All articles from September 13, 2018


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Cardinal Donald Wuerl (center) John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews
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Embattled Cdl. Wuerl appears resolute in his decision to resign as Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Donald Wuerl has indicated that he will soon travel to Rome to ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation as Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

“In his Sept. 11 letter to priests,” reads a tweet from the Archdiocese of Washington, “Cardinal Wuerl shared that the best way to serve the Church as it moves into the future will be to meet soon with Pope Francis to request that he accept his resignation that was submitted three years ago.”

As is customary when Catholic bishops turn 75 years old, Cardinal Wuerl tendered his resignation nearly three years ago, but the Pope did not accept it at that time.

Last week, the embattled prelate acknowledged the growing number of calls for him to resign – some emanating from his own clergy – but had stopped short of saying he was ready to step down.

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

An exhaustive, nearly 900-page grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by Pennsylvania priests mentions Wuerl over 200 times.

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

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

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

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

In a more recent letter addressed to the priests of Washington, D.C., Wuerl indicated that he intends, “in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented nearly three years ago, November 12, 2015.”

“It was clear that some decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect” of moving forward, the letter said.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected].  

Full text of Cardinal Wuerl’s letter:

Dear Brother Priest,

On Monday, September 3, prior to our annual Labor Day gathering, we had an opportunity to pray together and, as I was asked by our Holy Father Pope Francis, to discern the best course of action for me to pursue as we face new revelations of the extent of the horror of the clergy abuse of children and the failures in episcopal oversight. At issue is how to begin effectively to bring a new level of healing to survivors who have personally suffered so much and to the faithful entrusted to our care who have also been wounded by the shame of these terrible actions and have questions about their bishop’s ability to provide the necessary leadership.

It was clear that some decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect so that this archdiocesan Church we all love can move forward. As a fruit of our discernment I intend, in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented nearly three years ago, November 12, 2015.

Our discernment here, I believe, has indicated the way forward to bring healing and a new beginning at the service of this Church. I am particularly grateful for your patience and respect for this time of discernment.

I ask you please to include me in your prayers.

Faithfully in Christ,
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

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In 2014, Bishop John M. Quinn of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester gave a Heart of Mary Award to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
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Priest questions his bishop for honoring McCarrick

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minnesota, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest has questioned his bishop honoring of a now-disgraced former cardinal.

In the August 26 Sunday bulletin for the cluster of three parishes he serves, Father Thomas Niehaus wrote of the current sexual abuse crisis and of Bishop John Quinn’s remarks when he gave Archbishop Theodore McCarrick an award. (Full text of the letter published below, edited for clarity.)

“I was present at the rector-bishop dinner held at St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN on April 24, 2014 when Bishop John M. Quinn gave the Heart of Mary Award to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington D.C.,” Niehaus wrote. “He gave glowing accolades about the then-Cardinal and how as a friend (he) had encouraged him along the way by his example and kindness.”

But four years later, the memory is an unhappy one.

“Now as I look back at that day I am sickened,” Niehaus wrote. “What kind of example was Bishop Quinn talking about as he praised the now-shamed former Cardinal accused of corruption, sexual abuse and creating a culture of sexual perversion? Is that the example that leads others to holiness and the example that is leading the people of our Diocese of Winona-Rochester?”

In his memorandum, Niehaus condemned clerical sexual abuse and called for all scandals in the Catholic Church to be “brought into the light.” He told his six congregations that he had learned the reasons the majority of the abuse cases occurred between the late 1960s and the early 1990s were the sexual revolution of the 1960s, a new ethos of “self-actualization,” and the use of seminaries as hideouts.

“(T)hose of us who studied the materials during the ‘Fortnight for Freedom’ here in our area parishes this summer learned that in the wake of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s  … sexual permissiveness and sexual experimentation was rampant in western culture, especially here in the United States of America,” he wrote.

“The prevailing psychological movement of the day was self-actualization and the trying out of disordered or repressed desires,” he continued.  

“With the Vietnam War and the draft of young men into the military, there were some who hid out in Catholic Seminaries and houses of religious communities within the Catholic Church, not just to avoid the draft but to avoid scrutiny for the sexual abuse that had been inflicted upon them as children at home or covering up homosexual tendencies.”

Sexually permissive priests led to sexually permissive bishops. Niehaus explained that with the drop in vocations after Vatican II, many bishops were chosen from “effeminate business leaders”.

“With the decline in vocations to priesthood in the USA many of the priests who we knew as manly father-figures living for Jesus Christ were displaced in the Catholic Church with effeminate business-leaders hiding behind political agendas and lifestyles contrary to the Catholic Church,” he wrote.

Having studied the evidence, Niehaus is not surprised by allegations that a large percentage of American bishops are sexually active homosexuals or willing to cover up child abuse.

“When I look at all of this in context of this month’s news in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it does not surprise me that the (...) Catholic priests (...) available to become bishops in the Catholic Church in the USA in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were increasingly active homosexuals or willing to promote and coverup homosexual or pedophile behaviors to conceal a culture of distorted sexual acts,” he wrote.

Niehaus believes this is the reason few American Catholics hear homilies against sexual sins.

“No wonder when certain bishops were consecrated here in the USA that they never held strong stances on Catholic Church teaching concerning immorality such as homosexuality, contraception or abortion to name a few ‘hot topics,’” he wrote.  

“These bishops and other Church leaders were covering up what they knew and were protecting those who had made it possible for them to climb the ladder of Church power and position without doing so through prayer and a love of Jesus Christ.”  

Niehaus concluded by saying that his heart went out to victims of clerical sexual abuse and their families and inviting his readers to join with him in prayer and fasting.

The priest told LifeSiteNews via email that he was willing for his statement to reach a wider audience if it might further accountability among priests, bishops and others.

“The Catholic Church needs to live in the light,” he stated, “and I have nothing to hide in my desire for a new generation of holy men, women and children to live as saints totally committed to Jesus Christ!”

The Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester told LifeSiteNews via email that the then-Cardinal McCarrick received awards from many institutions around the United States.

“Bishop Quinn had only a casual acquaintance with Archbishop McCarrick, therefore there was no perceived need to investigate his background,” wrote Father Glenn K. Frerichs. “Bishop Quinn has shared his surprise over the recent revelations.”

A Word from Father Thomas A. Niehaus

Mary Mother of Mercy Catholic Cluster

Blooming Prairie, Dodge Center, and Hayfield, MI

“It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light (Ephesians 5:12 13).”

During this current wave of sexual abuse accountability in the Catholic Church taking place in 2018, my heart is heavy and maybe yours is too. As a lifelong practicing Catholic who has two other brothers who served as faithful Catholic priests and a sister who is a vowed religious and as a Catholic priest ordained for 10 years I am not giving up or going anywhere else. As Peter said to Jesus, “To whom shall we go Lord? You have the words of everlasting life (John 6:68).”  I have realized […] over the years the difference between the Church as the Bride of Christ and the imperfection of Her members, you and me.

For the tragedy that has occurred at the hands of priests, religious and laity working in the Church who have abused children and vulnerable adults, there needs to be light. Any and all scandal in the Catholic Church needs to be brought into the light and dealt with. Any and all distorted sexual acts among Catholics needs to be brought into the light. Sexual abuse of minors by clergy has no place in the Catholic Church and should have no place in society. Disordered sexual acts by married couples have no place in the Catholic Church and should have no place in society.

The majority of sexual abuse cases have occurred in the late 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Some may say, why is this? ..[T]hose of us who studied the materials during the “Fortnight for Freedom” here in our area parishes this summer learned that in the wake of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s,  … sexual permissiveness and sexual experimentation was rampant in western culture, especially here in the United States of America.

The prevailing psychological movement of the day was self-actualization and the trying out of disordered or repressed desires. With the Vietnam War and the draft of young men into the military, there were some who hid out in Catholic Seminaries and houses of religious communities within the Catholic Church, not just to avoid the draft but to avoid scrutiny for the sexual abuse that had been inflicted upon them as children at home or covering up homosexual tendencies ([see]“Good Bye Good Men,” by Michael Rose).

After the great decline of priestly and religious vocations following the Vatican II Council and the debunked rumor that Catholic priests were going to be allowed to marry, many masculine candidates found themselves leaving the priesthood or seminary in order to get married. In the wake of this exodus in the 1970’s and 1980’s the number of ordained clergy plummeted and those priests who were left were either the older mature priests formed before 1965 who were trained to live holy lives, some priests who made it as normal healthy priest by the Holy Spirit, or those priests who were confused about their identity and either hid behind hidden sexual practices and desires or alcoholism to cope with the unusual climate of the Church that was present in the United States of America.

With the decline in vocations to priesthood in the USA many of the priests who we knew as manly father-figures living for Jesus Christ were displaced in the Catholic Church with effeminate business-leaders hiding behind political agendas and lifestyles contrary to the Catholic Church.

When I look at all of this in context of this month’s news in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it does not surprise me that the [...] Catholic priests [...] available to become bishops in the Catholic Church in the USA in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s were increasingly active homosexuals or willing to promote and coverup homosexual or pedophile behaviors to conceal a culture of distorted sexual acts.

No wonder when certain bishops were consecrated here in the USA that they never held strong stances on Catholic Church teaching concerning immorality such as homosexuality, contraception or abortion to name a few “hot topics.” These bishops and other Church leaders were covering up what they knew and were protecting those who had made it possible for them to climb the ladder of Church power and position without doing so through prayer and a love of Jesus Christ.

I was present at the rector-bishop dinner held at St.Mary’s University in Winona, MN on April 24, 2014 when Bishop John M. Quinn gave the Heart of Mary Award to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington DC. He gave glowing accolades about the then-Cardinal and how as a friend [he] had encouraged him along the way by his example and kindness.

Now as I look back at that day I am sickened. What kind of example was Bishop Quinn talking about as he praised the now-shamed former Cardinal accused of corruption, sexual abuse and creating a culture of sexual perversion? Is that the example that leads others to holiness and the example that is leading the people of our Diocese of Winona-Rochester?

All of this abuse, corruption and scandal needs to be brought into the light and allow for the healing mercy of Jesus to bring restoration to people inside and outside of the Catholic Church. My heart goes out to victims and their families impacted by clerical sexual abuse in the Church. I pray for the abusers for the conversion, and I pray for the people of God that we would continue to put our trust in Jesus Christ and strive for holiness seeking to promote and implement a culture of light were no more children or vulnerable adults would be put in harm’s way.

Please join me in praying and fasting once a week on Fridays for the conversion of sinners and for healing in the Catholic Church in the United States of America.

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MP Stella Creasy
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British MP keeps up her attack on pro-life Northern Ireland

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September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — British Labour Member of Parliament Stella Creasy continued to call for changes to the law banning abortion in Northern Ireland at a conference in Dublin while attacking the First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster’s continuing pro-life stance.

On Monday, Creasy took part in a panel discussion on Our Vision for Women in 2018 at the International Congress of Parliamentary Women's Caucuses in Dublin Castle. The global gathering included parliamentarians and diplomats representing more than 40 countries as well as activists, writers, artists, and academics.

Reports indicated that some of the hundreds of delegates in the audience “audibly gasped” as Creasy described the criminalization of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Creasy told those listening: "Right now, there is only one woman who gets to make a choice about abortion rights for all women in Northern Ireland and she's called Arlene Foster."

"In Northern Ireland, if you are raped, you can face a longer prison sentence than the person who attacked you if you choose to terminate that pregnancy," she said.

"The UK Supreme Court said this breaches the human rights of women, but my government refuses to step in to allow women in Northern Ireland to have modern abortion laws," she continued. "And because my Prime Minister needs to be in power by using the votes from this person, they don't want to move forward on abortion legislation, but I don't think it's right that that one woman should make that choice."

Creasy has pro-abortion support from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who attended the event. Creasy said the Irish premier assured her that he would support her campaign for “abortion rights.”

On June 5, Creasy was at the forefront of calls for reform when the British House of Commons had an emergency debate on an abortion provision in Northern Ireland after the Irish Republic’s referendum last May.

After the Republic’s referendum result was known, Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party leader and Northern Ireland’s First Minister, was quick to state that decision had “no impact upon the law in Northern Ireland.” She pointed out that abortion was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly to “debate and decide” as it remains a “devolved issue.”

After the Irish referendum, British Prime Minister Theresa May came under pressure to scrap existing abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Pro-abortion groups and their Parliamentary supporters, in particular Creasy, called for changes to what they termed the “anomalous” situation – one that is different than the rest of the UK – with regard to abortion provision in Northern Ireland. The British 1967 Abortion Act that permitted abortion in certain circumstances was never extended to Northern Ireland.

In July, Creasy was instrumental in organizing a letter to The Sunday Times signed by 170 parliamentarians from the UK and Ireland demanding that May override the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland and introduce a liberal abortion regime there.

Creasy and her pro-abortion parliamentary allies are largely prevented from making changes to the law in Northern Ireland by the current political predicament of the Westminster government. After the 2017 British general election, May’s Conservative government has no overall majority in the House of Commons. She needs the support of the 10 DUP Members of Parliament to ensure that her administration in London does not collapse. Therefore, at present, there is no move afoot in the Westminster Parliament to cause any tensions between the ruling Tory administration and its junior coalition partner; and so the subject of abortion and Northern Ireland is not on any government agenda – for now at least.

Creasy is not just interested in Northern Ireland. She has pushed for more abortion liberalization in the rest of the UK. She has tabled an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill currently before the UK’s House of Commons and written her own:

The forthcoming domestic violence bill is due to consider the Victorian Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalises women in this way. Repealing it would lay the foundation for a modern medical approach to abortion across the UK, including in Northern Ireland, which could put women’s safety at the heart of future legislation.

The proposed Creasy amendment is, therefore, not just about an abortion provision in Northern Ireland. By removing the criminal law that underpins current British abortion legislation — Ss. 58 and 59 of the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861 — abortion itself will be decriminalized throughout the United Kingdom (the 1967 Abortion Act only permitted abortion in certain circumstances and within defined time limits), thereafter paving the way for what Creasy describes as “a modern medical approach to abortion across the UK.”

So it is no coincidence that Creasy’s call at the Dublin conference to change the law in Northern Ireland came at this time. It is part of an orchestrated move to pressure the DUP in general and Foster in particular.

As Creasy knows, there is little support for her cause within Northern Ireland. Instead, she gathers support from outside its borders – from Great Britain and the Irish Republic  – in an attempt to force change upon Ulster’s pro-lifers.

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour discusses the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church with Cardinal Timothy Dolan Sept. 13, 2018. CNN screen grab
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He’s a ‘tremendous leader…we need him’: Cdl. Dolan defends Wuerl amid abuse crisis

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By Claire Chretien

ANALYSIS

NEW YORK, New York, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has come to the defense of his “friend” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the embattled archbishop of Washington, D.C. who is facing pressure to resign over inaction on sex abuse.

“Now we’re seeing major Church leaders having to resign,” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour pointed out during an interview with Dolan. “You’ve got Cardinal McCarrick, you’ve got Cardinal Wuerl – who is potentially gonna be resigning – first and foremost, do you agree with that? Cardinal Wuerl is accused of basically having known about the abuse [and] will meet the Pope to offer his resignation. Should he be resigning?”

Theodore McCarrick, who was an auxiliary bishop of New York and later archbishop of Washington, D.C., resigned as a cardinal earlier this summer after the Archdiocese of New York found “credible” allegations he’d molested a minor decades before and former seminarians and priests said he’d abused them as well. A man who was the first baby McCarrick baptized revealed that McCarrick had molested and sexually abused him beginning at age 11 and through young adulthood.

Wuerl is in hot water both for his claims he knew nothing about his predecessor’s predation and for what a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed about his role in sex abuse cover-up when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl technically already submitted his resignation to Pope Francis three years ago when he turned 75, but it has not been accepted. That appears to be imminent, however, with Wuerl announcing an upcoming trip to Rome to discuss his resignation.

“Look, I gotta be personal. He’s a good friend and he’s a tremendous leader among the bishops,” Dolan answered. “I kinda hope he doesn’t resign. We need him. We need him for reform – cause he’s been a great source of reform in the past, even, not taking away the fact that you just said – I trust him enough that if he thinks he needs to resign for the good of the Church, he will. And I would respect that decision and support him.”

“If I read it right, he had a very good record of being aggressive against abuse,” Dolan continued. Amanpour pushed back against this, saying, “he’s alleged to have known about this abuse.”

“This one case, right? I’m afraid he may be being judged on pre-Dallas standards,” said Dolan, referring to the 2002 charter of U.S. bishops on dealing with clerical sex abuse. McCarrick played a role in creating that charter and was one of its main publicizers as the American hierarchy tried to do damage control that year.

“But I don’t wanna argue with ya,” Dolan said. “The fact does remain that even after the reforms of Dallas in 2002, apparently this priest remained. He’s [Wuerl] apologized for that, that does make me angry, that is a cause, uh, for, uh, for anger.”

Dolan and Wuerl represent, in a sense, the “old guard” of U.S. bishops. Although not aggressively orthodox, the two rose to prominence during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Dolan is the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – he was elected in 2010 – and is a dynamic orator who, despite not having a handle on some of the LGBT-promoting parishes and priests in his diocese, has made powerful statements in support of the pre-born’s right to life.

Although Dolan famously capitulated to LGBT activists, allowing them to participate in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and applauded Michael Sam for announcing his homosexuality (“Bravo!”), neither he nor Wuerl is as radical as some in the clique of Francis-appointed prelates including Cardinals Joseph Tobin and Blase Cupich and Bishop Robert McElroy. This difference has manifested itself at USCCB meetings, particularly when Wuerl and Dolan teamed up to defend making the organization’s religious liberty committee permanent.

Dolan: Terrible stories of abuse crisis ‘not new to me,’ homosexuality is not the ‘sole root’

Cardinal Dolan denied that the “sole root” of the sex abuse crisis is homosexual clergy. The majority of victims of clerical sex abuse have been teenage males, according to the John Jay Report and the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“It’s not about gay or straight, liberal or conservative, Viganò or Pope Francis,” the Cardinal said, referring to the former’s 11-page testimony accusing the pope and high-ranking Church officials of complicity in the McCarrick cover-up. “It’s about right and wrong.”

Both Amanpour and Dolan acknowledged that the sex abuse crisis is not a uniquely American problem.

Amanpour brought up the “report from Germany” on over 3,000 abuse victims that was leaked on Wednesday. Dolan noted the crisis has affected other countries as well, such as Ireland, Chile, and Australia.

Dolan said this summer has been a “disaster” for the Church, consisting of “one crisis after another,” such as “the McCarrick affair, the Pennsylvania grand jury nauseating report,” and “now all the tension with the Viganò letter.” He noted these crises have no doubt been the most difficult on abuse victims, who perhaps had “just begun to heal” from abuse years ago.

“What do you think when you hear these now-elderly people who’ve absorbed all this pain for so long, with impunity in your Church?” Amanpour asked Dolan after playing a clip of Pennsylvania abuse survivors speaking out.

“Thanks for asking. And you know what, I hate to say this: it’s not new to me,” said Dolan. “I’ve had to listen to people face-to-face, and if you don’t think that’s wrenching, I tell ya, it’s awful…this summer has been anything but a church picnic for us. I mean, it’s been a disaster. One crisis after another. And as I try my best to listen to people, I hear them express very eloquently frustration, bewilderment, anger, confusion – you name it, they got it. And you just asked me my sentiments – I say to them: thanks for telling me, nice to meet you, I’m feeling the same way. ‘Cause I get angry as well, that priests could do this, that brother bishops would be so negligent in not responding properly, that our people are suffering, and most of all – most of all – that these victims are [suffering].”

According to Dolan, his elderly mother doesn’t want to go to lunch with friends from her nursing home out of embarrassment.

The abuse crisis, particularly as it relates to the misdeeds of bishops, shows no signs of slowing down. Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston turned 75 just over a week ago, and Pope Francis accepted that resignation today as the Church launches a probe into whether Bransfield sexually harassed adults.

According to a diocesan spokesman, Bransfield has been instructed to live outside the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston during the investigation and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori has been appointed apostolic administrator of that diocese.

A local hospital ward and a Catholic school gymnasium are both named after Bransfield; it’s unclear whether they will be renamed. A Catholic high school named after Wuerl has already changed its name in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

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UN disability committee: Abortion ‘prerequisite’ for ‘safeguarding women’s human rights’

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

September 13, 2018 (C-Fam) – Last week, two UN committees monitoring compliance with human rights treaties issued a joint statement declaring that access to "safe and legal abortion" is not only essential to women's health, but also a "prerequisite for safeguarding women's human rights" more generally.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) monitor compliance with their respective human rights treaties by nations who have ratified them. Neither treaty, nor any other global human rights treaty, mentions abortion explicitly, but for decades, treaty monitoring bodies have exerted nonbinding pressure on UN member states to liberalize their abortion laws.

While critics of these treaty bodies have accused them of exceeding their mandates, meaningful reform has been slow in coming. Meanwhile, their observations promoting abortion as a right have been cited by abortion advocacy groups as proof that such a right exists, and even cited by national courts as a justification for changing their laws, as in the case of Colombia and Argentina.

That the committees on the rights of women and persons with disabilities joined together to issue the statement was notable, as there have recently been disputes between UN human rights experts as to whether a prenatal diagnosis of a disability should be considered as a justification for abortion in law. Earlier this year, an event at the UN highlighted the "prenatal genocide" of children with Down Syndrome by abortion.

Theresia Degener, the chairperson of the CRPD, insisted that disability rights and women's rights are not in conflict, and condemned pro-life arguments that abortion should be restricted to protect the lives of disabled children. "This constitutes a misinterpretation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

Instead, she argued, efforts should be made to ensure that women with disabilities have access to "sexual and reproductive health" care, including abortion, adding that they should also be protected from forced abortion or sterilization.

The two committees warned against "[r]ollback and regression on respect for international human rights norms," before immediately narrowing their focus to abortion. In contrast, pro-life advocates have argued that UN treaty bodies have for decades overreached their mandates and attempted to redefine international human rights norms with impunity, against the consensus of UN member states, which have defined abortion as a matter for national, not international, lawmaking.

International abortion advocates have expressed heightened concerns about the "backlash" against abortion, led by increasingly effective lobbying by pro-life networks at the global and regional level, as well as the United States' adoption of a pro-life foreign policy position under President Donald Trump.

The U.S. has not ratified either CEDAW or CRPD, and therefore does not receive periodic recommendations from their monitoring bodies, but the CEDAW Committee has pressured its signatories on abortion a total of 243 times since 1999. This trend has continually increased, with three quarters of countries reviewed in 2017 being told to change their abortion laws.

In 2012, the U.S. Senate considered ratifying CRPD, but ultimately did not in part due to advocacy by pro-life and pro-family organizations. C-Fam's Vice President and Director of Research Dr. Susan Yoshihara's testimony warned against the U.S. coming under the purview of another UN expert committee: "Treaty bodies have ignored the agreement of nations…that regulation of abortion laws is the prerogative of sovereign states."

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Pope Francis: Catholics who ‘enter into logic of accusing’ are doing Satan’s work

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By Doug Mainwaring

ROME, September 13, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – On the same day he met with a delegation from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), Pope Francis again took up the theme of the ‘Great Accuser’ during his homily in the chapel where he resides within the walls of Vatican City.  

The Pope in his homily said that Christians should never enter “into gossiping,” or “into the logic of insults,” which only cause “war,” reported Vatican News.

Christian logic goes against the current of that leads one to “badmouth enemies or those who are of a different party,” and follows instead the “folly of the Cross.” 

“Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world, that thinks differently, that does not accuse others. Because among us is the ‘Great Accuser,’ the one who is always going about to accuse us before God, to destroy. Satan: he is the ‘Great Accuser.’ And when I enter into this logic of accusing, of cursing, seeking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the ‘Great Accuser’ who is the ‘Destroyer,’ who does not know the word mercy, does not know, has never lived it,” he said 

“Pope at Mass today again referred to the Great Accuser who is ‘among us,” noted Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin via Twitter.  “You cannot do it to the other. You cannot enter into the logic of the accuser. ‘But Father, I have to accuse.’ Yes, accuse yourself. You do well. For the other, only mercy...”

 Today the Pope met with a small group from the USCCB to discuss the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the United States, with a focus on the damage done by disgraced now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The group included USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the head of Pope Francis’ papal Commission for the Protection of Minors, and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  

Pope Francis came under fire on Tuesday when he said during a homily in the same chapel that Satan "tries to uncover" bishops' sins in order to “scandalize” the faithful.

“In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser' has been unchained and is attacking bishops,” said Pope Francis in a homily today as reported by Vatican News. “True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people,” he added.

Reaction came quickly to the Pope’s words, with many saying that it sounded like the Pope was suggesting that uncovering the sins of a bishop, such as abuse, was somehow the work of the devil. 

In that sense, some viewed the Pontiff as himself taking the role of the accuser, in order to silence those critical of members of his hierarchy and to hush discussion about clergy sex abuse.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected] 

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Bishop Michael Bransfield DWCVocations / Youtube screen grab
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US bishop resigns amid ‘sexual harassment’ allegations

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By Lianne Laurence

WHEELING-CHARLESTON, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A West Virginia bishop resigned Thursday amid allegations he sexually harassed adults.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced September 13.

The Pope "has appointed Archbishop William E. Lori as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He will remain archbishop of Baltimore," the USCCB press release stated.

"The Holy Father has additionally instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield." 

Bransfield “has previously been accused of molesting teenagers and denied the accusations, according to church officials and court documents,” the Washington Post reported.

Bransfield, who turned 75 on September 8, was appointed bishop of the diocese in 2005 by Saint Pope John Paul II.

The announcement comes the same day a delegation led by USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston met with the Pope to discuss the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church in America. 

The scandal implicates the Pope himself after former US nuncio Carlo Viganò testified Pope Francis and other high ranking churchmen covered up the serial sexual abuse of seminarians and young priests by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The Thursday meeting was further overshadowed by allegations DiNardo previously covered up for a priest arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual abuse of minors, the Washington Post reported.

Lori, who was appointed archbishop of Baltimore in 2001, was a member of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse and one of the drafters of the 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. 

“My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this difficult time,” Lori said in a Thursday statement on the diocesan website

“I further pledge to conduct a thorough investigation in search of the truth into the troubling allegations against Bishop Bransfield and to work closely with the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the diocese until the appointment of a new bishop.”

The statement includes a hotline number “established for those wishing to share any information related to this investigation.”

It states Lori will meet with clergy and lay leaders of the diocese Thursday and Friday. The Wheeling-Charleston diocese is a suffragan diocese in the Metropolitan See of Baltimore.

In a letter to priests and deacons in the diocese, Lori wrote he will be overseeing a lay-led investigation into the allegations.

“Aware of your faithful service to God’s people of this local church, I know how difficult these days are for you and the challenges you are left to face as a result of the action and inaction of others,” Lori wrote.

“I regret this undue pain and thank you for your courageous witness and leadership.”

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Pro-gay archbishop rips ‘conservative’ bishops for ‘attacks’ on pope

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By Doug Mainwaring

SANTA FE, New Mexico, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bishop known for his radical pro-LGBT views has issued a letter to the priests of his diocese ripping “conservative” bishops for statements critical of Pope Francis.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester accuses “conservatives” within the Church of using recent revelations of homosexual abuse and subsequent cover ups in order to “further an agenda.”

“Sadly, since the recent revelations of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury and the abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, there have been many who, it seems to me, have been using these tragedies to further an agenda,” said the Santa Fe Bishop.

In particular, Wester says he is disturbed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony which revealed wrongdoing in dealing with sexual abuse at the highest levels of Catholic leadership, including many current prelates and the Pope himself. He goes on to say that Viganò, too, is attempting to “promote a certain agenda.”

Wester minimizes the explosive allegations found in Viganò’s testimony as “ecclesial politics” which serves as a distraction. He suggests that focusing the Church’s attention on anything other than assisting victims is polarizing and therefore harmful.  

“I am deeply saddened by those who attack Pope Francis and even go so far as to call for his resignation,” said Wester in his letter. “Incredibly, some of these attacks are from my brother bishops.”

Earlier this summer, the Archdiocese hosted a conference in Albuquerque run by a dissident priest organization with the full support of Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester.

The conference, put on by the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP), featured Archbishop Wester as its Episcopal Moderator.  

AUSCP has advocated for homosexuals to be admitted to the priesthood contrary to Church teaching, championed the ordination of married men, and pressed for the “ordination” of women to the diaconate.   

The AUSCP is part of  an “international coalition of heretical ‘church reform’ organizations called the International Church Reform Network,” according to Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. Hichborn said at the time that Wester was “playing host for heretics.”

“AUSCP has gone to great lengths to hide their true motives by projecting the impression that they are ‘merely’ progressive while remaining loyal,” said Hichborn. “However, new information reveals that the AUSCP has directly undermined the authority and dictates of bishops. But worse than this, the AUSCP is actively involved in a well-funded and long-standing international effort to radically change the face of the entire Catholic Church.”

“Despite this, we are still astounded to see the brazen support the AUSCP is giving to members of this coalition,” he continued. “Organizations such as FutureChurch, DignityUSA and New Ways Ministry are currently exhibiting and freely fostering their false ideologies at the AUSCP exhibition hall.”

New Ways Ministry is a group that dissents from Church teaching on sexual morality and has been condemned by the Vatican and the U.S. bishops.  

“Even more disturbing is Archbishop Wester’s explicit support of this conference in his own Archdiocese,” added Hichborn. “Everything presented here is happening under his watch and with his approval.”  

In advance of the June conference, LifeSiteNews reached out to the office of Archbishop Wester, asking for clarification about his archdiocese's planned hosting of the Association of U. S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) annual assembly, a group considered by many to be a gathering of Church dissidents.

In particular, LifeSiteNews asked if Archbishop Wester sanctions the views of speaker Fr. Richard Rohr, who over the course of his priesthood has sought to normalize same-sex “marriage”; has denied natural law, insisting that binary genders (male and female) are an imposition of dualistic minds rather than the nature of reality; and has publicly minimized the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion.

Archbishop Wester’s office offered no response.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected].  

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21st century Catholic Church reduced to a ‘shabby shell’: UK Bishop

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PORTSMOUTH, England, September 13, 2018 (LifesiteNews) – The English Catholic bishop who first called for a synod on the clergy has likened the contemporary Church to a “shabby shell.”   

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth told correspondent K.V. Turley that he believes many in the Catholic Church no longer hold the Catholic faith.

“The state of the Church in the early 21st century seems akin to that of the late 15th century,” he said. “I think of the words of the philosopher Bernard Lonergan, who once spoke of the ‘shabby shell of Catholicism.’”

Egan said that the structures of the Church are still in place, but some of the “home fires” seem to have gone out.

“Many Catholics, including members of the clergy, no longer believe the Church’s teaching, especially on matters of personal morality,” he revealed.

“There is confusion over conscience, sin, grace and the mechanism of confession. Many seem to have lost a sense of heaven, the angels and saints and the transcendent, and are thus not strongly evangelized, catechized and converted to Christ,” the bishop continued. “Secular attitudes and affluent lifestyles seem to have infiltrated.”

The vast majority of baptized Catholics do not practice their faith, Egan noted. He estimated that faithful Catholics comprise no more than 15 percent of Britain’s Catholic community. The solution, he believes, lies in a “pastoral overhaul” based in the Second Vatican Council’s request for a “universal call to holiness.”

Egan said the roots of the clerical sexual abuse crisis lay in the Second Vatican Council’s having coincided with the upheaval of the 1960s.

“The origins of the difficulties come from the coincidence of Vatican II with the social, sexual and family revolutions of the late 20th century,” he said.

“Where before religious men and women lived in strictly determined ecclesial structures, the Church was now inviting them to ‘update’ the way they lived, thought and spoke. The good intention was to engage with the modern world. But this was (and is) a world undergoing radical change.”

Boundaries necessary for the protection of all were lost.

“To me, the removal of altar rails was symbolic of a removal of boundaries and the subsequent confusion of the sacred and profane,” the bishop said.

“Yet, even if liturgically we no longer need altar rails, religious men and women do continue to need appropriate boundaries in which to live out their vocation. They need boundaries and a rule of life – such as the address of ‘Father’ to a priest or bishop – in order to protect themselves and to remind themselves of their sacred identity. This is where I believe a synod could be helpful.”

Egan is well-known for his staunch defense of the Gospel of Life. He recently made headlines as the first bishop to call for “an Extraordinary Synod on the Life and Ministry of Clergy” in the wake of a rash of scandals concerning sex abuse and cover-up in the American Church.

‘There is a three-level crisis here’

The bishop believes that the ongoing Church crisis has “three levels.”

“There is a three-level crisis here: first, the alleged catalogue of sins and crimes against the young by members of the clergy; secondly, the homosexual circles centered around Archbishop McCarrick, but present in other areas across the Church, too; and then, thirdly, the mishandling and cover-up of all this by the hierarchy up to the highest circles,” he observed.

“We know that all these issues affect many sectors of modern society, and we know that in many parts of the Church, such as here in the U.K., there have been robust safeguarding protocols in place for some years,” said Egan. “Yet scandal impacts the very sacramentality of the Church and damages our evangelizing mission. Of course, we must also remember that evangelization is always two-way, like breathing in and breathing out.”

However, the English bishop believes that the scandals could lead to a “purification” of the Church.

“If we cooperate rightly with God’s grace, this present crisis could lead to a purification of the Church: to helping us all become more like what we are meant to be, disciples of Christ, a holy people,” he said. “Christ is at the helm.”

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Victory in UK: Home Secretary refuses to ban pro-life speech outside abortion centers

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WESTMINSTER, UK, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom has rejected demands that he impose a buffer zone on pro-life witnesses outside all abortion businesses in England and Wales. 

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, said that such a sweeping move would not be a proportionate response. Although a review allegedly found some cases of harassment and damaging behaviour at pro-life vigils, they were “not the norm.” 

"Having considered the evidence of the review,” said Javid, “I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature."

The Home Secretary pointed out that legislation, including the 1986 Public Order Act, already exists to “restrict activities that cause harm to others.” The Public Order Act, for example, gives police the power to stop protests that get out of hand. 

The review was ordered by Javid’s predecessor, Amber Rudd, after lobbying by pro-abortion MPs and abortion businesses.  After Rudd’s resignation, Javid, too, was under pressure to impose the “buffer zone” around all 363 hospitals and abortuaries that commit abortions in England and Wales.  

England’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said they were “delighted” by the decision.

Antonia Tully, SPUC’s Director of Campaigns said: “This is a massive victory for common sense, democracy and above all for the hundreds of vulnerable women who are saved from the horror of abortion at the very gates of the abortion clinic.”

As the UK’s principal pro-life organization, SPUC was part of the effort to protect the freedom of speech of people hoping to help women make a last-minute decision to keep their babies. 

 "Throughout our campaign to protect pro-life vigils our thoughts have always been for the mothers who need help, even as they are walking into the abortion clinic, and for the many babies and children alive today because of an encounter with a loving pro-life citizen,” said Tully. 

According to a SPUC press release, in the last two weeks, the group sent over 80,000 postcards to people throughout the UK willing to ask the Home Secretary to uphold “the freedom to oppose abortion, to pray for unborn babies and to offer help to women.”

“We launched our postcard campaign as soon as we heard that the Home Secretary’s announcement was imminent,” said Tully. “The uptake was amazing. Ordinary people clearly feel very strongly about this matter. It is heartening that Mr Javid is listening to the people of this land.” 

She stated that the Home Secretary’s statement made it clear that the evidence put forward by the pro-life community regarding what actually happens during peaceful pro-life vigils, was overwhelming.  

“Pro-lifers spoke the truth and justice prevailed,” Tully said. 

She told British pro-lifers that although there is still much to do, they should take a moment to celebrate.

“I don’t think anyone can accuse SPUC of being complacent about the attacks on human life and about the attacks on the pro-life movement in Britain which will no doubt continue – but we should pause a moment to give thanks for this most important victory,” she said. 

The ban on pro-life witness at the notorious Marie Stopes clinic in the London borough of Ealing remains in effect.

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Some Scottish bishops call for investigation into Viganò’s claims Pope covered-up for abuser

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

GLASGOW, Scotland, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A number of Scottish bishops agree that there should be an investigation following last month’s explosive testimony of Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Viganò.

Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley, echoing the thoughts of U.S. Bishop Robert Barron, released a message on August 31 saying that the abuse crisis is clearly diabolical. 

“It is clearly diabolical in origin – a masterpiece of the Devil to undermine every aspect of the Church’s evangelising mission,” he wrote. 

Keenan stated that the focus must be on the victims and what they have suffered. However, he called for a lay-led investigation into the McCarrick scandal: 

“We must petition the Vatican for a lay-led investigation into who knew what about the McCarrick affair,” he wrote. “Archbishop Viganò’s testimony is valuable, but only one piece of the jigsaw. The Vatican must authorise the opening of all relevant files and correspondence.”

While admitting that homosexuality is an aspect of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the Bishop of Paisley, echoing talking points of pro-LGBT Jesuit priest James Martin, said that this was not an “excuse” to “conduct a witch-hunt against priests who experience same sex attraction.” 

“The causes of sexual abuse are complex and can’t be reduced to any one thing,” he wrote. “Clericalism is certainly a factor, but also homosexuality, since 80% of cases involve male-male abuse. However, this is not an excuse to conduct a witch-hunt against priests who experience same sex attraction, many of whom are good men.”

Bishop Joseph Toal of the Diocese of Motherwell, which is south-east of Glasgow, told the Scottish Catholic Observer when he returned from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin that Viganò’s statement needed to be addressed. 

“With last week’s statement from [Archbishop Viganò] regarding an accusation of cover-ups it’s hard to know what is going on,” he said.  “It’s a huge issue that needs to be tackled and it appears to be going deeper into the Vatican.

“In Ireland last week there were calls for the Vatican to open up files relating to historical abuse and perhaps that is now a legitimate question.”

The Scottish Catholic Observer also reported remarks made by Bishop Stephen Robson of the Diocese of Dunkeld, whose cathedral is in Dundee. Speaking at the September 2 national pilgrimage to Carfin, Robson suggested that the Church is undergoing a kind of death so as to be born again. 

 “The fathers of the Church tell us that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians, the beginning of new life and John in today’s Gospel tells us that the seed must die if it is to bring new life, and maybe that is the key to the truth that helps us make sense of the mess and the disturbances that the Church finds herself in today,” he said. 

“The seed must die, the boil must be lanced, the sickness must pass into healing, and then perhaps the light can come shining out of the darkness,” he continued.  “Maybe the Church as we know it now, as we’ve known it over the past few years in our lifetimes, must die to rise again, to be reborn.”

Scotland suffered its own sexual abuse crisis in 2013 when the late Cardinal Keith O’Brien, then Archbishop of St. Andrews-Edinburgh, was anonymously but publicly accused of sexual misconduct with priests and a seminarian. 

Expected to retire within weeks, the Cardinal resigned within days, apparently at the behest of Benedict XVI. The Cardinal later admitted to misconduct, saying "there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal". He then left Scotland to live a life of prayer and penance in England and died in March 2018. 

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D.C. deacon tells Cdl. Wuerl to resign: I can no longer assist at your Masses

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By Doug Mainwaring

Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, DC, September 13, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – A deacon serving at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the prominent seat of the Archdiocese of the Nation’s Capital, sent a letter to Cardinal Wuerl saying he can no longer serve the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington.  

“Most Reverend Father, in view of recent developments, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to attend to you personally, whether as an assisting deacon or as a master of ceremony,” said Deacon James Garcia in his letter. The Sept. 4 letter was dated one week prior to a letter from the Cardinal signaling that he is ready to resign. 

Garcia, a married man and lifelong Catholic who works as an attorney in nearby Arlington, Virginia has reportedly often assisted Cardinal Wuerl in major liturgies.  He was ordained a deacon in 2013.  

“I implore you, for the good for the Church we both love so dearly: Act with courage and humility. Relinquish your position as Archbishop without delay,” said Garcia.  

“I am firmly convinced that genuine healing, first and foremost of the victims of sexual abuse, but also of the Church more broadly, requires precisely this response from you,” added Garcia. 

The Washington Post referred to Garcia’s letter as “a dramatic declaration” and “the latest blow to Washington’s embattled archbishop.” 

“There is a need for the leaders of the church to take a greater degree of responsibility than they have up til now,” Garcia told the Washington Post. “Genuine healing, both for the victims and for the church more broadly — many of whose members, fair to say, are greatly dismayed, are frustrated, are horrified, are disgusted and, frankly, angry . . . genuine healing requires accountability. And in my mind, accountability means recognizing when one is no longer in the best position to lead.”

Deacon Garcia’s letter is dated September 4, two days before Cardinal Wuerl sent a letter to the priests of his Archdiocese admitting that it may be time for new leadership in the  Archdiocese of Washington, DC.  

Garcia’s voice is added to the chorus of those who, dissatisfied with Wuerl’s response to allegations that he has covered up instances of clergy sexual abuse and claimed ignorance of predecessor former Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuses, are calling for the Cardinal to step down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In a more recent letter addressed to the priests of Washington, DC, Wuerl indicated that he intends, “in the very near future, to go to Rome to meet with our Holy Father about the resignation I presented nearly three years ago, November 12, 2015.”

"It was clear that some decision, sooner rather than later, on my part is an essential aspect” of moving forward, the letter said.

Write to Doug Mainwaring at [email protected]  

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Michigan bishop: If Pope covered-up sex abuse, we need to act to ‘fix these failures’

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By Lisa Bourne

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

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Grand Rapids Bishop David Walkowiak says Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony implicating Pope Francis and other top prelates in covering up disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuse must be fully investigated.

If the charges are true, the bishop said, steps must be taken to rectify the failures that allowed it to happen.

“The 11-page testimony released by Archbishop Viganò needs to be investigated to the fullest extent,” the bishop said. “We need to arrive at the truth. Only a thorough investigation will determine whether the claims made by the Archbishop are true. If they are true, action needs to be taken promptly to fix these failures.”

Walkowiak joins a growing list of bishops who have expressed support for the former papal nuncio to the U.S. and/or called for verification of Viganò’s claims. 

The Church continues to reel from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released last month revealing 70 years of sexual abuse of at least 1,000 victims by some 300 priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses - along with revelations beginning in June that McCarrick had over decades abused seminarians, priests and young men.

Both scandals have resulted in calls for investigation into which Church leaders knew about the abuse and did not act to address it. 

Calls or resignation have also been issued for Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, implicated in the Pennsylvania report for covering of abusers while bishop of Pittsburgh, and also Pope Francis – said to have lifted sanctions placed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI. 

USCCB President Cardinal DiNardo requested a papal audience some time ago, at least by mid-August, to officially ask for an investigation into the McCarrick matter. The Vatican announced Tuesday that Francis would meet with DiNardo and other top U.S. prelates.

Walkowiak shared a portion of DiNardo’s August 16 statement sharing the Conference’s plan to investigate specifics of the McCarrick scandal, establish channels for reporting complaints against bishops and more effectively resolve future complaints.

News broke yesterday of DiNardo being 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 Grand Rapids bishop said in his September 10 statement he would be present for the U.S. Bishops’ fall General Assembly in Baltimore when the Bishops’ Conference would next address the sex abuse crisis as a full body. 

Walkowiak said he would support a plan “that will seek the truth and protect our children and young people,” and that this “is the only way our Church will be able to move forward.”

He called for prayer for healing of sexual abuse survivors, reparation for the sins of clergy and the restoration of hope for the Church. 

Walkowiak plans a diocesan-wide Holy Hour offered for these intentions on September 19 at the diocesan cathedral. 

“Let us keep our eyes on Christ,” Walkowiak said. “He is the only one who can bring us through this turmoil and purify our Church for the future.”

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Two precious babies killed, two teens destroyed: The legacy of abortion

Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director
By Shawn Carney

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brittany sat in the courtroom weeping, her face hidden in her hands. How had it come to this?

She looked up as the bailiff took her boyfriend, Harold, away to serve a life sentence in prison. For murder. She was only 17; he was 19.

"Please send me to jail, too!" she pleaded with the judge. After all, what they had done, they had done together.

The tragic story of Brittany and Harold (not their real names) shows how our culture has lost its sense of right and wrong, good and evil.

Like many teens, they had believed they were in love. As time passed, they grew closer, first emotionally and then physically. Eventually, they began having sex, believing that, since they were in love, everything was OK.

Then Brittany got pregnant, and she and Harold decided they didn't want to have the baby. They didn't want the responsibility or the embarrassment.

The best plan of action, they decided, was to have Harold apply pressure to Brittany's stomach to induce premature labor. After several days, the inevitable happened. In the middle of the night, at 21 weeks pregnant, Brittany started having contractions and delivered not one baby, but two – into the toilet. Harold was charged with double homicide.

Brittany faced no charges; state law did not allow a pregnant woman to be prosecuted for causing the deaths of her own fetuses.

Brittany testified in Harold's defense. But the law that protected Brittany did not protect Harold, and it treated the babies as what they were: human beings. Harold was convicted on two counts of homicide.

We have lost our sense of sin. The apostle Peter tells us that "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He begins by influencing us in small choices, but he doesn't stop there. Little mistakes lead to bigger ones, gradually enticing us to be more and more under his influence.

No one grows up wanting to get pregnant out of wedlock or have an abortion. If these things happen, they originate in the small steps we don't realize are leading us in the wrong direction.

When this story hit the media, a Planned Parenthood official said the case was evidence of the government trying to give fetuses the same status as adult human beings, ignoring the tragedy of the two babies losing their lives. He also complained, "Abortion is getting less accessible."

His comments reveal the cold and insensitive mindset required to justify abortion rights. A mentality that doesn't want to recognize this "choice" for what it is or treat the root of the problem. A mentality that mentions "abortion getting less accessible" after twins have died at home. A mentality that doesn't want to right the wrong – that just wants to call it by a different name. A mentality that wants to keep the wrong but make it sound better.

A Fox News reporter asked Harold's attorney, "Why didn't she just go for an abortion? Why do this grisly thing?" The reporter's question implies that abortion is not grisly. The worst part of this tragedy is not that it was grisly, or even that it was illegal, but that two babies lost their lives. It's as if we have learned to approve of evil as long as it seems clean or professional or is portrayed as a right.

Yet nothing escapes our deepest human nature. When Brittany saw what she had done, she was heartbroken. She was reminded, in a very difficult way, that those twins weren't problems that needed a solution – they were her children.

She still visits their graves today. Abortion doesn't go away, no matter how grisly or clean we are told it is. Brittany will carry the pain of this tragedy forever.

This is adapted from The Beginning of the End of Abortion: 40 Inspiring Stories of God Changing Hearts and Saving Lives by Shawn Carney, the president and CEO of 40 Days for Life.

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Four questions for Planned Parenthood’s new president

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By Claire Chretien

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the United States, announced yesterday that its new president is Dr. Leana Wen, the 35-year-old health commissioner of Baltimore and a doctor with an impressive résumé.

Wen seems very different from her predecessor Cecile Richards, who abruptly resigned earlier this year. Richards brought her political clout within the Democratic party (she’s the daughter of the late Texas governor Ann Richards) and fundraising prowess to Planned Parenthood. As a doctor, Wen now brings “credibility” to its mission of committing abortions. She is also finally a younger face for the abortion movement, known for its aging leaders and abortionists.

Right off the bat, Wen’s appointment and testimony of why she supports Planned Parenthood raise some questions:

1. What is your stance on forced abortion in China?

In her introductory video, Wen explains that she and her parents came to the U.S. with $40 to their name. Her parents were political dissidents. They were granted asylum to the U.S. in the years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, when forced abortion through China’s “one child policy” was rampant.

International Planned Parenthood helped the Chinese government with its coercive population control efforts. As head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action, how is Wen going to respond to this?

Dr. Wen, given your family’s personal experiences with the Chinese government, will you condemn forced abortion and withdraw Planned Parenthood from all involvement in it?

2. Have you ever actually committed an abortion yourself?

So far, there is nothing to suggest Wen’s medical career as an emergency room physician has ever involved performing abortions herself. What does she think of the gruesome reality of abortion? Would she be comfortable dismembering a 32-week-old baby? That’s legal in many parts of the U.S., and part of the abortion-on-demand with no restrictions for which Planned Parenthood lobbies.

3. Do you support or oppose at-home abortions?

In her introductory video, Wen shares that she had an ER patient who died from an at-home abortion.

“She died because of a failure in our system,” Wen declared. She was “too scared to seek medical care.”

Here’s the thing: for all of Wen’s life – and certainly during all of her time as a doctor – abortion has been legal and easily available across the U.S., especially at Planned Parenthood facilities. Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, two places where she has primarily practiced medicine, have permissive abortion laws (D.C.’s are some of the loosest in the country) and generally liberal-leaning residents with supportive attitudes toward abortion.

Couldn’t this young woman have gone to a Planned Parenthood? What changes, exactly, to “our system” could have prevented her death?

One of the pro-abortion movement’s latest initiatives, both in the U.S. and abroad, has been pushing for more “self-managed” abortions.

“Which kind of abortion you choose all depends on your personal preference and situation,” Planned Parenthood’s website says. “With medication abortion, some people like that you don’t need to have a procedure in a doctor’s office. You can have your medication abortion at home or in another comfortable place that you choose. You get to decide who you want to be with during your abortion, or you can (do) it alone.”

Do you support more at-home abortions, too, Dr. Wen?

4. Does your philosophy about medicine mean Planned Parenthood is going to change how it approaches women seeking help?

According to Wen, “I became an emergency physician because I never wanted to turn any patients away.”

Does this mean Planned Parenthood is going to stop turning away pregnant women seeking services other than abortion?

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The left’s hatred of Mike Pence undermines its hatred of Donald Trump

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By Dr. Michael Brown

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – We know why President Trump is so hated. We've heard it time and again. The man is out of control. He's a threat to national security. He has damaged our international standing. He's unstable. He's volatile. He's in totally over his head. No one can work for him.

Just read the latest books about Trump. Listen to his former employees. Look at his tweets. Donald Trump must go!

In the words of Rep. Maxine Waters, "I say 'impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment.'"

Is there any validity to the charges against Trump? Is there any truth to these concerns?

Perhaps there is some truth to some of them. Perhaps he has been autocratic. Perhaps he has created a White House environment that can be chaotic. He has certainly spoken out of turn at times and given his opponents plenty of fuel for their fire.

But I don't believe for a minute that these are the real reasons the left wants to get rid of President Trump.

I say that because many on the left fear Vice President Pence even more, pledging to get rid of him once they get rid of Trump.

Yet Mike Pence is an experienced politician, having served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and as governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017.

And Mike Pence is not unstable or volatile, nor does he have a history of alienating those who work for him, nor has he been accused of being an autocratic narcissist.

He is clearly in control of his words and actions, he has not insulted or maligned his opponents, and he has done nothing to disgrace the office of the vice president. Yet he too must go. He too is a threat. He too must be removed.

To quote Maxine Waters once again: after getting rid of Trump, "You knock one down, and then we'll be ready for Pence. We'll get him, too."

Yes, Mike Pence must also go. Away with this man, too!

Waters's words drew a sharp rebuke from Trump-supporter Philip Schuyler, who tweeted, "When Maxine Waters says, 'We'll impeach Trump,' she's fantasizing, since he didn't do anything wrong. But when she says re Pence, 'We'll get him too,' isn't she admitting that her party is closer to a vengeful mob than to a lawful org?"

It's not just Maxine Waters saying this. The anti-Pence rhetoric has been building for months. Most recently, it was Omarosa Manigault Newman who echoed these sentiments.

As reported on Yahoo News, "Ms Manigault Newman, who is busy promoting her book, Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, was asked by TMZ which of the top White House executives was worse – the president or the vice president? 'Pence,' she shouted, before being driven away in a black SUV."

Yes, Pence is worse than Trump!

Back in July, New York Times op-ed writer Frank Bruni penned a piece titled, "Mike Pence, Holy Terror. Are you sure you want to get rid of Donald Trump?"

His article opens with these chilling words: "There are problems with impeaching Donald Trump. A big one is the holy terror waiting in the wings.

"That would be Mike Pence, who mirrors the boss more than you realize. He's also self-infatuated. Also a bigot. Also a liar. Also cruel."

Mike Pence is a monster! The man would bring a reign of terror!

There's something even worse, and it lies at the heart of Bruni's concerns: Pence "adds two ingredients that Trump doesn't genuinely possess: the conviction that he's on a mission from God and a determination to mold the entire nation in the shape of his own faith, a regressive, repressive version of Christianity. Trade Trump for Pence and you go from kleptocracy to theocracy."

Yes, Mike Pence wants to turn America into a Christian theocracy, with himself the earthly tyrant ruling in God's stead. Oh, the horror!

The Tylt website conducted a poll (apparently late in 2017), asking the question: "Who should liberals fear more: President Trump or a potential President Pence?"

By a vote of 51.9 to 48.1 percent, the answer was that a Pence presidency would be more dangerous.

In support of this claim, Tylt cited a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer, dated October 23, 2017. According to Mayer, "Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party's agenda in recent years."

But that is not the worrying part. Rather, "[e]ven as [Governor] Pence argued for less government interference in business, he pushed for policies that intruded on people's private lives. In the early nineties, he joined the board of the Indiana Family Institute, a far-right group that supported the criminalization of abortion and campaigned against equal rights for homosexuals."

In short, Pence is an evangelical Christian, a biblically based conservative. As such, he could be a worse threat to the left than Donald Trump. (Really, now, if the left could make President George Bush into a religious fanatic who allegedly waged war based on Bible prophecies, what will it do to Mike Pence?)

So, to repeat, I do believe there is some validity to some of the charges raised against President Trump. And at times, he is own worst enemy, spreading disunity and dissent rather than rallying the nation around his very real successes.

But, the truth be told, the vast majority of concerns raised by the left are merely a convenient ruse for the real issue, which is this: they hate the fact that their radical agenda is being thwarted. They despise the fact that some of their strongholds are being demolished. And they will do anything in their power to remove anyone who dares to get in their way, be it Donald Trump or Mike Pence.

The more conservative, the worse. The more Christian, much, much worse.

Let's not take our eyes off the real stakes involved.

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Smiling faces? Vatican releases photos of Pope meeting US bishops over abuse crisis

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

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican media released to journalists this morning photos of Pope Francis' emergency meeting regarding the sexual abuse crisis with US Cardinals Daniel DiNardo and Sean O'Malley as well as Archbishop José Gomez. The photo, which shows all the prelates smiling along with the Pope, appears to mark another PR disaster for the Vatican plagued with PR flops. 

The photo of smiling faces, unfortunately, lends itself to the interpretation that top leaders in the Church do not take the abuse crisis seriously. One can only imagine what victims abused by Catholic clergy are experiencing while viewing such a photo.

In the face of allegations by Archbishop Viganò of the cover-up of sexual abuse situations, Pope Francis spoke of silence and prayer – the same counsel scandalously given to victims and their advocates when they came forward to testify to their abuses. 

Another recent PR disaster came for the Vatican when it attempted to shore up the reputation of Pope Francis with a doctored letter from Pope Emeritus Benedict. The attempt, known as "lettergate," backfired when the full contents of the letter came to be known and were not as favorable to the pontiff as the Vatican indicated. 

Related:

Top Vatican official resigns after doctoring Pope Benedict letter on Francis

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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When will Catholics wake up and see the ‘mess’ Pope Francis has made?

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

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – They say that Pope Pius X’s favorite bedside reading was The Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard. I am beginning to wonder if Pope Francis’s favorite bedside reading is Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Authors like Ross Douthat, Phil Lawler, and Henry Sire have provided copious documentation of the Pope’s Machiavellian modus operandi. It may help to recall, in the midst of Viganògate, a few egregious examples from the past that demonstrate how it works.

We remember when the pope deliberately washed the feet of women, against the universal liturgical law that limited the washing of feet to men. Then he changed the law to allow for the inclusion of any baptized member of the faithful—and proceeded to violate his new law by washing a Muslim's feet. Even if one argues that the pope, as the highest legislator, is not bound by these laws in the same way as his subjects are, he should (as popes in the past have done) set the first and best example of observing Church discipline, since others will, in fact, take their cue or their justification from him. Thus, his public actions contrary to discipline are meant to transmit a spirit of contempt for law, with the message that subjective motives of “charity” or “mercy” can and should lead to the practical neutralization of Church discipline.

We have seen the same contempt, message of neutralization, and stirring up of confusion in regard to the German bishops’ disputes over whether communion should be given to Protestant spouses of Catholics. The pope first feinted to the left, favoring the liberal bishops, then feinted to the right, seeming to support backpedaling from the CDF, and finally let it be understood that the bishops could do whatever they pleased, even if the result will be a cuius regio eius religio checkerboard of dioceses with contradictory policies.

Then, in his manner of modifying the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as in the new content that was ordered to be inserted, Pope Francis pushed through another victory for progressivism by effecting a change in doctrine, or initiating a motion towards that end, without having used a form of language that is unequivocally heretical. We saw that he did precisely the same thing in Amoris Laetitia (taken together with the Buenos Aires guidelines), in his revisions to the annulment process, and in many other cases, using techniques such as equivocation, studied ambiguity, internal contradiction, false quotation, and stalling tactics between phases to accomplish his purposes.

Again and again he displays this duplicity, playing off one side against the other, keeping people guessing—and keeping employed an army of anxious conservative Catholics who rabbinically reshape each act or statement. But a situation in which it is thought necessary to bend over backwards to defend the pope against undeniable appearances of doctrinal rupture and moral corruption is already a crisis of unprecedented scope. It means, at very least, that this pope has permanently lost the trust of many, and has therefore introduced a strong note of instability into the very office of the papacy, since future popes will be governing from a weak foundation. All of this coming from a Pope who told youths at a Mass in 2015 to “make a mess."

There are still some Catholics who are digging in their heels. They refuse to believe that any pope can be as bad as this pope would have to be, if the most natural “reading” of things turns out to be true—so it must not be true! “Perhaps all of these doctrinal contradictions and moral meanderings and policy flip-flops are being misreported or misunderstood. Let’s circle around and defend the Pope at all costs from these naysayers, scandalmongers, and calumniators!” By doing this, they are effectively consigning their heads to a permanent vacation in the sand. This is one kind of coping mechanism: it effectively denies that there is a problem. It is like a child who puts his hands over his ears and says some loud nonsense in order to avoid having to hear what an adult is saying to him.

There is another group I have known, a smaller and more rarefied one, made up of intellectuals who have convinced themselves that whatever the pope is saying must either be true (since he is, after all, the vicar of Christ, and we want to be on his team, right?), or be able to be deftly rendered true by clever scholastic distinctions about the level of authority of a given statement, the location of a prepositional phrase, a faulty translation into French, etc. This is, I believe, a psychological coping mechanism for not dealing with the now notorious fact that we have a pope who is somewhat like a truck with failed brakes careening out of control down a steep mountain and heading for a mighty crash.

By this point, people who evade the truth about Francis are oddly like the Pharisees who, instead of surrendering to the divine reality of Our Lord, argued ceaselessly about their human traditions in the interpretation of the Law and whether or not He was violating this or that aspect of it. In other words, rather than face up to the big reality, they sought refuge in their Jewish scholasticism. In our present case, the big reality is not something good and holy like Our Lord in the midst of His disciples, but something sinister and repugnant, like Judas stealing from the common purse, betraying with a kiss, and hanging himself.

But, as many have pointed out, this situation is no cause for despair. It is, on the contrary, a dramatic and long-overdue end to an unsustainable exaltation of the papal office, where the pope is cast as a combination Delphic oracle, globetrotting superstar, dynamo of doctrinal development, and standard meter bar of orthodoxy. This is not only contrary to Catholicism, it is corrosive of it, because it replaces the primacy of inheriting the deposit of faith from divine revelation through apostolic transmission with the primacy of papal voluntarism. Such a distortion of the dogma of Pastor Aeternus could only end in flames.

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