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Photo of Jordan Hunt, who attacked pro-life advocate Marie-Claire Bissonnette on Sunday at a Life Chain in Toronto. Taken from, the website of his former employer.
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Man who roundhouse-kicked pro-life woman identified, gets fired

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By Lianne Laurence
A screengrab from the video showing the attacker, Jordan Hunt, kicking Marie-Claire Bissonnette in the shoulder, knocking her phone from her hand, Toronto, Sept. 30, 2018.
Marie-Claire Bissonnette, Campaign Life Coalition's youth coordinator

Tell Justin Trudeau to condemn attack on pro-life woman. Sign the petition here.

TORONTO, October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The man captured on video roundhouse-kicking a pro-life woman has been identified, and he’s lost his contract at a Toronto hair salon as a result.

As discovered by many internet sleuths, the man in the video taken at Sunday’s Life Chain event is Jordan Hunt, employed at Noble Studio 101 at the time of the violent incident at Sunday’s Life Chain.

The shocking 46-second clip by Marie-Claire Bissonnette, youth coordinator with Campaign Life Coalition, went viral after it was published on LifeSiteNews Tuesday, reaching number 8 on YouTube on Wednesday, with over 500,000 views as of publication, and sparking widespread discussion on social media.

Noble Studio 101 posted a statement on Instagram Wednesday that “it has been brought to our attention that Jordan Hunt has been caught on camera assaulting an innocent bystander at a pro-life rally. We don’t condone his actions and he has been let go.”

A representative of the hair salon confirmed this when contacted by LifeSiteNews.

“We’re four strong women here,” she said. “We don’t condone any kind of violence… Everybody has their own opinion and different ways of thinking, but violence is not the answer. He won’t be stepping his foot through the door again.”

Bissonnette approached Hunt while filming with her phone after he scribbled on Life Chain signs and on jackets of pro-life participants with a marker, she related in her LifeSiteNews account.

After a brief discussion, he suddenly roundhouse kicked her with lightning speed, knocking the phone out of her hand. He also tore a Campaign Life ribbon off her jacket before running off, Bissonnette related.

Bissonnette has filed a report with the Toronto Police, but according to police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante, the details of the incident are “on file and the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time.”

URGENT:  Sign the petition telling Canada's political leaders to condemn this violent attack on a prolife woman. Click here.

She added: “This is an ongoing investigation and any leads regarding the alleged suspect is part of that.”

Hunt’s profile has been removed from the Noble Studio 101’s website, but according to a screenshot, he is writing a book on “The Hippy Swamp Witch, a guide to natural living,” and developing his own product line. He was formerly employed at Coupe Bizarre on Queen Street West.

Hunt’s Instragram account had been shut down Wednesday night.

Bissonnette says she intends to press charges, and is urging people to pray for Hunt.


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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children


Lawsuit in Northern Ireland: Prohibiting abortion violates ‘respect for family life’

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

October 3, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In the latest of a series of attempts to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland through the courts, a woman who travelled to England for an abortion is seeking a declaration of incompatibility with human rights law in cases of so-called "fatal foetal abnormalities."

Succession of court cases

Last month, a woman who procured her underage daughter's abortion with pills she illegally bought online went to court to challenge the decision to prosecute her. Now, Sarah Ewart, who travelled to England five years ago for an abortion after she found out her daughter had anencephaly, is applying for a judicial review of Northern Ireland's abortion laws. Amnesty International, who are supporting her case, argue that "Northern Ireland's abortion law is in violation of the UK's human rights obligations."

The challenge follows the dismissal of a case brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (HRC), who argued that the Province's abortion laws are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), in the cases of rape, incest, "fatal foetal abnormalities" and disability.

Prohibiting abortion violates "respect for family life"

Although the Supreme Court dismissed the HRC's case on the grounds that it could not claim to be a victim for purposes of a judicial review, four of the seven justices said the law in the Province breached Article 8 of the ECHR. They claimed that the law was incompatible with the right to respect for private and family life in prohibiting abortion in cases of rape and incest and "fatal foetal abnormality". A fifth judge agreed with them that it was incompatible in the last case (where the baby has a life-limiting condition).

The justices unanimously agreed that the law is compatible with human rights in the case of non-fatal disabilities.

Now, Ms Ewart, who has standing as a victim, is bringing a case in her own name. 

This does nothing to help women

Commenting on the case, Liam Gibson, SPUC's political officer in Northern Ireland said: "At present the law our protects children equally regardless of the circumstances of conception or disability, even when a child is terminally ill. And while the views of the Supreme Court probably mean this case will almost certain lead to a declaration of incompatibility, the court can't strike the law down. Its real significance is that it makes abortion appear to be a compassionate response to a woman who is told her baby is not going to survive after birth. Of course we know that regardless of the reasons it is performed abortion always takes the life of an innocent child and does nothing to help vulnerable women. Sadly, this case has already been exploited by politicians seeking to decriminalise abortion and deprive all unborn children of any legal protection."

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

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Peter Fitzpatrick.
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Pro-life Irish politician quits party over abortion vote

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

October 3, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Pro-life TD (member of the Dail, the Irish parliament) Peter Fitzpatrick has announced he is resigning from his party because he felt "isolated" during the abortion referendum.

Fine Gael is currently Ireland's governing party whose leader, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, announced the referendum on his first day in office and subsequently campaigned for abortion.

Mr Fitzpatrick has been vocal about his pro-life views, and was one of three TDs who sat on the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment to produce a minority report from the rest of the members who recommended a liberalisation of the country's abortion laws.

Memorably, he interviewed Patricia Lohr of BPAS, which he described as a "horrifying charity" during the committee proceedings.

In a press release, Mr Fitzpatrick implied that the recent abortion referendum played a big part in his decision to leave Fine Gael, a party that was historically pro-life but whose senior ministers campaigned for abortion during the referendum. "The decision to resign from Fine Gael was a difficult decision to make," he wrote. "I have given 100% commitment during my time as a member of the party and have always been a team player. I backed the party when some very difficult decision had to be taken, even when I did not agree with the party I always supported them. 

No way am I voting for abortion at 12 weeks

"Unfortunately over the past 15 months I have not been given the same support from Fine Gael as I had given them. My views were not always listened to and I felt isolated with the party itself."

When asked on RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke programme whether the Eighth Amendment had influenced his decision, he replied: "that's only one thing. I do have a problem with abortion. There's no way Peter Fitzpatrick is going to vote in favour of 12 weeks."

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said he was sorry Mr Fitzpatrick had made the decision. "I know that he has been unhappy for some time and was a strong opponent of holding a referendum on the Eighth Amendment," he said.

Not the first

Mr Fitzpatrick has said that he plans to continue representing his constituency of Louth and East Meath as an Independent, and will stand as such in the next election. He is the second TD to resign from their party over their pro-life views. Carol Nolan quit Sinn Fein in June after the party refused to allow members to vote according to their consciences on abortion. "I do not want to have any hand, act or part in bringing about the end to the life of an unborn child, the most vulnerable in our society," she said. 

In the UK, all parties currently regard abortion as a conscience issue, and do not whip their MPs on it. That Irish TDs feel that they are unable to remain in their parties shows just how determined the political establishment is to brook no opposition to their agenda. 

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

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Standing quietly on the sidewalk holding pro-life signs like these was enough to trigger pro-abortion activists to start yelling, invoking Satan and ripping pro-life signs out of the hands of elderly women during the Life Chain in Halifax Sunday.
James Risdon James Risdon


Pro-abortion protesters invoke Satan, rip signs from pro-lifers’ hands

James Risdon James Risdon
By James Risdon

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion protesters ripped signs out of the hands of pro-lifers, stole pro-life signs, and even invoked Satan as they tried to shut down the Life Chain in Halifax last Sunday.

"I was afraid for our safety this past Sunday because there were so many mixed personalities," pro-lifer Tony Chesal told LifeSiteNews.

"There was one guy going up and down and saying, 'Satan rocks!'" said Chesal. "When someone is making statements like that, you can't be sure which way he may turn."

Ellen Chesal, organizer of the Halifax portion of the Life Chain, said in an interview with LifeSiteNews on Tuesday that two elderly women had pro-life signs ripped out of their hands and thrown on the ground by abortion supporters.

Even though the roughly 75 pro-lifers taking part in the Life Chain, most of whom stood quietly praying and holding their signs, outnumbered the counter-protesters roughly two-to-one, the pro-abortion side was much louder.

"They were pretty loud and obnoxious," said Tony Chesal. "There were two instances where a guy was very aggressive.”

"There was a little old lady and he grabbed the sign out of her hands and threw it on the ground," he said.

During the Halifax Life Chain, one of the pro-lifers, another elderly woman, made her way closer to the counter-protesters. She was quickly surrounded by a mob of screaming abortion activists.

According to Chesal, three Halifax Regional Police officers broke up the crowd to ensure the elderly woman's safety.

Halifax Regional Police officials had not confirmed or denied that incident by deadline.

But Jim Christian, another pro-lifer who traveled to Halifax to take part in the Life Chain, said it did happen.

The Halifax Life Chain was one of 200 such events across Canada, most of them ignored by the mainstream media, in which pro-lifers stood and prayed for an end to abortion in Canada.

According to Christian, those who want to keep abortion widely available in Canada sometimes resort to hiring paid activists to stage counter-protests. He maintains that one such group of paid activists, which he dubs a "rent-a-mob" crowd, attacked another frail, older pro-life lady who was trying to reason with someone screaming in her face during the Halifax Life Chain event Sunday.

"They surrounded her and were screeching, just inches from her, right in her face at the top of their lungs: 'pro-choice!' I'm sure she was covered with their spittle afterwards," he wrote in an email.

Neither Christian nor other pro-lifers were able to offer evidence that the pro-aborts at the counter-protest in Halifax this year were paid activists. But Ellen Chesal, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition NS, said she has heard pro-aborts in previous counter-protests talk about being paid for their participation.

"Years ago, it was a nasty, rainy day and we were lined up and they were yelling at us and then they walked off and said, 'F*** this, they don't pay us enough for this,'" said Chesal.

According to Christian, some of the pro-abort counter-protesters went so far as to steal pro-life signs.

"I spotted them after they had 'acquired' them," said Christian. "I expect they found the extras that Campaign Life Coalition NS had ready for people and just nabbed them.

"Each one was large and laminated, front and back. Not cheap!" said Christian. "They just nonchalantly walked away with them, until I noticed what they had in their arms. Sneaky b******s!"

Michelle Malette, who organized the pro-abortion counter-protest, has reportedly said it wasn't OK with her that people be allowed to stand on the road, in this case Robie Street near the Halifax Commons, for the Life Chain.

In a Toronto Star article, Malette is quoted as saying she was "pretty angry" that there was going to be a Life Chain in Halifax, calling the pro-life event "a really scary thing because people are still going to have sex."

“It is frightening and it’s really enraging," Malette reportedly said.

A photograph of the pro-abortion counter-protesters shows some of them carrying vulgarity-laced signs. On one, the message was "Mind your own uterus" and there was a drawing of a uterus with the fallopian tubes giving the middle finger. Another sign read "Public cervix announcement: F*** You."

"The pro-life movement needs help and people to stand up," said Tony Chesal. "If you believe in it, get off the fence."


Pro-lifers to line highways and byways in Canada and the U.S. for national Life Chain

Court dismisses Satanists' case against pro-life laws


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Trump denies visas to same-sex partners of diplomats who aren’t ‘married’, LGBT lobby outraged

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration will begin denying visas to the homosexual partners of foreign diplomats who are not “married,” in a move pro-LGBT activists are decrying as harmful and homophobic.

A July 12 diplomatic note from the United States to the United Nations explains that, following State Department policy and the Supreme Court’s enshrinement of same-sex “marriage” in 2015, the U.S. will only grant non-immigrant visas to the “spouses” of foreign diplomats, rather than “unmarried” partners of either sex.

The policy, which effectively reverses a 2009 order by the Obama Administration granting visas to diplomats’ homosexual partners, took effect for new applications and renewals on October 1. Partners of current diplomats will have until December 31 to get “married,” after which those who do not will have thirty days to leave the country.  

“This is certainly not an attack. It was not meant as an attack; it is not meant to be punitive. It is a recognition and a codification of the fact that same-sex marriage is legal in the United States,” an administration official told the Wall Street Journal. The memo adds that “same-sex spouses of officials of the United Nations will be treated the same as opposite-sex spouses when applying for a G-4 visa and for other immigration purposes.”

Yet pro-homosexual activists and other left-wing observers have denounced the change. Former Obama UN ambassador Samantha Power tweeted on September 28 that the policy is “needlessly cruel & bigoted,” while Akshaya Kumar of Human Rights Watch claimed the move “replicates the terrible discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries.”

“This is an unconscionable, needless attack on some LGBTQ diplomats from around the world, and it reflects the hostility of the Trump-Pence administration toward LGBTQ people” David Stacy of the pro-LGBT lobbying group Human Rights Campaign claimed. “It is unnecessary, mean-spirited, and unacceptable. The White House must immediately go back to a policy that is fully inclusive and takes into account the dangers faced by LGBTQ foreign diplomats, U.N. employees, and their families.”

Central to their complaints are countries that don’t recognize same-sex “marriage,” theoretically leaving some diplomats’ partners with no way to remain in America.

“According to our records, most are just from countries where same-sex marriage is legal,” an administration official responded to the WSJ. The administration expected the change to only affect approximately 105 “families,” who could qualify to retain their visas by “marrying” in the U.S.

An official added that the U.S. would also make exceptions for diplomats of countries that don’t recognize same-sex “marriage” but do allow visas to the “spouses” of homosexual American diplomats.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a social conservative opposed to same-sex “marriage” who has played a key role in President Donald Trump’s religious liberty agenda. But pro-family advocates give the Trump administration mixed reviews on LGBT issues. Trump has opposed transgenderism in the military and stood for American sovereignty and conscience rights, but he has also declared same-sex “marriage” a “settled” issue, nominated some pro-LGBT figures to prominent positions, and continued Obama-era policies such as “gender identity’s” inclusion in federal workforce nondiscrimination criteria.

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President Trump affirms right to life of Down syndrome babies in powerful statement

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration will continue to affirm the equal rights and dignity of children with Down syndrome, against “persistent myths and stigmas,” President Donald Trump declared Monday.

The president recognized Down Syndrome Awareness Month with a statement celebrating the “lives of the more than 250,000 Americans with Down syndrome,” pledging a deeper “understanding of Down syndrome and learning more about how we can ensure the beautiful people with Down syndrome are able to fully participate in society,” and honoring the “sanctity of their lives, at every stage.”

“All people are endowed by their Creator with dignity and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Trump said. “Despite some persistent myths and stigmas, even within the medical community, our Nation strongly embraces the undeniable truth that a Down syndrome diagnosis is an opportunity to embrace God’s gifts.”

“I stand for life – in all of its beautiful manifestations – and I, and my Administration, will continue to condemn the prejudice and discrimination that Americans with Down syndrome too often endure,” he added.

The president noted that continuing research and treatment helps more people with Down syndrome live healthier and longer lives. This work, along with “innovative speech, occupational, and physical therapies,” helps “ensure many of our youngest citizens with this condition are able to live fulfilling, independent, and productive lives.”

Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder typically associated with physical growth delays, distinct facial traits, and often intellectual disability. Despite these challenges, a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99% of people with Down syndrome described themselves as “happy,” and only 4% of parents with Down children expressed regret about having their child.

Prominent individuals with Down syndrome, such as snow cone business owner Blake Pyron, writer John Franklin Stephens, and advocate Charlotte Fien serve as examples of their community’s dignity and potential. Yet around the world, Down syndrome is seen as a justification for aborting preborn children.

Precise data is not available in the United States, but in 2015, the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimated that abortion reduces the U.S. Down community by 30%. Overseas, it’s been estimated that 90% of babies in Great Britain to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, 65% in Norway, virtually 100% in Iceland, and 95% in Spain. Irish pro-lifers fear the same trend beginning in their country now that their 8th Amendment protecting preborn babies has been repealed.

“Every day,” Trump concluded, Americans with Down syndrome “inspire us to live with great love, joy, and appreciation for our world and those who make it a truly unique and special place to live. Life is precious, and it is our moral duty to protect and defend it.”

The president delivered a similar statement last October, and has worked to advance a varied (yet imperfect and incomplete) pro-life agenda, from defunding as much of Planned Parenthood as can be done without Congress to resisting pro-abortion priorities at the United Nations.

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Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Turin, Italy June 21, 2015.
James Risdon James Risdon


New poll shows majority of Americans disgruntled with Pope’s handling of abuse crisis

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By James Risdon

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In the wake of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's allegations of a papal coverup of sexual abuse within the Church comes a survey that reveals American Catholics are growing increasingly disenchanted with Pope Francis' handling of the crisis. 

A Pew Research Center report released October 1 shows only 31 per cent of American Catholics polled in September thought the Pope was doing a good or excellent job of handling the sex abuse crisis, down sharply from 54 per cent in February 2014. 

And the percentage of Catholics who rate the pontiff's handling of the sex abuse scandal as poor has more than doubled from 15 to 36 per cent during the same period. 

U.S. Catholics increasingly critical of the way Pope Francis has handled sex abuse scandal

In late August, Viganò, a former papal nuncio to the United States, shocked the Roman Catholic Church with allegations that Pope Francis restored now-ex Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to a position of influence despite knowing about his sex abuse reputation. 

The archbishop went so far as to call on the Pope to resign. Pope Francis has yet to directly address Vigano’s claims.

The archbishop's allegations and the swirl of controversy they have generated appear to coincide with the drop in the confidence Catholics have of the Pope's handling of the sex abuse crisis. 

Among the laity, some have gone so far as to take matters into their own hands, forming the Better Church Governance group to research and publish a survey of each of the church's cardinal electors, those eligible to vote in papal conclaves. The group's first project, dubbed The Red Hat Report, will provide a brief introduction to each of the current 124 cardinal electors, noting their handling of abuse and corruption, both sexual and fiscal, and their theological and pastoral priorities. 

The downturn in satisfaction with the Pope's handling of the sex abuse crisis is broad-based among American Catholics, evident among both men and women, younger and older adults, and those who are weekly church-goers and those who attend Mass less frequently. American Catholic men have the least favorable view of the pope's performance on this file of all Catholics in the United States, with only 27 per cent saying he is doing a good or excellent job on the sex abuse crisis.

But it's not just Catholics who are growing increasingly disgruntled with the Pope over the sex abuse crisis. 

Among Caucasian evangelical Protestants in the United States, the percentage who view the pope favorably dropped from 52 per cent in January to 32 per cent last month. A similar trend is evident among the Caucasian mainline Protestants. In that group, the percentage who viewed the pope in favorable light dropped from 67 to 48 per cent over the same period. 

The allegations of papal involvement in the sex abuse scandal do not seem to have damaged Pope Francis' overall popularity, with seven in 10 American Catholics still having a favorable opinion of him. 

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James Risdon James Risdon


Catholic university hosts Planned Parenthood abortionist at ‘workplace inclusion’ forum

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By James Risdon

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two Planned Parenthood officials — an abortionist and a top executive — were invited to the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota last spring to give a presentation in a forum on "workplace inclusion."

Pro-lifers have only recently learned about the invitation and are shocked. 

"It's scandalous that a Catholic university would promote Planned Parenthood, an organization that is responsible for 60 per cent of the babies aborted in Minnesota … and 100 per cent of those in South Dakota," said Brian Gibson, executive director of the Pro-life Action Ministries. 

"They are openly promoting Planned Parenthood … as if this is a credible organization in Catholic teaching," said Gibson. "There is nothing good about this. This is an intrinsic evil."

In mid-April this year, both Dr. Sarah Traxler, Planned Parenthood's medical director for Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, and Tonya Hampton, the abortionist's vice-president for human resources and organizational effectiveness, were invited to the Roman Catholic university to speak at the Forum.

The university has since apologized - sort of. Through a public relations official, the university described the invite as "unbeknownst to the administration."

“As a Catholic University, we believe deeply in the sanctity of life," said Janet Swiecichowski, the University of Saint Thomas' associate vice-president of public relations, this week. 

"We were extremely disappointed to learn that the speakers in question submitted a proposal and were allowed to speak at the conference unbeknownst to the administration," she said. "The break-out session should not have been included in the program. As a Catholic University, we do not provide a platform for Planned Parenthood."

The spokeswoman for the Catholic university did not explain who at the university allowed Planned Parenthood to be invited, what disciplinary action that person may have faced, or what measures may have been put in place since then to ensure it does not happen again. 

The abortionists' invitation to speak at the University of Saint Thomas took pro-lifers by surprise. 

"If we knew about it ahead of the event we would have been all over the front of the building," said Gibson.

As soon as Pro-life Action Ministries heard about the talk by the abortionists, Gibson contacted the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to enlist its help in seeking redress. That took until two weeks ago. 

When Archbishop Bernard Hebda contacted the university's president, Dr. Julie Sullivan, he said he could "understand how people could be dumbfounded,” noting that the “information provided (in the program materials) about Dr. Traxler certainly makes abortion and contraceptive counselling sound respectable.” 

According to the archdiocese's director of communications, Tom Halden, the University of Saint Thomas president claimed to be unaware of the invitation extended to Planned Parenthood. 

"She said their involvement was 'a mistake and we are very sorry it happened,' that she would have the information taken down from the website, and that she would speak with the faculty member involved," said Halden.  

Contact information for respectful communications: 

Dr. Julie Sullivan
Office of the President
Mail AQU 100
2115 Summit Ave. 
St. Paul, MN 55105.
Ph: (651) 962-6500
Email: [email protected]

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Cardinal Müller confirms sex abuse investigation against UK Cardinal was stopped

By Maike Hickson

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller has confirmed that the Vatican investigation into sexual abuse by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was not completed, but instead was stopped for lack of the Pope’s approval.

The cardinal spoke with LifeSiteNews yesterday in Washington, D.C. while there to speak at the Napa Institute’s Conference on Authentic Catholic Reform.

LifeSiteNews asked Cardinal Müller if Pope Francis had indeed halted the investigation into Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who passed away in 2017. Müller was until recently the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican body tasked with investigating sex abuse cases. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was accused of abusing a girl when she was 13 or 14 during the 1960s.

Cardinal Müller told LifeSiteNews he was “bound by Pontifical Secret,” but said that “the Pope’s approval is required for investigations” of a Cardinal. LifeSiteNews informed Müller that some news reports were suggesting he had completed the investigation, rather than the investigation having been interrupted and prevented from continuing.

LifeSiteNews asked the cardinal if he would at least go on the record to indicate that the investigation was stopped, rather than completed, and he agreed, “yes.”

‘The Pope wants to speak to you’

Despite suggestions to the contrary, neither LifeSiteNews nor Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò claimed that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was guilty of the abuse. Rather, LifeSite’s original report focused on the fact that the investigation into the allegations did not follow proper Church protocol, and Archbishop Viganò mentioned the halting of the investigation in the context of the Pope’s larger record on sex abuse cover-up.

The bizarre circumstances around the Pope stopping the investigation were revealed by famed Vatican reporter Marco Tosatti. From a source close to Cardinal Müller, Tosatti learned that the Cardinal, when he was Prefect of the CDF, was interrupted by a phone call from the Pope while saying Mass in June 2013 at the Church of Santa Monica (next to the CDF building) for a small group of German students.   

As Tosatti put it in an article for First Things last year:

His secretary joined him at the altar: “The pope wants to speak to you.” “Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?” asked Müller. “Yes,” said the secretary, “but he says he does not mind—he wants to talk to you all the same.” The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders about a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal.

In a joint report with LifeSiteNews last week, Tosatti revealed for the first time, via a source close to Cardinal Müller, that it was the CDF’s investigation of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor that Pope Francis nixed during that urgent phone call.

The allegation, and failed investigations

From a source in England close to the Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor case, LifeSiteNews learned that the lady around 2009 accused Murphy-O’Connor of involvement in her abuse. She had been, as a young teen in the 1960s, a victim of notorious pedophile priest Michael Hill. She asserted around 2009 that there were several priests involved in her abuse at the time, with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor being one of them. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor later infamously transferred the known abuser Hill to be the chaplain at Gatwick airport despite warnings that he would offend again. (He did indeed offend again.) The lady in question is an acknowledged victim of Fr. Hill and was paid at the beginning of the 2000s a £40,000 settlement by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton for the abuse she suffered.

While the left-leaning Tablet in England has claimed that the woman’s allegations against Murphy-O’Connor were investigated by police and the Church and found lacking in credibility, our source in England provides needed clarification.

Our source notes: “The police did not decide that she was not credible, but that they did not have corroborating evidence.” The source added that, had the police not found the victim a credible source, “they would not have investigated the case.” Rather, the source said, the police took the case so seriously that they interviewed Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor himself “under caution,” which means that they made it clear to him that his answers could be used against him in court. Moreover, the source says the police never closed the case, but put it aside awaiting corroborating evidence.

The Tablet author Christopher Lamb omits in his description of the history of the case that the Archdiocese of Westminster altogether refused to investigate the allegations of the female victim according to Church protocols. As LifeSiteNews has reported, it was not the Archdiocese of Westminster, but two other dioceses – Portsmouth and Northampton – which filed a case directly with the CDF in 2011. As our well-placed source in England has affirmed, it was not Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster since 2009, who instigated the CDF investigation. Only in 2011 – that is, three years after the lady started to claim Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor abused her – Nichols finally had his diocesan officials meet with her in person. Still, they did not open an investigation.

According to our source in England, Bishop Crispian Hollis (of Portsmouth, now retired) and Bishop Peter Doyle (Northampton) both knew the female victim for years and found her a credible person. “All people involved [i.e., police, as well as the English bishops filing the case with the CDF] found that the female victim is a credible witness,” the English source told LifeSiteNews.

The Tablet reports on a CDF investigation in 2011 of the case under then-CDF head Cardinal William Levada. That investigation apparently determined there was no case. However, our English source states that the CDF’s investigation in 2011 was not thorough, inasmuch as the victim herself was not even personally interviewed by the CDF officials.

As The Tablet so ambiguously puts it, the need to restart the case then in 2013 was due to an “administrative gap.” Of what that “administrative gap” could be, our source commented: “The CDF itself had not followed protocol.”

That is the very reason why, in 2013, Peter Doyle – the Bishop of Northampton who originally worked in Portsmouth and who knows the victim personally – together with Portsmouth “complained to Rome” and urged Nichols to restart the CDF investigation in 2013, according to our English source. But once Cardinal Müller finally got the 2013 CDF investigation underway, Pope Francis put a stop to it.

Damian Thompson, editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, notes that there were “some English bishops” who were “unhappy at Westminster breaking rules.” Speaking of The Tablet article, he wrote on Twitter September 30: “This report is basically accurate. I believe in ++Cormac’s innocence. But this isn’t the whole story. Some English bishops unhappy at Westminster breaking rules; the CDF intervened. ++Mueller knows the truth.”

“Cardinal Nichols should explain precisely how he handled the Cormac allegations,” Thompson wrote on Twitter September 26. “They may have lacked credibility, but there’s no indication that the Church’s abuse procedures were properly implemented. Far from it.”

Viganò vindicated

On Twitter, The Tablet’s Lamb and Austen Ivereigh, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s former assistant, suggested that The Tablet’s report discredited Archbishop Viganò. Viganò listed in his recent follow-up testimony Pope Francis’ “halting of the investigation of sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor” as one example of the pontiff’s complicity in sex abuse cover-up. The discrediting of Viganò would vindicate Pope Francis, not only with regard to his role in the Murphy-O’Connor case, but in the face of larger cover-up accusations surrounding the ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick debacle.

Cardinal Muller’s confirmation that the CDF’s investigation of Murphy-O’Connor was indeed halted would seem to vindicate Viganò, though.

Murphy-O’Connor had been the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton from 1977 until 2000, when he was appointed Archbishop of Westminster. He was also a member of the St. Gallen Group that tried to get Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) elected, first in the 2005 conclave, and then again in 2013.

In his biography of Pope Francis, Ivereigh wrote that days prior to the conclave, which began March 12, 2013 in Rome, Murphy-O’Connor was tasked by the St. Gallen “mafia” to inform Jorge Bergoglio of a plan to get him elected. According to Ivereigh, Murphy-O’Connor was also tasked with lobbying for Bergoglio among his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link to those from Commonwealth countries. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor recounted in his memoir An English Spring that when Pope Francis met the English cardinal in July 2013, the Pope told him, “You're to blame!”

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Late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell in court
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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Gosnell’ clip depicts courtroom drama amid notorious abortionist’s prosecution

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer is set for release on October 12, and MJM Entertainment Group has provided LifeSiteNews with an exclusive clip depicting a moment in the trial of Philadelphia late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

The film, which is slated for release in 750 theaters across America next Friday, depicts Gosnell’s arrest, trial, and conviction for the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies and the involuntary manslaughter of patient Karnamaya Mongar. It’s based on a similarly-titled book by the film’s producers, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, who are also prolific documentarians and investigative journalists.

The dramatic clip features veteran actor Nick Searcy as Defense Attorney Mike Cohen, who is based on Gosnell’s real-life lawyer Jack McMahon. Cohen cross-examines a clinic worker who testified against Gosnell, insinuating that she made a deal with prosecutors to avoid prosecution on drug trafficking charges and that her testimony was tainted by “personal animosity for Dr. Gosnell.”

“This exchange is drawn directly from the court transcript when (...) McMahon questions witness Kareema Cross and undermines her credibility,” MJM Entertainment explained to LifeSiteNews. “He stated in the courtroom that she has a Forest Gump-style ability to be present at all the pivotal moments in the case.”

Cross, the final witness in prosecutors’ case, was particularly dangerous to Gosnell’s defense. She took 10 photos of unsanitary conditions and fetal remains at Gosnell’s clinic, and testified that she witnessed more than 10 babies breathing.

The details of Gosnell’s 2013 trial shocked the nation. According to the 280-page grand jury report, the abortionist killed hundreds of newborns who survived abortion in his blood-stained clinic by cutting their spinal cords with scissors, and preserved their feet in jars. Witnesses described infants who survived initial abortion attempts as “swimming” in toilets “to get out.” Gosnell was ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

The real-life McMahon, who has publicly acknowledged he favors legal abortion, claims his client’s common depiction as “some horrific monster” could not be “further from the truth,” and blasted the film’s version of events as “fiction.”

"We have conducted dozens of hours of interviews with Kermit Gosnell, both in person and on the phone," Phelim McAleer responded in an email to Metro. "We rely heavily, very heavily on actual court transcripts — the film represents what happened in this investigation and trial (...) Every report and film about everything ends up using composite terms and composite writing — it has to be done to tell a story."

MJM also notes that former District Attorney Christine Wechsler and Detective James Woods, both of whom played critical roles in the real investigation, served as consultants to help ensure the film’s accuracy. In the film, The Night Shift actress Sarah Jane Morris plays Wechsler’s role as Alexis “Lexy” McGuire, and former Superman actor Dean Cain portrays Wood.

As a film presenting a critical look at one of Hollywood and the mainstream media’s sacred cows, abortion, Gosnell has faced numerous hurdles on the road to release.

Every major film distributor in Hollywood rejected it, forcing producers to turn to crowdfunding (more than 30,000 people ultimately donated $2.2 million). Judge Jeffrey Minehart, the trial judge in the case, attempted to block both the film and the book with a defamation suit. NPR objected to advertising text that called Gosnell an “abortionist” or “abortion doctor.”

“(M)any people, some of them good friends of mine, declined to work on this film, not because of its quality but because of the fear of reprisal or even ostracism by the groupthink herd in Hollywood,” Searcy wrote last month in National Review. “More than once, I was asked questions like ‘Are you crazy?’ or ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’"

Interested readers can find a complete list of theaters screening Gosnell on the movie’s official website.

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UK university students receive advice at orientation on becoming prostitutes

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BRIGHTON, England, October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-prostitution outreach program set up stalls at two English universities’ orientation week fairs last month.  

The Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP), Sussex set up shop at Brighton University and Sussex University during their annual September “freshers’ fairs,” offering condoms and sexual health advice to potential sex workers among the students.

“1 in 6 students does sex work or thinks about turning to sex work,” SWOP tweeted. “We can help.”

Before the fairs began, SWOP advertised its services over Twitter, saying that they would be “out during Freshers Week letting students know how we can help if they’re sex working to help pay their fees and expenses.”  

In another tweet, it expressed solidarity with those “topping up their fees” with paid sex acts.

“If you're topping up your fees with sex work, or struggling to balance work and studies, or want to talk and don't know where to go... we're here for you. We respect your autonomy, privacy and confidentiality,” SWOP promised.

At Brighton University, the SWOP stall, which featured a colorful “wheel of sexual well-being” for students to play with, stood beside another advertising careers in finance.

According to British media reports, a spokesman for Brighton University distanced itself from the prostitution advocacy group, saying that the university “does not promote sex work to its students.” He indicated that there would be an investigation.

Fiorella Nash, a UK pro-life feminist, suggests in her recently released The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism is Betraying Women, that if people really believed sex work was “gainful, freely chosen employment,” school career fairs would “include a ‘sex work stall.’” The inference was that Nash thought this impossible.

The author sounded deeply chagrined when LifeSiteNews asked her for comment.

“I stand corrected,” Nash said. “The great and the good are really living in the Dark Ages when it comes to women’s rights.”

“Prostitution is the most dangerous and degrading profession in the world,” she continued. “The number one cause of death in that industry is murder.”

Nash doubts that one in six university students actually engages in, or thinks about, trading sex for cash.

“I think it depends on how you define [prostitution],” she said. “[A student] might use it as a form of advancement.”

She is sure, however, that young women who leave home may find themselves trapped in the industry.

“When girls go away to university, they may be vulnerable,” she said. “But they need welfare support, not hints and tips about how to endanger themselves for money.”

The prostitutes’ advocacy group objected to media reports that it was encouraging students to take up sex work.

“SWOP have never idealised sex work,” they tweeted. “However, we understand why students may turn to sex work, and navigating the legal precariousness as well as potential danger mean that students are extra vulnerable and we will help. We hope every student had a wonderful Fresher's Week.”

In The Abolition of Woman, Nash observes that the majority of prostitutes have been victims of violence and rape.

“Studies (largely ignored by the media and misguided campaigning groups) report that the overwhelming majority of prostitutes want to get out, are drug-dependent and have been the victims of violent assault and rape,” she wrote. “Far from this being a consensual practise between adults, the average age of entry into prostitution is between twelve and fourteen years old, three-quarters of prostitutes are controlled by a pimp and the majority suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

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Marie-Claire Bissonnette's attacker winding up for his round-kick in Toronto, Sept. 30, 2018.
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Video of pro-life woman roundhouse-kicked by man goes viral, reaches YouTube top ten

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By Lianne Laurence
Marie-Claire Bissonnette
A screengrab from the video showing the attacker, Jordan Hunt, kicking Marie-Claire Bissonnette in the shoulder, knocking her phone from her hand, Toronto, Sept. 30, 2018.

Tell Justin Trudeau to condemn attack on pro-life woman. Sign the petition here.

TORONTO, October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The shocking video of a man roundhouse kicking a pro-life woman during last Sunday’s Life Chain in Canada has gone viral since first being published on LifeSiteNews on Tuesday. Mainstream outlets originally declined to touch the story.

Marie-Claire Bissonnette was kicked by a so-far unidentified man at the corner of Bloor and Keele in Toronto after she began filming him defacing private property of pro-lifers at the event. The man had been scribbling messages on signs and on the backs of participants at the Life Chain with markers.

After he kicked Bissonnette, the assailant claimed he was trying to knock the phone out of her hand. He then tore off the yellow ribbon pinned to her jacket that identified her as an event organizer, and ran away, Bissonnette relates in her account.

LifeSiteNews published her story Tuesday and the video has gone viral.

READ: I’m a pro-life woman. This man just roundhouse-kicked me in public for my beliefs

The video shows the assailant’s windup and kick. Viewers can hear the audible thud of his kick, the crack of the phone hitting the pavement as the image goes out of kilter and Bissonnette's voice repeatedly stating: “Someone call the police!”

The clip has received some 410,000 views at last count, and has climbed to Number 8 on YouTube. It was also trending Wednesday on Toronto Reddit, and has been posted on conservative and liberal sites, including Louder With Crowder, Newsweek, Daily Hive, LifeNews, BlogTO, Twitchy, and RedState, and noted on Facebook by conservative pundit Ben Shapiro.

Campaign Life Coalition youth coordinator, Bissonnette has laid a complaint with Toronto police against the assailant. A distinct benefit of the clip going viral is that it exponentially increases the chances to identify the assailant.

Bissonnette had been given some clues as to the man’s identity earlier.

“Someone messaged me yesterday some guy’s Facebook profile that looks exactly like this guy, so I’ll be handing that into the police,” she told LifeSiteNews.

“I was glad that it was caught on camera the way it was,” she added. “Because it shows him clearly and he should be ashamed of himself, and I’m glad it’s going around everywhere.”

Bissonnette had initially sent an account of the incident and the 46-second video to columnists at the Toronto Sun and the National Post, as well as to the CBC, but there seemed to be little interest. 

“I was hoping for a reaction but I knew that a lot of pro-life people had not been given equal coverage,” she told LifeSiteNews. 

Since the video’s meteoric rise in popularity, however, Bissonnette has been interviewed by Global News and Newsweek, and has been contacted by a UK reporter, Blaze Media and National Review.

She was surprised the video is trending “because it’s on the wrong side of political correctness.”

As to why it’s gone viral, Bissonnette speculated that “it’s probably trending on both sides for two reasons. One is that pro-lifers might be shocked and upset and would want to spread the message and would want to expose him.”

The other reason is that “pro-choicers would celebrate his actions, and that somebody’s taken the initiative to do something they wanted to do,” she said. 

“Hopefully, not the majority but some people would want to do that.”

Indeed, “people have been arguing about it on Reddit,” and “a stranger made a side comment in a Facebook message he sent me that there’s been a lot of back and forth, and people trying to defend” her assailant on social media, she told LifeSiteNews.

“I’m not surprised,” added Bissonnette. “It’s disgusting, but it shows that there are more out there.”

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Academics: peer-reviewed journals prove bias by publishing our fake research on gender, feminism

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ideology has all-but overtaken science in the world of peer-reviewed academic literature, according to a sting operation of sorts undertaken by three left-leaning yet independent academics.

Aero Magazine editor Helen Pluckrose, mathematician James Lindsay, and Portland State University philosophy professor Peter Boghossian detail at Aero a year-long project in which they submitted “outlandish or intentionally broken” papers to leading peer-reviewed journals to test the journals’ rigor and biases.

All three told the Wall Street Journal they consider themselves “left-leaning liberals, Pluckrose defines herself as a “secular, liberal humanist,” and Lindsey’s author biography says he “thinks everybody is wrong about God.” Yet they object that “scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant” in several humanities fields, with so-called scholars “bully[ing] students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview.”

So the trio set out to submit their hoax papers to journals “associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as ‘cultural studies’ or ‘identity studies’ (for example, gender studies) or ‘critical theory,’” all of which they have dubbed “grievance studies” for their “common goal of problematizing aspects of culture in minute detail in order to attempt diagnoses of power imbalances and oppression rooted in identity.”

The team took care to ensure their submissions “blend[ed] in almost perfectly” with real literature, while at the same time taking “risks to test certain hypotheses such that the fact of their acceptance itself makes a statement about the problem we’re studying.”

“The goal was always to use what the existing literature offered to get some little bit of lunacy or depravity to be acceptable at the highest levels of intellectual respectability within the field,” they write. “Therefore, each paper began with something absurd or deeply unethical (or both) that we wanted to forward or conclude. We then made the existing peer-reviewed literature do our bidding in the attempt to get published in the academic canon.”

This process produced twenty papers, including one about observing “rape culture” among canine behavior in a dog park; one claiming “the reason superintelligent AI is potentially dangerous is because it is being programmed to be masculinist and imperialist using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Lacanian psychoanalysis”; a “feminist astronomy” paper arguing the science of astronomy is “intrinsically sexist”; and even a chapter of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf rewritten with “fashionable buzzwords” to make it about feminism.

The authors add that their work presented “very shoddy methodologies including incredibly implausible statistics,” claims not warranted by the data,” and “ideologically-motivated qualitative analyses”; advocated “highly dubious ethics” such as “punishing white male college students for historical slavery by asking them to sit in silence in the floor in chains during class”; and incorporated “considerable silliness” such as feigning confusion about “why heterosexual men are attracted to women” and “why people are more concerned about the genitalia others have when considering having sex with them.”

Yet most of it was taken seriously. Ultimately, they succeeded in getting seven of their twenty papers accepted, four of which were published online. Seven were either resubmitted after requests for revisions or awaiting review. Only six of the twenty were rejected entirely as “fatally flawed or beyond repair.”

The accepted papers include the dog park study (accepted by Gender, Place & Culture), the feminist Mein Kampf chapter (accepted by women and social work journal Affilia), and a piece arguing that the professional bodybuilding unjustly discriminates against obesity (accepted by Fat Studies). Gender, Place, and Culture even honored “Dog Park” as a leading piece on feminist geography, and the group received four invitations to peer-review other papers.

“Dog Park” was an “intellectually and empirically exciting paper” notable for its innovation, analysis, and fieldwork, one reviewer said. Another reviewer concluded that the feminized prose of Nazi Germany’s dictator sought to “further the aims of inclusive feminism by attending to the issue of allyship/solidarity.”

“As we progressed, we started to realize that just about anything can be made to work, so long as it falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates understanding of the existing literature,” the authors write. “The underlying questions in every single case were the same: What do we need to write, and what do we need to cite (all of our citations are real, by the way) to get this academic madness published as high ‘scholarship’?”

The “Dog Park” paper in particular gained enough public attention over the summer, including inquiries by the Wall Street Journal, that the authors decided to publicly reveal themselves early rather than lie to journalists. As a result, the paper has since been retracted and others will presumably follow, but the fat bodybuilding paper as well as papers on why men like the restaurant Hooters and the “homophobia” of straight men disliking anal penetration remain published at the time of this writing.

This is neither the first project of its kind, nor the first by these authors. Lindsay and Boghossian had already given the peer-review process a black eye last year by getting Cogent Social Sciences to publish their infamous “conceptual penis” article,

Last year, a Discover Magazine blogger using the pseudonym Neuroskeptic got four journals to accept a paper that merely rewrote Wikipedia’s entry on mitochondria to be about midi-chlorians, fictional organisms from the Star Wars movies. The WSJ notes that in 1996, mathematician Alan Sokal got the journal Social Text to publish “a pastiche of left-wing cant” quoting and satirizing postmodernist academics.

The Aero trio authors told WSJ they foresee severe consequences for the project, with the untenured Boghossian predicting his university will fire or punish him, Pluckrose predicting difficulty in getting accepted to a doctoral program, and Lindsay expecting he’ll become “an academic pariah.”

Yet “the risk of letting biased research continue to influence education, media, policy and culture is far greater than anything that will happen to us for having done this,” Lindsey added.

The authors say they hope their project prods universities to “begin a thorough review of these areas of study” to separate good-faith pursuits of knowledge from sophists. “This will require them to adhere more honestly and rigorously to the production of knowledge and to place scholarship ahead of any conflicting interest rather than following from it,” they write.

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Catholic lay group to investigate voting cardinals, publish results before next papal election

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By Lisa Bourne
Jacob Imam, Better Church Governance's Operations Director. John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As Catholics in the pews and the hierarchy continue to grapple with the Church’s sexual abuse scandal, a group of lay Catholics have launched an initiative to foster accountability among the Church’s hierarchy, specifically cardinals. 

The Better Church Governance (BCG) group announced plans Sunday to research and publish a survey of each of the Church’s cardinal electors, those eligible to vote in papal conclaves, in hopes of having it ready in time for the election of the next pope.

Numerous cardinals have remarked about how difficult it is for the cardinals to know one another, BCG’s Operations Director Jacob Imam told LifeSiteNews, and consequently, this would inhibit informed decision-making.

“A number of cardinals have mentioned to me and quite a number of other people that the most precarious part of a papal conclave was knowing who the cardinal electors are,” Imam said. “We thought; we needed to change this.”

BCG made the announcement at a private event hosted on campus at the Catholic University of America. The University, which was founded by the U.S. Bishops and has all six resident U.S. cardinals sitting on its Board of Trustees, was not associated with the BCG event. 

BCG’s premier project, The Red Hat Report, will offer a brief introduction to each of the currently 124 cardinal electors, noting their handling of abuse and corruption, both sexual and fiscal, and their theological and pastoral priorities, Imam told LifeSiteNews’ Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen Monday in an exclusive interview.

“We live in very dark times, with very dark corners,” he said. “We must shine light in them so that the laity might be more vigilant.”

A lay response to clergy sex abuse and cover-up

Announcement of The Red Hat Report follows several months of jarring revelations of sexual abuse in the Church, from allegations of serial predation of seminarians, young priests and other young men by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing seven decades of abuse by at least 300 priest abusers in six dioceses there. 

Both scandals have raised the question of whom in the Church’s hierarchy knew what and when they knew it, and what action was taken to cover for abusers. 

The McCarrick accusation of abuse of a minor decades ago that surfaced in June opened the door to the “open secret” that everybody knew about the high-level cardinal, leading more victims to come forward against him and others, and shining light on the issue of homosexual predation among clergy.

Allegations at all levels of the Church

The scandal has reached the Chair of Peter, with former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s August 25 testimony implicating Pope Francis and other senior prelates in covering up for McCarrick.

Francis has yet to directly address Vigano’s claims.

The Pope also faces charges he failed to adequately act upon abuse allegations when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had hoped for assistance from Rome in investigating the McCarrick scandal – as bishops and cardinals are answerable to the pope. 

However, after the apparent rejection last month by Francis of USCCB’s leadership’s request for an apostolic visit to address the abuse crisis in the U.S., the USCCB announced efforts it would undertake on its own authority to investigate McCarrick. 

Information – for laity and cardinals

Imam, a Marshall Scholar of the University of Oxford who was baptized 10 years ago and received into the Catholic Church three years ago, explained the overall mission of The Red Hat Report is two-fold; to inform both the laity and the cardinal electors about the men in the running for pope.

“We must do a good job to help the princes make an informed decision about who shall be our Holy Father,” he said.

“We will ultimately package this together in a very critical academic volume that we will give to each of the cardinals,” said Imam. “They can use it or not, it’s just for them to make an informed decision. We’ll also put this online so that it will be more accessible to the laity.”

BCG is in the start-up process, which also means fundraising mode. It projects expenses the first year of the project at some $1,126,500. 

After the first edition is completed, the cardinal list will need continual updating and revision as cardinal electors age out and pass away and new ones are selected. BCG currently expects its projected budget could drop by roughly $500,000 in subsequent years.

The group does hope to expand into more projects. 

“With the USCCB’s call for a lay review of bishops in Aug 2018 and Pope Francis’s meeting with world bishops slated for Feb 2019,” BCG states, “we see the potential for expanding our work to include the entire episcopacy and becoming a permanent, independent watchdog.”

It has begun by building a team of roughly 60 researchers comprised of professional academics and reporters, according to BCG’s prospectus, along with lawyers and other professionals from 15 different institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Investigators include former FBI agents looking into the most ‘papabile,’ or influential cardinals, as well as those who are little known.

BCG is currently constructing the dossiers of the American cardinals, and plans to soon start forming groups in Italy to begin researching their cardinals.

The group looks to launch a website in February 2019 with the results for the North American cardinals, followed by the dossiers of the Italian cardinals, along with most ‘papabile’ cardinals worldwide completed the following month. 

The rest of the cardinals’ dossiers will be published in regional groups, leading up to the final publish date of January 2020. The first full edition of The Red Hat Report is scheduled for release in April 2020.

Research will entail collecting and organizing credible facts on the cardinals, discerning credible reports from unsubstantiated claims, and integrating the data. When necessary they will travel to investigate locally. 

The need to know about these men

“We want to have complete dossiers done on every single cardinal elector,” Imam told LifeSiteNews. “That means knowing their background, their history of sexual abuse or sexual corruption, financial corruption.”

The cardinals’ theological leanings will be published but not critiqued, he said. 

“We want to know their theological priorities,” he said. “It’s not our job to declare a prelate to be orthodox or unorthodox, we merely know that this is an important aspect of a cardinal when making a decision about who shall be Holy Father that they will want to know. And so we’ll mark their theological priorities without, of course, giving judgment about them.”

Also important is where a given cardinal’s backing generates from – especially in the wake of McCarrick – who rose to prominence in the Church while allegedly preying continually on young men. 

“We’ll also note their patronage,” Imam said. “We know that this is important; who are their mentors, what are their connections, who are those that they’re associated with.”

Clarity and truth

Imam also said there’s a lot of false rumors and false accusations of people out there, and BCG wants to dispel those as well.

“We want to bring clarity to the conversation,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And it is through our research, through our investigative teams that we’re hoping to do that.”

This new lay-led initiative for reform in the Church stems from a great love and care for Jesus and His Church, Imam said.

“This is not a project to condemn anyone,” he stated. “This is an attempt to make the purity of the Church more visible, so that more people will be saved, more people will be loved, see their love for God grow and love for one another.” 

“This is for the protection of our children, and for our friends and for ourselves,” he added. “And it is for the greater glory of God that we are doing all of this.”

LifeSiteNews will continue to follow the unfolding initiative of the Better Church Governance. 

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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Italian abuse victims’ group accuses Pope Francis of ‘disastrous’ negligence in clerical abuse cases

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By Maike Hickson

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Italian organization of sex abuse victims has accused Pope Francis and those who work closest with him of failing to “intervene” in Italian cases where they knew of clerical abuse. 

On 2 October, the Italian organization of sex abuse victims Rete L’Abuso, or “abuse network,” together with the international abuse victim organization Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), hosted a press conference in Rome. According to a report, Rete L’Abuso's president Francesco Zanardi accused both the Vatican as well as the Italian government of gravely negligent omissions in this field of sexual abuse. 

Zanardi called Pope Francis' dealing with sex abuse “disastrous.” 

“It’s been dramatic and disastrous,” he said, adding “His commitment to ‘zero tolerance’ is only on paper and for the TV cameras.”

In four concrete cases, the Pope had been informed about the abuses of Italian clergymen, or those who covered-up for them, without his then taking steps against them, said Zanardi at that press conference. 

One case involved abuse allegations against Father Mauro Galli in Milan. The priest was transferred by Milan Archbishop Mario Enrico Delpini to another parish — in Legnano — and put in charge of youth ministry. The priest’s conduct and the Archbishop’s handling of it were reported to the Vatican on several occasions, Zanardi said. 

“Despite this,” he went on, in July 2017 Pope Francis made him [Delpini] the archbishop of Milan” while having detailed information of his background in covering-up for this abusive priest. 

Rete L’Abuso laid out three other Italian cases that they say Pope Francis was aware of and took no action. Reported Crux: 

  • A boy abused in the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary, which serves middle- and high school students and is located within Vatican walls.
  • The Antonio Provolo Intitute [sic] for the deaf in Verona, a case the group claims reached Pope Francis in 2014 when a delegation of former students and alleged victims met with him in the Vatican to hand-deliver a letter detailing abuses in the institute for decades. Father Nicola Corradi, an Italian priest sent to Argentina to run a similar institute in the northern province of Mendoza, was arrested in Nov. 2016 for abuse in Francis’s native country.
  • Father Silverio Mura the southern diocese of Naples, who was transferred from one parish to the other despite allegations of sexual abuse. In early 2018, the network found that the priest had been transferred to Pavia, where he had changed his name to Silverio Aversano, using his mother’s maiden name. One of Mura’s victims encountered Francis, who allegedly looked into it, but the priest is now once again missing.

Zanardi is of the opinion that the State should investigate ecclesial abuse cases. For that to occur, however, the Lateran treaties between the Holy See and Italy need to be altered. 

However, often it is the case that even state institutions act in a way that protects the Church, the speaker continued. Therefore, he calls for an independent inquiry commission according to the model of some other countries. For Italy, Zanardi estimates that some 300 ecclesial offenders are now said to have committed sexual crimes.

When LifeSiteNews reached out to Rete L’Abuso for more information, Simone Padovani explained that the organization has no political affiliation and that its main purpose is to work so as to “stop all the cover-up!” and, for sure, not to “tell the Church how to manage her priests.” (The organization has received, however, for one of their events the hospitality of the Radical Party in Rome.)

Upon request for more information also with regard to this organization's accusations against Pope Francis, LifeSiteNews received from Rete L’Abuso a link to an article written in English by Zanardi himself. In that article, he covers in more detail his allegations against Pope Francis and the Vatican with regard to the ongoing cover-up of sexual abuse. 

In this article, Zanardi makes it clear that the Church's approach to sexual abuse is still deficient in the way that it only looks at these crimes quite abstractly as a “crime against morality” and not as a “crime against the person.” This deficient concept leads to the Church's not opening herself up to “civil interventions toward [on behalf of] the victims,” he argues. His organization is now working with the United Nations in these matters. It is important to note that he speaks mostly of pedophilia, and not of homosexual abuse, on the part of the clergy.

In his article, Zanardi also discusses the “Court of Bergoglio” and its cover-up of sexual abuse. He specifically names many of those whom he claims are involved. For example, the Italian points to Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer who currently heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Church (CDF). He claims that the Cardinal “is certainly not the person most suited to that charge who in fact boasts over the years [about] a significant recidivism in the firing and protection of pedophile priests.” 

Becoming more detailed, Zanardi says: “One of the cases that made the most clamor is that of Don Giovanni Trotta who in 2012 was reduced to the lay [state] laical and Ladaria who in a decree, ordered silence 'to avoid scandal among the faithful.' So the ogre violated other children undisturbed. In the CDF, Ladaria treated dozens of other cases, all unresolved in at least, regarding justice for the victims.”

After his being appointed as the Prefect of the CDF on 3 July 2017, explains Zanari, “we immediately see Ladaria working to cover-up alleged abuses of the pope’s altar boys.”

“Even here there is no solution indeed. The alleged molester, Don Gabriele Martinelli, was not only not even suspended, but in 2018 he even collected reservations for the spiritual exercises of the [religious association] Opera Don Folci, which was attended by the same Ladaria [Ladaria was a speaker. See here a link to that event]. A few days ago the news passed quietly in Italy, where Ladaria was sued in Lyon [along] with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and five others [here a link to the story]. A process that could be avoided because Ladaria is not in France and the Vatican has not yet given any answer on its participation in the trial that will be held next January.”

Martinelli, according to one report, was a student at the Vatican's St. Pope Pius X junior seminary under Pope Francis when he is said to have abused boys as young as 13 years old. Nonetheless, he was ordained – in spite of warnings – in July of 2017. However, the Vatican denied the allegations in November of 2017, claiming that they were unfounded. One specific victim claims to have been abused by an older boy in the pre-seminary from age 13 until 18. That abusing boy could be identified as a priest now serving in Como, according to the Avvenire report.

As the Vatican specialist Nicole Winfield reported in November of 2017, the Church had put strong pressure on those who went to the public with abuse allegations concerning the abusing student and later priest. However, even a high-ranking clergyman at one point admitted that he believed the allegations. As Winfied says: “However, [the journalist Gaetano] Pecoraro interviewed the Como vicar who handled the investigation, the Rev. Andrea Stabellini, who confessed when he thought the camera wasn't filming that he had recommended the investigation continue because he believed there was sufficient evidence offered by the boys. He was overruled. In an interview with AP, Pecoraro said he had since come to learn that diocesan and other church officials were pressuring Stabellini to recant.”

As Rete L’Abuso's speaker Simone Padovani informed LifeSiteNews, that his organization has already informed Monsignor Enrico Radice (the former rector of the pre-seminary at the Vatican where the Pope's altar boys live) and Bishop Diego Coletti (Como), as well as the religious association Opera Don Folci – with whom Don Martinelli is currently working – that a penal process will be started with regard to abuse allegations against Don Martinelli, who still this summer organized events for that religious association which has affiliated nuns and priests and which is located in Como, Italy. The Opera Don Folci runs the pre-seminary St. Pius X, and in 2015, it honored Monsignor Enrico Radice when he left his position after twelve years as the rector of that seminary. This pre-seminary is a place for 11-18 year-old-boys who go to a nearby Catholic school and otherwise also help with the liturgical service at the Vatican.

Among the members of the “Court of Bergoglio,” the author also points to Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the “protector of the pedophile priest Nello Giraudo who helped in the election of Bergoglio.” At the 2013 Conclave, Zanardi – who had himself been terribly abused by the now-convicted Father Giraudo – made his own public appearance in Rome calling for the removal of Cardinal Calcagno who had been complicit in the cover-up of this protracted clerical abuse, according to Zanardi. He was able to have some access to Vatican documents which showed that Cardinal Calcagno had asked the CDF's Prefect, Cardinal Ratzinger, for advice, making it clear that he already knew of the abuse. However, according to Zanari, Calcagno nevertheless kept this abusing priest in places where he also had access to children.

As a CNN report has it: “Further documents reveal church officials were aware of [Father] Giraudo's crimes from as far back as 1980. On 29th March 2010, [Titular] Archbishop Ladaria of Thibica wrote to the current Bishop of Savona, Vittoria Lupi. It says Giraudo 'was reported in 1980 for abuse of minors' and that Giraudo admitted his own 'pedophile tendencies' to the Vicar General of Savona in 2002. Despite all this, it took more than 30 years before the Church forced Giraudo to write a letter of resignation on March 27th, 2010.”

Zanardi also names “Archbishop Mario Delpini and his colleague Pierantonio Tremolada, who tried to cover up the case of Don Mauro Galli and, again, Bishop Diego Coletti and his colleague Angelo Comastri, collaborators of the alleged abuses of the pope’s altar boys." He also names Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, "reported for the cover-up by the alleged victim on the basis of the Motu Proprio of Bergoglio, who never intervened.”

Zanardi concludes this part of his essay – which also deals with the Italian government's deficient handling of sexual abuse – with the statement that “Bergoglio collects accusations from one pole to the other on the planet, even if the Italian newspapers do not speak of it, he did not intervene in the case of the Veronese priest Don Nicola Corradi [see here a report on this case involving Pope Francis] and now 'the pope of transparency closes in silence,'" he said, finally "debunking the myth" that he is for "zero tolerance, which has never been there.”

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Catholic professor: Why I can never teach Pope Francis’ new teaching on death penalty

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

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s hard to believe that the change to the Catechism, which caused such a tempest at the time, happened only two months ago. The inexorable whirl of events under this pontificate has already buried the subject in the news cycle and in people’s minds. It’s just one more milestone in the long forced march towards the Church of Tomorrow.  But we should not make the mistake of letting our interests be dominated by the latest news, such that we cease to ponder “the method to the madness.”

Consider the difference between the new Catechism text and the speech of October 11, 2017, on which it was based and to which it refers (as the only cited source for the revision). In the speech, the Pope spoke his mind freely:

It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.  It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which—ultimately—only God is the true judge and guarantor.

Here, the Pope claimed that the death penalty in and of itself, in principle, is contrary to the Gospel, which must mean contrary to divine law or natural law or both, and therefore intrinsically immoral. This is formal heresy, and we can be sure the Pope knows this—but he also knows how few Catholics know enough theology to be able to identify a heresy even if it sprang up and hit them in the face. Moreover, he knows that most of the officials who surround him are either cowards or climbers, so he will get no challenges from that quarter.

The new Catechism text, however, features cleverly crafted language: “The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’” (citing the same speech). Inadmissible. A vague, fuzzy, roundabout word that has no pedigree in moral theology, which speaks of that which is moral or immoral, right or wrong, or right in some circumstances and wrong in others. 

As its author knew it would, “inadmissible” sent Catholics scuttling in all directions to try to figure out what it means. Is it a practical or a theoretical claim? A prudential limitation or a principled exclusion? And the apologist network begins cranking out its predictable “explanations” to show that, once again, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, in spite of contradictions everyone can point to, nothing has really changed and everything is all right! The more earnest kept scratching their heads, demanding endless clarifications and signing endless petitions and producing endless talmudic commentaries to show how to square the circle.

Dr. Joseph Shaw put it well: “In this case, the mouse-hole of ambiguity conservative Catholics need to crawl through to maintain the continuity between the two editions of the Catechism is humiliatingly small. When they have crawled through it, moreover, they will be ignored.”

Meanwhile, in spite of such efforts (and even, in a way, due to them), the pope’s overarching goal—to transmit the signal that Catholic doctrine is perpetually debatable and developable into new and unforseen evolutionary forms, malleable and adjustable to the Zeitgeist—has already been triumphantly achieved in the minds of the vast majority of Catholics and non-Catholics.

Fr. Hugh Somerville Knapman points to the harm of this way of thinking: 

Looking at this more contextually, perhaps an even greater concern is the phenomenon of change itself. Since the middle of the twentieth century the Church has suffered a constant, and often quite bewildering and ultimately unnecessary, series of changes to teaching and liturgy. Large-scale change leads to an expectation of more. And more. Everything is perceived, often wrongly, as open to change. When change is valued for its own sake, nothing is safe. Recently Professor Stephen Bullivant, and other commentators, have noted how the negative reaction to Humanae Vitae in 1968 was conditioned by the widespread expectation of change in Church teaching on artificial contraception, an expectation fostered and exacerbated by the dizzying changes unleashed on the Church in the 1960s. Thus, this change to the text of the Catechism appears as a regrettable perpetuation of a culture, a hermeneutic, of change. It is not what we need right now.

And yet, it is deliberately what we have been given. The Lord’s rhetorical questions—“What man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?” (Mt 7:9–10)—have, alas, been answered in a non-rhetorical manner.

I would like to make this clear: I will never teach to anyone—my children, my friends, my students, my readers, my audiences—the stuff that Francis has commanded to be put into the Catechism. I will gladly teach that capital punishment is often not the best solution; I’m willing to admit that it may deserve to be curtailed in modern Western democracies. But I cannot, in good conscience, declare that capital punishment is “contrary to the dignity of man” or ruled out by “the light of the Gospel.” I could not do this without rejecting revelation and the Catholic faith. It is in the name of obedience to the Lord of life and death, the divine author of the State and the source of its punitive authority (cf. Rom 13), that I refuse my consent to this false teaching, and I sincerely hope that such refusal will be the norm rather than the exception.

Now is not the time for obsequious ultramontanism, which would be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Now is the time for saying “enough is enough.” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord in the Catholic Faith to which thousands of catechisms have borne unanimous witness for centuries.

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