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Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila Flickr
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Denver archbishop declares support for investigation following Archbishop Viganò‘s testimony

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By Doug Mainwaring

DENVER, Colorado, September 4, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila added his voice to the growing number calling for an independent investigation in the wake of the publication of former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò's testimony.

“Many of you are aware that this past weekend the former papal representative to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, released a testimony that makes serious allegations about the Archbishop McCarrick abuse case,” Aquila said in a letter addressed to his diocese.

“In my interactions with Archbishop Viganò, I have found him to be a man of deep faith and integrity,” added the Mile High City’s Archbishop.

“I join Cardinal DiNardo and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in calling for the Holy See to conduct a thorough investigation,” said Aquila, “that includes granting authority to a lay commission to examine the many questions that surround Archbishop McCarrick, such as who was involved in covering up his gravely immoral behavior or failed to act to stop it.”

“Righteous anger, deep frustration, and deep sorrow are understandable,” said Aquila, “and my heart breaks for the victims of abuse as well as for you that you must suffer this trial.”

“This is not the first time in the history of the Church that she has been rocked by a lack of faith and immorality among her clergy,” added Aquila. “As history teaches, only a strong return to Jesus Christ and his ways will heal the horrific sinful breach that has taken place.”

Please consider signing the pledge to support Archbishop Viganò.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected].


Here is the full text of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila’s letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Many of you are aware that this past weekend the former papal representative to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, released a testimony that makes serious allegations about the Archbishop McCarrick abuse case.

In my interactions with Archbishop Vigano I have found him to be a man of deep faith and integrity. I join Cardinal DiNardo and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in calling for the Holy See to conduct a thorough investigation that includes granting authority to a lay commission to examine the many questions that surround Archbishop McCarrick, such as who was involved in covering-up his gravely immoral behavior or failed to act to stop it.

As Cardinal DiNardo said on August 27, “The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”

While righteous anger, deep frustration, and deep sorrow are understandable, and my heart breaks for the victims of abuse as well as for you that you must suffer this trial, we must all “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ the perfecter of faith.” He is our strength! He is the truth who will set us free!

Jesus asks each of us, “Who are you going to serve?” Will it be the Lord, or the false gods of today – power, careerism, entitlement, sexual promiscuousness, and so many others? While we are in the world, we are not of the world and we are called to be of Christ alone, deepening our closeness to him in the sacramental life of the Church!

The call to holiness is real and possible, as Jesus tells us, “for God all things are possible!” Yet, when we let the ways of the world from us rather than the Gospel and Jesus, when we put more trust in the world than in Jesus, we end up where we are today. While, this is not the first time in the history of the Church that she has been rocked by a lack of faith and immorality among her clergy, as history teaches, only a strong return to Jesus Christ and his ways will heal the horrific sinful breach that has taken place!

The Gospel reading from John 6 last Sunday presents us with Jesus’ challenging question after he taught about his Real Presence in the Eucharist. He asked Peter and the other disciples: “Do you also want to leave?” Peter responded with his great statement of faith that gets to the heart of the matter. “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

We must pray for a deep faith in Jesus Christ, one that grows and deepens each day. We must live our lives in intimacy with Jesus, the Holy One of God! It is Jesus who will see us through this time of trial and purification, who will help us to live out the Beatitudes and be faithful to the commandments.

Know, my brothers and sisters, that you are in my prayers. Know that I am deeply grateful to you for your fidelity. I pray that your hearts and the heart of every disciple may be ever more conformed to the heart of Christ!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Archbishop Aquila

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò at the Rome Life Forum on May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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List of bishops, cardinals who support investigating Viganò’s claims (live updates)

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

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

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews is pleased to provide a running list of bishops and cardinals who have expressed public support for investigating the claims of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Many on the list have also expressed support for Viganò himself, praising his "integrity" and calling him honest and loyal. 

The former apostolic nuncio to the U.S. accused Pope Francis in an August 22, 2018 detailed testimony of covering up for now ex-Cardinal McCarrick despite knowing of McCarrick’s serial sexual abuse of seminarians and priests. 

This list is organized chronologically. It will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Please contact Stephen Kokx ([email protected]) if you come across new statements by bishops or Cardinals supporting an investigation into Archbishop Viganò's allegations.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, Diocese of Tyler, Texas: August 26, 2018 – “Let us be clear that they are still allegations but as your shepherd I find them to be credible. Using this standard the response must be a thorough investigation.”

Bishop David Konderla, Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma: August 26, 2018 ​– “I count myself blessed that it was Archbishop Viganò who called me to tell me that I was appointed fourth bishop of Tulsa. The allegations he details mark a good place to begin the investigations that must happen in order for us to restore holiness and accountability to the leadership of the Church.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Astana, KazakhstanAugust 27, 2018 – “There reasonable and plausible cause to doubt the truth content of the document of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.” “Ruthlessness and transparency in detecting and in confessing the evils in the life of the Church will help to initiate an efficient process of spiritual and moral purification and renewal.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke: August 27, 2018 – “The declarations made by a prelate of the authority of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò must be totally taken to heart by those responsible in the Church...Each declaration must be subject to investigation, according to the Church’s time-tried procedural law.”

Bishop Robert Morlino, Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin: August 27, 2018 – “During his tenure as our Apostolic Nuncio, I came to know Archbishop Viganò both professionally and personally...I remain deeply convinced of his honesty, loyalty to and love for the Church, and impeccable integrity.” “The criteria for credible allegations are more than fulfilled, and an investigation, according to proper canonical procedures, is certainly in order.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas: August 27, 2018 – “On August 1st, I promised that USCCB would exercise the full extent of its authority, and would advocate before those with greater authority, to pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick….The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.”

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan: August 27, 2018 – "We have nothing to fear in facing squarely the allegations made by Archbishop Viganò. I join with the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Detroit in praying for the triumph of truth and transparency – and praying that it comes quickly. Whether the Archbishop’s claims are confirmed or proved to be unfounded, the truth which comes to light will show us the sure path to the purification and reform of the Church."

Bishop Jaime Soto, Diocese of Sacramento, California: August 27, 2018 - “The concerns raised by the former nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, are serious and call for an honest, transparent response.”

Bishop Larry Silva, Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii: August 27, 2018 –  “I pray that the investigation he calls for will go forward with all honesty to reveal the truth, so that we can all be healed of this terrible cancer that has infected the life of our Church. Please redouble your prayers and sacrifices so that the Holy Spirit will lead us to all truth.“

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, Archdiocese of Los Angeles: August 27, 2018 — “Some things seemed very driven by emotion. But other things seemed far more substantive and specific and — at least he claims — tied to documentation. Is it worth looking at? Yes. You bet. This is not some minor player. This is the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. When I was at my first meeting after first becoming a bishop, it was Archbishop Viganò who rose to speak to us on behalf of the Pope. So this is not an insubstantial figure, and he's making some serious claims. I'd say look into them. Let's take an honest, objective look at what's being claimed here.”

Bishop Thomas Daly, Diocese of Spokane, Washington: August 27, 2018 — “The U.S. Bishops Conference is pursuing plans to be decided on in our next meeting in November for a response to this present crisis that will include crucial lay involvement — a proposal that I support.” “In regards to Archbishop Viganò's letter, Bishop Daly concurs with the statement of Cardinal DiNardo, President of the US Bishops Conference.”

Bishop Robert Deeley, Diocese of Portland, Maine: August 27, 2018 — “I am profoundly disheartened by the reports that have emerged in recent weeks regarding Archbishop McCarrick and the grand jury report in Pennsylvania.” “I am encouraged that Cardinal DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made an announcement today concerning the way in which we, as bishops, will respond to this crisis.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona: August 28, 2018 – “Although I have no knowledge of the information that he reveals in his written testimony of August 22, 2018, so I cannot personally verify its truthfulness, I have always known and respected him as a man of truthfulness, faith and integrity.” “I ask that Archbishop Viganò’s testimony be taken seriously by all, and that every claim that he makes be investigated thoroughly.” “Whoever has covered up these shameful acts must be brought to the light of day.”

Bishop Donald J. Hying, Diocese of Gary, Indiana: August 28, 2018 –“These are grave charges. Clearly, these assertions must be investigted and shown either true of false.”

Archbishop Leonard Blair, Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut: August 28, 2018 – “The recent very troubling statement of Archbishop Vigano...brings, in the words of the President of our U.S. Conference of Bishops, 'particular forcus and urgency' to the 'examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement.' This is a profound concern that we all share and the truth has to be told.” “I pledge to do my part as a Bishop to unmask whatever has led to our present anguish.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, Illinois: August 28, 2018 – “Given the gravity of the content and implications of the former Nuncio’s statement, it is important for all the facts of this situation to be fully reviewed, vetted, and carefully considered. Toward that end, Pope Francis, Vatican officials and the current Apostolic Nuncio should make public the pertinent files indicating who knew what and when about Archbishop (formerly Cardinal) McCarrick and provide the accountability that the Holy Father has promised.” Speaking of Pope Francis' no comment, Bishp Paprocki said: “Frankly, but with all due respect, that response is not adequate.”

Archbishop Paul Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: August 28, 2018 – “I have the deepest respect for Archbishop Viganó and his personal integrity.” “This document merits, indeed it demands deeper examination and verification of each of its claims.” “I am deeply troubled by the assertions contained in this unprecedented document.”

Bishop John Barres, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Rockville Centre, New York: August 28, 2018 – “I support Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in his articulation of the need for decisive answers regarding the issues raised in the recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.”

Bishop Carl Kemme, Diocese of Wichita: August 29, 2018 – “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.” “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 investigation.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Archdiocese of San Francisco: August 29, 2018 –  “I can attest that he is a man who served his mission with selfless dedication, who fulfilled well the Petrine mission entrusted to him by the Holy Father to ‘strengthen his brothers in the faith’.” Viganó’s revelations “must be taken seriously.” “I join my voice to that of other bishops in calling for such an investigation and for taking any corrective action that may be necessary in light of its findings,”

Bishop Kevin Vann, Diocese of Orange, California: August 29, 2018  – “Given the grave accusations leveled by the former apostolic nuncio, I believe that it is necessary for the Holy Father to ensure that a competent investigation be undertaken swiftly. The truth of each accusation having been established, just penalties should be imposed upon those found guilty with the goal of repairing scandal and restoring justice.” “I would add that I see Archbishop Viganò as a man of integrity, having known him for many years.”

Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer, Diocese of Orange, California: August 29, 2018 – Added his name to Bishop Kevin Vann’s letter

Auxiliary Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen, Diocese of Orange, California: August 29, 2018 – Added his name to Bishop Kevin Vann’s letter

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota: August 31, 2018 – “Having had good reasons to place my trust in both Pope Francis and Archbishop Viganò, I am personally at a loss as to how to evaluate the claims that have been made by the Archbishop. Based on my experience in this Archdiocese, I believe that some form of an independent review led by credible outsiders is the only way to resolve such situations and restore trust.”

Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado: August 30, 2018 – “In my interactions with Archbishop Vigano I have found him to be a man of deep faith and integrity. I join Cardinal DiNardo and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in calling for the Holy See to conduct a thorough investigation that includes granting authority to a lay commission to examine the many questions that surround Archbishop McCarrick, such as who was involved in covering-up his gravely immoral behavior or failed to act to stop it.”

Bishop Emeritus Edward Slattery, Diocese of Tulsa and Eatern Oklahoma, OklahomaAugust 30, 2018 – “If there is corruption surrounding the Chair of Peter, then instead of being the Church's visible source and foundation of her unity (as Christ intended) the office of Peter's successor becomes a source of mistrust, division and scandal. The time has come for His Holiness, Pope Francis, to initiate an immediate, full and exhaustive inquiry into the allegations surrounding his office and his relations with the highest ranking members of the American Hierarchy.” “I want to join my name publicly to his and to those other bishops in calling for this initiative so that by this investigation, the Church may fearlessly identify the corruption within, and by prayer and penance root it out.”

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio: August 30, 2018 - “It seems to me the only way to really get to the bottom of the entire situation is to open the McCarrick file. There’s got to be files, you know, both in Washington D.C. and at the Vatican on all of this correspondence. As you say, Archbishop Vigano mentions quite a few of the documents. But again, his testimony is based upon his recollection. Others are saying this is not our recollection. Well, the only way to get to the facts is to look at the file. And I hope and pray that the file is opened. I see no other way to get out of this very painful, this very sad, situation.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, Virginia: August 30, 2018 –  “We need to review (this) letter carefully, comprehensively, thoroughly and evidence needs to be given.” “But the bottom line is, we need to know the truth. All the faithful need to hear the answers to the questions. Cardinal DiNardo is asking the Holy Father to assist in putting into place the support we need to get those answers.” “Let’s have due process. We need clarity but allow that to take place. There’s no need to discredit or make judgments at this point.  Let’s follow that process.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin, Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island: August 30, 2018 – “The allegations lodged by Archbishop Viganò involving Pope Francis are substantive, and need to be investigated in a prompt and just manner.” The “present impasse in the Church, unfolding on an international level, has caused confusion and division among the faithful, even locally.” “Only Pope Francis can resolve the serious crisis in which the Church now finds herself, and I respectfully urge His Holiness to address this matter as soon as possible. The future direction of the Church, its spiritual welfare, and the faith of God’s people, are at stake.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas: August 31, 2018 – “In my experience of Archbishop Vigano during his tenure as apostolic nuncio, he was a man of integrity. There are also respected sources that are contesting elements of Archbishop Vigano’s statement.  This development makes it even more imperative that we embrace Cardinal DiNardo’s commitment to pursue the truth of why McCarrick was allowed to continue to exercise public ministry and continue in the College of Cardinals, when his sexual misconduct and abuse of power were already known. We must do all that we can to ascertain the truth and then allow the chips to fall where they may.”

Bishop Daniel Thomas, Diocese of Toledo, Ohio: August 31, 2018 – “I stand united with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Executive Committee in calling the Holy See to conduct a prompt and thorough examination.” “It is not only a critical, but a moral obligation, to get to the truth surrounding who in the Church knew of Archbishop McCarrick’s behavior and whether there was a concerted effort to protect him.  Personally, this situation is made all the more gut-wrenching as I struggle to reconcile my knowledge of Archbishop Viganó, for whom I have a high regard, with my deepest love and respect for the office of the Holy Father.”

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina: August 31, 2018 – “It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick​.” “It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly. I, too, strongly support an investigation by the Holy See along with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.”

Bishop Robert Gruss, Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota: August 31, 2018 – “Further questions have arisen in the released testimony from the former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, in which he makes serious allegations about the Archbishop McCarrick abuse case. I join my voice with Cardinal DiNardo and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in calling for the Holy See to conduct a thorough investigation that includes granting authority to a lay commission to examine the many questions that surround the case of Archbishop McCarrick.”

Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt, Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska: September 4, 2018 – “Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously.” “I want to add my voice in support of (Cardinal DiNardo's) call for a prompt and thorough examination of this entire crisis in leadership.”

Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti, Diocese of Chur, SwitzerlandSeptember 5, 2018 – Bishop Eleganti has called for an independent “objective commission" since the “institution (of the Church) should not investigate itself.” “The (homosexual) networks have to be investigated...all of us have to face and endure this truth.” A “great purification” is needed, he also said. Bishop Eleganti welcomes this “inner shake-up,” saying, “rather let things come out now, and a purification takes place.” “With all respect toward people with a homosexual inclination who do not commit any sexual assaults, it does not help to close the eyes in front of the facts when dealing with sexual assaults. Without full transparency and truthfulness, there will be no credible investigation, nor any effective prevention.”

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa: September 6, 2018 – “I support and echo Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his statement of Aug. 27.” “I believe Archbishop Viganó and, at the same time, we need more information. In the matter of transparency in disciplining bishops, no one is above the law; and no bishop, regardless of diocese or rank or standing, may hope to evade...the canonical laws of the church in the exercise of our duties. Therefore, let the harsh light of truth come, with its healing and freeing power.”

Bishop Michael Sis, Diocese of San Angelo, San Angelo, Texas: September 9, 2018 – “On August 25, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, made public his testimony alleging corruption and a conspiracy of silence at the highest levels of the Church’s hierarchy.” “I support a thorough and impartial investigation of any allegation of a cover-up in the case of Cardinal McCarrick, as a vital step in a long process toward re-establishing trust with Catholics everywhere."

Bishop David Walkowiak, Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan: September 10, 2018 – “The 11-page testimony released by Archbishop Viganò needs to be investigated to the fullest extent. We need to arrive at the truth. Only a thorough investigation will determine whether the claims made by the Archbishop are true. If they are true, action needs to be taken promptly to fix these failures.”

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Pope Francis' gives a stunned expression when asked by reporter in 'Silence of the Shepherds' documentary if he covered-up for an abusive priest in Argentina. ZDF / Youtube screen grab
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Francis ignored, covered-up abuse in Argentina before becoming pope, documentary alleges

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By Maike Hickson

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – German national TV channel ZDF is rerunning a documentary produced last year that claims that Pope Francis, as Archbishop Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, ignored cries for justice from abuse victims in his diocese. The documentary is now gaining traction in the fallout of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony that the Pope covered-up the abuse of now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. 

The documentary also claims that then-Archbishop Bergoglio, prior to becoming the pope, participated in the unsuccessful defense of a priest accused of abuse. That priest has now been imprisoned for 15 years after he was found guilty of sexually abusing children. 

Now, in light of the Viganò report, the documentary by Martin Boudot has been aired again and is now making the rounds in the German-speaking world. The documentary, titled “The Silence of the Shepherds,” won the 2017 Prix Europa for best European documentaries. It is available in the U.S. under the title “Sex Abuse in the Church: the Code of Silence.” 

The documentary makes the case that many priests accused of sexual abuse were merely transferred by their bishops to other countries so as to avoid prosecution. The second half of the documentary highlights Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio's own conduct in Buenos Aires.  

The film quotes a 2010 book titled in French Sur la terre comme au ciel (On Heaven and Earth) written by both Jorge Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. In this book, Bergoglio stated that in his diocese there were no pedophile priests, according to the film. 

LifeSiteNews found that specific quote on page 50 of the English version. Here is what Jorge Bergoglio as archbishop says when speaking about pedophile priests: 

“Now, when it happens, you can never turn a blind eye. You cannot be in a position of power and destroy the life of another person.” “In my diocese it never happened to me,” Bergoglio added. He then described what counsel he once gave to a fellow bishop who had such a case. “I told him to take away the priest's faculties, not to permit him to exercise his priestly ministry again, and to initiate a canonical trial.”

When Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, he appears to have ignored his own advice. This is evidenced in the case of known-child molester Fr. Mauro Inzoli, whom the Pope, against the advice of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, reinstated giving back to him some of his priestly faculties.

The documentary reveals, however, how Bergoglio himself, when writing his 2010 book, had indeed had such a case of a pedophile priest in a neighboring diocese and that he was intimately involved in the case. It is the now-infamous Father Julio César Grassi who has been imprisoned for 15 years because of his abuse of children who were entrusted to his care in the “Happy Children Foundation” orphanage. 

The documentary highlighted six alleged victims of abuse who all claimed that then-Archbishop Bergoglio never answered their own specific complaints when they wrote to him as the archbishop of Buenos Aires. 

When asked by the documentary journalists whether or not they ever received an answer, they all shook their heads in the negative. Asked about the above-quoted statement that Bergoglio never having a pedophile priest in his diocese and whether he says here the truth, one abuse victim, a woman, answered: “He wants people to believe that, but it is a lie.” 

Despite contacting the future pope with allegations against abusive priests, “none of us” received an answer, was the reply by one abuse victim. 

“He receives all the celebrities like Leonardo diCaprio” continued a woman, “but for us, not even a quick letter to say he was sorry.”

“I don't expect anything from him. I do not believe in him,” added another woman. 

A third woman explained: “I suffered a lot, and I'm very disappointed.” This woman spoke with tears in her eyes: “Because the Pope did nothing when he was archbishop here.” “Everyone told me,” she continued, “write to him, he's bound to reply. But nothing.” 

Reflecting on these replies, the commentator said: “As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was seemingly deaf to the distress of these victims.”

As the documentary continues, highlighting other cases of victims, some put forward their belief that Bergoglio “willfully tried to divert the course of justice.” 

Reference was here made to Father Grassi. “The Argentinian Church did all in its power to have him acquitted,” explained the speaker. Juan Pablo Gallego, the defense attorney of the abuse victims, pointed out that the Argentine bishops in 2010 – after the first punitive sentence was spoken about Grassi – had asked a penal law professor (Marcelo A. Sancinetti) to conduct a study, which was compiled in a confidential dossier for internal use, dealing with the Grassi case.

This dossier, which was called “Studies on the Grassi Case” and contained 2,800 pages, came to the conclusion that “the court was wrong,” that Grassi was innocent and therefore should be acquitted. The author also claimed that the abused children spread “falsifications, lies, deceit and invention.”

This study, as the documentary pointed out, was made on behalf of the Argentine bishops under the leadership of Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who was, at that time, also the President of the Argentine Bishops' Conference (2005-2011). This information is written on the back cover of the dossier. “So the Pope,” the speaker in the documentary concluded, “did then commission a counter-inquiry to try to have a priest who had been sentenced for pedophilia acquitted.”

“And it is said,” the speaker in the documentary continued, “that Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope, actually sent it to the judges, with a shrewd sense of timing, before Father Grassi's various appeal hearings.” Carlos Mahiques was one of these judges. In an interview for this documentary, he made it clear that this study, as ordered by Bergoglio, “is in some areas partial, and extremely partial in others,” and that is why he, as judge, did not allow himself to be influenced by it. 

“It was clearly in favor of Father Grassi,” the judge said. “They were trying to exert a subtle form of pressure on the judges.” When asked whether he thought the Church tried to influence the judges, Mahiques replied: “That's totally correct.” 

In an interview in the documentary with one of the abuse victims of Father Grassi, it becomes clear that Grassi claimed to stand under the protection of Bergoglio. 

“Bergoglio never let go of my hand,” are the words as they are quoted by the abuse victim who claimed to have heard them from Grassi himself. The victim continued, saying that Bergoglio now “is Pope Francis, but he has never gone against Grassi’s words. So I’m certain that he never did let go of Grassi’s hand!”

The documentary states that, Bergoglio, as Pope Francis “never publicly commented on the Grassi case.” The journalists themselves had tried for eight months to obtain an interview with the pontiff on the subject, but to no avail. Since they failed, the journalists stood in line at Saint Peter's during one of the papal audiences and were able to call out to Pope Francis: “Your Holiness! Your Holiness, in the Grassi case, did you try to influence Argentine justice?” Pope Francis, making a stunned face (caught on film here in the documentary), replied “No!” The journalists continued, saying: “No? Then why did you commission a counter-inquiry?” The Pope responded, with a similar face: “I never did.” The documentary then asks: “How can the Catholic Church retrieve itself from these guilty silences?”

Grassi was until recently still on the official list of the diocese of Morón, a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires (on today's list, however, his name is missing). It appears that Grassi was never laicized, at least not under Bergoglio. 

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Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich Facebook / University of Chicago IOP
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Cdl. Cupich orders statement contesting his ‘rabbit hole’ interview read at Chicago Masses

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By Claire Chretien

CHICAGO, Illinois, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Blase Cupich ordered priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago to read during Mass his statement disputing a television interview he gave saying Pope Francis has a “bigger agenda” than dealing with accusations he covered up sex abuse.

“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 Chicago’s NBC 5. “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.”

Once the interview was released to the public, Cardinal Cupich said it was edited in a deceptive way.

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.

In that same interview, Cardinal Cupich claimed some papal critics don’t like Pope Francis “because he’s a Latino” and continued his line of denying the clergy sex abuse crisis is related to homosexuality.

“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 also said it’s “on us,” not Pope Francis, to address the sex abuse crisis.

Although Pope Francis has refused to say whether he helped cover up sex abuse, on Saturday he called litter in the ocean an “emergency” that needs to be addressed. He also mentioned migration, as did Cupich in his now-infamous comment.

The sex abuse crisis has hit the Catholic Church in the United States very hard this summer, with the revelation that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually harassed and abused seminarians and priests, and that this was an open secret among bishops and Vatican officials. Then came the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which named 300 priests as having sexually abused minors over decades. They were aided by a systematic Church cover-up of their crimes, according to the grand jury report.

The crisis is not limited to the United States, though; Chile and Honduras are reeling from similar scandals.

Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former U.S. apostolic nuncio, testified that Pope Francis knew of McCarrick’s predation but still made him a trusted adviser on bishop appointments. According to Vigano, Pope Francis removed canonical sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had privately placed on the now-disgraced prelate. Vigano also testified that Cupich owes his rise to power and prominence to McCarrick.

Chicago archdiocese spokeswoman Anne Maselli confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times that Cupich had instructed his priests to read his statement blasting the media report.

On Monday, Labor Day, two Archdiocese of Chicago priests were arrested in Miami for publicly engaging in oral sex in a car. One of them is the spiritual director to a youth group called Iskali, of which 35 percent of the members are between the ages of 15 and 18, according to its website.

The statement priests were told to read at Mass, titled “Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich on Misleading NBC Chicago Report”:

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.

A review of the unedited footage of that interview shows that I was referring to the recent letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, not the terrible crime of clergy sexual abuse. I said that it was not appropriate, or even possible for Pope Francis to respond to the letter’s many undocumented allegations, and I endorsed his request that journalists determine their veracity.

I was then asked whether there should be an independent investigation of the Archbishop Theodore McCarrick case, and I endorsed the call of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for a thorough investigation.

The edited report created the false impression that my comment that the pope should not “go down the rabbit hole” of the allegations in the Viganò letter was about sexual abuse. As the unedited footage shows, it was not.

As I wrote in my letter responding to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report: “Whatever words we may use to describe the anguish of reading about these heinous acts, they can never capture the reality of suffering endured by victims of sexual abuse, suffering compounded by the woeful responses of bishops who failed to protect the people they were ordained to serve. … We must resolve to face our failures and hold each other accountable. We must resolve to be clear-eyed about what we have done, what we have failed to do, and what remains to be done. We must resolve to live in the light of humility, of repentance, of honesty — the light of Christ. As your bishop, I pledge to continue holding firm to that resolve. And I ask for you to pray for all victims of abuse.”

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Pro-lifer accuses Shout Your Abortion of stealing her photo for piece bragging about 3 abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-abortion “Shout Your Abortion” campaign is under fire for using a photo of a pro-life woman without her consent for a piece in which a different young woman takes pride in having had three abortions by age 23.

As covered last week by LifeSiteNews, the original essay was titled “I am 23 and I have had 3 abortions. YES I HAVE!” and appeared under the name “Heather.” The author details having two abortions after casual sexual encounters in which she used no birth control whatsoever, and a third after her birth control pill failed and she ultimately decided to abort because pregnancy would interfere with a summer job at a national park.

“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,” the author writes, wishing that abortion was seen as “just another surgery.”

“Heather’s” essay was picked up on multiple websites and received widespread condemnation in pro-life and conservative circles.

24-year-old Molly Schaap subsequently reached out to LifeSiteNews and other pro-life outlets to declare that she was actually the woman in the header image ... but she was pro-life, had never had an abortion, and did not give Shout Your Abortion permission to use her photo.

“I was horrified to wake up yesterday and learn that a photo of me was stolen and used without my permission or knowledge,” Shaap wrote, noting that “Heather” says “she is proud of who she is and her actions, yet she used a picture of a random stranger instead of herself.”

“All of my life, I have been pro-life and believe that life begins at conception,” Schaap declared. “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.”

At the same time, Schaap said her image being linked to hostile comments directed at “Heather” have inspired an empathetic connection with the author.

“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,” she implored her fellow pro-lifers. “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.”

The pro-life Human Defense Initiative says Shout Your Abortion did not respond to a request for comment on the incident. The essay no longer appears at its original address at the pro-abortion group’s website.

Schaap told Gateway Pundit that she is currently undecided as to whether she wants to pursue legal action against Shout Your Abortion. “I am a teacher currently trying to get ready for the school year, so that is something I would like to think more about over the next couple days,” she said.

Shout Your Abortion was founded in 2015 on the premise that pro-life sentiments are rooted in widespread ignorance of the experiences and perspectives of women who have abortions, and that publicizing “positive” abortion stories would be the key to ending the debate.

In fact, similar pro-abortion projects have been attempted for years with little impact on majority opposition to most abortions. Pro-lifers say that living preborn humans are the party really being ignored in the abortion debate.

Pro-lifers, meanwhile, have collected the personal stories of women who regret their abortions, via groups such as LifeSiteNews, Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, After Abortion, and Abortion Recovery International. Abortion advocates often deride abortion regret as a myth.

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Vatican vindicates ‘key part’ of Viganò’s version of Kim Davis affair: NYT

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By Lianne Laurence

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

NEW YORK, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican response to Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s account of the Kim Davis affair seems to vindicate the embattled archbishop’s key claim, says New York Times reporter Jason Horowitz.

Following Vigano’s August 25 testimony accusing Pope Francis and a number of high-ranking churchmen of covering up ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick serial sexual abuse of seminarians, focus has now shifted to the 2015 meeting between the pope and Davis, the Kentucky law clerk who went to jail rather than grant a licence for a homosexual “marriage.”

Horowitz, who portrays Viganò as spearheading a conservative attack to dethrone a progressive pope, writes that allegations around the Davis meeting relate “not to abuse but to the pope’s own credibility.”

And he points out that in defending the pope, former Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, and Vatican English language attaché and Salt and Light president Fr. Thomas Rosica confirm “part of” Viganò’s key claim: that Pope Francis and his aids green-lighted the private meeting between the pontiff and Davis at the Washington nunciature.

Viganò published his account of the Davis meeting in LifeSiteNews Friday after Horowitz reported last week Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz alleged the pope told him in a private meeting he didn’t know who Davis was.

“I didn’t know who that woman was, and he snuck her in to say hello to me — and of course they made a whole publicity out of it,” Pope Francis said, according to Cruz. “And I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” Cruz recalled the pope saying.

“One of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope?” wrote Viganò.

“What is certain is that the pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience.”

As Horowitz points out, the joint statement Lombardi and Rosica issued Saturday “seems to confirm that.”

The two affirm “the fact that Viganò had spoken the night before the meeting (with Kim Davis) with the pope and his collaborators and had received a consensus,” Horowitz wrote.

They also say they met Viganò in October in his apartment in Rome, where he had been summoned after the story broke.

In his statement, Viganò says Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, called him and told him to come to Rome because the Holy Father was “furious” with him, but that when he met with Pope Francis, the latter was cordial and never mentioned Davis.

But in another apparent confirmation that Pope Francis had been briefed on his meeting with Davis, Rosica and Lombardi allege Viganò told them the pope said he was upset because Viganò hadn’t mentioned Davis had four husbands.

Viganò has since responded in detail to Rosica and Lombardi’s statement, including advising the media to “deal with the real problem: that Francis covered up for McCarrick for five years, allowing him to claim other victims.”

That statement also underscores how differently Lombardi and Rosica spun the meeting in 2015, when they sought to downplay the incident.

Then Vatican press director, Lombardi issued a statement confirming a “brief meeting” occurred between Pope Francis and Davis, but that it “should not be considered a form of support of [Davis’] position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Lombardi also stated the “only real audience” Pope Francis granted at the Washington nunciature was with a former student, openly homosexual Argentine Yayo Grassi, along with his male partner, Iwan Bagus, and several friends.

Rosica suggested then to the New York Times that Pope Francis met Davis in a group, and that the encounter amounted to little more than a “very brief” handshake.

He further suggested to the LA Times the meeting was ad hoc and the pope didn’t really know whom he was meeting: “Was there an opportunity to brief the pope on this beforehand? I don't think so. … Was an in-depth process done? Probably not.”


Archbishop Viganò responds to Vatican pushback about Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis

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

Pope Francis covered up McCarrick abuse, former US nuncio testifies (OFFICIAL TEXT)

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Alfie Evans’ parents welcome second son: ‘Alfie would’ve been a fantastic big brother’

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By Calvin Freiburger
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Little baby Thomas Evans This Morning / youtube screen grab

LIVERPOOL, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tom Evans and Kate James are celebrating the birth of their second son, four months after the death of their son Alfie following a legal battle that captured the attention of the entire world.

The 23-month-old boy died at the end of April at Alder Hey Children’s hospital, which had removed his ventilator five days earlier in defiance of his parents’ wishes. Alfie’s doctors claimed he had an undiagnosed and untreatable neurological condition that resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage.

For months, his parents fought the hospital in both British and international court to stop Alder Hey from removing Alfie’s life support. They sought permission to take him to a Vatican hospital that had offered to take the boy. Despite a few signs of hope, they were denied at every turn.

Alfie’s brother, little Thomas, was born on August 6, The Sun reports. His parents feared that future children could have the same disease Alfie had, but all signs so far are reportedly in the clear.

“They explained to us that they had found two faulty genes. One comes from me and one comes from Tom,” Kate explained. “Me and Tom have a one-in-four chance of it happening to more babies.”

"I thought what if he does resemble Alfie, how am I going to take it,” she confessed in an interview with This Morning. “But when I wake up to feed him in the morning, it's lovely. Sometimes you feel like Alfie is in him. He frowns and stretches like Alfie, he is just a double.”

They also made clear that Thomas is no replacement, but one of two children who will always remain in their hearts.

"Sometimes you feel Alfie is in him. You'll say 'Alfie' and Tom will smile. We will always have two children, no matter what,” his father shared. "We're happy for what we had, and what we have still got because we have two amazing children and we will always have them."

“It’s obviously tinged with sadness though as they know Alfie would have been a fantastic big brother, if only he’d managed to survive,” a source told The Sun.

In June, Tom Evans vowed that they would “never accept Alfie’s death or cause of death,” and would continue to speak out on the circumstances and actions leading up to his death. He and Kate are also reportedly committed to helping other sick children in situations like Alfie’s.

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Father Diego Berrio, 39, and Father Edwin M. Giraldo-Cortez, 30
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Two Chicago priests arrested for public sex in Miami

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By Claire Chretien

Warning: This article contains graphic details.

UPDATE, September 4, 2018 at 6:26 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Cardinal Cupich has removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and suspended his priestly faculties. Its statement indicates Fr. Giraldo Cortes (whose name is spelled differently on the Miami beach police report) is an “extern priest” from Soacha, Colombia. The first sentence of the below article has been updated to reflect that.

Here is the archdiocese’s full statement:

We were informed this morning that Rev. Diego Berrio, pastor of Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, an extern priest from Soacha, Colombia who served at St. Aloysius Parish in Chicago for one month, August 1 to August 31, 2018, were arrested in Miami on September 3, 2018. Fr. Berrio was charged with a misdemeanor charge of lewd and lascivious behavior. Fr. Cortes was charged with misdemeanor charges of lewd and lascivious behavior and indecent exposure.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately. The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Misión San Juan Diego as soon as possible.

Archdiocese representatives have been in contact with Fr. Cortes’ home diocese of Soacha, Colombia and informed them that Fr. Cortes will not be granted additional faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry. We take this matter very seriously and will provide updates as they become available.

MIAMI, Florida, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two Archdiocese of Chicago priests – one incardinated there and one “extern priest” from Colombia – were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior after being arrested on Labor Day for allegedly engaging in oral sex in a car on a busy street.

The priests are Father Diego Berrio, 39, and Father Edwin M. Giraldo-Cortez, 30. Fr. Berrio is the spiritual director and canonical adviser for a youth group called Iskali. According to its website, 35 percent of its members are between the ages of 15 and 18 and 55 percent are 19 to 30 years old. Iskali runs “faith awakening retreats” and “seeks to provide a culturally sensitive evangelization experience to evangelize young Hispanics in the U.S.,” according to its website.

The priests live together at 2323 North Wilke Road in Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb, at the Mission of San Juan Diego. Berrio is the pastor there.

“Yesterday at 3:20 p.m., our officers responded to a 911 call reporting that two males were performing a sexual act inside a car in the 1300 block of Ocean Drive,” Ernesto Rodriguez, a Miami Beach Police spokesperson, told LifeSiteNews. “Officers approached the car and observed the reported conduct occurring inside the car.”

The responding police officer wore a body camera, which recorded the incident.

The police report says: “The [sexual] act was occuring in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk. It should be noted that the vehicle’s windows were completely clear (no tints/sunscreening material.)”

Berrio was engaged in a sexual act with Giraldo-Cortez, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. Giraldo Cortez faces an additional charge of indecent exposure because his genitalia was fully exposed.

The priests “did not immediately notice my presence,” the police officer who responded to the 911 call wrote in his report. “To get their attention, I was forced to knock on the window.”

They were arrested “without incident,” according to the police report. The charges they face are misdemeanors.

Both police reports – each priest received his own – indicate that Berrio and Giraldo-Cortez are “in custody.” Berrio and Giraldo-Cortez are both listed as inmates at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Berrio’s bail is set at $250; Giraldo-Cortez’s is set at $1,500.

Berrio has only been a priest since 2008.

In 2015, a priest at the same Mission of San Juan Diego where Berrio and Giraldo-Cortez live was charged with reproduction of and possession of child pornography.

As of 3:14 p.m. EST, the website of the Mission of San Juan Diego had crashed. An error message said the crash was “due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems.”

Alejandro Castillo of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s media relations office told LifeSiteNews the archdiocese is working on a statement that will be released soon. LifeSiteNews will post that statement as soon as it is made public.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is led by Cardinal Blase Cupich, a Pope Francis appointee who according to Archbishop Carlo Vigano owes his rise to power and prominence during this pontificate to disgraced sex abuser ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

“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,” Vigano, the former U.S. apostolic nuncio, wrote in his 11-page testimony on the cover-up of McCarrick’s predation (emphasis in original).

“During the speech he gave when he took possession of the Chicago See, at which I was present as a representative of the Pope, Cupich quipped that one certainly should not expect the new Archbishop to walk on water,” Vigano said. “Perhaps it would be enough for him to be able to remain with his feet on the ground and not try to turn reality upside-down, blinded by his pro-gay ideology, as he stated in a recent interview with America Magazine.”

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

“They are contrary to the natural law,” it says. “They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC 2357).

Father James Martin, S.J., who Cardinal Cupich has defended as the “foremost evangelizer” of youth, has called for homosexual priests to “come out.”

“I would estimate about 30 to 40 percent of priests are celibate, gay priests, a ballpark figure, and if they did come out, their parishioners would see how normal it is to be LGBT,” Martin told the Bay Area Reporter.

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Pope Francis preaches on being ‘silent’ before ‘wild dogs’ in face of Viganó allegations

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis preached on Monday that “silence, prayer” are the best response to people “who don’t have good will.” His homily comes about a week after he told reporters that he wouldn’t comment on allegations from a former Vatican diplomat that he knowingly returned a sexually predatory U.S. cardinal to a position of influence in the Church.

"With people lacking good will, with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction," he said, the best response is "silence, prayer," reported Vatican News. The Pope delivered his Sept. 3 homily, titled “Truth is in silence,” in the chapel of his hotel home, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Earlier in his pontificate, the Pope had been a champion of "dialogue." 

The pope invited his hearers to imitate Jesus by being silent. According to the Osservatore Romano

“The pontiff invited [his hearers] to ask from the Lord ‘the grace to discern when we must speak and when we must be silent. And this in all of life: at work, at home, in society, in all of life. Thus we will be [better] imitators of Jesus.’”  

Discussing the Gospel passage of the day, detailing how Jesus was expelled from the synagogue (Luke 4, 16-30), Francis said it made “us reflect on how we act in daily life, when there are misunderstandings and arguments” but also “it makes us understand how the Father of Lies, the Accuser, the Devil, acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people.” 

Pope Francis reflected on how Jesus had come back to his childhood home of Nazareth after many travels, and the people who came to the synagogue were very interested in what he would have to say. However, Pope Francis said, “Jesus never spoke of Himself directly, but using the word of God.”

“Always, when Jesus wants to say something important, he uses the word of God; also when He wants to conquer the Devil--we think of the temptation in the desert--He uses the word of God.” 

Pope Francis went on to say that the “seeds sown by the devil began to grow” in Jesus’ audience in the synagogue and that is why the people chased Jesus out of the temple.

“They weren’t people, they were a pack of wild dogs that chased Him out of the city,” the pontiff declared. “They weren’t thinking.” 

But in the face of their reaction, which included an attempt to throw Jesus off a cliff, Pope Francis said, “Jesus was silent.”

The pontiff added, “This passage of the Gospel finishes like this: ‘But He, passing among them, set off.’  The dignity of Jesus [is this]: with His silence he defeats the wild pack and leaves. Because [His] hour has not yet arrived.”

“The devil had sown lies in the hearts, and Jesus was silent.” 

One of the most prolific critics of the Church’s clerical sexual abuse scandal thinks that Pope Francis’ homily was a coded response to Archbishop Viganò’s allegations of corruption and cover-up in the hierarchy, allegations that implicate the Pope.   

Writing in the American Conservative, Rod Dreher voiced his belief that Francis was saying that he doesn’t have to answer the allegations. 

“So: the Pope believes that he should not have to answer these very serious and plausible charges made against him by the former papal nuncio because he has judged Vigano a liar,” Dreher wrote. 

“This is weak. This is very weak,” the columnist continued. “Given this Pope’s recent experience with sex abuse — he called the Chilean abuse victims liars, until it was proven that the Pope’s judgment was wrong, and he apologized — he has no reasonable expectation that the public should take his word for it in such matters.”

According to Dreher’s interpretation of the homily, Viganò is the devil, “sower of lies”, and Francis is wearing “a cloak of Christlikeness.” 

“In his homily today, the Pope indirectly called Vigano a liar (“had sown lies in the hearts”),” Dreher continued. “Francis makes this insult while hiding behind a tissue-thin veil of virtue. If Vigano has further documents that can rend this garment once and for all, he should come forward with them now.”

A notable ally of Francis--and a former editor of the Jesuit magazine America--has also deemed the homily an inadequate response to Archbishop Viganò’s charges. 

Tweeting in response to the Crux headline “Pope Francis said Monday that to division and scandal the answer should be silence and prayer,”  Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. wrote, “I love you Francis, but that won’t work.”  

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‘Shame on you’: Man shouts at Cardinal Wuerl as he addresses abuse scandal

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By Doug Mainwaring

Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, DC, September 4, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – As embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl spoke at the conclusion of a Mass on Sunday, attempting to address the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Church throughout the summer, a man stood and shouted, “Shame on you!” 

Cardinal Wuerl was at the Church of the Annunciation in Washington, DC presiding over the installation of the parish’s new pastor.  

This was Wuerl’s first public appearance after keeping out of the public eye for over two weeks.  On August 17, amid outraged calls for his resignation over revelations about his mishandling of priest sexual abuse while Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wuerl canceled a prestigious keynote address at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland.  

Wuerl was also a no-show at the annual Washington Archdiocese back-to-school Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last week.

As the Mass at the Church of the Annunciation was concluding, the somber sounding Cardinal Archbishop of Washington offered prepared remarks outlining his thought on how the Church should deal with multiple scandalous allegations of prelate cover up of clergy sexual abuse and homosexual activity which has now reached not only to the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, but to the Vatican and to Pope Francis himself.   

“Finally, we need to hold close in our prayers and our loyalty our Holy Father, Pope Francis,” said Wuerl. “Increasingly, it’s clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.” 

As Wuerl spoke these words, a congregant sitting in the middle of the church, identified by CNN as Brian Garfield, stood and shouted, “Shame on you!” 

Garfield then left his pew, turned, and walked down the center aisle of the church and out the front door. 

“At each Mass we pray for him [Francis] by name. As we do so with our voices may we do so as well with our hearts,” continued Wuerl, seeming at first to ignore Garfield’s outburst. 

Then, departing from his planned remarks, Wuerl looked up at the congregation and acknowledged what Garfield had said, saying, “Yes, my brothers and sisters, ‘shame.’”   

“I wish,” said Wuerl, stuttering a bit, “I wish I could redo everything over these thirty years as a bishop.  And each time, get it always right.  That's not the case. I do think together, asking for God's mercy, pleading for God's grace, recognizing that we can move into light, I simply ask you to keep me, keep all of those that have been abused, all of those who have suffered, all of the church in your prayers.”  

Afterward, speaking about Wuerl, Garfield told CNN, “I don't think he is a monster but I wish he would talk less about defending himself and more about his failings.”

“It's a little galling to be lectured on transparency by people who are lying to us,” continued Garfield.  “I wish he would talk to us as a pastor and not a politician.”

The embattled Wuerl has been under fire since early August when a Pennsylvania grand jury released the results of two-year long investigation of clerical abuse in six of the state’s Catholic dioceses.  Wuerl’s name was mentioned over two hundred times in that report.  

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro accused Wuerl of “not telling the truth.”

Then, after an extraordinary testimony penned by a former apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò implicating Pope Francis and several senior prelates in covering up disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged homosexual abuses was made public, Cardinal Wuerl was again accused of lying to cover up his complicity.  

Viganò’s explosive testimony details exchanges the papal nuncio had with Cardinal Wuerl regarding McCarrick’s scandalous sexual behavior, who preceded Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington, DC.

“I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions,” wrote Archbishop Viganò, “and I certainly didn’t need to go into detail because it was immediately clear to me that he was fully aware of it.”

The Cardinal’s “recent statements that he knew nothing about it,” said Viganò, “are absolutely laughable. He lies shamelessly.”

Cardinal Wuerl tendered his resignation to Pope Francis a couple years ago when he turned 75 years old, standard procedure for all Roman Catholic bishops.

Pope Francis has still not accepted Wuerl’s resignation and so he remains in place. 

Many Catholics would like to see him removed, and even the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner have published articles calling for his ouster.

LifeSiteNews has launched a petition urging Cardinal Donald Wuerl to resign as Archbishop of Washington D.C. the petition is now nearing 10,000 signatures. 

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected].  

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Pope says litter in oceans is an ‘emergency,’ won’t comment on sex abuse cover-up

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By Claire Chretien

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As sex abuse crises rock the Church in the United States, Honduras, and Chile, Pope Francis has decried the “emergency” of oceans being “littered by endless fields of floating plastic.”

The pontiff has refused to say whether he helped cover up ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s serial sex abuse. On Monday, he pushed silence as an appropriate response to those who “only seek scandal” and “division.”

On Saturday, however, Pope Francis was far from silent about the “lack of effective regulation” protecting “Sister Water” from pollution.

“Our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency,” he said in a message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. “We need to pray as if everything depended on God’s providence, and work as if everything depended on us.”

“Let us ask the Lord and all those engaged in the noble service of politics that the more sensitive questions of our day, such as those linked to movements of migration, climate change and the right of everyone to enjoy primary goods, may be faced with generous and farsighted responsibility and in a spirit of cooperation, especially among those countries most able to help,” Pope Francis continued.

On August 27, Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich told a local NBC station that Pope Francis has a “bigger agenda” than dealing with accusations he covered up sex abuse.

“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.”


As LifeSiteNews previously reported, Cupich complained about the NBC segment after it was released, saying it was deceptively edited to make it seem like he and Pope Francis think protecting the environment and pushing for immigration are more important than addressing the snowballing sex abuse crisis.

“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,” he said.

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.

It was in this same interview that Cardinal Cupich said papal critics “don’t like [Pope Francis] because he’s a Latino.”

Pope Francis ended his message on the “emergency” of littering by suggesting Christians pray for “all those who devote themselves to the apostolate of the sea, for those who help reflect on the issues involving maritime ecosystems, for those who contribute to the development and application of international regulations on the seas in order to safeguard individuals, countries, goods, natural resources – I think, for example, of marine fauna and flora, and coral reefs...or sea beds – and to guarantee an integral development in view of the common good of the entire human family and not particular interests.”

“Finally, let us be concerned for the younger generation and pray for them, that they may grow in knowledge and respect for our common home and in the desire to care for the essential good of water, for the benefit of all,” he said.

In his 11-page testimony on the Vatican’s cover-up of sex abuse, Archbishop Carlo Viganò named Cardinal Cupich and Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin, two Francis-appointed cardinals who have endorsed Father James Martin’s pro-LGBT book Building a Bridge, as owing their rise to power to McCarrick.

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Arizona gov. names ex-Sen. Jon Kyl to replace John McCain

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By Calvin Freiburger

PHOENIX, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has selected former Sen. Jon Kyl to serve the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s term in the U.S. Senate, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran and POW, senator since 1987, and former presidential candidate, died on August 25 following a nearly year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Ducey, a fellow Republican, said he would not discuss McCain’s successor until after the senator was laid to rest this past weekend.

“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl,” Ducey announced. “He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans. I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and college of so many years.”

Kyl, 76, previously represented Arizona in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, declining to seek re-election in 2012. During his tenure he also served as minority whip, and was considered one of the chamber’s most influential Republicans.

The Republic reports that Ducey chose Kyle because his experience in the body will help him “wrap up McCain’s unfinished business.” It remains unknown whether Kyl plans to approach the appointment as a temporary assignment, or run for a more permanent return to the Senate after the current term is up.

"Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John’s,” McCain’s widow Cindy said of the choice. “It’s a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona.” Many speculated that Ducey would choose Mrs. McCain herself to complete her husband’s term.

Kyl’s appointment will bring the GOP’s razor-thin Senate majority back up to 51-49, at least until this November’s midterm election winners take office next January. Conservatives hope the appointment and elections will bring a new opportunity to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. Control of the Senate will also decide the fate of judicial nominees through the remainder of President Donald Trump's first term.

Kyl holds a 100% pro-life voting record according to the National Right to Life Committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and NARAL. However, in 2012 he also crossed party lines to support Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew David Hurwitz’s confirmation to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Hurwitz had previously boasted that as a judicial clerk he helped author a pair of opinions that struck down abortion restrictions in Connecticut and helped influence Roe v. Wade.

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Clergy who promote LGBT are committing a ‘kind of apostasy’: Bishop Schneider

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By Lisa Bourne

DUBLIN, Ireland, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “The Christian family is facing a new Goliath in the ideology of homosexuality and gender,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan said in a recent talk. 

“And unfortunately,” he added, “some in the ranks of the clergy became activists and promoters of so-called LGBT ideology, which is, in reality, a kind of apostasy from the Christian faith.” 

Schneider made his comments in a video address to the Conference of Catholic Families (COCF) which took place in Dublin, Ireland, last month. He lauded those present for proclaiming the truth about marriage and family. 

The COCF “has meritorious courage to resist the totalitarian and worldwide gender ideology,” he said, in contrast to “other Catholic family meetings, which have surrendered themselves to this ideology or willfully accepted it.” 

“Such surrender to the gender ideology and its acceptance constitutes ultimately a betrayal of Christ,” Schneider stated, “an apostasy from the integral and divinely revealed Catholic and apostolic faith.”

Schneider was one of several Catholic presenters who addressed the COCF, an alternative orthodox event running concurrent to the Vatican-run LGBT-affirming World Meeting of Families (WMOF).

“We live in a time in which one of the most beautiful creations of God - namely marriage and family- are under general attack on the side of the neo-Marxist dictatorship which disguises and masks itself with the artificial and bizarre name of LGBT,” said Schneider, “which has gained almost universal power in the media.”

It was puzzling and sad, he said, that collaborators with this general attack on marriage and family could be found “even in the ranks of the clergy.”

Along with the ongoing revelations in the Church’s sexual abuse crisis, the WMOF was overshadowed by concern that pro-LGBT Father James Martin was one of the keynotes. 

Martin, a Vatican advisor and editor-at-large for Jesuit-run American magazine, continually preaches an LGBT-affirming message. He told WMOF participants who traveled to Dublin for the Vatican’s family event that active homosexuals “should be invited into parish ministries.” 

“But right now,” Schneider said, “we are called to be faithful to the unchangeable truths of our Catholic and apostolic faith which our fathers and forefathers had transmitted to us. We have a chance to be courageous witnesses of the divine truth and of the beauty of marriage and family.” 

Despite being smaller than the Vatican-backed meeting and lacking “the sympathy of the powerful of this world” and sometimes even from the official structures of the Church, Schneider told the Conference of Catholic Families, “You are powerful in the eyes of God and of eternity” because “you have the true and undistorted faith.” 

“You can say to the others you have the money and all the administrative and organizational structures you have the applause of the anti-Christian world,” he added. “We, however, we have the faith, and that matters.”

True Catholic families – and fittingly, large families – will strengthen the troubled Church of today with the beauty of the Catholic Faith, the bishop said.

“From that faith will come out new Catholic fathers and mothers,” said Schneider, “and from them there will come out a new generation of zealous priests and intrepid bishops, who will be ready to give their life for Christ and for the salvation of the souls.” 

Christianity was born out of the Holy Family, he said, so that the family may be born again out of Christianity. The first fruit of the redemption is the Holy Family, just as the first blessing of the Creator was given to the family. 

“Indeed,” said Bishop Schneider, “what the current world and the Church mostly need, are true Catholic families, the original places of the beauty of the Catholic Faith.”

“Let us look with the eyes of faith and with the gift of our reason and common sense to the beauty of the divine created author of marriage and family,” he said.

Remaining faithful to the vocation of being a Catholic family

Schneider went on to quote the statements of several popes and others, to illustrate that “the family and the entire human society will flourish only on the condition that the divine truth on marriage and family will be observed.”

There are families, young people, priests and bishops who are marginalized and ridiculed for their fidelity to the integrity of the Catholic faith and of the divine worship according to the tradition of our forefathers, said Bishop Schneider. 

The key to the Catholic family remaining faithful to its vocation, he said, is faithfully practicing daily common prayer.

“My dear brothers and sisters, the first and most holy goal and end of holy matrimony and family consists in giving birth to new citizens of Heaven and to educate them in the Catholic faith,” he said.

“The family is, therefore, the first and original place where the integrity and the beauty of the Catholic faith should be taught to the children and by this way handed over to future generations,” he added. 

Schneider emphasized the crucial nature of catechetical instruction in spreading the glory of God and to secure the salvation of souls.  

One of the main causes of the moral, spiritual and religious crisis of the current time, he said, exists in religious ignorance, ignoring the truth of the faith, and an erroneous knowledge of the faith.

Also among the bishop’s key points were how Christian families must be new crusaders in spreading and defending the true Catholic faith, the importance of the Church’s tradition, and how the spiritual health of a nation depends on this transmission of the faith.

“My dear brothers and sisters, the Catholic family represents the first bulwark of two most efficient weapons against the modern apostasy,” said Bishop Schneider. “The two most efficient weapons against the modern apostasy outside and inside the life if the Church, are the purity and integrity of the faith and the purity of a chaste life.” 

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Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin.
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Bishop Tobin: Viganò’s testimony is ‘substantive,’ should be investigated

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By Claire Chretien

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

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Thomas Tobin called Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s testimony that Pope Francis helped cover up ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual predation “substantive” and said his claims “need to be investigated in a prompt and just manner.”

Tobin, the bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, is not to be confused with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey. Archbishop Viganò named Cardinal Tobin as one of the prelates who owes his rise to power to McCarrick. The Archdiocese of Newark is one of the dioceses that paid a secret settlement to McCarrick victims.

“I need to emphasize that I do not have any privileged information about this matter, nor do I have the facts necessary to come to a definitive, impartial judgement,” Tobin said in an August 30 statement. “Nonetheless, the allegations lodged by Archbishop Viganò involving Pope Francis are substantive, and need to be investigated in a prompt and just manner.”

“The present impasse in the Church, unfolding on an international level, has caused confusion and division among the faithful, even locally,” he continued. “Only Pope Francis can resolve the serious crisis in which the Church now finds herself, and I respectfully urge His Holiness to address this matter as soon as possible. The future direction of the Church, its spiritual welfare, and the faith of God’s people, are at stake.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has said that Viganò’s accusations “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.”

“I am eager for an audience with the Holy Father to earn his support for our plan of action,” said DiNardo.

Bishop Tobin said Catholics need to remain respectful of Pope Francis.

“He is the Vicar of Christ, our Supreme Pastor, and our spiritual father,” the bishop concluded. “Regardless of our perception of current events, the Holy Father needs and deserves our respect, our prayers and our affection, now as much as ever. Members of a family do not abandon their father, even in difficult times.”

Bishop Tobin has announced he will do a 24-hour fast on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as penance for his “own faults and failures as a Christian, priest and bishop, as well as for the sins and failures of all priests and bishops related to the sexual abuse of minors.”

Boston auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed is undertaking 24 hours of fasting and public penance on September 24 in reparation for the crisis in the Church.

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Trump judicial picks flip two federal circuit courts from left to right

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The ideological balance of the U.S. Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals has been shifted from liberal to conservative, thanks to judicial nominees selected by President Donald Trump, with more on the horizon.

Trump saw 24 of his nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals confirmed during the first congressional term of his presidency, IJR reports, exceeding the 15 his predecessor Barack Obama confirmed during the same period.

These two courts encompass stretches of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The Eighth and Eleventh Circuit Courts are also close to flipping sides, and the Trump administration reportedly has a special interest in reshaping the infamously left-wing Ninth Circuit. Moreover, these moves could be even more important than flipping the Supreme Court, as circuit courts are vital to ensuring that controversial, precedent-altering cases reach the Supreme Court in the first place.

“It’ll be really important for the Second and the Ninth Circuits to have between two and four really good, high-octane intellectual conservative jurists,” an unnamed individual “close to the judicial-nominations process” explained to the New York Times Magazine, “because dissents provide a signaling function to the U.S. Supreme Court, and those are very important circuits.”

The end of August saw a flurry of activity on judicial nominations, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell canceling the August recess for the purpose of confirming backlogged Trump nominees.

As of August 24, however, the Senate had confirmed only two of the 180-name list, thanks largely to Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee. For months, conservative activists have blamed the slow pace of confirmations to a mix of Democrat obstruction and GOP Senate leaders not taking a harder line to quash it.

In hopes of making up for lost time, before the end of the month the Senate reached a deal to fast-track an additional 27 executive branch appointees and seven nominees to lower courts, with another eight judges slated to be confirmed this week.

All told, 60 judges have been confirmed since Trump took office, including 33 district court judges, 26 appeals court judges, and Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s transformation of the federal courts has been one of the most significant consequences of Trump’s election in the eyes of both jubilant conservatives and outraged liberals.

“We can win back the House this November, we can defeat Trump in 2020 and we’ll still be dealing with the lingering effects of Trumpism for the next 30 or 40 years because of the young Trump-appointed judges,” Democrat operative Brian Fallon told the Times.

Senate confirmation hearings are currently underway for the president’s second Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

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Archbishop Viganò prays the rosary at the 2017 Rome March for Life Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Archbishop Viganò responds to Vatican pushback about Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis

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By Diane Montagna

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

ROME, September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has responded to Vatican pushback against his statement on Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis, saying the majority of claims made by Fr. Thomas Rosica and Fr. Federico Lombardi are “in their imagination.”

Viganò also said the media now needs to “deal with the real problem: that Francis covered up for McCarrick for five years, allowing him to claim other victims.”

On Sunday, Fr. Federico Lombardi and Fr. Thomas Rosica — who handled the Holy See’s press response to Pope Francis’ private meeting with Kim Davis in 2015 — issued a joint statement disputing Viganò’s three-page account detailing the circumstances surrounding Pope Francis’ private meeting with Kim Davis on September 24, 2015.

In their statement, Rosica and Lombardi admitted to the “fact that Viganò had spoken the night before the meeting (with Kim Davis) with the pope and his collaborators and had received a consensus.”

Lombardi and Rosica claimed, however, that Archbishop Viganò told them privately the Pope felt “deceived” by him, not because of Davis’ stand against the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” but because of her marital history. 

“You never told me that she had four husbands,” Pope Francis allegedly told Viganò, Lombardi and Rosica said.

In comments this morning to LifeSiteNews, Archbishop Viganò doubled down on his initial statement, insisting that Pope Francis “never mentioned Kim Davis” during their meeting at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, on October 9, 2015. 

“Concerning the fact that she was married four times,” Viganò said, “I told [Pope Francis] about this in our previous conversation on September 23, before going to Becciu and Gallagher. Indeed, I added that after her ‘conversion’ to a charismatic church, she took back her second husband,” he noted. Cardinal Giovanni Becciu was at that time an archbishop and Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State. Archbishop Paul Gallagher is the Secretary for Relations with States within the Secretariat.

Archbishop Viganò continued: “The only thing that is true in what Lombardi and Rosica said is that I called them to come over to where I was staying. I only shared with them my grievances over the falsity with which they presented the Pope’s private audience with Davis at the Press Office.”  

“The rest of what they said is in their imagination,” he said.

Since the release of his extraordinary 11-page statement implicating Pope Francis and several senior Vatican officials in the McCarrick abuse cover-up, the media has chiefly focused on questioning or, at times, discrediting Viganò’s credibility. Some have suggested he is a disgruntled former employee, while others have alleged that he himself “quashed” an investigation into Archbishop Neinstedt of St. Paul Minneapolis. 

Viganò has addressed the Neinstedt case with supporting documentation.

In his comments today, Archbishop Viganò said he is finished responding to questions about his own person, adding that it’s time for journalists to investigate the substance of the allegations contained in his 11-page testimony.  He said:

“Having clarified my position regarding [the Neinstedt case in] St. Paul and Minneapolis, and having had this confirmed by Auxiliary Bishop Cozzens, and having further clarified the Kim Davis audience, I do not now intend to return to matters regarding my own person. The media must continue to deal with the real problem: that Francis covered up for McCarrick for five years, allowing him to claim other victims.”

“From now on, I have nothing more to add. Now it is up to the media not to let it go, and to continue to do their part,” Viganò said. 


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

Pope Francis covered up McCarrick abuse, former US nuncio testifies (OFFICIAL TEXT)

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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Brett Kavanaugh
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‘I am a pro-law judge’: Kavanaugh’s opening remarks to Supreme Court confirmation hearing

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh will strike a largely conventional tone in his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, according to advance excerpts released to the press.

“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” Kavanaugh said regarding his own judicial philosophy, according to the nominee's opening statement he plans to make as released by the White House.

“I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge," reads Kavanaugh's statement. 

Kavanaugh pledged that if confirmed, he will “always strive to be a team player” as “part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Kavanaugh thanked President Donald Trump and his family for being gracious hosts toward himself and his family on the night his nomination was announced, and praised the Senate for displaying what he called a “deep appreciation for the vital role of the American Judiciary” throughout the debate over his nomination.

He also followed tradition in lavishing praise on the justice he is slated to replace, the retiring Anthony Kennedy. Calling Kennedy a “mentor, a friend, and a hero” who offered a “model of civility and collegiality,” Kavanaugh credited him with “fiercely defend[ing] the independence of the Judiciary” and being a “champion of liberty.”

Kavanaugh also praised Kennedy during his nomination announcement speech. Conservatives have long anticipated Kennedy’s departure from the court for denying liberty to preborn babies and states setting their own marriage laws.

The nominee’s remarks also singled out Merrick Garland, with whom he currently serves on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, for praise as “our superb chief judge.” Garland was President Barack Obama’s unsuccessful nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and remains a source of bitterness among Democrats.

Pro-lifers are cautiously hopeful, and pro-abortion advocates intensely afraid, that Kavanaugh would vote to provide the long-awaited fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states and Congress to directly vote on whether abortion should be legal.

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Islam has been at war with Christianity for a thousand years

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

September 4, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – At a time when Catholic youth are taught that Islam means peace, pilgrimage and prayer, and Catholic adults are under the impression that Muslims are a misunderstood minority who only want to share their values and their baba ghanoush, it's refreshing to occasionally make contact with reality.

I mean "refreshing" here in the sense that a dive into chilly waters is refreshing. I just finished reading Raymond Ibrahim's Sword and Scimitar, a history of fourteen centuries of war between Islam and the West, and the effect is similar to the shocked-awake effect of a plunge into cold water.

Not that I didn't have a general acquaintance with the history, but one tends to forget the details, and the devil, as they say, is in the details. Ibrahim supplies plenty of those. Moreover, the details are so shocking that one is inclined to think that the devil was intimately involved in the centuries-long jihad against Christendom.

Indeed, that's exactly what many Christians of those times did think. Muhammad and Islam were frequently referred to by popes and peasants alike as "demonic," "diabolic," and "satanic." For their part, Muslims had a particular hatred of Christians. They considered the Christian belief in Christ's divinity to be a great sin against Allah. Wherever Muslim armies went they desecrated and destroyed churches, broke crosses and statues, and made a particular point of violating nuns and torturing priests and monks.

In short, the violent conflicts between Muslims and Christians were primarily religious wars, not, as many modern historians suggest, wars for resources or national interests. Some historians, it seems, are less interested in past events than in finding ways to fit those events into contemporary narratives. Their primary source is their own subjective "modern" outlook. By contrast, Ibrahim, who reads both Arabic and Greek, lets the Muslim and Christian witnesses to past events speak for themselves. Thus, when speaking of the Janissaries – Christian boys who were snatched from their parents and forced to become soldiers of Islam – Ibrahim, relying on centuries-old manuscripts, recounts the horror of the abductions, the abuse of the boys, and their transformation into Islamic true believers who were then turned loose against their former kin. By contrast, according to modern academics, the indoctrination of the Janissaries was "the equivalent of sending a child away for a prestigious education and training for a lucrative career."

Despite the passage of more than a thousand years, the Muslim-Christian conflict was marked by certain constants. There is a remarkable continuity of belief and behavior – especially on the part of the Muslims.

One of the recurring themes is that of world conquest commanded by Allah. Muslims justified all of their wars and depredations during this immense stretch of history by referring to the Koran and to the words and deeds of Muhammad. Muslim leaders did not look upon their conquests as simply local affairs, but as stepping stones to subjugating the earth. Thus, two common refrains across the centuries were "we will stable our horses in Constantinople" and "we will stable our horses in Rome" – and this from warlords who may have been more than a thousand miles distant from either Rome or Constantinople. When, in 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams inquired of Tripoli's ambassador to Britain why the Barbary States preyed on American shipping, they were informed that according to the laws of their prophet, Muslims had a "right and duty" to make war on all nations that did not acknowledge their authority.

Another constant over the centuries is what Ibrahim calls the "win-win" bargain. Whether a Muslim lived or died in battle, he was guaranteed a reward either way. If he survived a raid or battle he would be rewarded with plunder, slaves, and concubines. If he died, all his sins would be forgiven by Allah, and he would be saved from the tortures of hell. In addition, he would be rewarded in paradise with food, drink, and seventy-two "eternally young" virgins (houris). Indeed, Muslim officers and preachers would circulate among the troops before battle, reassuring them of their immortal rewards should they die in battle. Many early chronicles attributed Muslim zeal and fanaticism in battle to the "win-win" incentive.

Still another constant was slavery. One modern historian observes that "the Islamic jihad looks uncomfortably like a giant slave trade." The number of the enslaved was astronomical. It was not unusual for a campaign to result in the enslavement of 100,000 people. Between 1530 and 1780, the Barbary Coast Muslims enslaved at least a million Europeans. Some three million Slavs – Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, and Ukrainians – were enslaved between 1450 and 1783. Millions more were taken captive by the Muslim conquerors of Spain. One caliph, Abd al-Rahman III, had 3,750 slaves and 6,300 concubines.

Slaving raids were also carried out in Ireland, England, Denmark, and as far away as Iceland and Scandinavia. Slaves were used for labor, as soldiers, and as concubines. White slaves were highly prized, especially blonde and red-headed girls and women. Black slaves were routinely castrated. Although few Americans are aware of the fact, the Arab and Ottoman slave trade lasted far longer than the Atlantic slave trade and resulted in the loss of many more lives.

Even America did not escape the reach of Islamic jihad. In its formative years, as Ibrahim points out, America was forced to make jizya payments – amounting to 16 percent of the federal budget – to Algeria for the release of captured American sailors. Indeed, America's first war as a nation was a war against Islam. Over a period of thirty-two years, the American navy fought an intermittent war to put an end to the Barbary States' attacks on American shipping. That is what is referred to by the "shores of Tripoli" in the Marine Corps hymn.

Sword and Scimitar puts to rest several important myths. One of these myths is that Christians were the aggressors in this long and bloody conflict. This is decidedly not the case. For example, the modern idea that "the crusades were unprovoked wars of conquest" is demonstrably false. As Ibrahim points out, the crusades were a very belated response to 400 years of Muslim conquest. Two-thirds of the Christian world had already been devoured by Muslim armies before Pope Urban II made his appeal to the knights of Christendom. Many regions which are now solidly Muslim were once Christian. All of the twenty-two nations which now comprise the "Arab world" in the Middle East and North Africa were Christian. The same is true of Turkey, whose capital, Constantinople, was once the center of Christendom.

Perhaps the major lesson of Ibrahim's timely book is that little has changed over the centuries. One of the misleading myths of our time is that al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and other major terrorist groups have perverted the meaning of Islam. They are variously described as having "hijacked," "distorted," or "misunderstood" the true message of Islam. History says otherwise. According to Ibrahim, "this book…records a variety of Muslims across time and space behaving exactly like the Islamic State and for the same reasons." "Muslim hostility to the West," he observes, "is not an aberration but a continuation of Islamic history." Against today's wishful thinking about Islam's peaceful intentions, Sword and Scimitar documents "what Muslims have actually done to and in the West for centuries."

The historical record also reveals two perennial weaknesses of the Western response to Islam. One is disunity. There were several cases of Christians failing to come to the aid of other Christians. And there were even cases of Christians taking the side of Islam. Protestant Queen Elizabeth I formed an alliance with the Barbary pirates against Catholic Spain, and Protestant Count Tholky of Hungary actually marched with the Turks against Catholic Vienna. Likewise, some Catholic rulers had more interest in fighting other Christians than in fighting the Turks. According to one historian, King Charles V "would spend more time, money, and energy fighting the French and the Protestants than he ever devoted to the war with Suleiman." More shamefully, Louis XIV supported the Ottoman siege of Vienna with men, money, and engineers. When Jan Sobieski's victorious army inspected the field of battle, "a great many French" bodies were found alongside the Turks.

A second Western weakness was indifference. Many Western leaders took little notice of approaching threats until Muslim armies were on their doorstep. As Pope Sixtus IV warned European rulers:

Let them not think that they are protected against invasion, those who are at a distance from the theatre of war! They, too, will bow the neck beneath the yoke…unless they come forward to meet the invader.

Even though the distance between peoples as measured by days and weeks has shrunk drastically, many in the West today still maintain an attitude of indifference toward the threat from Islam. They think that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa can't happen to them. And many in America are unaware of the accelerating Islamization of Europe. They would do well to heed Pope Sixtus IV's words: "Let them not think that they are protected against invasion."

Can't happen in the here and now? As Sword and Scimitar ably demonstrates, what has happened over and over in the past is very likely to happen again.

This article originally appeared in the August 29, 2018 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Pope Francis didn’t just cover up for McCarrick. It’s worse than that.

Sandro Magister

September 4, 2018 (L'Espresso) – "I have read it, and I will not say a word. You [journalists] read it, and make up your own minds. When a bit of time has gone by and you have drawn you conclusions, maybe then I will speak."

This is how Pope Francis responded - on the evening of August 26, on the flight back from Dublin - to those who asked him about the indictment leveled against him that same morning by the former nuncio to the United States, Carlo Maria Viganò.

A very elusive reply. On a par with other previous reactions of his, every time he has seen himself attacked. As in the case of the "dubia" on his doctrinal correctness raised in 2016 by four authoritative cardinals, whom he never wanted to receive or to dignify with a clarification.

This time, however, the object of the accusation is not a doctrinal controversy "ad intra," with little impact on secular public opinion, but a question of sex, or rather of homosexuality practiced for decades, with dozens of partners, by an American churchman of the highest rank, who went on to become archbishop of Washington and a cardinal, Theodore McCarrick.

In essence, Viganò accuses Pope Francis of having been informed by him about McCarrick's misconduct as early as June 23 of 2013, but of having done nothing as a result, or rather of having kept the reprobate close to him as his chief adviser in the appointments that are reshaping the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, promoting his proteges. Only this year, following charges that he also abused a minor, did the pope decide to sanction McCarrick and strip him of the cardinalate.

The accusation is of unprecedented gravity and is difficult to contest in its substance, in part because of the key roles that Viganò once occupied in the curia and in diplomacy. But sure enough, in this case as well Pope Francis has chosen not to react. He has left the task of judging  to media professionals. Sure that many will speak out in his defense, as has already happened with the "dubia," where in effect the subsequent battle in fact played out in his favor.

But that victory will smile on him again remains to be seen.

The McCarrick case is not the only one of its kind that has gotten Jorge Mario Bergoglio into trouble. There is another one that looks like its exact twin. It concerns Monsignor Battista Ricca (in the photo), director of the Casa Santa Marta selected by Francis as his residence, whom he promoted on June 15, 2013, at the beginning of his pontificate, as prelate of the IOR, meaning the pope's contact at the Vatican "bank," with the right to attend all of the board meetings and to access all of the documentation.

During the second half of that month of June, 2013, the ambassadors from all over the world had gathered in Rome. And it was on that occasion that Viganò, nuncio in Washington at the time, met with Francis and told him about McCarrick's misconduct.

But even the appointment of Ricca as prelate of the IOR, which had taken place a few days before, had created quite a bit of distress among a good number of the nuncios, who had known him as a diplomatic adviser in Algeria, Colombia, Switzerland, and then Uruguay, everywhere displaying conduct that was anything but chaste, especially at his last destination.

In Montevideo, between 1999 and 2001, Ricca cohabited with his lover, former Swiss army captain Patrick Haari, who had followed him there from Bern. And he also frequented cruising spots with young men, getting beaten up one time and another getting stuck in an elevator at the nunciature with an eighteen-year-old already known to the Uruguayan police.

Ricca ended up being removed from diplomatic service in the field and recalled to Rome, where miraculously his career became a success all over again, turning him into a diplomatic adviser of the first class within the structure of the secretariat of state, and above all director of the three Vatican residences for cardinals and bishops visiting Rome, including that of Santa Marta, with the opportunity to establish excellent relationships, including friendships, with churchmen of half the world, including Bergoglio, who as soon as he was elected pope admitted him into his most intimate circle, where he still remains today.

So then, among the nuncios gathered in Rome during that month of June, 2013, there were also those who knew about Ricca's scandalous background and thought that Francis was not aware of it, considering his promotion of this character, a few days before, to nothing less than prelate of the IOR.

So there were those who, during those days, wanted to put Francis on guard by informing him about Ricca's record.

Not only that. Among the numerous witnesses of Ricca's scandalous conduct in Montevideo were some of the Uruguayan bishops, one of whom, after Ricca was appointed prelate of the IOR, felt it his duty to him write an anguished letter in which he asked him, "for the love of the pope and of the Church," to resign.

And in effect Francis wanted to see clear documentation of Ricca's record while he was at the nunciature of Montevideo. He had it sent to Rome through his own personal channels, without going through the secretariat of state.

In the meantime, in L'Espresso, a very detailed article on Ricca had come out. Who did not react at all publicly, while in private he dismissed as "gossip" all those facts reported against him, and made sure to make it known that the pope, with whom he had met, also considered it "gossip" devoid of any foundation.

Interviewed in July of 2013 by the Uruguayan and Argentine press about the prelate's fate, the nuncio to Montevideo at the time, Guido Anselmo Pecorari, limited himself to this laconic statement: "I maintain that the question is in the hands of the Holy See. And surely the Holy Father, in his wisdom, will know what to do."

The fact is that at the end of the month of July, during the press conference on the flight back to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, where he had gone for world youth day, Pope Francis was in effect questioned by a Brazilian journalist on the Ricca case and the "gay lobby." And this was his actual reply, transcribed as such in the official bulletin of the Holy See:

"About Monsignor Ricca: I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged. We did not find anything of that. This is the response. But I wish to add something else: I see that many times in the Church, over and above this case, but including this case, people search for 'sins from youth', for example, and then publish them. They are not crimes, right? Crimes are something different: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, sins. But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, 'I have sinned in this', the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins. That is a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope. We have to think a great deal about that. But, returning to your question more concretely. In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn't find anything. This is the first question. Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven't found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with 'gay' on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: 'no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society'. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem. Thank you so much for asking this question."

Three observations about what Pope Francis said here:

1. In maintaining that he had found nothing worthy of blame in the "investigatio" preceding Ricca's appointment as prelate of the IOR, Francis confirmed that the personal dossier on him that was kept at the secretariat of state had been carefully scrubbed of his scandalous past. But in the preceding weeks Francis also had available to him the accusatory documentation kept at the nunciature of Montevideo, incontrovertible documentation, seeing that on the basis of it the secretariat of state had withdrawn Ricca from diplomatic service in the field. And yet he ignored it.

2. Francis applied to Ricca the typology of those who have committed "sins of youth" and then have repented. But this is never the image of himself that Ricca has presented, rather that of one who has always rejected as baseless "gossip" the accusations against his conduct.

3. And it was in reference to none other than Ricca that Francis pronounced the famous phrase that has become the trademark of his pontificate: "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?" With this phrase, Bergoglio reversed completely to his favor in world public opinion an affair that otherwise could have seriously undermined his credibility.

This is the feat that Pope Francis is again attempting today, after the McCarrick affair has been laid bare by ex-nuncio Viganò.

This time as well Bergoglio has refrained from judging. He has put the ball back in the media's court. Where pedophilia is not admitted, but homosexuality is. No matter if it is committed by churchmen who in practicing it completely violate the commitment of chastity that they took on publicly with the sacrament of orders.

Translated by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, USA and published with permission from L'Espresso.

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Eileen F. Toplansky

Opinion, ,

How progressive censorship corrupts students’ minds

Eileen F. Toplansky
By Eileen Toplansky

September 4, 2018 (American Thinker) – In 1937, an editorial in The New York Times declared that "what is truly vicious is not propaganda but a monopoly of it." Thus begins an article titled "Propaganda Techniques of German Fascism," written by Clyde R. Miller and reprinted in the fifth edition of Modern English Readings (1946). This text was used by college students. There is nothing dealing with gender, white privilege, social justice, the religion of peace, or alleged microaggressions.

When pundits discuss the culture wars, it is essential to see how so many present-day textbooks have contributed to generations of young people who have, for the most part, never been exposed to how America's ideals have shaped the country. Instead, students are indoctrinated by public school teachers with connections to Antifa. More chilling is that these same teachers publicly acknowledge they would not protect the rights of students who disagree with them.

Thus, the article by Miller is quite apropos at a time when the education establishment, as well as the hi-tech companies' "monoculture," seeks to monopolize the information highway. As Jeremy Carl writes:

The evidence of Silicon Valley's hostility to the Right is everywhere. Prominent conservatives from Michelle Malkin to William Jacobson to Dennis Prager ... – and an even greater proportion of those whose politics lean farther to the right, many of whom do not have access to mainstream media and rely on social media to fund their work – have seen themselves banned from major Internet platforms or had their content censored or demonetized. In most cases they are not even given grounds for their punishment or means of appealing it. While some more 'mainstream' conservatives may not feel excessively troubled by the banning of more provocative voices farther to the right, in taking this attitude they make a tactical, strategic, and moral mistake. They do not understand how the left operates. When voices farther to the right are removed, mainstream conservatives become the new 'far-right extremists' – and they will be banned with equal alacrity.

Then there is Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, which "has been permanently suspended from Facebook's Instagram platform for 'hate speech' after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem."

In fact, as Miller asserts, "the extent to which the propaganda machinery of a country has been brought under the control of one organization or a group of related organizations is a useful measure of the degree to which absolutism dominates it, of the extent to which democracy has been eliminated."

But "when ... this monopoly aspect of propaganda is held in check by rivalries between competing organizations, then political, economic, educational, and religious spokesmen are able to and actually do disseminate rival propagandas. This gives those at whom the rival propagandas are directed some freedom of choice among the alternatives offered them."

That is why to any freedom-loving American, the spectacle of censoring speakers such as Candace Owens, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, and others is so terrifying. Yet, "on Feb. 1, 2017, the University of California, Berkeley erupted into violence. Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was set to speak and an estimated 1,500 people showed up to protest, some with the goal of shutting down the speech 'by any means necessary.' Protesters set fires, hurled Molotov cocktails, and allegedly assaulted other members of the crowd. Their efforts were successful. The speech was canceled. There was $100,000 worth of damage. In an essay for the Berkeley student newspaper, one student wrote, 'Behind those bandanas and black T-shirts were the faces of your fellow UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College students[.]'"

These students ignore the words of Zechariah Chafee, Jr., who wrote in 1941, "freedom of speech creates the happiest kind of country. It is the best way to make men and women love their country."

The "power of propaganda increases as its control becomes more centralized, as the trend to monopoly increases." Moreover, "this process is stimulated by the centralization of the control of the economic structure of a country." This is the real reason why the Democrat/Socialist Party decries the economic success of Trump and the American people – "the ability of individuals and organizations in democracies to enter their special viewpoints into the rivalry of propagandas is restricted chiefly by economic considerations. Professional propagandists, public relations counselors and individuals and groups with large financial resources have an advantage over those with small resources." It is why George Soros's fingerprints are all over any progressive message.

But when the little guy gets a chance at capturing the brass ring, this infuriates the progressive socialist leanings of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Andrew Gillum, both supported by Bernie Sanders. They and others who espouse centralized control pose an economic existential threat to America. As Miller asserts:

Fascism is the outcome of economic and political instability. It is an undemocratic means for dealing with the mass unemployment of city workers, the economic distress of the middle classes, the impoverishment of farmers and the efforts of those groups for economic reforms.

Thus, we are privy to Pelosi trying to convince Americans that more jobs is a bad thing for the country and a booming economy is something to scoff at. 

Miller writes that fascist Germany "helped convince the people of the efficiency of the national Socialist solution for the country's political and economic problems." It was also "reinforced by an army of storm troops that weakened opposition through terrorism."

Antifa, Black Lives Matter, La Raza all seek to harm America through any means possible. They are the latter-day storm troops.

The term "economics precedes politics" is often quoted, but in Nazi Germany and, I daresay, any dictatorial environment, it seems to work the other way around. Miller contends (emphasis mine) that under Nazism, "political control dominated economic control and capitalism as free enterprise became a Glittering Generality [a device by which the propagandist identifies his program with virtue words such as love, generosity and brotherhood]." When one considers the suicidal path of socialist/communist countries, e.g., Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, it is clear that people grievously suffer. Constantly publicized as a means to assist the common man, socialism always fails to improve the general welfare as the government conceives it."

During Hitler's reign, American newspaper correspondents would point out (emphasis mine) that "Hitler's addresses [were] often unintelligible [yet] large numbers of his listeners apparently listen[ed] with their emotions. When their tension [became] high, they intercept[ed] the speech by emotional outbursts[.] Here we see the force of language with or without meaning as a molder of public opinion. Only intelligent citizens skilled in analysis of propaganda and immunized against the wiles of the orator were unaffected by Hitler." 

A "master propagandist to be effective, must be keyed to the desires, hopes, hatreds, loves, fears, and prejudices of the people." He knows "that most human beings crave a scapegoat to take the blame of disaster and to bolster their own pride." In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews; in Communist China, it was the intellectuals. In America, it is the one percent or the people who cling to their guns and Bibles. Thus, it is imperative that impressionable people learn about the dire results of socialism.

It was Ronald Reagan in 1975 who warned that "if Fascism ever comes to America, it will be in the name of Liberalism." You can add the terms "socialism," "progressivism," and "democratic socialism" to the brew. They all add up to the same ultimate misery.

Eileen can be reached at [email protected].

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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A rape pandemic has hit India, and people are blaming pornography

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – For some years now, the rise of sexual violence in India has been attracting international attention, triggering massive protests, and shocking millions with grisly tales of brutal gang rapes—some of them occurring in public and in broad daylight.

Headlines of this sort occur almost daily in India now, with India’s Supreme Court even asking a tragic and plaintive question in early August: “What is to be done? Girls and women are getting raped left, right, and centre.” 

The specific case the Court was referring to was of thirty girls in a Bihar shelter who, allegedly, were sexually abused over a number of years. The abuse was exposed by a ten-year-old child who fled to a police station to beg for assistance, where she told law enforcement that men came to pick up girls from the shelter and returned them hours later, broken and sobbing. According to Justice Madan Lokur, “a woman is raped every six hours in India”—and many of these abuses are taking place in the very shelters founded for their protection. 

Mari Marcel Thekaekara, a human rights activist based in Gudalar, Tamil Nadu, has an unpopular take on this ugly state of affairs that has not received the media attention typically accorded to these atrocities. The president of the Nilgiris chapter of the All India Women’s Conference, Thekaekara recently wrote an editorial in The Guardian with a blunt title: “Sexual violence is the new normal in India—and pornography is to blame.” Her analysis is incredibly damning. The world hears about the rapes, she wrote, but where is this rise in sexual violence coming from?

She reports speaking to one social worker in the province of tribal Jharkhand, who notes that “rape is now rampant”—but that there is more to the story:

Boys as young as 10 download pornography from mobile phone shops for as little as 10 rupees (12p). The combination of endless, violent porn videos and alcohol appears to be a lethal trigger for many rapes in India– a country where traditional Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh society strictly forbids not just sex outside marriage but any mixing of the sexes in towns and villages. Arranged marriages are still the norm across all religions. For repressed men to be fed a constant diet of porn on their phones is a recipe for disaster.

The infamous gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012 that led the city to be called the “rape capital of the world” was carried out by six men who had just been watching violent porn while drinking alcohol, another taboo in orthodox Indian families.

Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, a child rights activist for nearly 30 years, told me: “Society is being sexualised, there is sexual content everywhere, in films and music. Rampant, vicious porn is easily available to children. Middle-class families may monitor what their kids watch, but uneducated and illiterate people haven’t a clue about what their kids see on their phones. The vegetable vendor near my house sits glued to his mobile all day. Two young boys with one wire plugged into an ear each, sharing a video. I can assure you they are not watching the news.”

Thukral, like me, is depressed. “Why should the supreme court publicly lament the situation?” she said. “We look to the supreme court for solutions, not laments. It needs to see that implementation of laws regarding women’s safety is stringently carried out.”

For decades, women’s groups have fought long and hard to put safety measures in place through special laws. But where is the proper governance and monitoring of juvenile homes and women’s shelters? We have special police now, to check on internet crime, harassment and abuse. How do we protect children and women from predators and harmful porn?

My liberal friends have fought for civil liberties and freedom of expression over the years. As a journalist I support that. But grassroots activists like me are increasingly sick of liberals fighting for freedom to watch violent, sadistic porn. One tired human rights defender said: “It’s hard to stomach glib sermons on the right to freedom to use a potential ‘driver of rape’ [porn] when faced with a wounded, bleeding raped woman or child.”

Thekaekara is precisely right. Those of us who have spent time with the victims of porn-inspired sexual assaults now see pornography as the ugly and vicious poison that it is. Her analysis is to the point: “It’s time for the courts and the government to look seriously at how we can clamp down on porn in India.” And why? Put simply, to protect women and children. Once you have looked a broken-hearted girl in the face, empty tropes about the “freedom” to watch videos in which multiple men physically destroy a girl in the most degrading way the human mind can conjure stop sounding like principled libertarianism and begin to sound genuinely insidious.

There are still those who insist that pornography is a benign and solo sexual activity, but their flimsy protestations are being swept away by a tidal wave of evidence. As Dr. John Foubert, the author of a sweeping meta-analysis on pornography titled Porn Harms, has pointed out, over fifty studies have now established a connection between porn and sexual violence—and the statistical chance that this connection does not exist is one in 88 decillion. When I debated Dr. Annalise Trudell on the social impact of porn on the Andrew Lawton Show last year, even she admitted that she has worked with many girls who have been the victims of porn-inspired assaults. Although she was arguing for the pro-porn position, by the end of the debate she agreed with me that most pornography is genuinely harmful.

It is long past time for nations around the world to look at the damage being inflicted by Internet pornography and ask an important question: Is permitting the widespread availability of this material worth the cost? Is it worth the brutalized women and children, the broken marriages, the shredded social fabric of society, and the normalization of sexual violence? Or is it perhaps time that we began to treat pornography like any other toxic substance? 

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Catholic prelates must speak out, now, as the faithful are attacked by their own shepherds

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By Maike Hickson

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The following reflection is the result of a couple of days of my reading and thinking about the last five years, but then also about the last fifty years. Trying to get an interview with a prominent Catholic politician, I just wrote: “What went wrong in the last fifty years in the Church to such an extent that we could have now the McCarrick case?” And now we all have to figure that out.

As I recently wrote for different European outlets, at the heart of the matter is the loss of the Faith and the loss of the supernatural attitude and sensitivity. If I am constantly aware of a) the need of God's grace to live a good life on earth unto eternal salvation and b) the danger of sin and the effects of a scandal, then all my acts will be more prompt unto the good, i.e., the salvation of souls. Thus, if I as a bishop see a priest living a homosexual life, I would promptly rebuke him, for the good of his own soul, and remove him from the priesthood, for the sake of the salvation of others.

It is that simple. Yet, the last decades have shown that those in responsible positions did not have that supernatural promptitude, but they too easily accommodated themselves to other entities or attenuations, such as human respect, the “carnal prudence” not to cause a stir, to let things sleep that sleep. And these avoidances apply also to cardinals and popes, as we now have painfully seen in the recent weeks.

Let us consider here what Edward Pentin just wrote. Speaking about the former Pope Benedict XVI and the punitive sanctions he allegedly had put on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Pentin quotes a “reliable source close to Benedict” as saying:

The source said the allegations of abuse of seminarians by McCarrick, now 88, were “certainly something known” to Benedict. And, he said, “Certainly, it was known that McCarrick was a homosexual, that was an open secret, all were very aware of that.”

So, let us assume that at that time, it was not yet known that McCarrick had also abused minors, as it has been made known in the recent weeks. The source close to Benedict says that people knew in the Vatican that McCarrick was a practicing homosexual (and with seminarians who were under his authority, to boot). Why was he then not removed from his office? Why was he just quietly told to withdraw from public life, without even further punishing his violations of that private command?

Is this the way that the Catholic Church takes the Catholic Faith and her teaching seriously? Is this how you say what you mean and mean what you say? And then act accordingly!

Pentin himself ends his article with three very important questions:

  • Why were Benedict XVI’s sanctions against McCarrick never made public, and given only in the form of a private instruction?
  • Why were the sanctions not properly enforced after they were ordered?
  • What role did Cardinal Bertone play in the execution of Benedict’s order (in his testimony, Archbishop Viganò asserts that the cardinal had obstructed it)?

In light of these fundamental questions, I would also ask: what did the victims themselves and those who witnessed McCarrick's homosexuality think when they never saw any sanctions put on him in public for his grave misbehavior? The victims must have thought that the Church does not sincerely care, after all; and the witnesses must have thought the same. Words become empty and hollow.

Here I wish to quote Matthew Schmitz whom I regard as one of the most honest members of the younger generation of writers who assesses the Church's situation with a clear and a logical mind. In an article for the Catholic Herald in England, for example, he says that this false “truce” between the conservative forces and the progressivists in the Church in the last decades has led to this current disorder and spreading ruin. He says that this false peace – a kind of tranquilization – has to end. This peace was a deception, and a self-deception, too!

Describing the false truce in the Catholic Church with regard to Humanae Vitae (1968), Schmitz says:

In that year [1968], Pope Paul VI famously reaffirmed Catholic teaching on birth control in Humanae Vitae, but then declined to discipline the many bishops and priests who rejected that teaching. The result was an uneasy truce: the teaching was formally upheld, but obedience to it was not demanded.

Yes, that's what it was. The popes did not really mean what they said because, otherwise, they would have insisted that each one of their clergymen dutifully uphold that teaching. It is very simple. If I tell our sweet children that they should not take the cookies, but then do not say a word when they do it in any case, they conclude that I did not mean my words sincerely and seriously. This applies to all of us, to be honest. And this could be applied, for example to the cases of moral dissenters such as Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper. Why did Pope John Paul II make both of them cardinals in 2001, in spite of their previous grave disobedience and heterodoxy with regard to matters of life and marriage?

Schmitz has a form of honesty that is now much needed when he continues, saying:

The same dynamic played out in 2005, when the Vatican decided that men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should be barred from the priesthood.

Countless bishops ignore this guidance; some even tolerate discreet romances. They only require that the priests not openly challenge Church teaching.

Yes! That is it. They put out a teaching they did not then adequately implement. It was a sort of a fake-teaching. As Schmitz says, this attitude does not do justice, neither to those who wish to preserve the teaching, nor to those who don't. In another truthful article for the New York Times, Schmitz comes back to this topic of a false truce and warns us once more of a false accommodation between the two “camps” within the Church. He calls for the resignation of each one of the members of the Church's hierarchy who has participated in the cover-up, and he then adds:

But even if all the men at fault are held accountable, the hypocrisy will continue. The real danger the church faces is not ideological challenge from left or right but a muddled modus vivendi that puts peace before truth.

Yes, that it is what it is. We have put peace before the truth, for too long. If Pope Benedict would have been more concerned about the truth of the Gospel, he would have put McCarrick back into the state of a layman. And he would have made sure that the whole world knew it, so that McCarrick's victims will then be justified in public and will be given some recompense, at least morally.

Here Schmitz reminds us of what the Church really teaches – in spite of how she has acted for too long:

According to Catholic teaching, every act of unchastity leads to damnation. But many bishops would rather save face than prevent the ruin of bodies and souls. If the church really does believe that homosexual acts are always and everywhere wrong, it should begin to live what it teaches. This would most likely mean enforcing the 2005 decree and removing clergy members caught in unchastity. If the church does not believe what it says — and there are now many reasons to think that it does not — it should officially reverse its teaching and apologize for centuries of pointless cruelty.

O! How these words are a breath of fresh air! Let us, finally, start ourselves using better reasoning with a valid logic. Let us turn on our “thinking machines,” as it were, and act as if Our Lord's words really matter.

I am with Matthew Schmitz. This whole false truce needs to stop. “Everyone who wants to end sex abuse should pray that the Catholic civil war does not end in stalemate.” Nor in a dishonorable impasse.

I wish at this point to speak openly about my own attempts to receive information, or even a slight confirmation, from high-ranking sources in Rome. It has been my experience over the past five years that they are reticent even to talk about the slightest thing. They would rather be silent while we the sheep are being harmed by the wolves. We should start calling them out, too. Where are they when the Pope undermines Christ's teaching on marriage, when he puts in doubt all kinds of long-standing teachings of the Church? Contrary to all fantasies on the part of the progressivists, there is no alliance between the resisting laypeople and high-ranking clergymen. No, we lay people have had to do most of our work by ourselves, and we had to be grateful if we received a crumb. But a crumb it was, and nothing more. It is they who should have told us, already a year ago, about the background story of this terrible homo-and-drug party in the Vatican, and who else participated in it. It is they who should have alerted us about what the Pope is really up to. Why did most of them leave us alone? Why were they silent when they saw to whom Pope Francis gave greater power and influence, in spite of the damning facts that they knew, but we did not? As I recently reported, one very good source told me that some high-ranking curial members in Rome knew about the private restrictions placed on McCarrick under Benedict. Why did they not at least leak that information to good journalists, so that some of us could have called Pope Francis out already in 2014? Why all these years squandered, with so many souls possibly lost?

I as a German am well aware that there will be later generations who will ask: where were you, and what did you do at that time?

I shall then make my own contribution so that that fuller history will one day be written, and each one of the cardinals should be aware that they will, even then, be held accountable.

This time of turmoil will be over. Be aware of that, please.

We as faithful have a right to know if there is a wolf on the loose in the sheep's den. It is utterly irresponsible for each and every one of the influential clergymen who remained silent.

And who do not now, not even now, rush to Archbishop Viganò's side to defend him.

In this light, I wish to quote Dr. Markus Büning, himself a German sex-abuse victim who did not speak about his abuse for many a year. He has now received some material recompense, but his life has been tainted forever. He now accuses all of us of papolatry and says that we must stop defending the popes in whatever they may choose to do. And he does not exclude himself from this requirement, saying that his own conservative upbringing inclined him to be silent – or mute – about papal actions that, instead, should have been criticized. He has now written an article in German entitled: “Why the truth makes us free.” He calls upon Pope Francis to answer those just questions that have been raised in the wake of the Viganò report.

Do these prelates and popes really think they are not finally accountable to all the Catholic faithful in the world, as to whether or not they have safeguarded the Faith and protected the vulnerable souls from evil, the only reason why they are in their ecclesiastical offices in the first place? Do they act as if God exists?

Markus Büning writes:

One thing is very clear: the Pope's pouting words “I shall not speak a word about it!” are not at all sufficient here. No, he is called to present the matter from his own standpoint. If he does not do it, the dirt as described by Viganò will remain on his white cassock!

The Pope must be aware of that, truly. No, the Pope also has to give answers to questions, when he is being accused of something. He is not the dear God! All corrupt papolatry – whether conservative or progressivist – has to find an end, and for good! If this is not the case, the abuse cases will never be investigated and clarified.

There is nothing to be added to such a trenchant word from Dr. Büning.

Let us help start a house cleaning. May all those who defy Christ's teaching either sincerely convert or honorably leave the Catholic Church, so that the little ones not be harmed any more, and so that the faithful may be sanctified in grace unto eternal life.

May the Grace of Christ become more fully alive once again in the Church, with many of its beautiful fruits for everyone to see and savor!

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A German Catholic laywoman’s open letter to Pope about intercommunion disaster

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By Maike Hickson

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, a German laywoman who wishes to remain anonymous due to the pressures in Germany sent a letter to Pope Francis expressing her anguish over the continuous disrespect that is shown to the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Eucharist in many instances in Germany. She names events where Catholic priests, without being corrected, signed a text with Protestant ministers, inviting each other and the parishioners to share the Protestant last supper and the Catholic Eucharist.

Now, in light of the recent papally approved publication of a highly controversial document by the German Bishops' Conference concerning Communion for Protestant spouses, she asks the Pope to correct these errors and to become “a powerful voice.” The Catholic laywoman tells us that “we must never profane the mystery of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Resurrection and His permanent Real Presence in the consecrated host and reduce it to a time-limited worldly thing,” sharing the Holy Eucharist with others “like bread.” She reminds Pope Francis that he should “tend the sheep” and be “concerned with the salvation of souls.” “If the Church, and you as Pope,” she continues, “do not radiate a reliable authority, because you relativize essential notions such as truth, sin, and judgment, and because you leave it up to the decision of the individual conscience to assess those notions, the credibility of the Church is gone.”

This courageous laywoman also refers back to an open letter to Pope Francis concerning the question of Communion for the “remarried” divorcees that I myself once wrote, at the end of 2014. Pope Francis therefore cannot claim that there were no Catholic laywomen who cried out to him for help, also not in light of the current abuse crisis where more than 30,000 Catholic women now call upon him to answer the questions that have been raised by the Viganò report.

Below is the official English text of the letter as sent to Pope Francis by this Catholic laywoman.


Letter of a Concerned German Catholic Woman to Pope Francis

Holy Father,

On 27 June, the so-called “orientation aid” for the German Bishops' Conference concerning “confessionally mixed marriages and a sharing in the Eucharist” was published, after you had let it be known, through Cardinal Reinhard Marx, that you agreed with the publishing of it. Subsequently, several German dioceses have already announced that they wish to implement this “orientation aid,” that is to say, to admit, on a regular basis, individual Protestant spouses to Holy Communion.

At the beginning of May, there took place in a Catholic Church in my home country a Protestant last supper service, where all baptized persons of both confessions were invited to the table.

I realized with pain that one has turned the mystery of our Catholic faith into an open secret which is not anymore a secret and which one simply now shares like a piece of bread.

I have long reflected upon the question as to whether or not I should write this letter. It is a call for help from a practicing Catholic who loves Our Redeemer Jesus Christ, and who receives Him in Holy Communion, and who loyally stands by the Catholic Church.

My letter was inspired by the Open Letter of a concerned American Catholic to the Pope. Maike Hickson, whom I know as a deeply faithful Catholic, published this letter first in 2014. She then saw the dangers and the confusion which would be caused by the then-discussed admission of remarried divorcees to Holy Communion. She called upon you not to undermine the Catholic moral teaching and asked you not to take away from men the orientation which helps them to recognize their own guilt and awakens their contrition, without which there can be no forgiveness granted.

Mrs. Hickson's call for help at that time has not lost any of its actuality. On the contrary, it has been proven right in light of the discussion about Amoris Laetitia and the admission of the remarried divorcees to Holy Communion.

As a German Catholic in the year 2018, I belong to a group of the faithful who feel increasingly insecure, especially because the Catholic Church in Germany, with papal approval, now goes its own ways, at the cost of the catholicity of the one Catholic Church.

What especially pains me is the unprecedentedly careless attitude toward the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Holy Eucharist, which has now finally attained its sad peak in the permitted possibility of admitting the Protestant spouses of Catholics to Holy Communion.

I simply cannot understand that you as Pope also so obviously ignore in this matter any admonishments and questions. That is why I now take the courage to write this letter. It does take courage, in this hostile climate in which those Catholics who are loyal to the Magisterium often have to face much more than a lack of understanding. Yes, I also suffer from the fact that these anguished Catholics do not receive support, of all people, from their own Pope.

Catholics who are still loyal to the one true Catholic Church of Christ – for whom faith and reason are not antonyms, and for whom the Catholic understanding of the Sacraments and of the Church are not up to discussion – are today being systematically marginalized, because they appear to be an obstacle. That this is not at all just a vague feeling of mournful “conservatives,” I have experienced at close hand during a recent homily of the retired Curial Cardinal Walter Kasper in May of this year in Southern Germany. He actively promoted the admission of Protestant spouses to Holy Communion and called these Protestant spouses “fresh cells in the body of the Church of Christ.” Moreover, he suggested that those who are not of his opinion were applying for the Protestants an opposite notion, namely that of a disease-inflicting “bacillus.”

Holy Father, it is good that Our Lord has given us – when installing St. Peter himself and establishing the apostolic succession – God's representative on earth, whom we may call Father and who is our good shepherd who tends Christ's sheep and is concerned with the salvation of their souls and protects them from evil.

From a father, we expect a good example and leadership, meekness, but also strictness, merciful goodness and consistency. But if the Church, and you as Pope, do not radiate a reliable authority, because you relativize essential notions such as truth, sin, and judgment, and because you leave it up to the decision of the individual conscience to assess those notions, the credibility of the Church is gone.

There is only one Truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Everything else that denies Revelation, is a contradiction in itself, and is not based on reason. There is no such thing as a relative truth, or many equally valuable truths. If you are the Pope of the indivisible, one, true, Catholic and apostolic Church, then you are it. Period. Not less, but also not more!

Without this truth, there is no discernment of spirits anymore, something which should – as something coming from St. Ignatius' own thought – be important especially to you as a Jesuit. Otherwise, there are always going to be some kind of exceptions from the rule, and sin is then not anymore even to be considered a sin. Each person will now decide in his own “decision of conscience” – which will then have long ceased to exist – whatever he may somewhat feel to be a sin.

Nothing is more merciless than a God who is only merciful, but not also just. It is a treason to souls to reassure them in their belief that God would not judge them.

You as our Pope wish to pronounce God's mercy and you wish to be a merciful shepherd. That is exactly why you may not try to twist the notion of mercy – for the sake of a pastoral approach to man –  and thereby to overstretch it in such a way that it bursts. That would be no help for spouses in mixed marriages. Nor would it help true ecumenism. That is to say, when a reasonable attempt at a Protestant-Catholic unity in an ecumenical spirit leads to the fact that Our Lord is not any more sacrificed in the sacrifice of the Mass, but on the altar of ecumenism, then altar and ecumenism will be seen to have feet of clay. Do you, as representative of Christ, take a later responsibility for this disorder before Our Lord?

I experience in my home country how great the confusion already is which your pontificate has caused, and I see to what extent even pastors and bishops believe themselves to be authorized to have a free pass for ecumenical experiments with intercommunion and “eucharistic hospitality.” The last supper service mentioned above is part of this phenomenon, and even those pastors were given freedom to do so, namely those who already in the autumn of 2017 in their own city had created the fact of intercommunion, in public, and who also sealed with their own signatures their openly practiced intercommunion.

A Catholic, however, commits a sin if he receives the bread at a Protestant last supper. A Protestant Christian is committing a sin with the Body of the Lord when he receives the Holy Eucharist without that there then exists an extreme situation of necessity. Were he to feel a real spiritual need for Holy Communion, he may, yes he even must, convert. You may not suggest he could simply opportunistically affirm the Catholic Church's understanding of Church and of the Sacraments so that he could receive Holy Communion.

When a Christian follows Martin Luther and wishes to be a Protestant, he is joined, as a Christian, somewhat with the Catholic Christians through their common profession of their faith in Jesus Christ. The Catholic things, however, are not for him that which is alone sanctifying; a community of faith does not mean for him ecclesial community. Especially as a German Catholic, I am very attentive to it. It is sufficient to read the declaration of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD), in order to know that the growing protestantization of the Catholic Church in Germany is not at all a fantasy. The demands for an admission of Catholics to the Protestant last supper, for the characterization of dogma as an abstract rule, and the questioning of the notion of sacrifice, of the mentioning of Mary and of the Saints, and also of the Eucharistic adoration are quite clear.

It is hard to have to watch how you as the Holy Father seem to promote the destruction of Holy Mother Church from within. It is difficult, in the face of all that is happening, not to be thrown, as a Catholic loyal to the Pope, into a serious moral dilemma, because a despair and a powerless experience – nowhere to be listened to – gives food for such dispiriting thoughts. I must honestly admit that, during these last years, my trust in you as my Pope has more and more disappeared.

It is possible that I will never learn whether or not you will have read this letter and what it might have caused you to reflect upon. Had I not a life of prayer and the confidence which flows from it, this letter would never have been written.

I pray, because I know that HE will not let his Church capsize and that she cannot ultimately be hurt by men's work. I pray for us all that we may not come to despair over it. I pray for you, my Pope, that you remain in the truth.

In the last months, concerning the topic of intercommunion, I have written twice to the Apostolic Nuncio in Berlin, and especially because of the performed Protestant last supper in a Catholic Church. Such actions already go far beyond the admittance of Protestant spouses to Holy Communion. But I always had the impression that people did not carefully read what I wrote, or that they did not try to understand. One obviously regards the increasing Protestantization of the Catholic Church in Germany as a fact, because I was in the first reply referred back to the “clarification” as given by the orientation aid by the German bishops. The answer to my second letter gave a final blow to all hope for support through the Berlin Nuncio. The last answer that I received from the Nuncio concerning reception of the Eucharist and intercommunion was the following:

The Nuncio is aware that many faithful have been rendered confused and insecure by the events and discussions in the recent past. But you yourself surely know that that which is in the world cannot – or only with much difficulty – be again corrected however powerful the word would be.

I yearn that you, the Pope, the representative of Christ on earth, would be this powerful word....

We must never profane the mystery of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Resurrection and His permanent Real Presence in the consecrated host and reduce it to a time-limited worldly thing.

God will be our Judge, and when we shall one day stand before Him, we had better not have been silent when it was about the truth.

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Why Viganó’s testimony will go down as the ‘clarifying moment’ of Francis’ papacy

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

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

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The month of August opened with a bang—and closed with a nuclear detonation. On August 2nd the world learned of Pope Francis’s disdain for the witness of Scripture and the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Church on the death penalty as he took it upon himself to “develop” into oblivion over 3,000 years of Jewish and Christian teaching. On August 25th the world learned of Pope Francis’s disdain for justice, victims of abuse, and the eradication of the homosexual elite. In the space of a single month, Catholics beheld the prodigy of a pope who neither guarded orthodoxy of doctrine nor protected the faithful from the predation of wolves.

We knew it was bad before, but something has changed. Comparisons are not easy, but I suppose it would be like thinking your country is ruled by Mussolini and discovering it is actually ruled by Stalin. Before Viganò, people could persuade themselves to believe with faint and remote hope that Bergoglio might “come around” and do something about the sexual abuse crisis exemplified in McCarrick, that he might “wake up” to the gravity of the situation and respond as befits the Vicar of Christ. Now, it appears that he himself is the enabler, the patron of criminals, the head of a religious Mafia that has occupied the vineyard of the Church.

There are, it is true, some people who reacted with “I knew it all along! From the very day he stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s…”—and it could be that they were gifted with a preternatural intuition. I was uncomfortable from the very first Angelus address in which he praised the theology of Walter Kasper. There are also those, who, like olympic ostriches practicing the sport of extreme head-burying, continue to defend the pope at all costs (including the cost of their intellectual honesty). 

But for the vast majority, it has been a moment of awakening: the scales have fallen from our eyes, the scales that prevented us from seeing clearly the magnitude of the problem and therefore assessing the magnitude of the solution required. As some like to say, it is a “clarifying moment.”

As such, it is also a moment of decision: decisions about who we are and what we believe as Catholics, how we will relate to wolves in shepherd’s clothing, where we will turn for truth and salvation, and why we will remain faithful in spite of the infidelity of those who were graced by God with the office of teaching, governing, and sanctifying. 

We can see more clearly than ever that we do not and must not lean on men, no matter how lofty their titles, but on Our Lord Jesus Christ, the head and rock of the Church. We see that our religion, in its holy worship, its perennial doctrines, and its life-giving code of morals, is not a man-made edifice subject to constant manipulation but a God-given revelation to which we must submit ourselves and remain unbendingly true. 

It may be that the best effect of August 2018 is that it prompts sincere Catholics—those who still wish, above all, and in spite of all, to follow Christ the King in His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church—to ask painful questions not just about the past five years, but about the past fifty years. What has made this pontificate and its attendant chaos possible? Is it a stray chastisement permitted for the purification of our sins? Or is it the fruition of an entire trend, the distillation of decades of ambiguous doctrine, catechetical waffling, worldly accommodationism, strategic secularization? Are we not beholding the fully consistent manifestation of “the spirit of Vatican II” that not only wilfully outstripped the texts of the Council but had already permeated the conciliar assembly in the well-documented machinations of the progressive European bishops who dominated the proceedings and whose spiritual descendants are today running the show?

Today’s “clarifying moment” is a divine judgment on the evils that were set in motion decades ago, evils from which we can no longer hide if we wish to be rid of them for good, or at least cleanse our lives of their poisonous influence. All of the evils—evils of liturgical deformation, evils of immoral behavior, evils of heterodox teaching—share one thing in common: each and every one is based on a rejection of Catholic tradition.

In times of distress, the only safe path is to follow the tried-and-true path of tradition, that which was handed down and accepted by all Catholics until the postconciliar rupture, and which has never ceased to be followed and transmitted by that portion of the faithful who, over the past half-century, held fast to their inheritance. Concretely, this means traditional liturgy and sacraments, traditional catechisms, traditional examinations of conscience, traditional devotions and spirituality. One can never go wrong with such things in and of themselves, whereas one may frequently go wrong with their modern substitutes. 

We do not want ersatz Catholicism but real Catholicism. August 2018 has dramatically proclaimed that the former is totally bankrupt. It is up to us to draw the conclusion and to act accordingly.

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