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Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington Vimeo
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Certain bishops are cause of continued presence of predators in seminaries and parishes: U.S. bishop

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By Doug Mainwaring

SPOKANE, Washington, September 5, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. bishop says it is not “clericalism” to blame for the scandals now rocking the Catholic Church but “immoral actions.” Laity are needed to lead the way, he says, as are prayer and fasting to drive out demonic forces and degeneracy in the priesthood.

In a remarkable, strongly worded video statement recorded before the release of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's testimony, Bishop Thomas Daly of the Diocese of Spokane rebuked the forces at work in the church in recent decades that tolerated and or covered up sexual abuse by clergy.  

Double lives, depravity, scandalous and immoral behavior

“We’ve all heard or read the sickening details of the Pennsylvania grand jury report,” began Bishop Daly. “The details of Archbishop McCarrick’s abusive actions and double life, and the scandalous and immoral behavior occurring in several diocesan and religious seminaries.”

“It is hard to imagine men who are supposed to lead holy lives and shepherd their people engaging in such depravity,” said Daly. “The reality is, they did.”

“We have to uncover hidden sins, and purify the Church from clerical abuse and degeneracy,” he added.

Diabolical nature

“There is truly a diabolical nature to this crisis,” said Daly. “It is not ‘clericalism.’ It is a crisis, an immoral crisis.”  

“Prayers and fasting are needed as a foundation on which real reform can be built,” said the bishop.

Raising up saints during times of corruption and sin in the hierarchy and clergy

“God can and will use this time to raise up great saints to lead the Church forward,” said Daly. “We know from over 2,000 years of our Church’s history that in times of great sin in the world, God always raises up men and women who are called to lead as holy priests and religious, disciples and reformers, who call the world to faith in Christ.”  

“During times of corruption and sin in the hierarchy and clergy, God raises up holy lay people and families to call again His Church back to holiness,” asserted Daly. “We need the laity to help lead the way.”  

After Archbishop Viganò published his testimony, Bishop Daly appended the following written text to his video statement: 

In regards to Archbishop Viganò's letter, Bishop Daly concurs with the statement of Cardinal DiNardo, President of the US Bishops Conference.

"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. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past."

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected].  



Here is the full text of Bishop Daly’s video statement:

Hello, I’m Bishop Tom Daly from the Diocese of Spokane. We’ve all heard or read the sickening details of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The details of Archbishop McCarrick’s abusive actions and double life, and the scandalous and immoral behavior occurring in several diocesan and religious seminaries.

It is hard to imagine men who are supposed to lead holy lives and shepherd their people engaging in such depravity.  

The reality is, they did.  

As a Church, as a body of bishops in this country, we have not historically responded to these reports in a way that would work to prevent every instance of abuse.

At times, certain bishops have even been the cause of the continued presence of predators in diocesan offices, seminaries, and parish communities.

Much has been said about the improvements since the 2002 Dallas Charter. And it is true: Children are incredibly safe at a Catholic Church.  

And it is also true that more must be done.

We have to uncover hidden sins, and purify the Church from clerical abuse and degeneracy.  

As your bishop, I am committed to you.  

In the gospels, Jesus asks, “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread?”

In response to the abuse crisis in 2002, when the lay faithful demanded action from the bishops, policies and programs were put into place.

Sadly, it now appears that certain bishops in this country gave stones when the laity asked for bread.  

As a bishop, I am called to be a father -- a title that I take very seriously because of the tremendous responsibilities to protect, provide, and assist the faithful of Eastern Washington.  

Please know that our Diocese of Spokane is committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults in our churches.  

We’re also committed to ensuring our seminarians receive formation in a safe environment, and that our priests, religious, and lay staff labor in workplaces free from harassment.  

Any parishioner, any seminarian, any religious sister, priest or deacon who feels harassed or witnesses harassment, should report this behavior to the police if the actions appear to be criminal, as well as to the safe environment offices.

At our chancery we have the Office of Child and Youth Protection.  

We take very seriously every accusation, and commend the courage shown by those who report suspected abuse.  

What can you, as the lay faithful, do to help?

Prayer and fasting. Not because you are at fault in this crisis, but because our collective prayers and works of mercy build up the Body of Christ.  

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said that some demonic forces can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.  

There is truly a diabolical nature to this crisis.  

It is not ‘clericalism.’ It is a crisis, an immoral crisis.  

Prayers and fasting are needed as a foundation on which real reform can be built.

More to the point, every Christian is called to be holy. Pursuing holiness is needed now more than ever.  

God can and will use this time to raise up great saints to lead the Church forward.  

We know from over 2,000 years of our Church’s history that in times of great sin in the world, God always raises up men and women who are called to lead as holy priests and religious, disciples and reformers, who call the world to faith in Christ.  

During times of corruption and sin in the hierarchy and clergy, God raises up holy lay people and families to call again His Church back to holiness.  

We need the laity to help lead the way.  

On a practical note, 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, hoping that this committee will have members of law enforcement, parents, and those who care about the young.  

On a local level, lay involvement in the parish is essential. Your skills and talents enrich the Church at every level. Thank you.

And I would ask you to pray with me for the end of this corruption and degeneracy in the Church, and for the strength of every Catholic to keep the faith.  

Please pray for me as well.  God bless.


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Study: Teen gender confusion associated with ‘trans’ peer groups, prior mental health issues

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Most teens who identify as “transgendered” do so after joining peer groups with other gender-confused teens and have been previously diagnosed with at least one mental disorder, according to a new study being derided by pro-LGBT activists.

Authored by Brown University behavioral scientist Lisa Littman and published last month in the Public Library of Science’s journal PLOS One, the study reviews 90-question surveys completed by 256 parents of gender-confused children. Eighty-three percent of their children were biologically female, with a mean age of 16.4 and 41 percent having expressed homosexual attraction prior to “coming out” as a different gender.

The study found that 87 percent of the teens belonged to a friend group characterized by some degree of “social influence” on the subject, such as one or multiple other teens in the group announcing their transgenderism “during a similar time as they did” and/or exhibiting increased social media or internet use. Sixty-three percent of the teens had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability before deciding they were a different gender, as well.

“The onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe,” Littman wrote. “Parents also report that their children exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity.”

More than a third of these friendship groups eventually saw the majority of its members decide they were transgendered, with their mental health and relationships with their parents deteriorating as a result. Twenty-three percent became distrustful of anyone who wasn’t transgendered, 25 percent stopped associating with non-transgendered friends, almost half attempted to isolate themselves from their families, and 47 percent decided that only “transgender sources” could be trusted to provide information on gender dysphoria.

Notably, the parents reported these findings despite being overwhelmingly pro-LGBT, with more than 85 percent answering that they favored same-sex “marriage” as well as equal “rights and protections” for gender-confused people. Nevertheless, 77 percent of the parents believed their children’s declarations of having a different “true” gender were wrong.

Littman’s findings suggest that what she calls “rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD)” is an effort to conform to one’s social circle, rather than the act of individuality it’s commonly framed as.

“Peer contagion has been associated with depressive symptoms, disordered eating, aggression, bullying, and drug use,” she continued, likening the situation to similar circumstances observed with eating disorders and websites that reinforce them. “If similar mechanisms are at work in the context of gender dysphoria, this greatly complicates the evaluation and treatment of impacted AYAs” (adolescents and young adults).

Ultimately, Littman says, she hopes her study convinces clinicians not to rely solely on a teen’s declarations of gender identity before endorsing or agreeing to help facilitate a transition.

Pro-LGBT activists have bitterly condemned the study, successfully pressuring Brown University to remove the study from its website five days after publication, the Daily Wire reported.

Despite purporting to “have always affirmed the importance of academic freedom and the value of rigorous debate informed by research” and having concerns about methodology, Brown School of Public Health Dean Bess Marcus suggested that the censorship was driven by “Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.”

Further suggesting that gender ideology trumps academic debate, Marcus also highlighted Brown’s “unshakable” commitment to “diversity and inclusion,” and stressed that the school “pride(s) ourselves on building a community that fully recognizes and affirms the full diversity of gender and sexual identity in its members.”

But “there is no question whatsoever that in Western societies, reported rates of transgenderism have been rising dramatically in recent years, as publicity about transgenderism becomes the norm,” the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro responded, noting that the past few years have seen abrupt spikes of transgenderism in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia.

Breitbart noted that parents groups concerned with gender dysphoria, such as Transgender Trend and 4thWaveNow, are standing by Littman and her work.

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Catholic doctors analyze data, prove contraception hurts women’s health

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By Lisa Bourne

KANSAS CITY, Kansas, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann commissioned a study of the health risks of hormonal contraception, producing a thoroughly researched statement warning of the pill’s harmful effects.

Naumann said he wanted an examination of the birth control pill’s health effects in light of this year’s 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, which predicted the dire societal consequences that would result with acceptance of contraception. Naumann is also the head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ pro-life efforts.

“With the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, I asked the Ethics Council to investigate what we know scientifically now about the health impact of oral contraceptives that we did not know 50 years ago,” Archbishop Naumann told LifeSiteNews. “I also felt that a statement about these health concerns would be better received coming from medical professionals.”

Promulgated July 25, 1968, Humanae Vitae warned that if society rejected God’s plan for marital love and transmission of life and embraced contraception, it would result in an increase in marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, a growing disrespect for women and coercive measures by governments to impose contraception on their citizens. All of those predictions have come to fruition.

Several dozen Catholic physicians and healthcare providers in the archdiocese signed the letter, which articulates many of the health risks associated with hormonal contraception. 

The archdiocese’s Ethics Advisory Council, a body formed almost four years ago by Naumann, put the document out. In addition to physicians and healthcare ethicists, the Council is comprised of clergy and the archdiocese’s pro-life director.

“The Ethics Council is chartered to advise me on ethical issues and in particular issues relating to medical ethics and how to best communicate the Church’s teaching,” Naumann told LifeSiteNews. “They are also to assist with the formation of Catholics in the medical profession.”  

The Council has also worked on developing education materials for Catholics on end-of-life issues, and advised the archbishop on the ethical use of vaccines that have been derived from tissue of aborted babies and other ethical issues surrounding vaccines.

It was a tremendously big project to cover, Council Chair and lead physician on the project Dr. Patrick Herrick told LifeSiteNews. Herrick said he’d seen it done poorly in the past and so had some apprehension. Additionally, the Council would be going up against experts that people tend to listen to.

The group began looking at various papers on contraception early this year, and Herrick said once they began, it led to subsequent rounds of reviews, and in the end, a well-researched document.

Approaching this from a Catholic perspective meant keeping the moral element present throughout along with the scientific, and trust in God’s providence.

“It’s interesting that you can see God’s hand at work.”

Risks of contraception ‘have only become more evident’

Herrick brought the statement to the local Catholic Medical Association (CMA); thus, many of the physician signatures are from members of the CMA Guild.

The final statement was covered in the archdiocesan newspaper The Leaven.

“Certain voices have been propagating the narrative that hormonal contraception has health benefits beyond pregnancy prevention,” the letter’s introduction states. “While we do not pretend to know their motives for doing so, we do want to share our judgment on the scientific merit of such assertions.”

“We Catholic health care providers and biological scientists are motivated to speak to you, the people of the church, by our desire for the truth,” it continues. “You have not been adequately informed of the health risks from contraceptive hormones. In the last decade, these risks have become only more evident, with important new and increasingly substantial findings.”

The letter breaks down stats on the breast cancer risk associated with the pill, along with the cervical cancer risk. It also discusses risks for blood clots, heart attacks, strokes,  depression, and suicide, and points out that claims of a hormonal contraception health benefit are not backed by strong evidence.

For example, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), a randomized trial is the best way to prove a treatment’s health benefits.

However, the Catholic physicians’ letter says contraception’s most noted physician proponents, in their best claim of a non-contraceptive health benefit — which is preventing ovarian cancer — have no randomized studies among the 25 cited to support their claim.

Another example concerns the issue of the number of subjects in a study.

Typically, the more subjects in a study, the more trustworthy its results. In the AMA psychiatric journal, a review of 13 studies published since 1995 examining the link between hormonal contraception and depression found that all of the studies that did not show a link between the two had fewer than 10,000 subjects. All of the studies with more than 10,000 subjects showed the hormonal contraception-depression link.

“This is something where the more you learn, the more you say, ‘I should have known,’” Herrick told LifeSiteNews. “We just want people to know this is an area where women are not hearing everything they need to know to make decisions.”

Contraception ‘disrupts the normal behavior of a healthy bodily function’

The letter’s conclusion expresses the often-ignored fact that fertility is not a disease in need of a cure, and that introducing hormonal contraception into a woman’s body opens the door to harmful side effects.

“Most other medical treatments aim to fix something in the body that is broken,” it states. “HC disrupts the normal behavior of a healthy bodily function. It stands to reason that bodily disruption, more so than disease treatment, is likely to have unwanted side effects.”

“Considering recent scientific evidence,” it adds, “we find it remarkably prescient what Pope St. John Paul II, when he was still a bishop, said in 1960: ‘Contraceptives are of their very nature harmful to health.’”

A Catholic approach to medicine also means a focus on facts and the truth.

“We think the public needs to know,” said Herrick. “We think it’s a public health issue.”

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Utah Rep. Mia Love hammers Dem opponent for backing same-sex ‘marriage’

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By Calvin Freiburger

UTAH, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – While most elective Republicans have tacitly surrendered to the conventional wisdom that the Supreme Court ended the same-sex “marriage” debate in 2015, Rep. Mia Love just resurrected it during her re-election campaign.

A recent campaign email from the Utah Republican, who is currently running for re-election in her state’s 4th Congressional District, criticized her Democrat challenger Ben McAdams for saying he was “pleased” when Obergefell v. Hodges forced all 50 states to recognize same-sex “marriages,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported. She said it proved McAdams was not the political moderate he has been campaigning as.

McAdams, who is currently the mayor of Salt Lake County, responded on Twitter by doubling down on his support for homosexual “marriage.” He said he was “proud of my work to build bridges,” and claimed it was “shameful,” “divisive, ugly and wrong” for Love to raise his position at all.

A reply to McAdams’ tweet provides more of the email, revealing that the marriage point was Love’s third example of left-wing stances she believes the media gave “minimal scrutiny.” She also cited his opposition to modest restrictions on abortion.

The Tribune’s Robert Gehrke questioned why Love was discussing same-sex “marriage” in light of polling that suggests 54 percent of Utah residents favor the judicially-mandated status quo, the fact that Congressional action to reverse Obergefell “seems unlikely,” and that Love herself has said relatively little on the subject in recent years.

“This is nothing but a dog whistle, targeted at Love’s hardcore Republican base, trying to get them fired up and scrambling to contribute,” Gehrke said.

In the years before Obergefell, Love declared she “support(s) marriage between a man and a woman,” condemned the Court’s 2013 ruling partially striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, and promoted a rally to preserve marriage before oral arguments in Obergefell began. After Obergefell, she signed on as a co-sponsor of federal legislation to protect the conscience rights of Americans who continued to oppose same-sex “marriage.”

Love campaign manager Dave Hansen muddied the messaging somewhat in response to the Tribune, however, saying the bullet point “was not in there to attack” same-sex “marriage,” but merely an example of “a liberal position at the time” McAdams took.

Love similarly challenged McAdams on abortion earlier in the campaign, noting that he claims to be pro-life yet ultimately supports keeping abortion legal and has opposed numerous modest restrictions on abortion. Love holds a 100 percent pro-life voting record, according to the National Right to Life Committee and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

RealClearPolitics currently ranks the Utah 4th District race a toss-up for the November midterm elections. Love is just below 50 percent in RCP’s polling average but still enjoys a five-point lead.

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Vatican Academy for Life attacks Viganò, tweets articles that it says ‘contradict…account’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Pontifical Academy for Life, recently gutted and revamped by Pope Francis, has tweeted out news reports that it says “contradict Viganò’s account.”

Taking a break from tweets about papal homilies and clean water, the Academy tweeted twice on September 3 about Archbishop Viganò’s testimony concerning Pope Francis’ meeting with Davis. The first tweet, sharing a photo of Fathers Lombardi and Rosica, stated that “Vatican spokesmen contradict Viganò’s account of meeting with Pope Francis about Kim Davis” and linked to the Jesuits’ America magazine. 

The second tweet reads: “Father Rosica quoted verbatim the former-nuncio as telling them (speaking in Italian): ‘The Holy Father in his paternal benevolence thanked me for his visit to the USA but also said that I had deceived him [in] bringing that woman to the nunciature.’”   

It too featured a photo of Rosica. 

Although both tweets were badly received, the second tweet provoked more ire. 

“This is shameful, coming from an agency of the Vatican,” wrote Mari Therese Reyes in response on Twitter. “You’re not doing the Pope any favours [by] doing this.” 

“This agency was purged of excellent servants of God and true purpose - by the Pope,” wrote Loretta Westin also on Twitter. “Shameful tweets is all they have. “

Westin was referring to the sweeping changes made to the Pontifical Academy for Life last June. Among the new members is abortion supporter Nigel Biggar. His appointment was defended by the Academy’s new Chair, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

Paglia is himself controversial for the homo-erotic mural he commissioned for his cathedral church. The archbishop is depicted in this painting clinging to a semi-naked man. Viganò named Paglia as one of the “homosexualists” in the Vatican hoping to change doctrine regarding human sexuality. 

One Twitter-user thought attacking the former papal nuncio was outside the Academy for Life’s remit.

“What on earth is the Pontifical Academy of Life doing getting involved in the partisan attacks on Viganò?” asked Mary Strow. “You should be solely focusing on your mission of the dignity of every human life. This is disgraceful.”

“Inappropriate to use this account for spin purposes,” agreed Abellana Elisheva.

Others cast doubt on Father Rosica as a credible source of information. 

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Here’s what the book ‘The Dictator Pope’ says about Pope Francis’ handling of sex abuse cases

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By Maike Hickson

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In light of the recent allegations of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò concerning Pope Francis’ intimate involvement in the abuse scandal of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, LifeSiteNews thought to present to our readers some excerpts of the 2018 book The Dictator Pope, written by Henry Sire.

Regnery Publishing, the publisher of this book, kindly gave us permission to publish the following excerpts. Henry Sire shows on the following pages how Pope Francis has, over the years, compromised his own credibility by showing leniency toward clergymen who have sexually abused children. Sire also shows how the Pope has promoted clergymen to prominent positions who are either homosexual themselves or who have a lax attitude toward the practice of homosexuality.

Below are some excerpts of The Dictator Pope. LifeSiteNews thanks Henry Sire and Regnery Publishing for permission to republish them.


The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy, written by Marcantonio Colonna (Henry Sire)

The existence of a homosexual lobby in the Vatican, which was revealed by the cardinals’ report of December 2012, is a scandal which Pope Francis has taken no steps to correct, and which he has indeed accentuated. One of the most notorious cases is that of Monsignor Battista Ricca, who is prelate of the Istituto delle Opere di Religione. Monsignor Ricca made his career as a member of the papal diplomatic service. After a posting in Bern, he was sent to Uruguay in 1999 and thoughtfully brought with him his boyfriend, Patrick Haari, a louche captain in the Swiss Army. Taking advantage of an interval between the retirement of the nuncio and the arrival of his successor, Ricca, as chargé d’affaires, settled Haari in the nunciature itself, with a job, a salary, and lodging. The new nuncio, arriving in Montevideo in early 2000, tried to get both Ricca and Haari out, but the former was protected by his friendship with Archbishop (later Cardinal) Re, who was at that time sostituto in the Secretariat of State. The ménage was an open scandal to the clergy and to the nuns who attended the Montevideo nunciature, but nothing could be done, even after Haari was brought home from a house of homosexual encounters where he had been beaten up by some rough trade. Not until Monsignor Ricca himself was caught in an illegal and compromising situation by the police, in August 2001, was the long-suffering nuncio able to get rid of his subordinate. After a further posting to Trinidad and Tobago, where he again quarreled with the nuncio, Ricca was finally removed from the active diplomatic service in 2005, when he was given a job in Rome with the status of councilor of a firstrank nunciature. His responsibilities included the management of the cardinals’ guest-house in Via della Scrofa where Cardinal Bergoglio was wont to stay, and where he famously went to pay his bill on the morning after his election. Given that Montevideo faces Buenos Aires across the mouth of the River Plate, it seems unlikely that the then cardinal archbishop was unaware of the goings-on in the nunciature over the water, but that did not prevent him from striking up a close friendship with Monsignor Ricca, which stood the latter in good stead when Bergoglio was elected pope. Within three months of that event, in June 2013, Monsignor Ricca was appointed prelate of the Vatican Bank. The appointment was the subject of a journalist’s question to the pope a few weeks later, in one of his signature press conferences on board an aeroplane, when he was quizzed about this promotion of a notorious homosexual, and it drew from the pope the well-known comment, “Who am I to judge?” In fact, his patronage of Monsignor Ricca fits the pattern which was well established when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, whereby he surrounds himself with morally weak people so as to have them under his thumb. […]

In June 2017 Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, the secretary of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, was caught by the Vatican’s Gendarmeria hosting a homosexual drugs party in his luxurious apartment in the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio. He had been using his car with Vatican number-plates in order to transport drugs without being stopped by the Italian police. Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who is one of Pope Francis’s foremost yes-men, had proposed this trusted assistant for a bishopric. Pope Francis’s liberalism has only given more power to the homosexual lobby in the Curia. He supported, for example, Archbishop Bruno Forte’s attempt to insert a relaxation of Catholic teaching on homosexuality into the report of the 2014 Synod of the Family (his insertion was rejected). Perhaps an even more scandalous case is that of the notorious liberal (especially on matters regarding homosexuality) Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who, incredibly, is president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and whom Pope Francis has recently made president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, the body which John Paul intended as the watchdog of the Church’s teaching. One of Archbishop Paglia’s claims to fame is his commissioning of a prominent Argentinian homosexual artist to create a mural in his cathedral church that has been described as “homoerotic” and includes the archbishop himself in a net of nude or semi-nude bodies. […]

Despite verbal avowals from Pope Francis that he too is a champion against clerical abuse, this reform of accountability appears to have evaporated with Benedict’s resignation. In fact, for those paying attention, Francis started signaling the new direction immediately by choosing to honor one of the most notorious of the enabling bishops—namely his electoral ally Cardinal Danneels, who appeared with the new pope on the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica on the night of the election. Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-director of Bishop Accountability, has remarked: “No other pope has spoken as passionately about the evil of child sex abuse as Francis. No other pope has invoked ‘zero tolerance’ as often.” Yet in the name of his favorite theme, “mercy,” Francis decisively broke with the Ratzinger/ Benedict program of reform, reducing the penalty for priest abusers to “a lifetime of prayer” and restrictions on celebrating Mass. In February 2017 it was revealed that Francis had “quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of paedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders.”

A particularly notorious case was Francis’ decision to overrule the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s penalties against the Italian priest Mauro Inzoli, who was found guilty in 2012 by an ecclesiastical court of abusing boys as young as twelve and suspended a divinis, which barred him from performing priestly duties. Inzoli had especially angered Italians for the brazenness of his behavior—he abused boys in the confessional and convinced them that his molestation was approved by God—and his love of an expensive lifestyle, earning him the nickname “Don Mercedes” in the press. But in 2014, following an appeal by Inzoli’s friends in the Curia, Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Vito Pinto, Francis reduced the priest’s penalty to a “lifetime of prayer,” and a promise to stay away from children, giving him permission to celebrate Mass privately.

Francis also ordered him to undergo five years of psychotherapy, a medicalized approach favored by bishops at the height of the sex abuse crisis years and demonstrated to have little effect. Inzoli’s two Curial friends were to become significant figures in later altercations between Francis and his critics within the College of Cardinals over Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’s controversial apostolic exhortation on pastoral matters related to marriage and family life. Cardinal Coccopalmerio, a former auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Martini, is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto now dean of the Roman Rota.22 Both these prelates have been key figures in supporting Francis against the critics of Amoris laetitia, who happen to include Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One journalist has commented: “Pope Francis, following the advice of his clubby group of allies in the curia, is pressing to undo the reforms that were instituted by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI in handling cases of abuser priests.”23 This leniency, however, backfired, and after complaints from Inzoli’s home town of Cremona, police reopened the case against him. He was tried and convicted, and sentenced to four years, nine months in prison for “more than a hundred episodes” of molesting five boys, aged twelve to sixteen. Fifteen other offences were beyond the statute of limitations. After Inzoli’s conviction in the civil courts, the Vatican belatedly initiated a new canonical trial. Inzoli’s case is not an isolated one.

Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield wrote that “two canon lawyers and a church official” told her the pope’s emphasis on “mercy” had created an environment in which “several” priests under canonical sanctions imposed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had appealed successfully to Francis for clemency through powerful Curial connections. The unnamed official noted that such appeals had rarely been successful with Benedict XVI. It was rumored that Francis intended to revert competence for sex abuse cases from Cardinal Müller at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Rota and Congregation for Clergy. Instead, Francis merely changed personnel. He summarily removed two Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith staffers in charge of handling sex abuse cases (declining to give any reasons to Cardinal Müller) and then dismissed Müller himself as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July 2017. According to the Associated Press’s Nicole Winfield, Francis also overruled a request by his own sex abuse commission to create a tribunal of bishops to review sex abuse cases.

Perhaps worse, the commission’s guidelines for dioceses on handling abuse claims were never sent to the bishops’ conferences or even produced on the Vatican’s websites. Francis’s new approach of “mercy” and treating sex abuse as a psychological-medical problem, was criticized by a victimsurvivor on the sex-abuse advisory commission, Marie Collins, who later resigned, citing a Vatican culture of bureaucratic obstruction and inaction. “All who abuse have made a conscious decision to do so,” Collins told the Associated Press. “Even those who are paedophiles, experts will tell you, are still responsible for their actions. They can resist their inclinations.” Questions remain about Bergoglio’s knowledge and involvement in the case of decades of sexual abuse of students by priests at the Antonio Provolo Institute, a school for deaf children in Argentina and Verona, Italy. In 2009, twenty-four former students of the institute came forward with horrifying stories of sexual abuse. Pope Benedict’s Vatican ordered an investigation, and the diocese of Verona officially apologized to the Italian victims, but the Vatican has taken no action since, even though the students sent a letter to Francis in 2014, asking him for an investigative commission. The only response the group ever received from Rome was a note from Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who said the request for a commission had been passed on to the Italian bishops’ conference.

In 2016, two of the priests involved, Nicola Corradi and Horacio Corbacho, were arrested in Argentina. The Provolo Association representing the victims told the Associated Press after the arrests that the Vatican had still done nothing and raised questions about Francis himself. “We have to ask ourselves: the Pope, who was for many years the primate of the Argentine church, did he know nothing about clerical abuse in his country?” A canon lawyer for the group, Carlos Lombardi, told the press, “Either he lives outside of reality or this is enormously’s a mockery.” The pope has outraged even his most faithful admirers in yet another sexual abuse case, this one involving Bishop Juan Barros of Chile. On January 23, 2018, the National Catholic Reporter, hitherto a bastion of Francis loyalism, carried an editorial proclaiming: “Pope Francis’s defense of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid is only the latest in a number of statements he has made in his nearly five-year papacy that have hurt survivors, and the whole body of the church.” The article went on: “Within the space of four days, Pope Francis twice slandered abuse survivors. On the papal flight from Peru Jan. 21, he again called testimony against Chilean bishop Juan Barros Madrid ‘calumny.’ Despite at least three survivors’ public accounts to the contrary, he also again said he had not seen evidence of Barros’ involvement in a cover-up to protect notorious abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima. These remarks are at least shameful. At the most, they suggest that Francis now could be complicit in the cover-up.... The pope’s statements on zero tolerance have been strong, but again and again he has refused to deal decisively with those who provided cover for the abusers.... In a bluntly critical statement, the likes of which we have struggled to find parallel in recent church history, Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley said the pope’s slander against survivors has caused them ‘great pain.’...When it comes to confronting the clericalism that is the foundation for abuse scandal, the pope’s stony countenance is part of the problem.”

When Pope Francis’s friends start making remarks like that, a wheel has come off the Francis bandwagon. Matters got worse, when it was revealed in February 2018 that despite Francis’s insistence that he had seen no evidence of victims coming forward to accuse Bishop Juan Barros of a cover-up, apparently Cardinal Seán O’Malley had in fact handed him an eight-page letter by a victim alleging just that—that Bishop Juan Barros had not only covered up sexual abuse but was an eyewitness to it. A copy of a letter was acquired by the Associated Press. To say the least, Pope Francis has not held the “zero tolerance” line of Pope Benedict when it comes to clerical sexual abuse and has been far more lenient, or irresponsible, in dealing with this ongoing moral scandal within the Church.

Editor's Note: the excerpts are taken from the following pages of The Dictator Pope: pp. 63-65; p. 66; pp. 71-76.

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Rod Dreher: Pope’s silence ‘perpetuates a culture of cover up’

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By Lianne Laurence

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ silence in the face of allegations he covered up for and took counsel from serial homosexual abuser ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is “hypocritical,” says the author of The Benedict Option.

Rod Dreher also skewers the notion put forward by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh that the pope’s silence in the face of accusations is an imitation of Christ.

“You really have to be a hardcore drinker of the Bergoglian Kool-Aid to accept the line that the pontiff’s silence makes him Christ-like,” wrote Dreher.

He noted the Legionaries of Christ used similar language when their founder Marcial Maciel was accused in 2004 of sexual predation dating back to the 1970s: “Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.”

That’s not to say the pope is guilty of the accusations Archbishop Carlo Vigano makes in his explosive August 25 11-page testimony, writes Dreher.

But the “idea that Francis’s silence in the face of these damning allegations is a sign of his holiness is the kind of thing you’d have to be a numbskull to believe.”

Since the pope’s supporters are not numbskulls, “It is sadly apparent that for some of these people, cleaning up sexual abuse and related corruption in the Roman Catholic Church is not as important as protecting the advancement of homosexuality and other progressive priorities,” Dreher added.

Vigano alleges Pope Francis and a number of high-ranking clerics knew about McCarrick’s sexual predation, and that the pope not only disregarded Pope Benedict’s private sanctions against McCarrick but gave the former archbishop of Washington positions of influence in the Church.

In his testimony, Vigano maintains “homosexual networks” in the Catholic Church, “which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”

“I implore everyone, especially Bishops, to speak up in order to defeat this conspiracy of silence that is so widespread, and to report the cases of abuse they know about to the media and civil authorities,” writes Vigano.

Dreher also blasts the pope’s refusal to “speak directly” to Vigano’s allegations as hypocritical.

Scarcely two weeks before Vigano’s bombshell, Pope Francis responded to the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse and cover up in six dioceses by declaring “no effort must be spared to create a culture” that would prevent not only clerical sexual abuse but “the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”

Francis’s silence now “perpetuates a culture of cover up,” Dreher wrote.

“He could order the accused cardinals to address Vigano’s charges. He refuses to, and they have said nothing. His refusal perpetuates a culture of cover up,” he added.

“He could order all the documents having to do with McCarrick to be released for journalists to examine. He has not done that. This refusal perpetuates a culture of cover up,” he added.

Pope Francis gave a homily Monday in which he noted Jesus was silent in the face of those in whom the devil had “sown lies in the hearts,” and so became “a pack of wild dogs and chased him out of the city,” and that “silence, prayer” are the best response to people “who don’t have good will.”

Dreher has interpreted the pope’s homily as his justification that he doesn’t have to answer Vigano’s allegations.


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

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Professor at Catholic university seeks entries for ‘art’ project on ‘representing abortion’

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By Calvin Freiburger

ANTIGONISH, Nova Scotia, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A left-wing professor at Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University is soliciting submissions for a pro-abortion art project, a call that has been picked up by several educational institutions in the United States.

Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the Catholic University. Her website says her teaching “centres on my areas of expertise, including historical and contemporary feminist theories, embodiment, and cultural studies.”

The College Fix reports that American schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, as well as the American Association for the History of Medicine, have posted notices in which Hurst seeks submission for a project titled “Representing Abortion.”

Quoting calls by feminist writers to retake “the visual terrain” from pro-life activists, particularly the “field of fetal imagery,” Hurst wants to collect works that “create space to make abortion visible, audible, and palpable within contexts dominated by antiabortion imagery centred on the fetus and the erasure of the person considering or undergoing abortion.”

“Will reclaiming representations of abortion help publicly express the ‘things we cannot say’ about abortion from a pro-choice perspective, like grief and multiple abortions?” she asks. “Alternatively, does taking back control of representing abortion from antiabortion activists provide a space to ‘celebrate’ abortion as a central component of reproductive justice?”

The posting lists several examples of possible contributions: firsthand abortion stories via text or audio, artwork, performances, films, and plays. Another option listed is “making the abortion procedure visible, audible, and palpable in abortion support services (e.g. offering the option to view products of conception; abortion support zines).”

Pro-abortion activists often fixate on emotional appeals by post-abortive women as a silver bullet of sorts to the abortion debate. Such efforts have largely failed to make abortion more popular, and pro-life activists often counter it with the testimony of women who regret and suffered from their abortions.

The University of Pennsylvania and American Association for the History of Medicine did not respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment. Harvard’s Cristine Hutchison-Jones said the school merely “post[s] opportunities to our website that relate to topics of interest to the health law and bioethics scholarly community,” and that promoting the solicitation “does not imply any endorsement or approval.”

“I think making abortion ‘visible, audible, and palpable’ is unfortunate and clearly seeks to make abortion out to be a beautiful thing,” Harvard Right to Life president Kelley Babphavong responded. “We need to show that abortion is actually an act that HURTS, not heals, not only the child, but also the mother — just look at Silent No More as an example.”

“What happened to the days where abortion was supposed to be ‘safe, legal, and rare’?” she asked.

St. Francis Xavier was founded in 1853 as a Roman Catholic diocesan educational institution under the name Arichat College. Its namesake is the patron saint of Catholic missions.

This is not the first time the school has run afoul of Catholic doctrine on the right to life. In 2013 its Coady International Institute invited Michele Landsberg, a radical abortion advocate and anti-Christian voice, to speak at its tenth anniversary dinner. The school is also among the Canadian Catholic institutions currently approved for the Canadian Summer Jobs Program, despite the program requiring recognition of a “right” to abortion.

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Jason Kenny gives a speech at his Pride breakfast, Sept. 2, 2018. UPC / Twitter screen grab
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Jason Kenney slides left, hosts Pride event: ‘We’re free to love as we choose to love’

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By Lianne Laurence

CALGARY, Alberta, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney hosted his own “Pride” event Saturday after Calgary Pride organizers turned down his party’s application to march in their pro-homosexual parade.

“Today in Calgary Pride we celebrate diversity for all Albertans, including gay and lesbian Albertans, and people who identify in different ways in terms of their sexuality,” Kenney said at the UCP Pride breakfast at Garage Sports Bar in Eau Claire Market.

“We want them to know that if there is a United Conservative government in Alberta, all of them will be treated with nothing but respect and dignity,” said the leader of Alberta’s official opposition.

“We're free to love as we choose to love, we are free to live our own lives, and I think, at it’s best, that’s what Pride seeks to celebrate,” added Kenney, who was once regarded as a social conservative on account of his impeccable voting record during his 19 years as a federal Member of Parliament.

“And this is why in the founding agreement of the United Conservative Party, it says that this is a party that believes in the inalienable dignity of the human person, and that ours is a broad coalition of Albertans reflecting the diversity of today’s celebration,” he said.

The September 2 Pride Parade celebrated, as all such events do, an interpretation of human sexuality that runs contrary to Judeo-Christian morality and contradicts God’s plan for human flourishing as revealed in the Bible. 

National pro-life political lobbying group Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) had green-lighted Kenney as a supportable candidate, but blasted his statements at the UCP Pride breakfast as “implicitly shedding his one-time support, as a faithful Catholic, for the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” 

CLC warned Alberta’s social conservatives to be concerned about Kenney’s “rapid slide to the left and abandonment of former principles.”

This is the second year in a row Calgary Pride organizers refused to let UCP, which formed last July when the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party merged, march in their parade. 

Calgary Pride president and executive producer Jason Kingsley told UCP officials its application “does not fulfill Calgary Pride’s application criteria,” the Calgary Herald reported.

Kingsley did not elaborate on that, but in a 2017 statement said Calgary Pride organizers were looking to the UCP to “demonstrate their commitment to the gender and sexually diverse community through their new platform and policies over the next year onward.” 

Homosexual activist Kris Wells, who runs the Institute for Sexual Minorities Studies and Services at the University of Alberta’s faculty of education, told the Herald the UCP hasn’t “earned that privilege” of marching in the Pride parade, which in its Toronto version, traditionally features lewd behaviour, simulated sex acts and nudity.

“Jason Kenney has gotten off on the wrong foot and in fact, he’s probably put his foot in his mouth. It’s going to take a lot of work to regain and rebuild that trust,” Wells said.

Edmonton Pride organizers also rejected the UCP’s application to march in its Pride Parade in June, and the UCP held a similar event which Kenney attended.

He spoke there of his life-changing experience volunteering as a college student in San Francisco in an AIDS hospice run by St. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in 1985, and of starting a program as federal immigration minister dedicated to bringing homosexual refugees to Canada from countries where they faced persecution, including the possibility of execution.

He also spoke of the UCP’s need to “reach out as a party to LGBTory,” the group that lobbies to promote the homosexual agenda in Conservative parties.

“Actually, LGBTory started in my office… as minister of immigration, with Jamie Ellerton, my executive assistant, who organized the first … Fabulous Blue Tent reception at a national Conservative convention, in his spare time, after hours in my office, just to be clear,” Kenney said.

Kenney’s UCP did not oppose the NDP’s bubble zone law banning pro-life witness outside abortion centers, and he has been clear a UCP government would not bring in any legislation regarding abortion.   

Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP has portrayed the UCP as anti-LGBTQ since the party opposed Bill 24, which came into effect last December and which made it illegal for teachers to tell parents when their child joins a gay-straight alliance (GSA) without the child’s consent.

Kenney blasted the law as government overreach and a “desperate” political move by the NDP to distract from its dismal economic record.

He maintained it should be left to teachers to decide on a case-by-case basis if parents be told their child had joined a GSA, and not to “a blunt instrument of the law.”

When 57 percent of UCP delegates at the party’s founding policy convention in May 2018 approved a resolution that parents be told when their child is involved in sexual and religious subjects, including after-school clubs such as GSAs, Kenney said he would not include the policy in the party platform.

He reiterated he’d like to see teachers notifying parents when they deem a child would be at risk by joining a Gay Straight Allience.

For respectful communications: 

Jason Kenney
Constituency Office Calgary-Lougheed
#311A, 2525 Woodview Drive SW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2W 4N4
Phone: 403.238.1212
Email: [email protected]


Alberta’s new conservative party to host pro-LGBT pancake breakfast, Jason Kenney to attend

Jason Kenney turns back on grassroots over parental rights

Alberta bans schools from informing parents about kids joining pro-LGBT clubs

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Australia’s Daily Telegraph: Pope must answer Viganò’s claims or ‘resign’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SYDNEY, Australia, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Australia’s Daily Telegraph has published an op-ed in which it is declared that Pope Francis must answer Archbishop Viganò’s allegations that the Pope covered-up for and promoted an abuser or he must resign.

“We need an honest explanation from the Pope or his resignation,” wrote Miranda Devine in her Sept. 1 column

Devine said that it was “hard enough” to be a faithful Catholic defending one’s faith from “daily vitriolic complaints” without the Pope creating a new scandal by his silence.

“And this is why, when terrible crimes are uncovered in every part of the global Church--from the US to Chile, Honduras and Australia--and the Pope refuses to answer [allegations he promoted sex abuser Cardinal McCarrick],  his flock loses faith in his ability to lead us out of the darkness,” Devine stated. 

The journalist compared a humble admission of wrongdoing from the Australian Bishops Conference in response to the nation’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse to the pontiff’s reaction to revelations made by the former papal nuncio to the USA, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Viganò released a statement on August 25 alleging that Pope Francis had removed sanctions from the now-disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and returned him to a position of great influence in the Church, despite knowing of his sexual misconduct with seminarians and young priests. In June the Archdiocese of New York revealed that a “credible” allegation of sexual abuse of a minor had been made against the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC.  

“When asked last week about Vigano’s allegations, Pope Francis’s reply was devastatingly inadequate,” Devine wrote. “‘I will not say a single word on this.’ He still has not responded.”

Devine says that the media has let Pope Francis get away without answering such serious charges because of his “open embrace” of a “left-wing agenda.”

“As a media darling, the Pope gets away with such evasians because of his apparent nudge-nudge, wink-wink rejection of the social conservatism of his two predecessors and his open embrace of such left-wing agenda items as climate alarmism and open borders,” she wrote. 

Speaking as a Catholic, Devine said that such silence was unacceptable. 

“Something shameful and sick is going on at the heart of the Church,” she stated. “Everything good the Church does is overshadowed by this crisis, and every Catholic in the pews and every good priest and nun suffers shame by association.”

“We need an honest explanation from the Pope or his resignation.” 

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Kavanaugh explains reasoning in teen illegal immigrant’s abortion case

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, Judge Brett Kavanaugh explained in detail his legal reasoning in the one case in his record directly intersecting with abortion law, in response to questioning from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL.

Last year, as a D.C. Circuit Court judge, Kavanaugh dissented in Garza v. Hargan, concluding there was no “right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.” Pro-lifers celebrated his decision, though some lament that he based it partly on the theory that delaying her abortion didn’t constitute an “undue burden.”

Critics argue he should have joined a bolder opinion by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, which recognized the illegal immigrant had no right to abortion at all; defenders say he was merely operating within the framework that both sides of the suit agreed on.

On Wednesday, Durbin challenged Kavanaugh on the grounds that the girl had satisfied all of Texas’s prerequisites to obtaining an abortion, including an ultrasound and securing a judicial bypass to parental consent requirements. He also objected that the “clock was ticking” before she would be locked out by the state’s 20-week abortion ban.

“It’s important to emphasize that it was a minor,” Kavanaugh began. “So she’s in an immigration facility in the United States, she’s from another country, she does not speak English. She’s by herself. If she had been an adult, she would have a right to obtain the abortion immediately.”

The government wanted to instead transfer the girl to an immigration sponsor with whom she could consult about the decision, he recalled. So because there was no Supreme Court precedent on the question specifically pertaining to illegal immigrants, he consulted the closest analogue available, which were the Supreme Court’s past rulings on parental consent generally.

“They’ve repeatedly upheld parental consent laws over the objection of dissenters who thought that’s going to delay the procedure too long, up to several weeks,” Kavanaugh explained, specifically quoting Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s admission that “minors benefit from consultation about abortion.” He added that the purpose of the Texas judicial bypass statute was not germane to the question before the court at the time.

“Precedent’s not like a cafeteria” where he could pick and choose what to follow, Kavanaugh stressed. “I did my best in an emergency posture. I had two days.”

He also stressed that while he ultimately sided with the Trump administration, he also “made clear [the transfer to a sponsor] had to happen very quickly,” and “specifically said the government cannot use this as a ruse to somehow prevent the abortion” entirely.

Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz expressed disappointment with Kavanaugh’s answer. “If we can't even have a nominee who can publicly say there is no right for 7.2 billion people to break into the world and demand an abortion - putting Roe aside - i dont [sic] know the purpose of us engaging in this business,” he said.

Conservatives hope and liberals fear he would provide the long-awaited fifth vote in a variety of long-running judicial controversies, particularly overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states and Congress to directly vote on whether abortion should be legal.

Kavanaugh’s thin record of abortion-related statements and rulings does not conclusively reveal his position. He expressed significant deference to the doctrine of stare decisis (respecting judicial precedent) Tuesday, but also praised the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist in a 2017 speech for recognizing that Roe was an example of “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.”

Readers can follow the hearing’s second day in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of highlights.

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Nashville abortion clinic closes after 30 years, 73,000 dead babies

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By Doug Mainwaring

NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 5, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – One of only two abortion clinics in Nashville, Tennessee has just ceased operations.

After providing abortion services in the city for thirty years, the Women’s Center closed its doors at the end of August, leaving Planned Parenthood as the sole abortion provider in the area.  

“Approximately 73,000 unborn children have been killed,” at the clinic, according to a statement from Tennessee Right to Life, “while an equal number of mothers and families have been irreparably affected forever.”   

The Tennessean reported that the center is at least the third clinic to close in recent years, leaving just seven others in the Volunteer State. 

“The abortion facility has tried and failed year after year to obtain licensing,” notes  “The abortion facility building has been purchased by a local non-profit, healthcare provider which offers ethical and life-affirming services for low income individuals. The organization does not perform or refer for abortions.”  

A 911 call center recording released in 2014 revealed the clinic requesting an ambulance as a pregnant mother and her child lay dying on the operating table, according to  “At one point during the call, the practitioner even laughs about the situation.”

In 2010, the clinic’s owner was arrested for pointing a gun at pro-life attendees at a rally in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Will Scotland begin funding Northern Irish women’s travel abortions?

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has revealed that the Scottish Government will consider funding these expenses after calls from Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale in June urging Nicola Sturgeon to add the policy to her agenda.

Spending even more taxpayers money on abortion 

A letter from Ms Freeman which has recently surfaced states: "The Scottish Government believes all women should have access to abortion services as part of routine care, and available free from stigma and harassment. While we have introduced arrangements to allow women from Northern Ireland to access abortion services in Scotland without being charged, I note your concerns that there are still costs associated with their travel and accommodation."

She continued: "I recognise that providing funding for travel and accommodation would be helpful in these situations, particularly for patients on low income. I would like to reassure you that the Scottish Government are carefully considering the options for further support to women from Northern Ireland."

Defying public opinion

However, these suggestions ignore the opinion of the Scottish people. A January 2018 Comres poll revealed that 67% of Scottish voters thought it unacceptable for Scottish taxpayers to pay for the travel, accommodation and medical costs of Northern Irish women to have abortions in Scotland. SPUC Director of Communications and Campaigns Michael Robinson said:

"For Scottish politicians to consider such a bursary highlights not only a contempt for taxpayer money but is also a symbol of how out of touch Holyrood now is with Scottish voters. This proposal highlights a reckless attitude towards taxpayer money and a clear disregard for public opinion. The Scottish Government must accept the reality of public opinion and desist with forcibly oppressing the Scottish nation with outrageous abortion laws that it does not want."

Adding to pressure women feel to abort

Concerns have also been raised by ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline), a charity offering support and counselling to women and others struggling after abortion. Counsellor Clare Bremner said: "We find around 75% of women callers have experienced pressure or coercion to have an abortion. Many have even felt pressure in the clinic, wanting to back out but feeling they can't at that stage. In trying to offer help to women in crisis pregnancies the Scottish Government would actually be adding to that pressure, becoming part of the problem instead of offering women real support. How would a woman in a panic in the clinic feel about a government bursary? Would she have to repay it? Would people be annoyed with her for changing her mind? These are real risks that must be researched and considered carefully by anyone who really cares about women."

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

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Priest on CNN: I warned Church officials about McCarrick’s abuse, but was ignored

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By Claire Chretien

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Father Boniface Ramsey, the priest who for years alerted uninterested Church officials about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick preying on seminarians, appeared on CNN last week to discuss the scandal and the unanswered questions about sex abuse cover-up.

“The Church...just wished it would go away,” said Fr. Ramsey. “I’m sure that’s the case.”

“I know you as a man of integrity,” anchor Chris Cuomo said, revealing that Fr. Ramsey was the celebrant at his marriage. 

Fr. Ramsey and Cuomo discussed the priest’s November 2000 letter to Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the U.S. apostolic nuncio at the time, warning that McCarrick was harassing seminarians and having them sleep in his bed.

“I certainly heard directly from people” who were victimized by the powerful archbishop, the priest recalled. He was teaching at Seton Hall University’s seminary, where seminarians of McCarrick’s diocese were.

“I know that the letter was received,” said Fr. Ramsey. “I never got a response, however, but I know that the letter was received.”

Fr. Ramsey said when he spoke with Cardinal Edward Egan, former archbishop of New York, in 2004, “clearly, he was embarrassed by this and didn’t wanna talk about it.”

Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former U.S. apostolic nuncio, testified that Pope Benedict XVI placed private canonical sanctions on McCarrick which Pope Francis then revoked. Pope Benedict XVI was elected in April 2005. Pope Francis was elected in 2013.

Fr. Ramsey also wrote a letter to Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley in 2015, describing “in detail what McCarrick did.”

O’Malley runs a papal commission on stopping clerical sex abuse. His office wrote back to Fr. Ramsey saying the issue was out of its purview. O’Malley fundraised and traveled with McCarrick after his office received that damning letter.

“You know if Boniface Ramsey knew, other people knew” about McCarrick, Cuomo commented. “Now, we know from the AG – from the [Pennsylvania] grand jury report – lots of people knew lots of things. Why was this covered up?”

The Pennsylvania report did not pertain to McCarrick, but documented sex abuse allegedly committed by 300 priests in six dioceses over decades, and the Church’s systematic cover-up.

“It’s hard to confront a fellow bishop…only a bishop could do that, and it didn’t happen [in McCarrick’s case] I suppose,” Fr. Ramsey noted, adding that the Church just “wished it would go away.”

He also said that he had only been blowing the whistle on McCarrick’s abuse of adult men. That McCarrick also abused minors was revealed this summer when the Archdiocese of New York announced it found an allegation McCarrick molested an altar boy credible, and then by a subsequent New York Times story on a different underage victim.

Fr. Ramsey speculated that when Church officials heard of McCarrick preying on adults, “they must have assumed…that’s pretty bad, but it’s not illegal.”

“Well, it depends on the age, it depends on the consent, it depends on the dynamic,” Cuomo added. As their boss, McCarrick held significant power over the seminarians and priests he abused. And priests cannot simply switch bishops as easily as those in the business world can switch companies.

Cuomo then brought up Viganò’s testimony.

“We don’t know if he’s been co-opted by anti-pope groups or whatever – we don’t know yet,” the CNN anchor said, even though Viganò has explained his reasons for going public with explosive details about the Vatican’s covering up of sex abuse.

“But do you believe there’s a chance that Pope Francis...people hold faith in him as a reformer – knew about McCarrick, knew about some of these things, and didn’t drop the hammer on them?” asked Cuomo.

Fr. Ramsey responded that “there’s always a chance,” and he doesn’t know what percent it is. He said it’s worth the Vatican answering, though.

Pope Francis has refused to say whether he helped cover up McCarrick’s sex abuse, choosing instead to focus on the “emergency” of littering in the oceans. He also compared his critics to a “pack of wild dogs” and suggested the best response is silence.

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Ave Maria U alumni criticize in open letter President Towey for bashing Viganò, Burke

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of Ave Maria University alumni have written an Open Letter to President Towey, upbraiding him for “diluting justice” by publicly refusing to take seriously allegations that high-ranking prelates, including Pope Francis, covered up for and promoted sexual predators like ex-cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. 

“Mr. Towey, your Rift Statement published on the 29th of August has distracted the lay faithful in this decisive hour by obscuring the truth of the scandal at hand, necessarily diluting justice,” they wrote. “You have exacerbated these great wrongs by issuing the Rift Statement on behalf of our university, thereby employing the full weight of Ave Maria’s moral teaching authority as a Catholic university.” (Full letter published below.)

In his original statement, Towey attributed uncharitable motives to Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Viganò as well as Cardinal Raymond Burke, suggesting that the latter was supporting the former because he was angry with Pope Francis for having demoted him. Towey later apologized for this remark about Cardinal Burke and slightly altered the online version of his statement.  

The alumni said that they were grateful that Towey had retracted his “uncharitable caricature of certain members of the episcopacy” but that “additional amends must be made” for the “damage” they feel his statement has inflicted on the Church and their university. 

The letter-writers positioned themselves and their alma mater firmly on the side of victims of clerical sexual misconduct:

“We know that only in the light of the truth can we continue to purify our Church and work for the healing of all her members,” they wrote. “We desire that victims of clerical abuse understand that Ave Maria stands with them.”

The signers told the victims that they support the USCCB’s demand for an investigation into the allegations made by Viganò.

“We stand with you, we are praying for you, and - although we can never experience the full extent of your suffering - we will suffer with you,” they added. 

The alumni concluded with a demand that Ave Maria University “as a whole” retract President Towey’s statement about the Vatican whistleblower’s testimony:

“In order to make Ave Maria’s commitment to truth and justice clear once again, we ask that the University as a whole - not simply her president - make a formal retraction of the Rift Statement made on her behalf.”

There follow 67 signatures. 

A spokesman for the group, Washington-based Sean McMahon, Class of ‘13, told LifeSiteNews that he found the former papal nuncio’s allegations “heartbreaking.”  

“Monsignor Viganò's claims, if true, are heartbreaking, especially for those victims of abuse but also for the universal Church,” he stated via email. 

“It has awakened in myself, and for most of the faithful, a righteous anger and an insistence that this never happens again,” McMahon continued. “Viganò's report must be investigated, and those who are found guilty must be removed from their positions of power within the Church and subjected to all available legal punishments.”

The alumnus said that Towey’s statement was “disappointing and misguided” but also “another example of those in positions of authority and influence in the church perpetrating a culture of silence and cover-up.”

“This is not a fringe issue led by, in Towey’s own words, ‘so-called conservatives’,” McMahon asserted. “Thirty thousand Catholic women have signed a letter calling for the Holy Father to address the claims in Vigano's statement and new bishops daily issue statements calling for an investigation.”

McMahon stated that Towey's ad hominem attack on Burke and Vigano has had a “chilling effect upon those who wish to speak the truth.” 

The alumnus was particularly disturbed by Towey’s introduction of church politics into the discussion, for it took the focus from the cover-up of abuse to “unhappy conservatives.”

“It was a ‘nothing-to-see here, only unhappy conservatives who don't like Pope Francis’ [move],” McMahon wrote. “I believe it demonstrates President Towey's disdain for conservatives at Ave Maria and throughout the church.”

He called Towey’s revised statement “nothing more than an airbrushed PR job; the substance … almost entirely remains, including his attack upon Viganò and Burke.”  

“I believe it raises an important question for the board of trustees and major donors to AMU,” McMahon added. “Is the university heading in the direction you wish it to under the leadership of the current president?” 

He noted that nobody from the Ave Maria University faculty has issued any statement on Towey’s comments or on the recent sex abuse crisis in the Church.  

“Is this not surprising from a Catholic university with a graduate theology program and well-regarded theologians on faculty, among many other talented professors?” McMahon asked. “Why are they silent?”

“Could it be because of Towey's malicious attack on a senior churchman raising credible allegations?” he suggested. “If Viganò was attacked so readily, what punishment would a faculty member face if he dared to disagree with the company line?” 


An Open Letter to Mr. James Towey President of Ave Maria University September 3, 2018

Dear Mr. Towey:

We address you today out of concern for two of our beloved mothers: our Mother Church and our alma mater, Ave Maria University. As Catholics-scholars, we have been nourished by the truth and given the strength to seek justice. Mr. Towey, your Rift Statement published on the 29th of August has distracted the lay faithful in this decisive hour by obscuring the truth of the scandal at hand, necessarily diluting justice. You have exacerbated these great wrongs by issuing the Rift Statement on behalf of our university, thereby employing the full weight of Ave Maria’s moral teaching authority as a Catholic university. We are grateful that you have retracted your uncharitable caricature of certain members of the episcopacy. However, additional amends must be made for the damage your statement has inflicted upon our Church and university.

We know that only in the light of the truth can we continue to purify our Church and work for the healing of all her members. We desire that victims of clerical abuse understand that Ave Maria stands with them. To them we say, “We understand that you have had to face the truth of corruption within our Church alone for far too long. Today, we commit ourselves as a community to facing these hard realities with you. We thereby support the USCCB’s demand for a full investigation into the allegations raised against key members of the Church hierarchy. We stand with you, we are praying for you, and - although we can never experience the full extent of your suffering - we will suffer with you.”

In order to make Ave Maria’s commitment to truth and justice clear once again, we ask that the University as a whole - not simply her president - make a formal retraction of the Rift Statement made on her behalf.

We pray that God will open our eyes to the truth and give us the courage to pursue the fullness of justice.

In charity,

The Undersigned Ave Maria University Alumni

Megan Arago, 2013; Annemarie (Velasco) Bauer, 2010; Jeremiah Belocura, 2010; Megan (Bless) Bonynge, 2010; Amanda (Guilinger) Braniff, 2007; Chellsy Brereton, 2005; Veronica Brooks, 2013; Phillip Buckley, 2010;  Ryan Caesar, 2015; Erin Wenck Campbell, 2003; Catherine Coats, 2014; Philip Collins, 2016; Christy (Hand) Coules, 2016; Lauren Cronin, 2016; Christopher Decker, 2008; Melissa (Martin) Dillier, 2011; Evan DiMarzio, 2018; Mahluli Dube, 2007; Joseph Embry, 2013; Levi Embry, 2012; Carolina Enzler, 2016; Christianne Fenzl, 2013; Michael Fenzl, 2013; Angela Loweree Gil, 2009; Bryan Gray, 2014; Hannah (Salamida) Guernsey, 2016; Joseph Guernsey, 2016; Joe Harrington, 2016; Rachel (Costello) Harrington, 2017; Michael Higgins, 2008; Teresa (Ratajczak) Jones, 2014; Margaret Kaiser, 2018; Teresa Knauss, 2018; Erin Krajewski, 2016; Agnes Leung, 2017 Angela Leung, 2017; Rosalee Leung, 2015; Stephen Lombardo, 2014; Ashley Loweree, 2014; Gabriel I. Loweree, 2013; Elise McMahon, 2015; Sean McMahon, 2013; Marissa Meyer, 2015;  Ruth (Judd) Miller, 2012; Dorothy Monnekulame, 2017; Ian Myers, 2010; Isabel Nolan, 2013; Kevin Nolan, 2013; Daniel O'Rourke, 2016; Donald Vincent Orrico, 2013; Mary Clare Piecynski, 2007; Mary Remaniak, 2011; Miriel Thomas Reneau, 2009; Katherine Rettig, 2013; Catherine (Cox) Romens, 2007; Therese Saunders, 2015; Mary Joy Silmaro, 2017; Laura (Ascenzo) Su, 2010; Christopher Suchomski, 2009; Tatyana Talamas, 2009; Michelle Obray Vallery, 2009; Conor Voreis, 2015; Hannah Voreis, 2016; Alex Wilson, 2015; Ally (Mechling) Wilson, 2015; Daniel Whitehead, 2014

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Fr. Robert DeLand, the Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy, was on the board of an anti-child abuse organization and is the former vocations director for the Diocese of Saginaw. YouTube screenshot
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Thanks to plea deal, priest faces a year in jail for sexually assaulting teen boy

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By Claire Chretien

SAGINAW, Michigan, September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest who served on the board of an anti-child abuse organization and was the judicial vicar of his diocese pleaded no contest to six felonies and a misdemeanor related to a sexual assault on a 17-year-old boy.

That priest is Father Robert DeLand of the Diocese of Saginaw, who was arrested for the gay sex assault in February 2018 as the result of a police sting. Fr. DeLand is the former vocations director of that diocese – in charge of recruiting young men to be priests – and volunteered at public school events.

The first assault occurred August 7, 2017, according to police, and Fr. DeLand also assaulted a 21-year-old male.

Fr. DeLand now faces a year in jail. His no contest plea was part of a deal not to go to trial, avoiding a potentially much longer sentence. He has yet to be sentenced and is out on bail.

The 17-year-old victim has filed a personal injury lawsuit (Linden v. Saginaw et al) against Fr. DeLand, who he says showed him homosexual pornography and groped him. Saginaw’s Bishop Joseph Cistone and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw are also defendants.

“A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as such at sentencing. A no contest plea is common in Michigan cases in which civil litigation is underway,” ABC 12 explained.

Before his arrest, police monitored Fr. DeLand, the former pastor of St. Agnes parish, for months after a 17-year-old and his parents came to them with a complaint about DeLand’s alleged predatory behavior. The boy had been ordered by a court to do community service under Fr. DeLand.

ABC 12 reported the charges to which Fr. DeLand pleaded no contest as follows:

– gross indecency between males and attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing injury involving the 21-year-old victim.

– two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury, one count of delivery of an imitation controlled substance and furnishing alcohol to a minor involving a 17-year-old victim.

– attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury involving the other 17-year-old victim.

St. Agnes is now run by a female “pastoral administrator.” According to its bulletins, some Masses there have up to 12 lay people distributing Holy Communion.

Fr. DeLand’s bishop’s connections to sex abuse cover-up

On March 22, 2018, police raided the home of Bishop Cistone, his diocesan offices, and his cathedral rectory, saying Cistone and the Diocese of Saginaw weren’t fully cooperating with law enforcement’s clerical sex-abuse investigation.

“Inside sources claim the raid was based on suspicion that the diocese may have been destroying evidence, as the bishop and diocese remain the subject of criminal investigation for possible cover-up of priestly sex abuse,” Church Militant, whose studios are less than two hours away from Saginaw, reported at the time. “Church Militant has learned that the diocese was in the process this week of turning over priestly personnel files to their attorneys, and that the chancery was occupied with sorting through documents and evidence pertaining to the criminal probe.”

As an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia – a position to which he was appointed in 2004 – Cistone allegedly oversaw the shredding of documents containing the names of suspected pedophile priests and lied about it to a grand jury, according to court documents. (Cistone was originally ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.)

Six years ago, Cistone was accused of misleading a grand jury by not acknowledging that he witnessed the shredding of documents that contained the names of priests suspected of child molestation in 1994 while he was serving as a church official in the Philadelphia area,” wrote of that incident.

Cistone’s name is not mentioned in the Pennsylvania grand jury report that has shaken the Catholic Church this summer. That report detailed sex abuse committed by more than 300 priests across six dioceses and the Church’s systematic cover-up.

Abuses committed by Philadelphia priests were not part of this summer’s grand jury report. The grand jury reviewed over half a million internal Church documents from the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.

“I ... reaffirm my commitment to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in any investigation of clergy or diocesan representatives,” Bishop Cistone said after the grand jury report was released. His statement did not mention his stint in Philadelphia or what he was accused of aiding there, nor did it mention the March 2018 police raid on his house.

Cistone is suffering from lung cancer.

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Protesters interrupt start of Kavanaugh hearing, Sept. 4, 2018. ABC News / Facebook screen grab
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Pro-abortion activists protest, attempt to shout down Kavanaugh hearings

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The most attention-grabbing element of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s first day before the Senate Judiciary Committee was not his opening statement or the statements of any senators considering his nomination to the Supreme Court, but the frequency of protesters attempting to shout down the proceedings.

At several points throughout Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, protesters screamed loudly and persistently enough to visibly fluster lawmakers and force them to pause. Much of the shouting was indecipherable, though phrases such as “travesty of justice,” “back-alley abortions,” and “cancel Brett Kavanaugh” can be heard.

Capitol Hill police arrested a total of 70 people, Politico reports, charging 61 with disorderly conduct and another nine with “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.” Most of the protesters were women.

Among those arrested and forcibly removed from the chamber was Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, National Review reports. Her group officially took credit for “disrupting the Kavanaugh hearings every few minutes, with hundreds of women prepared to get arrested to prevent these hearings from moving forward.” NARAL Washington and Missouri executive directors Tiffany Hankins and Alison Dreith, UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas, and actress Piper Perabo were also arrested.

Outside of the hearing room, a group of women wearing the red robes of the Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale gathered to line the walkways and atrium in silent protest. The fictional series depicts a dystopian future in which women are enslaved and raped to bear children for their rulers. Left-wing activists have seized on the show as a cautionary tale about where legally protecting preborn babies would supposedly lead.

Members of both parties expressed disapproval at the protesters, though not all of the interruptions came from the back of the room. When Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley began his opening remarks, he was almost immediately interrupted by Democrat senators, including Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-NY, even moved to adjourn the hearing minutes after it started.

All told, Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director tallied a total of 63 interruptions from committee Democrats by midday Tuesday.

Democrats framed their interruptions as an indignant reaction to Republicans supposedly withholding relevant documents (a charge Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, argued was inaccurate). But Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, called attention to a tweet by NBC News reporter Kasie Hunt indicating that Democrats had decided in advance to “disrupt” the hearings:

The hostility surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination stems from left-wing activists’ fears that Kavanaugh would give the Supreme Court its first consistent conservative majority since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Conservatives hope and liberals fear he would provide the long-awaited fifth vote in a variety of long-running judicial controversies, particularly overturning Roe and allowing states and Congress to directly vote on whether abortion should be legal.

Kavanaugh’s thin record of abortion-related statements and rulings does not conclusively reveal his position. He said Wednesday that the doctrine of stare decisis (respecting judicial precedent) is the “foundation of our system,” that Roe was “entitled to respect” because it “has been reaffirmed many times,” and that he wouldn’t give answers about on future cases or the correctness of past cases.

The strongest evidence that Kavanaugh would oppose Roe is a 2017 speech on the jurisprudence of his “first judicial hero,” the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He approvingly cited Rehnquist’s judgment that a right to abortion was not “rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people,” and that Roe was an example of “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.”

But while the speech suggests Kavanaugh believes Roe was wrongly decided, his testimony Wednesday further complicated the question by approvingly citing Rehnquist’s vote in Dickerson v. United States, a 2000 case concerning Miranda rights in police interrogations, as an example in which Rehnquist upheld precedent he had previously criticized.

It remains uncertain whether Kavanaugh’s statements reflect genuine deference to Roe, or are phrased to appease senators who could cast the deciding vote for his confirmation.

Readers can follow the hearing’s second day in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of highlights.

Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick
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Over 47,000 Catholic women ask Pope if he covered up for sex abuser McCarrick, as Viganò claims

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By Claire Chretien

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

Updated Oct. 24, 2018

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 47,000 women have signed a letter to Pope Francis asking if he knew about and lifted sanctions reportedly imposed on now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Benedict.

“Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s recent statement impels us to reach out to you directly for answers,” the Catholic women wrote to Pope Francis. “His testimony accuses you, Holy Father, and highly placed cardinals of turning a blind eye to former Cardinal McCarrick’s egregious behavior, and promoting this predator as a global spokesman and spiritual leader. Is this true?”

“These are devastating allegations. As USCCB President Cardinal Daniel D. DiNardo recently stated, ‘The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.’ We agree,” the signatories stated.

“Several crucial questions raised by Archbishop Viganò’s statement, however, require neither lengthy investigations nor physical evidence. They require only your direct response, Holy Father,” the letter continues. “When reporters questioned you recently about Archbishop Viganò’s charges, you replied, ‘I will not say a single word on this.’ You told reporters to ‘read the statement carefully and make your own judgment.’”

“To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate. They sting, reminiscent of the clericalism you so recently condemned. We need leadership, truth, and transparency. We, your flock, deserve your answers now.

The letter has been signed by well-known female Catholic leaders like Mary Rice Hasson, Obianuju Ekeocha, and Professor Janet E. Smith, as well as thousands of mothers, wives, catechists, and religious sisters.

“We are the backbone of Catholic parishes, schools, and dioceses,” the women wrote. “Please do not turn from us...We need to know we can trust you to be honest with us about what happened.”

“We have a right to know. We have a right to your answers.”

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Confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Day 2), Sept. 5, 2018. C-SPAN / Youtube screen grab
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US top court nominee Kavanaugh praises judicial ‘precedent,’ stays mum on Roe v. Wade vote

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh lavished praise on the importance of judicial precedent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, but refused to answer whether he would vote to uphold or overturn Roe v. Wade.

The questions came from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-IA, then Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, during the second day of confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Grassley first asked for Kavanaugh’s general understanding of how judges should handle precedent (also known as the judicial doctrine of stare decisis). He answered that precedent was “the foundation of our system.” It “reinforces judicial independence” and “assures that judges are not just following their personal beliefs.”

Kavanaugh also said he would follow the examples set by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan during their own confirmation hearings, and decline to give specific answers on how he might rule on future cases or whether he considered past cases rightly decided.

Feinstein used her opportunity to ask Kavanaugh to elaborate on reports that he said Roe was “settled law.” He answered that the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion-on-demand was "entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis."

“One of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times,” he continued, singling out Planned Parenthood v. Casey as particularly weighty because it “didn’t just reaffirm it in passing”; it laid out all the “factors relevant to stare decisis to decide whether Roe should be overruled.”

Kavanaugh’s answers are consistent with past public statements he has made, and it remains uncertain whether they reflect genuine deference to Roe or are phrased to appease senators who could cast the deciding vote for his confirmation. His thin record of abortion-related statements and rulings does not conclusively answer the question, but the closest is a 2017 speech on the jurisprudence of his “first judicial hero,” the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Kavanaugh specifically cited Rehnquist’s opposition to Roe. He said, seemingly approvingly, that Rehnquist found that a right to abortion was not “rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people,” and that Roe was an example of “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.”

But while the speech suggests Kavanaugh believes Roe was wrongly decided, his testimony Wednesday further complicated the question by approvingly citing Rehnquist’s vote in Dickerson v. United States, a 2000 case concerning Miranda rights in police interrogations, as an example in which Rehnquist upheld precedent he had previously criticized.

Regardless of the uncertainties in his record, pro-lifers are cautiously hopeful, and pro-abortion advocates intensely afraid, that Kavanaugh would provide the long-awaited fifth vote to overturn Roe and allow states and Congress to directly vote on whether abortion should be legal.

Readers can follow the hearing’s second day in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of highlights.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

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There are setbacks, but the Church continues…be not afraid

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet
The love and fruits of missionaries are reasons for hope!
Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." — Mark 16:15

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18) ….

September 5, 2018 (Human Life International) – These words of the Divine Master are exemplified in the energy, passion and heroic work of the Church in Mongolia, whose history dates to the golden era of the Mongol empire in the 13th century. My recent mission to the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky", as Mongolia is often referenced, touched my heart and spirit. The beauty of the endless windswept steppes, rolling green hills and the spectacular high mountain ranges were only surpassed by the warm-hearted and loving people who inhabit them. In my travels from one mission to another, across the vast expanse of rolling hills, Jesus' words filled my heart and mind, reminding me of His Church's role and mission: go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

I remember the day I left for Mongolia. As I walked through Dulles airport all the TV screens were filled with images and headlines about grand jury findings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the actions of Theodore McCarrick. Many people were captivated by the news and shocked by what was being reported. I could feel the tension and uneasiness in people, especially when they looked at a Catholic priest walking by. Though the great majority of priests and religious faithfully serve the people of God, remaining true to their promises, commitments and vows, it is hard for most people not to make a broad leap, even for a moment, to think that all must be guilty. The scandals hurt us all! Even in Mongolia, the far-reaching impact of the scandalizing behavior of some within the Church could be felt.

As headlines and news stories across the world reported the grave immoral behavior of some Catholic clergy and prelates in the U.S. (and Vatican), evoking disgust, horror and disappointment, I was experiencing something different and refreshing in Mongolia – the zeal and dedication of a bishop, surrounded by his priests, religious and lay catechists – modern-day missionaries – who left their families, homes and countries to proclaim the Gospel and serve the people entrusted to their care. In complete contrast to what was being reported, I was reminded of the leap of faith first expressed by the apostles who abandoned all in response to Jesus' command to go and make disciples. I experienced firsthand the transforming impact of sacrificial love genuinely offered by humble and meek servants of God, whose single motivation is to bring the Good News and the love of a heavenly Father to His beloved children.

I am glad the Lord permitted me to be on mission in Mongolia; it was a beautiful time of renewal.

A Pilgrim Church, Missionary Spirit and Hope

In Ad Gentes, "The Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church," the Second Vatican Council Fathers attested to the missionary spirit of the Church, saying: "The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father" (¶2). Christ is not only the initiator and the perfect example, but also the One who supplies the necessary energy to proceed, communicating the Holy Spirit to His Church in every age. In spreading the faith and in calling all to conversion, we profess to all people that we "have no abiding city" (Heb 13:14) here on earth because we have a "citizenship in heaven" (Phil 3:20).

Diplomatic and religious ties between the Catholic Church and the Mongols were interrupted when the divided Mongol Empire fell in the 14th Century. The presence of the Church was revived in the 17th Century when Catholic missionaries reconnected with the Mongols in what is now the northern part of China. In 1992 the Mongolian government re-established diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

After the fall of Communism in the former USSR and the rest of the Eastern bloc of Europe, the new reformist Mongolian government of Ochirbat (1992-1997) established diplomatic relations with other countries. In June 1990, the first contact was made by the Mongolian government through its ambassador to Yugoslavia, Dr. Khashbat, with the apostolic pro-nuncio in Belgrade, expressing its desire to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See. In September 1991, the Holy See's representative to Hong Kong, Monsignor Jean Paul Gobel, visited Mongolia. Thereafter, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, formally invited the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) on October 7, 1991 to spearhead the Mongolian Mission. Fathers Wenceslao Padilla, Robert Goessens and Gilbert Sales arrived on March 31, 1992. On April 4, 1992 the Holy See and Mongolia established diplomatic relations and appointed Father Padilla as the Ecclesiastical Superior of the Missio Sui Iuris of Ulaanbaatar on April 19, 1992.

On April 15, 1995, the first Mongolian converts were baptized by Monsignor John Bulaitis. Then a piece of property in the 13th Micro District was bought to construct the Catholic Church Mission – the office of the bishop and center of pastoral life. In August 2002, the Catholic community branched out in the Khan Uul District with St. Mary's Church. This was followed by Good Shepherd Parish in the 10th Micro District on March 25, 2003. Property was purchased, and the construction of the cathedral and accompanying buildings commenced in 2002 after the Missio Sui Iuris of Ulaanbaatar was elevated to an Apostolic Prefecture on July 8, 2002.

The episcopal ordination of Monsignor Wenceslao Padilla and the consecration of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul occurred on August 29 and 30, 2003. Thereupon the first Church community finally settled. Other parishes were then established: Maria Auxilium Parish in Darkhan (2007), Mother of Mercy Parish in Arvaikheer (2012), St. Sophia in Bayan Khushuu (2013), the Divine Mercy Parish in Erdenet (2017) and the Holy Family Parish in Shuvuu (2017). Two more centers of worship wait for their formal erection as parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas in Sukhbaatar District and the Lord of Mercy Church of Zuun Mod.

The growth of the Church has been gradual yet constant, with more missionaries committed to serve the Catholic Church in Mongolia. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM) and Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres (SPC) arrived in 1995 and Missionaries of Charity (MC) arrived in September 1996. Fide Donum priests arrived in February 1997 followed by the Salesian Fathers in February 2001, the Congregation of Jesus Sisters (CJ) in July 2002, the Consolata Fathers and Sisters in 2003, the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco (FMA) in 2007 and the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of Charity (INBO) in 2008. Lay missionaries soon followed.

Most importantly, on August 28, 2016, the very first Khalkh Mongolian priest, Father Joseph Baatariin Enkh, was ordained. Two more Mongolian seminarians are currently having their formation in South Korea. One of these seminarians is scheduled to be ordained deacon in December. From the first baptism in 1995, the number of Catholic faithful has steadily grown to more than 1,300. If they started with 13, that's an average growth rate of 22 percent!

Building a Culture of Life

Through the Holy Spirit the Gospel penetrates to the heart of the world, for it is He who causes people to discern the signs of the times – signs willed by God – which evangelization reveals and puts to use within history.
— Blessed Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, ¶75

Despite such enthusiasm within the local Church in Mongolia, the young Catholic community faces many challenges in cultivating and sustaining a Culture of Life.

Mongolia has a population of slightly over 3.1 million – 2.2% of which is Christian. Since 1985 there have been over 500,000 abortions – 13.3 percent of Mongolia's population has been lost to the violent murder of its citizens. Mongolia has a contraceptive prevalence rate of 58 percent. In 1975 the total fertility rate (TFR) was 7.50. Today, it is 2.22 and expected to be around 1.6 by 2030.

The anti-life agenda is being pushed in Mongolia mercilessly by powerful international NGO's and foundations, even with its small population and sinking TFR. The Culture of Death and its powerful and indiscriminate minions are actively at work in Mongolia. Forty-two (42) anti-life organizations have been identified, including: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Amnesty International (AI), The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), The United Nations World Health Organization (UNWHO), The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRIDC), and many others.

What's the Motivation?  

Mongolia's resources play a key role in understanding why so many NGOs and anti-life groups are tirelessly working in this beautiful country. It is targeted by these groups because of the vast mineral resources many Western and developed countries require to sustain their industry and way of life. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the U.S. lists these resources in its 2017 World Factbook: oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold, silver and iron. Uranium is also mined.

In 1974 under the Nixon administration, the National Security Council of the U.S. promulgated National Security Study Memorandum 200, entitled "Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests." The document outlines the overall strategy of the US government regarding worldwide population control operations. This document continues to be in force and has never been rescinded or amended. Chapter III of the document states its purpose:

"The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals, especially from less developed countries. This gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States."

Why Did HLI Travel to Mongolia?

There is an 'ideological colonization' for which we have to be careful of those trying to destroy the family. Challenged by the redefinition of marriage and openness to life, as families we have to be very wise with fortitude to this colonization which will destroy the family.

— Pope Francis

Among the challenges facing the Church in Mongolia is the need for a counter-approach to the agendas that have negatively influenced the culture and its view of the human person, human sexuality and the family. Because of the 'ideological colonization' imposed by Communism and other philosophies, many Mongolians have embraced the anti-life mentality, as attested by low births rates, high abortion numbers and rampant sexual promiscuity, as well as alcoholism. HLI was tasked with assisting the clergy, religious, catechists and lay leaders with: 1) a better understanding of Church teaching on the dignity of the human person, the sacredness of life and role of the family, 2) information on the various anti-life groups working in Mongolia, and 3) pastoral application – i.e., how to apply Church teaching to the situations confronting the faithful and their society.

A key document used throughout our discussions was Humanae Vitae. We emphasized its teaching and the strength of Blessed Paul VI to defend the sacred institution of marriage and the gift of human life. He was courageously warning the flock entrusted to his care about the evils trying to destroy the family and the Culture of Life. He understood the difficulties that families experience and called upon the pastors of the Church to assist families and defend them against the false ideologies threatening them.

Our ten-day mission in Mongolia barely touched the surface of the issues confronting Life and Family in this country, but it opened the door for further conversation and opportunity. Bishop Padilla has already extended an invitation for a follow-up program, which is being discussed. As a Catholic educational apostolate, HLI joyfully welcomes the opportunity to support the Church in her proclamation of the Gospel of Life.

Though we face many challenges today, exacerbated by the grave misbehaviors of some members of the Church, we must never be ashamed or fearful of Church teaching and her mission to evangelize as witnessed in Mongolia. The spirit and love of the missionaries and the response of the people to the Gospel was rejuvenating and encouraging – a sign of hope. It is only in living in this light and truth that we will find peace, liberation and prosperity.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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Fr. Nathan Reesman

Opinion, , ,

What Catholics must do when it’s all falling apart

Fr. Nathan Reesman

September 5, 2018 (In Exile) – These have been sad weeks for Catholics across the globe and especially in the United States, as more and more headlines have spilled forth a seemingly endless stream of failures in the Church's handling of sexual abuse, of clerical power, and of topics pertaining to sexuality in general.

Our present mega-storm is composed of several tempests all drawn together.  First came the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick's behavior, then the Pennsylvania report, and then the uproar in my own Archdiocese over a retreat for gay priests.  The escalation of the debate about the nature and acceptability of same sex attraction, in and outside of the clergy, was taken to new levels.  As if that were not enough, there came the bombshell testimony of Archbishop Vigano describing a web of protection and cover-up surrounding Archbishop McCarrick that ensnared, by name, several prominent prelates, implicating even Pope Francis himself in the sheltering of a known sexual pervert. What we are left with is a mess of epic proportions.

What's worse has been the explosion of a civil war, out into the open, among some of the bishops, the varying wings of the Catholic and secular press (along conservative and liberal lines predictably enough), over the need for the Pope to give an answer to these claims.  Several voices of the laity have added their voices to the same cry for transparency and accountability. Meanwhile, it appears to us on the outside that Rome fiddles while the Church burns.  The Holy Father is said to be calm and serene in the midst of the firestorm, rather like Nero playing his fabled fiddle.

Many of the laity and clergy who have no means of influence feel the sickening sense of helplessness as this drags on with no clear movement toward resolution, and no end in sight. Even if Pope Francis were to resign, as some have demanded, it is not clear what that solves in light of the questions now swirling around so many others in the College of Cardinals and in the hierarchy.

This is what it feels like to be drowning in spiritually violent seas.  Our teachings on the very important matters of human sexuality have been emptied of any power or coherency. Our leadership has zero credibility. Our survivors of sexual abuse are still in pain. Our laity are feeling ignored and abandoned by the thousands.  Our Church appears to be tumbling down. This is a spiritual and moral heartbreak of epic magnitude.

The Cry of the Righteous One Who Waits for Justice

The Scriptures offer key insights on how to understand the causes, the meaning, and the remedy for our current situation. The psalms and the prophets poignantly articulate the cry of the righteous one who cries out to heaven for justice and feels ignored. The righteous one suffers violence and pain at the hands of the wicked and the powerful.  These are cries of lament in the face of forces that seem intransigent and well outside of earthly control.  Where is God?

The most poignant Scriptural laments express the sad realization that calamities have been occurring at the hands of fellow Israelites. The worst hurts are caused by those within the chosen fold, by the anointed leaders, while the priests and professional prophets (the clergy) stand by.

The same psalms and prophets also speak of confidence in God's saving power, trusting that in the end the righteous and the innocent will be vindicated, while the wicked will be punished and brought to justice.  If it does not happen in this life, then it will happen in the next. These days we, who have no official authority to make changes, find our voice echoed in that of the righteous one who painfully waits God's justice.

The Destruction of the Temple Was Permitted for a Reason

The Scriptures gradually coalesced around the understanding that the destruction that befell the Israelites, most devastatingly with the Babylonian destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, was the result of the infidelity, hubris, and self-satisfied smugness of the chosen nation itself.  God himself permits necessary suffering to come to the people He loves in order to teach them to repent.

Babylon has been knocking at the gates of the Church for a while now under a guise of many faces, brought on by multiple layers of infidelity and hubris.  The prophets speak of an abandonment of the covenant. In our day there is the infidelity of decades of gradual watering down of the Scriptural and theological teachings about sexuality, especially the sensitive subject of homosexuality, during which the Church and the wider culture became slowly unmoored from the rock of Divine Revelation.

The prophets condemn the shepherds who prey on their sheep. In our era, over decades, the shepherds preyed on the vulnerable for the twisted sexual gratification of the clergy, fueled by the abuse of clerical power. Such evil rots the Church from the inside out.

The prophets speak of faithless leaders. In our era, over decades, there has been an abject failure of judgment and leadership on the part of the hierarchy who did not act to correct the offenses against doctrine, or the offenses against the vulnerable.

The prophets speak of bad politics and the forming of camps in favor of divergent agendas. In our era there has emerged, over decades, "conservative" versus "liberal" fault lines in the Church, causing earthquakes throughout our seminaries, our parishes, our dioceses, our presbyterate , and even between our recent popes. What gradually became more important than protecting young people was the question "which side of the theological battle are you on?"  Little else can explain how it is possible for Pope Francis to, allegedly, ignore the warnings of the leadership of the prior regime other than the suspicion that a member of the "conservative" theological camp was trying to smear a member of the "liberal" camp, and therefore he was dismissed as a zealot.  Similar arguments have been advanced to explain how Saint John Paul II became blind to the grievous sins of Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ. This type of ideological filtering that leads to tragic misjudgments of facts is occurring these days at all levels of the Church.

The abuses of power by the clergy do not confine themselves only to sexual abuse of minors, teens, and seminarians.  It is an abuse of power for clerics and theologians, especially those who make the popular media circuits, to set themselves over and above the revealed tradition of the Church by seeking to make murky our doctrines on sex, sin, and grace.  Those who suffer most are those who need clear teachings to sort out the muck of their own moral messes.  They are the vulnerable who are led astray by clerics on power trips.

The parallels of our own day with those of the prophets are clear.  Therefore we should not be surprised if our current strongholds and structures, like the Temple of old, are allowed to burn down.

The Necessary Transparency of the Gospels

Not only are the psalms and prophets helpful to understanding our situation, but instructive also are the Gospel narratives and the writings of the New Testament.  In the ancient Church, whose picture is painted in the divinely inspired writings of the Bible, we are given a model of how to handle the reality of a failure of judgment on the part of the Church's leaders, namely, the Apostles themselves.

The Apostles, and their close followers, are the ones who told the story of their encounter with the Lord during His life, on the last night of His life, and in the days of His death and resurrection.  It is a very unflattering picture of themselves that they paint for all the world to see. There is no attempt to protect their reputation by papering over their own bad judgment and failures.

Their transparency intentionally serves to demonstrate the Savior's power. God saves, not us.  It is His message, not ours.  His Sacraments have power not because ministers are holy, but instead because God is holy.  His Church is true not because men have kept it going, but rather because God pushes her forward, through storm after storm, allowing with great care all the buffeting that she must endure for her good.

What We Need to Do Now

In the light of the Scriptures, I propose the following remedies for the epic mess in which we currently find ourselves.

First, the Church herself, as an entity, needs to go to Confession.It is true that the majority of the abuse cases roiling the news and the public now occurred a long time ago.  However, our attitude about this fact should be the same attitude any good pastor has when someone approaches him in Confession, explaining that it's been 40 years since his or her last Confession.  The answer from our side of the screen is always: "Confess it all, even the things that happened 40 years ago. Then you will know healing and peace." The Church needs to go to Confession, and we need to confess everything.

Secondly, we need to confess to the civil authorities.We need to request that every attorney general, in every State, and also any international authority with any teeth, conduct a full investigation of every American Archdiocese, and of the Vatican, of how the issue of clerical abuse has been handled.  For a complete picture, those same civil authorities also need to be given an accounting of our handling of finances and contributions right down to the local parish level.

Sadly enough, I do not think we are capable of making a full confession without the assistance of an external agent. For the record, I do not trust the secular and anti-Catholic agenda of many of the civic powers that will no doubt have to carry out this embarrassing exercise, but the fact is that if we are honest then we have nothing to fear.  If we are dishonest we need to suffer. Did not the Lord freely place himself into the hands of his enemies for the salvation of the world?  What else is there to say?

Thirdly, I join my voice to others who have already called for an inclusion of the lay faithful in the process of making priest assignments within dioceses and bishop appointments throughout the world.  I also echo the recent calls for the creation of a lay review board for accusations against bishops.There are challenges with this to be sure, for example, who decides which laity are included, but nonetheless there is immense benefit to seeking the wisdom of professional lay leaders in evaluating the suitability for clerical leadership within the Church.

Lay professionals offer a vital extra pair of eyes on the judgments of clerics. One occupational hazard of the priestly vocation comes from the "power of the keys," or of "binding and loosing" that is of the essence of Holy Orders itself.  All bishops and priests exercise this role of discernment and judgment within the confessional.  It is the weighing, with hopefully tender heart and sound theology, of the gravity of a person's sins, as well as their sincerely expressed desire to change, in order to extend absolution.

This duty of priests hearing confessions is unique on the face of this earth.  After years and years of it, we run the risk of developing a mistakenly high tolerance for the failures of others, as well as an overly optimistic view of how some situations may change with time. Priests see miracles of grace and transformation all the time in the personal lives of our flocks, and we do accept God's awesome power to transform even hardened sinners into changed men and women. One can see how an overly optimistic mentality about conversion could have been applied to personnel decisions of priestly assignments, especially when there were no professional laity involved to check our reasoning about difficult cases.

Lastly, the laity and the clergy need to be inspired to take up true, internal reform. This requires embracing the fullness of the Scriptures, the fullness of our teachings especially those pertaining to sexuality, returning to penance and fasting, increasing our prayer, embracing simplicity, assisting the needy, and being ardent in devotion to the Lord Jesus. From such reform movements new lay sodalities grow, and new clerical associations are born. From those groups, new bishops are chosen, new cardinals are named, and authentically reforming popes are elected. This all takes generations.  It will come again.  I dare say it must come soon.

Only a New Generation Will Move Us Forward

Until the reforms I speak of come about, we find ourselves in the psalms and with the prophets.  We find ourselves as well on the long journey out of Egypt, a time of real testing and trial.  None of the Egypt generation were allowed to see the Promised Land, including Moses, because of their sins.  A new generation had to move forward with God.  Similarly, a generation or two were lost in the Babylonian Exile, and the Temple was burned, and the priests were taken captive, before God would again allow them all to return home.  If we end up losing it all, then one must conclude it was time for it to go.

Such things are necessary in every era.  It is how God purifies His chosen people.

Published with permission from In Exile.

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò at the Rome Life Forum on May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
Phil Lawler

Opinion, ,

The track record supports the Vigano testimony

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

September 5, 2018 ( – At several points in his bombshell testimony, Archbishop Vigano explained where the corroborating evidence could be found: in files at the Vatican or the offices of the apostolic nuncio. If those files are made public – or even vetted by a reliable, objective investigator – we would all soon know whether the archbishop's remarkable account is accurate.

But while we wait for the Vatican to open those files (and since we realize we might wait forever), all we can do is compare the claims of Archbishop Vigano with what we do know. The more closely they match, the more plausible the archbishop's witness appears.

Even someone who is inclined to believe the testimony of Archbishop Vigano (as I am) must acknowledge that on several points, his account of the McCarrick scandal seems – at first glance, at least – inconsistent with known facts. In each case, there is a possible explanation for that inconsistency. Let's take a look at those problem areas, and see if the explanations match what we know about the people involved.

Inconsistency #1: the "secret" sanctions

  • Archbishop Vigano reports that Pope Benedict XVI restricted McCarrick's ministry. But there is no public evidence of any such disciplinary action.
  • Explanation: Pope Benedict imposed the restrictions secretly.
  • Is that explanation consistent with Pope Benedict's track record? Yes.

Earlier in his pontificate, Pope Benedict had restricted Father Marcial Maciel to a life of prayer and penance, but made no announcement of that action. The disciplinary action became public knowledge only after the fact. McCarrick was already retired, so there was no need to remove him from office; he could simply have been ordered to keep a low profile.

Inconsistency #2: McCarrick's public appearances

  • In fact, McCarrick did not keep a low profile. He did move out of a seminary, and at least one major appearance was cancelled. But he appeared at many other public events.
  • Explanation: McCarrick simply ignored the Pope's directives.
  • Is that explanation consistent with the former cardinal's track record? Yes.

In 2004, when the US bishops were engaged in a heated debate about whether politicians who promote abortion should be allowed to receive Communion, Cardinal McCarrick – who had been appointed to chair a special committee on the subject – reported that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had said, in a private letter, that individual bishops should decide the question for their own dioceses. In fact, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger had stated quite clearly that pro-abortion politicians should be denied the Eucharist. In 2009, at a burial service for Senator Ted Kennedy, McCarrick read a laudatory letter from the Vatican Secretary of State, deliberately creating the impression that it was a message from Pope Benedict, who in fact had studiously avoided any public comment. Clearly the American prelate was willing to flout the wishes of Pope Benedict.

Inconsistency #3: The lack of enforcement

  • Although he reports that he told Washington's Cardinal Wuerl not to allow public appearances by McCarrick, Archbishop Vigano apparently did not enforce any papal sanctions. In fact he himself appeared at public events along with McCarrick.
  • Explanation: As an archbishop, Vigano did not have the authority to issue orders to a cardinal. And as papal nuncio, he reported to the Vatican Secretary of State. Archbishop Vigano reports that the Secretariat of State protected McCarrick.
  • Is that explanation consistent with the track record of the Secretariat of State? Yes.

Particularly under Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretariat of State was notorious for protecting Father Maciel. Like Maciel, McCarrick was an extremely successful fundraiser, who used his prowess to curry favor with the most powerful Vatican officials. Although Cardinal Sodano had retired by the time McCarrick was reportedly disciplined, he remained influential, and according to Archbishop Vigano his successor, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, took a similar line.

Inconsistency #4: The Pope's reliance on McCarrick

  • Archbishop Vigano says that he warned Pope Francis about McCarrick's corruption. But Pope Francis made the American prelate a trusted counselor.
  • Explanation: At the time, McCarrick was charged with targeting seminarians, who were legal adults. (Only recently have complaints involving minors emerged.) Pope Francis may not have thought that homosexual activity with adult partners should disqualify a cleric from high office.
  • Is that explanation consistent with the Pope's track record? Yes.

In 2013, the Pope appointed Msgr. Battista Ricca to a very sensitive post, making him prelate to the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), at a time when the IOR was under heavy criticism. When he was questioned about Msgr. Ricca's background, which included notorious homosexual escapades, the Pope issued his famous rhetorical question: "Who am I to judge?" The Pope drew a sharp distinction between consensual sexual activities – "They are not crimes, right?" – and sex with minors – "Crimes are something different; the abuse of minors is a crime."

Is it conceivable that the Vicar of Christ thought that a man who had seduced his seminarians should be freed from restrictions – and not only forgiven, but trusted as an adviser? That is the essence of Archbishop Vigano's testimony. Unfortunately, the available facts give us no reason to dismiss the charge.

Published with permission from

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter


How praying with holy icons helps free Christians from visual noise of Facebook, TV, movies

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

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – We are living in a world saturated with superficial images, flooded with “visual noise.” The problem with this situation is that prayer, which is the basic duty of the Christian, requires a certain interior stillness and detachment, a kind of expectant emptiness seeking to be filled. If we do not find ways to center ourselves on God, we will drift off into a million vain things and lose the vital connection with the source of our being and our salvation.

Undoubtedly, our turning to God is a work of His grace. But it is also at the same time a function of our free will, the voluntary application of our soul’s powers to acts of faith, hope, and charity. And since we are physical beings, we need physical aids, not just rarefied ideas and good intentions.

Enter the icon. Although the icon as people usually think of it is seen as the special province of Eastern Christianity, it is the common heritage of the first millennium of the Faith, and in modified forms remains part of the Western or Latin tradition as well. All Christians stand to benefit from the veneration of icons, inasmuch as they bring before the eyes of our body and of our minds Christ our God, His Holy Mother, and the hosts of saints and angels who populate the heavenly Jerusalem. As Linette Martin puts it:

The icon points us to something beyond itself; we recognize it and are expected to respond. ... The icon insists that we respond as much with the mind as with the emotions. Icons are not directed only to the gut; they are the thinking man’s art. That is what makes an icon different in motive and in effect from some other religious pictures, and that is why some people dislike icons: they prefer Christian art to be decorative and undemanding. The Orthodox Church teaches that an icon is a two-way door of communication that not only shows us a person or an event but makes it present. When we stand in front of an icon we are in touch with that person and we take part in that event. ... What we call ‘our world’ and what we call ‘the spiritual world’ are opened to each other. (Sacred Doorways: A Beginner’s Guide to Icons)

There is much to be said about icons, and for this reason I shall be returning to the subject more than once, exploring various facets of it. Today, I simply wish to dwell on the oldest extant icon of Christ Pantocrator (Judge of all).

(Article continues beneath this image)

Dating to the sixth century, this arresting icon is one of only a handful in existence today that precedes the ecumenical council that definitively proclaimed the legitimacy and indeed necessity of icons (the Second Council of Nicaea, 787 AD). It escaped destruction at the hands of the iconoclasts thanks to its remote location at the monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai, which possesses thousands of ancient icons, many of them, like this one, fashioned out of colored wax.

The face of a man, not his chest or belly or limbs, is the visual center of his body. Therefore the face of the God-man dominates this panel, accentuated by a halo. Michel Quenot writes:

Ancient Greeks called a slave aprosopos, i.e., he who has no face. So by assuming the features of a human face, God restored to us a face in His own image, chained as we were like slaves without faces—aprosopos—because of sin. (The Icon: Window on the Kingdom)

Exaggerating the well-known fact that no human being’s face is identical on both sides, the icon presents to us the full truth of Christ in His justice and His mercy. On the side on which Christ holds the Gospel, His features are hard and severe, representing the Judge who sees all and who punishes the wicked. The expression on the side with the blessing hand is calm and serene, representing Christ in His role of merciful savior. The pronounced three-dimensionality of the Gospel side represents the Lord’s humanity, His entrance into space and time, while the two-dimensionality of the blessing side represents His divinity, which is outside of space and time. 

Again, Martin helps us to see why the iconographer adopts this startling approach:

Fear and love seem like opposite ends of a line, but in prayer that line becomes a circle. ... To love what is greater than ourselves should be a fearful experience if we have a proper sense of proportion. ... One look at the Christ Pantocrator and you fell to the ground with adoration, a word that suggests fearful love. The greatest icons of Christ hold together the apparently antithetical qualities of justice and mercy. They are never harshly formidable, but neither are they ever sentimental.

Instead of receding from us in “naturalistic” perspective, the book of the Gospels thrusts itself forward as if rushing towards us. This “inverse” perspective crosses over the gap between the viewer and the image, embracing us in its meaning and compelling our involvement. Christ is entering the world, not receding from it; He enters to teach, to bless, to command, to save, and to judge. Our response is to quiet ourselves as listeners, to welcome His blessing, to obey His commandments, to beg for His mercy, and to adore His holy Presence.

Since icons are a testimony to the reality of the Incarnation, it is highly fitting and an immense advantage for praying to have a solid, wood-panel icon, a real permanent object you can hold, bow towards, and kiss, rather than paper printouts or images on screen (like this one). Those who cannot yet invest in a handwritten icon may acquire good laminated reproductions from Byzantine monasteries like St. Isaac’s Skete or Holy Transfiguration in Jordanville.

The modern world of flickering images—TV, movies, advertising, computer programs—competes with the holy icons for your attention. You have only so much attention to give; what will you give it to? What are you attending to? 

The hyperrealism of video technology has led to the unreality and neutralization of the visual domain. It is all “projected,” for the sake of consumption. The holy icons are not projected and cannot be consumed. They are written for our purification, illumination, and unification with God. They are inexhaustible riches that we cannot “own.” They throw open a window into a heavenly reality that is greater than our world. They are capable of restoring our humanity, which we are always in danger of losing, like the slaves without faces. Beyond this healing function, the holy icons, in company with the divine liturgy and the holy sacraments, divinize us.

If we want to habituate our eyes and ears to God’s light and voice, we need to “fast” from spiritual junk food (such as movies and pop music) and feast our senses on images and sounds that are truly nourishing and satisfying to the soul—objects that are better proportioned to the dignity and loftiness of our immortal souls and our eternal destiny.

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Bishop Marian Eleganti
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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Swiss bishop: Dismissing Church’s homosexual crisis is ‘an additional form of cover-up’

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By Maike Hickson

September 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Swiss Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti issued a statement today in which he, in part, defends himself against accusations coming from at least two other Swiss dioceses. These dioceses have distanced themselves from Eleganti after he stated in public the fact that the majority of abusing priests were homosexuals and that a denial of that fact is a cover-up in itself.

The chancellor for the Diocese of Sankt Gallen, Claudius Lauterbacher, claimed in an interview published Sunday by the Swiss national newspaper Der Tages-Anzeiger that such public statements as issued by Eleganti are not acceptable and could cause an increase of “homophobia.” He insists that “homosexuality is not an illness.” Eleganti's words, he also claims, are “distracting” from the abuse crisis which is “about questions of abuse of power, of violence – not about homosexuality.” The Diocese of Basel called Eleganti's words “unbearable” and repeats some of the words of the Diocese of St. Gallen.

Eleganti now repeats those claims, first made during the World Meeting of Families in Ireland, and he substantiates them with documents. He also points out that the two last Popes – Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis – both have established instructions forbidding the admittance of practicing homosexuals or men with deep-seated homosexual inclinations to the priesthood.

Bishop Eleganti now calls upon the Church's hierarchy to face these facts and to implement the standing rules.

Below is a translation from the German of Bishop Eleganti's press release.


The Homosexual Taboo is Part of the Cover-Up

The John Jay Report of 2010 concerning the sexual abuse in the Church in the U.S. shows that, in the time range of the last sixty years, 81% of the victims were male. Therefore, the vast majority of the abusers are homosexuals. The Final Report of the [Australian] Royal Commission of the year 2017 has come to similar results.

These are facts which may not be discussed in public, they are a taboo to which many leaders in the Church now bow down, pointing instead to clericalism as the root problem of the phenomenon. No one denies that clericalism plays a role, but nevertheless it is in the Church proven that the abusers are mainly homosexual. The silencing of this fact is an additional form of cover-up which unfortunately is being committed also by Church representatives in Switzerland. Whoever speaks about this fact in public, is being defamed and psycho-pathologized as being a homophobe.

In a document published in 2016, Pope Francis maintains not to accept into the seminaries practicing homosexuals, men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies, nor those who support the so-called “homosexual culture.” This instruction had already been established in 2005 by Pope Benedict.

I expect that those responsible in the Church will follow this instruction and take actions accordingly. Part of it is the public admittance that in the clergy of the Church, we have been dealing for decades now with mainly homosexual criminals. 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.

+ Marian Eleganti
Auxiliary Bishop of Chur


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