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Pope Francis attacked and stonewalled sex abuse victims while archbishop of Buenos Aires

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The world is currently focused on Pope Francis’ involvement in the affair of clerical sex abuser Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. However, the recent claims made by former apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò against Pope Francis in the matter are only the beginning of a long record of sex abuse cover-ups by Pope Francis and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio that stretches back decades.

Although Francis famously claimed in his 2010 book On Heaven and Earth that sex abuse by clergy “has never occurred in my diocese” and “in the diocese it never happened to me,” the evidence to date indicates that Pope Francis is involved in multiple cover-ups of clerical sexual predators in South America, including his own archdiocese. His involvement in at least two of these cases has continued during his papacy.  

In a 2017 documentary by the French news program Cash Investigation, six different individuals claiming to be sex abuse victims in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires told reporters that they had been sexually abused by clergy there, and that they had written to Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to inform him, but that he had never answered their complaints (see video below).

To this day Pope Francis has only expressed regret for one of these cover-ups, the Barros affair, following a massive public outcry in Chile over his strong-arm tactics against victims. The other cases continue to be hushed-up, ignored, and stonewalled.

The pope recently told sex abuse survivors in Ireland that those who cover up sexual abuse are “caca” (feces) and recently said that such priests should be removed and their accusers should be accompanied in the civil courts. However, Francis has done exactly the opposite, and continues to refuse to meet with victims he not only refused to accompany, but whom he sought for years to discredit with judges.

LifeSite is including links to its sources in the Spanish-speaking and French media regarding these cases so that the public can verify their veracity and to facilitate the reporting by other journalists on this topic.

The case of Julio César Grassi, convicted child sex abuser defended by Bergoglio

Perhaps the most egregious case of obstruction, stonewalling, and negligence regarding a clerical child sex abuser on the part of Jorge Bergoglio was that of Julio César Grassi, a priest famous throughout Argentina for his work with poor and orphan children, and who became the subject of numerous accusations by teen residents of his facilities, which led to his conviction for sex abuse of a minor in 2013 as well as other charges and a sentence of more than 15 years in prison.

While refusing to speak to Grassi’s victims, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio engineered a campaign to discredit the victims and to influence the judges in the case, which may have resulted in some of the charges being dismissed. Despite these efforts, Grassi was convicted in the case of one victim who was able to identify hidden marks and other characteristics of Grassi’s body, and his conviction has been upheld by multiple appeals courts, including a final ruling by the Supreme Court of Argentina in March of 2016. Nonetheless, Pope Francis continues to allow Grassi to function as a priest. Despite ongoing requests, Francis has not yet met with victims nor apologized to them.

Fr. Julio Cesar Grassi is a priest of the Diocese of Morón, which was under Bergoglio’s metropolitan authority as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. There Grassi personally oversaw a residential facility housing approximately 400 children. The priest’s efforts to raise money for his “Happy Children Foundation” (Fundación Felices los Niños), which managed seventeen facilities throughout the country for over six thousand children, made him a national celebrity and generated the equivalent of millions of dollars in donations annually.

Grassi’s image as a crusader for a humanitarian cause made him a subject of national pride and gave him immense public credibility, as he forged close relationships with some of the wealthiest and most powerful figures in Argentinean society. By the late 1990s he had become a priest celebrity who seemed untouchable.

However, Grassi’s charitable empire began to collapse in 2002 when a series of investigative reports in the Argentinean media revealed a total of five accusations against him of sexual abuse from former residents of his care facilities, some of which had been on file with the police for two years. The alleged victims said that Grassi had made attempts to sexually seduce them and had performed perverse sexual acts on them. The television program Telenoche Investiga, which first reported the case, reported that Grassi also had been accused of sexual predation against seminarians as vice rector of a seminary in 1997. The country was riveted by the claims and Argentineans were divided over the likelihood of their veracity.

As a result of the media investigations, Grassi was soon prosecuted for over a dozen charges of sexual abuse of three of the purported victims. What followed was a 15-year saga in the courts of Argentina, in which Grassi and his team of over twenty high-power attorneys repeatedly attempted to intimidate and discredit Grassi’s accusers.  

“Gabriel,” the victim whose testimony resulted in Grassi’s conviction, says that the harassment against him and attempts to steal evidence from him became so strong that he had to be enrolled in a witness protection program. His story is corroborated by his psychiatrist and advocate, Enrique Stola, who has stated repeatedly to the press that he himself was threatened and that his house had been entered multiple times by people who had beaten him over his involvement in the case.

One of Grassi’s attorneys, Miguel Angel Pierri, was jailed twice after having falsely portrayed himself as a lawyer for one of the purported victims for the purpose of taking the victim to a court and pressuring him to retract his testimony. The “retraction” was later thrown out by the court when the deception was discovered.

To this show of force by the powerful Grassi was added the clout of the four-member Executive Committee of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, including Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the conference’s Second Vice President, which sought to portray Grassi’s prosecution as an anti-Catholic conspiracy, a line similar to the one taken by Grassi’s legal team.

In a thinly-veiled reference to the Grassi case, the episcopal conference’s executive committee claimed it was “astounded by the persistence of attacks which, in our day, seek to smear the image of the Church.” While admitting that priests are capable of sinning and expressing a desire to reach the truth, the committee added, “It may be that the hidden side of this campaign is the desire for the Church to lose its trust that society places in it, or for it to cease to expound upon the moral and social consequences of its principles.”

It was this conspiracy-theory approach to the case that Cardinal Bergoglio would maintain after being elected President of the Argentinean Episcopal Conference in 2005, despite the mounting evidence and repeated convictions of Grassi as the years wore on.

Bergoglio’s stealth campaign against Grassi’s victims

Bergoglio was not satisfied, however, with vague accusations of ulterior motives behind the prosecution. While it appears that neither Bergoglio nor the Bishop of Morón undertook a canonical investigation of Grassi, and Bergoglio ignored requests by the victims to discuss their accusations with him, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires began a stealth campaign to discredit the victims with the judges in the case and secure a verdict of innocence.

Bergoglio’s effort to prevent the conviction of Grassi went so far as to include the commission of a series of four books devoted to casting doubt on the purported victims’ testimonies and attacking the victims themselves. The books were produced for Bergoglio and the Argentinean Episcopal Conference by the eminent jurist Marcelo Sancinetti. The series was entitled, “Studies on the ‘Grassi case,’” and filled more than 2,600 pages.

The books seek to discredit Grassi’s purported victims, openly calling them “false accusers” and even implying that they are projecting their own homosexual desires onto Grassi. Echoing Grassi’s arguments and those of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, they theorize that the prosecution of Grassi has arisen out of a conspiracy against his “Happy Children Foundation” by several media outlets who were seeking to destroy the organization. In an epilogue Sancinetti goes so far as to compare Grassi to the prophet Daniel placed in a den of lions.

The books were published in secret and never revealed to the public, and they contained no editorial imprint. However, the final of the four volumes, published in 2013, had the following text on the first page dated July, 2013: “With this [volume], these ‘Studies on the Grassi case’ are concluded, and the labor assigned by the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, in particular by Cardinal Bergoglio, then its president and today His Holiness Francis.”

Defenders of the project have claimed that the books were meant only for the bishops of the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, but the evidence indicates that they were meant to influence the judges in the case. The Argentinean news service Infobae reported in 2016 that its sources within the nation’s Supreme Court had confirmed that the books were given to the members of the court. The lawyer of two of Grassi’s accusers, “Luis” and “Ezequiel,” Juan Pablo Gallego, also confirmed the claim in an interview with Infobae.

“The books arrived to the judges of the [Supreme] Court, presumably delivered by supposed emissaries of Francis,” Gallego told Infobae. “What is certain is that we determined that they were received by every judge that had to decide on the Grassi case. They weren’t only delivered to the Supreme Court, where they are held, for example, by Ricardo Lorenzetti; they were also delivered to the judges of the provincial appeals court.”

“I am certain that the judges of the Supreme Court have these books and that they came to them in the name of the Church,” concluded Gallego. Infobae says that representatives of the Supreme Court denied the claim when asked for comment.

The claim that judges were given copies of the book has been confirmed publicly by at least one judge, Carlos Mahiques, who told the French television news magazine Cash Investigation in 2017 that he personally received the books (see program transcript in English here).

“You received this counter-inquiry?” asked the Cash Investigation reporter. “Yes, I did,” responded Mahiques.

“Did it influence your judgment?” the reporter asked. “Absolutely not,” responded Mahiques. “The study is a bit like a detective novel. I think it’s partial in some areas, and extremely partial in others. It’s clearly in favor of Father Grassi. They were trying to exert a subtle form of pressure on the judges.”

Today, Sancinetti refuses to discuss his authorship of the books with the Argentinean press. He repeatedly failed to respond to interview requests from Infobae in 2016, but a colleague told the media outlet, “Doctor [Sancinetti] doesn’t want to give any interview over the topic of Grassi.”

Asked for his opinion about the series of books, Grassi’s “main victim” (presumably “Gabriel,” whose testimony led to Grassi’s conviction) told Cash Investigation (see transcript), “I’ll never forget what Father Grassi kept repeating at his trial: ‘Bergoglio never let go off my hand.’ Now, Bergoglio is Pope Francis, but he has never gone against Grassi’s words. So I’m certain that he never did let go of Grassi’s hand!”

Infobae reports that Grassi used the same phrase when speaking to that news agency in 2009.

“[Bergoglio] never let go of my hand. He is at my side as always,” Grassi reportedly said.

Grassi’s victims stonewalled by Bergoglio for over a decade

Juan Pablo Gallego also told Infobae that he attempted repeatedly to talk to Bergoglio in 2003, when witnesses were repeatedly threatened and intimidated by attorneys and partisans of Grassi, to ask him to dissuade Grassi and his team from such tactics. However, he never received a response. Ultimately Gallego was received by the then bishop of Morón, Justo Laguna, and Argentinean President Nestor Kirchner, “who received the request favorably.”

The psychiatrist Enrique Stola, who treated two of those accusing Grassi of sexual abuse, told a government news agency that the purported victims “Luis” and “Ezequiel” had tried to contact Bergoglio as well, and confirmed that neither of them received a response. His statement is confirmed by the head of Argentina’s Committee for Monitoring the Rights of the Child, Nora Schulman, who told the Argentinean publication Clarin that Francis “never received the victims of Fr. Julio César Grassi.” She added that, following the Supreme Court’s ratification of the sentence against Grassi, she expected the victims to approach the Vatican to request Pope Francis’ intervention and to ask that Grassi be removed from the priesthood.

Miriam Lewin, the journalist who originally broke the story on Grassi in 2002, recently told El Pais that she had approached the pope personally to ask him to meet with Grassi’s victims.

“In November of 2015, I went to the Vatican and I spoke for some minutes with the Pope to ask him to make a gesture to victims,” Lewin said. “He listened to me and I thought that he would do it, but he never called them. His rhetoric against pedophilia is very tough, but it should be reflected in concrete acts in this case. The victims need reparation, an apology. It is not understood how Grassi can continue to be a priest.”

Francis’ Vatican continues to protect Grassi in prison, and continues to ignore victims

After a nine-month trial that included over 130 witnesses, Grassi was convicted in 2009 of molesting one of the three children, given the name “Gabriel” in the media.  Three different appeals courts upheld Grassi’s conviction, including Argentina’s Supreme Court. He began to serve his fifteen-year sentence in 2013. He has also been convicted for misuse of public funds in the operation of his foundation, adding two more years to his prison time.

Investigative journalists revealed in 2015 that Grassi has the enjoyment of his own room in the prison with his own office, private bathroom, cable TV, a 21-inch color television, a computer with internet access, a heater, and a minibar. He is accused of paying for these amenities by diverting whole truckloads of food donations from his “Happy Children Foundation” to prison officials. He is now being prosecuted a third time for such abuses.

Despite his repeatedly upheld convictions in Argentina’s secular courts, it appears that Grassi has never been tried in any ecclesiastical court. Moreover, he has never been stripped of his priesthood, although he is prohibited from the public celebration of the sacraments. He continues to wear his collar in prison. As late as August of 2017 he was listed among diocesan clergy, which means that the Diocese of Morón was continuing to extend priestly faculties to him, allowing him to hear confessions and perform other sacraments that would be otherwise invalidated. The current list of diocesan clergy does not include his name.

Regarding Grassi’s continuing status as a Catholic priest, the Diocese of Morón has stated publicly that the case is in the hands of the Vatican, that is, in the hands of Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

In March of 2017, following the Supreme Court’s unanimous ratification of the conviction of Grassi, the Diocese of Morón issued a press release revealing that “The Holy See has opportunely ordered a preliminary investigation regarding the accusations about the conduct of this priest,” and that this had resulted in “a report that was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” and added that the diocese “will act in accordance with the prevailing canonical processes determined by the Holy See.” However, the Holy See has yet to act, leaving Grassi with his priestly faculties intact.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, a source close to Pope Francis admits that Francis has given confessions to Grassi but claims Grassi is exaggerating their relationship. The source also claimed that responsibility in the case lies not with Pope Francis but with the Diocese of Morón, contradicting the diocese’s claim that the pope has responsibility. Nonetheless, the same source tried to defend Grassi as the victim of an elaborate conspiracy and raised doubts about Grassi’s guilt.

“[Bergoglio] didn’t support Grassi,” a source close to Bergoglio told El Pais. “He didn’t go to visit him in jail, but he didn’t speak [about it] because he wasn’t his bishop, and because there was much doubt about his guilt.”

“Behind this scandal [of the Grassi prosecution] there was an economic operation by the rivals of Grassi in important businesses. It wasn’t clear if it was an intelligence operation,” El Pais was told.

According to the Vatican’s press secretariat, also speaking to El Pais, Pope Francis isn’t intervening because the case was handled by a secular court. The secretariat also claimed that Francis is in favor of “absolute support” for sex abuse victims.

“The response of the Pope is always clear: maximum respect for civil justice, zero tolerance of the guilty and absolute support for the victims,” Francis’ press agency stated. “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is just now in these days giving the required indications and finishing an examination of the situation for the purpose of adopting a definitive resolution.”

The statement was made to El País no later than April of 2017, when the article was published. No decision by Pope Francis or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been announced since that time.

In March of the same year, after months of futile attempts to question Pope Francis about the Grassi case, the French journalist Élise Lucet of the television news magazine Cash Investigation confronted Pope Francis in person over his involvement in the Grassi case (see video here; see full documentary in English here).

When asked by Lucet if he had attempted to influence the judiciary in the Grassi case, Francis turned to her with a scowl on his face and waved his arms. “Not at all!” he said. After beginning to walk away, he turned back and repeated the statement insistently, “Not at all!” His scowl then became a smile, he waved, and walked away.

The Holy See Press Office did not respond to our request for comment by press time. However, LifeSite did receive an accidental response to our email that was meant for some other recipient, and we therefore can confirm that they received our request.

Contact the author here.

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Highly regarded cardinal reaffirms no Communion for the civilly divorced and remarried

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By Lisa Bourne

MILAN, Italy, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Angelo Scola, the former archbishop of Milan and a top papal contender in the conclave that elected Francis, reiterated that divorced and remarried Catholics are not to receive Communion without living in continence or the benefit of an annulment.

Access to the Eucharist being limited to those who are in a state of grace is innate to the very character of Christian marriage, he said, because the relationship between Christ the bridegroom and his bride the Church “is the very foundation of marriage.”

Scola, who defended marriage in written articles ahead of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family and again in 2015, restated Church teaching on marriage as well after Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia was promulgated in his diocese in 2016.

He said in a recent interview that he also “spoke about it with the Holy Father during a private audience.”

The continually unfolding sexual abuse crisis in the Church has served to eclipse the controversy surrounding the pope’s document, which gives tacit approval to Holy Communion for Catholics living in objectively sinful situations, veteran Vatican reporter Sandro Magister wrote of the Scola interview at L’Espresso.

Still, Scola noted in the interview that the Church’s teaching on marriage is not apparent in Amoris Laetitia, resulting in myriad differing interpretations of the exhortation.

In Amoris Laetitia and the synod that preceded it, said the cardinal, “the fundamental relationship between Eucharist and marriage is not evident, and this is in my judgment an absence that takes its toll.”

“This absence has exposed ‘Amoris Laetitia’ to a vast array of interpretative incursions,” he said.

Cardinal Scola said the heart of the problem in the question of Communion for divorced and remarried is “the substantial bond between marriage and the Eucharist, in that this is the sacrament of spousal love between Christ and the Church.”

“The non-admissibility of the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist is not a punishment that can be taken away or reduced but is inherent in the very character of Christian marriage,” Scola stated, “which, as I have said, lives on the foundation of the Eucharistic gift of Christ the bridegroom to his bride the Church.”

A Catholic who lives in an adulterous or otherwise non-marital union has removed themselves from the Eucharist, he said, and affirmed the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II — that divorced and remarried Catholics who have not had an annulment must live in sexual continence to be disposed of the sacraments. He said this idea is ignored in Francis’ contentious exhortation.

“The result of this is that someone who has excluded himself from the Eucharist by establishing a new union can return to receiving the Eucharistic sacrament only by living in perfect chastity, as affirmed by the apostolic exhortation of John Paul II Familiaris Consortio,” he said.

“But there is no hint of this in Amoris Laetitia,” Scola said. “It is not said that this guideline is no longer valid, but it is also not said that it is still valid. It is simply ignored.”

Pope Benedict XVI had delivered “moving words that document an attention and a sensitivity to the problem that did not suddenly spring forth with Amoris Laetitia” in 2012 while visiting Milan for the World Meeting of Families, he said.

“I was struck in particular by his beautiful off-the-cuff response to a question on the divorced and remarried,” Scola said of Benedict. “He said that it is not enough that the Church should intend to love these persons, but ‘they should see and feel this love.’ And he added that ‘their suffering, if truly accepted from within, is a gift to the Church.’ 

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Kenya quashes Marie Stopes advertisement for illegally promoting abortion

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 12, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Abortion giant Marie Stopes International is known for promoting abortion all over the world – including in countries where it is illegal. Now, the organisation has been called out for publicly advertising abortion in Kenya, where it is illegal except where the mother's life is in danger.

Targets teenage girls

The Kenya Film and Classification Board has banned a radio advert for contravening the law. "The board has banned Marie Stopes from airing a message on radio that promotes abortion contrary to Article 26 (4) of the Constitution," said Chairman Ezekiel Mutua. "The advert targets teenage girls by giving them alternatives for unwanted or unplanned pregnancies."

Mr Mutua said the advert was not submitted to the board for examination and classification, and ordered that it stops being aired immediately.

"The Board also demands that Marie Stopes issue a public apology for airing such content without submission for examination and classification."

History of flouting the law

This is not the first time Marie Stopes have been caught advertising illegal abortion in Kenya. Last year,  there was controversy when they ran Facebook adverts saying "even if your boyfriend refuses to take responsibility for your pregnancy, do not worry, we got you".

At the same time, there was uproar in Kenya's Kitui country after MSI representatives visited a school and administered hormonal birth control to underage girls without parental consent.

MSI's record in promoting and performing illegal abortions throughout Africa has been exposed in Culture of Life Africa's documentary Killing Africa. The issue, and the role of Western nations in funding these practices is to be further explored in the upcoming documentary Strings Attached.

It was recently announced that the UK Government is to spend an additional £200 million on family planning in Africa and Asia. Marie Stopes is one of the organisations benefiting from the funding.

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

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‘Weeping’ Blessed Virgin Mary statue in New Mexico defies explanation

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By Lianne Laurence

HOBBS, New Mexico, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The New Mexico diocese investigating a “weeping” statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary says it can find no natural cause for the phenomenon.

The “longer process” now is to discern whether the phenomenon is “from God or from the Evil One,” Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Las Cruces diocese said in an August statement.

“The devil can sometimes imitate holy things in order to confuse us. So we must be prudent and vigilant.”  

Parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church first reported the bronze statue of their parish’s namesake weeping rose-scented tears on the feast of Pentecost in May.

It happened again the next day, the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, and the following Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and reportedly happened once more “not long ago,” according to a diocesan official.

Since then, local media reported “thousands” of people have flocked to the mid-sized city on the state’s eastern border to venerate the statue.

Bishop Cantú initiated an investigation, sending diocesan chancellor Fr. Enrique Lopez and vice chancellor Deacon Jim Winder to Hobbs to examine the statue, which had been made in Mexico and been in the parish a year.

“So far, we have not discerned natural causes for the statue’s emitting of liquid,” the bishop wrote.

The investigators collected samples of the fluid, which witnesses said had formed “a puddle” on the floor below the statue. They also reported that “more tears appeared” when they wiped the statue’s face.

Two laboratory tests revealed the liquid was “olive oil with a scent mixture,” Cantú wrote.

“This would be quite similar, chemically, to the Sacred Chrism” — olive oil that is mixed with the perfume balsam when it is consecrated, he explained.

The investigators discovered only cobwebs in the statue’s hollow interior and nothing “that could create liquid.”

They interviewed eyewitnesses and the statue’s makers, who testified it was cast in bronze from a wax mould, which “completely melts away,” leaving “no possibility of wax remaining in the bronze statue as it cools and dries.”

Cantú pointed out that the Church must exercise caution before making a definitive pronouncement.

“If the cause of the phenomenon is supernatural, we must discern if it is from God or from the devil,” the bishop said.

“I remind you that the Church believes in the existence of fallen angels, who at times try to trick us. We renounce the devil, however.”

He said looking at “the fruits of the phenomenon” is essential for proper discernment.

“The fruits of the Holy Spirit are mentioned by St. Paul: charity, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (Gal. 5:22-23),” Cantú noted.

“Thus, the investigation is not yet complete so as to make a definitive pronouncement. The Holy Spirit and the Church will guide us in that respect.”

He also noted the distinction between public and private revelation.

Catholics are “obliged to hold to the teachings of public revelation,” which includes scripture and tradition and ended with the death of the last Apostle.

But they are not obliged believe in private revelation, such as apparitions, which “only reaffirm and highlight what Christ has already revealed in Scripture and Tradition.”

Cantú has been appointed auxiliary bishop of San Jose, California, but wrote that he hopes to visit and celebrate Mass at the parish before he leaves for his new post at the end of September.

A new bishop has not yet been appointed for Las Cruces diocese, which is in southern New Mexico and formed in 1982.

Here is the full text of his letter, which is published in the September/October edition of the diocesan newsletter Agua Viva:

As a prelude to this report, I wish to say a word about revelation from God. The Catholic Church recognizes an important difference between public revelation and private revelation. Public revelation includes Scripture and Tradition. As Catholics, these two are the bedrock of our faith, and it is the Magisterium (bishops in union with the pope) that is the authentic interpreter of revelation. Private revelations include apparitions and messages of Mary, the saints, or of Jesus himself that have occurred after the death of the last apostle. With the death of the last Apostle public revelation ceased. While Catholics are obliged to hold to the teachings of the public revelation, we are not morally obligated to believe private revelations. No new information regarding our salvation is to be gained from private revelations. The messages of private revelations only reaffirm and highlight what Christ has already revealed in Scripture and Tradition. Thus, Mary and the saints always lead us back to Jesus and to the Church. This is why Mary instructed St. Juan Diego, “go to the bishop,” and “build a temple.” While miracles have occurred in the history of the Church, they always lead us back to the fundamentals of our faith: the Church, the sacraments, prayer, and confession.

While the investigation of the phenomenon at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Hobbs, NM, regarding the statue of Mary, is not yet complete, I wish to offer a progress report.

On Sunday the Solemnity of Pentecost, the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to be crying. Parishioners observed liquid emitting from the eyes of bronze statue. The liquid was reported to have emitted three times: on Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost; on Monday (the next day), the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church; and on Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Fr. Jose Segura, the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, called me immediately to report what he and parishioners were observing. He sent me video of the occurrences.  I subsequently asked our chancellor, Fr. Enrique Lopez, and vice chancellor, Deacon Jim Winder, to initiate an investigation. They traveled to Hobbs, physically examined the statue, collected samples of the liquid emitted from the statue, and began to gather verbal and written testimony from eyewitnesses. The company that fabricated the statue was interviewed.

The statue is made of bronze. As the hollow interior was examined, nothing was found on the interior that could have created liquid. There were cobwebs in the hollow interior. In interviewing the owners of the Mexican company that produced the statue, they informed us that the process of creating the statue involves a wax mold, upon which the liquid bronze is poured. In that process, the temperatures are so high that the wax completely melts away. Thus, they assured us, there remains no possibility of wax remaining in the bronze statue as it cools and dries.

The liquid samples collected from the statue were sent to a lab for chemical analysis. Two distinct methods of analysis indicate the same outcome: the liquid is olive oil with a scented mixture. This would be quite similar, chemically, to the Sacred Chrism. The three oils blessed each year for use in our sacraments and sacred rituals are all olive oil. The one oil which is consecrated, the Sacred Chrism, is mixed with balsam, a scented perfume as it is consecrated.

The first phase of the investigation is to determine if the phenomenon can be explained by natural causes. So far, we have not discerned natural causes for the statue’s emitting of liquid.

If the cause of the phenomenon is supernatural, we must discern if it is from God or from the devil. I remind you that the Church believes in the existence of fallen angels, who at times try to trick us. We renounce the devil, however. When we renew our baptismal promises during the Easter Season, we are asked three questions: “Do you renounce Satan? And all his works? And all his empty show?”  We respond, “I do,” to each of the three questions.

The discernment of whether it is a phenomenon from God or from the Evil One is a longer process. The devil can sometimes imitate holy things in order to confuse us. So, we must be prudent and vigilant. This discernment takes much longer, as we must look at the fruits of the phenomenon. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are mentioned by St. Paul: charity, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (Gal. 5:22-23).

Thus, the investigation is not yet complete so as to make a definitive pronouncement. The Holy Spirit and the Church will guide us in that respect.

I wish to thank Fr. Segura, the parish staff, and the parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe for their prayerful disposition and hospitality to visitors in the face of such an unexpected occurrence. I will plan a visit to the parish before I leave for San Jose, so as to pray and celebrate the Eucharist with the parish community.

Bishop Oscar Cantú

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Parishioners say Mary statue weeps rose-scented tears, New Mexico diocese investigates

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Cheryl Sullenger

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‘Grossly negligent’ New Jersey abortionist refused appeal to regain medical license

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger

UPDATE: Read the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division decision dated September 7, 2018.

September 12, 2018 (Operation Rescue) – A New Jersey Appeals Court has slapped down an attempt by the notorious abortionist Steven Chase Brigham to resume the practice of medicine. Brigham has been called the "worst abortionist in America" that is not currently serving a prison sentence.

"The fact that Brigham cannot get his medical license back should be a relief to the women who are preyed upon by his deceptive and incompetent abortion business," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "However, we know he is still involved with his abortion facilities, and that should be of concern to everyone who cares about the welfare of women and their babies."

Citing "gross negligence" in the late-term abortions of 250 women, the three-member court upheld the 2014 order that revoked Brigham's medical license.

At issue was Brigham's bi-state abortion scheme that was considered highly dangerous and likely illegal.

Brigham would begin the late-term abortions in New Jersey, allegedly with a lethal injection into the baby, and then would induce labor with Misoprostol, a drug that causes strong and unpredictable uterine contractions. The laboring women would then caravan to an unlicensed "secret" late-term abortion facility in Elkton, Maryland, where the abortions would be completed.

Brigham was never licensed to practice in Maryland and the court found it was clear that Brigham practiced medicine without a license in that state.

Brigham has argued unsuccessfully that Maryland law allowed him to practice "in consultation" with a licensed physician. However, the physician he hired as medical director for the Elkton facility, George Shepard, Jr., was 89-years old at the time of his own medical license revocation in 2011 as a result of his "work" for Brigham in Elkton. Shepard had a paralyzed arm, making it impossible for him to conduct surgical abortions. He was also mentally compromised, apparently due to advanced age. Shepard passed away five years later in 2016 at the age of 94. [Read transcript of an interview of Shepard conducted by the Maryland Board of Physicians.]

The Courier Post reported that the court found that Brigham's lack of licensure endangered women.

The ruling also said evidence supported the view that "Brigham's patients were exposed to harm by his lack of hospital or (licensed ambulatory care facility) privileges to deal with unforeseen complications."

Even without a valid medical license in any state, Brigham continues to operate his chain of abortion facilities in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. His Maryland abortion facilities remain unlicensed.

In New Jersey, only licensed physicians may own/operate medical facilities. Brigham transferred ownership his abortion business to his New Jersey Medical Director Vikram Kaji in 2014, a transfer that Operation Rescue called a "sham." The New Jersey Attorney General's office agreed and tried to force Brigham out of the abortion business, but he evaded New Jersey law with the dubious claim that he controlled only the business/administrative side of the business and did have any control of the medical side.

"Based on what we have learned about Brigham from the record over the years, he is such a deceptive and dishonest person that it is unbelievable that he is allowed to have anything to do with any business related to abortion or the field of medicine," said Newman. "We are glad he cannot get his medical license back, but regulators in each state where he operates really need to focus on shutting down his dangerous abortion facilities for good."

● Read more about the bi-state abortion scheme that cost Brigham his license.
● Read "What You Should Know About the Worst Abortionist in America, Steven Chase Brigham."

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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US bishops’ president accused of allowing reported sex abuser access to kids

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has been accused of allowing a priest who confessed to sex abuse of a minor to function as a pastor of a parish, despite DiNardo’s assurances to one of the victims that he would no longer have access to children.

The allegations have been made following news that Cardinal DiNardo is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican regarding allegations of a coverup of the sexual abuse of minors and seminarians by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The accused priest, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez of DiNardo’s Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, turned himself in to local police on Tuesday after being charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

One of two alleged victims, who has remained anonymous, told the Associated Press that she had reported La Rosa-Lopez to the archdiocese in 2001, before DiNardo had been made archbishop, but then had reported the abuse to DiNardo himself in 2010 after she had returned to the U.S. after years of living abroad and found that the priest had been made pastor of a church in the city of Richmond, Texas, a part of DiNardo’s archdiocese.

The alleged victim, apparently the same designated as “M.V.” in the police affidavit, told the AP that La Rosa-Lopez was brought in to speak to her, and that he acknowledged his abuse, and apologized. The victim reportedly also received psychological counseling services from the archdiocese.

The same alleged victim told the AP and prosecutors that DiNardo and other “top clergy” informed her that La Rosa-Lopez had been sent two times to psychiatric treatment and would no longer be permitted to work with children. However, she later discovered that La Rosa-Lopez was functioning as pastor of the Richmond parish, St. John Fisher Catholic Church. He was also named Episcopal Vicar for Hispanics, giving him supervision over matters related to Hispanics throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The victim told police that she had decided to report the case to them “because of the perceived duplicity of Cardinal DiNardo (regarding his public statements regarding recent priest sex scandals) and the Church’s failure to adequately protect children from La Rosa,” in the words of the police affidavit.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the archdiocese claimed that only one accusation had been made to the archdiocese in 2001, and that Children’s Protective Services had been notified. The archdiocese says that La Rosa-Lopez was cleared to return to ministry in 2004, and that no further accusations had been made since then, until August of this year, when a second alleged victim approached the archdiocese about abuse he claims to have suffered from La Rosa-Lopez in the late 1990s.

The archdiocese says it reported the August accusation to Children’s Protective Services, a claim that the purported victim also says was made to him by the archdiocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator, Sister Maureen O’Connell, but the affidavit for a warrant for arrest of La Rosa-Lopez states that officers could not find any such report filed with authorities.

According to the victim, apparently the same named as “J.H.” in the police affidavit, Cardinal DiNardo showed little concern for his case, an attitude he mentioned in written notes taken after a meeting with the prelate.

“Cardinal seemed dismissive of situation,” he stated in his notes, according to the Associated Press. He also said that DiNardo had told him, “You should have told us sooner.”

“It was a dismissive tone,” the victim reportedly told the AP, addding, “In the back of my head, I was thinking about his comment. I was so mad afterward.”

The archdiocese has not yet responded to a request for comment from LifeSite regarding the allegations, and has also failed to answer similar inquiries from other media.

The Affidavit for La Rosa-Lopez’s Warrant for Arrest can be viewed here.

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Pro-abortion ‘Youth Testify’ project promotes abortion stories of teens, young women

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion activists are launching yet another project to promote abortion via emotional anecdotes, this time with teen girls and young adult women as the campaign’s faces.

First announced Tuesday, Youth Testify is a joint project of Advocates for Youth and the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF). It consists of training 13 young women between the ages of 17 and 24 to articulate their abortion stories in the press, to peers, and before lawmakers, in order to “shift the culture of stigma and center the voices and needs of young people in the fight for abortion access.”

“It’s time we invest in the spectrum of identities of people who have abortions, including age, so that we take care of the future of our movement wholeheartedly, with programming, organizing, storytelling, and training,” organizers declared. “Young people have always been at the forefront of change. Historically, young people have been the ones to envision and create a freer and more compassionate future that you want to live in with your friends and families.”

In particular, NNAF Senior Public Affairs Manager Renee Bracey Sherman claimed that young people are needed to expose the “dangers of parental involvement laws, and the impact the restrictions have on young people’s ability to access an abortion.” Parental consent is standard for most medical procedures, and in abortion serves as a check against abusers covering up child rape. Most states require parental permission for tattoos and piercings for minors; American schools also must obtain parental permission to give students over-the-countrer drugs like Advil.

The Youth Testify page has links to profiles for all thirteen participants, including quotes that inadvertently demonstrate the project’s radicalism.

“I want to share my story because I want people to know that getting an abortion at 6 weeks and getting an abortion at 28 weeks are equally valid,” said 24-year-old Beth Vial, who had an abortion at 20 weeks. 24-year-old Angie vows to help “eradicate machismo and hold [unspecified] men accountable for their [unspecified] actions.”

19-year-old Co Jackson used her quote to highlight to claim that if people “truly knew Christianity and knew how God works, they wouldn’t ask” how she can “be Christian and have an abortion.” Jackson cites no Bible verse, attempts no moral argument, and addresses none of the Bible’s repeated affirmations of human life or condemnations of shedding innocent blood; she suggests only that God must have approved her abortion because He did not intervene to prevent it.

“Youth Testify aims to provide these resources [on obtaining abortions on college campuses], and simultaneously reframe the narrative around abortion by giving platform to some of the most vulnerable abortion storytellers — particularly people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with varying abilities and citizenship statuses,” Elly Belle writes in a profile on the project for Teen Vogue. “The goal of the program, according to the NNAF, is to show that young people who have had abortions are the experts on reproductive rights as well as the experts of their own experiences, and must be trusted with making decisions without anyone else’s permission.”

Youth Testify is only the latest in a string of pro-abortion projects, dating back to at least 2003 and most recently exemplified by the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign, predicated on the theory that people only oppose abortion because they’re ignorant of the experiences of women who abort their children, and therefore disseminating “positive” abortion stories will reduce the pro-life movement to a fringe position.

In fact, such efforts have done little to shift public opinion in the direction of “choice,” with pro-lifers arguing that no amount of emotionalism can fully obscure the living child in the womb, and that firsthand testimony of negative abortion experiences warrants attention, as well.

The project alo echoes left-wing activists’ common practice of elevating young people into moral authorities, despite their relative immaturity and limited life experiences.

“Many may be exceptionally smart, passionate and articulate beyond their years, but they do not possess any semblance of wisdom because they have not lived those years,” conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in February. “And their moral agency and cognitive abilities are far from fully developed. Most are in no position to change the world when they can't even remember to change their own bedsheets.”

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Conservative commentator receives death, rape threats over pro-life tweet

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By Calvin Freiburger

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Conservative writer Denise McAllister announced Monday she was taking a hiatus from social media after receiving threats of death, rape, and other forms of violence over a pro-life tweet she made the week before.

McAllister, a Fox News guest whose writing can be found on websites such as PJ Media and The Federalist, tweeted September 6 that pro-abortion “hysteria” is rooted in “women’s unhinged desire for irresponsible sex,” a motive she finds “abhorrent as women have flung themselves from the heights of being the world’s civilizing force to the muck and mire of dehumanizing depravity.”

Numerous abortion defenders seized on the tweet, which McAllister readily defended. For days she continued to make the pro-life case on moral, philosophical, and scientific grounds, as well as citing her own experience with the choices she was criticizing:

On September 9, McAllister revealed that she was “facing legit death & rape threats” in response to her tweet, via communication means other than Twitter.

On September 10, she announced that she had agreed to temporarily suspend her social media postings until the threats were resolved. Her only tweet since has been an update that the police are involved.

"They are threats outside of Twitter, stating they know where I live. Threats of rape and strangling,” McAllister, who is also a rape survivor, told PJ Media. “I spoke to the police. I am on home watch. My children are very frightened.”

She has not publicly shared the specific threats, but PJ Media highlights numerous examples of unhinged pro-abortion responses to both the original tweet and the threat news. Radio personality Sheri Lynch asked “who ordered the crazy word salad with a side of toxic internalized misogyny?” AlterNet reporter Matthew Chapman claimed McAllister had somehow admitted that pro-lifers’ “goal is controlling women, not ‘protecting life’” (a common pro-abortion conspiracy theory).

As for the threats, one respondent said, “Karma always has a way of putting light on darkness.” Another suggested that they were simply a sign that “People don't react well to your extremism.” Others expressed pleasure at her Twitter hiatus and every disappointment that she herself wasn’t aborted.

McAllister suggested that the intense reactions are due not only to anger at a woman dissenting from feminist orthodoxy, but defensiveness at what they themselves know deep down.

“Women have the legitimacy to criticize other women in a way men don’t. When we speak honestly like I have, they hate it because they know what I’m saying is true,” she told PJ Media. “That’s especially true in my own case because I’ve been in the exact position as many women who want abortions.”

But while pro-abortion activists seek both personal and societal validation for their choices, McAllister says she confronted and learned from them. “I know the fear of an unplanned pregnancy. I also know the irresponsible choices I made to get myself into that situation,” she said. “I own it.” 

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Pro-life prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner freed from jail

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Canadian pro-life prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner was released from jail on Sunday after two months behind bars.

“Mary called from a friend’s car full of excitement and joy,” her mother Jane Wagner wrote in an email to Wagner’s supporters.

“She can see the sky, said seven geese flew overhead as we spoke, and she is going to see her Beloved at Mass. She said she was sad to leave some of the ladies in Vanier [jail] who were praying with her, but she will pray for them now on the outside.”

Justice Neil Kozloff of the Ontario Court of Justice convicted Wagner, 44, of mischief and breach of probation July 12, and sentenced her to 7.5 months, minus the time she had already served awaiting trial.

The convictions arose from Wagner’s arrest December 8, 2017, at the Women’s Care Clinic, an abortion center located on the fifth floor of a medical building at 960 Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto.

She and a companion entered the abortion center carrying red roses and pro-life literature and attempted to persuade women in the waiting room to choose life for their unborn children.

Wagner was arrested shortly thereafter and dragged from the abortion facility. Because she refused to agree to bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion centers, she remained in jail until her hearing in March.

However, when it became apparent the hearing would go longer than the allotted two days, Kozloff agreed to release Wagner on the sole condition she return to court for the conclusion of her trial.

The trial took longer than expected because Wagner’s lawyer, Peter Boushy, called abortionist Miroslav “Mike” Markovic as witness to grill him on whether his abortion center was lawful, arguing it was relevant because the charge of mischief is defined as “interfering with a lawful operation of a business.”

Boushy also questioned whether the $60 fee Markovic charges for services not insured under the province’s health care plan was an “illegal facility fee.”

Markovic testified the health ministry had okayed the $60 fee, which he said covered such things as “the work that the nurses do,” a hotline, “birth control counselling,” “free birth control,” letters for employers, and pre-abortion “counselling” — which, according to Markovic, had nothing to do with providing an abortion.

When the trial resumed July 12, Crown counsel Kasia Batorska said the question of the abortion facility’s lawful operation had been resolved, and Kozloff found Wagner guilty.

Wagner, who hails from British Columbia, has spent almost five years in jail for her peaceful attempts to save mothers and their unborn children from the violence of abortion.

She came to Toronto because she was inspired in part by the pro-life witness of Linda Gibbons, 70, who has spent almost 11 years in jail for her peaceful witness outside Toronto abortion centers.

In turn, Wagner has inspired the Red Rose Rescues in the United States, which began in September 2017 in Detroit, Washington, D.C, and New Mexico.

Three priests have been arrested in Red Rose Rescues so far: Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life, Father Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and Father Dave Nix of the Archdiocese of Denver.

Fr. Imbarrato was jailed for seven days in June for a rescue in Washington, D.C., and Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly, and Monica Migliorino Miller were jailed for 45 days for their part in a December 2 Red Rose Rescue at the West Bloomfield abortion center run by Jakob Kalo.

The latter three had the consolation of hearing evidence in court in July that 12 women were no-shows at the abortion center because of their presence.

“Rescue” efforts began in the early days of the pro-life movement as pro-lifers began blocking doors of abortion centers, sacrificially putting their bodies between the mother and unborn child and the abortionist, in an attempt to take onto themselves the violence intended for the child.

The movement reached a peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, galvanized by the extraordinary witness of Joan Andrews Bell, who spent nearly two of a five-year sentence in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison in Florida before being released in 1988. More than 75,000 people were arrested in the rescue movement and thousands babies were saved as a result of this non-violent civil disobedience.

But the rescues essentially stopped when in 1994, President Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. FACE made it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions.

So far, no one in any of the eight Red Rose Rescues in the U.S. has been charged with violating FACE.

RELATED:

WATCH: Police drag Mary Wagner out of abortion facility for trying to save babies

Pro-life activist Mary Wagner freed on bail after 3 months in jail

2 Catholic priests, 2 activists arrested for pro-life witness inside abortion center

Priest: It was an ‘honor’ to be jailed for trying to save babies inside abortion center

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99-year-old man walks six miles every day to see his wife, his ‘sweet cup of tea,’ in the hospital

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By James Risdon

ROCHESTER, New York, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — In a testament to the enduring appeal of true love, a 99-year-old man's daily hike to get to his ailing wife's bedside at Strong Memorial Hospital captured the hearts of people throughout America this summer.

"That's my wife. She's my best friend," Luther Younger told CBS News in late August.

Every day, rain or shine, Younger walked six miles during the summer to see the woman he still describes as the sweetest cup of tea he has ever had.

Diagnosed with brain cancer nine years ago and now paralyzed, Waverlee Younger has been in and out of hospitals ever since. She was only expected to live five years but has defied all odds with her loving husband by her side. He often slept in her hospital room, sometimes on the floor.

"I love her because she was tough. She wasn't easy. She was the type of person, if you didn't work, you got to go and I had to work. And she helped me with all of my kids," said Luther Younger.

"That's why I'm sticking with her because if it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't have made it," he said.

The Korean War veteran could have gotten rides from his daughter, Lutheta, or even taken the bus to the hospital, but he was still so eager to see his wife after 55 years of marriage that he wouldn't wait. Sometimes he would run part of the way, even in the blazing heat of summer.

"My dad says it keeps him alive," said Lutheta. "It keeps him going … He loves my mom. He'll do anything for her."

Kissing his wife at the hospital this summer, her eyes fluttered. It was a little thing — but enough to encourage Luther Younger.

"I ain't nothing without my wife," he told Spectrum News. "It's been a rough pull. It's been tough. I can't stand to see her up there like that."

The story of Luther and Waverlee's love went viral on social media in mid-August when Spectrum News Rochester reported that a Good Samaritan, Dan Bookhard, had seen the elderly man walking on I-390 to go see his wife and gave him a lift in his car.

"My upbringing, when you see somebody elderly, when you see somebody struggling when it's raining … I had to pick him up and I couldn't be one of the ones who would just drive by," Bookhard reportedly said.

On the web, there is a GoFundMe fundraising campaign launched by Lutheta Younger to help cover her mother's medical costs. In the first three days it was online, more than 800 people donated more than $30,000 to it. As of Tuesday evening, that outpouring of goodwill had grown to $63,874 from 1,770 people in just 25 days.

In an update on that GoFundMe page last week, Lutheta Younger, who has taken some training to care for her mother, wrote her mother was to be released from the hospital and be allowed to return home.

"This love story is much, much more than people know," she wrote. "Please keep us in your prayers and again thank you so very much."

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LifeSite among 48 pro-life leaders calling on Trump HHS to end research on aborted baby parts

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of nearly fifty pro-life groups, including LifeSiteNews, is calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to stop financing medical research using aborted babies’ remains.

Last month, a notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was revealed, announcing a $15,900 contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) to acquire “Tissue for Humanized Mice.” The tissue was meant to give mice a “humanized” immune system for the purpose of drug testing.

Between the use of tissue from aborted babies and ABR’s past work with Planned Parenthood in the abortion giant’s 2015 scandal over selling aborted baby parts, pro-life leaders denounced the revelations and called on the Trump administration to cancel the contract.

Now, in a letter dated September 11 to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, 48 pro-life leaders are putting those calls directly to the administration. Signatories include the leaders of LifeSiteNews, the Center for Medical Progress, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Priests for Life, Heritage Action, Operation Rescue, Eagle Forum, and more.

“We expect far better of our federal agencies – especially under the leadership of a courageous pro-life president – entrusted with the health of American citizens,” the letter reads. “It is completely unacceptable to discover that the FDA is using federal tax dollars and fomenting demand for human body parts taken from babies who are aborted.”

Noting that the contract raises legal as well as ethical questions, the letter highlights the fact that the Center for Medical Progress documented abortion industry officials suggesting that their abortionists illegally alter abortion procedures for the purpose of obtaining fetal organs in usable condition. ABR is “among the entities referred for criminal investigation by both houses of Congress for potential collusion with abortion facilities as well as possibly profiting from the sale of fetal organs from aborted babies,” it recalls.

The letter next asked several questions about the logistics of the contract, including the quantity, types, and gestational age of the organs the FDA seeks. “It’s likely that there must be some coordination in timing to obtain 'fresh' aborted organs for the experiments,” it notes. The pro-life leaders also request a “full accounting” of any other federal agencies that may currently be involved in research using aborted babies’ remains.

“Contrary to claims, there is no scientific requirement of aborted fetal tissue to construct humanized mice,” the statement declares. “Good scientific alternatives exist to this grisly sourcing, including use of human umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult peripheral blood stem cells. There are abundant modern scientific alternatives, making aborted fetal tissue unnecessary.” It then asks whether the FDA made any effort to identify ethical alternatives to using tissue from aborted children.

“The federal government must find ethical alternatives as soon as possible, and should end all association with those who participate in any trafficking or procurement of aborted baby organs,” the letter concludes. “No taxpayer dollars should continue to go to this gruesome practice. It is our hope that these reforms would start with you and HHS – and start today.”

This FDA contract is a striking exception to a pro-life record that has won high praise from the pro-life movement. President Donald Trump has actively pursued numerous pro-life policies, including moves to defund as much of Planned Parenthood as he can through executive action and multiple reforms to protect religious liberty.

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Left-wing protestors harass children of Catholic MP: ‘Your daddy is a horrible person’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An elderly anarchist shouted abuse at the children of a British Catholic Member of Parliament when they accompanied their parents outside of the house.

Ian Bone, 71, and his group “Class War” protested outside the home of Catholic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, his wife Helena, and their six children. Bone was filmed shouting at the four youngest children, saying, “Your daddy is a totally horrible person. Loads of people don’t like your daddy, did you know that? No? He’s probably not told you about that. Loads of people hate him.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, 49, the Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, is considered a mere backbencher in the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May, but is nevertheless well-known throughout the United Kingdom for his socially conservative views. A Roman Catholic, Rees-Mogg is often grilled about his religious beliefs and stands on topics such as abortion and same-sex partnerships. Although it is not unusual for people in Britain to hire babysitters, gardeners, and housecleaners, the fact that Rees-Mogg has employed his own nanny as his children’s nanny is often held up for ridicule.

The “Class War” protestor, who objects to Rees-Mogg’s position on minimum wage increases, demanded to know how much he pays this nanny, Veronica Crook.  

“Daddy won’t say how much he pays the nanny,” Bone shouted at the children. “He has a nanny who looks after you. Daddy doesn’t pay them very much. Daddy says the minimum wage doesn’t count for anything, or the London minimum wage. Poor Nanny Crook who looks after you and wipes your bottom, she doesn’t get enough money every week. But Daddy, he doesn’t care because he’s too busy posing as a Latin eating, gut-orientated toff which he does pretty well.”

When Mrs. Crook herself came outside, she refused to tell Bone how much she is paid but said that she was happy.

“You’ve got Stockholm Syndrome,” said Bone. “Do you have an independent life of your own?”

“Of course I do,” said Crook, adding that the Rees-Mogg family was “wonderful” to her family.

“Well, they would be,” sneered Bone, and Crook looked shocked when the man added, “My father was a servant as well.”

A young man passing by tried to remonstrate with a middle-aged female demonstrator.

“Well, if you don’t like it, **** off,” the protestor said.

The protestors then asked Crook if she wanted to join a trade union and seemed to accept that she didn’t. Then, when Rees-Mogg decided it was time the family went indoors, Bone mimicked the accent of the Eton- and Oxford-educated MP. He also told Helena Rees-Mogg that the group would be back every week.

“We ain’t going away,” he threatened.

“Don’t worry,” was the calm reply. “Neither are we.”

Amazingly, “Class War” posted their abuse of the Rees-Mogg family on their Facebook page, where some readers, often after professing their dislike of the MP, indicated that the group had crossed a line by harassing the children.

Bone, who professes to be the son of a butler, studied politics at Swansea University and became a professional anarchist.

In May, when Rees-Mogg was attacked by a BBC television interviewer, Jo Coburn, for his Catholic beliefs, the MP replied courteously but seriously.

“...This country believes in religious tolerance. We are a very tolerant nation,” he said. “And the act of tolerance is to tolerate things you do not agree with not just ones you do agree with and the problem with liberal tolerance is it has got to the point of only tolerating what it likes.”

Coburn tried to make it sound as if it was not she, but Rees-Mogg’s colleagues, who objected to the MP’s stand on abortion and same-sex partnerships, but he didn’t let her off without a lecture.

“The Catholic Church, of great antiquity, has taught these things,” he said. “And it is absolutely legitimate that Catholics in public life, in private life, believe and accept the teaching of the Catholic Church, as it is for Muslims to believe the teachings of Islam, and likewise for Anglicans, and also for agnostics and atheists.”

Rees-Mogg’s calm survival in British politics is in contrast to that of evangelical Tim Farron, a former head of the UK Liberal Democrat party. Constantly barraged by journalists about his Christian beliefs, Farron first refused to say he believed homosexuality was a sin, and then he said it wasn’t a sin. He also disavowed earlier remarks he had made supporting the right to life of unborn children. Finally he gave up the leadership of the Liberal Democrat party.

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Baltimore Health chief Dr. Leana Wen announced as new Planned Parenthood president

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By Calvin Freiburger

Updated September 12, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. EST to include comments from Reggie Littlejohn.

BALTIMORE, Maryland, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Months after the surprise departure of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has announced Baltimore Health Commissioner Leanna Wen as the abortion giant’s new president.

“For the first time in nearly 50 years, a doctor will lead Planned Parenthood Federation of America,” the organization announced Wednesday. “Dr. Wen fiercely believes health care is a right for all. And she knows what it’s like to be a Planned Parenthood patient: growing up in an immigrant family, Dr. Wen came to Planned Parenthood for care.”

According to her biography at the Baltimore health department’s website, Wen was appointed the city’s health commissioner in 2015, before which she was an attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care at George Washington University’s Department of Emergency Medicine. She also taught at the university’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and has written, spoken, and consulted on various projects and in various publications and media outlets.

Under Wen’s leadership, the city of Baltimore sued the Trump administration over its reduction of federal funds to controversial teen pregnancy prevention programs, and resisted the president’s elimination of family planning grants to facilities involved in abortions.

Despite her public anti-Trump stances, it does not appear Wen has the same political and fundraising experience her predecessor did.

Wen herself opens a new introductory video by explaining that she arrived in the United States as an eight-year-old immigrant from China. She claims her family survived not only on Medicaid and food stamps, but on “health care” from Planned Parenthood.

“In the ER I saw what happens every day when people don’t have access to the basic right to health care,” she says, citing an example of a patient who died from a home abortion attempt. “She died because of a failure in our system,” Wen angrily claims.

Richards, who abruptly resigned in January after a 12-year run, tweeted her approval of her successor, claiming she “couldn't be prouder to welcome” someone who “has dedicated her career to fighting for health care for all.”

But while Planned Parenthood appears to be leaning heavily into Wen’s medical background to further the narrative that “abortion is health care,” pro-lifers argue nothing has changed.

“It’s a shame that the Hippocratic Oath, to heal and to do no harm to any patient, is not held in the highest regard by the physicians at Planned Parenthood,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said. “Putting a doctor in [as president] of Planned Parenthood won’t change the fact that the overall mission of that organization is ensuring that many lives are ended at a huge profit to the nation’s number one abortion vendor. Abortion is not healthcare, and women deserve better than what Planned Parenthood wants to sell them.”

Wen’s background and new job are particularly ironic in light of Planned Parenthood’s support for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which supported China’s policy of forced abortions and sterilization. The Trump State Department announced last year it was pulling support for the fund specifically because of its complicity in China’s population-control efforts, but Richards called the move “cruel & dangerous.”

“Especially unsettling about Dr. Wen is her failure to take a stance against the abhorrent forced abortions in her native country,” commented Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson. “If she truly believes in female empowerment, she would spend more time fighting for them and less time fighting bureaucracy.”

“Dr. Wen states that she and her parents ‘fled China’ when she was nearly eight years old and were eventually granted asylum in the United States. Their flight would have taken place in the early 1990s, when forced abortion in China was rampant under the One Child Policy,” Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeSiteNews. “She does not mention why her family fled. We don't know if they were fleeing forced abortion. The Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in 1989.”

“Perhaps they fled China because of that. In either case, I hope her experience of China's brutal, repressive, totalitarian regime will lead her to call for an investigation of International Planned Parenthood’s strong connection to population control in China, including during the years when forced abortion was at its height,” Littlejohn continued. “I call upon her specifically to use her influence and international platform to condemn forced abortion in China and wherever else it occurs worldwide. Planned Parenthood has traditionally been silent on this issue. If they truly stand for ‘choice,’ they should be jumping up and down to stop forced abortion. Forced abortion is not a choice.”

Despite Wen’s stated commitment to healthcare, she is not expected to face questions about Planned Parenthood and its connection to population control in China, or the steep declines in actual health services at Planned Parenthood on her predecessor’s watch.

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Coca Cola, IBM among corporations demanding N. Ireland allow same-sex ‘marriage’

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By Calvin Freiburger

NORTHERN IRELAND, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly thirty companies from and outside Northern Ireland have signed a letter calling on the province to recognize same-sex “marriages” within its borders.

Organized by the left-wing Amnesty International UK, the letter argues that redefining marriage is an economic necessity.

“A diverse, outward-looking and inclusive society is essential to create a vibrant and competitive economy and a prosperous future for Northern Ireland,” it claims. “Equality contributes to an environment of creativity and excellence where our LGBT staff feel able to bring their whole selves to the workplace and where their relationships will be respected.”

Signatories include Allstate, Axiom, the Bank of Ireland, Citi, Coca-Cola, IBM, Liberty Mutual Insurance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sodexo, and more.

“Without full legal recognition of same-sex marriages retaining and attracting talent can be difficult,” Rainbow Project director John O’Doherty claimed. “The brain drain from Northern Ireland is a recognised fact and it is important that we reflect upon all of its causes, not least of all the fact that Northern Ireland remains the only part of these Islands not to recognise equal marriage.”

The “brain drain” is a common talking point among pro-LGBT activists. The province has no laws stopping employers from offering their own incentives to homosexual employees, however, and pro-family advocates argue that any debatable economic benefits to are more than outweighed by the cultural harm done by redefining the family and diluting marriage’s link to child-rearing.

Both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland recognize same-sex “marriage,” with Northern Ireland being the lone holdout (the province remains a holdout on abortion, as well). Belfast’s high court ruled last year that Northern Ireland did not have any international “human rights” obligation to redefine marriage.

It remains to be seen how long that will remain the case, however; Sky News found in April that 76 percent of poll respondents answered that it “should be legal,” whereas just 18 percent answered that it shouldn’t.

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Russian prisoners build the White Sea–Baltic Canal (circa 1932), one of the first major projects in the Soviet Union using forced labor of gulag inmates. Thousands died amid the harsh conditions. Wikimedia Commons
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LGBT activists: Soviet camps were ‘compassionate’ means of ‘re-education.’ Send bigots there

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By Calvin Freiburger
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The original Twitter thread from Goldsmith LGBTQ+, since removed. ARCHIVE.TODAY

LONDON, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A homosexual student group at Goldsmiths, University of London, is under fire for a series of tweets defending the idea of sending dissenters to “gulags” for forced re-education.

The exchange began during a Twitter debate over “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” (TERFs), feminists who refuse to recognize men who “identify” as female to be "women." The group LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths had called for targeting feminist academics they considered to be TERFs, the Daily Telegraph reports.

“The ideas of TERFS and anti-trans bigots literally *kill* and must be eradicated through re-education,” LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths claimed, then threatened to “arrange to send [critics of their position] to the gulag.”

(Report continues below tweets)

Invoking the gulags – notorious prison camps instituted by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, in which countless prisoners died of execution, starvation, disease, or exhaustion – provoked scores of negative responses. Yet LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths doubled down, making a case that the sites were actually humane institutions unjustly maligned by the victors of the Cold War.

“The Soviets did away with life sentences and the longest sentence was 10 years. Capital punishment was reserved for the most heinous, serious crimes,” the group claimed in a series of tweets it has since made private, but have been transcribed by Twitchy. “The penal system was a rehabillitary one and self supporting, a far cry from the Western, capitalist notion of prison.”

The group went on to claim that all able-bodied inmates were paid a wage comparable to free workers, and that the gulags featured “regular classes, book clubs, newspaper editorial teams, sports, theatre & performance groups.”

As for why “gulag” is almost universally regarded as a dirty word, LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths suggested that the prisons are victims of “anti-communist, orientalist myths and lies propagated by the CIA.” It added that any contrary evidence that comes from or relies on the U.S. State Department are “probably pretty trash sources.”

In fact, the Soviet Union used the gulags to imprison (among others) wealthy peasants arrested during the regime’s takeover of agriculture, World War II prisoners of war, military officers or ethnic minorities suspected of disloyalty to the state, suspected traitors, public intellectuals guilty of dissenting thoughts, and “many utterly innocent people who were hapless victims of Stalin’s purges,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Prisoners were forced into lumber, construction, or mining work, and threatened with starvation or execution for refusing to comply. Between deliberate executions and inhumane conditions, it is estimated that 15-30 million prisoners died from 1918 to 1956.

“The LGBTQ group’s interpretation of the history of the Gulag system is madness,” said Claire Graham, a special education needs teacher who challenged the LGBT group.

The tweetstorm received heavy pushback, including from Anne Applebaum, a historian who has written multiple books on the Soviet Union:

Goldsmiths Students’ Union has since suspended LGBTQ+ Goldsmiths, saying that the tweets violate its code of conduct. The union has also barred the group from future support for campus activities. “We condemn the abhorrent content of the tweets and they are in complete opposition to the views and values of the Students’ Union,” it said in a statement backed by the university.

While explicit advocacy of totalitarian tactics is typically rare in Western cultural debates, pro-family advocates in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada argue the goals and tactics of “mainstream” LGBT activists are similar, including boycott and intimidation campaigns, coercing private citizens to produce pro-LGBT messages, crackdowns on so-called “hate” speech, and declarations that the LGBT agenda “has to trump” religious liberty.

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US bishop: Viganò’s allegations against Pope must be shown either ‘true or false’

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By Lisa Bourne

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

GARY, Indiana, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Allegations that Pope Francis lifted restrictions from now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite knowing he was a sexual predator are “grave charges” that “must be investigated and shown either true or false,” said Indiana Bishop Donald Hying. 

“As you may have read, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the United States, has recently asserted that Pope Francis knew about the background of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, i.e. that he was a sexual predator and that Francis lifted the restrictions that Pope Benedict had imposed on McCarrick, relying on him as an advisor and as an envoy to foreign countries for special missions,” said Bishop Hying in an August 28 statement.

“These are grave charges. Clearly, these assertions must be investigated and shown either true or false,” he added. 

Controversy continues to swirl around the Pope and other top prelates after Viganò’s August 25 testimony implicated Francis and others as covering for McCarrick.

While Francis has said he will not speak about the charges, Hying’s call for an investigation into Viganò’s testimony echoes that of numerous other U.S. prelates and also tens of thousands of Catholic laity.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis, who had met in late August with Washington Cardinal Wuerl — embattled by reports he moved abusive priests between parishes while bishop of Pittsburgh and knew about his predecessor McCarrick — would meet with USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. 

The cardinal archbishop of Galveston-Houston had requested a meeting with Francis some time ago, for the purpose of asking for a Vatican investigation into McCarrick.

Only the Pope has the ability to sanction bishops for misconduct.

“Those who have committed crimes of abuse and those who facilitated such crimes must be held accountable,” Hying stated. “This is an absolute necessity if the Church is going to regain trust and move forward in the mission of Christ.”

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

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German bishop rebukes ‘irresponsible’ leak of sex abuse report

By Lianne Laurence

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A German bishop known for his liberal views blasted German media as “irresponsible” for leaking an explosive report on clerical sex abuse before the bishops themselves saw it.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann, responsible for handling the German bishops’ response to sexual abuse, also admitted in a press release today the German bishops are “ashamed and despondent” about the extent of clerical sexual abuse in their 27 dioceses.

The bishop of Trier, Ackermann is identified with the liberal wing of the German church, which notably has pushed for Communion for non-Catholic spouses and for the divorced and remarried. In 2015, Ackermann expressed sympathy for a more open approach to homosexuality in the Catholic Church.

The leaked report of the sexual abuse commission funded by the German Bishops' Conference documents allegations of sexual abuse of “3,677 mostly male minors” by 1,670 clergymen, with the majority of victims boys under 14 years of age, LifeSiteNews reported today.

The report also found many abusing priests were simply transferred to other parishes and that only one-third of them were ever investigated by the Church.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx planned to present to the bishops and the public at the bishops’ fall assembly September 25, but two major German media outlets – Der Spiegel and Die Zeit – leaked the report Wednesday.

Marx himself came under fire in 2016 for alleged negligence as bishop of Trier a decade earlier in a case of a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Ackerman condemned the leak as “regrettable” because German bishops themselves had not seen the report, and especially because the German Bishops’ Conference had planned to set up a hotline for abuse victims to coincide with the report’s official release.

“As planned, we will discuss the study and its consequences at the fall assembly of the German Bishops' Conference on 25 September,” Ackermann said, adding the bishops, together with the team of researchers, planned to present the study to the public on that day.

The leaked information about the so-called “MHG Study” is causing a great stir in Germany, since it finally brings to light the murky history of the German bishops’ handling of abuse cases.

And, as expected, their conduct is similar to many bishops in the U.S.: cover-ups and moving priests into another parish.

As Der Spiegel reports, the study, which had been conducted by a team stemming from three German universities (Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Gießen) in the name of the German Bishops' Conference under Cardinal Marx, looked into abuse cases from 1946 until 2014. The study states that there were counted “3,677 mostly male minors as victims of sexual abuse.”

As the leaked report states, about four percent of the active clergy have been accused of sexual abuse. Only 7.8 percent of the abusers have been punished with drastic sanctions.

Reporter Evelyn Finger of the German newspaper Die Zeit comments that the given numbers of abuse cases in the report is the lowest possible number.

“That is to say,” explains Finger, “behind the most important numbers which have been listed here, there stands the invisible ‘at least’.” “The truth is much worse,” she later adds.

The research team of seven researchers and additional helpers investigated 38,000 personnel and other files and conducted many interviews over the course of four and a half years.

The mission as given by the German bishops was to find out the extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany and to discern which conditions encouraged such misconduct.

The 350-page final report which was funded, according to Die Zeit, with 1.2 million euros, now presents the results of research conducted in all 27 German dioceses.

As Die Zeit points out, “one fundamental problem remains: the dependency of the results upon the bishops.”

That was the original problem of the project, according to Finger, who writes that Professor Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist of Hannover, who had first started this study, found the conditions of research professionally unacceptable.

Finger points out that the German bishops tried to tighten up the original contract with Pfeiffer, who reacted against their attempt at having control over the findings of his research.

The bishops even tried to gain the right to forbid the publication of the research, should there arise “a serious reason.” Pfeiffer also criticized the “destruction of files” and the “resistance” on the part of the Church against an “independent analysis of the files by former judges and attorneys.”

RELATED:

BREAKING: Leaked sex abuse report rocks German church, 3,677 victims

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LifeSite needs you to take a stand against social media censorship

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By John-Henry Westen
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Today is Day 1 of our Fall fundraiser. These relatively brief but vital quarterly outreaches to LifeSite readers are crucial to sustaining our mission. Almost all LifeSite operating expenses are covered by donations received during these campaigns.

Your support today will allow us to continue to use this high quality news service to bring about cultural change on behalf of life, family and religious and speech freedoms.  

As our Fall campaign begins, can I count on you to help us reach our $250,000 goal with a gift of even just $35 today? You can help us counter the liberal agenda which is now aggressively attempting to silence the conservative voice.

                                                    

LifeSiteNews plays a distinct role in the cultural battle. Our culture desperately needs the truth, and we have the unique ability to use the power of the media to share this life-saving truth.

And, today, you have the opportunity to join us in a very special way by becoming a monthly supporter, or Sustainer, to our brand new Sustain Life initiative. A generous donor has offered to match the first donation of every new recurring pledge made by our readers - up to $20,000! Learn more about increasing the impact of your gift as a Sustainer by clicking here.

For some time now, conservative organizations and public figures around the globe have faced serious viewpoint discrimination on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and others. Unfortunately LifeSiteNews has not been immune to this.

We have experienced a huge drop in Facebook reach and Google referrals over the last year due to censorship and viewpoint discrimination. This has increasingly impacted our fundraising efforts to sustain our mission.

During our Summer fundraising campaign we submitted this ad on the left to Facebook for approval, just like we have done in the past. But this and other similar ads were deemed “too offensive” and were not approved.

The ad on the right shows one approved by Facebook that Planned Parenthood ran at the same time that our ads were not approved. Is there a double standard here? We think so, too.

Censorship seems to be the latest attack on conservative views, and this is likely just the beginning.

Can we count on you for a gift of $200, $100, $50, or $35 today? You can ensure our reporting on developments related to life, family, faith and freedom continues at its current high-level even amidst censorship.

                                                   

If you would like to give by phone or mail, please click on the donate link here, and choose either option at the bottom of the donate form.

As you can tell from reading many of our more recent reports, there has never been a more pressing time to restore our culture.

At LifeSite, we engage in this cultural battle head-on everyday with our pro-life and pro-family journalism. We are shedding light into the darkest areas of modernism and working each day to transform the culture.

We can only do this with your help.

With that big drop in our Facebook reach this year, our efforts to share our pro-life news and raise necessary funds during our campaigns have been greatly debilitated.

We are 100% reader-funded, and without the support of thousands of readers like you, LifeSite simply would not exist! Your gift of $200, $100, $50 or even $35 today will help maintain our news reporting for those who need to hear the truth.

Because of the forces that we are up against, many of our readers have committed to sustaining our mission on a monthly basis through our new Sustain Life program. If you would like to join our community of monthly Sustainers, please go to our website and choose the giving level of your choice. Or you may call Danielle Zuccaro, our Sustaining Donor Coordinator at 540-305-9698, and she can process your donation over the phone.

A US-tax-deductible one-time or monthly gift today will combat this modern Goliath and ensure the the pro-life and pro-family voice is not silenced.

We cannot continue our mission to restore our culture through the power of the media without your support. Will you join forces with us to turn this cycle of censorship into a victory for Life? The future of family and freedom depends on our shared voice.

P.S. A generous donor has offered to match the first gift of every recurring gift pledged this Fall - up to $20,000! Monthly donors keep us going year-round so that we can face the pressing issues as they come up. Please consider becoming a monthly donor and double the impact of your first gift today!

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Former Irish prime minister: ‘It will not be a bright Ireland’ for the babies killed by abortion

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DUBLIN, Ireland, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton has said that following its victory, the pro-abortion pro-repeal side in Ireland’s recent referendum on abortion was “not always magnanimous, or respectful of the pluralist nature of Irish society and Irish values.”

Addressing a gathering of over 800 people at the annual Pro Life Campaign dinner in Dublin on September 8, 2018, Bruton singled out one of the most vocal advocates for repeal of the Eighth Amendment, Health Minister Simon Harris.

Speaking directly to the disparaging remarks Harris made about the pro-life side after the referendum, the former Taoiseach said: “I hope that this was just elation, in the immediate aftermath of winning a political battle, and that he will now show tolerance and inclusiveness, when considering amendments to the legislation he has proposed.”

Lack of balance from Irish Government

Concerned about the tone of the debate since the referendum, Bruton said: “The Minister for Health, speaking in the Dáil [Irish Parliament] after the referendum on 31 May, did not seem to me to display the balance that one would like to see in someone who will be deciding on the detailed content of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill.”

“He spoke of the referendum result inaugurating what he called ‘a brighter Ireland.’ It will not be a bright Ireland for the little babies who will have their lives ended before being allowed to see the light of a single Irish day…He talked of the referendum result ‘consigning a misogynistic legacy to the history books.’ He did not seem to reflect on the fact that half the babies whose lives will be ended before birth will be girls. Those little girls will face the most extreme form of misogyny.”

The former Taoiseach continued: “He claimed the ‘Yes’ campaign was built on a ‘coalition of compassion.’ He thus seemed to imply that those who voted ‘No’ are not compassionate. Maybe that is not what he meant, but nothing could be further from the truth. He spoke of the referendum meaning that we are ‘maturing into a tolerant, non-judgemental, inclusive Republic.’ The Minister’s own speech was rather judgemental, and not particularly tolerant of those who sincerely disagree with him on the issue of abortion.”

No conscience clause

Bruton said, following the “Yes” vote in the May referendum, that the Government’s current proposal “requires a doctor, who has a conscientious objection to doing an abortion, to ‘make arrangements to transfer the care’ of the woman to a doctor who will do it… [thus] aiding and abetting the abortion… there is no conscience clause here.”

Expressing the fears of many, Bruton said: “Doctors who are known to oppose abortion will be targeted under this clause by people wishing to catch them out and put them under threat of criminal prosecution because of their religious or human rights beliefs. There have been examples of this sort of targeting in other fields, where there are strong but conflicting views in the population.”

Bruton suggested a practical solution to this.

“Rather than place this burden on doctors who believe abortion is wrong, it would be more sensible to publish an affirmative list of those who have no conscientious objection to doing abortions,” he said.

Referring to other sections of the Government’s proposed abortion legislation, Bruton said “it will be permissible to end the life of what is deemed a ‘non-viable’ baby, at any stage in the pregnancy, if allowing the baby to be born would pose a ‘risk’ of serious harm to the mental health of the child’s mother. Again this is a very loose ground for ending a life. It involves the doctors in making a prediction about the future mental health of the mother after the baby might have been born. Whatever about adjudicating about present mental health, deciding about future mental health is completely speculative. And on the basis of that speculation, a baby’s life is to be ended. Indeed it is arguable that having an abortion is more likely, at some stage in the future, to trigger mental problems.”

‘False compassion’ and the real concerns of the ‘no’ voters

Bruton challenged the Irish Government to take on board some of the concerns of those who voted “No,” saying, “In a mature Republic, one would listen to, and deal respectfully with, the arguments and values of the other side, on any important issue …[Instead] the mantra of ‘compassion’ was deemed sufficient to end all argument about the basic question of when life begins, when a life becomes a human, and hence when it ought to acquire human rights.”

In addition to encouraging people to lobby for amendments to the legislation, Bruton also called on pro-life supporters to play an active role in proposing positive alternatives to abortion. 

“It is unclear what the new shared values of Irish society are to be,” he said. “The referendum did not end the debate. If life is not the primary value, what is? To fill that vacant space, and drawing on the most modern medical knowledge, the pro-life arguments will need to be made, over and over again, to the young people of Ireland and to the generations that will succeed them.”

John Bruton concluded his address with these words: “Notwithstanding the change in the law, the number of abortions can continue to be reduced, if people are convinced that there is a better and more just way. Lighting that way forward is the real route to a brighter Ireland.”

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Pope summons presidents of world’s bishops conferences to discuss abuse crisis

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has summoned all the presidents of the national bishops conferences to Rome to discuss the abuse crisis that is rocking the Church. The theme of the meeting is: "protection of minors."

A press release from the Council of Cardinals, published today, says that the pontiff’s decision came after a meeting with them:

The Holy Father Francis, after hearing the Council of Cardinals, decided to convene a meeting with the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of 'the protection of minors.'

statement from the Vatican Press Office included "vulnerable adults" in the theme of the upcoming conference.

The presidents’ meeting with the Pope will be held in the Vatican from February 21-24, 2019.

The Council of Cardinals, Pope Francis’ special advisory group, has been holding meetings with the pontiff for three days. During one of the meetings, the Council discussed the issue of abuse. 

This announcement comes after the intense scrutiny of Pope Francis and other prelates mentioned in the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, which was released last month. Viganò accused Pope Francis and other bishops — among them the Council’s own Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Sean O’Malley, and Rodriguez Maradiaga — of having covered up sexual abuse and promoted clerical sexual abusers, including the now disgraced ex-cardinal Archbishop McCarrick. The former papal nuncio to the United States also called upon Pope Francis to resign. 

A day after news of the letter broke, Pope Francis told reporters that he was “not going to say a word” about the allegations. One bishop called the Pope’s response a “non-denial.” Now, however, it seems that Pope Francis is at least talking to his advisers and plans to speak to several bishops on the subject. Cardinal Di Nardo and Archbishop Jose Gomez, president and vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will meet with Francis and Cardinal Seàn O’Malley tomorrow.

Yesterday the Council of Cardinals released a memo informing readers that it had expressed loyalty to the Holy Father in the wake of the former papal nuncio’s 11-page letter. 

According to the declaration, the Council of Cardinals “expressed its full solidarity with Pope Francis with regard to the events of recent weeks, aware that in the current debate the Holy See is about to make the eventual and necessary clarifications.”

Only six of the nine members of the Council of Cardinals have been able to meet with Pope Francis this week: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Seàn P. O’Malley, Oswald Gracias, Reinhard Marx, and Giuseppe Bertello. Those unable to attend are Cardinals Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Francisco Errazuriz Ossa, and George Pell. 

LifeSiteNews reported on August 27 how a source in the Vatican Curia said that the news of Archbishop Viganò “hit the Curia like an atomic bomb.”

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

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Opinion, ,

‘Team Francis’ apologists panicking over Viganò testimony: ‘The conservatives are winning’

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

September 12, 2018 (LMS Chairman) – This must count as one of the most absurd comments on the clerical abuse crisis centred, for now, in the United States. The attempt to carry on as if nothing at all was happening, always the first recourse of the bureaucrat to a crisis, has at this moment not only failed, even according to a supporter, but become utterly ludicrous. Of course people are more interested in Archbishop Viganò's statement than in the latest missive from the Bishops' Conference about the dignity of work. Are we supposed to think that this interest is misplaced?

By that time 'team Francis' had already moved on to a kind of damage-limitation which, instead of trying to distract attention from Archbishop Viganò, focused it on what they hoped would prove to be his weaknesses. This, too, has proved a failure, however. Few people had heard of Viganò before his statement, and no-one has anything invested in his personal reputation or political associations. They just want to know if what he says is true.

The attempted character-assassination of Viganò himself increasingly strikes observers as an example of the whistle-blower suppression strategy which is very much part of the problem Viganò has been trying to expose. What we would expect from an abusive cabal is demands for silence and submission, angry denunciations of those who ask questions, and downplaying of the seriousness of accusations. What do we find? Well, it has been quite a sight on Twitter to see Massimo Faggioli, Austen Ivereigh and others have to insist repeatedly that they weren't really playing down the seriousness of the systematic sexual abuse of seminarians: cases which range from seduction to rape. If you have to keep saying that kind of thing, it's a sign that your public relations strategy isn't working.

And it really isn't working. We can see that in relation to two important constituencies: the American Catholic bishops, and mainstream conservative American Catholic commentators. Both are more or less closely connected to the Church as an institution, and depend for their positions and future prospects upon the favour of their hierarchical superiors, as well, or more, than upon their popularity with ordinary Catholics. This makes their defection from reflexive defence of the Pope, or at least silence, very significant.

LifeSiteNews has a list of bishops calling for an investigation of Vigano's allegations. There are a few non-Americans, but the rest are from the US. To date it includes twenty-nine American bishops, not counting the non-resident Cardinal Burke. The United States Conference is a big one, but twenty-nine bishops is a lot of bishops. They have got to the important point where there is some safety in numbers. I fancy that these bishops are going to find life a bit easier than their colleagues in the coming months when they meet the faithful and ask for money. The process is far from over, and their numbers will grow.

What I mean by 'mainstream' conservative Catholic commentators are those who have been defensive of the Pope, or at least silent, on the major issues of controversy up to the McCarrick/ Pennsylvania Grand Jury/ Viganò tipping-point, and have or have had 'centrist' platforms such as Patheos and Aleteia.

One example is Fr Dwight Longenecker. His approach to the problems raised by Amoris laetitia is a good example of how things used to be. He had clearly decided that direct criticism of Pope Francis' theology was too hot a potato, so instead he criticised it indirectly, by saying that things which people concluded from papal statements were making his life as a priest more difficult. This was, of course, a fair point in itself. (Like me, his first reaction was to attempt a completely orthodox reading of the text.)

Now, however, those old restraints have been thrown off. In his post about why it was a mistake for the Pope to remain silent about the Viganò accusations, Fr Longnecker is moved to say that this silence 'makes his showy advocacy of victims look like a cheap publicity stunt' and is 'revealing him to be a hypocrite'. I beg your pardon, Fr?

We move into different territory with Simcha Fisher. Over the years Fisher has been a ferocious critic of the pro-life movement, alongside her friend Mark Shea, which has put her at odds with many of the people most worried by the direction of Pope Francis' papacy. But in the last week or so she has written a couple of blistering posts about the situation: posts which are also, I must say, extremely interesting. She writes:

I have a number of friends who have escaped abusive marriages. They tell me that Pope Francis is sounding more and more like the men who abused them. He's sounding like the men who hid that abuse from the world, who taught their victims to blame themselves, who used spiritual pressure to persuade them and their families that it would actually be wrong, sinful, to defend themselves.

I think Fisher is exactly right. We can't tell from his words and actions that Pope Francis has personally carried out sexual abuse--something no-one is suggesting--but they do fit the pattern of behaviour abusers use to maintain their power. He seems to have sunk into an abusive modus operandi.

Other people who come into this same category include the radio host Patrick Madrid (listen to his recording here For example). Raymond Arroyo of EWTN swallowed the 'red pill' a while ago.

Now Mark Shea, still writing on Patheos, is still echoing the attacks on Viganò served up by John Allen and others. Jimmy Akin appears to be maintaining a grave-like silence on the subject. That is what one would expect. But a lot of their erstwhile colleagues are heading for the lifeboats on the good ship Francis.

There is a third constituency, moreover, which Team Francis seems to be losing, which may end up being more significant than any other. This is American Attorneys General. I have already mentioned the Grand Jury report into clerical abuse in Pennsylvania; this and other revelations have prompted the Attorney General in one US state after another to announce some kind of investigation of the dioceses in their states: there are now seven such processes beginning. These investigations may have the right to demand documents and take witness testimony under oath; even if they have lower levels of formal power, they could dig out and put together a great deal of information currently buried or scattered, and they will certainly stimulate new witnesses to come forward. Whereas in the past such investigations might have looked to many Catholics in public life and to Catholic voters as attacks on the Church, now they are being widely welcomed as ways to overcome bishops' lack of accountability. That means that they will probably happen.

If they happen, they are bound to produce more embarrassing material for the hierarchy. Each one will pile up pressure for resignations and a clearing of the Augean stables which many seminaries seem to have become. Each one will give the basic clerical-abuse story a new lease of life.

What is Team Francis going to do about this? It seems their latest idea is to spread the blame.

There is, of course, some truth in this. But blame is not a finite resource. Including earlier Popes in causing the problem does not absolve Pope Francis from making things worse, if that is what he has done, and it makes his refusal to speak about it even more seriously wrong.

It seems now that a lot of resistance over the years, even by good bishops and priests, to dealing in an open and just way to the abuse crisis, has been motivated by the worry that if one scandal came out it would precipitate the exposure of another and another, in a situation where the problem was so pervasive, and so deeply rooted, that the exposure of a great part of it was just too terrifying to contemplate. It would do too much damage to the Church's reputation and institutions. It seems that many good bishops and other sincere Catholics in the know thought, ten or twenty years ago, that by not washing the dirty linen in public they could gradually weed out the problems and put thing right. They must by now realise that they have failed, and that there is no prospect, certainly under Pope Francis in his current mood, that real progress can be made in this way. The only way things are going to improve is by an indescribably painful process of public exposure. It follows that good people should stop trying to prevent that from happening.

If Team Francis agrees, even if only for partisan reasons, and looks forward to the exposure of more and more disedifying information about the corruption of the Church since Vatican II and perhaps earlier, than the game really is up. We can look forward to a decade or more of scandalous revelations, and the predictable short-term negative outcomes of those revelations for the Church's ability to preach the Gospel effectively. In the end, however, it will be better than having these secret sins eating away at the heart of the Church: harming children, corrupting seminarians, distorting the Church's preaching, distorting the choice of bishops, cardinals, and popes, and always threatening to come out anyway.

Yes, let it all come out, even if some of the abusers turn out to be people we like and have trusted. As St Catherine of Siena said:

"We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues – I see the world is rotten because of silence."

Published with permission from the LMS Chairman blog.

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Judie Brown Judie Brown

Opinion, ,

Heretical gnosticism permeates Pontifical Academy for Life

Judie Brown Judie Brown
By Judie Brown

September 12, 2018 (American Life League) – By deconstructing the truth of Christianity, Gnosticism, which is overtly anti-Catholic, advances a false equivocal concept of who the human person is and why he exists. Gnosticism's "spirituality" means "immateriality." Gnostic "spirituality" leaves out the human person's material body and soul (which Gnosticism claims is also material!). Indeed, that is also why a Gnostic "spirituality" would leave out the traditional Church teachings on the theology of pain and suffering of the human body, as personified by Christ's death on the cross. Gnostic "spirituality" is not Christian "spirituality"!

This past spring, Bishop Arthur Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, wrote that Gnosticism, like other forms of pagan belief systems, holds "that the created, material world is evil. Only the spiritual is good. Redemption comes from being liberated from matter by elite forms of knowledge (gnosis)." Note that the "spiritual" for them is literally a piece of the immaterial Ultimate Deity.

Furthermore, Gnosticism is polytheistic, holding that "there are many gods and goddesses, most of whom are androgynous (male and female)." Therefore, Gnosticism is paganism, pure and simple. It also holds that all matter is evil and that only the elite are given truth by Messengers of Light, so the rest of us have no free will, since knowledge has not been imparted to us.

If this sounds like something out of the Harry Potter movies, then you probably have a smattering of an idea about what is wrong with Gnosticism.

An understanding of these facts is required in order to look through the window created by the new and not-so-improved Pontifical Academy for Life and its approach to palliative care. Historically we know that palliative care should mean relieving pain and bringing comfort to a patient. But in the Gnostic paradigm, something quite different is being revealed to us. This is most salient in an upcoming conference in Houston, Texas. From September 16-18, the Pontifical Academy for Life will cohost a conferenceentitled Palliative Care and Spirituality for Life. Note that the word "spirituality" is Gnostic double-talk and defined differently than Christian spirituality.

As. Monsignor Charles Pope explains, Gnostic "wordsmithing" is evident in such language as "It's not abortion; it's choice." "It's not contraception; it's reproductive choice." "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual," and so on.

So when the Academy's program addresses "spirituality," the topics do not take a deep dive into the Catholic theology of suffering, but rather detail an agenda designed to integrate spirituality into the overall course of treatment for a patient who is facing death or who is severely ill. With the Pontifical Academy for Life as the chief sponsor of a conference on palliative care and spirituality, one would have hoped for – and even expected – an emphasis on Church teaching. Now more than ever in today's world the suffering need Christ brought into the course of care, not language designed to say nothing at all.

The Redemptive Value of Suffering

We see that the Academy's conference lacks a presentation, for example, on these profound words of Mother Teresa: "Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you." Furthermore, there is no session or group of sessions devoted to Saint John Paul II's beautiful encyclical Salvifici Doloris, which contains these amazingly insightful words: "The witnesses of the cross and Resurrection of Christ have handed on to the Church and to mankind a specific gospel of suffering. The Redeemer himself wrote this gospel, above all by his own suffering accepted in love, so that man 'should not perish but have eternal life.'"

Did the organizers of the Pontifical Academy for Life conference see no need for anyone to address the Church's theology of suffering? Why not?

St. John Paul II once said about Gnosticism that today's New Age movement was simply another way of sharing the Gnostic message: "It has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian."

As palliative care becomes the new Third Path to euthanasia, we must take heed, because, while something may sound good, it may not actually be good.

We must never separate ministering to the ill and dying from the cross of Christ. While we have an obligation to treat the patient's pain and provide comfort, we must never hasten death.

Pope Benedict XVI meant to guide us when he said: "It is the truth that possesses us, it is a living thing! We do not possess it but are held by it. . . . We must learn to be moved and led by it. And then it will shine again: if the truth itself leads us and penetrates us."

The truth is that all human beings, no matter what stage of life they are in, are made in the image and likeness of God. The truth is that every single person is valuable and loved. The truth is that we must protect the sick, the dying, and the vulnerable at all costs.

We need these truths now more than ever.

Published with permission from the American Life League.

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Roberto de Mattei

Opinion, ,

The Church must not be confused with the men who run the Church

Roberto de Mattei
By Roberto de Mattei

September 12, 2018 (Rorate Caeli) – The courageous denunciation of ecclesiastical scandals made by  Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has generated  the consensus of many, but also the displeasure of others, convinced that everything discrediting the representatives of the Church should be covered up by silence. This desire to safeguard the Church is understandable when the scandal is an exception. There is the risk in that case of generalizing, by saddling the behavior of a few onto everyone . Quite different is the case when immorality is the rule, or at least is a widespread way of living accepted as the norm. In this case public denunciation is the first step towards the necessary reform of "morals". Breaking the silence is part of the duties of a pastor, as St. Gregory the Great admonishes: "What in fact is the fear of a pastor to state the truth, if not the turning of his back on the enemy with his silence? If, instead, he fights in defense of his flock, he builds a bastion for the House of Israel against its enemies. For this the Lord through the mouth of Isaiah admonishes: "Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet" (Isaiah, 58,1).

At the origins of a guilty silence there is often the lack of distinction between the Church and the men of the Church, be they the simple laity, bishops, cardinals or Popes. One of the reasons for this confusion is precisely the prominence of the authorities involved in the scandals. The higher their dignity, the more the tendency to identify them with the Church, attributing good and evil indifferently to the one and the other. In reality the Good is the sole business of the Church, whereas all the Evil is due to the men who represent Her. For this the Church cannot be defined as sinful: "She – writes Father Roger T. Calmel O.P. (1920-1998) – asks forgiveness to the Lord not for the sins She has committed, but for the sins committed by Her children, insofar as they do not listen to Her as Mother." (Breve apologia della Chiesa di sempre, Editrice Ichtys, Albano Laziale 2007, p. 91). All the members of the Church whether of the teaching or student parts, are men, with their own nature, wounded by original sin.  Neither Baptism renders the faithful faultless, nor Holy Orders render the members of the Hierarchy such. The Pope himself can sin and fall into error, except for that which concerns the charism of infallibility.

It must be said, moreover, that the faithful do not constitute the Church, as happens in human societies, created by the members that form them and dissolved as soon as they separate. To say "We are Church" is false, since the belonging of the baptized to the Church, does not derive from their will: it is Christ Himself who invites us to belong to His flock, by repeating to everyone: "You have not chosen me but I have chosen you" (John 15, 16).  The Church founded by Jesus Christ has a Human-Divine constitution: human as it has a material and passive component, made up of all the faithful, part of both the clergy and the laity; supernatural and divine for Her soul. Jesus Christ, Her Head, is Her foundation and the Holy Spirit is Her supernatural propeller.

The Church therefore is not holy because of the holiness of Her members, but it is Her members that are holy thanks to Jesus Christ Who directs Her and the Holy Spirit Who gives life to Her. From them comes all Good, that is, all that is "true, noble, just, pure, lovable, honorable and worthy of praise" (Phil. 4,8). And from the men of the Church comes all the Evil: disorders, scandals, abuse of power, violence, turpitudes and sacrileges. 

"So – writes the Passionist theologian Enrico Zoffoli (1915-1996) who dedicated many fine pages to this theme –  we have no interest in covering up the faults of bad Christians, of unworthy, cowardly, inept, dishonest and arrogant priests. The intent to defend the cause and mitigate their responsibilities would be ingenuous and useless along with minimizing the consequences of their errors, having recourse to historical contexts and singular situations in order then to explain  away and absolve everything" (Chiesa e uomini di Chiesa, Edizioni Segno, Udine 1994, p. 41).

Today there is great filth in the Church, as the then Cardinal Ratzinger said during the Via Crucis of Good Friday 2005, which preceded his rise to the papacy.  "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! (Jesus)".

Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò's testimony is praiseworthy, since, by bringing to light this filth, he renders the work of purification of the Church more urgent. It must be [made]clear that the conduct of unworthy bishops or priests is not inspired by the dogmas or morals of the Church, but constitutes their betrayal, as it represents a negation of the law of the Gospel.  The world that accuses the Church for Her faults accuses Her of transgressing a moral order: but in the name of what law and doctrine does the world claim to indict the Church? The philosophy of life professed by the modern world is relativism to the degree that there are no absolute truths and the only law of man is to be devoid of [all] laws; the practical consequence is hedonism according to which the only form of possible happiness is the gratification of one's desires and the satisfaction of one's instincts.   

How can the world, devoid of principles as it is, judge and condemn the Church?  The Church has the right and duty to judge the world because She has an absolute and immutable doctrine. The modern world, child of the principles of the French Revolution, develops with coherence the ideas of the libertine Marquis de Sade (1740-1814): free love, free blasphemy, total freedom to deny and destroy every bastion of Faith and Morals, as in the days of the French Revolution when the Bastille, where Sade was a prisoner, was destroyed. The outcome of all this is the dissolution of morality, which has destroyed the foundations of civil society and over the last two centuries has created the darkest age in history.

The life of the Church is also the history of betrayals, defections, apostasies and insufficient  correspondence  with Divine Grace.  But this tragic weakness always goes along with extraordinary faithfulness: the falls, even the most terrifying, of many members of the Church, are interlaced with the heroism of the virtue seen in many other of Her children.

A river of sanctity gushes out of the side of Christ and runs flowing through the course of the centuries: the martyrs who face the wild animals in the Coliseum; the hermits who abandon the world to live a life of penitence; the missionaries who go to the ends of the earth; the intrepid confessors of the faith who combat schisms and heresies; the contemplative religious who sustain the defenders of the Church and Christian civilization with their prayers; all those, who, in different ways, have conformed their lives to the Divine one.  St. Theresa of the Child Jesus wanted to gather up all these vocations in one supreme act of love to God.

The saints are different from one another, but what they all share is union with God: and this union, which never flags, makes it so that the Church, prior to being One, Catholic and Apostolic, is first of all perfectly Holy. The holiness of the Church doesn't depend on the holiness of Her children; it is ontological, given that it is connected to Her very nature.

For the Church  to be called holy it is not necessary that all Her children live a saintly life; it is enough that a part, even a small part, thanks to the vital flow of the Holy Spirit, remain heroically faithful to the law of the Gospel during times of trial.

This article was translated by Rorate contributor Francesca Romana. It originally appeared at Rorate Caeli and is published here with permission.

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William Kilpatrick

Opinion,

Who will speak up for persecuted Christians who keep the faith?

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

September 12, 2018 (Turning Point Project) – Imagine that you find an envelope outside your door. In it are six bullets and a note: "With these six bullets we will kill you and your family."  Imagine that a few days later a box is left at your door with a note saying, "In this box we will bring your children's heads."

For those who live in the West, it's difficult to imagine such things, yet this is an everyday reality for Christians living in the Middle East and North Africa.  Faithkeepers is a new documentary by the Clarion Project about Christians in Muslim lands who refuse to denounce Christ despite daily persecution, including rape, torture, and murder.

The question is, who is keeping faith with the faith keepers? According to Aid to the Church in Need, some 215 million Christians worldwide face severe persecution, mostly at the hands of Muslims.  Yet a recent poll of U.S. Catholics reveals that they are more concerned about climate change than the global persecution of Christians.

Given a list of five global concerns, Catholics put persecution of Christians at the bottom of the list.  The plight of LGBT families wasn't on the list, but – seeing how thoroughly Catholics have been indoctrinated on the subject – one can imagine that if it were, it would be ranked as a more serious concern than Christian persecution.

In fact, acceptance and inclusion of LGBT families was a main concern of the just concluded World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin.  A featured speaker was Fr. James Martin, S.J. – one of the Church's loudest voices on behalf of the LGBT community. Several other talks also focused on sensitivity to the special needs of LGBT individuals and their families.  By contrast, as far as I can determine, only one talk out of approximately 100 presentations concerned the plight of persecuted families in the Middle East.   Moreover, the two-page summary of the talk that I read contains neither the words "Christians" nor "Muslims."  Rather, the suffering families were portrayed merely as victims of generic "conflict."

The WMOF's strange emphasis on the needs of LGBT families, and its relative silence on the plight of persecuted Christian families, signifies a grotesque loss of perspective on the part of the Catholic leadership.  What ought to be secondary or even tertiary concerns have been elevated over primary concerns.

On the one hand, Church leaders pay close attention to the concerns of a tiny minority (gays and lesbians make up approximately 2-3 percent of the general population, while transgenders are probably less than one-half of one percent) who pursue lifestyles that contradict Church teaching. On the other hand, the same leaders pay scant attention to the millions of Christians who are keeping the faith in the face of unrelenting persecution.

As the Faithkeepers film points out, Christians in the Middle East face extermination.  In 1915, Christians comprised 20 percent of the Middle Eastern population.  Today the number is 4 percent and still declining.

But the film doesn't dwell on statistics.  It wisely lets the victims tell the story:  A young married women is abducted, bound, thrown into a room with two other female prisoners, and together with them is tortured and raped. All of them refuse to convert to Islam. A boy witnesses his father's beheading, and becomes mute as a result, but experiences a miraculous recovery when his mother takes the family to a monastery in the hills.  A family makes a dangerous escape in a car, with corpses on the road, bullets flying around them, children crying, and gas tank nearing empty.

Meanwhile, back at WMOF, all the other concerns were overshadowed by the specter of a new global wave of clerical abuse and cover-ups. Unlike some of the other conference concerns, the scandals are not a secondary matter. They go to the heart of the sickness in the Church – not a lack of sensitivity, but a lack of fidelity to Christ and his commandments.  By covering up the abuse, bishops and heads of seminaries have substituted worldly standards of non-judgmental tolerance for Christ's "hard" teachings about sexual morality.

The abuse scandals are doubly scandalous because they come at a time when the Church is entering a new era of persecution.  Although the scandals certainly demand our attention, they also serve to draw attention away from the plight of persecuted Christians – a group that was not receiving sufficient attention to begin with.  Unfortunately, the story of immoral clerics and cowardly bishop is – from a media perspective – a far more interesting story than the persecution of faithful Christians in far-ways places.

There is another factor to consider.  The abuse scandals have not only taken attention away from the persecution, they have also taken away much of the monetary support that could have been provided by the Church to the persecuted. Some of the hundreds of millions of dollars that dioceses have paid in hush-money settlements over the years might well have gone to help those Christians in the Middle East and Africa who live in situations of constant danger.

Future Church historians will wonder at this gross inversion of priorities. They will wonder how the Church became so absorbed with sensitivity to sexual sub-cultures that it lost sight of a grave external threat to its very existence.  They will also wonder why Church leaders in the early 21st century seemed more concerned with showing solidarity with Islam  (witness the USCCB's anti-Islamophobia campaign) than in showing solidarity with persecuted Christians.

This lost perspective won't be easily restored, but a film such as Faithkeepers is a step in the right direction.  In an age when some Christians want the Church to sacrifice the faith for the sake of their own sexual preferences, Faithkeepers acquaints us with courageous Christians who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their faith. Attendees at the WMOF would have benefited if Fr. Martin's tendentious speech had been replaced with a showing of this illuminating film.

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

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Linda Harvey

Opinion, ,

Kids tutored in ‘pleasure’ despite STD epidemic

Linda Harvey
By Linda Harvey

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – "You have a right to be sexual!" It's the siren song of groups like SIECUS, GLSEN, and Advocates for Youth to lure America's adolescents.

And Planned Parenthood tells teen girls on Facebook that "sex is hot," abstinence is not. Even universities like U.C. Santa Barbara are now promoting sexual pleasure for children ages four to seven.

Yet the Centers for Disease Control just revealed that sexually transmitted diseases are exploding among our nation's youth.

"We are sliding backward," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention in the agency's press release. "It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point."

Despite the stats, progressives virtually escort kids to clinics without parental knowledge, where their sexual "rights" produce pills or IUDs that often fail or are incorrectly used. So this teen's next visit has one deadly purpose: to end the life of an unborn child whose mother is little more than a child herself.

And at that visit, she may also ask about that strange genital discharge. Could this be any more messed up?

The Centers for Disease Control recently reported on the explosion of sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia – a record 1.7 million cases in 2017, 45% among youth. Gonorrhea –up 67%. Syphilis has risen 76%, and is especially high among young homosexual males.

Other STDs are also at epidemic levels – human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer; genital herpes; and the monster of STDs, HIV.

So think of the incongruity of middle-schoolers (ages 11-13) trapped in progressive, X-rated sex ed classes, who dutifully learn there is no need for sexual self-restraint. As a result, many begin early to experiment with practices that mar their healthy young bodies, sometimes for life. This crucial fact is withheld or minimized as our precious kids are encouraged to engage "safely" in anal, oral, and vaginal sex at younger and younger ages.

What kind of wicked adults do this to kids?

If an abortion doesn't break a girl's heart, infertility from chlamydia will. But these teens will be thirty years old before they see the rotten "fruit" of STD-induced infertility. They will sadly believe sexual anarchists like Laci Green and Planned Parenthood and begin exercising a "right" to teen promiscuity.

And let's not forget the deadly contribution of "LGBTQ" advocates who demand "inclusive" sex ed – i.e., lessons that outline in detail how kids can engage in anal and oral sex, the sex practices of homosexuals. These lessons often encourage masturbation and pornography use.

The "gay" community explodes over any attempt to restrict homosexual access to youth. But the evidence is everywhere that their influence is despicable. Parents at Emmaus High School in PA found out, finally, the content of radical pro-homosexual videos shown to all students during an April week observing GLSEN's "Day of Silence."

Outright molestation isn't always the outcome of "LGBTQ" propaganda, but mental and moral corruption is.

Still, the latest trend in "comprehensive sexuality education" (CSE) barrels onward with its latest demand: "pleasure" as the new focus of sex education.

One group, the Healthy Teen Network, laments too much emphasis on disease:

The disease-prevention model has long gripped the field of adolescent health, casting all adolescent sexual activity in the narrowest, most sex-negative of lights.

This group is dedicated to promoting pleasure and has an October conference in San Diego (emphasis added):

So let's center pleasure in adolescent sex ed. Let's assemble a new language for the field that fosters authentic conversations in classrooms – conversations centered not on plumbing and pathology, but on pleasure.

Do "pleasure lessons" include free antibiotics for 13-year-olds?

And of course, this group wants to make sure "LGBTQ" priorities are covered:

And having frank, open conversations about sexual pleasure acknowledges people have sex for reasons other than reproduction, affirming the identities of LGBTQ+ people too often erased by curricula infatuated with the nitty-gritty details of when sperm meets egg.

And yet facts remain stubborn things. Male-to-male sex is still responsible for most HIV.

CDC reports that in the year 2016, 67% of HIV infections were transmitted through male-to-male sex, around 28,000 cases of HIV that year.

And let's ask again: why do schools support, rather than discourage, boys who claim a homosexual identity?

Responsibility in sex is unpopular among today's "hip" educators. Bowing to social justice warriors, rabid feminists and "LGBTQ" advocates, abstinence is discarded as the equivalent of racism. Never mind that this reasoning is short on reality and long on mythology.

But the irresponsibility is not always the fault of schools. Other than hand-wringing, what is CDC doing at the public health level to address this problem?

CDC web flyer for youth about sexually transmitted infections sounds the alarm over this epidemic. "Undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year! Americans ages 15-24 make up just 27% of the sexually active population, but account for 50% of the 20 million new STIs in the U.S. each year." Yet the three recommendations given for prevention are to get tested, reduce risk behaviors, and get vaccinated for HPV.

Sounds almost as weak and ineffectual as the CDC's series of outrageous pro-homosexual videos produced during the Obama years, called "Doing It," enabling rather than discouraging male-male sex.

Shouldn't we focus instead on abstinence until marriage? It's no longer a standard acceptable to public health officials, but we all know it would correct this epidemic.

Do we really want to? Let's face it – current policy simply manages STDs. No medical or political leader is apparently brave enough to do what needs to be done. It would mean offending/excluding powerful special interests, and who wants to deal with the wrath of the left?

Nevertheless, here's the solution:

1. Promote marriage to our youth – the authentic male/female kind

2. Expel all abortion providers from schools

3. Stop promoting homosexuality/gender confusion and eject these activists from classrooms

Can we do this? Yes, we can.

But will we?

Linda Harvey is president of Mission America.

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Rick Fitzgibbons, MD

Opinion, ,

Anyone who blames abuse crisis on ‘clericalism’ is part of the abuse crisis cover-up: Psychiatrist

Rick Fitzgibbons, MD
By

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The present severe crisis of sexual abuse by bishops and priests in the Church worldwide has resulted in a number of opinions regarding its origins. 

The recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report identified the homosexual predation of males; the Holy Father and Cardinal Cupich blame “clericalism”; the John Jay Causes and Context study (2011) postulated "availability."

My professional opinion as a psychiatrist with forty years of clinical experience is that the cause of the abuse crisis is rooted in psychological and spiritual conflicts in bishops and in priests, specifically a narcissism and a profound weakness in male confidence which inclines them to homosexual predation. 

Homosexual predation

The recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report helps to clarify the origins of the sexual harassment of youth.  It identifies 73% of the victims as being subjected to homosexual predation.

This finding is also consistent with the reports of the sexual harassment by Archbishop McCarrick of children, teenagers, young adults and adults.

Again, this finding is consistent with my clinical experience as a psychiatrist over the past forty years in treating priest abusers.  In every case I knew of sexual involvement with children or adolescents, the perpetrator had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.

Summary of Pennsylvania Predator Priest Activity

Heterosexual Predation – 23%

  • child - 6%
  • female teenage victims- 16%
  • female adult victims -1 %

Homosexual Predation – 73%

  • child victims 11%
  • male teenage victims – 60%
  • male adult victims -2%

Child Porn 

  • Gender Non-Specific - 4%

(Source: 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury REPORT 1 / Interim – Redacted. 2018.)

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report notably identifies the sexual harassment of children, teenagers and adults as “homosexual predation of children, teenagers and adults by an adult male.”  It specifically did not use the terms of the John Jay report of pedophilia for child abuse or of ephebophilia for adolescent-abusive acts.  Instead, the Pennsylvania Report clarified that a male’s engaging in sexually abusive behaviors toward another male is homosexual predation regardless of the age of the victim.

Clericalism

Pope Francis on August 20, 2018, stated that “clericalism” was the root cause of the sex abuse crisis in Pennsylvania.  He stated: 

“Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.” 

Clericalism has been described elsewhere as a “disordered attitude” toward clergy which often results in an “excessive deference and an assumption of their moral superiority.” Pope Francis has noted that such an attitude can be “fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons.”

Clericalism, however, does not result in a psychological need in a priest for a sexual encounter with another male, especially an adolescent. 

The Holy Father did not acknowledge the role of homosexual predation among clergy in the Pennsylvania crisis.

Cardinal Cupich also identified clericalism, not homosexual priests, as the cause of the sexual abuse crisis. Recently, the arrest of two priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago for public lewdness erodes the tag of clericalism. 

In my professional opinion, in an effort to deny the role of homosexuality in the sexual abuse crisis, clericalism and availability (the John Jay Report) have been incorrectly identified as major causes.  There is no psychological relationship between clericalism, availability and the sexual abuse of youth.

Both these terms manifest an attempt to cover-up the true origins of the abuse crisis.

Availability - John Jay Report 

In the John Jay first report of The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors (2004), 4,392 clerics were accused of childhood sexual abuse, which represented about 4 percent of clerics in active ministry during the study period. 

It found that incidents of clergy sexual abuse of youth increased in the 1960s, peaked around 1980, and have been declining since then. This time period coincided with a major rebellion by bishops, priests, Catholic universities and educators, and the laity against the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, which was reasserted by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae

Table 1 Alleged victims of sexual abuse incidents, grouped by gender and age

Age in years      1–7                 8–10                   11–14                    15–17

Male   
Number             203                   992                    4,282                      2,892

Female
Number             284                   398                     734                        502

(Source: John Jay College, The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors, 53, table 3.54.)

The John Jay Report found that 81% of the alleged victims were males.  

The Causes and Context study (2011) by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice concluded that the childhood and adolescent sexual abuse committed by clergy was unrelated to homosexuality. Instead, they identified the predation and abuse of adolescent males, the primary victims in the crisis, as a crime of opportunity or availability.  While criminologists may describe homosexual predation in imprisoned men as arising from availability, this theory is not applicable to the general public or to priests.

The John Jay second study ignored the severe psychological conflicts and grooming behaviors in priests and bishops, such as Archbishop McCarrick who sexually abused minors, seminarians and adults. 

Psychological and spiritual conflicts

The major psychological conflicts that contribute to the homosexual predation of children, adolescents and seminarians in my clinical experience over the past 40 years are narcissism and a profound weakness in male confidence.

I have described the role of narcissism in the epidemic of sexually aggressive behaviors in the media, as well as in singles and adolescents of both sexes

Narcissism can lead a man to act against his natural role as protector of youth and to think and feel that he is entitled to use others as sexual objects.

If a priest fails to teach and live the Church’s truth about sexual morality and chastity as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Humanae Vitae, he does not configure himself to Jesus Christ and fails to surrender his sexuality to the Lord. This weakness in sacrificial self-giving weakens his confidence and makes him vulnerable to situational ethics and to act-out sexually. 

Also, Archbishop Joseph Naumann has written an excellent letter in response to the sexual abuse crisis in which he challenges priests to preach on the Church’s truth about sexual morality and chastity.

“The priest needs to be able to articulate, in a convincing and compelling way, why heterosexual intimacy outside of the marital covenant is gravely immoral, as well as why homosexual activity is also always seriously sinful,” he wrote. 

Responses to the causes of the crisis

The trust in the hierarchy and in the Holy Father himself has been profoundly damaged by the sexual abuse crisis, the response to it and the accusations by Archbishop Viganò of a cover-up of Archbishop McCarrick’s predatory homosexual behavior by top leaders in the Church.

Robert George has identified the documents that are essential to review in response to the allegations of a cover-up of Archbishop McCarrick’s evil behaviors by the Vatican authorities. He suggested that the only way to arrive at the truth would be for the Pope to order church officials to release all pertinent documents in any and all Vatican and Washington offices. 

Archbishop Chaput’s recommendation to the Holy Father that he cancel the Synod on Youth seems prudent. He said, “Right now, the bishops would have absolutely no credibility in addressing this topic.” Instead, he recommends that a Synod of Bishops be held to address the sexual abuse crisis in the Church.  

In my professional opinion, Archbishop Chaput is correct. The mistrust in the laity is so severe at this time, because of the predatory homosexual abuse of youth and seminarians and its continued cover-up by bishops, that they would not trust the views of bishops in the proceedings or conclusions of a Synod on Youth.

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report that identifies homosexual predation in 73% of the cases victims of alleged abuse cannot be ignored, denied or rationalized.

A commitment should be made to follow the 2002 recommendation of Pope John Paul II in response to the crisis in the United States, which was to teach the fullness of the Church’s truth on sexual morality.  It would also mean ending the inexplicable and culpable silence on sexual morality and marriage as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Humanae Vitae. This also would mean learning or relearning moral theology that already proved itself capable of converting an over-sexualized pagan world.  

Cardinal Francis George, the late Archbishop of Chicago, spoke of this truth at the annual meeting of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries in Chicago in 1999.  He said:  

“It is possible, with God's grace, for everyone to live a chaste life, including persons experiencing same-sex attraction. To deny that the power of God's grace enables those with homosexual attractions to live chastely is to deny, effectively, that Jesus has risen from the dead.” 

Once authentic Catholic moral theology has been learned and communicated, then mandatory conferences on homosexuality should be required for priests and bishops in every diocese and seminary given by Courage, the only international program in the Church for those with same-sex attraction that is loyal to the Church’s teaching. Such conferences should also be required of the cardinals, bishops and priests serving in the Vatican.

Since the John Jay Report failed to identify the psychological and spiritual causes of the sexual abuse crisis, the programs developed to protect youth and priests from further abuse are seriously deficient and must be corrected.

The USCCB should consult with mental health professionals who support the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, such as in the Catholic Medical Association, and who understand the role of narcissism and psychological conflicts in the origins of same-sex attraction and homosexual predation of males of all ages.  These professionals should then develop their aspect of a comprehensive program to protect priests from sexual acting-out with youth, primarily adolescent males, and with their own peers.

The laity also has a responsibility to be active in protecting the truths in the Church as it did in the Arian heresy.  They must demand that bishops and priests be spiritual fathers who are loyal to the Church by preaching the truth. 

It is time to face the truth about the origins of the sexual abuse crisis so that the Church remains faithful to Jesus Christ and does not participate in the de-Christianization of the culture.

Editor's note: Rick Fitzgibbons, M.D. coedited an August 2011 issue of the Catholic Medical Association’s Linacre Quarterly on the crisis in the Church in which he co-authored several articles, is a member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family, has taught at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at Catholic University of America and has served as a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican. His forthcoming book on strengthening Catholic marriages will be published in 2019 by Ignatius Press.

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Just as it spawns rape, porn fuels child abuse too horrific to describe

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – For over a decade, millions of people in our pornified Western culture have been pumping millions of hours of sadistic sexually violent scenes into their skulls, all the while claiming in defiance of all the evidence that this exploding social lust for abuse and degradation has no real-world consequences once the screen has faded to black. This is despite the fact that nearly 90 percent of mainstream porn content now features violence against women—and most of it also includes name-calling so vicious that some scholars are saying it reaches the threshold of hate speech.

And despite the insistence of porn users that this fascination with the on-screen destruction of the feminine does not bleed into real life, that is unfortunately and provably not true. As I noted last week, violent porn is one of the key factors in India’s ongoing rape crisis. In the United Kingdom, violent porn has spawned an explosion of child-on-child sexual assaults. Pornography is grooming a generation of young men to be sexual predators, and it is grooming a generation of young women to be the victims of sexual violence.

When I travel across North America and speak about pornography, I hear stories of porn-inspired sexual assaults all too frequently. I have even encountered many horrifying instances of porn being used to groom children for sexual abuse—sometimes within the confines of a family. And that is why, unfortunately, I was not surprised to see a stomach-turning headline in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix last week: “Adopted daughters became ‘aim’ of Sask. man's porn addiction, court hears.”

The details are too graphic for me to include here, but the story is this: A 44-year-old man sexually abused his two and three-year old adopted daughters many times, beginning when they were infants. He turned himself in to police when one of his daughters made an off-hand comment about the abuse to her mother. “A pornography addiction may have been the red flag for a rural Saskatchewan man who started abusing his daughters without empathy,” the Star Phoenix reported.

Pornography, the reporter noted, twisted this man from a normal person into a perverse sex offender: “The Court heard the man had been living a double life of an accomplished health-care professional and loving father, and a selfish addict controlled by lust.” This is true of many men in our culture, regardless of whether most of them decide to act out on or imitate the sorts of things they watch on-screen. “Women, and eventually my girls, became faceless,” the man told the court just prior to being sentenced to prison for six years. “Eventually, I crossed the last line.”

That “last line” cost his daughters their innocence. “To my girls,” the convicted sex offender read from a letter, “I can’t tell you how sorry I am for not protecting you like a father, and that you became the aim of my addiction.” The result for the porn addict was a six year prison sentence, a lifetime on the sex offender registry, and a five year period after his release from prison where he cannot be around children unless supervised by someone who is aware of his sex offender status.

The sentence he gave his daughters is also life-long.

Most people remain unaware that pornography is not only a huge driver of sexual assault, but also plays a key role in the abuse of children. When I asked Matt Osborne of Operation Underground Railroad about the connection between porn and child abuse in an interview, he began murmuring in agreement before I could even finish my question. Operation Underground Railroad is an American organization that assists law enforcement officials around the world in breaking up human trafficking rings and rescuing sex slaves, with their operatives going undercover to pose as American sex tourists in shorts and flip-flops to lure human traffickers into revealing their brutal business.

“I’ve seen it firsthand in a couple of different areas,” he said of the connection between porn and child exploitation. “One of the first operations I led in Armenia, Columbia back in October of 2014, we helped take a suspected trafficker in that area who admitted to us…how he got involved in this type of business. He said that when he was 22 years old, he started watching pornography, looking at magazines and videos, and then he just noticed that he needed more and more hard-core, more and more violent pornography to get his fix, so to speak.”

“Then he also realized that he needed to physically have forceful sex with these kids, rape them—he’s admitting this to us,” Osborne told me. “And then he actually got in to making pornography. So you see this whole spectrum here—the ‘harmless’ magazine all the way to having to make pornography. Then some of the American would-be sex buyers we helped to arrest with the Department of Homeland Security, they admitted to us that again, they started with what they thought was harmless pornography and then it got to the point where they actually had to travel to locations to have sex with kids. A couple of them told us, ‘I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for pornography.’”

That last observation—“I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for pornography”—is actually a common sentiment among those who have been inspired by their violent fantasies to live out their lusts in real life. NBC’s How to Catch a Predator often features sex criminals who admit that it was porn that brought them to this wretched place in their lives—and that they cannot fathom who they have become. Sometimes, it turns out, you really become what you consume: A sexual predator thriving on violence and degradation.

Bluntly put: Pornography is a cultural poison with countless victims, and these victims are largely ignored because “sexual liberation” demands that we never critique someone’s sexual interests—even if that happens to be watching violence being inflicted on women and girls for pleasure. This is a sick and disgusting state of affairs, and it is long past time for us to have an open and honest discussion about what pornography tells us about ourselves, both individually and collectively. It is time for us to take the advice of Langston Hughes:

I am so tired of waiting,
Aren’t you,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two—
And see what worms are eating
At the rind.

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Updated: Priest withdraws statement on ‘cesspools’ in German dioceses over fear of retribution

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By Maike Hickson

Updated September 13, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. EST.

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, September 12, we published an “eyewitness account” by a priest about the “cesspools” of homosexual immorality in German dioceses.

The priest wrote anonymously out of fear of retribution. However, after publication the priest feared that even the meager details provided risked exposing him, and he asked that we remove his account.

The priest explains his decision in the following statement:

“After speaking with two clergymen who are well informed about the situation, I give the following statement: to my own great chagrin, I see myself urged to withdraw my own report of experiences concerning the situation of the German priestly formation. Since I wish not to endanger my possibility to be further active in the pastoral field, and for other reasons, I politely ask the editors, with a sense of urgency, to remove immediately the text from the Internet. I confirm that Dr. Hickson has followed in a most exemplary way her journalistic duty for diligence and care and that my necessary decision to withdraw my statement – made clear in conversations with some competent fellow priests – is only due to my own lack of practical wisdom, as well as due to my lack of experience with regard to such circumstances. I regret any inconvenience that could stem from this decision.”

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Leaked sex abuse report rocks German church, 3,677 victims

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By Maike Hickson

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two German major media outlets – Der Spiegel and Die Zeit – leaked today the findings of a sexual abuse commission funded by the German Bishops' Conference and which Cardinal Reinhard Marx had planned to present to the public on 25 September. 

The report shows that many abusing priests were simply transferred to other parishes and that only one-third of them were ever investigated by the Church. 

The majority of victims were boys under 14 years of age. There also now arise serious concerns about the lack of academic independence of the official researchers.

The leaked information about the so-called “MHG Study” is causing a great stir in Germany, since it finally brings to light the murky history of the German bishops' handling of abuse cases. And, as expected, their conduct is similar to many bishops in the U.S.: cover-ups and moving priests into another parish.

As Der Spiegel reports, the study which had been conducted by a team stemming from three German universities (Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Gießen) in the name of the German Bishops' Conference under Cardinal Marx, looked into abuse cases from 1946 until 2014. Importantly, the study states that there were counted “3,677 mostly male minors as victims of sexual abuse.” 

1,670 clergymen have been accused of these crimes. 

As Die Zeit specifies in its own report: “62% of the victims are male, and 35% are female. In some partial investigations, the percentage of male victims even went up to 80%.”

More than half of the victims were, at the most, 13 years old, reports Walter Mayr for Der Spiegel. He also points out, quoting from an executive summary of that official report that is to be presented by Cardinal Marx on September 25 that in many cases the archives and files concerning the accused clergymen have been “destroyed or manipulated.” 

As Mayr also quotes from the report, it is not to be assumed “that the sexual abuse of minors by clergymen of the Catholic Church is a topic that belongs to the past and that has been resolved.” The abuse cases have continued to happen up until the end of the time period under investigation, that is the year 2014.

“In a striking amount of cases,” continues Mayr, “the accused clergymen were moved to another location, without the new parish being given 'the pertinent information' about the abuser.” “Only a third of the abusers faced a canonical trial, at which end the sanctions were minimal, if there were any.” As is stated, only 41 accused priests were laicized, 88 were excommunicated.

As the leaked report states, about 4% of the active clergy have been accused of sexual abuse. Only 7.8 % of the abusers have been punished with drastic sanctions. 

The numbers of abusers and victims is likely much higher than what is stated in the report. 

As the German newspaper Die Zeit comments, “for the first time, the Catholic Church admits what she has covered up for years and then played down.” The given numbers of abuse cases in the report, Evelyn Finger, the reporter, adds, is the lowest possible number. “That is to say,” explains Finger, “behind the most important numbers which have been listed here, there stands the invisible 'at least.'” “The truth is much worse,” she later adds.

The research team of seven researchers and additional helpers has investigated – over the course of four and a half years – 38,000 personnel and other files; they also conducted many interviews. The mission as given by the German bishops was to find out the extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany and to discern which conditions encouraged such misconduct. 

The 350-page final report which was funded, according to Die Zeit, with 1.2 million euros, now presents the results of research conducted in all 27 German dioceses.

As Die Zeit points out, “one fundamental problem remains: the dependency of the results upon the bishops.” That was the original problem of the project, Finger adds, when Professor Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist of Hannover, who had first started this study, but then found the conditions of research professionally unacceptable. As Finger points out, the German bishops had tried to tighten up the original contract with Pfeiffer, who had reacted against their attempt at having control over the findings of his research. The bishops even tried to gain the right to forbid the publication of the research, should there arise “a serious reason.” Pfeiffer has also criticized the “destruction of files” and the “resistance” on the part of the Church against an “independent analysis of the files by former judges and attorneys.” 

As Finger stresses, these complaints on the part of Professor Pfeiffer have now been confirmed, since the final report as published by another research team states that “in some cases, there were to be found clear indications that files had been manipulated.” The researchers also found “explicit information” from two dioceses “that files or parts of files pertaining to sexual abuse of minors had been destroyed at an earlier time.”

Importantly, the research team states: “The study project did not have access to the original files of the Catholic Church. All archives and files of the dioceses had been investigated only by diocesan personnel or by law firms hired by the dioceses.” That is to say, these diocesan employees first went through the files and filled out a questionnaire developed by the research team. As Finger points out, “none of the scientists ever had in their hands files from the Church's archives. That is why this study is not really independent. The institution that had to be investigated controlled the investigation.” She points out that this is a difference to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, as well as the Royal Commission's report in Australia. 

Finger makes it clear that the Church, if she at all took sanctions against the abusing priests, “chose rather soft punishments such as early retirement, interdiction to celebrate Mass, therapy, leave of absence, reprimand, low fees, or just simply retreats.” These punishments, Finger comments, were “less than fitting.” In only about 7 % of the cases, the bishops even called upon the state to investigate the committed crimes. The journalist also says that “up to 8% of the whole clergy” was found to be abusers. As the report states, “the majority of the abusers did not show signs of repentance.” Finger finds it “improbable” that, with regard to the lack of punishments, there was a “lack of knowledge” on the part of those with responsibility.

The research team – a secular group of scientists – at the end of their abuse report makes some general recommendations. The “strict sexual morality” and the “obligatory celibacy” are seen as problems. Clericalism is also mentioned. “The rejection of the ordination of homosexual men should urgently be reconsidered,” the report states. Mandatory celibacy “could be a risk factor.”

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

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Why a ‘religiously-neutral’ public square always turns out to be anti-Christian

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – We’ve heard for a long time that the solution to society’s problems, including the problems of Catholics in today’s modern Western democracies, is that everyone should “live and let live”—that we should all be classical liberals who rejoice in a land where people are free to live as they choose, as long as they allow others to live as the others choose to live, and as long as nobody hurts anybody else. There’s no reason for conflict if we just follow this common sense tolerance.

This sounds nice in theory, but how does it work in practice?

The reality is that the practice of religion (and, mutatis mutandis, the violent opposition to religion that is modern atheism) is necessarily public and political. For example, if all Catholics are to worship on a given day, they must have part or all of the day off of work; and if there is to be a procession, a main road might need to be shut down during it. The former will make companies less efficient or less profitable or both; the latter will impinge on traffic, perhaps on trade, certainly it may seem an imposition on the unbelieving or the unenthusiastic. 

Modern atheism, for its part, is no less public and political: it tries to get rid of all religious symbols, like crucifixes and Christmas scenes, and if it could, it would abolish Sundays and Holy Days (indeed, this has already largely occurred). If the unbelievers had their way, there would be no room and no respect left for Christianity in the public square. In this sense, the liberal isn’t one who thinks all views should be allowed to flourish; he believes that the only view that can be allowed is the one that says no view is sufficiently known as true for it to have any precedence or prerogatives. By this “reasoning,” atheism becomes de facto the default public and political creed.

We can illustrate the problem with a crystal clear example. When someone plays music in his car (especially with extra speakers and windows open, driving down Main Street) or through his leaking earbuds, he makes everyone around him listen to what he is listening to. His “free choice” to listen imposes on the others a situation they did not freely choose. He is forcing them to submit to his freedom. So, “giving everyone freedom” is illusory; one man’s exercise of freedom may and likely will impinge on another’s rights.

We see this playing out dramatically with the aggressive homosexual lobby. When “gay marriage” is legalized, what happens to the freedom of bakers, decorators, clothiers, musicians, and churches to follow their Christian (and natural law-based) conscience, whereby they would choose to be involved only in heterosexual weddings? Sorry, folks, you have no freedom anymore; liberalism has taken it away. You must now do just what the State tells you—no more, no less.

The most serious example, of course, is the denial of the unborn baby human’s right to the care of a mother and father and to legal protection. Because of liberalism’s intolerant creed, the woman’s freedom means everything; the child’s life, rights, and eventual freedom mean nothing. But only a demonic parody of freedom seeks to abolish and annihilate another person’s freedom in order to secure its own.

If the social space is not Catholic, it will be filled, over time, with pagan and anti-Catholic elements. Society, like nature, abhors a vacuum. We have seen more confirmation than we could ever have wished of the truth of what the great popes of the nineteenth century were saying: there is no such thing as a religiously-neutral public square, a society that does not privilege a creed. The public sphere will be either religious or irreligious, either Christian or anti-Christian. Liberalism self-destructs into intolerant ideology.

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