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Fatima-themed conference provides young Catholics alternative to Youth Synod

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By Stephen Kokx

GRAND ISLAND, New York, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — While the upcoming 2018 Youth Synod is increasingly looking like it will be co-opted by pro-LGBT forces, a Canadian-based Catholic organization is offering young adults a chance to attend an event wholly dedicated to the Church’s traditional teachings.

Starting Friday, September 14 and running until Sunday, September 16, the Ontario-based Fatima Center, founded in 1978 by Fr. Nicholas Gruner, will host its first ever international conference geared specifically to Catholics between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Fatima for the Next Generation” will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Grand Island, New York near Niagara Falls.

According to a press release, the gathering promises to satisfy the “spiritual hunger” young, faithful Catholics have for truth.

Conference speakers will “powerfully insist on the unchanging and life-giving truths of the Catholic Faith for this and every generation, and on the vital importance of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima for our times,” the statement reads.

“The Vatican – awash in scandals and under the sway of a modernist agenda – seems determined not to transmit the teachings entrusted by Our Lord to His Church,” it adds.

Conference speakers and their topics include:

  • John-Henry Westen, Editor-in-Chief, LifeSiteNews: Catholic Answers to the Toughest Questions on Faith, Life and Family
  • Fr. Shannon Collins, Co-founder, Missionaries of St. John the Baptist: Vocational Discernment in an Undiscerning Age
  • Fr. Daniel Couture, District Superior of Canada, Society of St. Pius X: The Holy Shroud: A Modern-Day Tool of Apologetics, The Role of Young People in the Church and the World Today
  • Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea, Traditional Franciscan Priest: Young Men: Purity & Eternity
  • Fr. Michael Rodriguez, Advisory Council of priests, The Fatima Center: Our Lady of Fatima and the Way that will Lead Souls to God
  • Br. Andre Marie Villarubia, Prior, St. Benedict Center, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: In the World, Not of It: Being Catholic amid the New Paganism
  • Dr. Andrew Childs, Professor of Music, Chair of Humanities, St. Mary's College,  St. Marys, Kansas: Answering Charity’s Song: The Necessary Embrace of True Culture
  • Julianne Hartman, Music Director, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy and St. Peter’s Church in New Hamburg, Ontario: The Beauty of Feminine Modesty
  • Matthew Plese, President of CatechismClass.com, Apologetics: Learning the True Faith in an Age of Apostasy

Ticket prices vary in range from $80 to $205 U.S. dollars, depending on room occupancy. Packages include a two night stay, six meals, daily mass and rosary, confession, and the chance to receive spiritual guidance from attending priests. Financial assistance is available to those who cannot otherwise afford full ticket costs. Persons interested in sponsoring an attendee can do so by clicking here.

For more information, visit www.fatima.org or call toll-free 1-800-263-8160 between 9 am – 5 pm EST.

CONTACT PERSON:
Dan Smith, ext. 205
[email protected]

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Blurb on Pope Francis’ new book criticizes Benedict

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By Lianne Laurence
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VATICAN CITY, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A blurb on a new book by Pope Francis and close advisor Fr. Antonio Spadaro takes a swipe at Pope Benedict in describing the current pope as a reformer who is “engaged with the poor, the starving and the marginalized.”

“Unlike his predecessor, [Pope Francis] does not sit down in a room in the Vatican and write learned books,” writes the unknown author of the description of Open to God, Open to the World, published by Bloomsbury Continuum in a print edition September 25.

Pope Francis “is in constant dialogue with the outside world and with the universal Catholic Church,” it declares. “He likes being asked questions and finds it easy to respond.”

Given the pope’s silence on allegations he covered up the serial sexual abuse of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and famous refusal to answer the dubia, that last line veers unintentionally close to parody.

Consisting of 16 interviews between Spadaro and Pope Francis from 2013 and 2017, in which the two men “engage in valuable dialogue,” the book “reveals a leader’s vision for progress,” the blurb continues.

Known as the pope’s “mouthpiece,” Spadaro, editor-in-chief of the influential Vatican-based Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, recently retweeted a call for EWTN to be placed under interdict — a step short of excommunication — “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

He did so a day after Arroyo and his “papal posse” skewered Spadaro’s Georgetown University lecture on the pope’s “global vision.”

The Kindle edition of the book was released July 26, and its blurb was somewhat more restrained than that of the print edition, which extolls Pope Francis as a revolutionary and reformer.

“His impact on the modern world is extraordinary. He has turned the Catholic Church upside-down, flung open the windows of the Vatican and purged the Augean stables of corruption, simony, nepotism and financial skulduggery,” it asserts.

Meanwhile, citing the crisis in the Church, the highly influential Catholic business association Legatus took the remarkable step of placing its annual tithe to the Holy See in escrow.

“(I)n light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds,” wrote Legatus CEO and founder Tom Monaghan in a September 6 letter.

Notable among those revelations is Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s testimony that the pope and a number of highly ranked churchmen knew of McCarrick’s serial sexual abuse of seminarians, but placed the former archbishop of Washington in positions of influence in the church.

Vigano also alleges in his 11-page document that “homosexual networks” in the Catholic Church function through secrecy and lies to “strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”

Pope Francis has not responded to the testimony, aside from initial remarks to reporters to look into the matter themselves, and a cryptic homily this week in which he said “silence, prayer” is the best response to “people who don’t have good will.”

However, he is under increasing calls to respond to Vigano’s allegations from the laity, including a letter signed by 37,427 women to date.

At least 27 bishops have called for an investigation of Vigano’s allegations, including the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

“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,” DiNardo wrote.

Be that as it may, according to the description of Open to God, Open to the World, the “Franciscan revolution is under way.”

And “in spite of his vehement critics the revolution will roll on and new horizons will be opened for the one and a half billion Catholics in the world today.”

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Teachers union fights to force radical sex ed on Ontario families

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Canadian pro-life and pro-family group Campaign Life Coalition slammed Ontario’s elementary teachers union as “elitist” over its court action to keep in place a radical sex ed curriculum.

Campaign Life Coalition called on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to crack down on the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) for “usurping parental rights” in its effort to block the Ford government from repealing the curriculum.

The pro-life group also urged Ford to scrap the Ontario Human Rights Commission, alleging it is a politicized “kangaroo court,” and to invoke the Charter’s “notwithstanding clause” if the courts rule against him.

The ETFO announced Tuesday — the first day of school — it was seeking an injunction to block repeal of the Liberal 2015 sex-ed program, as well as to shut down a new website the government set up allowing concerned parents to report concerns about teachers refusing to implement the less radical, interim sex ed program.

The ETFO is also launching a human rights complaint against the sex-ed repeal, the Toronto Star reported.

“ETFO believes that the government’s actions are an abuse of power and are in direct conflict with teachers’ professional obligations, enshrined within the Education Act,” ETFO president Sam Hammond declared.

Moreover, the Ford government’s sex-ed repeal violates Ontario College of Teachers standards of practice, and is “in conflict with the Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the professional obligations of teachers,” Hammond said.

But Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) countered in a Tuesday statement the union is elitist and overlooking what parents really want.

It pointed out an Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News released that day showed a “strong majority” of Ontarians — 51 percent — support Ford’s decision to repeal the Liberal sex-ed curriculum.

“The ETFO’s tone-deafness and belligerence towards ordinary, everyday parents is an example of precisely why the Ford PC’s won such an overwhelming mandate,” said Jim Hughes, CLC national president.

“Here are union elites smugly dictating to parents what their children must believe in delicate matters of sexuality and morality, things that fall entirely within the realm of fundamental rights of parents,” he added.

CLC vice president Jeff Gunnarson echoed this.

“We urge Premier Ford to draw the battle line,” he said. “Make a public announcement that he won’t allow parental rights to be usurped by union elites.”

If the courts ruled against the Progressive Conservative government, Ford should invoke the Charter’s notwithstanding clause, Gunnarson said.

“Quebec has invoked Section 33 in the past to ignore court rulings it didn’t agree with. Ford should do the same,” he said.

“Make it clear that if liberal judges are planning to play politics, their meddling will likewise be ignored, so don’t even try.”

Gunnarson also called on Ford “to implement a past campaign promise from former PC Leadership candidate, MPP Randy Hillier so as to prevent the misuse of the Ontario Human Rights Commission as a political tool for the purpose of stopping the repeal.”

Both Hillier and Tim Hudak vowed in the 2009 PC Party leadership race they would nix the human rights commission and punt discrimination cases over to the courts.

“The OHRC ceased long ago being a defender of genuine human rights. It now serves primarily to advance liberal ideology, which in fact, replaces real human rights with fake ones,” said Gunnarson.

“Premier Ford should abolish the kangaroo court known as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, stacked as it is with radical LGBTTIQ activists, far-left feminists and Marxist ideologues. Hillier had the correct idea then.”

Ford’s government is facing ongoing vociferous opposition, including from the official opposition NDP, to repealing the sex-ed curriculum that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government rolled out in 2015 in the face of unprecedented parental backlash.

Campaign Life says the Liberal sex-ed curriculum destroys children’s innocence by exposing them to sexual concepts at too early an age. It introduces homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, oral and anal sex in Grade 7, and teaches there are six genders rather than two biological sexes.

The Tories have directed schools to use the 1998 sex-ed curriculum while they set up wide consultations on revisions.

As well as the ETFO, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has launched a court challenge to stop the repeal, and six families announced last month they are filing a human rights complaint, with an 11-year-old transgender “girl” as the lead applicant.

CLC is urging concerned Ontarians to contact their MPPs in support of Ford’s repeal of the Liberal sex-ed curriculum.

For more information on this CLC action item, go here. To find out who your MPP is, go here.

RELATED: ‘Repeal means repeal’: Parents’ group presses Ford to nix gender theory in Ontario schools

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U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein questions Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett at a confirmation hearing.
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Democrat touts fake stats on abortion deaths while grilling Supreme Court nominee

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Even the mainstream media are calling foul on Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, for dramatically inflating the number of maternal deaths from illegal, pre-Roe v. Wade abortions during her questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“In the 1950s and ’60s, the two decades before Roe, death from illegal abortions in this country ran between 200,000 to 1.2 million,” Feinstein claimed. “That’s according to the Guttmacher Institute. So a lot of women died in that period.”

Feinstein was citing a 2003 analysis from Guttmacher (a pro-abortion group that began as part of Planned Parenthood), which says 200,000–1.2 million is the range of abortions themselves, not abortion-related deaths, during the relevant period. (It should be noted, though, that every successful abortion results in the death of a tiny but whole, distinct, and living human being.) The piece admits that maternal deaths from these abortions were officially as low as 300 by 1950 and below 200 by 1965, though it suggests the “actual number was likely much higher” due to unreported or misreported cases.

The claim that legalization saved scores of women from dying in back alleys is a popular myth in pro-abortion circles, but has been repeatedly discredited.

Former Planned Parenthood and Centers for Disease Control statistician Dr. Christopher Tietze and NARAL co-founder turned pro-life activist Dr. Bernard Nathanson both admitted that the abortion lobby dramatically exaggerated the number of pre-Roe maternal deaths for political gain, with ex-Planned Parenthood director Mary Calderon estimating in 1960 that 90 percent of illegal abortions were committed by licensed physicians.

Further, to the extent that there was a decline in abortion-related maternal deaths, a 2005 analysis by FactCheck.org concluded that the “best available evidence” showed it began before states began legalizing abortion, and was largely due to the invention of new drugs.

Conservative and pro-life outlets naturally pounced on Feinstein’s misinformation, but so did a few news organizations normally friendlier to the abortion lobby. The Associated Press wrote that the California Democrat “vastly overstated” the actual number, while USA Today’s William Cummings wrote that she “made a major error in her citation.”

Feinstein spokeswoman Ashley Schapitl responded to Cummings by claiming that Feinstein, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “meant to cite just the number of illegal procedures, not deaths,” and that the statistic was simply written incorrectly in her prepared question.

One left-wing outlet that initially took the numbers at face value was Vox, which the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams criticized for “faithfully parrot[ing]” the “absurd and fake abortion stat.” Vox bills itself as an authority that “explains the news.”

“You’d think that a statistic of this magnitude and seriousness would merit at least a ‘whoa!’ or ‘is that true?’ from a supposedly serious news organization,” Adams wrote, yet senior reporter Anna North made “no attempt whatsoever to verify whether Feinstein’s shocking statistic about pre-Roe mortality rates is true.” Vox has since updated the piece to acknowledge the falsehood.

The snafu comes as pro-lifers attempt to discern whether Kavanaugh’s stated respect for Roe’s status as “precedent” or his past remarks on the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist dubbing Roe a “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights [...] not rooted in the nation’s history and tradition” is the more accurate predictor of his position.

Conservatives hope and liberals fear he will provide the long-awaited fifth Supreme Court vote to overturn Roe and let states and Congress to directly decide whether abortion should be legal. Interested readers can follow the Senate Judiciary Committee’s third day of confirmation hearings in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of the highlights.

Feinstein is the Senator who infamously told Catholic judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett (an early contender for the Supreme Court seat for which Kavanuagh has now been nominated) “the dogma lives loudly within you.” 

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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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Abortion lobby pounces on Kavanaugh email recognizing legal debate about Roe v. Wade

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By Calvin Freiburger
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Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion advocates are seizing upon a 2003 email from Judge Brett Kavanaugh as evidence he’s a lock to overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed to the Supreme Court, finally enabling voters to decide whether to ban abortion.

First revealed by the New York Times Thursday and written while Kavanaugh was serving as an attorney in the Bush administration, the email suggested a handful of edits to a draft opinion article in support of one of former president George W. Bush’s lower court nominees.

“I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so,” Kavanaugh wrote. The statement does not stake out a position on Roe’s merits and merely recognizes that there exist scholars who disagree with one another; in fact, many who favor legal abortion have nevertheless acknowledged Roe’s legal defects.

Even so, pro-abortion politicians, activists, and media outlets have taken the note as a smoking gun to Kavanaugh’s true position.

“Kavanaugh doesn't think Roe v. Wade is ‘settled law’ — or safe from being overturned,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund warned its followers. “This makes it crystal clear that his beliefs on Roe do not align with his testimony yesterday.”

“Brett Kavanaugh’s emails are rock solid evidence that he has been hiding his true beliefs and if he is given a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, he will gut Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and punish women,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said, according to the Huffington Post.

“We have every reason to believe Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, declared. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, added that “Brett Kavanaugh can evade our questions on Roe all he likes, but he can’t dodge his own words in this email.”

The emails “show how little [Kavanaugh’s testimony] really means,” Vox’s Anna North wrote. Abortion supporters “were right to worry,” because the emails supposedly confirm that “where the Supreme Court is concerned, calling something ‘settled law’ is meaningless.”

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed Kavanaugh on the email Thursday. He told Feinstein that his only interest in the 2003 exchange was accuracy, and that the draft he was correcting “might be overstating the position of legal scholars.”

He stressed to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, that accurately representing the landscape of legal thought was separate from “my position as a judge,” which was that “there’s 45 years of precedent and there’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe. So that’s precedent on precedent, as I’ve explained, and that’s important. And that’s an important precedent to the Supreme Court.”

Kavanaugh’s abortion answers this week continue to be a political Rorschach test for abortion friends and foes. Throughout his testimony he has expressed significant respect for the current precedent of Roe through Planned Parenthood v. Casey, invoking the doctrine of stare decisis. His supporters and opponents alike argue that his answers are phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately would vote to overturn Roe.

Others are less sure. “It seems that with every new GOP nominee, with the exception of Alito, the nominees get more categorical with their agreement that Roe is settled, and it seems that Kavanaugh used the most unqualified language,” Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz writes. “He could have asserted the Ginsburg standard and remained neutral, or he could have gone the Alito route and said that all precedents deserve special consideration, but they are not infallible and that he’d have to judge each case.”

On the other hand, 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.”

Kavanaugh reiterated Thursday in an exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, that the “history and traditions” of the country were critical to assessing claims about any right not explicitly listed in the Constitution, though the day before he also approvingly cited an example of Rehnquist upholding something he disagreed with, because it was precedent.

Interested readers can follow the Senate Judiciary Committee’s third day of confirmation hearings in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of highlights.

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U.S. Catholic bishops on June 14, 2017 at a Mass in reparation for clerical sex abuse Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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New Jersey to investigate claims, handling of Catholic Church abuse

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By Calvin Freiburger

TRENTON, New Jersey, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – New Jersey is the latest state to announce a probe into alleged sex abuse by Catholic priests, as well as potential cover-ups of said abuse.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has appointed former Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino to spearhead a task force investigating allegations and possible mishandling of them, Grewal’s office announced in a press release. The task force will be able to issue subpoenas for testimony and documents, as well as present evidence to a grand jury for potential prosecution.

Like similar probes recently launched in Illinois, Nebraska, New York, New Mexico, and Missouri, New Jersey’s was motivated by a Pennsylvania grand jury report last month that identified 301 priests accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse, with six different dioceses hiding their crimes for several decades.

The “sophisticated” cover-up “stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, with church leaders keeping “secret archives” of abuse “just feet from the bishops’ desk.” Numerous abusive clergy were not only protected but promoted, the report found.

In the 2018 book The Dictator Pope, author Henry Sire argues that Pope Francis signaled a “new direction” softer on abuse, first “by choosing to honor one of the most notorious of the enabling bishops,” then by “reducing the penalty for priest abusers to ‘a lifetime of prayer’ and restrictions on celebrating Mass.” Archbishop Carlo Viganò alleges that Francis was warned about abuse by disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but helped cover up the allegations.

The Pennsylvania report also identified at least four alleged abusers who spent part of their ministries in New Jersey.

“We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here. If it did, we will take action against those responsible,” Grewal vowed. “No person is above the law and no institution is immune from accountability. We will devote whatever resources are necessary to uncover the truth and bring justice to victims.”

The press release also announced a toll-free, 24-hour hotline (855-363-6548) for receiving allegations of abuse, and a “comprehensive review of existing agreements between the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey and state law enforcement,” to ascertain whether diocese have complied with reporting procedures they’ve agreed to since 2002.

"We welcome the attorney general's investigation. We regret that in decades past, some in the Church failed in their responsibility to protect children," said New Jersey Catholic Conference executive director Patrick Brannigan. “However, today, no institution, public or private, has done more to prevent abuse than the Catholic Church in New Jersey. We will remain vigilant to ensure a safe environment for every child we serve.”

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Elderly Christian still being harassed for billboard by ‘moaning and groaning’ LGBT activists

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By James Risdon

PETROLIA, Ontario, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Homosexual activists are still calling and harassing an 81-year-old Ontario man even though his Christian-themed billboard they deemed offensive has been down for more than a week.  

"They call up, moaning and groaning and pretending they're doing it with sheep and goats," said Ralph Baker in an interview Thursday. "It's who they are."

After coughing up close to $10,000 for his billboard, placed in a farmer's field at an intersection about 16 miles north of Chatham-Kent, in late August, the elderly Christian began receiving threats of violence and expletive-laced calls from LGBT activists.

They were upset over the messages on his billboard. These included: God says no to homosexuality & abortion; Bibles back in schools; Let the Bible be your teacher; Marijuana or peace with God, and A ship without a rudder is tossed to & fro.

At the bottom of the billboard was Baker's phone number: 519-882-2187.

"I thought I knew all the swear words, but this was a learning experience. I wasn't even close to all the swear words and anger that came from the homosexual community," said Baker a few days after taking his billboard down on August 27. "It's been terrible."

The messages on Baker's billboard are all based on mainstream Christian teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to the natural law." Other denominations recognize the immorality of homosexual activity, too, as do other major religions like Islam and orthodox Judaism.

Christians also oppose abortion because of the Bible’s prohibition on murder. Abortion kills a whole, distinct, living human being.

The billboard is gone now but that hasn't stopped the harassing calls from LGBT activists.

"It's been crazy," said Baker. "They still have to bug me...It's the same as being on the frontlines of a war."

Despite those phone calls, though, the elderly Christian is showing no signs of giving up on spreading the Word.

"The peace that I have from the Holy Spirit is far beyond people's conception," he said. "I have reached the point where God + 1 = the majority and the rest of the world does not matter."

With the help of one of his 14 grandchildren, a youth minister in Windsor, Baker is hoping to launch a program to bring young people to Christ.

"If we can start some kind of revival with kids, that would be my goal," said Baker. "Kids can be very powerful."

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Prominent US Catholic woman: Abuse crisis will end when laity demand bishop accountability

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By Maike Hickson
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Donna Bethell

WASHINGTON D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  A prominent Catholic laywoman and lawyer has stated that the only way to “drive out this evil” of the sexual abuse crisis rocking the Catholic Church is for laity to “demand” accountability from bishops. If bishops refuse to be accountable, they must be pressured to “resign.”

“We laity also need to demand immediately that every Bishop tell us what he knows,” said Donna Bethell in comments she made to LifeSiteNews in the capacity of a concerned Catholic. Bethell was the undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Energy from 1988 to 1989. 

“Every Bishop needs to admit whatever sexual activity he has committed with minors or adults of either sex. Every Bishop must admit to any cover-up activity he has committed, including moving priests around or putting them back in ministry without telling parishioners about their records of abuse. He must report any legal settlements and payments and release victims from confidentiality agreements,” she said.

“And if a Bishop knows of abusive or cover-up activity by another Bishop, then he needs to follow our Lord's instructions and call that Bishop privately to admit it or resign. If the Bishop refuses, then the Church must be told. Any Bishop who will not make a statement must resign,” she added.

Bethell serves as the chairman of Christendom College's board of directors, but says the opinions she shared are her own.

She is married to Tom Bethell, a journalist and book author who was for more than 30 years a senior editor of the American Spectator. She has made in the past some strong defenses of Catholic doctrine and morals on radio and TV. In 2012, she came into the news for supporting the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). 

Bethell’s comments come in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report which highlighted the abuse of hundreds of priests on mostly male victims. Her comments also come in the wake of the testimony of Archbishop Viganò who accused Pope Francis of covering up for now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite having detailed knowledge of his abuse of priests and seminarians. 

“We don't need investigations by Bishops or the Vatican. The Vatican can't even investigate itself. We need Attorney General grand jury investigations in the 49 other states and the District of Columbia. There is no way that Pennsylvania is an anomaly,” she said. 

She also pointed a finger at the USCCB for not admitting that the driver of the clergy abuse scandal is primarily homosexuality. 

“And the USCCB must finally admit that the overwhelming problem is homosexuality that must be driven without exception from the seminaries and priesthood,” she said. 

LifeSiteNews is pleased to share Bethell’s full comments below. 

***

Donna Bethell's personal thoughts on the current crisis in the Church

Sept. 6, 2018

We have seen for more than 50 years a concurrent corruption of morals, doctrine, and liturgy. And those few who were courageous and faithful enough to say so were denigrated, laughed at, and declared schismatics. Consider Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

For several weeks I have been posting on comboxes and emailing friends the following. 

We don't need investigations by Bishops or the Vatican. The Vatican can't even investigate itself. We need Attorney General grand jury investigations in the 49 other states and the District of Columbia. There is no way that Pennsylvania is an anomaly.

We laity also need to demand immediately that every Bishop tell us what he knows. Every Bishop needs to admit whatever sexual activity he has committed with minors or adults of either sex. Every Bishop must admit to any cover-up activity he has committed, including moving priests around or putting them back in ministry without telling parishioners about their records of abuse. He must report any legal settlements and payments and release victims from confidentiality agreements. And if a Bishop knows of abusive or cover-up activity by another Bishop, then he needs to follow our Lord's instructions and call that Bishop privately to admit it or resign. If the Bishop refuses, then the Church must be told. Any Bishop who will not make a statement must resign.

We laity must demand this from the Bishops. We don't need committees or investigations for this, just a website listing the names of all Bishops and any statements made. It will be obvious who needs to resign. Then we stay in their faces about it, showing up at any public appearance, writing letters, getting stories in newspapers, hounding them until they finally begin to do the right thing. That is the only way to drive out this evil. The people of Constantinople rioted against the Arians. Good idea.

Maybe only a few Bishops will respond. Maybe none. But we will know that they were asked and refused. We will know where they stand as individuals. Otherwise they will hide in the anonymity of the USCCB.
And the USCCB must finally admit that the overwhelming problem is homosexuality that must be driven without exception from the seminaries and priesthood. 

I would like to mention here that the only other idea I have seen remotely like this came last week from Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

Ruthlessness and transparency in detecting and in confessing the evils in the life of the Church will help to initiate an efficient process of spiritual and moral purification and renewal. Before condemning others, every clerical office holder in the Church, regardless of rank and title, should ask himself in the presence of God, if he himself had in some way covered sexual abuses. Should he discover himself guilty, he should confess it publicly, for the Word of God admonishes him: “Be not ashamed to acknowledge your guilt” (Sir 4:26). For, as Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote, “the time has come for the judging, starting with the house (the church) of God” (1 Peter 4:17). 


 

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Prominent German newspaper on papal silence: ‘What a mockery of the victims!’

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By Maike Hickson

GERMANY, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Christian Geyer, writing for the German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), is questioning Pope Francis' silence on the Viganò allegations. “Shall the sexual violence about which people were silent for years now truly again be officially answered with silence? What a mockery of the victims!” Such is the piercing comment of the journalist.

On September 5, Christian Geyer's article appeared in the FAZ, and the prominent Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net picked up on it today. Geyer first reports on Pope Francis' homily last Monday, in which the Pope spoke about the silence of Jesus Christ in the face of accusations. For Geyer, “this homily is not difficult to understand as a theological attempt at exalting the papal approach 'not to speak a single word'” concerning allegations of cover-up of abusers. Geyer noted that Francis only “breaks the silence in order to preach about the silence of God.”

“I love you, Francis, but that won't work,” is the response of Father Thomas Reese, S.J. to these papal words, as quoted by Geyer.

Geyer then asks: “Shall the sexual violence about which people were silent for years now truly again be officially answered with silence? What a mockery of the victims!” Quoting Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – the head of the U.S. bishops – and his request for “convincing answers” to the questions raised by the Viganò report, the journalist insists himself upon receiving answers from the Pope, independently of whether this Viganò report was inspired by personal interests or not. The “matter of substance” is at the center of the current discussion, the journalist explains.

“No one in the Vatican,” he adds, “is now in the position to give out the parole 'silence!' after the fact that in the past years ten thousand clerical abuse cases – to include numerous networks of cover-up that span over the whole globe – have been revealed.” Quoting Archbishop Viganò, Christian Geyer says that “the rule of silence” has to be broken.

It is now up to the Pope, the German journalist continues, “to give simple answers to simple questions, in order to clarify the accusations that have been now directed against him, and possibly to deny them,” “instead of now fleeing into the 'silence of Jesus.'”

Geyer concludes his article with a reference to the French documentary “The Silence of the Shepherds,” which has recently been aired in Germany, and he points to the question whether “victims of sexual abuse in Buenos Aires had to suffer” under the same “refusal to answer” when Pope Francis was still archbishop of Buenos Aires.

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Scottish government doubles down on at-home abortions, pro-life org challenges

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 6, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) lodged papers yesterday to appeal a judge's decision to back the Scottish Government’s controversial plans to allow DIY abortions at home.

SPUC Scotland filed the legal challenge in January, after Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, refused to reverse her decision to authorise the taking of misoprostol (the second stage of a medical abortion) outside a clinical setting. 

The appeal follows a two day hearing earlier this year at the Court of Session, in Edinburgh, which Lady Wise rejected.

We will fight all the way

Speaking after the papers were lodged in Edinburgh, John Deighan, chief executive of SPUC Scotland said:

"While disappointed by the original decision it was always our intention to fight this case all the way. Our position and beliefs remain the same.

"At the original hearing our arguments convincingly exposed the unlawfulness of the actions taken by the Scottish Government in contravention of the law. After thorough consideration of the judgement and in tandem with legal advice we now appeal the decision.

"We owe it to our supporters who continue to make donations to cover our legal costs."

Compounding abortion trauma

SPUC's challenge rested on two major grounds: firstly, that the home is not an approved place for abortions to take place, and secondly, that the Abortion Act demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff during a procedure.

However, of primary concern is how going through the procedure at home will compound the trauma abortion inflicts on women, and render them more vulnerable to coercion.

"The neglect of the damage that abortion has on women is reprehensible and will one day demand an answer as to why it has been allowed to go on so long," Mr Deighan said. "The lax attitude towards abortion has also allowed widespread coercion of women to have abortions.

"Rather than really being about a woman’s choice it has so often become an option which women are pushed towards when their pregnancy is inconvenient to others. So many women will afterwards say that they had no choice other than abortion. This compounds the mental suffering that post-abortive women endure."

Trivialising terrible ordeal

"The abortion pill policy trivialises the terrible ordeal that medical abortion inflicts on women and it can now do so in an environment where women self-administer powerful drugs with no proper medical supervision or support," Mr Deighan continued.

"We continue to be alarmed at the Scottish Government’s policies to liberalise abortion, this is hard to square with their other commitments on health and human rights."

You can donate to SPUC's work, including this legal challenge, here.

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

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Guatemala follows Argentina’s pro-life example, scuttles abortion legislation

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 6, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Last month, pro-lifers celebrated as a bill to legalise abortion was rejected by the senate of Argentina. However, in Guatemala, it didn't even come to a vote, as pressure from the pro-life majority forced women's groups to drop a clause that would legalise abortion in some circumstances.

A bill sponsored by the leftist Convergencia opposition party had included a clause that would  allow underage girls that have been the victims of sexual abuse to abort in the first 12 weeks. 

Defending human life

Guatemala only allows abortion when the mother's life is at risk, and has strongly opposed any moves to impose widespread abortion. Last year, the military blocked a Dutch ship distributing illegal abortion pills, saying it would defend "human life and the laws of our country".

On Sunday 20,000 people, backed by the Catholic and Evangelical churches, took to the streets in protest of the bill and in support of life and family.  This fierce opposition forced activists into a hasty retreat, leading to them deciding to remove the clause yesterday.

Paula Barrios from Women Transforming the World (a project of the UN Population Fund, which has been known to support coercive abortion and involuntary sterilisation), told AFP "we're not ready to talk about" abortion in Guatemala."

Fight across Latin America

Without the abortion clause, the bill, which aims to provide social and educational support for girls who become pregnant, is likely to be adopted by Parliament. Also due to be debated is a bill which as well as toughening abortion laws, prohibits same-sex marriage and defines family as being limited to a father, mother and children.

The fight around the right to life for the unborn is continuing across Latin America, with ongoing proposals for liberalising abortion in Chile and Brazil, but the victory in Guatemala and the recent victory in Argentina shows that a united pro-life effort can be enough to uphold the rights of the unborn.

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

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US archbishop: Viganò is ‘man of integrity,’ we must ‘ascertain the truth’

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By Claire Chretien

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

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The incoming head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has released a lengthy statement on the ongoing clerical sex abuse crisis.

Archbishop Naumann called Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano “a man of integrity,” adding that “we cannot ignore” the fact that the majority of the victims described in the Pennsylvania grand jury report were post-pubescent males. He said that priests must be able to articulate Church teaching on sexuality “in a convincing and compelling way.”

Naumann was elected last November to lead the U.S. Bishops' pro-life office, and will begin his tenure this November.

“It is inconceivable to me that the bishops who were involved with the settlements for McCarrick’s misconduct did not bring these matters to the papal nuncio (the Holy Father’s ambassador to the United States) and the nuncios failed to inform the pope at that time and those who assisted him with the care of bishops,” Naumann commented.

“Just this past week, the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, released a statement that claims he and his predecessors, Archbishop Pietro Sambi and Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo (both now deceased), did inform the respective popes,” he explained. “In my experience of Archbishop Vigano during his tenure as apostolic nuncio, he was a man of integrity. There are also respected sources that are contesting elements of Archbishop Vigano’s statement.”

Vigano testified that Pope Benedict XVI privately sanctioned McCarrick, but Pope Francis removed those sanctions and made the predatory prelate a trusted advisor, particularly when it came to episcopal appointments.

Naumann endorsed the investigation Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has proposed.

“This development makes it even more imperative that we embrace Cardinal DiNardo’s commitment to pursue the truth of why McCarrick was allowed to continue to exercise public ministry and continue in the College of Cardinals, when his sexual misconduct and abuse of power were already known,” said Naumann. “We must do all that we can to ascertain the truth and then allow the chips to fall where they may.”

Commitment to celibacy and chastity must be a ‘priority’ for potential priests

“This is a moment for conversion and renewal of the entire church, but especially for bishops and priests,” Naumann said. “Both the Pennsylvania grand jury report and the earlier national study by John Jay College commissioned by the U.S. bishops in the wake of the 2002 scandal reveal that a high percentage of victims of clergy sexual misconduct were post[-]pubescent males. In other words, much of the misconduct involved homosexual acts. We cannot ignore this reality.”

Naumann reminded Catholics that Pope Benedict XVI “gave guidance to seminaries and vocation ministries regarding the non[-]acceptance for priestly formation those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

“All candidates for the seminary have to be able to give evidence for their capacity of living celibate chastity with both integrity and joy,” continued Naumann.

He went on to defend priestly celibacy, explaining that it allows priests to be completely available to their parishioners and that it shows priests are willing to make a tremendous sacrifice for God:

The requirement of celibate chastity for Catholic priests is not because the church does not value marriage and the importance of family life. No, just the opposite! The church asks her priests to relinquish what is arguably most precious and most dear, precisely because it is most precious and dear. The priest’s willingness to commit to a life of celibacy makes no sense if Jesus did not suffer, die and rise from the dead for us. The church asks her priests to stake their entire life on the truth of the paschal mystery, the dying and rising of Jesus.

Celibacy is first and foremost to be a witness to the truth of the Gospel. The priest’s life is meant to be a living symbol that challenges his parishioners to place God first in their lives above everyone and everything else. Celibacy also allows the priest to be available and accessible to his people. A priest is able to go wherever his gifts are most needed by the people of God without having to weigh the necessary question of a husband and biological father whether this ministry is good for his marriage and children. It is this embrace of the charism of celibacy that increases a priest’s ability to become a true spiritual father to his parishioners.

It is not enough for those seeking ordination to the priesthood to accept reluctantly celibacy as a necessary burden to become a priest. If our heart is not into embracing the challenges and beauty of celibacy with joy, then we are setting ourselves up for failure and wounding our people.

Nor is it sufficient for priests to live celibacy faithfully, but not be able to teach with conviction and enthusiasm Catholic sexual morality as articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Our Catholic understanding of human sexuality is beautiful and guides those who embrace it to the path to authentic love and happiness. The priest needs to be able to articulate, in a convincing and compelling way, why heterosexual intimacy outside of the marital covenant is gravely immoral, as well as why homosexual activity is also always seriously sinful.

Naumann said his “priority” in evaluating seminary candidates and the “suitability” of priests is “their commitment and capability of living celibate chastity with fidelity and joy.”

‘Failures of the accountability of bishops’ are primarily to blame

“The reason for this current crisis is not primarily one of individual weakness, but failures of the accountability of bishops,” Naumann concluded, asking for prayers for bishops.

He said he has hired a law firm to examine the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s personnel files dating back to 1950 “to ensure that we have an accurate historical knowledge of how the archdiocese has responded to allegations of misconduct.”

Catholics’ first, but not only, response should be prayer, he said.

“I invite every Catholic to adopt some additional practices of prayer and penance for victims and for the purification of the church. I also intend to offer communal prayer opportunities for these intentions.”

Correction: This article originally identified Archbishop Naumann as the current head of the U.S. Bishops' pro-life office, but he will begin his tenure in November.

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Judge blocks Texas law requiring humane disposal of fetal remains

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By Calvin Freiburger

AUSTIN, Texas, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge issued a permanent injunction Wednesday against a Texas law requiring burial or cremation for the bodies of aborted or miscarried babies, claiming the law burdens women for no benefit.

In 2017, Texas passed Senate Bill 8, which established that embryonic and fetal remains were not “pathological waste,” and that any facility in which a baby is either aborted or miscarried must dispose of their bodies by interment, cremation, or incineration. It specifies that the remains may not be dumped in a landfill. The legislation codified state health department rules issued the year before, which were already facing legal challenge.

U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra ruled this week that the law imposes “significant burdens on women seeking an abortion or experiencing pregnancy loss,” NPR reported, while providing "minimal, if any, benefits."

"Women who do not believe embryonic and fetal tissue has a special status will be required to accept the State's prescribed methods of disposition as a condition of obtaining pregnancy-related health care,” Ezra wrote, which he claimed “increases the grief, stigma, shame, and distress of women experiencing an abortion, whether induced or spontaneous.”

At worst, he added, the law would “intrude into the realm of constitutional protection afforded to 'personal decisions concerning not only the meaning of procreation but also human responsibility and respect for it.'”

Ezra’s ruling “is disappointing but not surprising,” Texas Right to Life lamented in a statement. “The ruling today was very convoluted since on one hand the judge asserted that Texas does have a legitimate state interest in protecting and promoting preborn Life; however, he further stated that interest is not substantial enough to outweigh the abortion industry’s heckler’s veto.”

The law places its legal obligations and their associated costs solely on abortion or medical facilities, however, meaning the only “burdens” the law places on women are whatever personal inferences they draw from recognizing the humanity of their dead children. Further, it was not based on “the State’s view of pregnancy” but rather on the settled biological understanding of what constitutes a living human being.

The “abortion providers failed to prove that the humane disposition rules in any way increase the difficulty for women to obtain abortions,” Texas Alliance for Life pointed out in its response to the ruling. “They agreed to not argue that cost is a factor, and they testified that they neglected to reach out to their current or any other medical waste providers to find a provider to meet the law’s requirements.”

The group further noted that the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has offered to provide pro-bono fetal burial services to any hospital or even abortion centers in the state.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton pledged to “continue to fight to uphold the law.”

“I remain confident the courts will ultimately uphold the Texas law, which honors the dignity of the unborn and prevents fetal remains from being treated as medical waste,” he declared. “We established during a weeklong trial in July that the law is constitutional and does not impact the abortion procedure or the availability of abortion in Texas.”

The state has 30 days to appeal Ezra’s ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Canon lawyer: Pope Francis ‘should resign’ if Viganò’s testimony is true

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

DETROIT, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected American canon lawyer and blogger has stated that if the testimony of Archbishop Viganò is true, Pope Francis should resign. 

Responding to the assertion of a Canadian priest-journalist, Father Raymond J. DeSouza, that the Vatican whistleblower was wrong to call for the pontiff’s resignation, canonist Ed Peters wrote yesterday that anyone who would protect and favor a sexual miscreant was unworthy of the Chair of Peter.

Having described how Canon Law allows clerics to step down from ecclesiastical offices for reasons either mild or grave, Peters stated: 

“Of what was said above concerning resignation from Church office in general, what would not apply to a pope, of all office holders, if he, as alleged by Viganò, from the first months of his papacy knowingly protected and favored a cardinal who was [pick a disgusting verb]-ing seminarians?” the canon lawyer asked.  

“By what possible stretch of the imagination would such an occupant be suited for the Chair of Peter?” he continued. “Does the historical fact that some pretty bad popes held on to office despite committing various offenses justify other popes acting badly in shirking even the minimal gesture of resigning?

Peters said that Viganò was within his canonical rights to ask a prelate, even the Pope, to step down. 

“Viganò is unquestionably in a position to know, and claims to know, whether his central allegation that Francis was covering for McCarrick, big time, for years, is correct,” he wrote. 

“Believing, as he does, that his claims are correct, Viganò, in calling for Francis’ resignation, has done nothing more or less than exercise his right under Canon Law 'to manifest to the sacred pastors [his] opinion on matter which pertain to the good of the Church and to make [his] opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful…'”

Peters stated that he himself had not called for Francis’ resignation as he does not know with sufficient “certitude” that the Vatican whistleblower’s “key allegations” against the pontiff are substantially true. 

“…[H]owever,” he added, “ if I reach the conclusion that they are true, I would say, without hesitation, that Francis should resign.”

Peters believes that if the former Nuncio’s allegations are proven, then a papal refusal to resign “would be a catastrophe for Catholic credibility and unity.” 

So far Pope Francis has neither denied nor affirmed Viganò’s allegations that he protected McCarrick and was influenced by the then-cardinal in the promotion of a number of American bishops. The closest the pontiff has come to responding, such Vatican-watchers as Rod Dreher believe, is in a homily about the importance of silence. 

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New York launches abuse probe into all 8 Catholic dioceses in state

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By Calvin Freiburger

ALBANY, New York, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood is launching an investigation into all eight of New York’s Roman Catholic dioceses for potential mishandling of sexual abuse claims, ABC-13 and the Associated Press report.

Underwood subpoenaed the dioceses Thursday for any documents relevant to allegations, potential payments to victims, and the results of any internal investigations conducted by the church.

She reportedly seeks a civil investigation into the church’s handling of such reports, and wants local prosecutors to convene grand juries for potential criminal investigations.

Disgraced now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of abusing minors, seminarians, and priests, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York in May 1977. 

The move follows a Pennsylvania grand jury report last month that identified 301 priests accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse, with six different dioceses allegedly hiding their crimes for several decades.

The “sophisticated” cover-up “stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, with church leaders keeping “secret archives” of abuse “just feet from the bishops’ desk.” Numerous abusive clergy were not only protected but promoted, the report found.

“The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses. Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well – and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve,” Underwood said in a press release that included a hotline and website for filing complaints.

"She will find the Archdiocese of New York, and the other seven dioceses in the state, ready and eager to work together with her in the investigation,” the Archdiocese of New York responded in a statement. “Since 2002, the archdiocese has shared with its 10 District Attorneys all information they have sought concerning allegations of sexual abuse of minors, and has established excellent working relationships with each of them [...] We look forward to receiving the subpoena, and working with the Attorney General."

Investigators in Illinois and Missouri have launched similar probes into handling of abuse reports in their jurisdictions, in response to the Pennsylvania bombshell.

The scandal has also highlighted criticism of Pope Francis, whom Archbishop Carlo Viganò alleges was warned about abusive McCarrick, but helped cover up the allegations. According to excerpts of the 2018 book The Dictator Pope provided to LifeSiteNews, the pope’s insistence “that he too is a champion against clerical abuse [...] appears to have evaporated with Benedict’s resignation.”

“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,” author Henry Sire writes. “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.”

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

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Why was McCarrick a ‘counselor’ to this pro-contraception globalist charity?

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ANALYSIS

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s name is no longer easy to find on the list of official counselors of one of the world’s top international think tanks, the Center for Strategic and International Studies founded at Georgetown University in 1962.

His downfall in the wake of his exposure as a homosexual predator of seminarians and young priests has certainly made McCarrick’s presence unwelcome, and CSIS’s website appears to have been duly edited. But it is an indisputable fact that the cardinal joined that globalist institution as such in March 2007, less than a year after Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation from his post of Archbishop of Washington, D.C. No details can be found regarding the end of his appointment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, some of whose best known members include Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brezinski.

Two questions immediately arise. One: what was a Catholic Cardinal doing in a political and geo-strategical think tank in the first place? Interference of spiritual authorities in worldly matters is hardly encouraged. The CSIS has a clear political objective: officially, it aims “to sustain American prominence and prosperity as a force for good in the world.” In fact, as a well-respected source of foreign policy counseling and development promotion, it has the ear of the world’s top leaders and has played a noted role in encouraging free trade and globalism with special emphasis on opening up to the eastern regions of the globe, communist dictatorships included.

Two: was the CSIS aware of the charges against McCarrick, whose history of sexual assault had already partly come to light by the time he became a member of its board of counselors? This question is of course impossible to answer at the present time. What is certain is that the former archbishop held a prestigious post and was in touch with many of the rich and mighty of this world, and was so, apparently, for many years.

But whatever the truth on that point, another scandal lurks. While joining a mundane institution that under a philanthropic guise is trying to and succeeding in shaping world politics seems strange for a prelate of the Catholic Church, cooperating with the CSIS is questionable in itself. The organization shares with other globalist institutions the policy of spreading contraception all over the world, especially in developing countries.

History of the CSIS

The Center for Strategic and International Studies was founded in 1962 as a bipartisan group including both Republicans and Democrats. Henry Kissinger joined in 1977 and is still a member: it was he who organized the cease-fire in Vietnam – that role would be crowned with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 – and it was also Kissinger who promoted “détente” with Soviet Russia and later played an important part in the “normalization” of American relations with communist China.

According to the Russian press, Kissinger still has frequent talks with Russian authorities including Vladimir Putin and he is one of the world’s foremost promoters of globalism, having said that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “represent[s] the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War.” This is a step which he hoped would lead to a “free-trade zone for the entire western hemisphere.”

Kissinger has been a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Trilateral Commission founded by David Rockefeller, whose first director, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also joined CSIS in 1981 and remained a counselor – alongside McCarrick – until his death last year. Brzezinski openly theorized on a world government.

Without these groups’ influential and powerful lobbying for international trade agreements and rules that would favor communist countries such as Russia and China preceding the Perestroika, and the opening up of China in order to make it the world’s workshop, the world would have been a very different place.

The CSIS includes or has included many leaders or counselors from the political, industrial, and financial world, including CEOs and top officials of Hyatt Hotels, Coca-Cola, and Abbott Fund, as well as a representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, and Catholic Relief Services.

Many are known for their support of exporting contraception worldwide and for their LGBT-friendly and LGBT-promoting policies.

The CSIS is in itself a powerful pressure group – its operating revenue for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2016 was no less than $43.8 million, of which 27 percent came from taxpayer money via government grants.

A large number of documents published on the CSIS website shows the organization’s commitment to “women’s empowerment” and making contraceptives available to women in many developing countries. In those countries, CSIS operates special health programs that include working for so-called “reproductive rights.”

At the same time, CSIS experts have published a paper warning against demographic decline in many countries, including developing countries. The paper published in 2007 said among others that Europe and Japan would with time lose economic growth and see the decline of their living standards because of their lack of births. But the CSIS does not encourage family-friendly policies and procreation.

Theodore McCarrick’s membership of the CSIS is documented here on its website, here on the Congressional record of the U.S. Senate, and in a copy of a press release from March 2007 that is no longer available on the CSIS website but that used to link here.

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Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: Investigate ‘each and every allegation’ in Viganò testimony

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By Claire Chretien

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

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal sent the current U.S. apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, a letter backing “an investigation by the Holy See into the specific allegations contained in the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò.”

That testimony implicated Pope Francis and a number of high-ranking Vatican cardinals and bishops in covering up ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual predation.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs) were founded by Father Benedict Groeschel, who is famous for his many writings on the human person and psychology as well as his pro-life activism. The order serves the poor and performs other spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

“By living in poor neighborhoods, running homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and youth programs, friars strive to fulfill the command of the gospel and our Holy Father St. Francis to live among the poor, providing for their physical and spiritual needs,” the CFRs explain on their website.

The friars wrote to Archbishop Pierre in a “spirit of obedience and respect” and reaffirmed their “filial obedience and our love for the office and person of the Supreme Pontiff.”

“Sadly, we find ourselves in the midst of a grave crisis in the Church caused by the sins of both priests and bishops,” the CFRs wrote. “These sins and crimes deeply wound the Heart of Christ and disfigure the face of His bride, the Church. The first step towards purification and healing is the revelation of the full truth of what happened. Only then can judgement be passed by competent civil and canonical authorities, offenders be punished and removed, victims compensated, scandal repaired, and justice restored.”

“Therefore, we join our voices to all those who are calling for an investigation by the Holy See into the specific allegations contained in the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò,” the friars continued. “In particular, we echo the worlds of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo: ‘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.”

They promised to pray for Pope Francis, as this investigation is “solely [his] responsibility.”

Without such an investigation and “true reform and renewal,” the Church is “severely hampered” in evangelization.

“How can we persuasively invite others into the Communion of Christ’s church while this abominable cloud of suspicion and moral corruption hovers over her?” they asked. “How can we point to the firmness of the Rock on which Christ built His Church when even the Pope and his closest collaborators remain under this noxious cloud?”

In order for “this cloud” to be lifted, “each and every allegation raised in Archbishop Viganò’s testimony needs to be either corroborated publicly with evidence or disproven,” they wrote. Additionally, priests and bishops must “reaffirm publicly an unequivocal commitment to observe faithfully the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, especially in the area of human sexuality.” Quoting a 2005 document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, the CFRs also said that those who “practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’” must not be admitted to seminaries.

The CFRs’ letter is signed by Father John Paul Ouelette, the order’s General Servant, and Father Fidelis Moscinski, the order’s General Procurator. Fr. Fidelis is known to many in the pro-life movement for his participation in the peaceful Red Rose Rescues, an effort the CFRs support.

Read the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal's full letter to the nuncio here.

RELATED: Franciscan order supports priest arrested at U.S. abortion center

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Catholic CEOs’ group Legatus withholds Vatican tithe, cites ‘recent revelations’

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By Lianne Laurence

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The highly influential Catholic business association Legatus has put its annual Vatican tithe “in escrow,” citing the current crisis in the Church.

The amount withheld is $820,000, according to a Legatus spokesperson. The association has donated $18 million to the Holy See in the 31 years it has been existence, she told LifeSiteNews.

A September 6 letter (full letter below) from Legatus CEO and founder Tom Monaghan states the Legatus board took the step “in light of recent revelations and questions.”

“We have also had discussions regarding our (Legatus’) annual tithe to the Holy See, specifically pertaining to how it is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions.  The Board has begun a dialogue along these lines, and in the meantime has decided to place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow, pending further determination (by the Board),” Monaghan stated. 

“We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding."

"However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds,” he added. 

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

When a reporter asked Pope Francis if there was any truth to the allegation, the Pope said that he wouldn’t comment.

“I am not going to say a word about this,” Pope Francis said.

Legatus, described as “the most influential lay organization in the Church” by the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, exists to integrate faith, family and business in its members’ lives, and upholds Church teaching as part of its mission.

According to Legatus spokesperson, a Legatus member must be a practicing Catholic and an owner, chairman, president or CEO of a business with a minimum of $7 million annual revenue and at least 49 employees, or, for a financial service company, with at least 10 employees and $275 million in assets under management. The association was founded in 1987 and has 3,000 current members. 

 

***

 

September 6, 2018

Dear fellow members – 

Events over the past few weeks have prompted many members to contact the national office and members of the Board of Governors regarding the current crisis in the Church.  

This is a time when each member of Legatus is truly needed.  Our mission to study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives is more crucial now than ever.  

We are certainly blessed with the leadership of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, who has called for a “prompt and thorough examination,” into how the recently uncovered moral and ecclesiastical failings have persisted and what steps are to be taken to remedy this indescribably difficult situation. 

We have also had discussions regarding our (Legatus’) annual tithe to the Holy See, specifically pertaining to how it is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions.  The Board has begun a dialogue along these lines, and in the meantime has decided to place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow, pending further determination (by the Board).  We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding.  However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds.  

Please join the Board as we continue to pray for healing and clarity during this troubled time: for our Church, for all victims of abuse and injustice, and for our clergy. 

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas S. Monaghan

Chairman & CEO

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Sen. Lindsey Graham
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Sen. Graham grills Kavanaugh on danger of Supreme Court declaring rights not in the Constitution

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, pressed Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court divining “rights” that aren’t in the Constitution’s text, specifically citing abortion and Roe v. Wade.

Graham asked Kavanaugh during Thursday's hearings on whether the Constitution explicitly mentions a “right” to abortion. “Is anything written in the document?”

“Senator, the Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion,” Kavanaugh answered. “It has reaffirmed it many times.” Graham pressed him on whether the court specifically found abortion was in a particular clause of the Constitution.

"It's a pretty simple ‘no, it's not, Senator Graham,’” the senator quipped. “Is there any phrase in the Constitution about abortion?”

“The Supreme Court has found it under the Liberty Clause, but you’re right that the specific word” is not there, Kavanaugh admitted. Graham then noted that the Liberty Clause did not specifically mention abortion, either.

“Here’s the point: what are the limits on this concept?” he asked. “What are the checks and balances on people in your business, if you can find five people who agree with you, to confer a right, whether the public likes it or not, based on this concept of a penumbra of rights? What are the outer limits to this?”

Kavanaugh responded by invoking Washington v. Glucksberg, which upheld a state ban on assisted suicide. It established a test for determining unenumerated rights (i.e., rights not explicitly spelled out), which in Kavanaugh’s words boiled down to whether the “right” in question was “rooted in the history and tradition of the country, so as to prevent … ”

Graham interrupted him to ask if there was any abortion right rooted in America’s history or tradition. Kavanaugh attempted to fall back on current Supreme Court abortion precedent, but Graham questioned how the Roe court concluded that abortion had such roots, then reiterated his challenge about limits on the court’s power to decide “liberty” means whatever they decide.

Kavanaugh suggested that Congress was ultimately powerless to defy the Supreme Court’s interpretation of liberty, and that a constitutional amendment would be the only recourse in such situations.

The reason some legal scholars object to this concept, it’s breathtakingly unlimited. Whatever any five people believe at any time in history, because of the word liberty, they can rewrite our history,” Graham concluded. “And I think the best way for democracies to make history is to have the courts interpret the Constitution, be a check and balance on us, but not take one word and create a concept that is breathtaking in terms of its application to restrict the legislative process.”

The exchange offers more mixed signals in the continuing efforts to predict Kavanaugh’s stance on Roe. Conservatives hope and liberals fear he would provide the long-awaited fifth vote to overturn it and let states and Congress directly vote on whether abortion should be legal.

His suggestion that unenumerated rights must be “rooted in the history and traditions of the country” may be further evidence he opposes Roe; in a 2017 speech on the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Kavanaugh cited the fact that his “first judicial hero” could “not reach such a conclusion about abortion.”

On the other hand, Kavanaugh continued his pattern of expressing significant respect for the Court’s previous abortion rulings under the the doctrine of stare decisis (following judicial precedent).

Interested readers can follow the Senate Judiciary Committee’s third day of confirmation hearings in real time with C-SPAN’s live video and SCOTUSBlog’s live blog of highlights.

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Trump on abuse crisis: ‘Sad’ to watch because I respect Catholic Church ‘so much’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump called the allegations of widespread hiding of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church a “devastating” tragedy Wednesday, specifically singling out ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

“It’s so sad to watch,” Trump told the Daily Caller. “The numbers, the length of time, you know, going back 70 years, I think it’s having a really negative impact on the Catholic Church.”

“To me it’s one of the sadder stories ’cause I respect so much the Catholic Church,” he continued. “And to me it’s a very sad story.”

Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified 301 priests accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse, with six different dioceses allegedly hiding their crimes for several decades.

The “sophisticated” cover-up “stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, with church leaders keeping “secret archives” of abuse “just feet from the bishops’ desk.” Numerous abusive clergy were not only protected but promoted, the report found.

The president specifically referenced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of molesting minors, including harassing seminarians and having them sleep in his bed. Father Boniface Ramsey says he attempted to warn church officials about McCarrick for years, while Archbishop Carlo Vigano alleges that Pope Francis himself was warned about McCarrick, but helped cover up the allegations.

“I’m surprised at McCarrick, everyone knew him and so incredible to see these things,” Trump lamented. “It’s devastating for the Catholic Church.”

The president declined to say which if any church officials should resign, however, and struck a diplomatic tone regarding Francis. “The Pope is handling it, I guess the best anyone can handle it,” Trump said. “How is he going to handle it?”

According to excerpts of the 2018 book The Dictator Pope provided to LifeSiteNews, the pope’s insistence “that he too is a champion against clerical abuse” appears to have "evaporated with Benedict’s resignation.”

“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,” author Henry Sire writes. “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.”

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Archbishop Vigano, then papal nuncio to the United States, reads a message from Pope Francis at the 2015 March for Life. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
Dr. Edward Feser

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Why Archbishop Viganò is almost certainly telling the truth

Dr. Edward Feser
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September 6, 2018 (Edward Feser) – There are five considerations that seem to me to make it very likely that Archbishop Viganò's testimony is truthful.  To be sure, given how numerous and detailed are the claims he makes, it would not be surprising if he has gotten certain particulars wrong.  And perhaps in his passion he has inadvertently overstated things here and there.  But the main claims are probably true.  I certainly do not believe he is lying.  The reasons are these:

1. The deafening silence of Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been accused of grave offenses by a churchman of high stature who was in an optimal position to know about the matters in question.  Yet he has refused to deny the charges or to comment on the matter at all.  That is simply not the way one would expect a person to act if such charges against him were false.  You would expect him immediately, clearly, and vigorously to deny the charges.

Some of his defenders suggest that the pope is merely exhibiting a Christ-like lack of concern for his own reputation.  He is not defending himself, so the claim goes, any more than Christ defended himself against those who crucified him.  Yet the pope has defended himself in other contexts.  For example, he has defended himself against the accusation that he is a communist and against charges that he failed to speak out forcefully enough during Argentina's "dirty war."  After he was criticized by some on the Left for meeting with Kim Davis in 2015, the Vatican issued a statement asserting that "his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects."  In 2016, the pope defended himself against criticism of his refusal to associate Islam with violence.  In 2017, he defended himself against criticism of his comparison of migrant camps to concentration camps.

So, the thesis that the pope prefers to "turn the other cheek" rather than answer critics simply doesn't withstand scrutiny.  He does answer them, sometimes.  Why, then, would he not defend himself against the far more serious charges now at issue, leveled by an accuser far more eminent than some of the critics the pope has answered in the past?

Furthermore, it is not merely the pope's own reputation that is at stake.  The good of the Church is at stake.  There is, as people on both sides of the controversy have noted, a kind of "civil war" brewing in the Church.  The pope could help prevent that if he would only respond to the archbishop's charges.  Yet he has not done so.

Pope Francis's defenders demand that the archbishop back up his charges with evidence.  But the archbishop has told us where the evidence is.  For example, he has told us that relevant documentation can be found in the files of the Secretariat of State at the Vatican and at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington.

Now, the pope himself has more power than anyone else does to make sure that this evidence is released.  He could order Vatican officials to release whatever relevant documents they have, and order local church officials to do the same.  And if that evidence would exonerate him, you would think that this is exactly what he would do.  Yet he has not done so.

Moreover, at least some of Archbishop Viganò's charges have to do with private conversations he says he had with Pope Francis.  The archbishop's own testimony about these conversations is evidence.  If we want further evidence, only Pope Francis can give it, in the form of his own testimony about the conversations.  Yet he refuses to comment.

Again, this is not the way one would expect someone to act against whom false charges have been made – which supports the conclusion that the charges are not false.

2. The apparent silence of Pope Benedict

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has not commented on any of the doctrinal controversies of the past five years, even though he must surely disapprove of some of what Pope Francis is widely claimed to have taught.  For example, though Benedict has made it clear enoughthat he does not agree with the policy of admitting couples in invalid marriages to Holy Communion, he has remained silent about the controversy over Amoris Laetitia.  The best explanation is that Benedict does not want to say anything that might inadvertently promote schism.  Better in his view, apparently, to leave doctrinal confusion to be sorted out by a future pope than to split the Church apart.

Now, the current controversy is itself something that threatens to split the Church apart.  Since Benedict seems to fear that outcome most of all, you would expect him to act in a way that is in his judgment most likely to prevent it.

So, suppose Archbishop Viganò is lying about the sanctions he claims Benedict imposed privately on Cardinal McCarrick.  Then Benedict could correct the record and more or less end the current crisis.  He wouldn't even have to accuse the archbishop of lying.  He could phrase his remarks in a way that simply asserts that what Viganò is saying is mistaken.  Viganò's credibility would be severely damaged, his defenders would have the wind taken out of their sails, and Pope Francis's credibility would be largely restored at least in many people's minds.  In other words, the threat of schism would be greatly reduced.

But suppose Archbishop Viganò is telling the truth.  Then, if Benedict publicly confirms this, he will vindicate the archbishop's credibility and thereby do grave damage to Pope Francis.  Indeed, such an act would be perceived by many as intended to damage Pope Francis. This would certainly greatly increase the possibility of schism, since many Catholics would see this as a war of popes – some rallying behind Benedict, others behind Francis.  The very idea must be horrifying to Benedict, and rightly so.

So, if Benedict is worried about schism, then his silence seems much more comprehensible on the hypothesis that Viganò is telling the truth than it is on the hypothesis that what Viganò is saying is false. 

Now, it may be that Benedict has tried to comment in a subtle and indirect way on the controversy.  In a summary of developments since the release of Viganò's testimony, Catholic News Agency notes that "a source close to Benedict" told reporter Edward Pentin that "as far as the former pope could remember" he had made a "private request" that McCarrick keep a "low profile," where this differs from a "formal decree."

If this communication was made at Benedict's behest – and we don't know that for sure – then this might be interpreted as the former pope's way of finessing the difficulty of having to choose between either confirming Viganò's testimony and thereby hurting Pope Francis, or undermining that testimony and thereby hurting Viganò. For on the one hand, the insinuation that Benedict does not clearly remember what happened but that in any case there was no formal decree seems to help Pope Francis.  But on the other hand, the assertion that there was a private request to McCarrick that he keep a low profile confirms the gist of Viganò's allegation.

Some of Pope Francis's defenders are spinning Pentin's report as if it undermined Viganò, but it does not do so.  Viganò never said there was a formal decree against McCarrick in the sense of the imposition of sanctions as the outcome the standard formal investigative process.  His whole point was that the action against McCarrick was something done privately by Pope Benedict rather than a matter of following ordinary disciplinary proceedings.  As some commentators have pointed out, this would be similar to the way Benedict dealt with the disgraced Fr. Marcial Maciel.

Some have also claimed that the fact that McCarrick carried out some public actions in the years after Benedict's alleged imposition of sanctions undermines Viganò's story.  Again, that is not the case.  As Rod Dreher points out, the answer to this is that "McCarrick defied the pope's order.  One main theme of the Viganò statement is that these curial cardinals and their allies (Wuerl, McCarrick, et al.) are laws unto themselves."   

The bottom line is that Pentin's source confirms that Benedict did take private action against McCarrick, just as Viganò said.  So, either Pope Benedict has in this indirect and subtle way confirmed part of Viganò's story, or (if the communication to Pentin was not made at the former pope's behest) he has remained entirely silent on the controversy, which for the reasons I have given is more comprehensible on the supposition that Viganò is telling the truth. Either way, Benedict's actions support the truth of Viganò's testimony.

3. Archbishop Viganò's concern for his own place in history and his immortal soul

Archbishop Viganò has very conservative theological views.  Indeed, his critics insist on emphasizing this point, since they accuse him of having a grudge against a pope widely perceived to be theologically liberal.

Now, among the things any Catholic with very conservative theological views would believe is the Church's traditional teaching that lying isalways and intrinsically sinful, even when done for a good cause – and that it is always mortally sinful when the lie concerns a serious matter, such as another person's reputation. 

Another thing that Catholics with very conservative theological views believe is that while popes are fallible when not speaking ex cathedra, they ought always to be treated with great reverence, even when they are in error.  A bad pope is not like the leader of some political faction with which one disagrees.  Rather, he is like an errant father.  He does not cease to be your father even when he does something bad, and his bad behavior gives no license for treating him with contempt.  Even though he may under certain circumstances be criticized by his subordinates, this must be done only with caution and respect, the way a son might plead with his father to reconsider some unwise policy or to cease some abusive behavior.

A third thing that is true of Catholics with conservative theological beliefs is that they tend to have a very romantic view of Church history, and a supernatural one.  They see it as an epic story of great saints who obey the divine law even at the cost of their own lives but who are always vindicated in the end; of evildoers who, however seemingly invincible, are always ultimately exposed and undone; and of the divine providence that guarantees these outcomes even when, humanly speaking, all seems lost.

They do not see Church history as fundamentally driven by grubby power politics.  They do not see the saints as cynical and clever manipulators who get the edge over their opponents by ruthless means.  No Catholic with traditional theological views looks back at the days of Pope Honorius, the Western Schism, or the Borgia popes and thinks: "If only had been there, I would have come up with a very clever lie that would have saved the day!"  Any traditionally-minded Catholic would see this as blasphemous presumption – the doing of evil for the sake of a good end, as if God were incapable of saving his Church in any other way.

Now, suppose Archbishop Viganò were lying.  Then he would be committing what he knows to be a mortal sin, because he would be slandering no less than the Vicar of Christ.  And he would be committing new mortal sins every time he reiterates these charges, as he has done in the days since he first released his testimony.  Nor, as he would know, would sacramental confession wipe away his guilt under these circumstances, because if he were committed to a policy of persisting in this lie, he would lack the firm purpose of amendment that is a condition of being absolved.

If the archbishop were lying, he would also be guilty of contempt for the Vicar of Christ himself, and comparable to a son who humiliates his father and treats him the way he would treat a political enemy. And the archbishop would also be putting himself at grave risk of being remembered as one of the great villains of Church history – a Judas-like figure who slandered a pope and divided the Church.  Even worse, he would be putting his immortal soul at grave risk of eternal damnation. 

Secular readers and liberal Catholics might think this all very quaint and melodramatic.  But the point is that this is the way a traditionally-minded Catholic would see things.  In particular, it is the way Archbishop Viganò must see things, given that – as his critics themselves keep insisting – he has what they consider reactionary theological opinions. 

Note that it is no good to respond by pointing out (as some have) that the archbishop once said some nice things about McCarrick at a public event, as if this were evidence that he is a liar.  Viganò is a diplomat, and the job of a diplomat is to be diplomatic.  Everybody knows that at public events, speakers will often say complimentary things about others in the room whether or not they really mean them, as a matter of politeness.  This falls under the category of what moral theologians call a "broad mental reservation" rather than a lie, because the nature of the speech act is such that the ordinary listener is well aware that in such a context the speaker might just be being polite and not intending to speak the literal truth. 

The archbishop's testimony is not like that at all, because what he is doing in that context is precisely claiming to reveal literal truths.  If what he is saying there is not true, it would be a lie and not a mere mental reservation. 

But, again, to believe that the archbishop is lying in his testimony is to believe that he would be willing to do something that, by his own lights, would risk eternal damnation and perpetual infamy – all because he is irked about the Kim Davis affair or other relatively trivial matters.  That is simply not plausible.  The theological conservatism Viganò's critics insist on emphasizing in fact makes itless likely that he would lie, not more likely.

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

4. Pope Francis's record

As Sandro MagisterFr. Dwight Longenecker, and others have noted, rehabilitating Cardinal McCarrick would in fact not be all that surprising given Pope Francis's record.  For example, Cardinal Godfried Danneels notoriously tried to protect a pedophile bishopfrom being exposed.  As Pentin notes, Danneels also:

advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990… and refused to forbid pornographic, "educational" materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.  He also once said same-sex "marriage" was a "positive development" and congratulated the Belgian government for passing same-sex "marriage" legislation, although he has sought to distinguish such a union from the Church's understanding of marriage.

End quote.  Yet Danneels was invited by Pope Francis to appear on the balcony with him when his election was announced, and the popeappointed Danneels to a key position at the 2015 Synod on the Family.

Former Los Angeles archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahony was, in 2013, disciplined by his successor for his mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases in the archdiocese.  But earlier this year, Pope Francisappointed Mahony as a special envoy – though Mahony eventually withdrew in the wake of protests from the laity

Then there is the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli.  As Michael Brendan Dougherty reported last year in The Week:

Inzoli… [was] accused of molesting children.  He allegedly abused minors in the confessional.  He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith.  When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty.  And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

But Inzoli was "with cardinal friends," we have learned.  Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a "a life of humility and prayer."  These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much.  In January 2015, [he] participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

This summer, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses.  Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations.  The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities.  Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired.

End quote.  Another case: Msgr. Battista Ricca, The Telegraph reports, "had a string of homosexual affairs that forced his recall from an overseas posting."  But, as Fr. Longenecker comments, even after the exposure of this history, Ricca "still works in the Vatican running the St Martha Hostel where the Pope lives and (as far as I can ascertain) still works at the Vatican Bank." 

Especially controversial was Pope Francis's handling of the case of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up the sexual abuse of Fr. Fernando Karadima.  Fr. Raymond de Souza's account of the affair is worth quoting at length:

Barros… was promoted from being the military bishop to the Diocese of Osorno in 2015.  Protests against this were voluble, and his installation Mass had to be cut short due to violent demonstrators in the cathedral.  Most of his priests boycotted his arrival, and the rest of the members of the Chilean episcopate kept their distance.

Pope Francis, though, was determined to make a stand for Bishop Barros' innocence.  In 2015, in St. Peter's Square, he accused the critics of the bishop of being politically manipulated by "leftists." That episode – the haranguing Pope captured on video – is played constantly in Chile as an example of the Holy Father's protection of Bishop Barros and his disdain for the concerns of victims…

The papal nuncio had arranged to have Bishop Barros resign; instead, the Pope confirmed his appointment and insisted upon it even in the face of the Chilean bishops' vehement protest…

In the most disastrous press interview of his pontificate, Pope Francis told journalists in Chile that those who said Bishop Barros was guilty of a cover-up were guilty of "calumny."

After that, not only did the Pope have no allies in the Chilean episcopate, but Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, a member of the papal-picked "Council of Cardinals" and head of the Papal Commission on the Sexual Abuse of Minors, took the astonishing step of publicly rebuking the Holy Father, saying that his words caused "great pain" for sexual-abuse victims.  The rebuke by Cardinal O'Malley was unprecedented, all the more shocking given that he is considered a close papal ally.

Chastened, and knowing that in a public quarrel with Cardinal O'Malley his own credibility would be shredded, Pope Francis accepted the rebuke during the news conference on the plane home, saying that the cardinal's statement was just.

End quote.  One can only speculate about why the pope has taken such a lenient attitude toward the priests and prelates in question. One possibility is that he takes such a policy to follow from his well-known emphasis on mercy over law and justice.  Another is that he regards the churchmen in question as theologically sympathetic allies, and is for that reason willing to overlook their actions.  Whatever the reason, a rehabilitation of McCarrick, including a canceling out of whatever penalties were imposed privately by Pope Benedict, would not be surprising given this history.

Pope Francis's response to other criticism he has received over the last few years is also relevant to the current controversy.  He has repeatedly refused to respond even to respectful pleas from eminent churchmen and theologians to clarify his sometimes doctrinally ambiguous statements, even though a clarification would instantly defuse criticism.  For example, in response to the controversy over the implications of Amoris Laetitia, the pope could easily say: "Of course it is always wrong for a couple who are not in a valid marriage to engage in sexual relations.  In no way is Amoris meant to deny that."  Yet he has refused to do so. 

In short, Pope Francis is not known for "straight talk" or straightforward speech.  Archbishop Viganò, by contrast, makes claims in his testimony that are extremely clear and frank.  He also tells us where to find confirming evidence.  He has thereby opened his assertions up to refutation (if they are false), rather than being vague and evasive.  Now, a priori, the credibility of someone who makes clear and testable claims is greater than that of someone who is habitually ambiguous and evasive. 

5. The response of Viganò's critics

The New York Times reports that though Cardinals Wuerl and Tobin have denied they knew about the sanctions on McCarrick alleged by Viganò, the general tendency among those named by Viganò in his testimony has been to refuse to respond:

Following the pope's lead, the Vatican has gone on lockdown.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, whom Archbishop Viganò also accused in the letter of covering up sexual misconduct by Cardinal McCarrick, rushed a reporter off the phone on Thursday evening.

"Look, I'm not in my office.  Good evening.  Good evening," he said. And he was the most talkative.

The Times reached out to every cardinal and bishop said by Archbishop Viganò to have known about the alleged sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick by Benedict.  More than a dozen of them declined or did not answer requests for comment…

A visit to the Vatican Embassy in Washington yielded no information.

End quote.  Like the pope's silence, this is odd.  You would expect people innocent of charges of the gravity of those leveled by Viganò immediately, clearly, and vigorously to deny them.  Of course, a guilty person might also deny charges raised against him.  In his testimony, Viganò is particularly hard on Wuerl, whom he says "lies shamelessly."  But the point isn't that people who deny charges made against them are always innocent.  The point is that people who are innocent usually deny charges made against them.

You would also expect the pope's most vigorous defenders loudly to be calling for the Vatican and the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington to release of all the documentation cited by Viganò, since the best way to discredit him would be to show that that documentation does not support his charges.  But the defenders mostly don't seem terribly interested in that. 

What they do seem interested in is hammering on Viganò's theological conservatism and his relationships to conservative Catholic media, as if this casts serious doubt on his credibility – in other words, the classic ad hominem fallacy of "poisoning the well."  The charges are either true or false, and Viganò's motivations for making them are irrelevant to that. 

That this attempt at "well-poisoning" is fallacious is only one problem with it.  A second problem, as I have already noted, is that Viganò's theological conservatism in fact makes it less likely that he would be lying, not more likely.  A third problem is that the ad hominem tactic cuts both ways.  Viganò's critics can, with no less justice, be accused of wanting to smear him because they have a theologically liberal agenda that they fear will be threatened if Pope Francis is weakened or led to resign.

As the old lawyer's saw has it, when the facts and law are on your side, you pound those; and when they aren't, you pound the table instead.  Viganò's critics, who are now pounding the table so loudly while showing a strange disinterest in the facts (namely the documents Viganò has told us to look at), rather give the impression that they too believe that those facts are not on their side.

* * *

Of course, for all I have said, it is possible that new evidence might emerge that disproves Viganò's key claims.  More plausibly, it might turn out that though Viganò is not lying, he has gotten certain details wrong, or that his evident passion has led him inadvertently to exaggerate this or that claim or to overstate his case here or there.

Still, as things stand now, it seems very unlikely that he is lying, or that the broad outlines of his testimony are false.  The best way to make progress in determining where the truth lies is for the relevant documents to be released and for the key figures named by Viganò to respond to his charges.  The pope could order the release of the documents, and respond to Viganò's charges directly and urge the others to do the same.  The ball is in his court.

Published with permission from Edward Feser's blog.

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Over the past several years, England has been rocked by the blood-curdling details of what has become colloquially known as the Rotherham rape gangs. From the late 1980s until as recently as a few years ago, both the police as well as local politicians in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, steadfastly ignored a growing child exploitation racket despite consistent reports—and one of the primary reasons so many people stayed silent was for fear of being called racist. The reason was simple: The perpetrators were largely British-Pakistani men (the first five of them were convicted of sexual offences against girls younger than sixteen years of age in 2010), and the majority of the victims were young working-class white girls.

The details are nausea-inducing. According to the BBC, “Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated”—and there were at least 1,400 victims over a period of only sixteen years, most of them between the ages of 11 and 13. As a result of this systemic sexual abuse—one young person actually told an investigator that gang rape was simply “part of growing up in Rotherham”—many of the victims became pregnant. Some of them had their babies taken from them by the very same government that had failed them at every turn, never to see them again. And others were forced into abortions so that the abuse could carry on unabated.

Forced abortion is the latest horror from the ongoing Rotherham rape trials. A Sheffield Crown Court heard earlier this week how Nabeel Kurshid and Iqulak Yousaf and at least one other man drove a teenage girl into Sherwood Forest and gang-raped her, giving her drugs and threatening to leave her alone in the forest if she didn’t obey them. She became pregnant, and her parents forced her to have an abortion—something the prosecutor noted as a cause of “a great deal of psychological trauma.” The brutality of the rapes was compounded by the brutality of the abortion.

Reading the stories about the innocent children brought about by violence and disposed of so that the violence against girls could continue is gut-wrenching. I’ve written before about the fact that pimps, rapists, and human traffickers rely on abortion to continue their victimization of women and girls—the abortion industry is a convenient way for them to dispose of the evidence. The evidence of these crimes just happens to be babies. So often one repulsive crime is entwined with another, and robbing one of innocence so often means snuffing out another innocent just a little further down the road. Evil men use violence against pre-born children to cover up their violence against girls.

That is why abortion so often figures prominently in the ugliest crime stories of our time. As LifeSiteNews reported last month, the devastating Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children and teens by clergy also included a horrifying story dating from the 1980s that has received less attention. A priest in Scranton raped an underage girl, got her an abortion when he discovered she was pregnant, and received a sympathetic note from Bishop James Timlin when he turned in his resignation after the diocese learned of his crimes: “With the help of God, who never abandons us and who is always near when we need Him, this too will pass away, and all will be able to pick up and go on living. Please be assured that I am willing to do whatever I can to help.” The note of condolence was not to the girl, but to her rapist.

Abortion activists often use the instance of sexual assault as a reason to justify the legalization of all abortion—but rarely do they admit that it is abortion that has violently covered up and perpetuated sexual abuse in many, many cases. A rapist who has gotten an underage girl pregnant sees an abortionist as his best friend, and a human trafficker or pimp who has one of the girls under his thumb fall pregnant sees an abortion clinic as the perfect place to solve the problem and continue the sexual exploitation. Violence spawns violence, and the shattered children of shattered lives are often the unnamed victims of the ugly crimes we see screaming at us from the front pages the newspapers. It is a truly savage irony that abortion activists trumpet the very tool used by violent men to perpetuate sexual exploitation as the solution to these crimes.

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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Wuerl waxed about ‘New Evangelization’ when pressed about pro-abort Pelosi receiving communion

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

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last Wednesday I published an exchange of letters that passed between me and the office of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC in the year 2009. Drawing on theology, canon law, and Church history, I had explained why politicians who publicly support abortion must be denied Holy Communion when they present themselves for it—it is not a matter of prudential hemming and hawing, as if there can be multiple legitimate opinions on the matter. 

Of course, that was not how then-Archbishop Wuerl’s office viewed it. 

For this office, it was time to make excuses for the shepherd’s inaction, even about the notorious public sin of support for murdering the unborn.

Not one to be easily deterred, I tried again in February 2012. This time the reply threw up a smokescreen of generalities, slogans to cover up a failure of fortitude and governance.

I was particularly struck by the implied position that this is only an issue of catechesis and faith formation, and that dedication to the “New Evangelization” (remember that failed concept?) was sufficient.

No, it’s not, and we can see that more clearly as each day passes.

Below is my letter, followed by the letter received from the chancery.

***

February 10, 2012

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Archdiocese of Washington
P. O. Box 29260
Washington, DC  20017

Your Eminence:

In May 2009 I wrote a letter to you concerning the scandalous behavior of Nancy Pelosi, who continues to get away with murder.  Her dismissive remarks last November on the effort to introduce clauses allowing providers to refuse to perform abortions have been widely reported:

When the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene, if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling. ... I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it, but they have this conscience thing...

We have “this conscience thing.”  Yes, we do, because we strive to adhere to the natural moral law and to the divine law as interpreted by the Catholic Church.

In the immense assault against human life and conscience rights represented by the HHS decision (and the fake “accommodation” that has emerged today), Pelosi has shown her true colors again.  At a recent press conference, when asked by a reporter, citing a letter from the U.S. bishops, “Will you stand with your fellow Catholics in resisting this law or will you stick by the Administration?,” Pelosi replied:

First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics [?] in supporting the Administration on this.  I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.

The former speaker has also said she has ”some areas of disagreement” with the country’s bishops, and has claimed that Catholicism does not necessarily condemn abortion.  This cannot be mere ignorance; what we are seeing is manifest, persistent, stubborn, arrogant defection from fundamental moral teachings of the Faith.  Blessed John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae that the right to life of the human person is absolutely sacred among men and cannot be compromised for any reason.  A Catholic in public life could never be tolerated who did not consistently and stalwartly defend this fundamental right, without which no other right has any meaning or value or even possibility of application.

Commenting on Pelosi’s consistent words and track record, a prominent voice in the Catholic world had this to say last week:

Nancy Pelosi considers it consistent with what Catholics do to take a stand against the bishops in favor of a policy that would force Catholic institutions to violate the teachings of her Church.  Pelosi is a highly public figure; there are few more visible.  She is committing the mortal sin of scandalizing the faithful in a matter which unquestionably grave matter.  There has been all manner of discussion concerning her and the issues of abortion, contraception, when life begins, etc.—she can’t plead ignorance of the Church’s teachings.  She continues to be openly, publicly scandalous in these matters.  Now she is taking an open stand against the American bishops – precisely claiming her catholic identity – in favor of a manifest attack on the Catholic Church by the most aggressively pro-abortion President we have ever seen.  

How much longer does this have to go on?  What else does she have to do?  ... Please, somebody, explain to me how we square doing nothing about her scandal with can. 915 and the sacred duty bishops have to protect the flock?  Can. 915 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law authorized that ministers should withhold holy Communion from those  who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.”  Can. 915 actually requires ministers to withhold Holy Communion in such cases on pain of dereliction of their sacred office (can. 128 and 1389).  This isn’t a matter of the private conversation of an unknown woman in her living room.  I cannot imagine how anyone can question that Pelosi’s actions, which are public and clear and defiant and wicked and scandalous when it comes to serious matters of life, qualify her as “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.”  For the good of souls, Nancy Pelosi must be denied Holy Communion and the Catholic people should be informed that she is being denied Holy Communion. ...

Pres. Obama and his administration have openly and aggressively attacked the Catholic Church by trying to force Catholic institutions to perform [or pay for] actions which are evil even by reason alone and natural law, and not just by Catholic doctrine.  Nancy Pelosi has publicly chosen sides against the Catholic Church’s teachings and against the bishops.  Let her choice be publicly confirmed by those same bishops.  Nancy Pelosi must not admitted to Holy Communion until she publicly changes her defiant stance and positions.

These forceful words are truthful and reasonable.  In their social encyclicals the Popes call upon Catholics to proclaim and defend their Faith in the public square—even when doing so may bring persecution upon their heads.  For a shepherd of the Church to lead his flock in these troubled times, it is not enough to be pro-life; it is not enough to support pro-life organizations and initiatives; it is not even enough to preach and teach the right to life.  It is also necessary to protect the flock from the wolves of error, deception, hypocrisy, and opportunism; it is necessary to have the courage to call a spade a spade, to warn people against losing their souls for the sake of Caesar’s favor.  Nothing less is demanded as we suffer under the regime of Obama and the culture of death.

It seems hardly necessary to point out that even if Pelosi comes from another diocese, that of San Francisco, she has at least a quasi-domicile in Washington, DC, and therefore cannot be said to not be a member of the flock over which you have been given pastoral authority by Jesus Christ.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Peter A. Kwasniewski,  Ph.D.
Professor of Theology

***

And the reply I received:

***

February 21, 2012

Archdiocese of Washington
Archdiocesan Pastoral Center
5001 Eastern Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20782-3447

Dear Dr. Kwasniewski,

Grace and peace to you in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Cardinal Wuerl’s schedule precludes him from personally responding to every letter he receives, thank you for sharing your concerns regarding challenges facing the Church in the public square.

As Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl understands his episcopal vocation to be one of teaching, sanctifying, and governing his particular Church, and I thank you for taking the time to respectfully express your views related to the subject of governance.

The number of public officials who profess the Catholic faith, but yet who stand in opposition to the Church’s highest moral priorities in the legislative arena, is indeed troubling. Cardinal Wuerl recognizes that this phenomenon is a result of failures within the Church over recent decades in the areas of catechesis and faith formation. As such, he has led the Archdiocese of Washington to understand its mission in light of the New Evangelization to which Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called the Church.

Enclosed is a card commemorating the visit of our Holy Father to the United States. Please remember him and Cardinal Wuerl in your prayers, and thank you for all you do to help others grow in their knowledge of our Catholic faith. 

Sincerely in Christ,

William W. Gorman
Associate Moderator for the Curia

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