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EXCLUSIVE: Viganò reveals what really happened when Pope Francis met privately with Kim Davis

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Less than a week after publishing his extraordinary 11-page testimony implicating Pope Francis and several senior prelates in a cover-up of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse of priests and seminarians, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has now decided to reveal, for the first time, the details surrounding Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis during his visit to the United States in 2015.

In a written statement, dated August 30, 2018 (see the Italian and English texts below), Archbishop Viganò, who served as papal nuncio to the United States from 2011-2016, says he was prompted to speak out after reading an August 28, 2018 New York Times article, in which Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean sexual abuse victim, says the Pope “recently told him Archbishop Viganò nearly sabotaged the visit by inviting the critic, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who became a conservative cause célèbre when she refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”

Davis was jailed for five days, in 2015, for defying a court order to grant marriage licenses, on the grounds that she had personal religious objections to same-sex “marriage.”

According to the New York Times report, the Pope allegedly told Cruz: “I didn’t know who that woman was, and [Archbishop Viganò] snuck her in to say hello to me — and of course they made a whole publicity out of it.”

“I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” Cruz recalled the Pope saying.

Catholic and secular media soon picked up on the New York Times story, with headlines such as: “I fired that nuncio” over Kim Davis meeting, Pope Francis reportedly said of Archbishop Viganò; and Kentucky’s Kim Davis might have played a role in Vatican infighting.

In the introduction to his three-page statement, Archbishop Viganò writes: “Faced with the Pope’s reported statement, I feel obliged to recount the events as they really unfolded.”

Viganò goes on to detail how the Pope’s private meeting with Kim Davis at the Washington nunciature was organized, what senior Vatican officials were involved in the decision making, and why they thought the meeting would be significant. He also reveals what happened once Pope Francis returned to Rome, and the “avalanche of phone calls, faxes and emails” started to roll in to the nunciature in Washington and the Vatican Press Office. 

Readers will recall that news of Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis broke out after his return from the U.S. to Rome, and quickly became a heated controversy. Davis’ lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, initially disclosed the news on Tuesday, September 29. He said the “private meeting” lasted around 15 minutes and took place in a “separate room” to keep it secret, adding that the Vatican official who arranged the meeting insisted that it not be made public until after Francis returned to Rome.

According to Staver, the Pope said he wanted to “thank [Kim Davis] for her courage,” told her to “stay strong,” and gave her two rosaries. He described the meeting as very “cordial” and “warm,” with Pope Francis and Davis promising to pray for one another.

But Vatican officials initially declined to comment. They finally acknowledged the meeting on Wednesday, September 30, but downplayed it as brief and part of a larger group.  

Two days later, on Friday, October 2, then-Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement, saying that a “brief meeting” did occur but that it “should not be considered a form of support of [Davis’] position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Lombardi noted that the “only real audience” Pope Francis granted at the Nunciature in Washington was with one of his former students, Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who was accompanied by his male partner, Iwan Bagus, and several friends.

Headlines of the private audience with Grassi and his partner flew across major media outlets, with the Guardian heralding: “Vatican: Pope’s only ‘audience’ was with gay former student – not Kim Davis,” and the New York Times announcing, “Before Pope Francis Met Kim Davis, He Met With Gay Ex-Student.”

Fr. Thomas Rosica — a Canadian priest who was acting as an English attachè for the Vatican Press Office, and came to be known during the Synod on the Family for his overemphasis on homosexual issues at the daily press briefings — told the LA Times that Fr. Lombardi had met with Pope Francis on Friday morning before issuing the statement. 

Rosica distanced Pope Francis from Kim Davis, saying they met in a group, and that it amounted to little more than a “very brief” handshake. 

“In terms of why this person was invited, you’d have to ask those questions of the nunciature,” he said.

Rosica said that he couldn’t imagine that Davis spent 15 minutes in a private meeting with Francis at the nunciature in Washington. “I have difficulty believing 15 minutes was spent with one individual, because there simply wasn’t time,” he said.

He insisted the meeting was organized by the nuncio, i.e. Viganò — and not Rome — and said he found it unlikely that the Pope knew anything about it beforehand: “Was there an opportunity to brief the Pope on this beforehand? I don’t think so. A list is given — these are the people you are going to meet,” he said.

But Davis’ lawyer told the Associated Press that the Vatican initiated the meeting as an affirmation of her right to be a conscientious objector.

As described in more detail below, Archbishop Viganò, who as papal ambassador played a key role in organizing the 2015 papal visit to the United States, insists that he did speak with Pope Francis about the details of the Kim Davis case — and he provides documentation to prove it. 

He says he handed Pope Francis a one-page memo (included below in Italian and English) summarizing the Kim Davis case. In the memo, Viganò informs the Pope that Davis was “unjustly arrested and put in prison” for refusing to sign “marriage licenses for same-sex couples,” on the grounds that “her conscience does not permit her to become a participant in this new way of understanding marriage.”

“Hers is the first case in which an American citizen has been imprisoned for reasons of freedom of conscience and religious liberty even though these rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America,” he wrote in the memo.

Viganò also details his subsequent consultation that night, at Pope Francis’ request, with top Vatican officials about the advisability of a potential meeting, and describes the private meeting between the Pope and Kim Davis the following day. 

Finally, the former U.S. Nuncio recalls the “frantic” telephone call he received from Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, once the media firestorm began, and his subsequent and surprising meeting with the Pope. 

Here below is the official English text of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s statement on Pope Francis private meeting with Kim Davis and what really happened. The English text may also be accessed in pdf form here, while a pdf of the Italian original may be read here. Emphasis not added.

[This article was updated at 1:00 p.m. EST, on September 2, 2018] 

***

Pope Francis met privately with Kim Davis: here is what really happened
by
His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of di Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio

On August 28, 2018, the New York Times reported part of a conversation that Juan Carlos Cruz, the most well known Chilean sexual abuse victim of Father Karadima and Bishop Barros, allegedly had with Pope Francis. Inexplicably, in his conversation with Cruz, the Pope is said to have spoken about his meeting with Kim Davis during his visit to Washington on September 24, 2015, and to have said that he knew nothing about the case before the meeting.

Faced with the Pope’s reported statement, I feel obliged to recount the events as they really unfolded.

At the end of the dinner, at the Nunciature in Washington, on the evening of September 23, 2015, I told the Pope that I needed him to grant me a half hour, because I wished to bring to his attention, and possible approval, a delicate and easily achievable initiative; that is, to meet personally and in a completely confidential way, out of the media spotlight, with Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, the first American citizen condemned and imprisoned for one week for having exercised her right to conscientious objection.

At the beginning of our meeting, on the evening of September 23, I gave the Pope a one-page memo summarizing the Davis case (here attached in Italian and English). The Pope immediately appeared in favor of such an initiative, but added that the meeting would have political implications, and said, “I don’t understand these things, so it would be good for you to hear Cardinal Parolin’s opinion.”

It was already 9:30 in the evening, so I went in person with two of the counselors of the Nunciature (an Italian and a Lithuanian) to the hotel not far away, where the Pope’s entourage was being hosted. Since I had called ahead to give advance notice of my arrival, His Excellency Archbishop Angelo Becciu (Substitute of the Secretary of State) and His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Secretary for Relations with States, and Head of the Political Section of the Secretariat of State) were waiting for me in the hotel lobby. They immediately notified me that Cardinal Parolin had already retired to his room, and they did not consider it appropriate to disturb him, since they could easily make him aware of our meeting the following morning.

We then met in a small lounge of the hotel. As I said, there were five of us. I gave them the same memo that I had given to the Pope, setting forth its content and explaining the reason for my visit, which had been requested by the Pope. After considering the case, Archbishop Becciu was immediately in favor of the Pope receiving Davis privately before he left Washington for New York.

Archbishop Gallagher, while showing support for the idea given the importance of defending the right to conscientious objection, said that it was appropriate to verify from the point of view of common law whether there were any reasons that would render the meeting inadvisable; namely, whether the legal proceedings brought against Davis were concluded or were still open. I therefore had him speak by telephone with the canonist for the Nunciature, who before becoming a priest had been a judge in the American military courts and a professor of canon law. After the conversation with the canonist to clarify matters — he said there were no procedural obstacles — Bishop Gallagher gave an unconditionally favorable opinion that the Pope should receive Davis.

The following morning, after the Mass that the Pope concelebrated with us in the Nunciature, I informed the Pope of the positive opinion of his two principal collaborators, who had then told Cardinal Parolin about our meeting. The Pope then gave his consent, and I organized to have Davis come to the Nunciature without anyone noticing, by having her sit in a separate room. Everything was made much easier by the fact that Davis was already in Washington, where she was invited to receive a Cost of Discipleship Award from the Family Research Council.

Before the meeting took place, I alerted the photographer from L’Osservatore Romano that he should not release the photographs of the meeting without the permission of his superiors. He of course observed the orders, but took many photographs, which have never been published, and are currently kept in the photographic archive of L’Osservatore Romano. I also had Davis promise me in advance that she would not give any news to the media until after the Pope’s return to Rome, at the end of his pastoral visit to the USA. Davis faithfully kept her promise.

Early in the afternoon of September 24, before leaving for New York City, the Pope entered as planned into the sitting room where Davis and her husband were waiting for him. He embraced her affectionately, thanked her for her courage, and invited her to persevere. Davis was very moved and started crying. She was then taken back to her hotel in a car driven by a pontifical gendarme, accompanied by an American Monsignor and staff member of the Nunciature.

Once the Pope returned to Rome from Philadelphia after the World Meeting with the Families, the news of his meeting with Davis broke out in the media. An avalanche of phone calls, faxes and emails arrived at the Nunciature in Washington and the Vatican Press Office, many with insults and protests, but also many in favor of the Pope’s meeting with Davis. In an article of September 30, 2015, the New York Times reported that “Vatican officials initially would not confirm that the meeting occurred, finally doing so on Wednesday afternoon, while refusing to discuss any details.” The Vatican Press Office then issued a statement — without their superiors in the Secretariat of State ever consulting me — stating that the Pope had never received Davis in a private audience, and that at most he may have greeted her among many other people before departing for New York. Father Rosica and Father Lombardi increased added to the lies, and were quoted as follows in the October 2, 2015 edition of the New York Times: “But the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said on Friday that the office of Archbishop Viganò had extended the invitation to Ms. Davis and that the Pope was probably not briefed about her case. And the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the chief Vatican spokesman, depicted the meeting as one meet-and-greet among many.” This is the transparency of the Holy See under Pope Francis!

The next morning, at about 6:00 a.m. in Washington — I remember it well because I had just entered the chapel at the Nunciature — I received a frantic telephone call from Cardinal Parolin, who told me “You must come immediately to Rome because the Pope is furious with you!” I left as soon as possible and was received by the Pope at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, around 7 o’clock in the evening on October 9, at the conclusion of one of the afternoon sessions of the Second Synod on the Family.

The Pope received me for almost an hour, and was very affectionate and paternal. He immediately apologized to me for troubling me with coming to Rome, and he lavished continuous praise on me for the way I had organized his visit to the USA, and for the incredible reception he received in America. He never expected such a welcome.

To my great surprise, during this long meeting, the Pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!

As soon as my audience with the Pope was over, I immediately phoned Cardinal Parolin, and said to him, “The Pope was so good with me. Not a word of reproach, only praise for the success of his visit to the USA.” At which point Cardinal Parolin replied, “It’s not possible, because with me he was furious about you.”

This is a summary of the events.

As mentioned at the beginning, on August 28, 2018, the New York Times reported an interview with Juan Carlos Cruz, in which Cruz reported that during his meeting with the Pope, in April 2018, the Pope told him about the Davis case. According to Cruz, the Pope said: “I did not know who the woman was and he [Msgr. Viganò] snuck her in to say hello to me — and of course they made a whole publicity out of it. And I was horrified and I fired that Nuncio.”

One of them is lying: either Cruz or the Pope? What is certain is that the Pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience. Journalists can always check, by asking the prelates Becciu, Gallagher and Parolin, as well as the Pope himself.

It is clear, however, that Pope Francis wanted to conceal the private audience with the first American citizen condemned and imprisoned for conscientious objection.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop di Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio
August 30, 2018
Feast of Saint Jeanne Jugan and Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster

Official translation by Diane Montagna 

 

Here below is the text of the one-page memo summarizing the Davis case which Archbishop Viganò gave to Pope Francis at the beginning of their meeting on September 23, 2015. (Download the original Italian here, and a PDF of the English translation here.)

9. Mrs. KIM DAVIS,

As noted, the United States Supreme Court recently decided that “marriage” between persons of the same sex are a right by law, in all of the States of the U.S.A, radically changing the concept of marriage, as well as its very definition.

Mrs. Kim Davis, who was elected an Official of her County, in Kentucky, has refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples, stating that her conscience does not permit her to become a participant in this new way of understanding marriage. Mrs. Davis, who belongs to a charismatic Christian church, several years ago had a personal conversion and wants to reamin faithful to her conscience, following “the Law of God rather than the law of man.” She has been careful not to impose her religious beliefs on others, while they have sought to impose on her these new “beliefs” about marriage. For this she was unjustly arrested and put in prison.

Hers is the first case in which an American citizen has been imprisoned for reasons of freedom of conscience and religious liberty even though these rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. 

Mrs. Davis is a humble person who has not sought publicity for her case, but she has become an exemplary witness to freedom of conscience and religion for the entire country.

News of the meeting of Mrs. Davis with the Holy Father has remained secret until now.

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Court dismisses Satanists’ case against pro-life laws

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By James Risdon

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Satanists who argued Missouri's abortion laws interfere with their constitutional freedom of religion saw their case thrown out by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.

The lawsuit brought by the Satanic Temple and an anonymous woman, referred to only as Mary Doe and described as a member of the Satanic Temple in court documents, was dismissed by the court because Doe lacked constitutional standing.

"After becoming pregnant, she sought an abortion in St. Louis, Missouri," wrote the circuit court judges in their decision. "She complied with certain state-mandated procedures, which the complaint alleges constituted direct and unwelcome personal contact with religion, in violation of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses.”

"After receiving the abortion, she filed this lawsuit in federal court seeking a series of declarations, an injunction, and attorneys’ fees and costs," reads the decision.

In their unanimous ruling, the judges tossed out the lawsuit – upholding a lower court's decision – because Doe was not pregnant when she filed it.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office. “The attorney general’s office will continue to vigorously defend Missouri’s sensible waiting period law.”

At the center of the lawsuit was the satanists' claim that five statutes and procedures collectively called as the "Missouri Tenents" were an infringement on Doe's right to freedom of religion.

Those so-called Missouri Tenents require informed consent before a woman can get an abortion, requiring physicians to offer these pregnant women a booklet stating the scientific fact that "the life of each human being begins at conception."

Missouri’s pro-life laws also require that physicians give pregnant women an opportunity to get an ultrasound and hear their pre-born baby's heartbeat.

Women seeking abortions in Missouri are then required to wait three days before an abortion will be done.

Abortionists typically perform ultrasounds anyway, often to determine the baby’s age (the abortion pill can only be given if the baby is in the early stages of the first trimester). Some abortions, like the one Abby Johnson witnessed that led her to leave her Planned Parenthood career and become pro-life, are actually ultrasound-guided, to ensure all of the baby is sucked out of his mother’s uterus.

Despite the outcome of this case, Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves has reportedly stated Tuesday's setback is “a mere prelude to victory.”

The Satanic Temple has two similar legal actions involving the same or similar people and arguments, one before a state court and the other before a federal court.  

In late January, one of those cases was heard by the Supreme Court of Missouri but no decision has yet been handed down.

Then, in late February, a woman identified only as Judy Doe filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. As of last week, the district court had not yet ruled on the defendants’ motion to dismiss that case.

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Former presidential candidate on Viganò testimony: ‘This is a homosexual scandal’

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By Stephen Kokx

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — In a forcefully-written column titled “A Cancer on the Papacy,” former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan pulls no punches as he contends that the Catholic Church is going through perhaps its “gravest crisis” since the Protestant Reformation, and that homosexuality is to blame.

A former aid to Richard Nixon who in a 2002 column argued that Vatican II was an “unrelieved disaster,” Buchanan calls for not only a thorough investigation of the “stunning” claims made by Archbishop Carlo Viganò, but an extensive “purge” and severing from the priesthood of those who covered up the scandals.

“The issue here is whether Pope Francis knew what was going on in the Vatican and in his Church, and why he was not more resolute in rooting out the moral squalor,” Buchanan writes.

Priests that prey on children are not only guilty of sin but are “criminal predators” who deserve to be put in “penitentiary cells” rather than parish rectories.

Echoing the sentiments of a growing number of U.S. bishops (and laity), Buchanan believes it is imperative, given the gravity of the revelations, that Rome address Vigano’s allegations that more than 30 high-ranking cardinals, bishops, and priests – including Pope Francis – covered up sexual abuse.

“For too long, the Catholic faithful have been forced to pay damages and reparations for crimes and sins of predator priests and the hierarchy’s collusion and complicity in covering them up.” The church “needs to act decisively now.”

At its core, “this is a homosexual scandal,” Buchanan plainly states. “Applicants to the seminary should be vetted the way applicants to the National Security Council are. Those homosexually inclined should be told the priesthood of the Church is not for them, as it is not for women.”

Traditional Catholic teaching holds that “homosexuality is a psychological and moral disorder, a proclivity toward acts that are intrinsically wrong, and everywhere and always sinful and depraved, and ruinous of character,” Buchanan wrote.

Although Buchanan ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1992, 1996, and 2000, his ideas, according to Politico writer Tim Alberta, served as the ideological underpinnings of the Trump campaign and now presidency.

In an article published in the spring of 2017, Alberta points out that many of the policies President Trump ran on, and is now implementing, were first proposed by Buchanan more than twenty years ago. These policies include secure borders instead of open borders, fair trade instead of free trade, nationalism instead of globalism, foreign policy restraint instead of interventionism, and America first instead of NATO first, among other things.

Buchanan concludes his essay by reminding his readers of the media’s fawning attitude towards liberal clergy.

“Undeniably, Francis, and the progressive bishops who urge a new tolerance, a new understanding, a new appreciation of the benign character of homosexuality, have won the plaudits of a secular press that loathed the Church of Pius XII.”

He rhetorically asks, “Of what value are all those wonderful press clippings now, as the chickens come home to roost in Vatican City?”

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‘Promise kept’: Ontario colleges must have free speech policies, or lose funding, says gov’t

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario colleges and universities that don’t have a free-speech policy by January 2019 could face funding cuts, Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday.

“Colleges and universities should be places where students exchange different ideas and opinions in open and respectful debate,” said the Progressive Conservative (PC) premier in an August 30 statement.

“Our government made a commitment to the people of Ontario to protect free speech on campuses. Promise made, promise kept.”

The province’s post-secondary institutions have four months to develop, implement and comply with free speech policies, according to the statement.

The policies must meet a “minimum standard prescribed by the government” and “not only protect free speech but ensure that hate speech, discrimination and other illegal forms of speech are not allowed on campus.”

Colleges and universities must report annually to the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario beginning September 2019, and schools that don’t comply could face funding cuts.

Individual students in violation of free speech policies will be subject to existing campus disciplinary measures, the statement said.

The announcement drew both kudos and complaints, with the Canadian Federation of Students decrying the move as “an unprecedented overstep” by the state into the halls of academe.

“The Ford government has a clear agenda in attacking academic institutions and student groups with this directive,” Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students told the CBC.

“By threatening to remove funding for our public institutions should they not comply with this highly unusual policy, and by directing institutions to withhold students' unions money should they not do the same, the government is forcing these organizations to pick a side in what is a deeply important public debate.”

Likewise, the official opposition decried the announcement, and questioned where it might lead, reported Canadian Press.

“Ontarians are concerned that Doug Ford’s decree regarding so-called ‘free speech’ rules on campus may parallel the American version of the campus free-speech movement, which opens the door for groups to spew hate on the campuses of post-secondary institutions,” said MPP Chris Glover, opposition critic for colleges and universities critic, in a statement.

“We want to ensure that campuses are safe, welcoming spaces for all – including those who are women, racialized individuals, and those who are LGBTQ2.”

Another commentator dismissed the Tory policy as pandering to the right-wing.

“The politics behind this and the motivations of the premier are quite clear,” Emmett Macfarlane, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo, told Canadian Press. “This plays well with a certain segment of his base.”

Free speech has become a right-wing concern because it’s conservative views that are the lightning rods in campus controversies, Macfarlane pointed out.

The most high profile of these in Ontario concerned Wilfred Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd, who was rebuked for playing a clip to her students of professor and free-speech advocate Jordan Peterson.

Peterson himself has been subjected to protestors using white-noise machines, air-horns, yelling, disrupting, or smashing windows in attempts to drown him out at such storied venues as University of Toronto, McMasters, and Queen’s University.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s provost Robert Gordon told the Toronto Globe and Mail his school fully supports the Tory policy.

“We’ve done a lot of work, certainly in the last year, to continue to reaffirm our commitment to free expression,” Gordon said.

And the Alberta-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms agrees the step is unprecedented, but lauded it as moving “in the right direction.”

“This is the first time in Canadian history that any provincial government has moved to protect free speech on campus,” said JCCF president, lawyer John Carpay in a Friday press release.

“The government’s new policy is a significant step towards the Justice Centre’s proposal for legislation to protect freedom of expression on campus,” he said.

The PC government wants the free speech policies based on the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression, Carpay pointed out, noting that these include:

  • universities and colleges should be places for open discussion and free inquiry; 
  • they should not attempt to shield students from ideas or opinions that they disagree with or find offensive;
  • while members of the university/college are free to criticize and contest views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct or interfere with the freedom of others to express their views.

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Police arrest and charge woman protesting Jordan Peterson, had concealed weapon

Canada passes radical law forcing gender theory acceptance

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US bishop tells parishes to recite St Michael prayer after every Mass in response to abuse crisis

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By Lianne Laurence
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BRIDGEPORT, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Connecticut bishop has directed all his priests to recite the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after every Mass in response to the sex abuse crisis now roiling the Catholic Church.

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport made the request effective September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, on which day he will lead a holy hour and Mass of Reparation along with all the priests in the diocese.​

He asked that the St. Michael prayer be recited after every Mass beginning that day, and exhorted Catholics to “pray it personally as well.”​​

The 59-year-old Brooklyn-born Caggiano was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Brooklyn diocese by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Bridgeport in July 2013.

“The Leonine Prayers that were promulgated in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII included the St. Michael prayer. These prayers were said after every low Mass for at least 80 years,” noted diocesan priest Fr. David Kloster in a guest post on liturgyguy.com.

“That they were ever stopped, giving a great entry to Satan and his minions, was a tragedy for the Church. Hopefully the Church will once again benefit mightily from that stalwart prayer of fortitude,” he wrote.

The current sex abuse scandal began with New York diocese announcing in June there were credible allegations that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose homosexual predations had been an open secret in church circles for decades, sexually abused a teenaged boy while a priest in New York. 

As further allegations against McCarrick followed, the Pennsylvania grand jury released a report in mid-August detailing decades of allegations of clerical sexual abuse and its coverup in six dioceses. 

That prompted widespread calls for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, mentioned over 200 times in the report, to resign, as well as calls for investigation into the role of the bishops in covering up sex abuse in the Church.

And Archbishop Carlos Vigano’s bombshell testimony last Saturday asserted Pope Francis and a number of cardinals, bishops and priests knew about McCarrick but placed him in positions of influence.

As the crisis deepens, Bridgeport diocese is not unaffected by such matters, but is pursuing a policy of transparency. 

The same day Bishop Caggiano announced his Mass of reparation and the reinstitution of the St. Michael’s prayer, the diocese published his letter suspending Fr. Francisco Gomez-Franco’s priestly faculties.

Caggiano asked Fr. Gomez to resign in July after he texted minors “over a significant period of time” and offered gifts to minors without their parents’ consent. Gomez also had some physical contact with minors that was not sexual in nature but which made both the minors and adults present uncomfortable, the letter states.

While Gomez’s behaviour was not illegal or immoral it was a serious violation of boundaries with minors and a violation of the diocese’s code of conduct, the letter states.

Gomez checked into the Saint John Vianney Center in Pennsylvania in late July, and a month later staff there recommended he continue treatment at Southdown Institute in Toronto. 

However, Gomez refused and decided to leave the priesthood, and consequently the bishop has declared him impeded from exercising the Sacred Order of Priesthood.

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Priest writes open letter to Ave Maria U president: I’m ‘appalled’ by remarks on Viganò report

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) - A military chaplain is among those supporters of Ave Maria University now expressing disappointment with its president’s remarks about Cardinal Burke.

Father John Paul Echert, who is also the pastor of two churches, wrote an open letter to President Jim Towey yesterday, citing his “strong” support for Ave Maria over the years. His sentiments were published online by traditionalist Catholic newspaper The Remnant yesterday.  (His full letter is posted below.)

Echert stated that he was “astonished and appalled” by James Towey’s criticism of “some conservative members of the Church,” including American Cardinal Raymond Burke, whom Towey singled out by name, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. The chaplain thought the university president had been “dismissive” of the Vatican whistleblower’s “credible testimony and firsthand evidence,” as well as “his call for the resignation of those responsible for protecting predators.”

“You would have been better advised to have remained silent rather than attack unjustly those who are solidly Catholic and exposing sex abuse,” Echert wrote.

He said that Ave Maria University is one of the few “truly ‘Catholic’ institutions” that he recommends to students and his parishioners but that he will no longer vouch for it unless Towey publicly retracts his remarks.

Among the President’s controversial statements was the following passage, imputing base motives to both Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Viganò:

Yes, God is full of surprises. But the call for the Pope’s resignation by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’ is not one of them. Neither is the challenge to the Pope’s authority by Raymond Cardinal Burke, an American prelate who has consistently opposed the direction Pope Francis has led the Church on certain matters (and may still be smarting from the Holy Father’s decision to remove him from his prominent position as head of the Holy See’s highest ecclesiastical court). The release of the Archbishop’s manifesto seemed timed to inflict the maximum damage possible to the Pope’s credibility, and the choreographed chorus of support by others in league with them, was just as troubling.

Towey has since offered an apology for his “gratuitous” remark about Cardinal Burke’s possible motives, while still arguing against Viganò and his defenders.

“Such speculation was unfair and His Eminence deserved better,” Towey admitted. “He has been a friend of Ave Maria University since its founding and is renowned for his sincere love of the Church. I will amend my statement on the web site, and I apologize.°

However, the president of Ave Maria University repeated his displeasure with Viganò’s story, saying that his “concern is with the prudence of the public, coordinated release” of the whistleblower’s testimony.

“Can one archbishop be prosecutor, judge and jury and call for a resignation of the pope?” Towey asked.

The circumstances under which Archbishop Viganò wrote and released his exposé of a system of Church patronage which protected Cardinal McCarrick and promoted the Cardinal’s own protegés are well-known. Viganò approached two Italian journalists he trusted and told them his story before writing it down. One of the journalists helped the Archbishop trim away any assertion that he could not prove and make it “journalistically usable”; he testified that Viganò left his home in tears. Viganò told the other Italian reporter that he would share his testimony also with an Englishman, an American, and a Canadian. Before the testimony was published, Viganò went into hiding.   

Open Letter of Father John Paul Echert to Mr. James Towey, Ave Maria University

Dear President Towey:

I am a diocesan priest who is pastor of two Catholic churches in the Midwest; prior to this I was a professor of Sacred Scripture in a Catholic University and Graduate Seminary. I am also a Military Chaplain. Having read your official public statement “Regarding the Rift Within the Church” I am utterly astonished and appalled at its content in which you are critical of “some conservative members of the Church hierarchy” as well as Raymond Cardinal Burke (by name) and that you are dismissive of the credible testimony and first-hand evidence provided by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and his call for the resignation of those responsible for protecting predators. You would have been better advised to have remained silent rather than attack unjustly those who are solidly Catholic and exposing sex abuse.

In past years I had been a strong supporter of Ave Maria as among the very few truly “Catholic” institutions I recommended to my parishioners and students. The faithful of my churches are a mix of traditional and conservative Catholics, many homeschooled, and some have attended your Institution. I assure you that unless your statement is publicly retracted I will NEVER again recommend Ave Maria to anyone and I will identify it by name among those institutions which should be avoided by Catholics. Better to attend a secular university than a “Catholic” institution which is not solidly Catholic.

Sincerely in Christ,
Father John Paul Echert

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Fox's Martha MacCallum and the Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro discuss liberal media bias on the pope's refusal to say whether he covered up sex abuse. YouTube / screenshot
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Ben Shapiro destroys liberal media for protecting Pope Francis rather than exposing sex abuse

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By James Risdon
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August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) - Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro lambasted the mainstream media for its liberal bias in reports on Pope Francis, who now stands accused of having been part of the ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sex abuse cover up.

"The press, at least the New York Times, seem deeply concerned with protecting Pope Francis from any and all comers because they like Pope Francis. I've rarely seen a more disgusting example of press behavior than this. It is truly an amazing, amazing thing," Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, told Fox News.

Testimony by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States, has implicated Pope Francis and many senior prelates in covering up McCarrick’s alleged serial sex abuse of seminarians and priests.

Pope Francis refused to comment on these allegations, telling journalists they should read Viganò's 11-page statement for themselves and come to their own conclusions.

In the wake of Viganò's allegations, the New York Times ran an article under a headline which highlighted not the claims made against the pontiff but rather the “power struggle” between allegedly liberal and conservative factions within the Church. On Monday, that newspaper carried the headline Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce.

The title of that article in its print edition was Francis Takes High Road as Conservatives Pounce, Taking Criticisms Public.

According to Shapiro, this demonstrates New York Times editors consider it more important to protect the reputation of a left-leaning pope than it is to report the truth on the ongoing sex abuse crisis.

The Times was excoriated for that headline on Twitter and on the Fox segment.

“How is ‘conservatives pouncing’ on sex abuse allegations the story?” asked Shapiro.

Within the Catholic church itself, desperate attempts to discredit Archbishop Viganò have included Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich's claim that critics of Pope Francis are bigots who don't like the pontiff "because he’s a Latino."

That cardinal also downplayed the accusations of sex abuse cover-up against the pope by claiming the pontiff “has a bigger agenda” to deal with.

“He’s got to get on with other things,” said Cupich, such as “talking about the environment and protecting migrants.”  

Cupich characterized Vigano’s accusations as a “rabbit hole.”

“Has he seen the stories that were published about the Pennsylvania dioceses and what they did to these children?” Fox’s Martha MacCallum asked in disbelief.

“The same people who were so hard on the Church when Spotlight came out and when those [2002 sex abuse] stories came to light should be absolutely leading with these stories and asking him [Pope Francis] and pressing people like Cupich,” MacCallum said. “If Jesus had any central teaching, one of them was that children are the most important to be protected...in Matthew, He says, if you cause any of the little ones to stumble, you should have a large millstone hung around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

"When it was John Paul II or Pope Benedict, then the press didn't like those guys because those guys were very conservative on social issues," commented Shapiro.

"But, because Pope Francis is in his essence a liberation theologist who believes a lot of left-wing things about climate change and redistribution of income and illegal immigration, they're going to protect him from accusations from the so-called conservative wing of the church which is, after all, basically just asking the pope to...enforce what seems to me to be basic Catholic doctrine for the past couple of thousand years," Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, astutely noted.

Shapiro said he considers it "evil" to put protection of a pope for political reasons ahead of the need to uncover the truth about the sex abuse cover-up.

"When you're treating the pedophilia of children and mistreatment of children – the abuse of children – as a political football in order to protect your guy, I would suggest you're the evil one in the scenario," said Shapiro.

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Kansas bishop praises Vatican whistleblower: Viganó is someone ‘Church could be proud of’

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By Lisa Bourne

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

WICHITA, Kansas, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Kansas Bishop Carl Kemme issued a statement saying he holds Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in high regard and found Viganò someone whom the Church could be "proud of."

Kemme joined the growing list of U.S. prelates in vouching for Viganò’s character and calling for a complete and transparent investigation into the allegations raised by the former apostolic nuncio to the United States in his bombshell testimony released last weekend. 

“In the brief time that my service here as bishop and his service as papal nuncio coincided, I always thought highly of his leadership and regarded him as someone whom the Church could be proud of in her service,” Kemme, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, said in his August 29 statement.

The bishop said he had spoken to Viganò just two times previously, when it was announced he’d been appointed as bishop of Wichita and then on his day of ordination, May 1, 2014, which he said “Archbishop Viganò graciously attended.” 

“In these conversations, I found Archbishop Viganò to be most kind and amiable,” said Kemme. 

He clarified that he was unable to speak personally about any of the allegations Viganò had made “as a matter of conscience against certain individuals including Pope Francis regarding the current crisis we face in the Church today.”

Because of this, Kemme said he joined with all those who’d expressed hope and expectation that “a full, independent and transparent investigation be conducted in this matter so as to bring forth the truth.” 

“The allegations of such a respected bishop in the Church and one charged with such great responsibility as the papal nuncio to the United States demands such an investigation,” he stated.

Viganò’s testimony implicated Pope Francis and a number of high-ranking Church prelates in the cover-up of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s alleged serial sexual abuse of seminarians and priests.

In the shocking 11-page written statement, Viganò claimed that Francis was aware of strict canonical sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, but opted to repeal them.

Some media outlets have worked to portray Viganò as a controversial or disgruntled figure, or suggested that demands that the Pope answer the explosive allegations equates to an anti-Francis mindset.

Kemme concluded saying he prayed the investigation would ultimately bring peace to the Church and “restore confidence to the people of God.”

The Wichita bishop joins several others in expressing support for Vigano, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Tyler Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki, and Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley.  

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16 states ask Supreme Court to reverse addition of gender confusion to ‘sex discrimination’

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The governors and attorneys general of 16 states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s judgement this year that gender-confused individuals are covered by the Civil Rights Act.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March that Title VII of the 1964 law, which was passed to end racial segregation and hiring discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, also extends to employees who wish to “identify” as the opposite of their biological sex.

The case was sparked by a Detroit funeral home that fired a male employee who wanted to present himself as a woman while on duty, in defiance of the home’s dress code. “Discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status is necessarily discrimination on the basis of sex,” Judge Karen Nelson Moore ruled.

On August 23, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming filed an amicus brief calling on the nation’s highest court to reverse the 6th Circuit’s judgement, The Hill reports.

“The States’ purpose is to note that ‘sex’ under the plain terms of Title VII does notmean anything other than biological status,” the brief says. “Unless and until Congress affirmatively acts, our Constitution leaves to the States the authority to determine which protections, or not, should flow to individuals based on gender identity. The Sixth Circuit ignored this fact and essentially rewrote federal law, engaging in policy experimentation. “

It argues that the 6th Circuit failed to “apply basic canons of statutory interpretation” meant to guide courts to the ordinary meaning and original understanding of a statute’s language, which would have led them to recognize that the Congress of 1964 meant “sex” to mean only biological sex, and had no intention of incorporating 2018 notions of transgender ideology.

“The term ‘gender identity,’ or as the Sixth Circuit labels it, ‘transgender’ and ‘transitioning status,’ are not found in the text or legislative history of Title VII,” the brief notes. It also highlights the fact that “gender identity” referred “more to social and cultural roles” at the time, and was a distinct concept from the one being considered by Congress, biological sex.

“Replacing ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity,’ as the Sixth Circuit and the EEOC have done, is a dramatic change,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel Jim Campbell said in July. “What it means to be male or female shifts from a biological reality based in anatomy and physiology to a subjective perception. Far-reaching consequences accompany such a transformation.”

ADF also argued that one of those consequences could undermine the original purpose of Title VII, ensuring equal opportunities for actual women.

“Employment reserved for women—like playing in the WNBA or working at a shelter for battered women [...]—now must be opened to males who identify as women,” ADF explained. “The same is true of sports and educational opportunities under Title IX. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling impedes women’s advancement.”

The dispute echoes the Trump administration’s reversal last year of ex-President Barack Obama’s direction that federal agencies interpret Title VII to cover “gender identity” and “transgender status.” Pro-LGBT activists, who have been pressuring states and private businesses to enforce acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism among private citizens, saw both Obama’s move and the 6th Circuit ruling as milestones in their efforts.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to take the case sometime in the coming months.

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‘I’m just trying to do my job’: Edward Pentin defends on EWTN covering Viganó‘s testimony

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Rome-based reporter who helped break the news last weekend of the detailed testimony of Archbishop Viganó about abuse cover up in the Vatican is defending his reporting. 

“There are a lot of people who are very upset and very concerned. There’s a lot of corruption there in the Church, and they want it sorted out. And unless it’s exposed, that’s not going to happen. So I’m just really trying to do my job,” Edward Pentin told Raymond Arroyo of “The World Over” Thursday night.  

Pentin, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Register (NCR), was one of the reporters to whom Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò entrusted his explosive testimony alleging coverup and cronyism among several high-ranking prelates, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, and even Pope Francis. 

Pentin chuckled when Arroyo mentioned Honduran Cardinal Maradiaga’s recent remark that the NCR reporter is a “hitman” and asked him if he were an “enemy of reform.” 

“Not at all, no,” Pentin replied. “My job as a journalist is really to draw attention to the truth so that things can be made better.” 

“I’m really just trying to expose the truth, so that they can actually tackle these things and reform because there’s a lot of injustice--especially in Honduras,” he said. 

According to Viganò, Francis lifted sanctions Benedict XVI had placed on McCarrick and took his advice in filling key episcopal posts in the USA, even though he knew of his sexual predation against priests and seminarians.  

“This is certainly a very, very good source who told me that,” said Pentin. 

“And it seems very clear that Pope Benedict did impose sanctions. He instructed Cardinal Bertone, who then instructed the Congregation for Bishops, who then told Archbishop Sambi, the then-Nuncio. And then this apparently was passed onto then-Cardinal McCarrick.” 

At the start of Thursday’s show, Arroyo described the impact Viganò’s allegation have had on Catholics in no uncertain terms.

“This is surely one of the most traumatic and critical moments in the Catholic Church since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI,” he told viewers.

Arroyo quizzed Pentin on a statement made by the secretary to both the Pope and the Pope Emeritus. In response to a story in The New York Times, Archbishop Georg Gänswein told a German magazine that Pope Benedict had not “commented on the memorandum of Archbishop Vigano and will not do it.” Gänswein called any assertion that Benedict had done so “fake news.” 

However, neither Vigano nor Pentin had claimed that the Pope Emeritus had commented on the document.

“[Archbishop  Gänswein] is exactly right,” Pentin said. “Archbishop Viganò never actually said that Benedict had seen his testimony, and so there was no way that [Benedict] could affirm it….”

“What he didn’t say, and what he didn’t deny,” the reporter added, “is that there were sanctions imposed on Cardinal McCarrick. And that is what I understand to be true. He never denied that, so we stand by our report on that.” 

Pentin had discovered that Benedict had placed sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick before Viganò released his testimony. Having been told in advance of the story Viganò was going to make public, the journalist began to look for evidence.

“I wanted to find out before then [the release] just what Pope Benedict knew…. and if there were any sanctions imposed—because if they were and they were lifted, then we need to know really what they were and to what extent they were imposed,” Pentin explained. 

“But I found out that Benedict couldn’t really remember what they were.” 

The NCR reporter told Arroyo that Viganò is known in Rome for integrity and trustworthiness.

“He is seen as very much a man of great integrity, and someone who’s very reliable and trusted,” Pentin said. “He certainly was seen as that as the Nuncio, and also here [in Rome] beforehand in the Governatorate, which is responsible for a lot of the finances for the running of Vatican City state.” 

But Vigano’s very integrity got him into trouble, Pentin explained.

“He stood up against the corruption there, and that’s what led to him being sent to the Nunciature, because [he] was touching on too many truths, which people didn’t like, and so he was forced out...” 

Another person of interest in the unfolding story of Pope Francis relationship with Cardinal McCarrick is Monsignor Jean-François Lantheaume, Viganò’s former secretary at the Vatican’s Embassy in Washington, DC. Arroyo remarked that the monsignor had made a short statement attesting to the truth of Vigano’s testimony but seems to be fearing for his life. 

“[Lantheaume] said that he had never worked with anyone better than Archbishop Viganò and saw him as a great man of integrity,” Pentin replied. “But he also said on his Facebook page that he’s also afraid for his life if he were to make any revelations, and that’s the same with Archbishop Viganò.”

Pentin thinks that both Viganò and Lantheaume are afraid of the “vindictiveness” of people they had worked with.

“They’re very concerned that scores will be settled by those they have crossed,” he said. “... They see the threat as very real.” 

Pentin thinks the Pope is taking his time to react to the scandal, and that his remarks on the plane were a method of stalling for time. He thinks, however, the Pope will take “some kind of action in the coming days.” 

Whether or not there will be any kind of action or structural change in the Vatican in response to anger sparked by Vigano’s claims is an open question. Rome is, after all, rather far from the United States. 

“People [here] don’t really understand... the anger and the frustration as you would in the United States,” Pentin said, “but they do understand the level of anger, at least.” 

However, there have been a lot of scandals and a lot of anger in the past without effecting change, he noted. 

“The precedent isn’t all that good,” the journalist concluded.  

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Priest urges Catholics to expose abusive clergy who’ve ‘sold their souls to the devil’

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By James Risdon

TAMPA, Florida, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. priest is calling on Catholics to expose abuse by homosexual clerics, urging all victims to step forward and make their voices heard from the parish level all the way to the Vatican.

"In union with...prayer and fasting, I am proposing and praying that all victims of clergy abuse, all who witnessed or intimately know of such abuse, all who have been raked over the coals trying to expose such abuse, including priests, seminarians, and exes of both groups, send their stories, certified mail for proof of receipt, to their parish priest(s) and bishop(s), the papal nuncio, and the Bishop of Rome," wrote Father Edwin Palka in the August 19 bulletin and website of the Epiphany of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church.

Fr. Palka is the pastor at that parish, which is located in Tampa, Florida.

"I know full well that this is extremely difficult, but including your name with contact information will make a huge difference in how it will be received," wrote the parish priest.

Fear of retribution from "evil" homosexual bishops who set out to "punish, humiliate and blackmail" has effectively silenced many decent, God-fearing priests who might blow the whistle on the gay "mafia" within the Roman Catholic Church, wrote Palka in an earlier article in late July

“Many people still don’t (I believe most priests still don’t) understand just how evil the active homosexual or homosexual activist...priests and bishops are,” he explained.

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

In his latest article, Fr. Palka offered several solutions to this crisis, the first of which is prayer and fasting, and hope in divine intervention as an antidote to the Church’s many problems today.

"The current state of the church can be depressing, even capable of bringing about spiritual despair. But it need not be. There is always hope. A well-founded hope, in fact. The Light of Christ will conquer the darkness," wrote Palka. "The Immaculate Heart will triumph. We know that."

For San Diego Roman Catholic Christine Beades, the priest's call to turn to God with prayer and fasting and the hope God offers was a welcome message amid the horror of the revelations of abuse within the church. 

"God bless you, Father, for providing a solution in your address," wrote Beades in the comment section below the Palka's article on the parish website. "We are pretty much wiped out after the horrific details that have come out this week of the stench in the church."

"Your previous messages have given us the answer as to 'how', how on earth have they infiltrated/replicated themselves so blatantly throughout our church. And I've read the worst is in the Vatican!" she wrote. "Some cardinal messages this weekend (to the faithful) are pure 'corporate speak', an obvious reflection that they are still in denial."

"Now with … prayerful fever, He will save His church."

According to the Fr. Palka, the first thing Catholics need to do is to pray and fast as Jesus Christ taught His followers.

"Understand this: There is not a single thing - or even a dozen things - we can do which will solve this problem," he wrote. "We must, must, must have Divine Intervention. After all, if every guilty bishop and priest is not removed and charged, those remaining will simply keep doing business as usual. Moreover, even if every [active homosexual or homosexual activist] bishop were removed today, the bishop of Rome (not unlike his predecessors who named them in the first place) would simply replace them with clones.”

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

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

Reporting all cases of clerical abuse will not change bad priests but it will touch the hearts of those who still hold to the true teaching of the church, writes Palka. 

"It will touch those who still have a mustard seed of faith,” he wrote. “How can it not? No real Father will do nothing when his son has been molested. No real Father will settle for more guidelines on proper and improper behavior. No real Father will remain silent, ignore the victim, excuse the perpetrator, blame clerical celibacy or 'rigidity' or the male-only priesthood, or dodge the truth that our current major scandals (though there are others) are the direct and inevitable result of ordaining and retaining [active homosexuals or homosexual activists].”

"A real Father will address the real problem head on. He will kick butt, not kiss it," he wrote.

Catholic parents also need to take special care to protect their children from these active homosexual or homosexual activist priests, Palka warns. 

"Change parishes and schools/CCD if your priest is [an active homosexual or homosexual activist], heretical, or a 'don’t make waves'-er," he wrote. "Now is not the time to whimper, 'But I don’t have proof' for that may only come 20 or 50 years from now.”

"Homeschool. Drive hours on Sunday if need be to attend mass," he wrote. "Quit making excuses. Faithless priests will molest and/or cover for others. If you read the reports...you know it’s the truth. These 'men' have sold their souls to the devil. Run!"

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EWTN panel: Viganó’s testimony reveals ‘greatest crisis’ Pope and Church now face

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By Doug Mainwaring

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, DC, August 31, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – A sober discussion about the implications of the explosive testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò — the first Vatican official to charge the Pope and others with covering up sex abuse in the Church —elicited one stunning statement after another from members of EWTN’s Papal Posse.

“This is surely one of the most traumatic and critical moments in the Catholic Church since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI,” began The World Over host Raymond Arroyo, referring to Viganò’s allegations of pervasive sexual corruption in the Church, calling out clerics by name, including Pope Francis. 

“This is very big,” said canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray.  “This is something that is unprecedented in our lifetime, and it is, for me, a crucial moment in the life of the Church.”

“We have a starting point now to deal with what has to be considered the greatest crisis of the Church at this moment,” said Robert Royal. 

Fr. Murray said that Viganò’s letter calls into question everything that the Vatican and the American bishops have been doing since 2002 to rid the priesthood of clerical sexual abuse and the stigma it has cast upon the Church.   

“Are we going to indeed root out sexual abuse in the life of the Church,” wondered Murray.  “Will the abuse of authority be exposed and punished?”

“I have high regard for Archbishop Viganò,” added Murray.  “This is a man who lives the Gospel because he speaks the truth.”

Did Pope Francis rehabilitate McCarrick, despite his long history of sexual abuse?

The posse zeroed in on a key passage in the Viganò testimony, representing the heart of  his accusation against the Pope:  

Immediately after, the Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?”  I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” . . .

Pope Francis appears to have subsequently overruled Pope Benedict’s penalties on McCarrick, because the former cardinal “continued to defy those sanctions” and received “even more responsibility from Pope Francis. 

Flagrant, reckless McCarrick

“McCarrick was known to flout authority,” according to Arroyo.  

When Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope emeritus Benedict], in 2005 entrusted McCarrick with a directive to American bishops denying communion to pro-choice politicians, McCarrick pocketed the letter rather than delivering its important message to his fellow bishops.

“Cardinal McCarrick’s whole life has been lived recklessly, let’s just face it,” said Fr. Murray. 

“When ordained a priest, the first child he baptized, he later committed sexual abuse against that boy,” noted Murray.  “He abused a seminarian at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the sacristy; He lied to the American bishops about the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger and said the exact opposite of what the letter said.”

McCarrick’s influence on Pope Francis

“The hard facts we know after 2013 are these,” said Robert Royal, “that somehow McCarrick began to play a role in this papacy.”  

“It seems very clear he played a role in getting … Cardinal Cupich appointed in Chicago and Cardinal Tobin appointed in Newark because of some influence somewhere,” said Robert Royal.

Royal also pointed out that three years after Viganò claims he informed Pope Francis about McCarrick, the Pope sent McCarrick as an envoy to negotiate with China. 

McCarrick was also “instrumental in the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope, noted Arroyo, suggesting that McCarrick lobbied for his friend, then an Argentine Cardinal, sensing this might provide a path to release from the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him.

Homosexual networks embedded in the Church and carnage left behind

A quote pulled from Archbishop Viganò’s testimony provided the basis for a discussion about how church resources, gleaned through the sacrificial contributions of the lay faithful, have been diverted to cover up the sexual abuses of priests and prelates.

Corruption in the misuse of the Church’s resources and of the offerings of the faithful must be fought against. The seriousness of homosexual behavior must be denounced. The homosexual networks present in the Church must be eradicated … These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.

Far more significant than the financial ruin inflicted on the Church by priests who cast off their vow of celibacy, are the victims of their sexual abuse, the “carnage left behind.” 

“There is justice due here, and you can’t just let these [clerics] go on because they’re wearing red or magenta,” said Arroyo. 

Pope Francis’ refusal to answer Viganò’s charges

By his recent refusal to address the accusations in Archbishop Viganò’s testimony, Pope Francis has perhaps indicted himself, because, “Silence is cover up,” said Fr. Murray.  

“Is it likely a man who is innocent of serious charges would say nothing?” he added

“Many Catholics were heartbroken by this answer because they were looking for clarity from the Pope,” observed Arroyo.  

“It seems to my eye, what [the Pope] did, wittingly or unwittingly, is unleash the media hordes on Viganò, saying, ‘you go look at him,’” continued Arroyo.  

“And now what I see on social media and in public events, Catholics are upon Catholics, bishops are opposed to bishops,” he added, “ It’s created this acrimony and craziness,” that might have been avoided if Pope Francis were willing to answer Viganò.  

Cardinal Cupich’s Rabbit Hole

When Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich dismissed Viganò’s revelations about prelates covering up homosexual abuse as a ‘rabbit hole,’ Arroyo said, “This took my breath away.” 

“Abused young men and boys in seminaries, corruption on multi-levels in the clergy, and their enablers, that’s a ‘rabbit hole?’” asked an incredulous Arroyo.

“When you have people within the Church itself abusing their authority and their positions, that may lead to the damage of souls forever,” said Royal, “I don’t see how you can call this a ‘rabbit hole.’”

Catholics deserve honesty, holiness, and doctrinal fidelity

Catholics, “will only be reassured when the Holy Father addresses the specific charges that Archbishop Viganò made, answers whether they’re true or false, and then honestly submits himself to the same kind of provisions that he would if any bishop with a similar accusation, came clean in front of him,” said Fr. Murray.  

“The American people and the people of the Catholic Church throughout the world, we deserve honesty, holiness, and doctrinal fidelity,” continued Murray. “We do not deserve what Archbishop Viganò says is happening which is a culture of secrecy, and, quite frankly, immoral behavior being protected.”

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Wisconsin to cover state employees’ transgender treatments, board votes

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By Calvin Freiburger

MADISON, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board voted 5-4 last week to cover hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery for public-sector employees, NPR reports, in a surprising reversal of state policy.

Previously, treatments and procedures "related to gender reassignment or sexual transformation” did not qualify, but starting January 1 they will when deemed “medically necessary.”

The decision comes amid lawsuits against the insurance board and the University of Wisconsin board of regents demanding treatment coverage. "This was an empowering moment, offering up hope things can get better," one of the plaintiffs, UW Health psychiatry resident Wren Logan, said.

This is not the first reversal the board has made; it first voted to cover such services after the Obama administration issued transgender “discrimination” rules in May 2016, but eventually reversed itself following pressure from state officials and a court ruling against the Obama directive.

The “legal landscape” on the issue has since then “developed further,” health policy adviser Renee Walk wrote to the board in a memo earlier this month, with the effect of “broaden[ing] transgender legal protections.” It is unknown whether a new Trump administration directive will reverse that trend, however.

The news follows a federal judge’s ruling in July that Wisconsin taxpayers must fund sex-reassignment procedures for two disabled Medicaid recipients: a biological woman who wants her breasts removed, and a biological man who wants his genitals removed. U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that enforcing the 20-year-old state Medicaid rules against coverage for “transsexual surgery” would likely cause “ongoing, irreparable harm.” That case is currently being appealed.

Critics contend that transgender surgery has no proven medical benefit, and can in fact distract from treating underlying psychological or emotional problems.

A variety of scientific literature suggests that reinforcing gender confusion rather than helping a patient resolve it it fails to prevent significant emotional harm up to and including attempted suicide, regardless of surgery. There is also a growing movement of former transgenders who have “de-transitioned” back to their true sex after experiencing “sex change regret.”

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8 women around the world tell the BBC their birth control horror stories

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The conversation about the birth control pill’s dark side continues to become more mainstream, with the BBC recently highlighting eight women from different countries and their negative experiences.

As part of BBC Future’s “The Health Gap” series exploring how “women experience the medical system” differently from men, the network interviewed eight former pill users about why they decided to go off the pill. The women hail from countries including the United States, Nepal, Tanzania, and Venezuela.

The women describe taking the birth control for reasons ranging from pregnancy prevention to treatment for cysts and heavy menstrual bleeding. The physical and mental fallout was at least as diverse.

“I was experiencing full-body muscle pain and having like heart palpitations,” one woman says. Another recalls becoming depressed and experiencing a decreased sex drive. Others say the pill caused them to suffer from skin spots, weight gain, “lumpy tissue all under my arms,” a pulmonary embolism, and a thrombosis (a potentially fatal blood clot).

The pill has been linked to an 80% increased likelihood of depression and as much as a sixfold rise in the risk of thrombosis, according to the BBC.

“I would have times where I was awake for three days straight because I was having such insane anxiety attacks I couldn’t sleep,” another explains. “I started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, and even with the medication I still had horrible anxiety attacks, I still had depressive swings where I sometimes couldn’t get out of bed, and couldn’t go to class, and it sucked.”

Birth control gave another interviewee “these migraines that would shock my body into so much pain that I would have seizures [...] I had to give up performing and I had to give up teaching.”

The good news is that it didn’t take long after dropping the pill for the women to see improvement. The bad news is that when seeking help, the medical experts they consulted failed to identify birth control as the possible cause of their symptoms.

“No one said anything about it. Not any of the psychologists or therapists or gynecologists,” the woman with the anxiety attacks recalls. “Something that our medical system should have known.” The woman plagued by migraines and seizures says she saw nine neurologists who attempted 32 different medications over a two-year period.

“Just like the cigarette boxes the pill should have all the pros and cons on the box,” one woman suggested. “Everything that can happen to you when you take the pill.”

The BBC reports that 30% of the 45 million American women who have used the pill stopped due to dissatisfaction, with “side effects” being their most common reason. Other research and personal testimony has linked oral contraceptives to increased risk of blood clots, hair loss, Crohn’s disease, brain shrinkage, breast cancer, hardening of the arteries, glaucoma, and cervical cancer.

Curiously, women interviewed by the BBC suggested that male birth control options “that caused the same symptoms in men” were “never pushed through” because of male privilege: “why should a man have to deal with those types of symptoms?”

In fact, the female-led Planned Parenthood is the one of the world’s largest and most aggressive proponents of the pill, lobbying for it to be widely and easily available and even offering to help minors obtain it without their parents’ knowledge. The abortion giant’s website admits some potential side effects and that the pill “isn’t for everyone,” but pushes an overall message that “Chances are the pill will be totally safe for you” and “most people can take it with no problems.”

The increasing mainstream acknowledgement of the pill’s dark side may be part of a broader cultural trend. The pro-abortion “feminist” website Refinery29 reported earlier this month that their own survey found that less than half of millennial women consider themselves feminists, because they see modern feminism as over-prioritizing issues like abortion and birth control.

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Where does your bishop stand?: Catholics launch new website to track bishops’ fidelity

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August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews launched a new website today dedicated to providing U.S. Catholics with evidence of whether their bishop is faithful or unfaithful to perennial Church teaching.

Faithful Shepherds helps hold American bishops accountable by providing years, sometimes decades, of past tweets, public speeches, sermons, actions, pastoral letters, and diocesan guidelines.

Faithful Shepherds currently gives evidence of where U.S. bishops stand on ten issues: Archbishop Vigano's testimonyAmoris Laetitia, pro-life leadership, homosexuality, abortion politics, contraception, “LGBT” ideology, liturgy, marriage and family life, and education. More will be added as new evidence is gathered.

For each of the nine issues, bishops are given one of four rankings:

  1. Faithful to Church teaching
  2. Not faithful to Church teaching
  3. Unclear whether they are faithful to Church teaching
  4. Not enough evidence has been collected for this bishop on this issue

LifeSiteNews co-founder John-Henry Westen commented that Faithful Shepherds is “extremely important for the life of the Church in the 21st century.”

“While the average Catholic may know who their bishop is, chances are they don't know his positions on the most important issues in the Church,” said Westen.

“Has he taken a strong stance on Amoris Laetitia or the sex abuse crisis? Does he honor Our Lord by refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians,” he added.

Westen said that while news organizations report on what bishops say and do, there wasn’t until now a “one-stop database that provides American Catholics with easily-accessible, documented proof of what their bishops truly believe.”

“Actions speak louder than words, and that’s where Faithful Shepherds comes in,” he said.

One unique feature of Faithful Shepherds is the ability for visitors to send a postcard directly to the bishop of their choosing for a small $2 fee.

If the bishop has a track record of upholding Church teaching, the postcard thanks him for his efforts and encourages him to remain strong in the fight to defend the faith. 

If the bishop dissents from long-held Church teaching, the postcard encourages him to stop endangering souls and to be faithful to the magisterium. 

If the bishop has made ambiguous or equivocal statements about a particular issue, the postcard calls on him to clearly and courageously make known the teachings of the Church.

Although more than 775 pieces of evidence on many of the more than 250 bishops in the United States have already been uploaded to the site, Faithful Shepherds will be continually adding more information to its database.

Faithful Shepherds encourages lay Catholics to take an active role in defending Church teaching and submit proof of what their bishops are doing and saying in their dioceses. 

Visitors to Faithful Shepherds can easily locate their bishop’s page — which features the bishop’s contact information, education history, and other personalized data — by typing his first or last name or his diocese in the site’s main search bar. Visitors can also search for a bishop according to a particular issue and filter results alphabetically or according to the bishop’s faithfulness to Church teaching.

Stephen Kokx, project manager for Faithful Shepherds, has been working on the site for the last ten months.

Faithful Shepherds informs Catholics about which bishops are liberal and follow the trends of the modern world, and which are faithful to Christ. It may well save souls,” he said. 

“The laity are going to play a role in all this, which is crucial at this point in Church history. Not only are they going to be the ones holding their bishop’s feet to the fire, they are going to help build up the Faithful Shepherds database,” he added. 

Kokx said that the laity are “on the ground” and know what’s going on in their diocese. 

“Many things take place behind the scenes at the local level that aren’t reported on by the media but are known by parishioners,” he said. 

Bruce Sabalaskey, one of the site’s programmers, said he wished Faithful Shepherds had been around when he was growing up decades ago.

“I think to myself just how different the Church would be today if something like this was up and running before, during, and after Vatican II. My hope is that Faithful Shepherds will help save the Church from falling even further into the crisis it’s already in.”

To support Faithful Shepherds, click here.

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VICTORY: California Dem withdraws bill banning help for unwanted gay attraction

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By Calvin Freiburger

SACRAMENTO, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – California’s controversial ban on virtually any form of treatment for unwanted same-sex attraction appeared to be on the verge of becoming law, but its lead Democrat sponsor has just withdrawn it from consideration.

Assembly Bill 2943 would have barred minors and adults alike from obtaining “sexual orientation change efforts,” regardless of their wishes. By classifying what leftists sometimes pejoratively call “conversion therapy” (also known as reparative therapy) under prohibited “goods,” critics said it would have gone so far as to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of constitutionally-protected speech.

The bill passed the state Assembly in April and Senate in August, and appeared to be a lock for Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. But Assemblyman Evan Low announced Friday that meetings with religious leaders convinced him to shelve the current version, the Sacramento Bee reports.

“I left those productive conversations feeling hopeful,” said Low, who is homosexual. “I believe every person who attended these meetings left with a greater understanding for the underlying reason and intention of this bill to create a loving and inclusive environment for all. However, I believe there is still more to learn.”

“We are inexpressibly grateful to Assemblymember Low for meeting personally with faith leaders over the last several months and sincerely listening to our concerns,” California Family Council president Jonathan Keller said. “AB 2943 would have tragically limited our ability to offer compassionate support related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and even to preach Jesus’ message of unconditional love and life transformation.”

“AB 2943 would have criminalized even ordinary religious speech on same-sex attraction, and it also would have forbidden LGBT persons from making a deeply personal choice to explore conversion therapy,” Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund executive director Daniel Piedra added, saying Low’s willingness to listen to dissenting Californians “should be a model example for all elected politicians.”

Piedra also credited the California Family Council’s “tremendous efforts in mobilizing people across the state to oppose AB2943.”

Pro-family advocates and legal scholars condemned the bill’s broad scope, while former homosexuals warned that it would have barred people in pain from obtaining the help they credit with turning their lives around. AB 2943’s supporters in the Democrat Party and LGBT lobby spent months denying claims that it would extend to book sales and public speeches, but ultimately the concerns of religious California proved too much to ignore.

The matter has not been fully resolved in California, however; Low says he still wants to ban reparative therapy, and plans to craft new legislation to do so and introduce it next year.

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Ave Maria University president apologizes for Cdl. Burke hit but doubles down on Viganò

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

AVE MARIA, Florida, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The embattled president of an acclaimed Catholic university has apologized for impugning Cardinal Raymond Burke while repeating his dismay that a Vatican whistleblower has called for Pope Francis’ resignation.

Pope Francis stands accused by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of having removed sanctions from the then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and returning him to a place of influence despite knowing of his history of misconduct with seminarians and priest. The pontiff has refused to confirm or deny the allegations.

President Jim Towey of Ave Maria University made two statements earlier this week concerning the ongoing clerical sexual abuse scandal. The first called for reforms that would address the Church’s history of abuse and coverup. The second defended Pope Francis from the criticism of “some conservative members of the hierarchy,” including Cardinal Burke, and from the testimony offered by Archbishop Viganò that the pontiff made a known sex abuser a close advisor and episcopal “kingmaker.”  

Towey’s earlier remarks about Burke and Viganò were not measured: he suggested the Cardinal’s opposition to the “direction” in which Pope Francis is leading the Church was motivated by anger over having been dismissed from high office, that the archbishop had timed his statement to do “maximum damage” to Pope Francis’ “credibility,” and also that the archbishop was “in league” with others.

The university president stated that Ave Maria students support Pope Francis “wholeheartedly” and that criticism of the pontiff should stop.

In response, several fans of Ave Maria University, including alumni, have voiced disappointment with Towey’s dismissal of Viganò’s testimony and critique of Cardinal Burke.

In his third statement, released yesterday, Towey acknowledged that his remarks had “hit some members of the University family with great force.” He apologized for impugning the motives of Cardinal Burke, saying his remark was unmerited. (Towey’s full statement is published below.)

“What was not merited was my gratuitous comment about what might have motivated Cardinal Burke’s conduct. Such speculation was unfair and His Eminence deserved better,” said Towey. “He has been a friend of Ave Maria University since its founding and is renowned for his sincere love of the Church. I will amend my statement on the web site, and I apologize.”

However, Towney did not back down from his unqualified support of Pope Francis and his critique of Archbishop Viganò for accusing Pope Francis of having knowingly returned a cleric notorious for his sexual predation against seminarians and young priests to a position of influence.

“The Archbishop here publicly accused the Pope of ‘grave, disconcerting and sinful conduct’ and called for him to resign,” Towey wrote. “In my view, this conduct crossed the line, and a defense of the Holy Father was merited.”

The president said that he was defending not only Pope Francis but the papacy itself.

“My desire is to defend Peter, not simply Francis,” Towey wrote. “The Chair of St. Peter isn’t a political office. Jesus gave the keys of the Church to Peter and his successors. This divine institution transcends temporal affairs.The Church’s foundation depends on unity between the pope and bishops. While perfect unity is not possible to effect in a world of sinners, all of us in the Church must desire it.”

Towey likened Viganò’s testimony about cronyism, corruption, and cover-up in the highest echelons of Church hierarchy to popular dissenters on sacred doctrine.

“It seems legitimate to question the appropriateness of airing grievances of this nature in a public manner,” he wrote. “[D]o we not scowl when dissenters from Church teaching air their views in the mass media?”

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in its 1990 instruction Donum Veritatis (On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian), issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, raised interesting points,” Towey continued.

“[Ratzinger] cautioned, “the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media,’ but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth (DV, 30).”

Towey said that this seems to apply as well to “public criticisms of the Holy Father and his actions.”  

Sean McMahon, who graduated from Ave Maria University in 2013, appeared on EWTN News Nightly yesterday to criticize Towey’s initial statement. Towey defended those remarks in a segment before McMahon spoke.

“I think it’s very disappointing to hear that President Towey continues to stand by his statement,” said McMahon. “It also shows an ignorance of Church history. One of the greatest doctors of the Church, [St.] Catherine of Siena, openly criticized the Holy Father,” saying he should leave Avignon and return to Rome.

“There’s been an unfortunate decline in the Catholicity of the university over the last five or so years of President Towey’s tenure, and I think this is once again another example of that,” McMahon opined.

President Towey’s letter to friends of Ave Maria University        

August 30, 2018

Dear Friends of Ave Maria University:

By now you may be aware that I issued two statements to the Ave Maria University community last week: one on the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and a second in defense of Pope Francis.  During my 7+ years as president of your alma mater it has been my practice to share my thoughts with members of the student body, faculty, and administration on the pressing issues of the day, particularly those concerning our Catholic faith.  I know that my words hit some members of the University family with great force.  Be assured of my respect for your approach to the faith and the sincerity of your opinions.

In my August 24th statement I went into great detail on the need for the Church to undertake sweeping reforms to address what our local ordinary, Bishop Frank Dewane, described as a “heinous history of abuse and cover up” within the Church.  The cries of the victims of clergy sexual abuse, and those of their families, have not been honored.

This scandal touches very close to home.  I have a family member who as a high school student was sexually abused by a seminary deacon who, after ordination to the priesthood a year later, went on to sexually abuse other teenagers.  Only when three women went public many years later was he removed from active ministry. Five other victims came forward shortly after he was removed from parish life.  He has never acknowledged his wrongdoing to any of the victims, remains a priest to this day, and receives a monthly pension check for the 22 years he preyed on the vulnerable while wearing a Roman collar.  I intend to continue to press for justice in his case, and as a lay man, to participate in the reform of the Church so that priests like him are held accountable.

I want to make very clear what my August 29th statement intends to do.  My desire is to defend Peter, not simply Francis.  The Chair of St. Peter isn’t a political office.  Jesus gave the keys of the Church to Peter and his successors.  This divine institution transcends temporal affairs. The Church’s foundation depends on unity between the pope and bishops.  While perfect unity is not possible to effect in a world of sinners, all of us in the Church must desire it.

I am quite aware of the painful history of antipopes and curial corruption. I know the difference between fallible persons and the underlying offices that they occupy. People are entitled to their views on Pope Francis and his pontificate.  My concern is with how we express our views and act upon them during this dark controversy. By all accounts Archbishop Viganó has served the Church well over the course of a long and distinguished career.  My concern is with the prudence of the public, coordinated release of his “testimony.” Can one archbishop be prosecutor, judge and jury and call for a resignation of the pope?

Further, it seems legitimate to question the appropriateness of airing grievances of this nature in a public manner—do we not scowl when dissenters from Church teaching air their views in the mass media?  The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in its 1990 instruction Donum Veritatis (On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian), issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, raised interesting points.  He cautioned, “the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media,’ but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth (DV, 30).”

What was said in the context of commentary on magisterial documents seems to apply as well as to the public criticisms of the Holy Father and his actions.  The Archbishop here publicly accused the Pope of “grave, disconcerting and sinful conduct” and called for him to resign.  In my view, this conduct crossed the line, and a defense of the Holy Father was merited.

What was not merited was my gratuitous comment about what might have motivated Cardinal Burke’s conduct.  Such speculation was unfair and His Eminence deserved better.  He has been a friend of Ave Maria University since its founding and is renowned for his sincere love of the Church.  I will amend my statement on the web site, and I apologize.

Church unity is vital today more than ever before.  The Catechism makes clear in 880-883, and 936-937, that the Pope has primacy, and that the unity of the pope and the bishops is the very foundation of the Church.  You and I must work toward that unity and avoid any potential schism that might mortally wound the body of Christ.

The Archbishop McCarrick case raises troubling questions that demand answers.  For the record, I support the initiative within the Church to vigorously examine the evidence. What His Eminence Cardinal DiNardo proposed seems appropriate.

Like you, I love the Catholic Church.  It is home to me, my wife, and our five children and daughter-in-law.  I grew up with the belief that we should love whoever our pope is and give the benefit of the doubt to him whenever it is reasonably possible to do so.  I see no reason why Pope Francis doesn’t deserve this benefit now.  I remain confident he will comment at the appropriate time on what has been published, and also lead the effort the Church needs to protect children and vulnerable adults from clergy sexual abuse, and hold those who perpetrate such acts or cover them up within the hierarchy, accountable.  Let us all pray for him.

As my statements make clear, all the laity have an obligation to contribute to this reform effort, and I pledge to fulfill mine.  The University will be holding a conference January 10-12 on this very matter and I will be in touch with more information at a later date when our plans are finalized, in the event you wish to attend.

Kind regards,
Jim Towey
President

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Prominent Swiss newspaper on Viganò report: ‘The silence of the two popes seems strange’

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By Maike Hickson

SWITZERLAND, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the most prominent German-speaking daily newspapers in Switzerland is calling upon Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to come out with some clarifications concerning the Viganò report. About Pope Francis, the journalist asks: “Why does he not simply issue a denial?”

Michael Meier, writing for the national newspaper Tages-Anzeiger from Zurich, Switzerland, reports in an August 30 article on the Viganò claim that Pope Francis had been informed about the McCarrick scandal but still made the predatory prelate one of his counselors. Commenting on the many objections raised against Viganò himself, especially on the “thesis of a plot” of the “right-wing camp which is critical of Francis,” Meier states, “that is quite possible, yes plausible. But even if the thesis of a plot is true, it does not refute Viganò's accusations.”

“One can only agree with the columnist Matthew Schmitz at the New York Times,” he adds, “that Pope Francis would have to resign, should the accusations be true.”

Using his common sense, this journalist notes, “the silence of the two popes seems strange.” With regard to Pope Francis’ own silence, the journalist has a logical question to ask: “Why does he not simply issue a denial? He would not hurt anyone with it, except Viganò.” Quoting Archbishop Georg Gänswein's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will not speak about the Viganò report, Meier also asks: “Why is the ex-Pope silent when he would be in the position to exonerate his successor?”

The Swiss journalist refers back to Josh Shapiro, attorney general of Pennsylvania, who recently claimed that the Vatican had been informed about the clerical sex abuse cases in that state: “Whether Francis himself also knew, he (Shapiro) could not tell.”

For Meier, it is “quite possible that Francis, in spite of all accusations, cherished and promoted McCarrick who was known for his engagement for the poor.”  

“It is known,” Meier adds, “that Francis does not like to be talked into his personnel decisions. If he likes someone, he stands also by the black sheep.” Francis trusts here “the Holy Spirit, that is to say his gut feeling.” Thus, “reflexion is being missed out,” Meier concludes.

At the end of this reflective article, the Swiss journalist joins Cardinal Daniel DiNardo’s call for “logical and evidence-based answers.” With regard to DiNardo's request for an all-encompassing investigation of the accusations and an audience with the Pope, Meier states: “He (DiNardo) now has to remind him (Pope Francis) of his own words: ‘covering-up was yesterday. Now transparency is demanded.’”

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Oklahoma archbishop: I’ve ‘deepest respect’ for Viganó. His claims demand ‘deeper examination’

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By Lisa Bourne

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has issued a statement saying he has the “deepest respect” for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and his “integrity.”

Some on the left have attempted to cast doubt on Viganó and his bombshell testimony that links Pope Francis and several other top prelates to the cover-up of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of abusing seminarians and priests. A number of Catholic bishops, however, have defended the former apostolic nuncio to the United States and called for his charges to be investigated.

“I have the deepest respect for Archbishop Viganó and his personal integrity,” Coakley said, this, aside from his having had  no “personal knowledge or experience of the details contained in his ‘testimony.’”

The allegations made by the pope’s former representative to the U.S. warrant an in-depth inquiry into how McCarrick was able to rise to high prominence in the Church, the Oklahoma City archbishop said in an August 28 statement, particularly in view of McCarrick’s alleged serial sexual abuse.

“His claims,” Coakley stated of Vigano, “yet to be investigated or substantiated, confirm the urgency of a thorough investigation of Archbishop McCarrick’s advancement through the ecclesiastical ranks given his history of alleged abuse, involving seminarians and young people.” 

“This document merits, indeed it demands deeper examination and verification of each of its claims,” he said. “Like so many, I am deeply troubled by the assertions contained in this unprecedented document.”

Now is a dark time in the history of the Church, said Coakley; purification, transparency and accountability are needed. Bishops and priests must be models of these traits, he said.

“We are called to prayer and penance for the purification of the Church and our bishops and priests must set the example,” said Coakley. “It calls for a renewed commitment to vigilance, transparency and accountability from our shepherds and indeed for the whole Church. Only prayer, penance and deeper conversion will guide us through this dark period.”

Coakley joins several others in expressing support for Vigano, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Tyler Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki.  

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Cdl. Cupich: Pope’s ‘bigger agenda’ focuses on environment, migrants, not sex abuse

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is on the defensive after stating in a recent interview that Pope Francis has a “bigger agenda” than dealing with accusations that he and other Vatican officials covered up ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s record of sexual abuse.

In an interview with Chicago’s NBC 5 on Monday, Cupich argued that it would be “inappropriate” for the pope to answer questions about the matter, and that he needs to focus on other issues such as immigration and the environment. Cupich characterized the accusations made Saturday against the pope by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as a “rabbit hole.”

“For the Holy Father, I think to get into each and every one of those aspects, in some way is inappropriate and secondly, the pope has a bigger agenda,” Cupich told the television station. “He’s gotta get on with other things of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”

Cupich made the remarks in response to the question: “Does the pope need to tell Catholics exactly what he knew about Cardinal McCarrick and when he first knew it?”

Pope Francis has refused to answer questions from the media about Archbishop Viganò’s statement, which holds that Viganò mentioned McCarrick’s record of sex abuse to Pope Francis twice in 2013, and that Francis’ response indicated he already knew.

After the quote was circulated on the internet by outraged Catholics, Cupich issued a statement claiming that the interview had been edited to give a “false impression” about what he was saying, a claim that the station denied.

“An NBC Chicago TV report that aired Monday night was edited in such a way that gave the false impression that Pope Francis and I consider the protection of children to be less important than other issues, such as the environment or immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Cupich declared Wednesday in a press release.

NBC 5 responded by placing more extensive segments of the interview on its website for the public to see, and rejected Cupich’s claim of a “false impression.”  

“We believe our story to be accurate in that Cardinal Cupich was referring to the memo about sexual abuse allegations in question,” the station said.

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

Francis’ refusal to respond was ‘exactly the kind of answer that was needed,’ says Cupich

“I think that the Holy Father on the airplane had exactly the kind of answer that was needed,” said the cardinal. “He was asked about the letter of the Archbishop Viganò. He said he read it. He encouraged the media to read it carefully and to come to their own conclusion, and that he would not have any final statement, any other statement on it. I think what he was signaling is two things. The first is that you have to see whether or not these remarks stand up to scrutiny.”

“There are so many things in there that he [Viganò] says about so many people that it’s impossible to try to get into the weeds on this,” added Cupich, “and he [Pope Francis] trusts the media to use their skills, their expertise, and, he said, their maturity to explore these questions.”

Later in the interview, Cupich returned to the idea that the pope didn’t need to occupy himself with child sex abuse issues in the American Church.

“Let’s be clear. I think it’s important right now, in view of the letter that was issued today by the president of our conference, that this is not on the pope’s plate to fix. This is on us,” said Cupich.

“We, as the bishops’ conference of the United States, obviously need to look at what went wrong here and hold each other accountable. So before we give the pope another task to do, let’s look at what we’re supposed to do. What’s on our agenda to fix this? That’s where the failure is.”

Issue of homosexuals in the clergy are a ‘diversion from the real issue,’ Cupich holds

Cupich continued his line of denying that the Church’s sex abuse crisis is related to a crisis of homosexuality in the priesthood.

“But let’s also be clear that people who want to make this about sex, in terms of homosexuality and all the rest of it, are a diversion from the real issue that we need to attack in the life of the Church, and that is that there are some people who believe that they are both privileged and protected,” he said, adding, “That wall has to come down.”

Cupich’s affirmations are in line with his consistently pro-gay position, which includes the claim that the molestation of thousands of adolescent males by Catholic priests is unrelated to homosexuality in the clergy. They were made in apparent response to Archbishop Viganò, who stated on Saturday: “Regarding Cupich, one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims.”

‘Small group of insurgents’ rejects Francis agenda, doesn’t like him because he’s ‘Latino’

“I would say, I would say not a civil war. There’s a small group of insurgents, who have not liked Pope Francis from the very beginning,” said Cupich.

“They don’t like the fact that he’s calling for more lay involvement. They don’t like the fact that he is calling for a synodal Church, where we get the advice of people. They don’t like that he’s talking about the environment or the poor or the migrants or that the death penalty is something that we should outlaw. They don’t like the fact that he is saying that economies kill. There are people who don’t like that message,” he claimed.

“And so there’s an insurgency of people who don’t like that. And, quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino and that he is bringing Latino culture into the life of the Church, which we have been enriched by and I think that that’s part of all of this too.”

Popes John Paul II and Benedict didn’t act against McCarrick, but Francis did, Cupich claims

Cupich contradicted claims by Viganò claiming that Pope Benedict acted to discipline McCarrick, which were confirmed to the National Catholic Register by an anonymous source with access to Benedict. According to Cupich, Pope Benedict did not act, while Francis did. He also implies that Francis didn’t know about the McCarrick case until recently.

“My experience with the pope is that as soon as he knows about something, he acts on it. As soon as he’s given evidence about this, he acts on it,” said Cupich.

“Let’s remember the accusation of Archbishop Viganò is that this information was known under the pontificate of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. But who was the one who took action? It was Pope Francis. When Pope Francis received the report from Cardinal Dolan, who did his job in accord with our Charter, he acted right away. So I think that the record shows that whenever there’s actionable information, Pope Francis acts.”

The Catholic News Agency has compiled a complete transcript of the extended interview segments, which can be found here.

Email the author here.

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Left-wing sex abuse survivor group: It’s ‘immoral, dangerous’ to say homosexuality is part of crisis

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By Lianne Laurence

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A sex-abuse survivors’ advocacy group showed its true colors this week when it blasted Archbishop Carlo Viganò for contending the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church is connected to homosexuality.

“That is utterly false, it is completely unacceptable, and it is immoral,” said Peter Isely, a founding member of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, at a press conference Thursday outside the Vatican embassy in Washington.

“There is no link between sexual orientation and committing sexual crimes,” added Isely, also a founding member of ECA, Ending Clergy Abuse.

RELATED: Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, "Homosexuality is very close to the center of the crisis"

Vigano, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., triggered a seismic shock with his detailed testimony implicating Pope Francis and high-ranking churchmen in covering up the homosexual predation of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, which was an open secret in clerical circles for decades.

That changed in June when the Archdiocese of New York announced a “credible and substantiated” allegation against McCarrick for sexually abusing a teenage boy decades ago. Other allegations subsequently emerged, including that McCarrick abused one man for years, beginning when he was 11 years old. It emerged that New Jersey dioceses paid two settlements, one for $100,000 and one for $80,000, to priests who were victims of the archbishop.

Vigano asserted Pope Francis lifted sanctions against McCarrick imposed by Pope Benedict XVI, and made the now 88-year-old archbishop emeritus of Washington his “trusted counsellor.”

“Incredibly,” SNAP, which critics contend is a left-wing, anti-Catholic organization, as well as others involved in Thursday’s media event, is “angrier at Vigano for having unwoke views on gays in the priesthood than they are at the Church for covering for McCarrick,” tweeted American Conservative writer Rod Dreher.

“Oh yes, this is clarifying.”

Vigano’s testimony denounced prelates covering for McCarrick for supporting a “homosexual current in favour of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.” Among the prelates named was Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, whom Vigano rebuked for the “insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims.”

SNAP’s Isely also denied such a connection, whether pointed out by Vigano or someone else.

Indeed, he excoriated the letter Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin released in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury’s mid-August report on priestly sex abuse and church cover up.

Morlino “did the same thing the papal nuncio did, made the same false, immoral and dangerous charge, that there’s a link between sexual orientation, homosexuality in this instance, and sex crimes against children,” Isely told reporters.

But a LifeSiteNews analysis of the grand jury report reveals 75 percent of accused priests were pederasts – that is, they preyed on teenagers. Of these, one-fifth preyed on teenaged girls, and four-fifths on teenaged boys.

“Contrary to a popular notion about predator priests, only seventeen percent (17%) of the offenders could be categorized as pedophiles, of which roughly two-thirds were homosexual and one-third were heterosexual,” noted the analysis.

Isely also misrepresented Morlino as telling Catholics to hate people who commit homosexual acts when the bishop wrote that Catholics need to hate sin, including homosexual acts.

“He said ‘What the church needs now is more hatred.’ Hatred. Not love your neighbour, hate your neighbour. You first find out if he’s gay or not. If he’s not gay you love him, and if he’s gay, you hate him,” Isely said, in complete inversion of what Morlino wrote.

Isely called on Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington to resign, and on Pope Francis to immediately implement “zero tolerance” for priests found guilty of sex abuse of children, and bishops who covered up for such priests.

He also called on the pope to publish a global registry of all clerics found to have sexually abused children.

Pamela Spees, SNAP lead counsel and senior staff attorney for Center for Constitutional Rights, told reporters the Pennsylvania grand jury report was “more proof that the Vatican is not capable of policing itself,” and that “we need civil authorities being involved in this issue, involving themselves at the local, state, national and global levels.”

SNAP is renewing its 2003 call for Department of Justice federal investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and its 2011 request to the International Criminal Court for an investigation.

“These are not personnel infractions, they are crimes, and they are crimes against humanity,” Spees said. “It’s rape and it’s torture, and it is global in scope.”

RELATED:

Accused Pennsylvania priest predators preyed mostly on teen boys: analysis

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Swiss bishop: Pope’s comment on Viganó’s testimony is ‘classical non-denial denial’

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By Maike Hickson

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Swiss Bishop Marian Eleganti has called Pope Francis' reaction to Archbishop Viganò's recent allegations that the Pope was involved in the cover-up for now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick a “classical non-denial denial.”

“The silence of the Pope is a classical ‘non-denial denial’ [ein klassisches Nicht-Dementi]. After all, to lie is not an option, either,” he said in an August 30 interview with the Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net. 

A “non-denial denial” has been defined by London's newspaper The Sunday Times as “an on-the-record statement, usually made by a politician, repudiating a journalist's story, but in such a way as to leave open the possibility that it is actually true.”

Pope Francis told journalists last weekend that he was “not going to say a word” about allegations that he covered-up for and promoted McCarrick.

The Pope then added: “I believe that the statement speaks for itself, and you all have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions. It is an act of trust. When a little time goes by, and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak about it.” 

Bishop Eleganti also noted in the interview that the Pope has surrounded himself with a network of pro-homosexual counselors, adding that he cannot see how any bishop involved with the cover-up of abuse cases could remain in his office. 

When asked whether bishops who themselves were involved in the cover-up of abuse cases should resign, Eleganti said: “It is hard to imagine that they would remain in their offices.”

Eleganti also spoke about the “homosexual network within the Catholic Church.” 

Asked whether he sees signs of this network also in the German-speaking realm, the bishop responded: “Striking are the attempts to re-write the traditional teaching which regards homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered and which therefore forbids their practice.” 

“Pope Francis is surrounded by cardinals and counselors who go into this direction,” he added. 

These papal counselors “openly support James Martin, the most prominent promoter of a change of the traditional teaching with regard to homosexuality.” Some of these “cardinals and counselors,” explained Eleganti, “were in part appointed by Pope Francis, for example, Cupich, Tobin, Farrell. The latter [Farrell] then invited James Martin to Dublin [to the World Meeting of Families].”

Speaking about the consequences of these papal decisions, the Swiss prelate said: “What happens at the top of the Church, is being multiplied in her body, of course also in our German-speaking countries. As we have seen, Cardinal Marx and other German bishops thought in public already about the blessing of homosexual unions.” 

LifeSiteNews has reported in detail on the German episcopal proposal of “liturgical” blessings of homosexual unions, as presented by both Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Munich, and Bishop Franz-Josef Bode.

When asked by Kath.net about the recent public rebuke Eleganti himself received from a neighboring Swiss diocese because of his statements on the role of homosexuality in the abuse crisis, Bishop Eleganti answered: “He who is informed about the Church's structures, is not astonished about it.”

 In Eleganti's eyes, the “scandals and their backgrounds” show that “homosexual clergymen, their friends, and networks exist and are represented within the structures of the Church up to the highest levels.” While there are also some clergymen with homosexual inclinations who “live chastely and in a holy way,” “one hears daily from the others because of the dealing with the abuse cases.”

“It is part of today's political correctness” explained Eleganti, “and it is understood as a firm dogma that abuse and homosexuality may not be put together, much less may one consider or examine the possibility that a homosexual orientation can be changed.” 

The gender theory, he added, teaches that “one may choose freely one's sexual orientation.” However, “to claim that clericalism is the only root problem of sexual abuse,” added the Swiss prelate, “is a classic case of avoidance of reality, that is to say, [it is] purely influenced by ideology and interests.”

Even Pope Francis fell recently “into this wasps' nest,” adds Eleganti, when he made “an unguarded, but honest statement” that “one could receive help from psychiatry in the case of children with a homosexual orientation.” “His spin doctors, therefore, censured immediately his statements in the transcript of the interview, and they removed the word 'psychiatry' and declared via Twitter that it is merely about the general psychological accompaniment of the same [children],” the bishop commented. 

Elegant had elsewhere stated that those who only speak about clericalism and power structures, but not of homosexuality with regard to the abuse crisis are themselves promoting a cover-up. When asked by Kath.net about his statement and whether Pope Francis himself does not hold the same view about clericalism as the true root problem, the bishop responded that this question is “complex.”

In light of the current silence of Pope Francis with regard to the Viganò report, one might add that there is also a silence with regard to the request of the U.S. Bishops' Conference that the Pope send a delegation in order to investigate the abuse crisis in the U.S. This request was made by Archbishop Daniel DiNardo two weeks ago, and he still has not received an answer from the Vatican. As DiNardo states: “On August 16th, I called for an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth.”

DiNardo not only asked for an investigation, he also has now asked for a papal audience. “I am eager for an audience with the Holy Father,” DiNardo wrote, “to earn his support for our plan of action.” It is to be seen whether the Pope will remain silent here, as well.

In light of this papal silence, there is now a women's group collecting signatures from women who are calling on the Pope to respond to Viganò’s testimony. So far, 17,500 women have signed.

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Orrin Hatch calls for FTC investigation into Google’s control of key online markets

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Orrin Hatch wants the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to reassess whether Google’s dominance of the search and digital advertising fields poses a threat to open competition on the internet.

The Utah Republican, who chairs the Senate GOP’s High-Tech Task Force, sent a letter Thursday to FTC chairman Joseph Simons making his case, which can be read in full here.

Citing various reports about Google allegedly restricting search results from competitors, cutting businesses it disagrees with from its platforms, and letting third-party app developers access users’ emails, Hatch urged the FTC to “reconsider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising.”

While crediting Google for a “long track record of providing valuable services and making important, innovative contributions,” Hatch maintained that recent years’ developments present a darker side. The commission’s previous investigation ended with the assumption that Apple would become a major competitor to Google in the realm of mobile advertising networks, Hatch recalled. Instead, Google has only become more dominant, “accumulat[ing] data at essentially every step.”

“[Y]ou and an entire new slate of FTC commissioners have been recently confirmed. During the confirmation hearing, you and several other commissioners expressed support for creating a program to look back at previous decisions on mergers and whether those choices had been effective,” Hatch reminded Simons. “In light of all of these changes, I respectfully request that the FTC consider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising.”

"We take all correspondence from members of Congress very seriously," FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan told The Hill regarding Hatch’s letter. "However, we have no comment beyond that." Google similarly declined to comment.

Hatch’s concerns align with those of President Donald Trump, who told Bloomberg News Thursday that “many people think it is a very antitrust situation” with Google, as well as Facebook and Amazon. He declined to comment on whether he favors breaking up the companies.

The letter comes days after the president pledged to “address” Google’s discrimination against conservative voices via unspecified administrative action. He was reacting to a PJ Media analysis finding that Google searches for news on the term “trump” overwhelmingly prioritize results from left-wing websites, with only five items from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal breaking the top 100.

Some conservatives have expressed reservations about a government response to social media censorship, citing private entities’ right to control their own platforms. Others argue the problem is so pervasive it threatens the higher good of free speech, and that many of these online giants’ practices cross the line into violations of existing liability, election, and antitrust rules.

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US archbishop calls on Pope Francis to cancel Youth Synod in light of abuse crisis

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By Maike Hickson

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August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told a conference that had met to discuss the “young people” of the Church that in light of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church he had written to Pope Francis asking him to cancel the upcoming Youth Synod set to take place in Rome.

“The bishops would have absolutely no credibility” in the upcoming Youth Synod, Chaput told the Cardinal’s Forum, an annual gathering to provide academic formation of seminarians and continuing education for lay people, yesterday. The synod's planned dates are set for October 3-28, 2018.

The August 30 panel discussion, which took place at  St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, was on the topic of “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Some 300 participated in the event. 

Archbishop Chaput said the Youth Synod should be canceled. 

“I have written the Holy Father and called on him to cancel the upcoming synod on young people. Right now, the bishops would have absolutely no credibility in addressing this topic,” he said. 

Instead of having a youth synod, the Archbishop proposed that a synod should be held to address the topic of the bishops themselves. 

“I have called on him (Pope Francis), in its place, to begin making plans for a synod on the life of bishops,” he said. 

Chaput's call for a synod on bishops reflects a similar call by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England. Egan has also written to Pope Francis asking for an "extraordinary synod" on priestly life so as to deal with the "clerical sex abuse" crisis.

“I suggest the Synod be devoted to the identity of being a priest/bishop, to devising guidance on life-style and supports for celibacy, to proposing a rule of life for priests/bishops and to establishing appropriate forms of priestly/episcopal accountability and supervision,” Egan wrote in the letter that he made public. 

Archbishop Chaput’s call for the youth synod to be canceled comes at a time when accusations of clergy-abuse cover-up plague top leaders within the Church, including Pope Francis. Last week, Archbishop Viganó release a detailed testimony in which he claimed that Pope Francis covered up for now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite having been given information that the Cardinal was a serial abuser who preyed on seminarians. 

A working document for the upcoming Synod on Youth released in March — allegedly drafted by young people — stated that Catholic teaching on “contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation” is “especially controversial” and that “they may want the Church to change her teaching.”

Faithful Catholics have raised concern that just as the two Synods on the Family were used by key figures within the Church to undermine the Church’s teaching on marriage and the Eucharist, so too do they fear that the Youth Synod will have an analogous agenda. 

Editor's note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report. 

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EXCLUSIVE: Viganó doubles down: McCarrick was restricted under Benedict, but ‘he didn’t obey’

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By Lisa Bourne

SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick continued making public appearances after Pope Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions upon him because “he didn’t obey” the Holy Father, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview. 

The former papal nuncio to the U.S. responded to efforts in the media to question his testimony that Pope Francis covered-up for McCarrick while knowing of his reputation for sexual abuse of seminarians and priests. Viganó reiterated in the interview that he had spoken with McCarrick about the restrictions Benedict had put upon him, but that as nuncio he did not have authority to enforce those restrictions. 

“I was not in the position of enforcing,” Viganó told LifeSiteNews, “especially because the measures (sanctions) given to McCarrick (were made) in a private way. That was the decision of Pope Benedict.”

Viganó said Pope Benedict made McCarrick’s sanctions private, perhaps “due to the fact that he (McCarrick) was already retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Benedict) was thinking he was ready to obey.” 

But, McCarrick, “certainly he didn’t obey,” Viganó told LifeSiteNews.

Various media outlets have published reports attempting to cast into doubt Viganó and his detailed testimony released August 25 implicating Pope Francis and other top prelates in covering up for McCarrick despite knowing he was a serial sexual abuser of seminarians and priests. 

One of the elements of Viganó’s testimony being questioned is whether Benedict, in fact,  had put restrictions on McCarrick after learning about the allegations against the former Washington D.C. archbishop.

An August 29 video produced by the US Bishops’ Catholic News Service (CNS) casts uncertainty on whether Benedict had placed sanctions on McCarrick sometime between 2009 and 2010, as Viganó had said in his testimony. 

The video shows clips of McCarrick testifying before Congress in March 2011 on behalf of the USCCB, a January 2012 ad limina visit at the Vatican during which McCarrick concelebrated Mass and met twice with Benedict, and another May 2012 event sponsored by the Pontifical Mission Societies honoring McCarrick at which Viganó had spoken. 

Viganó told LifeSiteNews he had already spoken to McCarrick at the time of the latter video clip, repeating the measures that had been taken to him by Pope Benedict, which his predecessor the late Archbishop Pietro Sambi had done as well. 

Viganó, nuncio from October 2011 to April 2016, explained he was just beginning his role as the Pope’s representative at the time when each of the events in the various video clips edited together by CNS took place, and just learning the culture and hierarchy of his new assignment in the U.S.

Aside from just beginning in his mission, he said, the nuncio is not somebody who may enforce restrictions directly, especially with a cardinal, who is considered the superior. Such an enforcement would belong to someone in the position of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and McCarrick successor, said Viganó. 

Another clip from the CNS video showing McCarrick attending an ad limina visit in Rome and meeting Pope Benedict, seems to suggest that the cardinal had no sanctions placed on him. Viganó explained that once again, McCarrick was not obeying the restrictions placed on him and that it was inconceivable for Benedict to take the issue up with the cardinal right then and there with all the other bishops present.

“Can you imagine Pope Benedict, as mild a character as he was, saying, 'What are you doing here?' in front of the other bishops,” Viganó said.

Another clip from the CNS video showing Viganó attending the Pontifical Mission Societies gala along with McCarrick seems to suggest that McCarrick had no sanctions and that Viganó was not anxious in the cardinal’s presence. Viganó told LifeSiteNews that he could neither forego attending the event, nor did he have an opportunity during the event to remind the cardinal of the sanctions. 

“I could not say, “What are you doing here?” he said. “Can you imagine? Nobody knows (about the sanctions), it was a private meeting (when they were levied by Benedict). So this video didn’t prove anything.”

Proof of sanctions levied against McCarrick during Benedict’s papacy is not confined to Viganó’s testimony. 

A June 2014 Washington Post piece headlined, “Globe-trotting Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost 84, and working harder than ever,” highlighted just how ubiquitous McCarrick was after Francis was elected. The report confirmed he’d been sidelined by Benedict, only to re-emerge under Francis.

“McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Benedict XVI,” the Post piece states. “But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick’s) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever.”

The article also includes the previously reported exchange between Francis and McCarrick in which Francis was reported to have joked that the devil wasn’t ready for McCarrick in hell.

The Washington Post story uses the exchange as an introduction to “the improbable renaissance that McCarrick (was) enjoying” under Francis. It says:

“I guess the Lord isn’t done with me yet,” he told the pope.

“Or the devil doesn’t have your accommodations ready!” Francis shot back with a laugh.

McCarrick loves to tell that story, because he loves to tell good stories and because he has a sense of humor as keen as the pope’s. But the exchange also says a lot about the improbable renaissance that McCarrick is enjoying as he prepares to celebrate his 84th birthday in July (2014).

Detailing a handful of McCarrick’s international visits after Francis’s March 2013 election, the Washington Post article stated: 

“Sometimes McCarrick’s travels abroad are at the behest of the Vatican, sometimes on behalf of Catholic Relief Services. Occasionally the U.S. State Department asks him to make a trip.”

“But Francis, who has put the Vatican back on the geopolitical stage, knows that when he needs a savvy back channel operator he can turn to McCarrick, as he did for the Armenia trip,” it added. 

McCarrick, named a cardinal in 2001, retired in 2006, the Post article recounted, “and was sort of spinning his wheels under Benedict. Then Francis was elected, and everything changed.”

Later in the piece, McCarrick lauds Benedict, and infers that if he’d been asked, he would have done what Benedict wanted “to bring the church back to where he thought it should be”:

“Pope Benedict is a wonderful man, and was a good friend of mine before he became pope,” McCarrick said. “But he was anxious to bring the church back to where he thought it should be, and I guess I wasn’t one of those who he thought would help him on that. I would have obviously done what he asked.”

Editor's note: John-Henry Westen and Pete Baklinski contributed to this report. 

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Thousands of Catholic women ask Pope: Did you cover-up for McCarrick, as Viganò claims?

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SIGN THE PLEDGE: Support and pray for Archbishop Viganò. Sign the petition here.

August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of prominent Catholic women have written an open letter to Pope Francis imploring him to provide clarity on the “escalating” sex abuse crisis currently “engulfing” the Church.

Expressing anger, betrayal, and heartbreak, the women bluntly ask Pope Francis if Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s detailed testimony about sex abuse being covered up by Vatican officials, including the Pope, is true or not. 

“We are Catholic women deeply committed to our faith and profoundly grateful for Church teachings, the Sacraments, and the many good bishops and priests who have blessed our lives,” they write. 

They also call on him to publicly state when he learned of the “abhorrent” allegations against now ex-Cardinal McCarrick and if he knew about and lifted sanctions reportedly imposed on him by Pope Benedict.

“We, your flock, deserve your answers now,” the women’s letter reads. “The answers are surely known to you.” These are “devastating” allegations that have caused our hearts to be broken and faith tested, it adds. “To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate. They sting.” 

Be "honest with us. Please, do not turn from us,” they write. 

On his return flight from the pro-LGBT World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland Sunday, Pope Francis refused to confirm or deny the allegations made by Archbishop Viganò. “I am not going to say a word about this,” he told a journalist from CBS.

As of this writing, 10,858 women have added their name to the letter, with hundreds being added by the hour. The letter is not sponsored by any group or organization and is only the personal initiative of those who signed it, which includes wives and single women but also consecrated women and religious sisters. 

“We are the mothers and sisters of your priests, seminarians, future priests and religious,” the letter reads. “We are the Church’s lay leaders, and the mothers of the next generation. We are professors in your seminaries, and leaders in Catholic chanceries and institutions. We are theologians, evangelists, missionaries and founders of Catholic apostolates.”

Some of the more well-known signatories of the letter include:

  • Mary Rice Hasson, JD, Director of the Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • Mary Hallan FioRito, Cardinal Francis George Fellow in Catholic Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • Obianuju Ekeocha, Founder & President of Culture of Life Africa
  • Professor Janet E. Smith, Professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit
  • Kathryn Jean Lopez, Senior Fellow at the National Review Institute
  • Carrie Gress, PhD, Author and Philosopher, Pontifex University
  • Jennifer Fulwiler, Radio Host and Author
  • Teresa Tomeo, Syndicated Catholic Talk Show Host
  • Leah Darrow, Evangelist, Catholic author/speaker
  • Ashley McGuire, The Catholic Association, Author
  • Alexandra DeSanctis, Staff writer, National Review

“We are the people who sacrifice to fund the Church’s good work. We are the backbone of Catholic parishes, schools, and dioceses. We are the hands, the feet, and the heart of the Church. In short, we are the Church, every bit as much as the cardinals and bishops around you,” the women state in the letter.

“Please do not keep us at arm’s length on these questions,” the letter begs. “We are faithful daughters of the Church who need the truth so we can help rebuild. We are not second-class Catholics to be brushed off while bishops and cardinals handle matters privately. We have a right to know. We have a right to your answers.”

The letter points out that the Pope himself said in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium that he desires “a more incisive female presence in the Church,” and that “women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand.” 

The letter supports calls for an investigation into the claims put forth by Archbishop Viganò. “The victims who have suffered so greatly need to know they can trust you. Families, who will be the source of the Church’s renewal, need to know we can trust you, and thus trust the Church.”

Read letter here.

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Mass Resistance

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How California MassResistance stopped anti-family ‘stay gay’ bill after extraordinary push

Mass Resistance
By
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On the last day of the session, California State Assembly member Evan Low, sponsor of bill AB 2943, capitulated to pressure and pulled the bill from the floor.

August 31, 2018 (Mass Resistance) – Absolutely everyone said that Bill AB 2943 bill was impossible to stop in the California Legislature. It was the crown jewel of the powerful LGBT lobby. Democrats supported it and Republicans were afraid to touch it. But MassResistance organized statewide and stopped it!

Bill AB 2943 would have banned all therapy or counseling for sexual orientation or “gender identity” issues, even promotion or descriptions of it. Legal groups said this would include Bible verses.

The bill flew through the State Assembly last spring. On August 16 it breezed through the Senate. But because the Senate added an amendment, it had to go through another Assembly vote. That seemed like a slam dunk. 

There were then only 14 more days in the legislative session ending August 31 – little time to organize in the 80-member Assembly. Major pro-family groups in California were so sure it would pass that they told their supporters to start calling the Governor’s office to get him to veto it.

But MassResistance said: “No, we will stop it.”

Last month we stopped a similar bill in the Massachusetts Legislature, a furious fight which also went to the final day of the session.

California MassResistance Director Arthur Schaper, a brilliant and tireless organizer, worked night and day. 

But California is huge, a considerable challenge. Using various methods, including analyzing the districts, the upcoming elections, and watching the interaction on the Assembly floor, Arthur identified about 20 assembly members who were most likely to waver – one way or the other. He focused on those. As time went on, that group grew to 24 as legislators’ fear began to show.

Arthur organized visits to lawmakers’ district offices, frequent phone calls by constituents, and lots of emailing. We produced a handout for legislators explaining the bill’s huge problems, and  talking points for citizens. Most legislators had never heard the truth about this terrible bill, mostly just the LGBT propaganda.

One of the most powerful things Arthur did was to work with over 40 churches in key districts, including that of assemblyman Evan Low, the sponsor of the bill. Many of these churches had not been aware of bill AB 2943, and were very upset and became energized once they were informed.

Arthur also arranged meetings with high level staffers connected to key legislators. We think this had a big effect. For example, Arthur and Brian Camenker spoke with the LGBT Democratic caucus director the week before the end of the legislative session. We discussed the legal challenges they would face because this legislation is clearly unconstitutional. We talked about the lies being told by the LGBT lobby about reparative therapy, which would be exposed. And we also informed them that conservative groups would raise a lot of money if this passes and use it against members who voted for it. It appears that a lot of this sunk in.

As a result, day by day the support for the bill began to diminish, especially among Democrats in swing districts. A lot of members were getting jittery about this. Every day this past week the bill was on the Assembly’s daily schedule to be voted on. And each day it was skipped over once the day’s session started. 

At approximately 10 a.m. on Friday, August 31, the bill’s sponsor, assembly member Evan Low, released a statement which the LA Times subsequently also emailed to us. He was officially pulling the bill. We had won! Not surprisingly, Low says he will try again next year with a modified bill. And we will be ready for him! (Here is the  California MassResistance press release.

This is one of the greatest MassResistance victories in our 25-year history. 

Some important lessons learned

It’s likely that the legislators had never experienced this kind of full-court press from pro-family conservatives. We’ve learned that’s what it takes to prevail.

Even in the bluest, most aggressively left-wing state in the country, we can win if we are willing to fight, and be tireless and unrelenting. And it’s important to employ effective strategies. Too many pro-family conservatives simply want to do what they’re comfortable doing -- and that almost always fails. 

Not giving up is extremely important. As we mentioned, virtually every California pro-family group had basically conceded that this would pass (though some kept a minor email effort going). If we had relented even a day or so sooner, this bill would have passed and become law.

It’s necessary to understand that this isn’t just simply Republicans versus Democrats, but, as Arthur says, “raw political action.” There are a lot of nuances and other factors involved that should be taken into account.

Finally, just because a legislator votes for something once or even twice, it doesn’t mean he can’t be persuaded to vote against it. It just takes the right kinds of pressure. As the late US Senator Everett Dirksen famously said, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.”

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Linda Harvey

Opinion,

Latest kids’ books drenched with “social justice” porn

Linda Harvey
By Linda Harvey

Warning: graphic content

August 31, 2018 (World Net Daily) – Parents in Las Vegas were furious when seventh-graders came home with an assigned book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. One boy asked his mom about word he didn't understand – "masturbate." When mom looked through the book, she was horrified.

The school's excuse? To counteract "racism."

And anti-cop indoctrination prompted parent and law enforcement outrage over a high school's summer reading list in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The books in question were The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

Fact-free, depravity-laden agendas are alive and well at your child's school. The approaches and excuses are many, from "drag queen story hours" to celebrating LGBT identities to blatant Islamic indoctrination. Little children need to be introduced to alternate families, according to publishing giant Scholastic.
As the school year gets underway, look closely at those reading lists, texts and library displays, parents. Many of the recommended books belong only in your trash can.

Our nation's publishers allied with the American Library Association have hit on a winning youth marketing strategy: wildly sensational themes, unencumbered (they hope) by parent and teacher objections.

I am urging you to get complete information and think for yourself.

During the week of September 23 to 29, the ALA will attempt to manipulate public opinion by lamenting a crisis of its own making. It's the annual disinformation campaign called "Banned Books Week."

This far-left group advocates anything goes and "intellectual freedom" – unless books or media contain traditional, child-friendly Judeo-Christian content. ALA has no problem if their obedient librarians quietly restrict access to such ideas.

As my pro-family friend and colleague Laurie Higgins says, "The ALA can't seem to find an idea too perverse for children and can't discern an age too young to be exposed to perversion."

So in preparation, let's consider some child-protective reality.

Do you want your child to have nightmares and panic attacks? Then hand them many of the current "award-winning" youth literature selections. They weave tales around the subjects of suicide, addiction, bipolar disorder,  depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and gun violence.

Aren't these just the books you want your daughter curling up with on a rainy night?

Oh, don't worry – there's still plenty of anal and oral sex, homosexual/ transgender identities, abortion (and proud of it),  x-rated teen hook-ups, vulgar language, rape, and scorn for Christianity.

It's a Satanic stew designed to mess with kids' minds, souls and bodies.

For instance, the novel 13 Reasons Why was on last year's American Library Association challenged book list.

It's pornographic, claimed some parents in the Lemont, IL, High School District 210. But it also details teen suicide. And since Netflix decided to make a video series based on the story, several actual teen suicides have been reported after binge-watching the program. The story also features rape, bullying and drunk driving.

Is this what most parents hope attracts their kids' interest?

The American Family Association and the Parent's Television Council are joining with many other groups to urge Netflix to drop this series. So far Netflix is ignoring this plea and charging ahead with production on a new season.

What can parents do? Two quick rules: one, you must examine everything yourself, and two, the American Library Association, most youth book publishers and many book review sites are not your friends.

And they have a dirty little secret: their systematic censorship of conservative views is alive and well. Now it's just labeled "social justice."

But parents are never supposed to "challenge" books. Of the "Most Challenged Books" listed by the ALA for the past year, most of them contained "LGBT" or sexually explicit themes. They are Thirteen Reasons Why, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Drama, The Kite Runner, George, Sex is a Funny Word, To Kill a Mockingbird (challenged because of the "n" word), The Hate U Give, And Tango Makes Three, and I Am Jazz.

Other recent titles raising parent objections are the following: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (where father rapes daughter, in graphic detail), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

At Northwood High School in northern Indiana this past year, a new indoctrination method emerged. From a suggested reading list, ninth-graders were to form teams, choose a book and then report to the whole class, essentially peer-to-peer advocacy.

But the sexually inappropriate content along with the outright leftist propaganda created a community outcry. Among the books were Die For You by Amy Fellner Dominy (another suicide story), Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann ( main character has a welcome abortion, and Planned Parenthood info given at end of book); and Bang by Barry Lyga, about a boy haunted by his memory of accidentally killing his infant sister.

The good news is that, with leadership from the Indiana Liberty Coalition and others, parent objections called a halt and the trash-filled reading list was scrapped. Speaking out works, folks.

Racial themes are common reasons – allegedly – for book challenges. Or excuses for mischaracterizing objections.

ALA says over half of challenged books "…are either written by authors of color or contain content that represents groups or viewpoints outside the mainstream."

Oh, so it's "bigotry" that makes parents object to books like Tyrell by Coe Booth. Yes, I'm sure most thoughtful African-American parents would be okay with a book about a boy who decides not to "sell drugs like his dad" but holds parties where prostitution, underage drinking and more occurs. My pro-family colleague Debbie DeGroff's excellent research reveals how twisted and inaccurate the ALA and youth book reviewers are.

ALA calls Tyrell a "Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers."

If we object, we are "bigots." Is this a trap set by Satan or what?

Published with permission from World Net Daily.

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Kevin Dunn

Opinion, ,

See the film that helped defeat assisted suicide in Guernsey

Kevin Dunn
By

August 31, 2018 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – "During the government debate there was a moving moment when Deputy Graham McKinley, after announcing he had seen the Fatal Flaws film on Alderney, and how moved he was by it, bravely explained why he was abandoning the Requete." 

–Dr. Carmen Wheatley, Executive Director, Assisted Living, Guernsey (UK)

I had always hoped this film would be a game-changer. Looks like it's happening.

I've just returned from The Channel Islands, UK where we had two screenings of Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death. One in Guernsey and another in Alderney. These screenings happened just prior to a three day debate and vote on assisted suicide. According to The Guardian, "if the Requete had passed, Guernsey would have become the first place in the British Isles to offer euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses." Instead they voted to improve palliative care on the island. 

The sponsor of the screening, Dr. Carmen Wheatley, Orthomolecular Oncology Medical Researcher and Executive Director of Assisted Living, Guernsey, reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I would come to the Island before the vote. 

In an email Dr Wheatley sent me today, she told me that during the debate, a Deputy for Alderney revealed to all that he had seen your film there, had become very moved by the content, listened to the Alderney folk, and changed his mind. The other Requeteers were not expecting this final coup de grace. In a more formal statement, she wrote: 

In spite of misrepresentations of the film by campaigners, who refused to view it, and a mysterious blockade on TV and radio interviews from the one person on Guernsey, Kevin Dunn, who not only lives in a country, Canada, with such death legislation, but has been to no less than 6 jurisdictions/countries, interviewing doctors, patients, families on both sides of the divide, this documentary deeply impressed those few Deputies and the larger public who saw it.

She went on to say:

To the extent that 1 of 2 Alderney representatives, who had originally, – and probably against his better judgement, been one of the signatories of the Requete, found the courage shortly before the decisive vote to publicly and dramatically renege on his allegiance to the Requete, thus adding to the strength of the decisive final No vote.

In the film, I asked journalist Gerbert Van Loenen from The Netherlands, "who is telling the other side of the story?" He said, "I'm afraid no one." 

Through the testimonies of so many brave and passionate people in this film, we were able to do just that: tell stories of a highly underrepresented group of people and shine a light on a dark corner of the political and medical landscape. 

What could be more important than saving the lives of the vulnerable? 

Kudos to the entire FF team. 

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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23-year-old brags about having three abortions, but accidentally admits it killed her babies

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Editor's Note: See update on this story at bottom.

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade, abortion is still one of the most contentious subjects in the United States of America, with the issue creating a chasm between the two primary political parties and driving the results of primaries and even elections. The pro-choice movement, pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf noted some time ago, genuinely thought at the time that Roe v. Wade would put this issue to bed. Instead, abortion activists are faced with a non-stop stream of pro-life laws and a growing and invigorated pro-life movement. It is why one of the signs you often see abortion activists wielding reads simply: “I can’t believe we still have to protest this sh**.”

Abortion activists have now spent decades trying to normalize abortion, with varying degrees of success. On the rhetorical front, they ignore the messy details of feticide and instead refer to the process as “reproductive rights” or “women’s healthcare.” On the political front, they have successfully cornered the Democratic Party, ensuring that pro-life liberals, once a numerous species but now severely endangered, are electorally unviable. And on the cultural front, they have a wide range of celebrities willing to wave their banner at rallies, where a noted shift in tone is beginning to take place.

Some were shocked when one feminist activist took the stage at the Women’s March in early 2017 with a shirt that was covered with the phrase “I heart abortion,” but this is now the abortion movement’s new goal: Brazenly defend abortion as a good thing, and celebrate those who have had them. Abortion activists used to angrily insist that “nobody is pro-abortion, we are pro-choice”—but now many of them are willing to admit that “plenty of people are pro-abortion.” None of them are pretending that they want abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare” anymore – after all, why would you want a good thing to be rare? Abortion allows people to live their lives the way they wish – to be coy about that is, according to the abortion industry, a bit ungrateful.

This new willingness to defend abortion at all costs and without apology has spawned several campaigns to push this no-holds-barred attitude into the public consciousness. There was the short-lived attempt to get people to wear t-shirts reading “I had an abortion,” which ended up being limited mostly to Gloria Steinem and a handful of others. And then there was the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign, with the abortion industry and their political allies asking those who used their services to come forward and own it loudly and proudly, so that people would be able to put a human face on abortion (and not the face of the crushed and discarded child.) This campaign, recently promoted by Oprah Winfrey, is just the latest attempt at normalization.

But the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign is a double-edged sword – while it can raise awareness as to just how many women have abortions, it can also reveal the ugly callousness towards pre-born children and the utter selfishness that animates the motives of many. A sad and repulsive example of this was published on a “Shout Your Abortion” blog earlier this month under the defiant title, “I am 23 and I have had 3 abortions. YES I HAVE!” In her post, the young woman essentially admits that she was aborting real children, but she just didn’t want them interfering with her life, noting that she had her first abortion at age 16 when she decided to have sex without a condom:

My first abortion was on August 25, 2011 at Lovejoy Surgicenter in Portland, Oregon. I was 8 weeks 3 days pregnant (this is based on the last period). Yes, I did cry. No, it was not easy! No, I have no regrets.

At age 19 I took a 3 week journey on the Pacific Coast Trail. I did this on my own. LOVED IT! On that trail I found another hiker, a guy who was traveling solo. Long story short we had sex. And sadly I had no condom with me (my backpack already weighed 49 pounds)…

I had my second abortion on September 14, 2014 at Lovejoy Surgicenter. I was 10 weeks 4 days pregnant. The appointment was originally on August 29th but during this time I found a new job and ended up having to rearrange my schedule. [H]aving an abortion at 10 weeks was a little harder just because I knew I had something in me, but doing it was still the right decision.

You’ll notice here that this is a young woman going public with her story of having two abortions because she couldn’t even be bothered to attempt to avoid pregnancy – because the abortion industry was waiting helpfully to help her dispose of the children created through casual coitus. Throughout her post, she refers to the reasons that she doesn’t want “a child,” but does not pause to explain what abortion does to those children. The third child she aborted even had a father who was willing to stick around – but unfortunately interfered with her summer job plans:

For the last couple years I have been in a loving relationship with a great guy, I am and have been on the pill, but it doesn’t always work. We found out that WE were pregnant back in March (2018).  Originally we were thinking of keeping it, but in the end a decision was made for us. We both got ourselves a seasonal job at a National Park for the summer, something we have been working on for the last three years. No way could I be massively pregnant for this job, it’s just not possible. This job was outdoors with some very rough work involved!

WE had my third abortion on May 5, 2018 at My Choice Medical Center in Van Nuys, California. We did it here because my boyfriend could join me in the room during the procedure, The idea that he wanted to join me was a true blessing and made me feel more comfortable because of it. I was 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant, we waited this long because like I said before it was that ultimate seasonal job that made the decision for us.

All in all I just wish that people would look at abortion was just another surgery. No way could I be a mother of 3 children right now! JUST NOT POSSIBLE! I am 23, I have a good life, I don’t want to destroy it because of a bunch of children that I am not ready for. Doesn’t that make sense? I have ZERO regrets on what I have, sometimes I do wonder about the WHAT IF, but in the end I know I make the best decision for me.

I’ve spoken to well over a thousand people about abortion, but for some reason I still found this young woman’s blog post jarring. Perhaps it is the fact that she doesn’t even find it necessary to give any reasons whatsoever for ending the lives of three human beings – her own children. Perhaps it is the fact that she found selfishness to be a defence in and of itself, and was proud of it. Or perhaps it’s because her closing line summed everything up perfectly: “in the end I know I made the best decision for me.”

I suspect that I’m not the only one who would find this young woman’s story to be depressing and somehow ugly. I suspect that even many people who believe that abortion should be legal in some circumstances would cringe at the idea of people using abortion as birth control – sleep with whoever you want whenever you want, and if a baby shows up – suction her out and carry on. “Shout Your Abortion” may seem like a good idea to the abortion activists who want to normalize the service they’re selling, but I don’t think stories like this do their movement any favors. These stories are simply too brutally honest for most people – even most pro-choice people – to handle.  

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Sept 3, 2018):

In an interesting development to this story, it appears that the girl in the photo is not the young woman in the story--her name is Molly, not Heather, and she is actually pro-life! Molly sent the following message to LifeSite:

My name is Molly. I am 24 and want to make it clear that I have never had an abortion.

I was horrified to wake up yesterday and learn that a photo of me was stolen and used without my permission or knowledge on a post for “Shout Your Abortion”, a website that encourages women to share the stories of their abortions. Someone using the name “Heather” stole my picture and essentially my identity, using it in a post titled, “I am 23 and I have had 3 abortions. YES I HAVE!” She said she is proud of who she is and her actions, yet she used a picture of a random stranger instead of herself. I am appalled that my photo has been used in this manner.

All of my life, I have been pro-life and believe that life begins at conception. I have personally donated to pro-life causes and believe that every life is valuable. As a Christian, I believe that God is the author of life, and life is not ours to take away.

While the story on the website has been removed, links and screenshots of the title falsely tied to my picture are continually being shared. Even though the story is not mine, the comments being made about the girl in the photo feel very personal. Yes, the story, if it is true, is quite sad, but there is no excuse for making some of the crude and judgmental comments I have seen. While I strongly believe that abortion is taking a valued life, I would like to ask people to think about the effect that their words have and to choose their words carefully. If Heather really exists, I want her to know that she has value and is loved despite the unfortunate life choices she has made. The Bible clearly teaches that God is a forgiving God. As a Christian, I strive to embody the love of Christ. Passing judgment helps no one. I hope that my story challenges you to think twice before making a comment on the Internet and instead think of other ways to promote choosing life. -Molly Schaap

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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Why abstinence in marriage can boost your spiritual life

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – What would be the reaction of Catholics if they were told that the Roman Catechism produced after the Council of Trent, in addition to a substantial fast from food, calls for a fast from “the use of marriage” (i.e., sexual intercourse) for a few days prior to reception of the Most Holy Eucharist?

Our preparation should not, however, be confined to the soul; it should also extend to the body. We are to approach the Holy Table fasting, having neither eaten nor drunk anything at least from the preceding midnight until the moment of Communion. The dignity of so great a Sacrament also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion. This observance is recommended by the example of David, who, when about to receive the showbread from the hands of the priest, declared that he and his servants had been clean from women for three days. The above are the principal things to be done by the faithful preparatory to receiving the sacred mysteries with profit; and to these heads may be reduced whatever other things may seem desirable by way of preparation.

Such a practice—commended by all the scholastic theologians, enforced and widely followed in the Middle Ages—is continued to this day, in varying degrees, by the married clergy of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, who are required to abstain from the use of marriage prior to serving the Divine Liturgy. 

Apparently, it is not uncommon nowadays to hear Byzantine clergy say that this form of asceticism is out of date and need not be practiced. But is it not strange that in the West, the question does not even occur to us? And that if it were suggested, we would dismiss it as nonsense unworthy of our consideration? The more sophisticated might consider it a remnant of Manichaean or Jansenist contempt for the flesh and a sign of insufficient “maturity.”

But is that really true? The reason behind the old discipline was quite down-to-earth. Original sin inflicts several wounds on human nature. One of these is called “disordered concupiscence.” We are inclined too much towards sensible goods; we tend to get bogged down in the desire or the accomplishment of them, to the detriment of our spiritual life and at the expense of self-control. In short, since all material things are good and reflect God in some way, we are sorely tempted to make an idol of them, forgetting the one true God who made our hearts and alone satisfies our thirst for happiness.

The Church our Mother, like any good mother, is realistic about the needs of her children. Over the ages she established limits, demanded sacrifices to tame and discipline disordered concupiscence. Fasting and abstinence throughout Lent, on Ember and Rogation Days, and on vigils before great feasts established the distinctively Catholic pattern of fasting and feasting, of withdrawing for spiritual purification and then enjoying (one hopes moderately!) the good things that the Lord abundantly provides. The Church asked that even good things be given up for the sake of those that are better—in the case of the Most Holy Eucharist, which is God Himself, infinitely better.

To so great an extent has our awe before the Blessed Sacrament evaporated and our assumption about the naturalness of “free” sexuality ballooned that we can no longer enter into a Christian mindset of at least 1,000 years’ duration! A sign of how far we have drifted: in Catholic circles, a husband and wife seeking to develop their interior lives to the fullest could almost never mention the idea of abstaining for a time from sexual intimacy so as to dedicate themselves more intensely to prayer (cf. 1 Cor 7:5) without fear of being laughed or scolded out of the room. If, moreover, a couple believed that God was calling them to a Josephite marriage—something that the Catholic Church has honored in dozens of married saints, beginning of course with Our Lady and St Joseph—how much worse would be the total incomprehension they would receive?

Truly, our age has not simply ceased to practice sexual asceticism, it has ruled it out as unhealthy, misguided, and, frankly, impossible. The whiff of Freud is unmistakable. It has not helped that popularizers of the “theology of the body” have, at times, come near to making an idol out of sex, rather than portraying it as a created good that, like all created goods, has a definite and limited place in human life and must be subordinated to certain other goods, especially the demands of the spiritual life. To adapt a familiar saying, sex makes a good servant but a terrible master.

I do not know what to propose as a solution today, since many of our pastors who should be preaching self-control and sacrifice seem to be paralyzed by uncertainty about the value of asceticism, how to preach it, and how to practice it, or even worse, are bent on satisfying their own disordered concupiscence or winking at those who do. Universally we seem to be suffering amnesia when it comes to the timeless wisdom of Holy Mother Church.

Until Catholic tradition is more broadly restored (which I firmly believe will happen someday), I think the best we can do is to follow this wisdom of periodic continence in food, drink, and the use of marriage according to what we believe the Lord is calling us to do for love of Him, always with the consent of one’s superior or spouse, and ideally in consultation with a reliable spiritual director. 

To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be stated clearly that there is no requirement from natural law, divine law, or current ecclesiastical law to forego the marital act in the day or days leading up to the reception of Holy Communion, nor is it ever sinful for spouses to make legitimate use of the God-given right they have over one another’s bodies. This is particularly true at a time when daily communion among disciples of Christ is more common than it has been for over a millennium.
 
Rather, we are speaking here about an ancient discipline of restricting the use of a good thing that belongs to this world and the domain of the flesh, in order to intensify our spiritual preparation for an immense spiritual good, our longing for it and savoring of it. One could put it this way: if we never do anything to emphasize to ourselves the magnitude of what we are doing when we receive Our Lord, and we never take pains to subordinate the lesser to the greater, we could run the risk of trivializing the sacrament and not actually making it the “font and apex” of our entire Christian life.

The point is not to take on extreme penances, but to recognize that we will glorify God and benefit our souls by forcing ourselves to lean less on the corruptible flesh and more on the immortal spirit. This is not an unhealthy dualism but a level-headed Christian sense of priorities in life—what might be called a “preferential option for heaven.” 

In the words of St Paul: “Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:2–3).

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