment of the Jesuit Father James Martin, a well-known activist who promotes the LGBT agenda, as a consultant to the Secretariat for Communication; and we could go on and on adding to this list.

But just the story of Father Martin leads us directly to the World Meeting of Families. Father Martin was in fact invited as an official speaker to the Dublin appointment in a very clear attempt to get homosexual activity accepted within the family context. It is a subtle attempt to strike at the heart of the meaning of the family, a choice that has already created considerable controversy, but without any sign of repentance from Rome. Far from it: to the best of our knowledge, preparations are underway to include a situation in which different "types" of families will be given space during the meeting with the Pope.

Obviously, everything will be slipped through under the guise of what it means to "welcome" with reference to difficult situations, but only a really naive person would not realise that it is actually a strategy to pass different types of union as normal and therefore acceptable. In practice, this is the exact opposite of what Saint John Paul II had in mind when he established the First World Meeting of Families in 1994.

Clearly, the Irish bishops have to take their fair share of the responsibility for the decision making, but what makes it all the more disturbing is the situation in which Cardinal Kevin Farrelll finds himself with the explosion of the McCarrick scandal. For six years, Farrell was McCarrick's vicar-general in Washington and lived side by side with him when seminarians were actively deceived by the cardinal and it was McCarrick who personally launched Farrell in his ecclesiastical career. Today, Farrell says he never suspected anything, nor did anyone refer any complaints or gossip about the archbishop to him whatsoever.

Given the scale of McCarrick's misdeeds and the rumours that have been circulating for years, Cardinal Farrell's version is unbelievable. There are only two possibilities: either he is shamelessly lying as McCarrick's accomplice or he is so out of touch with what goes on around him that he cannot see beyond his nose. Both hypotheses are very serious and suffice to call for his immediate resignation from the Vatican, but the timing of the scandal with the World Meeting of Families plus the gay twist that they want to give it, makes Farrell's position practically unsustainable.

Moreover, we can bet that every measure will be taken to keep Cardinal Farrell in his place and the program of the World Meeting of Families will remain unchanged, including the presence of Father Martin. The reason is unfortunately simple: the gay lobby has never been so powerful in the Vatican. It was already powerful in the 1990s considering that McCarrick was able to become archbishop of Washington and therefore a cardinal despite complaints about his conduct had even reached Rome. We can not help but notice, that in the last few years, there has been a tremendous growth of power in the hands of prelates involved (directly or indirectly) in cases of homosexuality and sexual abuse or widely talked about.

Without going back to the case of Monsignor Battista Ricca, who inaugurated the papacy of Pope Francis and was the origin of the famous phrase "Who am I to judge?", Just consider that in the C9 alone (the council of nine cardinals called by Pope Francis to help him reform the Curia) the Chilean cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz and the Honduran cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga are both heavily involved in the scandals of the episcopate in their countries, while – although in a very different situation – the Australian cardinal George Pell has had to return to Australia to defend himself against accusations of providing cover for priests accused of pedophilia. The secretary of the C9 then, Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, has been hosting the national meeting of the LGBT Christian groups for many years now in his diocese (Albano Laziale). Nor should we forget the sad news story in 2017 that featured the personal secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, involved in a case of gay parties and cocaine. What makes the story all the more serious is the fact that it was cardinal Coccopalmerio in collaboration with the Pope which enabled Capozzi to have a "discreet" Vatican apartment which otherwise would have belonged to an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. What's more, after a period of detoxification, Monsignor Capozzi regained possession of it. It is perhaps a small case, but it is anyway a revelation of the system in force in the Vatican.

Even if it would be seriously unfair to launch a witch hunt based on rumours, it is also true as the McCarrick case teaches, rumors and complaints that persist for years often have some foundation and at least deserve a serious investigation, if only before important appointments. Instead we are witnessing the systematic rise to positions of responsibility in the Vatican of many characters shadowed by insistent voices describing their homosexual activities.

If this network is not dismantled at the heart of the Church, any attempt to restore order cannot be credible. The World Meeting of Families will be the first test.

Published with permission from La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. The original Italian article is here.

Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick
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Chaste same-sex-attracted Catholics on McCarrick scandal: Priests and prelates can do better

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By Doug Mainwaring

August 8, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Chaste, formerly gay Catholic men who live with same-sex attraction (SSA) have expressed bitter disappointment and anger concerning former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and his priest and prelate enablers.  

Few are in a position to judge the actions and inactions of the disgraced McCarrick and others who comprise the gay networks within the Catholic priesthood as are the lay men who day in and day out strive to live holy lives despite their SSA.

These lay men and women – some of whom are single and celibate, and others are married and chaste – are heroes; while some wearing Roman collars have turned out to be villians.

‘I hope he truly understands the enormity of his sins’

“Assuming the accusations and allegations are true, the McCarrick scandal has hit me hard and seriously eroded my confidence in our bishops — and the rest of the clergy, for that matter,” said Thomas Berryman, a chaste same-sex attracted Catholic living in the Midwest. “His behavior, while reprehensible, is less shocking than that of his fellow priests, who enabled him, either passively, by ignoring his behavior, or actively, by covering up for him.”

“While I am angered at our bishops’ screwed up priorities, I genuinely feel sorry for Theodore McCarrick himself,” said Berryman. “By all accounts, he didn’t have an easy childhood. His father died when he was three and without a shred of evidence to substantiate this, I strongly suspect that he himself was sexually abused as a child.”

Berryman continued:

His story is that of a man who squandered what were apparently some formidable talents. Instead of using these talents to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, he chose to abuse his position and betray those who he should have been protecting. He could have been a source of strength and inspiration to those of us with same-sex attraction who strive for the Christian commandment of chastity through celibacy. He is genial, kind, articulate, extremely intelligent, and seems to be a natural leader. In a world lost in sexual anarchy, he could have been a strong voice for helping so many same-sex attracted men and women lead chaste lives. Instead, he chose a path marked by moral perversion and a lust for worldly power.

I cannot help but wonder what his thoughts and feelings are at this point. I hope and pray that he truly understands the enormity of his sins and has repented. However, I fear that he is in a state of deep denial and sees himself as a victim of an unfair persecution. To borrow a line from Pope Pius XIII (Lenny Bernardo) in the HBO series, The Young Pope, “his disease has deceived him.” I also hope that, if he does repent, he chooses, as part of his penance, to name names. Tell the world who he victimized and who protected him. He can do it for the right reasons, which I would prefer, or he can do it out of sheer spite, i.e., those who protected him just threw him under the bus. Either way, it would be the right thing to do and, at this point, the only good thing he can do. There would be a certain poetic justice in him doing the right thing by identifying those who did the wrong thing, i.e., ignored and covered up his behavior. I'm not sure anyone is in a better position to crash the entire network.

‘Would like to see bishops themselves seeking holiness’

“I would like to see the bishops call all of us to lives of holiness, to encounter Jesus, and to seek more deeply his life and love in our lives,” said Dan, who preferred his last name not be used. “Encountering Christ changes our lives and makes it possible to do what we think we can't do. It makes it possible for us to do seek holiness because Jesus truly brings us happiness and joy. Isn't that what we want?”

“As a man with same-sex attraction, I have been attracted to to men since I became aware of sexual urges,” continued Dan. “At times I engaged in this with men. Even so, I wanted to be married and have a family. Eventually I married and have several children. Family life has brought me happiness – and struggle! – and it has brought happiness – and struggle! – to my wife and children. I've sought to be chaste and faithful to marriage, but at times failed. But I know that God's work in us is not yet complete. So I repent, go to confession, and move on. My identity is as a husband and father, not as a gay man.”  

Dan says the problem he sees with some bishops and priests is that “they take same-sex attraction as a given to be accepted, even embraced. Having had homosexual sex, I can't believe that when Jesus calls us to holiness that includes this. Homosexuality is complex, as Dr. Jeffrey Satinover writes in his book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth. It is not simply a question of a ‘gay gene’ or of’"God made me this way,’ which many have accepted as reality.”   

“I don't think Jesus is saying about same-sex relationships to embrace it and ‘run with it,’” says Dan with a chuckle. No. Jesus “calls us to turn to him and rely on grace to seek and grow in holiness. It can be done.

“Sure, people fail. I have. But I have also come to know that Jesus is calling me into a relationship of life and love with him, and to reflect this to those around me. God is gathering a people to himself for a perfect offering to his name. I want to be part of that ingathering and let grace transform me. Living according to the teaching of Jesus as taught by the Church is the path to this. I would like to see bishops and priests teach this.”

Many Catholic bishops have been unapproachable, unteachable, unrepentant

Former gay porn star, Joseph Sciambra, now a Catholic evangelist who reaches out to the San Francisco gay community, has through the years expressed the difficulty he has encountered in breaking through to bishops who refuse to deal with the Catholic Church’s burgeoning infiltration of homosexuality, even within the priesthood.

“Speaking from experience – if you are ‘gay’ and want to b**ch about the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) – a number of archbishops will literally trip over each other to listen, nod their head, and stroke you,” said Sciambra in a recent Facebook posting. “If you are a faithful chaste Catholic with same-sex attraction, they run the other way.”

Sciambra added:

Over the years, I have spoken with several archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. I never approached them with a bad attitude. I say ‘Your Excellency,’ thank you, please … When I ask them to do something (the operative phrase is – ‘do something’) about the dissident LGBT ministries operating openly within their dioceses, they shut down.

They get a glazed look on their face, walk away, and/or become defensive and rude. I usually say, ‘I am on your side.’ I always follow up with emails, snail-mail letters, phone calls, and even personal visits to the chancery. Nothing. I don’t do this anymore. A waste of a stamp and a tank of gas to track these guys down – forget trying to arrange a personal meeting.

Over the last 10 years, I have spoken a handful of times at a Catholic venue – more speaking opportunities were quashed or canceled than actually took place: normally priests do not need their bishop’s approval for speakers at their own parish, but this priest said he needed approval from the chancery for me – he didn’t get it; one priest booked me to speak, got the letter of good standing from my pastor, all was set, but a week before the scheduled talk, the chancery canceled it; one priest invited me to speak at his parish, but the gay Catholic parishioners made threats – it was canceled. But they provide every pro-gay marriage dissident a forum – perfect example, the LA REC. There are certainly good priests – but on this issue, they largely do not get the support from their bishops.

Many of those LifeSiteNews reached out to for comment, including members of the Courage Apostolate, were hesitant to speak out publicly about this.  

A note from this LifeSiteNews journalist

I, too, am a man who lives with same-sex attraction. I knew about disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick in the early 2000s not through the whisperings of people in the pews because at the time I had walked away from my Catholic faith after divorcing my wife to live as a gay man.  

I knew because many men I met in gay bars would mock the then-archbishop of Washington, D.C., as a “queen.” They knew. They all new. McCarrick was a living legend in Dupont Circle, a source of great amusement that fed the contempt of many for the Roman Catholic Church.  

Because of McCarrick’s renown in Washington’s gay world, after I returned to sanity, to  my marriage, and to full communion with the Catholic Church several years ago, I found it difficult to reach out and evangelize gay friends I sought to evangelize. McCarrick’s history – on top of the widely publicized priest pedophile scandal – served to inoculate gay men against evangelism. Catholics were dismissed as hypocrites.

While every single cardinal and bishop who has been asked about the McCarrick affair has denied any knowledge of it, their denials, whether truthful or obfuscatory, are exceedingly sad. If they are lying to protect themselves, they are complicit. If they are telling the truth and had no knowledge, no clue, then they are revealing the very sad state of brotherhood among our American prelates.

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Ominous: Planned Parenthood remains leaderless months after Cecile Richards left

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By Claire Chretien

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Why did Cecile Richards leave Planned Parenthood?

Was she forced out, or did she jump ship? Or was it something else?

Richards led the abortion organization for 12 years. The news of her resignation was first leaked to Buzzfeed in January of this year, and then confirmed a few days later – hardly a well-coordinated announcement.

There was no replacement lined up then, nor was one ready when Richards left at the end of April. For the past few months, vice president Dawn Laguens has stepped up as the abortion company’s public face. There’s no word yet on who will replace Richards and when. Planned Parenthood is heading into the 2018 midterms – into which it’s pouring $20 million – without a general.

The press has been eager to know if she’s running for office, but there have been no indications of that yet.  

Despite her abrupt resignation, Richards has still been in the media promoting abortion, her new book, and progressive policies. Her biggest claim to fame is that she used to lead Planned Parenthood, and it almost seems like since leaving she’s been getting more press than her former company.

Why did Richards leave so suddenly? She could have easily promoted her book while remaining president of Planned Parenthood; she could have even folded a book tour into campaign stops alongside pro-abortion politicians.  

Was there an internal dispute that forced Richards out? Public statements from her political allies wishing her well after her departure and thanking her for her leadership didn’t seem to suggest that, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the case.

Or does Richards know something that the rest of us don’t? Is the FBI closing in on the baby body parts trafficking industry, in which Planned Parenthood plays a vital role? Will the loss of Title X funding mean massive layoffs?

Or Richards foresee doom for legal abortion that she just doesn’t feel up to fighting? Rhetoric from the abortion industry has become increasingly frantic and apocalyptic since Trump took office.

“Quite simply, we're facing the biggest threat to reproductive health and rights in generations,” Kelley Robinson of Planned Parenthood Action Fund wrote in a June 30 email to supporters.

What a time to be leaderless.

Perhaps Richards’ successor – or continued lack thereof – will be able to provide more clues into this curious situation.

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Why woman who got banned from Planet Fitness for insulting ‘trans’ woman is really the victim

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By Dr. Michael Brown

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – ​How do you describe something that is beyond ridiculous, beyond absurd? How do you paint a picture of something that is so upside down that it defies logic and reason? Let me give it my best shot. Not a word here is exaggerated or made-up.

In 1997, a woman whom we’ll call “Mrs. H.” was jogging when a man jumped out of the woods and tried to rape her. She was able to fight him off and ran for her life, bruised and cut on the outside and deeply traumatized on the inside.

Police were called; trained dogs searched the area; helicopters came in to aid the search. Who can imagine the lasting pain of an incident like this?

Then, earlier this year, Mrs. H. went to her local Planet Fitness to work out, as she does most days of the week. But when she went into the locker room to change, there was a young man standing there, putting on makeup as he looked in the mirror.

Thinking he had walked into the wrong locker room by mistake, Mrs. H. asked him why he was there, pointing out that he was a man but was in the women’s changing area. He did not reply.

So Mrs. H. went to talk to the manager, who informed her that this man identified as a woman and by Planet Fitness policy, he was allowed to use the ladies’ locker room. 

When she explained that she was not comfortable changing in the presence of a man (her locker was two feet from where he was standing), she was told she would have to wait.

Mrs. H. waited for roughly an hour. (Think of waiting for one hour to use a locker room.) But when she went back, he was still inside.

She asked him, “How long will you be here?”, but again, he didn’t reply.

She then explained that she was not comfortable changing in his presence, just as she wouldn’t be comfortable changing in the presence of her four sons. So, it was nothing personal against him. It was a simple male-female privacy issue. (And who uses a Planet Fitness locker room to put on makeup for more than an hour?)

Just then, one of the female employees told her she had better leave, lest she get in trouble. When Mrs. H. asked why, the female employee said she had been “saying things.” Oh, what a terrible crime! (Somehow she had become the offender.)

Not wanting to create a scene, Mrs. H. left quickly, only to be followed by the man, who was on the phone. He had called 911, claiming that he had been sexually harassed. (I am not making this up.)

He was trying to give a description of Mrs. H. (his harasser!) to the 911 operator. But when she saw she was being followed, she began to run, and he began to run after her. 

Twenty years earlier, she was running from an attempted rapist. Now she was running from a man who invaded the women's locker room and was accusing her of sexual harassment. 

Yet it gets worse.

She immediately received a letter in the mail from Planet Fitness telling her that her membership was revoked. Yes, her membership was revoked.

For what transgression? She was guilty of lunking! Yes, that was the term used by Planet Fitness. 

And what, exactly does “lunking” include? Well, you can’t make grunting noises when you work out. You can’t drop weights. And you can’t judge. Mrs. H. was guilty of judging!

So severe was her crime that she was informed that she has been banned from 66 Planet Fitness branched. Banned! 

Did I tell you this was beyond ridiculous?

But it gets more absurd still. According to an article on the LGBTQ Nation website, Mrs. H. is the culprit and the young man is the victim. As the headline proclaims, “A cis woman got banned from a gym for insulting a trans woman. She thinks she’s the victim.” 

Oh, this poor deluded woman. How could she possibly think that she was the victim? 

Thankfully, Mrs. H. had the presence of mind to call Liberty Counsel, even before she got the letter from Planet Fitness. And as Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman explained on my radio show, Planet Fitness could well be guilty of consumer fraud.

That’s because the written agreement signed by their patrons states that there are locker rooms for men and for women. It does not say a word about a man who identifies as a woman being able to use the women’s locker room. Yet, Planet Fitness has now stated that this is indeed their policy, contrary to their written, contractual agreement.

I urge every single patron of Planet Fitness, both female and male, to ask the manager at your gym if a man who identifies as a woman can use the women’s locker room. If the manager says yes, ask him or her to please show you this on the contract you signed. 

And let’s be candid here. If a contract says that there are separate locker rooms for men and women, it’s understood that we’re talking biology. Who cares how the person identifies? Females don’t expect to change in the presence of males. Simple. (Remember also that many men who identify as women are still attracted to women.)

If the manager says that their new policy allows people to use the locker room that corresponds with their gender identity, point out to them that is not what their contract says. And then inform them that if they will allow males in the women’s locker room, you will have to cancel your membership. Then document what happened and send the information to Liberty Counsel. I also encourage you to share this article with all your friends as well.

The good news is that the Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled against Planet Fitness in an almost identical case. As reported on the Club Industry website, “A Planet Fitness health club misled an ex-member by failing to fully explain its transgender-inclusive locker room policies when she signed a membership contract in 2015, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on July 26.”

So, there is a little sanity left in this world after all. Let’s do our best to keep it that way.

And now that you’ve read this story, listen to Mrs. H. tell it her own words. You’ll also hear part of the 911 called from the young man, who could really use our prayers. As I said at the outset, not a word here is exaggerated or made-up. Who needs fiction with true stories like this?

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He started viewing porn at 8-years-old. He just explained why he fights porn for his job

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By Jonathon van Maren

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – There’s no denying it: Fighting pornography is a pretty weird thing to do, especially as part of your job. I speak on the dangers of porn frequently in schools, churches, and on campuses, and one of the questions that gets asked nearly every single time during Q and A is: How did you end up speaking on this topic? At conferences, I soon discovered that nearly everyone who addresses the subject of pornography gets asked the same question.

One of the anti-porn universe’s brightest stars, Matt Fradd, has joked about how bizarre his job is. I heard him explain to one roaring audience (in his disarming Aussie accent) that his mother doesn’t quite know how to explain what he does. “He helps people,” she usually responds, unhelpfully, to the solicitous questions of friends asking about her son’s job. 

And that he certainly does. Fradd speaks to tens of thousands of people every year, and countless young men and women have gotten free of pornography because of his work. His book The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography is also an invaluable resource for those seeking to extract themselves from their porn habit. Some time ago, I asked Matt what it was like, on a personal level, to be on the front lines of battling the porn industry. 

How did you end up fighting pornography as part of your job?

I experienced a good amount of healing from pornography a couple years into my marriage, so around 2008, and at that time, having done a lot of work with young people and not so young people and ministry, I recognized that this was something that many people were struggling with. So it was just sort of a natural progression that I wanted to begin speaking about this to people, to offer some advice that I found helpful. Now, often people would say to me, “Weren’t you embarrassed, weren’t you ashamed?” and I have to say no, I wasn’t. Not sure why. Maybe it was because I was aware just how prevalent this problem was in the life of many people and I figured that if no one else was out there speaking about it, I would. Now, I don’t mean to paint myself as a maverick, obviously there were a lot of good people who were addressing this issue, but not enough.

Where did you start with that? With a problem this widespread, with over 80% of males, for example, looking at porn at very minimum monthly, where do we even start with trying to combat this social problem and raising awareness?

I think you start however you can with any resources you have. You know, you remember that old story of that girl that was on the beach and thousands of starfish had washed up, and she was grabbing one and throwing them back in the ocean one at a time, and someone came up to her and said, “You’ll never get all of those back in the ocean.” She picked up one and she said, “That might be true, but I can save this one.” And I think that sort of mentality is the kind of mentality we need when combating a pornified culture in which many people are being destroyed by porn.

For me, I woke up one night, it was at three in the morning, and I just remember thinking, “I need to write a pamphlet and record my talk and start a website.” And I was aware that none of those things were terrifically original, and yet I felt I had to talk about it somehow and those were the avenue by which I could begin speaking about it, and so, it just began there. What I’m finding in the culture is [that] there is this grassroots movement that is recognizing the negative effects pornography is having on us individually and in our relationships and on society, that’s religious or nonreligious. We’re starting to see [that] it looks like pornography is having a really negative impact on us. So that’s beneath the seat, too. So I find that I don’t get a lot of opposition while I’m out there speaking about the negative impacts of pornography. Sometimes I do, but it’s like people can meet me somewhere. So they might say, “No pornography’s okay, and you’re a prude, but I suppose I can see what you mean, that it can become a problem.” And you work with people wherever they’re at.

What sort of feedback do you have from students and teenagers on this? How do you deal with all the teenagers then who want to talk to you about this, who want the help to get free, or who just want somebody who talks honestly about porn to listen to them?

Yeah, it can be difficult because as you say, after a high school assembly or a conference, my email and Facebook just start exploding and I’m doing so many talks these days that I just cannot, if I want to have a happy marriage and family life, I cannot respond at length to each and every person, though I would like to. So that was one of the beautiful things about [starting] The Porn Effect is that there’s so many great resources on there, there’s podcasts, videos, blogs, an online forum, etc., so for the most part I’m sort of able to respond with a one or two sentence sort of response and then send to those different links. 

One of the things I find the most is I have people asking me, “Can people do it? Can people quit porn?” I’ve met a father once after I did a pro-life talk who had been addicted to porn for 25 years. I met another guy when I did a talk at an apologetics conference who said that he had been looking at porn for virtually his whole marriage, he said, “I’m almost turning 60 and I still haven’t managed to quit, so why bother now?” One of the things I get on this issue is a lot of people who have a lot of despair, and I have to tell them stories of people who have broken free of porn, who have quit porn, who have repaired their marriages in order to encourage them. What are a few stories you tell when people need encouragement? 

I think one of the reasons many people feel discouraged is because the advice they’re so often given is surface-y, simplistic techniques as opposed to a more in-depth analysis of the problem. If all you’ve been told is--you know, back in the day when we didn’t have these computers in our pockets--someone saying, move the computer into a high traffic area of the house. Okay, that may be somewhat helpful, but there’s a whole lot more to the equation. So if let’s say you took that advice and you ran with it and maybe you found freedom from this stuff for like five months and then you fell, well then you become very sort of cynical to that sort of advice. 

I think what we need to do is be a little more sophisticated in our responses. I think pornography is a very efficient [form of] escapist behavior. Speaking from my own example, I started turning to porn when I was 8 and I didn’t stop until I was about 29. And what that ends up being is a way to escape negative emotion. When we feel lonely, or frustrated or emasculated or rejected, or you know, just things seem out of control, we turn to pornography and it just gives us a quick fix. 

Speaking personally again, even though it’s been a few years since I looked at porn, I now am realizing that there’s a lot of immaturity in me in the way that I can get angry and so forth, because in the past, I just went to porn to feel good and now I’ve got to kind of grow up in these different parts of my personality. I would just say that there’s a number of people I’ve spoken with who, I know they aren’t lying to me when they say things like, “I haven’t looked at porn in 10 years or 20 years or 5 years.” But again, I think we need to realize that victory is only going to be fully and actually and completely achieved in Heaven. So, freedom from porn isn’t our goal as Christians, Heaven is, and this virtue of chastity and self-mastery is part of the [Christian life.]

What is one of the most encouraging stories you’ve ever faced when you were doing a couple of weeks on the road, you’ve been doing a ton of speaking and you kind of felt like everything was a bit dark? As somebody who’s done these anti-porn speaking tours before and done a ton of research on pornography, you can only swim in the sewer so long before you start to feel like everything’s pretty ugly, and then you get these beautiful stories that make it all worth it. What’s one of those that really encouraged you when you needed it the most?

I think the most beautiful stories are not so much the real dramatic ones, although I have heard ones where people leave the porn industry or leave stripping altogether. For example I was up giving a talk to all the students in Steubenville, Franciscan University up there, and they have this group of guys who every week were praying outside of the strip club, so there was about fifty of them every week, very quietly and just praying.  They were able to kind of reach out to one of the strippers, get her out. She needed a car; she needed some other things and so all the guys like put their money together. In fact, the question they asked her is, “What would it take for you to not go in there tonight?” And she’s like, “Well I got rent and I got this.” And [they asked], “How much is that?” and then all the guys dug through their pockets and gave her that cash. So that was a cool story. Another cool story, recently, a guy came up to me, he opened up this little black book and it had all these little ticks. I said, “What’s that?” He said, “I’ve been 302 days free of porn,” and he was like a 15-year-old guy, but just the determination that he showed. But I was like, “What an amazing future husband we have here, that he would be determined enough and faithful enough to do something like this, day after day.” It’s these sorts of stories that get me excited. 

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Scotland public schools to now teach five-year-olds gender is ‘what you decide’

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By Jonathon van Maren

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Scotland appears to be the latest nation caving to the demands of transgender activists. New draft educational guidelines have just been released, announcing that children as young as five years old will be taught in Scottish public schools that their gender is “what you decide,” irrespective of the confusion this nonsense will inevitably cause in children who have already been taught a few of the key biological differences between boys and girls. Gender fluidity is now scheduled to arrive in kindergarten classes in 2019.

The guidelines, which were a collaborative effort of Education Scotland (the government’s education department) and the National Health Service, promote several key tenets of the transgender ideology, including the idea that doctors “assign” the sex of children at birth, rather than identify babies based on the biological evidence indicating that they are either male or female. (This used to be considered pretty simple stuff.)

As usual, these changes to the curriculum are being rushed in with virtually no consultation with parents, who often take a back seat to special interest groups that successfully lobby for their beliefs and ideologies to be inserted into schools without the knowledge of those who send their children to them. Some politicians have already expressed concern that these guidelines will be far too confusing for children, and that these topics are inappropriate for children (especially those as young as five.) As the Christian Post reported:

It's right that we teach children about gender diversity and the meaning of these terms. However, many parents might feel this is too young for their children to learn about it," said education spokeswoman Liz Smith, who is a Conservative member of the Scottish parliament…

"We believe passionately that sex stereotypes and gendered expectations are pernicious and harmful," said a Scottish mother who has attended trainings by Scottish transgender advocates related to her work within the National Health Service. She spoke with The Christian Post Monday on condition of anonymity.

"Unfortunately, the positive nature of this guidance is rendered meaningless by the muddled advice that children can decide if they are a boy or a girl," she explained, stressing that the curriculum effectively reinforces rigid ideas of masculine and feminine traits.

"Equally dangerous is the notion that sex rather than preferences or behavior is fluid. Young children are very literal-minded and if encouraged to believe that the physical reality of their body is mutable it could set up potentially devastating struggles with mental or physical health."

Notice here that people are so afraid of what transgender activists will attempt to do to them and their reputations that many dare not even reveal their identities in order to avoid presenting them with a discernible target. To point out the obvious—that telling children they can decide their own gender is profoundly confusing for them—is to ensure that you will promptly become the victim of a smear job—a “transphobe” at best, a callous and cold-hearted bigot who hates trans kids at worst.

The impact of these ideologies can already be quantified. Around the world, the transgender phenomenon is becoming trendy among kids, and Scotland is no different. The Christian Institute reported that between 2016 and 2017, the number of Scottish children “being referred for treatment for gender dysphoria” went up 21%, with some of the children being as young a six years old. The average age of such children has been going down, as well, and now sits at age fourteen. 

These new guidelines are also evidence that the Scottish Government is determined to implement the transgender agenda, regardless of the feedback they receive from the public. They are currently facing a court challenge for a previous school guidance policy that indicates that teachers do not need to inform parents if their children decide to change genders. Threats of legal action, however, do not seem to have been an effective deterrent in forcing the government to think twice before continuing to move forward with its policies of social engineering.

Again, a brief survey of public school systems across the Western world always brings a single, inescapable conclusion: Take your children out of public schools. Parents are pushing back in many places, but most schools have simply been infiltrated too thoroughly to be able to trust the education children will receive there. Read through a few parental testimonies from the community at 4th Wave Now, for example, to see the devastating consequences of gender ideology and the parents who have lost their children and watched them get mutilated and poisoned. And then ask yourself if you’d like to risk sending your child to an institution that fully intends to preach the same theories. 

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Why Catholics must fast before receiving Holy Communion

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In spite of how little reference is made to it nowadays, asceticism—that is, the practice of self-denial—is a non-negotiable element in Catholic spirituality, and therefore in the spirituality of couples and families. As sinners in constant need of purification, all of us must examine our consciences, do penance, and carefully prepare ourselves for the reception of the sacraments.

The worst problem of modern times, already lamented by Pope Pius XII, is the loss of the sense of sin. Our problem is, however, made worse by the loss of many of the customs by which Catholics once reminded themselves of their sinful condition and their need for penance: Friday abstinence throughout the year; fasting daily in Lent rather than merely on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; and the all-night Eucharistic fast, later reduced to three hours, then finally to one.

When in 1953 Pius XII lowered the Eucharistic fast from midnight onwards to three hours before Mass, it was hailed as a remarkable concession of the Church to modern needs. And one might agree that it was appropriate in the circumstances. In 1964, Pope Paul VI lowered the fast from three hours to one hour before communion, which in many cases amounts to: don’t eat something on the way to Sunday Mass. Does this leave intact any substantive or meaningful fast? A single hour is so easy to observe that it has resulted, ironically, in many Catholics simply ignoring it altogether, since, as Aristotle observes, “the little by which the result is missed seems to be nothing.”

A significant Eucharistic fast shows our respect for our Lord Jesus Christ, and our desire to receive Him as the most important nourishment of our lives. It also makes a moral demand on us that underlines the obligation of worthy reception: be attentive, Christian man or woman, to what you are proposing to do; think deliberately about whether you are in a state of grace such that you may worthily approach the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him in so intimate a way. The three-hour fast was simultaneously about the Lord, giving Him honor, and about me, taking my state into account. It was a discipline that discouraged unthinking, indifferent, ‘social’ communions.

The surroundings of worship in far too many parishes are enough to destroy true faith in the Blessed Sacrament, which the Catholic Church confesses to be the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with whom one must be in a union of faith and charity prior to consummating a one-flesh union. The Catholic Novus Ordo lectionary totally excludes St. Paul’s plea to examine one’s conscience before receiving the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:27–29), which is present multiple times in the traditional lectionary. Laity, men and women, handle and distribute the Blessed Sacrament with informality. Lounge-like or emotionally-charged music fails to set off the sacred mysteries as sacred and fails to stir up the response of humble adoration in the faithful. The discipline of fasting is, as we have said, lightweight. Preparation before Mass or thanksgiving afterwards is almost non-existent. All these things taken together render the reception of Holy Communion so banal, so commonplace, that it would seem insane to deny it to anyone.

In traditional Latin Mass communities, the faithful tend to be acutely aware that they must examine their consciences and, if they are conscious of any mortal sin, must go to confession before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. (In the same communities, confessions are often heard before and during Mass on Sundays and Holy Days—an arrangement well-suited to the spiritual needs of ordinary Catholics. One priest will celebrate the Mass while the other hears confessions. At the consecration, confessions are momentarily suspended; at communion time, the confessor joins the priest to help distribute the hosts.) One does not see everyone going up automatically, pew after pew. Those who are ready to approach the mystical banquet go forward, kneel in adoring reverence, and receive Him on the tongue, from the consecrated hand of the priest. It is all done in a manner proper, just, and right. Man comes before God and, having removed whatever obstacles it is in his power to remove, begs to receive the awesome gift of His divine life.

Could our lack of training in (for lack of a better term) Eucharistic temperance and reverence for the Lord’s Body be related to the destruction of the virtue of chastity as it relates to marriage—temperance in the sexual plane, and a reverence for the spouse’s body? Just as it seems to many that there is no need to prepare and wait and beg the grace to be worthy of the Lord’s gift of self to us in communion, so there would likewise seem to be no need to prepare and wait and beg the grace to be made worthy to receive the gift of another person indissolubly in marriage while making of oneself a worthy gift to that other. 

In our society, even lamentably in Catholic circles, people see no need to be chaste before marriage or during marriage. It’s all “free love.” But free love is cheap and false. Is it not the same with Eucharistic communion? It is the supreme mutual gift of love—of Christ to me, and of myself to Him. Am I “chaste” in preparation for this mystical marriage with the Savior, and chaste in taking no other master of my soul? Am I ready to give myself wholly to Him, in obedience to His commandments and teachings? There can be no doubt that He is and will always be worthy of my love; but am I, will I be, worthy of His? 

The recovery of the discipline of fasting, the abolition of ushers who step from aisle to aisle as if signaling for the entire row to get up and go to communion, and the reintroduction of the custom of clergy distributing the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue of kneeling communicants are three obvious ways to combat the pandemic of irreverence and the plague of unworthy communions. 

Such steps may, over time, prompt couples to think differently about themselves and their own bodies, too—about the care and respect with which one should treat any Christian body that is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and about the reverence, altogether free of manipulativeness, that is due to the beloved’s body. Married sexual intimacy is, after all, about mutual self-giving under God’s conditions, not about consensual exploitation.

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The best way to get bishops covering up sex abuse to resign

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By Phil Lawler

August 8, 2018 (CatholicCulture.org) – This week I have seen three separate proposals for the creation of a commission that would investigate the American bishops' responses to the sex-abuse scandal. Unfortunately all three have serious flaws.

  1. Cardinal Donald Wuerl has suggested that the US bishops' conference could set up a special commission for the task. It is, frankly, difficult to take this suggestion seriously. The problem is that the US bishops' conference has lost all credibility on this issue. A new commission, set up by the bishops' conference, would have zero credibility from the start.
  2. "Bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer," recognizes Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany. "To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised." Therefore Bishop Scharfenberger recommends an independent commission of lay Catholics, and vows to "use every power my office holds…to further this change." That's a much more promising option, but the proposal would encounter serious practical problems.
    • First, who would appoint the members of this new commission? Would they be appointed by the same conference of bishops whose performance they would be scrutinizing? The danger there should be apparent. (If you received notice that the IRS was planning to audit our tax returns, wouldn't you love the opportunity to choose the auditors yourself?) There is, unfortunately, no shortage of prominent Catholics who would defer to the bishops' wishes, and no guarantee that an "independent" commission would aggressively pursue the truth even when bishops became uncomfortable.
    • Second, an independent commission would not – and under the Code of Canon Law could not – have enforcement power. Even the US Conference of Catholic Bishops could not compel individual bishops to cooperate with the panel, or to obey its orders.
  3. Karl Keating has an answer to that 2nd problem: an independent commission of lay Catholics that would be given subpoena power, able to compel testimony and to demand resignations. It is an attractive proposal, but – as Keating realizes – not a terribly realistic one. How could the bishops be convinced to hand over their fate to lay leaders? And where would this commission get its subpoena power?

Maybe the practical difficulties of the Scharfenberger proposal can be resolved. Maybe there is some other option, which has not yet been brought forward. But to simplify matters, I have compiled a list of the people who have the authority necessary both to demand the bishops' testimony and, if necessary, to require their resignations:

  • The Bishop of Rome

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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