All articles from September 7, 2018


News

Opinion

Blogs

The Pulse


Featured Image
Fox News / video screen grab
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

News,

Cardinal Wuerl no longer joining Catholic CEOs’ group Legatus on pilgrimage to Mexico

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen
Image

Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.

September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl will no longer be joining Legatus, the organization of Catholic businessmen, in its September 7-10 pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in Mexico. 

Legatus declined to comment to LifeSiteNews, but a travel agent from Corporate Travel, the organization facilitating the pilgrimage, confirmed that Wuerl is no longer going on the pilgrimage. 

“Just recently they [Legatus] made the announcement that he [Wuerl] will not be joining,” the agent said. 

The back cover of a recent Legatus magazine featured a full-page advertisement for the pilgrimage along with a photo of a smiling Cardinal Wuerl. 

The top “highlight” on the trip was listed as follows: "Celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe with his Eminence Cardinal Wuerl." 

The embattled Cardinal of Washington has been under the spotlight since the revelations of sexual abuse of his predecessor Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Cardinal Wuerl’s denial of any knowledge of the allegations against McCarrick has been blasted even by other bishops as not credible. These criticisms were heightened last month when Wuerl featured prominently in the Pennsylvania grand jury report as playing a role in covering up for predator priests while serving as bishop of Pittsburgh.

There have been numerous calls for his resignation. 

The explosive testimony of Archbishop Viganò, the former papal representative to the United States, called out Wuerl for lying about the McCarrick affair. Viganò claimed that Pope Francis covered up for McCarrick, giving him honors and responsibilities, despite having detailed knowledge of his abuse of seminarians and priests. 

On the weekend a man stood up in Church and shouted “Shame on you!” as Wuerl was presiding over the installation of a new pastor.  The disturbance came as the Cardinal called for “loyalty” to Pope Francis since “it’s clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.” 

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

Featured Image
Archbishop Viganò prays the rosary at the 2017 Rome March for Life Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

News,

Letter confirms Viganò claim: Vatican knew of McCarrick abuse in 2000

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence
Image
Catholic News Service published this letter, courtesy of Fr. James Boniface Ramsey, on Sept. 7 with the name of a priest redacted. Dated October 11, 2006 and written by Vatican Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, it references a letter Ramsey sent the Vatican in 2000 warning of Archbishop McCarrick's serial predation.

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

VATICAN CITY, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican letter to a New York priest confirms the Holy See knew of sexual abuse allegations against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2000, Catholic News Service reported Friday.

The U.S. bishops’ official news service, Catholic News Service (CNS) also says the 12-year-old letter “confirms elements” of the explosive 11-page testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Viganò’s principal allegation is that Pope Francis and a number of high-ranking prelates covered up McCarrick’s serial sexual abuse of seminarians.

He stated the Vatican knew as early as 2000, when he was an official at the Secretariat of State under Cardinal Angelo Sodano, of allegations that McCarrick “shared his bed with seminarians.”

Viganò testified the Vatican heard the allegations from both Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, U.S. nuncio from 1998 to 2005, and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, U.S. nuncio from 2005 to 2011.

The letter obtained by CNS was sent in 2006 from Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, then Vatican substitute for general affairs, to Father James Boniface Ramsay, a whistleblower on McCarrick.

Sandri has since been made a cardinal and serves as prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

Now a pastor in New York City, Ramsay was professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Newark’s Seton Hall University from 1986 to 1996.

Ramsey told CNS he sent a letter to nuncio Montalvo dated November 22, 2000, detailing complaints from seminarians about McCarrick -- a letter which Viganò refers to in his testimony.

“I complained about McCarrick’s relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians and all of that; the whole business that everyone knows about,” Ramsey said.

Sandri’s letter, sent six years later, delicately referred to these allegations when he asked Ramsey for information on a Newark diocese priest and former Immaculate Conception student he was vetting for a Vatican post.

“I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo,” writes Sandri.

Ramsey told CNS he assumed Sandri euphemistically referred to “serious matters involving” students because the accusations against McCarrick were so sensitive.

While he didn’t get a formal response to his 2000 letter to Montalvo, the 2006 letter from Sandri proves the Vatican received the information, Ramsey said.

Viganò testified that “the office that I held at the time was not informed of any measure taken by the Holy See after those charges were brought by Nuncio Montalvo at the end of 2000, when Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Secretary of State.”

Viganò alleged Pope Francis not only disregarded sanctions Pope Benedict put on McCarrick, but that the pope took counsel from the now-disgraced one-time archbishop of Washington.

Viganò asserts that McCarrick, along with Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, was instrumental in the appointments of Cardinal Blase Cupich to Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin to Newark.

McCarrick’s decades’ long sexual predation was finally brought to light when the New York archdiocese announced in June there were credible allegations the now 88-year-old archbishop sexually abused a teenaged boy while a priest in New York.

Since his testimony was published August 25, Viganò has been under fire from critics and his document, character and motives scrutinized.

CNS produced an August 29 video casting doubt on whether Benedict had placed sanctions on McCarrick. Vigano subsequently clarified the sanctions were private and McCarrick simply defied them.

Pope Francis has refused so far to directly address or launch an investigation into Viganò’s testimony, despite calls for him to do so from nearly 30 bishops and thousands of laypeople.

Almost 14,000 people have signed a LifeSiteNews pledge to support and offer prayers for Viganò, who according to an August 28 tweet by National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin, fears for his life and has gone into hiding.

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News, , ,

Kavanaugh quotes pro-gay Justice Kennedy in vague answers on homosexual ‘marriage’

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Amid multiple ambiguous statements on abortion, same-sex “marriage” is the next issue on which Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony to become the next Supreme Court Justice raised more questions than answers Thursday.

On Thursday, the District of Columbia circuit judge’s second day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats attempted to pin him down on Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling that forced all fifty states to recognize same-sex “marriages.” He refused to reveal his position, but made a series of troubling references in the process.

Using Kavanaugh’s repeated praise of the 1954 segregation case Brown v. Board of Education as a springboard, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, asked if he similarly believed Obergefell was “one of the great moments in the history of the Supreme Court.”

Kavanaugh refused to answer, citing the example of previous Supreme Court nominees. “The vast swath of modern case law, as Justice Kagan put it, you can’t as a nominee in this seat give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down,” he said. “That’s her words.”

Harris repeatedly pressured him for an answer, though, leading Kavanaugh to quote what he called a “very important statement” from the author of Obergefell’s majority opinion, the pro-gay jurist Kavanaugh has been nominated to replace.

“Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion saying the days of treating gay and lesbian Americans, or gay and lesbian couples, as second-class citizens inferior in dignity and worth are over in the Supreme Court,” Kavanaugh said.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, used his opportunity first to elicit a general agreement from Kavanaugh that he hires his own staffers based solely on their qualifications, then to ask if there is a “legal right to fire someone just because they’re gay, in your opinion?”

“Senator, the question, as I’m sure you’re aware, of the scope of employment discrimination law is being litigated right now,” Kavanaugh replied. “And therefore while I’d like to talk to you about this more, because that issue is in a variety of cases right now, it would be inconsistent.” Booker tried a second time, only for the judge to reiterate his non-response.

Shifting gears, Booker then asked about Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush administration, specifically whether he had any role in or thoughts on former President George W. Bush’s support for a constitutional amendment specifying that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“As staff secretary, things related to that, speeches he gave would’ve crossed my desk, as I’ve expressed before,” he answered, though he did not recall whether he expressed an opinion to others in the White House. He also answered that he had never officiated a same-sex “wedding” (unlike Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

However, despite his professed unwillingness to forecast his judgment, Kavanaugh hinted that even if he had expressed an opinion, it would be unlikely to reflect his current views.

“There’s been a sea change in attitudes in the United States of America even since 2004 as you’re well aware,” he said. “I’ll tell you that there was debate in the White House, Vice President [Dick] Cheney came out, one of the few times he publicly came out and disagreed with” Bush. Now the “law of the land protects that right as dictated by the Supreme Court.”

During a response to a question about whether he had been involved in anti-LGBT “discrimination” efforts at the time, Kavanaugh also told Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, that while working for Bush he spoke “on occasion to the Log Cabin Republicans, which was a group that we, that I talked to about judicial nominations, as I recall. And President Bush is someone who as he said believed deeply in...equality for all Americans.”

Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is a group dedicated to diluting and eventually eliminating the GOP’s traditional conservative stances on marriage, homosexuality, and transgender ideology. LCR executive director Gregory Angelo wrote last month that Kavanaugh met in 2003 “with a group of over 200 gay men as part of a Log Cabin Republicans event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.”

Kavanaugh’s testimony is unlikely to reassure the pro-family advocates already concerned by his unclear abortion testimony. This week he has expressed significant respect for Roe v. Wade’s status as precedent under the doctrine of stare decisis. Pro-life supporters and pro-abortion foes alike argue that his answers are merely phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate.

The strongest evidence for pro-life leanings is a 2017 speech he gave on 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.”

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

Featured Image
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

News,

Wyoming bishop downplays homosexual nature of most abuse in Church

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

CHEYENNE, Wyoming, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Bishop of Cheyenne has released a statement playing down the fact that the majority of victims of clerical sexual crimes against minors in the Catholic Church have been teenage boys.

In a blogpost called “Just the Facts”, Bishop Steven Biegler complained that many of the people writing about clerical sexual abuse are “poorly informed.”

“Much of what has been written is far from the facts, and some are positing conclusions which are ridiculous,” Biegler wrote. “Maintaining a sane perspective through accurate analysis is needed more than ever.”

While admitting that the news about Cardinal McCarrick is “horrendous” and that Archbishop Viganò’s letter is “shocking,” the bishop stated that it was “not helpful” to have “so many people blogging” on the stories. He said that they were “jumping to imprudent conclusions.”

Bishop Biegler, nominated to the See of Cheyenne by Pope Francis in 2017, did not give examples of these conclusions. Instead he recommended his own thoughts on the topic, which are published in his diocesan newspaper, and an article about clergy abuse in “Psychology Today” by Thomas G. Plante.

Biegler listed four of Plante’s findings, namely that Catholic priests are no more likely to sexually abuse minors than clergymen of other denominations or other men with access to, and power over, children; that clerical celibacy doesn’t cause pedophilia and sexual crimes against minors; that homosexual clerics aren’t the cause of pedophilia in the Church; and that the Church has “used best practises” in dealing with “the issue” since 2002.

The bishop also recommended calm.

“Undoubtedly, these are challenging days, but the sky is not falling,” he said.  “We need to stay the course, and keep a sane perspective.”

The remarks of the Bishop of Cheyenne – and his tone – are in contrast to those of bishops who have admitted that homosexuality has played a role in the abuse crisis. Bishop Marian Eleganti, the Auxiliary Bishop of Chur, Switzerland, told EWTN Germany that among the abuse cases presented by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, “90% are in direct connection with a homosexual inclination.”

Among the victims were sixteen and seventeen year old boys, Eleganti said, and seminarians.

“It would be blind to deny that we do have here a problem in the Church with homosexuality and that homosexuality plays here a role,” he concluded.

In his blogpost, Bishop Biegler of Cheyenne did not address the fact that Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have abused priests and seminarians as well as boys as young as eleven, and it is with these crimes with vulnerable adult men, and their cover-up, that Archbishop Viganò’s statement is concerned.

In a fiery letter, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison said he was tired of “the obfuscation of truth” and of sin. In his opinion, the root of the sex abuse crisis was a “certain comfort level with sin.”

“For the Church, the crisis we face is not limited to the McCarrick affair, or the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, or anything else that may come. The deeper crisis that must be addressed is the license for sin to have a home in individuals at every level of the Church. There is a certain comfort level with sin that has come to pervade our teaching, our preaching, our decision making, and our very way of living.”

Morlino did not soft-pedal the fact that most sexual abuse that has come to light has been of males by males.

“...in the specific situations at hand, we are talking about deviant sexual – almost exclusively homosexual – acts by clerics,” he wrote. “We’re also talking about homosexual propositions and abuses against seminarians and young priests by powerful priests, bishops, and cardinals.”

“We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all,” he continued.

“To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further.”

Featured Image
shutterstock.com
James Risdon James Risdon

News, ,

Brown University nixes link to research showing peer pressure causes gender confusion

James Risdon James Risdon
By James Risdon

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ivy League school Brown University quietly removed from its website August 29 a link to research showing social media and peer pressure might be causing teens to think they're transgender.

In her paper published on PLOS ONE, Rapid-onset Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Study of Parental Reports, Brown University School of Public Health researcher Dr. Lisa Littman dared to consider the possibility that teenaged boys who think they're girls and teenaged girls who think they're boys might be coming to those conclusions partly because of peer pressure and what they see on social media.

The researcher gathered information from parents whose children had rapid-onset gender dysphoria using a 90-question survey. Rapid-onset gender dysphoria is the term used to describe when boys start thinking they are girls or girls start thinking there are boys at puberty or shortly afterwards.

The physician's findings show that teens and young adults who thought they were the other sex starting at or shortly after puberty had something in common: they tended to already be friends.

In her paper, Littman suggested this might be because of social media and peer pressure leading teens to identify as transgender.

"The elevated number of friends per friendship group who became transgender-identified, the pattern of cluster outbreaks of transgender-identification in these friendship groups, the substantial percentage of friendship groups where the majority of the members became transgender-identified, and the peer group dynamics observed all serve to support the plausibility of social and peer contagion for [rapid-onset gender dysphoria]," she wrote in her paper.

In the comments section of the PLoS One website where Littman's report is published, criticism was quickly leveled against her research methods, including the type of questions in her survey and the websites from which parents were recruited to participate in the study.

Brown University, which had a link to Littman's study on its website and had issued a news release about this descriptive study, quickly took it down.

A Brown University spokesman claimed the university made that decision not because of Littman's findings but because of the concerns expressed over the study's methodology.

"We feel strongly that researchers have a responsibility to be vigilant in research design and analysis, especially when there are implications for the health of the communities at the center of our research and study," said Brown University spokesman Brian Clark.

"This is at the core of our commitment to academic and research excellence. It was this responsibility, not the subject of the research, that informed the decision to remove the article from news distribution as [PLoS ONE] further assesses the study's methodology," he said.

PLoS ONE is bringing in experts to assess the study's methodology and analyses but has no time frame as to when this review of the study might be completed, said the online journal's spokesman David Knutson.

"This is not about censoring academic freedom or to suppress scientific research," Knutson claimed. "The broad debate on gender dysphoria led by various parties is clear evidence that such research is needed, and we support this research and are committed as a journal to publish all scientifically valid research on the topic."

"This is a very recent phenomenon which deserves study," a blog post on transgendertrend.com, a website for parents whose kids suddenly announce they are switching genders, says. "It is not enough to say ‘transgender people are more visible and more accepted now’, this doesn’t explain the phenomenal increase in girls, nor the onset of gender dysphoria at adolescence. Trans activists deny the existence of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria because the suggestion of social contagion or potential underlying causative factors calls into question not only the concept of ‘innate gender identity’ but the ‘affirmation only’ model of care."

"Given the bullying and silencing tactics of activists towards anyone who questions the new gender ideology and the real threat to people’s jobs and livelihoods if they speak publicly, it is a brave researcher who tackles this subject," it continues. "It is a failure in our duty of care to these young people to use them for political purposes to support an ideology and to suppress necessary research which would help us assess what kind of clinical support individual youngsters need."

In her paper, Littman advances two hypotheses. The first is that some teens might be interpreting other symptoms of trauma, psychiatric problems, or normal puberty as evidence they are transgender and be coming to the conclusion that the only path to happiness is to “transition” to the other gender.

They would then also come to believe "that anyone who disagrees with the self-assessment of being transgender or the plan for transition is transphobic, abusive, and should be cut out of one’s life," wrote the researcher.

The other possible explanation Littman offers up is that rapid-onset gender dysphoria is quite simply a maladaptive coping mechanism for teens and young adults, similar to anorexia nervosa where people lose extreme amounts of weight. Other examples of maladaptive coping mechanisms are alcohol and drug abuse and self-harming.

Over 4,000 people have signed a petition supporting Littman. The signatories write that they are overwhelming liberally-minded, "but we want better diagnostic and mental health care for youth who suddenly demand serious medical interventions, particularly in the absence of a history of dysphoria. We believe that medical interventions that may benefit some individuals may not help, and may even harm, others, as already evidenced by the growing number of desisters and detransitioners, many of whom have already suffered from irreversible side effects of their earlier medical transition."

Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Katie Franklin

News, ,

Report: Pro-life pregnancy centers served nearly 2 million Americans with free services in 2017

Katie Franklin
By
Image

September 7, 2018 (Pregnancy Help News) – On Wednesday, a comprehensive report on the work of pregnancy help centers was released, celebrating 50 years of service and examining how the movement has evolved over the last half century.

The 80-page report, "A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life and Love: Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition," produced by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, presents key findings from 2,600 U.S. pregnancy help centers affiliated with one or more of the three major national networks – Care NetHeartbeat International, and NIFLA – as well as other parent pregnancy center organizations.

Chief among those findings is that pregnancy centers served nearly 2 million people in the United States with free services in 2017 – an estimated community cost savings of at least $161 million.

"Looking at our collective work on a grand scale is simply breathtaking," said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, a worldwide organization of 2,600 affiliated pregnancy help centers. "At pregnancy centers, we bear witness to miracles every day – as it turns out, nearly 2 million times each year – because of dedicated volunteers and generous supporters who feel called to make a difference in people's lives."

The bulk of community cost savings comes from the 400,100 ultrasounds performed at pregnancy centers last year. Those services saved communities over $100 million.

Over the last decade, pregnancy help medical clinics offering ultrasound have more than doubled, from approximately 700 centers in 2008 to 1,944 in 2017. Today, more than 7 in 10 centers provide ultrasound.

With the growth of ultrasound, the demand for medical professionals at pregnancy centers has also increased, and thousands have answered.

Registered nurses and medical sonographers contributed over 400,000 hours to pregnancy centers, and a total of 67,400 volunteers – 7,500 of which were medical – gave their time to centers in 2017. 

In addition to medical services, pregnancy centers have also expanded educational opportunities for clients. In 2017, 87 percent of centers offered parenting and prenatal education programs – an increase from 78 percent of centers in 2010. 

Other growing additions to the pregnancy help movement include Abortion Pill Reversal, which has saved over 500 lives since its inception in 2007, and the use of mobile units, 100 of which are now operating across the U.S.

Although 86 percent of pregnancy centers receive no public funding, they have nevertheless earned recognition from multiple levels of government. Resolutions honoring pregnancy centers have been passed in 18 states, and state health departments actively refer to pregnancy centers in at least 18 states.

The movement's reach has even touched the highest tiers of U.S. government.

In his historic March for Life address this year, President Donald Trump stood alongside pregnancy help center personnel and former clients, commending their devotion and courage in the face of trying circumstances. Then, in a landmark victory capping off the movement's last 50 years this summer, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down an onerous California law that violated the First Amendment free speech rights of pregnancy center workers.

Set free from the demands of the abortion lobby, the pregnancy help community is moving forward on its course to rescue children and their parents from the pain of abortion.

"The last half century has seen a tremendous outpouring of love and care for women and families in despair," said Godsey. "In the face of darkness, our movement has provided light to the country and to the world millions of times over. Together, we have empowered women to rescue their babies, to reject the lies of the abortion industry, and to seek a new way of life. By the grace of God, the next half century will prove to be even more fruitful, as our ever-increasing skill, professionalism, and care propels this movement and our country to a time when every human life is treated with the love and respect we deserve."

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News, , , , ,

Law aimed at protecting kids like Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard introduced in UK

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

UNITED KINGDOM, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A new measure introduced in the British Parliament Tuesday evening would give new options and protection to children in situations similar to Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans.

Charlie’s Law would require hospitals to attempt to resolve disputes with parents via mediation before going to the courts, mandate access to clinical ethics committees to advise both doctors and parents on life-or-death decisions, and allow parents to seek treatment elsewhere if unsatisfied with their current hospital.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern began the process of introducing the law this week, the UK Daily Mail reports, via an amendment to the Mental Capacity Bill that would first enact the first two proposals for adults, with the third proposal following it. All three policies would then be extended to children.

“Everyone agrees we need a solution to prolonged and distressing legal conflicts over medical treatment,” he said. “I am happy to have laid this amendment which seeks to prevent cases reaching court unnecessarily. This is a proportionate and long-overdue measure which I hope will be the first small step toward realising Charlie’s Law.”

The law is named after Charlie Gard, a sick UK infant whose parents were denied the opportunity to seek treatment for mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome outside the country. He died at the age of eleven months in 2017. Despite Charlie’s story sparking worldwide horror, UK hospitals and authorities imposed the same restrictions, with the same outcome, on 23-month-old Alife Evans earlier this year.

Charlie’s Law has the support of numerous esteemed medical authorities. They include Baroness Hollins, former president of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Dominic Wilkinson (who initially opposed Charlie’s parents but has since changed his mind), a neonatologist, Oxford medical ethics professor, and associate editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics; and Oxford medical ethicist Julian Savulescu.

“Charlie’s Law is an important step forwards into the 21st century,” Savulescu said. “The dispute at the heart of the case of Charlie Gard was fundamentally ethical, not medical. It was about what constitutes a child’s best interests.”

“Throughout the bewildering aftermath [of Charlie’s death], there has been one constant: our unwavering belief that something had to change to ensure that other parents do not have to go through the same heartrending battle we fought to try to save the life of our son,” Charlie’s mother Connie Yates wrote. “It would, we agreed, be our way of honouring him and making sure his short life was not in vain.”

She said she and Charlie’s father Chris Gard are “absolutely delighted” to see Charlie’s Law introduced. Their son’s diagnosis was already “its own kind of hell,” one only “exacerbated” by the medical and legal battle they found themselves in.

“The introduction of better access to mediation and medical ethics committees, combined with the right for parent to seek treatment for their children that won’t cause them harm would – we believe – help eliminate some of the conflict that can all too easily arise between medical professionals and parents in complex cases,” Yates predicted.

Alfie’s battle and subsequent death resulted in multiple comparisons to Charlie’s case, including renewed calls for legal reform. MEP Steven Woolfe, who repeatedly advocated for Alfie throughout the ordeal, championed Alfie’s Law, another proposal that he argued would give parents an impartial advocate to represent their interests, provide financial aid for legal appeals if necessary, and guarantee parents the right to a second opinion from a medical professional of their choice, who was independent from the National Health Service.

“Neither of us will rest until we know that the law ensures that other families will be spared our heartache in [the] future and will not have to live with the ‘what ifs’ like we do,” Yates vowed.

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News, ,

Abortion lobby bashes Kavanaugh for phrase ‘abortion-inducing drugs’ in hearing

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion voices are pouncing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for yet another statement during his confirmation testimony, this time a reference to the abortifacient function of certain contraception methods.

The incident occurred on Thursday, Kavanaugh’s second day of questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee as lawmakers consider whether to let him replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. It came during Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s questioning of his dissenting opinion in favor of Priests for Life against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, TIME reports.

Kavanaugh came down on the side of religious liberty in that case, though some have raised concern at his opinion’s suggestion that government has a “compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of...religious organizations.” (Since then, the case has been settled and the Trump administration has worked to dismantle the mandate.)

“The question was first, was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was,” Kavanaugh explained. “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to.”

His mere use of the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” was enough to send abortion advocates into a frenzy.

“Kavanaugh just referred to birth control as ‘abortion-inducing drugs,’ which is not only an anti-science lie, it's an anti-choice extremist phrase,” NARAL tweeted.

“Kavanaugh invoked a medically inaccurate anti-abortion codeword,” the Planned Parenthood Action Fund echoed.

“Contraception is NOT abortion,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat rumored to be considering a presidential run. “Anyone who says so is peddling extremist ideology – not science.” Various news and blog headlines ran in a similar vein.

In fact, Kavanaugh was correct. He did not suggest every contraception or birth control method induces an abortion, but merely stated that the mandate included methods that do, which is accurate.

National Review’s Ed Whelan notes that the Obama administration admitted in the Hobby Lobby case that, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, IUDs “may prevent the egg from attaching (implanting) in the womb”; Plan B “may also work […] by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb”; and Ella “may also work by changing the lining of the womb (uterus) that may prevent attachment.”

According to a detailed 2014 overview by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists’s Dr. Donna Harrison, Plan B’s abortifacient capacity depends largely on when it’s taken, a detail its defenders exploit to present it as non-abortive:

If Plan B is taken five to two days before egg release is due to happen, the interference with the LH signal prevents a woman from releasing an egg, no fertilization happens, and no embryo is formed. Current studies do not demonstrate a harmful effect on the embryo if Plan B is taken after egg release.

Many authors focus on these two facts to make the sweeping claim that Plan B has no effect on a human embryo. What they are forgetting is Plan B’s effect at step 3, the two-day window in which embryos can form but positive pregnancy tests don’t occur. That’s the window during which the studies mentioned above suggest that Plan B has a likely embryocidal effect in stopping pregnancy.

Additionally, some abortion advocates admit its potential to prevent implantation, but attempt to sow confusion as to implantation’s meaning. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) redefined “conception” in the 1960s to refer to implantation rather than fertilization, in order to make contraception more culturally acceptable. Even so, a 2011 survey found that most OB/GYNs continue to say life begins at fertilization, not implantation.

Kavanaugh’s broader life answers continue to be a political Rorschach test for abortion friends and foes. Throughout his testimony he has expressed significant respect for Roe v. Wade’s status as precedent under the doctrine of stare decisis. 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.

The strongest evidence for pro-life leanings is a 2017 speech he gave on 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.”

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

Featured Image
Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

News,

Cincinnati archbishop: Vatican must ‘open the McCarrick file’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

CINCINNATI, Ohio, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishop of Cincinnati has called for the Vatican’s dossier on McCarrick to be opened so that Archbishop Viganò’s allegations can be verified.

Appearing on Holy Spirit Radio at the end of August, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr told Annie Mitchell of the SonRise Morning Show that without looking at the documents in the case, the bishops are left with a “he said - she said situation.”  

“It seems to me that the only way to get to the bottom of the entire situation is to open the McCarrick file,” Schnurr said. “There’s got to be files … within Washington DC and at the Vatican on all of this correspondence.”

“Archbishop Viganò mentions a few of the documents,” he continued, “but again his testimony is based on his recollection. Others are saying ‘This is not our recollection.’ The only way to get to the facts is to look at the file, and I hope and pray that the file is opened.”

“I see no other way to get to the bottom of this very painful, this very sad situation.”

As its Treasurer, Archbishop Schnurr is on the executive committee of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He told Mitchell that Cardinal DiNardo had written his statement about Viganò’s allegation on behalf of the whole executive, and that the executive committee had said, “The only way to resolve this is to open the McCarrick file.”

“Cardinal DiNardo intends to go to Rome and talk to the Holy Father,” Schnurr revealed. “I know also that Cardinal O’Malley, who is the Holy Father’s agent for dealing with sexual abuse in the Church... has offered to go with Cardinal DiNardo and [that] the two of them meet with the Holy Father.”

The archbishop said that to the best of his knowledge that there had not yet been a response from the Holy Father, but that this was probably because the Vatican closes down in August for the annual Ferragosto holiday.

“They don’t get back to business until September,” he explained.

Apparently there is opposition to Schnurr’s desire for the McCarrick file to be opened.  Schnurr told the radio host:

“I was speaking to one individual [about opening the file], and the individual said to me, ‘Well, why? This is all behind us. What good is that going to do?’ I said to them, “Behind us? There are victims today. They’re a part of the Church today… Moreover, those who don’t learn from the past repeat the past.”

The archbishop said that the Church has to find out what went wrong, who failed and why they failed.

“The only way to get to that, it seems to me,” said Schnurr, “is to open the file of the McCarrick case.”

Archbishop Schnurr has been steadfast in his support for the Gospel of Life. He has led prayers outside a Nebraska Planned Parenthood on more than one occasion and, this March, warned his clergy against an LGBT speaking event featuring activists Fr. James Martin and Sister Jeanne Gramick.

Listen to Archbishop Schnurr's comments below:

Featured Image
Indian LGBT activists protest in Hyderabad in 2017. Shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News, ,

India’s Supreme Court strikes down 150-year ban on sodomy

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

NEW DELHI, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court of India ruled Thursday to strike down a provision of a longstanding law criminalizing homosexual sex.

Section 377, enacted in 1861 while India was under British colonial rule, forbade “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” It specifically defined anal and oral intercourse as "unnatural offences" punishable by ten-year prison sentences.

The law applies to anyone who engages in the specified acts. While pro-LGBT groups claimed it was used to “harass and abuse” homosexuals specifically, the BBC says it “was rarely invoked when it involved consenting adults.” 

The five-judge court decided unanimously to strike down the ban, with outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra declaring that "Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional." Justice DY Chandrachud said that Section 377 violated “rights” to both sexual orientation and to privacy, while Justice Indu Malhotra claimed "history owes an apology" to LGBT Indians.

However, the court also stressed that the ruling did not strike down Section 377’s ban on sex with children or animals, and that it was not changing the country’s marriage or inheritance laws. India does not recognize same-sex “marriages.” The Supreme Court did create a “third gender” status in 2014 for individuals who consider themselves transgendered.

This week’s decision follows a winding legal battle since 2001, when legislation to repeal Section 377 was first introduced. A lower court ruled for decriminalization in 2009, but the Supreme Court reversed it in 2013. Pro-LGBT activists petitioned the court to reconsider, and it agreed to do so in 2016.

Pro-homosexual activists responded to the ruling with celebration, marching with a rainbow banner in Mumbai and releasing balloons in Bangalore. “I’m elated,” writer and activist Harish Iyer said. “We have thrown out the British once again.”

Others, meanwhile, blasted the ruling as misguided and dangerous.

"The decision of a two-judge bench has been overturned by a five-judge bench,” said Subramanian Swamy, an MP with India’s Bharatiya Janata Party. “If this freedom leads to excesses, including paedophilia, gay bars, increase in HIV cases, etc, we can have a seven-judge bench to overturn this. There is no finality to the Supreme Court's judgment today."

“We are giving credibility and legitimacy to mentally sick people,” All India Hindu Mahasabha president Swami Chakrapani declared according to the New York Times.

Christian, Hindu, and Muslim religious leaders also expressed concern that the ruling would be taken as a moral endorsement of homosexuality. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India stressed that while it “respects the dignity of homosexuals,” it must be remembered that “what is legal is not equal to moral acceptability,” and sodomy “violates the purpose of human sexuality, which is procreation.”

Pro-LGBT voices also predicted that the sodomy ruling could open the floodgates to further cultural changes. “It’s in our favour,” said a 19-year-old identified only as Smriti. “It’s a great first step.”

Ajit Prakash Shah, the former Delhi High Court justice behind the 2009 decriminalization ruling, wrote at the Times of India Friday that he wants the latest ruling to have a “transnational” impact. “The effect of this judgement is especially likely to be felt in other common law countries, and it will, hopefully, provide an impetus to those countries” to strike down similar laws.

Featured Image
Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

News,

Nebraska bishop urges ‘thorough’ probe: Viganò testimony ‘must be taken seriously’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic bishop in Nebraska has added his voice to those of other bishops calling for an investigation into allegations made by Archbishop Viganò.

On September 4, Bishop John G. Hanefeldt of the Grand Island diocese in Nebraska issued a statement recognizing the former Apostolic Nuncio as a credible witness.

“Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously,” he wrote. (The full statement is published below.)

Recalling the statement of Cardinal DiNardo, the leader of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Hanefeldt added his support for a “a prompt and thorough examination of this entire crisis in leadership.”

After apologizing to victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Bishop of Grand Island called for an authentic accountability on the part of the bishops.

“There must be true accountability for bishops going forward,” he wrote. We must safeguard children and young people from this ever happening again.”

Attributing the “serious evils” in the Church to a supernatural struggle, Hanefeldt invited the people of his diocese to join him in praying, fasting and penitential acts.

“These are serious evils in the Church. This is spiritual warfare,” the bishop declared. “Please join me in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in offering acts of personal penance and fasting in reparation for these sins and for the healing and consolation of all victims of abuse and their families.”

Hanefeldt has previously come to the support of the vulnerable against apathy and abuse, most notably when he opposed the imposition of harmful “gender theory” in Nebraskan schools.

 

Statement from Grand Island Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt

September 4, 2018

The crimes of sexual abuse by the clergy and the cover-up that followed has destroyed so many innocent lives and profoundly wounded the people of God, who so deeply love their Catholic faith.

Following upon both the accusations of the abuse committed by Archbishop McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, new questions have been raised in recent days by the former Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, implicating others in Church leadership in connection with Archbishop McCarrick. Because Archbishop Viganò held a unique and important position of leadership serving the Church in our country, the questions raised in his statement must be taken seriously.

On August 16th, Cardinal DiNardo called for “an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth in all of this.” Since then, he has further stated, “The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.” I want to add my voice in support of his call for a prompt and thorough examination of this entire crisis in leadership.

To all of you who are victims of these unspeakable crimes, I am so very sorry. Apologies are only words, but I abhor these abuses and pray for your healing and consolation every day. Those in positions of authority have violated your human dignity and covered up the truth. I pray that by God’s grace, truth and justice will soon prevail for you and your families, and for the entire Church.

There must be true accountability for bishops going forward. We must safeguard children and young people from this ever happening again. These are serous evils in the Church.  This is spiritual warfare.  Please join me in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in offering acts of personal penance and fasting in reparation for these sins and for the healing and consolation of all victims of abuse and their families.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5.) As the Church undergoes this purification, let us remain in Christ and abide in him.  May our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace, intercede for each of us in these difficult times.

In Christ, our Hope!

Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt

Diocese of Grand Island

Featured Image
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

News,

US bishop calls on Pope Francis to address Viganò allegations ‘directly’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

CHARLESTON, South Carolina, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An American bishop has written to the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States to demand an investigation into the advancement of an abusive cleric and into allegations made by Archbishop Viganò.

On August 31, Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, published a letter he addressed to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the diplomat Pope Francis chose to replace Viganò as Nuncio to the USA. (The full letter is published below.)

In his letter, Guglielmone told Pierre that the Church “is in crisis” and that “something must be done now.”

“It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments,” the bishop wrote.  “It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly.”

Citing the statement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Guglielmone said he too supported an investigation by the Vatican “along with a national lay commission with its own authority” to ascertain the truth of allegations made by Archbishop Viganò in his recent testimony about corruption in the hierarchy.  

The bishop also pleaded with the nuncio for Pope Francis to respond to Viganò’s statement.

“... It is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly,” he wrote.

Guglielmone also endorsed an independent, laity-led, national review board to review allegations made against bishops, so as to better protect victims of clerical sexual abuse.  However, he stressed the need for bishops also to take responsible action.

“This time of scandal requires especially strong and courageous leadership. I pray that all bishops commit to a new era of transparency and action,” he wrote. “We must dedicate ourselves to the healing of all whose faith has been undermined and work to do all we can to prevent such crimes from happening in the future.”

The bishop said that both he and the people under his care felt “betrayed, angry and misled.”

 

Letter of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

August 31, 2018

His Excellency Christophe Pierre, Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature

Dear Archbishop Pierre,

Our Church is in crisis and as the leader of the Catholic faithful in the State of South Carolina, I write with urgency to express my sentiments and echo those of the people in my care. We feel betrayed, angry and misled.

Something must be done now. I have several recommendations that support the statement from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments. It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly.

I, too, strongly support an investigation by the Holy See along with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. These recent reports have triggered many different versions of what has actually happened and it is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly. This is in everyone’s best interest; lack of knowledge and uncertainty contribute to the confusion so much a part of our people’s lives today. Our Church is called to be a beacon of light in the darkness. I ask that you be an ambassador of truth and assist in the securing of actionable change.

Also, I wholeheartedly endorse every effort to reform and renew our initiatives to protect survivors in allowing the national review board to serve as an independent entity that will review allegations made against bishops. This work must be entrusted to the laity.

This time of scandal requires especially strong and courageous leadership. I pray that all bishops commit to a new era of transparency and action. We must dedicate ourselves to the healing of all whose faith has been undermined and work to do all we can to prevent such crimes from happening in the future.

Please know that I support all of your efforts to assist our Church here in the United States.

In the Lord’s Peace,

Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone

Bishop of Charleston

Featured Image
YouTube Screenshot
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News, , ,

Former homosexuals urge California Dems to give them a voice on reparative therapy ban

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

SACRAMENTO, California, September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group dedicated to representing those who struggle with and have overcome homosexual attractions is warning California Assemblyman Evan Low not to ignore those who left the homosexual lifestyle when attempting to revive his ill-fated ban on reparative (“conversion”) therapy next year.

Low, an openly-homosexual Democrat, withdrew Assembly Bill 2943 last week, despite the measure passing both chambers of the state legislature. AB 2943 would have barred minors and adults alike from obtaining “sexual orientation change efforts,” regardless of their wishes. Critics say its language was broad enough to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of constitutionally-protected speech.

Democrats and pro-LGBT groups denied those charges, but ultimately the protests of religious Californians proved too intense to ignore, leading Low to scuttle the bill instead of seeking a signature from Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown.

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

But while various Christian groups thanked Low for listening to dissenting constituents, Low still intends to attempt a different version of the bill next year. Voice of the Voiceless says that now is the time to hold him to his pledge to listen to everyone.

“I don't see any evidence of Low traveling up and down the state. Could he please elaborate?” the group’s president, Daren Mehl, asked in a press release. “Please publish your agenda, the locations, and the people you met with. Why didn’t you post any of these meetings or summaries of the discussions you had on social media? Which faith leaders?”

Highlighting Low’s invocation of the “trauma he went through as a child, and the personal reasons why he was pushing this bill,” Mehl suggested the assemblyman may not be “in a place that he is willing to learn from our former homosexual community of Christians,” and that until he does so, any legislation to tackle the subject will be flawed.

“Low's path towards ‘full equality’ needs to also include former homosexuals and the rights of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity conflicts to receive the help they desire,” Mehl declared. “Otherwise, his words are simply empty rhetoric."

Many former homosexuals such as Angel Colon and Drew Berryessa attest to reparative therapy’s success in improving their lives, and say they want Californians currently struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to have access to the same help overcoming it.

“While recovering in the hospital I had time to reflect. I learned about forgiveness. Lord, I choose you,” Colon, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, said in June at a rally for ex-homosexuals opposed to the ban. “I want others to have the freedom to experience this. Vote ‘No’ for AB2943.”

“We’re not talking about taking choices off the table,” another rally attendee, a former lesbian who’s now happily married to a man and has two children, said. “We are talking about putting more choices on the table.”

Pro-family advocates say that LGBT activists oppose reparative therapy not out of concern for children’s mental health, but because it undermines the ideological proposition that sex is biologically rooted and unchangeable.

Featured Image
Lisa Bourne/LifeSiteNews
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

News,

Cardinal Wuerl concedes calls for ‘new leadership’ in archdiocese, doesn’t resign

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, DC, September 7, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl conceded on Thursday the growing number of calls for him to resign, emanating from even his own clergy, but stopped short of saying he is ready to step down.

In a two-page letter to priests of the Washington archdiocese published yesterday, Wuerl acknowledged that among “many observations” priests had made at a meeting this week, they expressed that the “archdiocese would be well served by new leadership to help move beyond the current confusion, disappointment and disunity.”

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner have also called for Wuerl’s resignation, LifeSiteNews’ petition for him to resign has reached over 9,000 signatures, and a Change.org petition calling on the Pope to remove him has reached over 80,000 signatures.

Read Cardinal Wuerl's full letter here.

In recent weeks, the Cardinal has faced a barrage of explosive allegations that he mishandled and covered up instances of criminal sexual abuse by priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh.  

An exhaustive, 900 page grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by Pennsylvania priests mentions Cardinal Wuerl, the city’s former bishop, over 200 times.

In the aftermath of the release of the report, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro accused Wuerl of lying about his involvement, saying that Wuerl’s assertions that he “acted with diligence” were “misleading statements” furthering the cover up.

Wuerl’s credibility also came into question when he declared that he knew nothing of the abuse settlements paid to sex abuse victims of his predecessor, disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò then released a scathing testimony which offered confirmation of Cardinal Wuerl’s complicity in the McCarrick cover up.

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

PR Nightmare

As a result, Wuerl has faced a public relations nightmare.  For two weeks he withdrew from all public appearances, going so far as to back out of his high profile keynote address at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland.

In his former diocese, a prestigious Catholic high school which had proudly borne his name, abruptly dropped it.  

As the embattled Cardinal emerged from hiding at a parish Mass this past Sunday, a man in the congregation stood and shouted, “Shame on you!” as Wuerl attempted to address the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Church throughout the summer.

In a crushing blow to his Wuerl’s authority, Father Percival D’Silva, a beloved priest at liberally minded Blessed Sacrament parish in Washington’s tony suburb of Chevy Chase, ended a recent Sunday homily by calling for Wuerl to resign.  He received a standing ovation.  

The past may be prologue.

In 2002, Fr. D’Silva famously “delivered a sermon at Blessed Sacrament calling for the resignation of the Boston Cardinal Bernard Law amid accusations of covering up child abuse by priests,” according to a report in Bethesda Magazine.

Wuerl has also had to endure one devastating media headline after another.  On Wednesday, a Daily Wire headline blared, “The Walls Close In On D.C. Cardinal Wuerl: Parishioners Heckle, Priests Demand Resignation.”

Season of Healing

Also in his letter to his priests, Cardinal Wuerl announced that this fall would be a “Season of Healing” in the archdiocese:  

In recognition of the ongoing need for healing, and after consultation with a number of laywomen, laymen and some priests, I am proposing a “Season of Healing” that would begin Friday, September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as a first step in the necessary healing process for our Church.

The “Season of Healing” would first and foremost be an invitation for parishes and parishioners to come together in prayer, to give voice to the pain and suffering of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, while also recognizing the pain and wound of the whole Church.

He promised a “toolkit of resources” would be provided to assist pastors in this endeavor.

Chutzpah

Not everyone has looked favorably on this proposed effort.

Rod Dreher, writing at his popular American Conservative blog sees the “Season of Healing” as a cynical attempt by Wuerl to deflect negative media attention away from himself:

Hoo boy. Cardinal Wuerl has gone all Moralistic Therapeutic Deist. This cynical cat is branding his own self-rehabilitation. He’s even got a “toolkit” to change the subject from his own failures to the suffering of abuse victims. This takes chutzpah. Here’s the letter he sent to his priests today.

Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected] 

Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Robert Oscar Lopez

Opinion, ,

Is LGBT tyranny against Christians finally coming to an end?

Robert Oscar Lopez
By Robert Oscar Lopez

September 7, 2018 (American Thinker) – Over the last ten years, the LGBT movement created a brotherhood out of its victims. I have gotten to know countless people who lost their jobs, families, public reputation, homes, or incomes because they chose to defend God's design for sexuality rather than submit to the LGBT movement's demands.

Our travails pale beside the martyrs in the Middle East and Africa who have lost their lives to stand up for Christ. We have nonetheless paid a painful price. The words of Revelation 6:10 felt, for many of us, like words out of our own hearts:

They cried out with a loud voice: "Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who love on the earth?" So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been.

Each victim of the LGBT lobby has a unique story. In a current project, I have had extensive interviews with some. One, a doctor, faced the ultimate choice when gays in his hospital filed charges against him for warning patients about the dangers of anal sodomy. He lost all his medical appointments rather than betray the calling God gave him as a physician.

A nurse found herself hauled before a disciplinary board for distributing pamphlets from the American College of Pediatricians. As a pediatric nurse in urology, she knew firsthand the cost to young girls of "holding it" all day for fear of going to the bathroom. She knew some little girls would fear the lavatory and would end up with bladder infections. She had to leave her position.

An English professor in Ohio received notification one day that a professor, an adviser to the gay students' group, would visit her class to investigate reports against her from off campus. She had filed a court brief about the abuses she encountered in a lesbian-headed household. Certainly not by coincidence, suddenly, she faced an onslaught of bizarre complaints and calls for surveillance until the university released her from teaching. The academy has essentially expelled her.

One woman who ran a daycare center in a mostly black neighborhood saw block grants requiring that she teach toddlers about homosexuality and transgenderism. A Latina with a long career in teaching blew the whistle on her district's adoption of a pro-trans and pro-gay "Welcoming Schools" curriculum for pre-K students. These women represented the diversity the left claimed to celebrate. But they walked away from their livelihoods and careers because they could not violate God's word.

One man, "Jacob," honored the memory of a famous Christian artist, his personal friend. The famed artist had died and left behind a property full of his works. Gays in the local arts commission took over the property. The gays immediately sought to erase the artist's Christian faith, choosing to overwhelm the property with exhibits by radical homosexual artists. Jacob fought valiantly until the bitter end, running afoul of various Republican politicians who feigned conservative values to the public while privately cutting deals with rich homosexuals. The pro-gay "conservatives" could tolerate nothing less than a shrine to sodomy.

One man, a counselor, had to leave California and move hundreds of miles away. He had a journey somewhat like mine. After years of fighting a lesbian dean, I vacated a tenured position and moved to Texas. When I finally stopped trying to compromise my way out of persecution, I lost decades of academic research, all the friends I once had, and about 85% of my relatives to the recriminations and calumny of the gay lobby.

So many stories, each day, grow in number and tragic intensity. The Lord is faithful, we know. We have sought to remain, at all times, forgiving and hopeful. But the years crawled by. So many in their own denominations abandoned them as even their own churches, at times, deemed them an embarrassment and shunned or silenced them. We watched as the conservative movement fell in love with free-market libertarianism and vaunted one right-wing gay after another.

But the Lord is faithful. What seemed a hopeless situation may show signs of turning around. At least these developments give us occasion to feel less depressed.

California Still Not Ready to Imprison People in Sodomy

California's "Stay Gay" Bill, A.B. 2943, would have banned conversion therapy so broadly that virtually any ex-gay such as myself would have been purposefully isolated and cut off from social support. The bill looked unstoppable because it won approval in the various committees, got passed in the Assembly and Senate, and was due to be signed by the governor. It spelled disaster for church ministries.

At the last minute, the bill's author, Evan Low, withdrew the bill. As is often the case, the press will spin this event to make it seem positive for the LGBT movement. The papers try to say that Low went on a "listening tour" with various faith leaders and chose to pull the bill back so it could be reintroduced to protect religious liberty.

Some useless conservative groups, who abandoned lots of us when the LGBT lobby crushed us, now rush in on cue to claim credit for stopping A.B. 2943. Everyone wants to raise money off what happened.

Even if Low is certain to bring this bill back, and even if people will try many tricks to misrepresent how it was defeated, I know enough about the failed bill's history to take certain comfort from what transpired.

Christians across America in the grassroots – not the well funded leaders or famous spokespeople – prayed and mobilized. Unsung heroes like my colleagues in Voices of the Voiceless and Mass Resistance California, and others, fought relentlessly even when it seemed impossible to stop this from becoming law. God stopped the bill through his humblest servants. Four or five years ago, there is no way a bill with this much bipartisan support could have been halted. But the Lord is faithful. We may be turning things around.

The Catholic Church Changes the Game

Because of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, gays must finally acknowledge that their community engages in monstrous forms of abuse. After MeToo, the scandals about shadowbanning, anti-bullying hysteria, and furor over "fake news," the public has come to understand "abuse" as a far broader issue than literal rape. Many tools the gay community used to smear whistleblowers and misrepresent themselves to the public have now come under severe judgment by the public.

The gay community's obsession with exposing children to images of homosexuality looks less educational and more perverted by the day, even to people who generally sympathized with the movement for the redefinition of marriage. Moreover, in a world vomiting up anything that looks like sexual harassment, it gets harder for gay activists to glorify their takeover of children's libraries, hyper-sexualized media culture, and public discussion of their sex lives complete with all the gory details. "Gaslighting," blackmail, whisper campaigns, fake blacklists, intimidation, suppression of research, bribery, demagoguery, threats of suicide, and perverted exhibitionism – these went from the approved weapons of a sympathetic minority ten years ago to now looking rightfully like the hallmarks of massive abuse and cover-up.

With all these seismic reversals in popular culture, revelations of epidemic homosexual abuse in the Catholic Church and a network of criminal cover-ups would seem the last thing the gay movement needs. But the Lord is faithful. This is, perhaps, what we need to get the public to see how evil the gay movement has always been.

I have noted in past posts that during midterm election years, there is almost always some kind of emotional gay scandal. The cases of Matt Shepard, Mark Foley, Tyler Clementi, and others all played out just before people went to vote in midterms. In 2002, the midterm election scandal of the day was the Catholic sex abuse scandal. But earlier activists succeeded in spinning the abuse as a critique of the supposedly anti-gay Catholic Church. Now, sixteen years later, their spin machine has lost control of the narrative.

Now people do not fear naming the scandal rocking Catholicism as a homosexual problem and a problem of homosexual networks engaging in wide-ranging abuses to cover up their crimes: blackmail, bribery, silencing of victims, appeals to guilt, and calls to protect the reputation of the group. After five years of Pope Francis and his overtures to befriend gays – along with the rise of pro-gay provocateurs like Fr. James Martin – the gays find it impossible to cast the Catholic Church's abuses as apart from, or anathema to, the entrenched gay lobby.

LGBT activists paid handsomely to infiltrate the Catholic Church's highest echelons. Now they have to pay for the influence they purchased. The Church leadership and gay political leadership have bound themselves to one another; they will rise and fall on the same tides now. It is no small detail that Patrick Buchanan names the Church scandal as a homosexual problem. The Lord is faithful; he reveals all things that must be revealed at the proper time. We have reason to hope that the Church's scandal will lead the public to ask similar tough questions about the tactics that the gay lobby has used in the past to silence those victimized by homosexuals and homosexual culture. Perhaps this will bring justice to those of us who paid such a painful price for years and suffered in quiet desperation for too long.

The Evangelicals Get Gay Evil All of a Sudden

The evangelicals have awoken.

A few years ago, the "ReVoice" conference would have gone forward without anybody batting an eye. The conference, which took place amid massive controversy in July 2018, reveled shamelessly in evil. It gathered a rogue's gallery of faux theologians claiming to uphold biblical sexual ethics while really plotting ways to infiltrate the most conservative churches in America with a stealth pro-gay identity politics.

The organizers seem to have thought they would be able to proceed with this confab of wickedness in a Presbyterian church with no pushback. Certainly, the gay lobby had spent years taking over academic bodies like the American Academy of Religion and installing collaborators across all the major denominations. Gays had reason to believe they could flip thousands of churches to pro-gay heresy without seeing any backlash.

Yet the Lord is faithful. As in the case with California's "stay gay" bill, the humble Christians in the grassroots finally informed themselves about the massive corruption of Christian churches. ReVoice provoked such hot retaliation across the evangelical world that even major denominational leaders who had sought an accommodating "third way" with LGBT changed course and condemned what the infiltrators were doing. The spotlight is on the dark money and backchannels that led to ReVoice. I suspect that the LGBT movement will never return to the carefree ease its members enjoyed in earlier years as they took over seminaries, congregations, and Christian media outlets without anyone noticing.

The Lord's Schedule Is Not Ours

I pray that justice will come for the many unsung heroes who paid awesome costs in order to stand firm on biblical sexuality. I pray that we will not all die with our names still sullied on slanderous blacklists, our careers and reputations wrecked by the LGBT lobby's Obama-era viciousness. But most of all, I pray that the Lord's will be done. "Justice is mine," says the Lord. He will even the score when he is ready. Until then, I will follow the advice of Paul the Apostle and be anxious for nothing.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif. Also keep an eye out for new episodes of the series he hosts for Mass Resistance, called "Save our Churches.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

Featured Image
Alan Bergstein

Opinion,

Democrats’ tremors could rip up the ground under America

Alan Bergstein
By Alan Bergstein

September 7, 2018 (American Thinker) – I don't know if you've felt them, but we've had many warnings of a major catastrophic human-made earthquake that threatens the foundations of our 242-year-old existence as a free nation. The needle on the political Richter scale started shaking after the 2000 election of George W. Bush. The rumblings began with the Democrats contesting the 527-vote Florida game-changing presidential win by Bush over Gore that eventually was confirmed by a recount. Thereafter, Bush was for his eight more years in the White House referred to and treated by the left as America's first sitting "non-president." 

Then we suffered the rattling election of Barack Obama, whose active membership in a white-, Jewish-, and America-hating church was well known to the electorate. His close personal relationship with the likes of his adored Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan was no secret. Obama was open about his goals. He told us he was out to "fundamentally transform America" and the world. He did, with racial unrest, blacks against whites, attacks against law enforcement, hatred against people of wealth, the cover-up of Muslim hate crimes, the admission of millions of illegals, the deliberate condemnations of our nation's history, the "Arab Spring" that turned the Middle East into a raging inferno of destruction and death, the support to the terrorist nation of Iran, and the eight-year unsuccessful effort to undermine the Jewish State of Israel. Worrisome tremblings, indeed.

Recently, the threats have increased in volume and intensity with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The grinding Democrat tectonic plates beneath our (small "d") democracy have sent rumbling tremors that indicate a major catastrophe to our nation on the horizon. The forces of hate against our president have reached catastrophic levels on the political seismic scale that threaten to take down the pillars of liberty and freedom. The fraudulently concocted charges of treason and collusion with an enemy nation against Trump have shaken the nation's stability. Calls for his impeachment, his assassination, and physical attacks against his staff and supporters have rattled us all. And our Democratic elected leaders are feeding this frenzy. The recent live broadcasts of the funerals of Aretha Franklin and John McCain coming so close together should have knocked us off our feet, with the eulogists standing over caskets, attacking our legally elected president. The shock of having three open haters of whites, Jews, and America in the first row at the Franklin services seated purposely and openly right next to a former president should have rocked our senses. But it didn't...and that's scary.

Lastly, perhaps the most significant recent shudders came in the current Senate hearings for the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice. The well planned observer tantrums requiring the ejection of violent demonstrators for the whole world to see, along with the coordinated Democratic disruption from the official seats, represented a massive threat to our liberties.

We have no control of nature. Earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, and tsunamis are generated by Earth's forces. But the undermining rattling of our halls of justice, our Constitution, and our liberties for which so many have sacrificed their lives is occurring because we are permitting it to happen. The willful closing of our eyes to the earth-shaking warning signals of calamity, growing not only in frequency but in intensity, will result in irreparable cracks in the foundations of our liberties and freedom. The next shock may be coming soon.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

Featured Image
Confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Day 2), Sept. 5, 2018. C-SPAN / Youtube screen grab
Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

Opinion, ,

Why Kavanaugh’s appointment could endanger the international abortion industry

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

September 7, 2018 (C-Fam) – International abortion groups are in a state of alarm because of the very real possibility the reconfiguration of the U.S. Supreme Court under U.S. President Donald Trump may lead to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"If confirmed, Kavanaugh would pose a grave threat to sexual and reproductive health and rights, both in the United States and around the world," lamented Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy at the International Women's Health Coalition in a press release following the nomination on Judge Brett Kavanaugh on July 9.

Their concern is not overwrought. If Kavanaugh provides the long-awaited fifth vote to strike down Roe, it might significantly set back the movement for an international right to abortion.

When the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of abortion again it will almost certainly entertain new claims about the existence of a human right to abortion under customary human rights law. And the Court may have to address these questions. Such claims have already been made by abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood in federal court, albeit without success.

The next time, abortion groups and their supporters will be able to repeat a long list of pronouncements by UN officials and bodies that have pressured countries to decriminalize and liberalize their abortion laws on the basis of UN human rights treaties, some of which the U.S. has ratified. They will also cite foreign high court precedents deferring to UN bodies on their interpretation of international human rights law, even though such UN bodies don't have authority to bind states. Then the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to weigh on the issue – the most influential and emulated high court in the world.

If Kavanaugh finally provides the fifth vote to strike down Roe v. Wade, as voters who elected Trump expect, the Court will also necessarily deny the existence of an international right to abortion. And dissenting Justices will likely cite the interpretations of international bodies on the UN civil rights treaty, which the U.S. ratified in 1991.

But a ruling on international law will only be required if Kavanaugh has the stomach to overturn what he himself has described as "settled law."

While there have been sporadic attempts to challenge Roe v. Wade in State legislatures and the U.S. Congress, by design most State-based legislative efforts against abortion do not challenge Roe v. Wade itself, but merely attempt to chip away at it.

During the hearings this week, many of the Senators tried unsuccessfully to get Kavanagh to commit for or against Roe. Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked Kavanaugh if a right to abortion was "rooted in the history and tradition" of the United States. Kavanaugh evaded the question.

"I hope one day the court will sit down and think long and hard about the path they (Supreme Court) have charted," Graham said, urging Kavanaugh to reflect on the damage to democracy from judicial activism and "breathless" interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.

Senator Graham was powerless to do more.

"That's my parting thought to you, and then you'll decide what's best for the country," he conceded with what little breath he had left.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

Featured Image
Julia/Julien the 'trans' puppet YouTube screenshot
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Blogs

The latest LGBT lunacy: ‘Transgender’ puppet to teach kids about ‘gender issues’

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

September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The ongoing attempts by trans activists to introduce the ideology of gender fluidity to children has been taking many forms recently. There has been the “Drag Queen Reading Hour,” where drag queens read pro-LGBT storybooks to little children at libraries right across the country. There has been the inclusion of gender fluidity in sex-education (most notably the SOGI curriculum) in several Canadian provinces. And now, according to CTV News,  there is a “Trans puppet named [Julien] to help young kids exploring gender issues.”

The puppet in question is of school age (in order to connect with school-age children), and was originally named Julia—but Julia is struggling with her gender, and “feels in her heart she’s a boy and wants to be called Julien.” The message to children is a simple one: Your gender is not dictated by biology and your body is irrelevant to who you actually are (and it can be changed, anyway!) Julien/Julia is now the star of several bi-lingual videos that provide what trans activists are calling the “necessary tools” for kids and their bewildered parents to navigate these issues.

As usual, the transgender puppet is being brought in under the guise of an anti-bullying initiative, spear-headed by the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation, which is based out of Montreal. The Julien/Julia videos are part of the free video lessons (along with educational booklets) that they are promoting for use in schools, and they advise educators to introduce gender identity and expression to children “during early childhood” so that they “understand and accept gender diversity” and develop “social and emotional learning to help children with the process of identity affirmation.”

It is important to note that the underlying premise these educational modules are designed to convey to children is that if their feelings tell them something different than biological reality does, reality must be rejected in favor of these feelings. “Identity affirmation” recognizes subjective feelings (80% of children who experience gender dysphoria grow out of it naturally) over the physical reality—not to mention the fact that there are only two genders. In fact, one of the videos is titled “The heart that knows everything”—just in case you wondered how far they’d be willing to take it.

Puppets were chosen deliberately for their appeal to children. Jasmin Roy of the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation noted that the inspiration for the Julia/Julien videos came from Sesame Street, a show that long faced pressure from LGBT activists to out Ernie and Bert as gay (eliciting a terse response noting that puppets do not exist from the waist down.) These puppets, essentially, will normalize the idea of gender fluidity, and perhaps, the creators hope, even encourage children to “explore” their gender (perhaps by cross-dressing and other practices.)

Trans activists have done an extraordinarily effective job both at promoting gender fluidity, developing and pushing resources to introduce these topics to children, and silencing any dissent—most recently, forcing Brown University to pull a study by Dr. Lisa Littman that exposed the sky-rocketing numbers of children coming out as trans as a “social contagion” with potentially devastating consequences for those who were opting to physically transition at a very young age.

What we are seeing is the successful colonization of childhood by radical activists who hold to ideologies that most people still do not fully understand. They are entirely supportive of treatments that amount to the sterilization of children, and believe that gender-fluidity can be identified before the child is even able to communicate—some so-called “trans experts” thinks that children can be identified as trans when they are “pre-verbal,” and certainly by the age of three years old. The truth is that these activists pose a very real danger to children while suppressing all academic evidence of that fact.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This experiment is going to end very, very badly.

Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

Blogs, ,

How lay people ‘preaching’ can help the Church through current crisis

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

September 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Dominican theologian Yves Congar—often on the progressive or liberal side of the spectrum during the Second Vatican Council period, but sound enough on many points nonetheless—gives a beautiful explanation of how lay people can, and indeed must, “preach,” yet not in a way that conflicts with or supplants the magisterial office of preaching entrusted directly and exclusively to the hierarchy of the Church (pope and bishops in themselves, priests and deacons by extension). And in a disconcerting time of obvious confusion among the very members of the hierarchy who are supposed to be exercising this office, the “preaching” of the laity—including their massive online presence—will assume a vastly greater importance.

This theme had already been set forth by Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Letter Sapientiae Christianae of 1890. Having reasserted that teaching with authority in Christ’s name belongs to the episcopacy, the pope then heads off a possible false conclusion:

No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. . . . “All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith” (Vatican I, Dei Filius). 

Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors, the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.

When a person is baptized, he or she is baptized into the priesthood, prophetic office, and kingship of Christ the Lord; this is what we mean by “the universal priesthood of the faithful.” Owing to the sacramental character imprinted on the essence of their souls, Christians have the power to offer up to God their own bodies and souls, their labors and sufferings, the whole world groaning for salvation. This activity of self-oblation in union with the Savior of mankind and of striving to convert temporal realities to their evangelical finality should penetrate all aspects of daily life, though it will always face resistance from the world, the flesh, and the devil. 

This, too, is how Saint Thomas understands the effects of the sacrament of confirmation (see Summa theologiae III, q. 72): every Christian, by virtue of the sacramental character imparted by this anointing, is given the strength to witness outwardly to the one true faith by his example of life, by teaching and apologetics, and by every kind of witness, including that of silent suffering.

For laity, as for sisters and contemplative religious who are not ordained, preaching obviously cannot mean formal preaching in the context of the liturgy. But if we have a deeper understanding of what it means to preach by taking the Gospel into the world and making it come alive by God’s grace, we will see that there is no limit to the number of ways the Good News can be spread and shared. 

Every contemplative sister or brother who is praying for the true reform of the Church, the cleansing and sanctification of the clergy, and the success of lay people in their Christian work in the world has placed herself or himself at the service of the apostolic work of preaching. Without the prayers of contemplatives, these good works would never multiply or bear much fruit.

The mother and father in a family who teach their children about God, who introduce them to the life of Jesus and His Mother and the saints, are true heralds of the good news, transmitters of the deposit of faith, “teachers of truth and preachers of grace,” like Saint Dominic. By a natural, God-given right and duty, they serve as the first catechizers and preachers of the faith to their children, and to this extent, they possess a right and duty to impart orthodoxy and shun heresy that cannot be removed or superseded by any shepherd of the Church, although it goes without saying that the laity remain under the guidance and magisterial authority of their shepherds to the degree that the latter impart the word of truth.

Preaching to those trapped in error or unbelief will often be apologetical or argumentative, trying to show them the truth of the Catholic position. But it will also involve stirring up the questions to which only the Gospel—or better, the Person of Jesus Himself—can give definitive answers. Due to the spread of scientific and commercial materialism, there is a tremendous habitual ignorance of spiritual realities, a lack of wonder about God and the soul, a lack of the kind of questions that are fertile soil for the grace of conversion. Without hunger and thirst, the invitation to a banquet is unappealing.

Preaching to those who are already Catholic, whether nominally, marginally, confusedly, or sincerely, will tend on the other hand to be expositive and hortatory, an effort to lead them to a deeper understanding, together with a more consistent integration of faith and life. The best lay “preachers” will find ways to enkindle in Catholics an awareness of the astonishing array of gifts they received in baptism—above all, the power to receive Jesus Christ, true God and true man, in Holy Communion: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:56), and the tremendous mercy of the sacrament of confession, by which the same blood washes away our sins and restores or increases grace within our souls. 

In all this, we can see the enormous power and responsibility of Catholic journalism and publishing across all media. It is part of the Church’s evangelizing mission, a true apostolate of handing on the Catholic faith received.

So, the next time you are tempted to complain about a bad homily you heard, or a pastor who is not living up to his office of preaching (whether because he is speaking falsehoods, failing to address anything of substance, or living in a way that contradicts the Catholic faith), you should pause, look within, and ask how well your own preaching is going—your commitment to prayer, your good example, and your words of witness.

Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Phil Lawler

The Pulse,

The Atlantic issues epic correction on pro-abortion propaganda piece

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

September 7, 2018 (CatholicCulture.org) – On his Twitter feed, Father Alek Schrenk calls attention to an editor's note, appended on an article in The AtlanticThe article, written by Moira Weigel and published early in 2017, scoffed at pro-lifers who advocate ultrasound exams for pregnant women. After its publication, this editor's note appeared below the text:

This article originally stated that there is "no heart to speak of" in a 6-week-old fetus. In fact, the heart has already begun to form by that point in a pregnancy. The article also originally stated that an expectant mother participating in a study decided to carry her pregnancy to term even after learning that the fetus was suffering from a genetic disorder, when in fact the fetus was only at high risk for a genetic disorder. The article originally stated, as well, that Bernard Nathanson headed the National Right-to-Life Committee and became a born-again Christian. Nathanson was active in, but did not head the committee, and was never a born-again Christian, but rather a Roman Catholic. The article originally stated that many doctors in 1985 claimed fetuses had no reflexive responses to medical instruments at 12 weeks. Finally, the article originally stated that John Kasich vetoed a bill from Indiana's legislature, instead of Ohio's legislature, after which the article was incorrectly amended to state that Mike Pence had vetoed the bill. We regret the errors.

What an embarrassment for The Atlantic! Obviously an article so full of gross factual errors should never have been published. Why was it? Probably because the author's arguments fit neatly with the editors' preconceptions; they were disposed to believe her, not to call for scrupulous fact-checking. Now ask yourself: How likely is it that an article written from the pro-life perspective, but containing similar blunders, would pass through the editorial process unscathed?

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

Print All Articles
View specific date