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Friend of Kavanaugh accuser says she was pressured to say she ‘believed’ Christine Ford

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A witness who could not corroborate Christine Blasey Ford’s story about Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulting her says a mutual friend pushed her to add that she believed Ford anyway, according to a bombshell report in the Wall Street Journal.

Ford, a Palo Alto University psychologist, came forward last month to claim Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, tried to rape her as a drunken teenager at a house party in the 1980s. The judge forcefully denies the accusation.

Ford named three people – Mark Judge, Patrick “PJ” Smyth, and Ford’s personal friend Leland Keyser – as having attended the party, but all have told investigators under penalty of perjury that they cannot recall any such party, let alone an assault. Ford was also unable to recall how many people attended the alleged party, the house’s location or owner, the year of the party, or who drove her there and home.

“Ms. Keyser does not know Mr.Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” Keyser’s legal counsel has stated. However, her attorneys subsequently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Keyser “does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account.”

Multiple news outlets seized on that vote of confidence to produce headlines claiming that Keyser “is not refuting” and “doesn’t deny” Ford’s story. But the WSJ reports that it was the result of urging by former FBI agent Monica McLean, another friend of Ford’s and a former spokesperson to Preet Bharara, a left-wing former US attorney fired by Trump last year.

The revelations came in texts from McLean to Keyser, which were among the materials the FBI sent to the White House and Senate as part of its seventh background investigation into Kavanaugh. Keyser reportedly also told investigators McLean contacted her to “clarify” her original statement.

Another “person close to the former classmates” told the WSJ that multiple mutual friends of Ford and Keyser, including McLean, told Keyser that saying she didn’t remember the party could be misconstrued as a declaration the party definitely never happened. This person disputed the characterization of this advice as “pressure.”

McLean’s attorney David Laufman responded to the revelation by insisting “any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account” was “absolutely false.” Attorneys for Ford and Keyser declined to comment to the WSJ.

This is not the first question that’s been raised about McLean’s involvement in the case. Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley released a letter in which an ex-boyfriend of Ford’s claims to have witnessed Ford coaching McLean to pass a polygraph test for job interviews – advice Ford testified she had “never” given to anyone. McLean has denied the claim.

Nor is this the first question about Ford’s invocations of Kesyer. “Dr. Ford listed Patrick “PJ” Smyth as a “bystander” in her statement to the polygrapher and in her July 6 text to the Washington Post, although she testified that it was inaccurate to call him a bystander,” noted Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, whom Senate Republicans enlisted to cross-examine Ford. “She did not list Leland Keyser even though they are good friends. Leland Keyser’s presence should have been more memorable than PJ Smyth’s.”

Kavanaugh’s nomination has inflamed passions on both sides, as his replacement of liberal “swing vote” Kennedy might give the Supreme Court its first clear conservative majority since Roe.

The Senate voted 51-49 Friday to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a final confirmation vote Saturday. Moderate Republicans Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, and moderate Democrat Joe Manchin, subsequently announced they will vote “yes,” securing Kavanaugh's confirmation tomorrow.

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Legally blind Catholic prof forced to resign as dean in wake of conservative witch-hunt

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By Stephen Kokx

NORMAN, Oklahoma, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An apparent smear campaign against one of Oklahoma Law School’s most respected professors has succeeded in ousting him as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, a position he held for five years.

Brian McCall J.D. relinquished his post on Tuesday, amid mounting pressure from university officials after the student newspaper ran two vicious hit pieces earlier this month accusing him of sexist, homophobic, and possibly anti-Semitic beliefs.

"I am told that the outside investigators found my work record to be impeccable and found no wrongdoing on my part. The most I am told that I have been accused of is that my beliefs might hypothetically cause me to act improperly toward some people," McCall told LifeSiteNews. 

The forced resignation comes despite an independent investigation by the school’s Equal Opportunity Office finding that not once in his 13 years of employment did McCall, a traditionalist Catholic, engage in workplace harassment or discrimination. 

At issue is McCall’s 2014 book To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age and his role as editor-in-chief of Catholic Family News, a periodical critical of Vatican II popular among certain Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass.

The book argues that women should ideally wear skirts so as to promote modesty and not entice men’s concupiscence. It also supports the idea that husbands are the head of the household while a wife’s duty is to "properly order the interior life of the home.”

McCall, who is tenured and will retain his teaching job, also expresses in his book disagreement with same-sex “marriage.”

Conservative witch-hunt?

Even though McCall has never been accused of imposing his private views on any of his students, Oklahoma Daily journalist Drew Hutchinson wrote two lengthy articles about them, seemingly for no other reason than to get McCall into trouble.

One article was published September 9 under the headline, “Endowed OU law professor found connected to anti-Semitic publication.” The other was released September 30 with the title, “OU law professor, associate dean expresses homophobic, sexist views in 2014 book.”

In her reporting, Hutchinson relies almost exclusively on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for her claims, quoting one of their spokespersons and mentioning more than a half dozen times that the SPLC considers the Catholic organizations McCall is affiliated with — The Remnant Newspaper, The Fatima Center, and Catholic Family News — to be “hate groups.” 

The SPLC is an anti-Christian extremist organization notorious for peddling falsehoods and advancing a radical pro-gaypro-LGBT agenda.

In 2013, an armed pro-homosexual activist entered the headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington D.C. intending to gundown their employees. Fortunately, a security guard prevented him from carrying out the massacre. The man was arrested and told police he was motivated by the SPLC’s decision to label them a “hate group.” Similarly, the gunman who shot and severely wounded Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) for his pro-life views in June 2017 was also a supporter of the SPLC.

Hutchinson also sought comment from Cary Nelson, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois and president of the American Association of University Professors from 2006 until 2012.

Nelson said although academic freedom protected McCall in his role as a professor, laws related to his deanship are different. If McCall was at the University of Illinois, he’d “be gone in a day," he said.

Nelson edited a book on Marxism in 1988. In recent years, he has served on the board of several liberal academic journals.

Hutchinson claims she wrote the pair of articles for altruistic reasons, stating on her previously public, now "protected" twitter account that “students should know: 1) the views of administrators at our school 2) more about academic freedom policy.”

But the facts may tell a different story. To date, Hutchinson, who has been writing for the paper since May 2018, is yet to run a similar profile of any other administrator’s personal views. Her most recent story, published October 4, was about an event coordinated by the university’s Gender + Equality Center.

The silent treatment

Soon after McCall stepped down, Law School Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. issued a statement disavowing his 2014 book and affirming the school’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, and multiculturalism.

LifeSite emailed Dean Harroz asking how Professor McCall’s beliefs fail to contribute to providing a diverse educational experience that encourages thoughtful debate and conversation among students.

LifeSite did not receive a response.

LifeSite also asked Harroz what sort of message McCall’s resignation sends to Catholics considering Oklahoma for their college choice and if he, Harroz, had anything to say to persons who view the move as just another instance of liberal intolerance on college campuses. 

Neither question received comment.

Humble yet brilliant

Several of Professor McCall’s former and current students have come forward vouching for his professionalism and integrity.

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Breanna Kay, who took courses in Oklahoma’s paralegal program, said McCall was “never anything but kind, fair, and extraordinarily helpful to me as a student.”

“Do I agree with the sociological, theological, or political views of Dr. McCall? Certainly not.” What I can say is that the program was “made up, almost entirely, of women with families who have no other aim but to enter the workforce as a paralegal, outside of the home. Every one of us wore pants.”

“I was never looked down upon because I was a woman,” she added. “He did everything in his power to prepare me to be a career woman ‘outside of the home.’”

Jennie Mook, a first-year law student, told LifeSite “every student that I have spoken with that has taken a class with Professor McCall have nothing but positive things to say. He is regarded as very intelligent, well respected, and very professional.”

“The concerns that I have heard expressed have been from students that have not interacted with McCall or had him as a professor.”

“I'm not sure how Professor McCall is able to compartmentalize his strong personal beliefs with his professional conduct, but he does. And he does so extremely well.” 

I was surprised, she added, “that he had such strong beliefs because he never conveyed them.” He “eagerly provide tips and suggestions” for my career.

Not failing to notice the hypocritical nature of the dismissal, Mook said, “OU Law prides ourselves on diversity...however, religious inclusivity is part of diversity and as long as McCall isn't discriminating against students, his personal beliefs are his own.”

“There is not a conflict between a commitment to diversity and having him as faculty.”

Third-year law student Alexander Hilton also went on record about Professor McCall. 

In an email to LifeSite, Hilton described McCall as “an inspiration” who is “humble yet brilliant.” 

“His students invariably laud his professionalism and gentlemanly demeanor.”

Suggestions that he hates Jews, women, or homosexuals are “pure fiction,” Hilton said. The “detractive disinformation about Professor McCall betrays prejudice against Roman Catholics, and his honor should be restored.” 

Tragically, “the un-solidarity of the OU Law faculty in handling this matter has corroborated the egregious mischaracterizations.”

A petition of “no confidence” in Dean Harroz was launched Thursday on Change.org. It states that McCall’s forced resignation is an injustice, sets an example for “mob rule,” and that it was done for “nothing other than an unpopular though sincerely held religious belief.”

An impeccable record

Over the course of his academic career, Professor McCall, who was born legally blind, has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles. He is also the author of several books that focus on Catholic political thought and natural law jurisprudence. Some of his writings can be found on the Oklahoma Law School’s website while his public speeches on Our Lady of Fatima, marriage, economics, and usury can be viewed on YouTube.

In 2014, McCall was a visiting professor of Law at Notre Dame, where he taught Business Associations and a seminar on Law, Business, Society, and Catholicism. 

Prior to being hired at Oklahoma in 2006, McCall spent 9 years in private practice representing a variety of clients in corporate finance and international mergers. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale, master’s from Kings College in London, and law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Erin Yarbrough, the school’s interim Vice President for Public Affairs, defended McCall earlier this year, stating on July 20th that “Associate Dean McCall has an impeccable record as an administrator and is consistently ranked as one of the top professors in the College of Law.” 

Yarbrough did not respond to a LifeSite email asking if she still stands by those remarks. 

In a public statement released exclusively to LifeSite, Professor McCall said he was “saddened” by the entire affair and that the “public pressure” placed upon him put him in “a position where I had no other choice but to relinquish my administrative responsibility.”

***

Professor McCall's full statement to LifeSiteNews:

I have worked at the University for 13 years and served as academic dean for five. I have never been accused of treating anyone (faculty, staff, or student) unfairly or unjustly in any way.

I am told that the outside investigators found my work record to be impeccable and found no wrongdoing on my part.

Yet, public pressure put me in a position where I had no other choice but to relinquish my administrative responsibility.

I am saddened that I have had to give up the opportunity to work for our students simply because of my sincerely held Catholic beliefs.

The most I am told that I have been accused of is that my beliefs might hypothetically cause me to act improperly toward some people.

I have written extensively over my career about the virtue of justice. I believe it an injustice and a sin to treat someone not on the merits of what they do but simply because they do not agree with me. I say this not merely as an abstract belief. I have personally suffered unjust discrimination on the basis of being legally blind many times in my own life.

As a child I was told I could not even apply to a particular school because they did not want a blind student in their school. I would never want any person to be treated that way.

I am deeply saddened by this whole affair and regret the disturbances caused to our students. On the positive side in the future I will have more time to devote to teaching and research in the future. 

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Fr. Antonio Spadaro Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews
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Papal confidante justifies withholding from press bishops’ interventions at youth synod

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By Lisa Bourne

VATICAN CITY, Italy, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Papal confidante Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro justified withholding specifics about discussions at the Vatican’s Youth Synod from journalists and others, saying reports of interventions making it outside the Synod hall squelches discernment and “freedom of spirit.”

The Youth Synod is not a place for debate, Spadaro told reporters covering the Synod Friday. Rather it should be “a spiritual place, not a place of debate of opinions.”

LifeSiteNews has observed that reporters from all over the world and varying political spectrums — convened at the Vatican to cover the Youth Synod — have expressed frustration about the lack of information coming from inside the Synod hall.

In one example Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput OFMCap gave a significant intervention yesterday, telling Synod Fathers that “LGBTQ” and other like language should not be used in the Vatican Youth Synod document.

“There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are,” Chaput said, “as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”

“This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now,” he told the Pope, cardinals, bishops and young people gathered in the Synod hall. 

Chaput’s comments are especially significant at a time when forces inside the Church and out would have Her alter or disregard Her eternal teaching on sexuality.

But there was no specific mention of his remarks at the synod press briefing Thursday.

Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., the chief executive of Salt and Light Television in Canada, and the English language media attaché to the synod, addressed journalists after the briefing, also did not mention of Chaput’s statements.

Rather, he said the session concerned the plight of migrants, the need for a listening Church, and the Church’s credibility in regard to the sex abuse.

Asked whether “homosexuality” and “gay relationships” were part of the interventions, Father Rosica responded, “Not those exact words, the issue was present, but there wasn’t any dominant issue.”

Confirming that the Church’s sexual abuse crisis was brought up in several interventions, Rosica said, “The sex abuse issue has affected young people, and they want clarity, transparency, authenticity from us.”

Spadaro suggested that releasing specifics would interfere with "discernment."

“Something important is that the Pope said at the first extraordinary synod that the synod is not a parliament but discernment,” Spadaro said. “This is the significance of these requests.” 

“In the end, discernment means that we are all together,” he continued, “and also that one is free to say what one wants, with great tranquility, knowing that what one says remains inside, because there is no real discernment if, in the end, I know that what I say will immediately go out.” 

“In this case, there’s no freedom of spirit,” Spadaro said of releasing discussion specifics from inside the Synod. “[There can be freedom precisely because] you know that it is a spiritual place, not a place of debate of opinions.”

Spadaro is secretary of the synod's information commission and editor of Rome-based Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, which is screened by the Secretariat of State prior to publication. He is often described as Pope Francis’ “mouthpiece.”

Earlier this year he tweeted support for a proposed interdict on venerable Catholic media EWTN over a segment on The World Over containing critical discussion involving a speech Spadaro gave a Georgetown University. 

Spadaro has also criticized the four cardinals who raised the dubia requesting clarification from Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia, and others who’ve questioned the pope’s document as well. Spadaro had co-authored an article charging conservative Catholics and Evangelicals in the U.S. with forming an “ecumenism of hate” in their opposition to abortion and same-sex "marriage."

In a departure from past protocol, the Vatican is not releasing a list of the bishops who speak during each Synod session, nor is it publishing synopses of the talks, and not referring to anyone by name during the briefings.

Synod Fathers have the opportunity to give interventions, or their perspective on the matter at hand. The interventions and discussion are meant to aid in the ultimate completion of a final document, which the Pope can choose to consider in drafting his own post-Synod document.

Without access to the interventions, reporters and interested observers are left to rely on an individual Synod participant’s willingness to release their intervention or comment on that of another to attain any sense of what occurred in a given session.

Interventions were likewise not published for the Synod on the Family in 2014 and 2015, which resulted in the pope’s controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia

The withholding of interventions at that Synod was part of charges the Synod was being manipulated by contingents in favor of skirting the Church’s teaching on the sacrament of marriage and worthiness to receive the Eucharist, some saying the Synod on the Family was rigged for a predetermined outcome allowing Communion for Catholics living in objectively sinful situations.  

Those same concerns have followed the Synod on Youth, beginning with controversy surrounding the Instrumentum Laboris, or Synod working document

Chief among these was the insertion of the term “LGBT” into the working document.

The Holy See has never before used the term considered by many to be propaganda for a homosexualist agenda. Its first –ever insertion into an official document suggested an agenda and raised red flags, since the Church does not classify human persons by their sexual orientation.

The document has also been criticized for its handling of the issues of homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. Referencing these issues as “especially controversial” the document also says young people “may want the Church to change her teaching” on them.

Further concerns on the Youth Synod stem from reports that the viewpoints of young Catholics supposedly tapped for their input who expressed desire for sound liturgy and doctrine were bypassed for the Synod working document.

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Pro-gay bishop invited to lead diocesan ‘Formation Day’

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By Doug Mainwaring

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-gay Catholic bishop who has been credibly accused of sexually provocative behavior toward another man is slated to speak at a diocesan retreat for clergy and parish leaders.   

Retired Bishop Robert Lynch, formerly of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, will speak at a “Formation Day” to be held in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul at the end of November.

The event is billed as:

A time of reflection for parish leaders to consider times of turmoil and division in the Church, and where we find faith and hope. What is the role of parish leaders in guiding parishioners to find a durable hope during times of division and darkness?

Bishop Lynch’s poor track record in dealing with sexual scandal in his former diocese plus homosexual scandal in his own life make him a curious choice to lead a retreat that aims to address the current turmoil, division, and darkness the Church now faces, brought about primarily by the presence of Catholic clergy who have been active homosexuals.   

Troubling history

Lynch served as bishop of the Gulf Coast diocese from 1996 to 2016.  

“The Diocese of St. Petersburg refused to release its priest records and acknowledged it had previously handled sexual abuse complaints without contacting authorities,” reported The Tampa Bay Times in 2002.  

In the end, the diocese handed over nearly $6 million dollars to settle sexual harassment claims.  

“You have to trust me by getting to know how I live, what priorities I place in my life,” said Bishop Lynch, according to the same Times report. “My life kind of has to be an open book. That is to say, there can't be any secret part to it.”

Yet there was a “secret part” to Bishop Lynch’s life.

In 2003, a married diocesan staff person, Bill Urbanski, received a $100,000 settlement, as reported by Catholic Culture and many other media outlets, because the bishop had crossed “‘boundaries’ by means of inappropriate demonstrations of affection for his Director of Communications.”  

According to the Times report:

Urbanski accused Lynch of forcing him to share a room when they traveled, grabbing his thigh and showering him with expensive gifts. At one point when they were in a Santa Fe, N.M., hotel room, Urbanski said Lynch asked to take pictures of him without a shirt so he could superimpose his head on Urbanski's muscular body for Christmas cards. The married father of two said he did as he was told, then vomited in the lobby.

LifeSiteNews reported on a column that Lynch wrote in the Tampa Bay Times in which he indicated that homosexual relationships present no risk to the Church, and in fact can be godly and elevate society and the Church. He wrote:

I do not wish to lend our voice to notions which might suggest that same-sex couples are a threat incapable of sharing relationships marked by love and holiness and, thus, incapable of contributing to the edification of both the Church and the wider society.

In 2016, shortly after the horrific Orlando, Florida shooting in which 49 people were killed at the Pulse Nightclub, which catered to homosexual clientele, Bishop Lynch penned an editorial, suggesting that Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality somehow breeds contempt for gays:

Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.

Bishop Lynch’s response contrasts sharply with some of the survivors of the massacre, who rather than blaming or denouncing orthodox teaching on homosexuality, found Jesus Christ and freedom from their same-sex attraction.  

Bishop Lynch’s comments over the years dovetail with the comments of other clergy such as Fr. James Martin, SJ, who seek to normalize homosexuality within the Roman Catholic Church.   

LifeSiteNews reached out to the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul for comment concerning the choice of Bishop Lynch to speak at the upcoming ‘Formation Day’ but did not hear back by press time.  

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Cardinal Gerhard Muller on EWTN, Oct. 4, 2018.
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Vatican’s former doctrine chief: Pope is not ‘boss of the Church,’ can’t change doctrine

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s former doctrinal chief, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that both Pope Francis and the Synod cannot change the doctrine of the Church. 

Cardinal Müller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) told Arroyo on “The World Over” last night that Pope Francis’ “friends” may have “a strange idea that the doctrine of the Church is too hard” but that neither they nor the pope can do anything to change it. 

“The Pope is not the boss of the Church,” Müller said. “The Pope cannot do [whatever] he wants.” 

Müller and Arroyo had been discussing the recent Synods which the TV host likened to “mini-Vatican 2’s.” The Cardinal conceded that there was a movement to change doctrine behind the synods, but that it was impossible for a synod or a pope to do that.

“A Synod of the bishops is not an ecumenical council,” Müller said. “It has no authority. Even if the pope is speaking about authority, it is not a magisterial authority. The Pope cannot change the basic constitution of the Church. He cannot give a new definition of the primacy of the bishop of Rome or what bishops are to do.”

Müller concedes that there is a movement to change the doctrine of the Church lying behind recent Synods, but that radical change is impossible.

“There is a development of doctrine, but if you say today ‘A’ and tomorrow ‘B’, from A to B is not a development [but] a contradiction. And it is absolutely impossible for anyone in a state of mortal sin ... to receive Holy Communion before he has confessed his sin and received absolution. There is no possibility to change this basic fundamental of sacramentology.”

As his example, Müller stated that homosexual acts can never be considered licit. 

“... According to the Sixth Commandment, [to] sexual morality, there is no way to an acceptance of homosexuality as a practice,” he said. “It is against the Sixth Commandment, and the only... legitimate realization of sexuality for us Christians according to laws of God Himself is legitimate marriage.”

But Arroyo challenged the cardinal on his belief that the Synod cannot change doctrine. He pointed out that the Pope wrote in the new Apostolic Constitution that Synod’s “final documents, with the approval of Peter, the Pope, has magisterial authority.” 

Müller replied that he did not know from what source this statement developed from.

“It seems to be a contradiction to the First Vatican Council and the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “The ordinary magisterium is what the Church is teaching today and not a Synod because [although] a Synod is an assembly of some bishops, it is not an ecumenical council.”

Meanwhile, even if the Pope were to declare that its documents were his own magisterial teaching, this would be limited to what is in accord with doctrine, the CDF ex-chief said.

“The teaching of the Pope must always be in concordance ... with the teaching of the Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition and [with what] all the magisterium before has said,” Müller insisted. “He cannot be in contradiction [to it].”

While contemplating the Youth Synod and a future Synod that may reevaluate the importance of celibacy for the priesthood, Müller turned again to thoughts of the false friends of Pope Francis. 

“These people at the side of the Pope who are his ‘friends’, they have this strange idea that the doctrine of the Church is too hard,” he said “…. Always they are saying that we must listen to the People of God, and that the bishops have to listen to the People of God.” 

“It’s a strange idea,” he repeated. “The whole People of God, lay people and the bishops, first have to listen to the Word of God. We are not the masters of the Church, and also the Pope is not the boss of the Church. He cannot do what he wants.”

The Cardinal reminded Arroyo that Benedict XVI had said that the Pope is the person in the Church most bound by revealed truth and the revealed faith.

“I think that at the side of the Pope there are many people with a very low understanding of Catholic theology,” Müller said. “To be the counsellors of the Pope [you] must be very profound theologians. The Pope must listen to experts.” 

The cardinal pointed out that the Church is a sacrament, sign and “instrument for the intimate union of God with man”, not a “worldly organization” or a political party “who can change the program according to the voters.” 

He also took issue with a misuse of the name of the Holy Spirit as an excuse to introduce “new revelation.”

“It’s very important to listen to what God is saying to us, but not in the Evangelical, Pentecostal way as a new revelation of the Holy Spirit,” Müller said. 

“Revelation is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus has said,” he continued. “We cannot change revelation, and the doctrine of the Church must be faithful to the Word of God, to the revelation that is given in Jesus Christ, once and forever.” 

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22-year-old with same-sex attraction begs Synod: Don’t change Church teaching on homosexuality

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By John-Henry Westen

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Avera Maria Santo, a 22-year-old woman who experiences same-sex attractions, wrote a powerful open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church about the topic of homosexuality, which is being discussed at the Youth Synod currently underway in Rome. LifeSiteNews has learned that the letter is circulating among the Synod Fathers.

“As someone who has not only grown up in the Church, but has also come to love her and her teachings for myself, I would hate to see her teachings altered in any way, especially in a way that could cause such a grave amount of damage,” she writes.

Santo, a member of the Catholic group Courage, says she was “devastated” when she learned of the agenda of some to try to change the Church’s teaching on the matter at the Synod. Pleading with the bishops, she writes, “keep the Church's teachings on homosexuality good, true, and beautiful.”

She admits that at first she didn’t like what she heard when she learned the Church’s teaching, but it was what she “needed to hear.” Being in a same sex relationship, she notes, “could ultimately block me from spending my eternity with my one true love, Jesus.”

Santo, who blogs at Inside my holy of holies, rebuked those who act as though chastity for homosexual persons is impossible. “Telling me that my cross of same-sex attraction is too heavy for me to love as Christ calls me to, is not just degrading, it is also a lie,” she said.

Santo’s full letter follows:

An Open Letter to Bishops on the Topic of Homosexuality at the Youth Synod

October 3, 2018

Dear Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church,

When I was made aware of the efforts being made by pro-LGBT groups trying to persuade Catholic Bishops to change Church teaching on homosexuality, specifically at this year's Youth Synod, it devastated me.

As someone who has not only grown up in the Church, but has also come to love her and her teachings for myself, I would hate to see her teachings altered in any way, especially in a way that could cause such a grave amount of damage.

I wish then to lay my heart bare, and to share some of my story and my convictions with you, dear Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church, and plead with you to keep the Church's teachings on homosexuality good, true, and beautiful.

I am a 22-year-old young Catholic woman that experiences same-sex attractions. While I was growing up, I heard very little, if anything at all, on homosexuality, even though I attended Catholic school from Pre-K - 12th grade.

When I finally came to terms with the fact that I was romantically interested in other women, it terrified me. I didn't know where turn, who to speak to, or if I could speak about it at all! The fear paralyzed me into silence for quite a while.

As time went on, I began to learn more and more about the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, and for some time, I didn't understand them. I wasn't sure what the words "objectively" and "intrinsically disordered" meant, and truth be told, I had the feeling that I didn't want to know. It wasn't until I was around the age of 20 that I finally began to understand.

I'll admit, I didn't like what I heard, but I knew it was what I needed to hear.

Recently, I came across a quote from Abbot Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B. that spoke a great deal of truth to me. It read:

"For the philosophers of Antiquity, and for the whole Christian tradition, freedom is the ability that man has--an ability belonging jointly to his intellect and will--to perform virtuous actions, good actions, excellent actions, when he wants and as he wants. Man's freedom is therefore his capacity to accomplish good acts easily, joyously, and lastingly. This freedom is defined by the attraction of the good."

Time and time again, we will hear phrases such as "I just want the freedom to love whomever I want," from those within the LGBTQ community. This desire is an inherently good one, when it is rightly ordered.

Man is only truly free when he can choose to do as he ought, not simply as he wants, for the things that we may want aren't always good for us.

I [used] to want to be in a same-sex relationship. The desire was overwhelming at times, to the point where I could see no other way to get through the day. But I know now, from the good and gracious teachings of God through His Church, that such a relationship hinders not only my freedom to love authentically, but also my ability to achieve holiness.

Taking it a step further, being in such a relationship could ultimately block me from spending my eternity with my one true love, Jesus.

My dear Bishops, there is no one on this earth that isn't called to a life of chastity, that includes my brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attractions. This is not because the Church is oppressive and wants us to be miserable and passively submissive to her, but because each and every one of us is invited to enter into the Divine Life of our Creator, a life where no sin can remain.

The Catechism states in paragraph 2331 that "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image... God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion."

Not only should I be reminded that, as a Christian, I am called to love as Christ loved us, but I also have the capacity to do so. I am capable of authentic love!

Telling me that my cross of same-sex attraction is too heavy for me to love as Christ calls me to, is not just degrading, it is also a lie. God did not abandon me when man first sinned in the beginning, and He will not abandon me now.

He has called me, and each and every one of us to Himself, and I intend to return back to Him, no matter how burdensome my cross may be.

Like Christ remembered me from the cross, I pray that you would remember me, and my brothers and sisters like me, dear Bishops, as you pray about and discuss how to help young people in matters of faith and vocation, especially in regards to the topic of homosexuality.

Please remember that, as St. Therese the Little Flower, a dear patron of mine, so greatly put it, "My vocation is to love."

Yours in Christ,

Avera Maria Santo

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Pro-abortion Republican announces deciding ‘yes’ vote to put Kavanaugh on Supreme Court

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Friday she will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Collins made the announced Friday afternoon on the Senate floor.

The Senate voted 51-49 Friday to limit debate and advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a final confirmation vote Saturday. Moderate Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, announced his support afterward, turning all eyes on Collins and moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Losing any one of the three would have forced Republicans to have Vice President Mike Pence break a tie; losing two would have defeated Kavanaugh.

“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Collins confirmed at the end of a speech lasting more than 40 minutes. She discussed everything from her own assessments of past nominees and her discussions with Kavanaugh, to the unsupported assault claims against him and the broader issue of unreported sexual abuse.

“The #MeToo movement is real. It matters. It is needed, and long overdue,” she said. She also said she believes someone did assault Christine Blasey Ford in the past. But the “four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred [...] I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.”

Collins praised Kavanaugh for his “record of judicial independence” and expressed hope he “will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored.”

She also spoke favorably about Kavanaugh’s commitment to precedent, and expressed confidence that he would vote to uphold Obamacare, the Obergefell ruling that imposed same-sex “marriage” on the U.S., and Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade and its sister case Doe v. Bolton legalized abortion on demand in the U.S.

“Opponents frequently cite then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe,” Collins said. “The Republican platform for all presidential campaigns has included this pledge since at least 1980. During this time, presidents, Republican presidents, have appointed Justices O’Connor, Souter, and Kennedy to the Supreme Court. These are the very three justices, Republican-president-appointed justices, who authored the Casey decision which reaffirmed Roe.”

Collins’ remarks echo previous assessments she’s given of her conversations with Kavanaugh, and resurrect conservative fears that he may not be the originalist Trump promised. During his initial hearings Kavanaugh expressed significant respect for Roe’s status as precedent, gave mixed signals on the judiciary’s ability to declare “unenumerated” rights such as abortion, and approvingly quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell.

Kavanaugh’s pro-life supporters argue that his non-committal answers were carefully phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately will vote to overturn Roe. Pro-abortion advocates agree, and bitterly denounced Collins for her decision.

Collins “has made it clear that she can no longer call herself a women’s rights champion,” the Planned Parenthood Action Fund declared. Planned Parenthood Federation of America executive vice president Dawn Laguens blasted her for “sid[ing] with those who disbelieved, disrespected and even mocked survivors of sexual assault” and voting “against abortion” and “birth control access.”

“Senator Collins may claim to be pro-choice and an ally to women, but this vote will now be her legacy,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. “She has claimed to support women and our fundamental freedoms, but now we know she will throw our rights, our lives, and our well-being under the bus when given the chance.”

“We will never forget it, not today and not in 2020 when Maine voters will elect someone who will actually fight for Maine women and families,” Hogue threatened.

Within minutes of Collins concluding her speech, Manchin announced his “yes” vote as well, fueling speculation he was waiting to settle on a position until he saw whether his vote would be the deciding one.

“Based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him,” Manchin said. “I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court.”

Barring any last-minute reversals or bombshells, Kavanaugh will be confirmed tomorrow. The exact time of the vote is uncertain, as Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, has a scheduling conflict with his daughter’s wedding in Montana.

“My good friend and colleague, [Rep.] Greg [Gianforte], has come to save the day. If I need to be in two places at once to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day and to be the final vote to put Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, he’s offered me use of his plane,” Daines told Fox News. “I appreciate his generosity as well as his dedication to family and country.”

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Marie-Claire Bissonnette's attacker winding up for his round-kick in Toronto, Sept. 30, 2018.
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Police to charge man who roundhouse kicked pro-life woman

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By Lianne Laurence
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Marie-Claire Bissonnette

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

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Toronto police have confirmed the man who roundhouse kicked a pro-life woman last Sunday is Jordan Hunt, and that they are looking for him to press charges.

“We will be laying multiple charges against him,” police spokesman Gary Long told LifeSiteNews in an email. 

“We are seeking any assistance from the public in helping to locate this man.”

Police have not yet issued a physical description of Hunt, which Long says is available “from his photos and video.”

“No warrant for his arrest has been issued but is coming,” added Long.

A Toronto hair stylist, Hunt was identified on the Internet some 24 hours after a video of his assault of Campaign Life youth coordinator Marie-Claire Bissonnette was posted online and went viral.

The 46-second clip shows Hunt roundhouse kicking Bissonnette after a brief exchange, sending her phone crashing to the ground. He then ripped the Campaign Life ribbon off Bissonnette’s jacket and ran away, she wrote in an account published in LifeSiteNews

Moreover, it appears Sunday’s incident was not the first for Hunt.

He has since been identified as the man who knocked over a sign and argued with pro-life demonstrators last summer in a video filmed by Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR). 

CCBR has contacted the police about this second incident.

Bissonnette began filming Hunt during Sunday’s Life Chain after he scribbled on signs and people’s jackets with markers, she wrote.

Shortly after being kicked, Bissonnette experienced some discomfort in her shoulder, but she says she is now feeling fine, and is cooperating fully with police.

“I forgive him personally,” said the 27-year-old, who has urged people to pray for Hunt. “But I have filed a report with the police and they are investigating.”

As a result of being identified on the Internet, Hunt lost his contract at Noble Studio 101, which posted a statement on Wednesday that “We don’t condone his actions and he has been let go.”

“We’re four strong women here,” a studio representative told LifeSiteNews. “We don’t condone any kind of violence… He won’t be stepping his foot through the door again.”

Hunt has shut down his Instagram account and has not responded publicly about the incident, nor has he returned calls from media, including LifeSiteNews.

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. 

In the video, Hunt is wearing a pentagram, which is a Satanic symbol, around his neck. 

Meanwhile, LifeSiteNews confirmed Thursday that a Twitter account in Hunt’s name is fake, and the account holder has now declared the account is “satire.”

But his Tweets in Hunt’s name that he would not apologize managed to inflame an already fraught situation that has sparked widespread discussion across social media.

Initially, Bissonnette contacted columnists at the National Post and the Toronto Sun, as well as the CBC, but when they did not appear interested, she sent the video to LifeSiteNews.

The video of the attack has received close to two million views by Friday late afternoon. 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. The story has also received attention on CTV, Global, Toronto Sun, as well as Fox News, and the UK’s Daily Mail.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jordan Hunt can call Toronto Crime Stoppers, 416-808-7261, or the Toronto Police Service.

Related:

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

Man who roundhouse-kicked pro-life woman identified, gets fired

Video: Man who attacked pro-life woman assaulted another pro-life woman

VIDEO: Second Toronto pro-abortion activist assaults pro-life demonstrators

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Roman Dinkel, whose chances of walking were greatly improved by prenatal surgery, takes some of his first steps. In front of him is the Dinkel family dog, Maggie.
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Baby with spina bifida who had surgery before birth now able to walk

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

KANSAS CITY, Missouri, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Doctors told an expectant mom that her son had spina bifida and might never walk. But thanks to his parents’ love and prenatal surgery, adorable toddler Roman Dinkel has become an internet walking sensation.

A video of Roman taking some of his first steps, with the aid of tiny crutches, has gone viral, seen millions of times. Last month the toddler appeared on “Good Morning America” with his mom Whitney, dad Adam, and the family puppy, Maggie. Maggie appears in the eight-second clip, as Roman squeaks, “Look, Maggie! I’m walking!”

Thousands of people have posted messages to the Dinkel family’s Facebook page, “Defying Odds: Roman Dinkel’s Journey,” and Youtube to say how much joy and inspiration Roman has given them.

Roman was diagnosed with spina bifida, a congenital defect of the spine in which the spinal cord is left exposed through a gap in the backbone, when he was 20 weeks in the womb. His father Adam said on “Good Morning America” that the first option doctors give parents of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida is “termination.” But the Dinkels do not believe in it.  

“I would never judge a person for making that decision,” mom Whitney told LifeSiteNews. “It is obviously not what we believe. But often times doctors paint a very grim picture of what the life of a child with spina bifida will look like. They say [he’ll have] severe brain damage, will be paralyzed, in pain their whole life, and they make you believe that you will bring them into this world suffering until they die. But those things just aren’t true. That’s outdated information.”

Adam and Whitney decided that the best thing they could do for their son was to have doctors operate on his spine before he was born.

“The theory is that the quicker you get the nerves back inside the body the less damage they will sustain. So getting his nerves back in at 25 weeks [versus] 40 weeks is huge,” Whitney said.

She told LifeSiteNews that she was frightened that the operation, performed in St. Mary’s Hospital, would cause Roman to be born prematurely.

“It was scary,” she said. “But at the same time I knew it was the best decision we could make for him so I had peace about it. But the fears that he could have been born that day, at 25 weeks, or that he could have been born anytime after, were real.”

With two small children, Layton and Gracie, already in the house, and her husband with his chiropractic practice to attend to, Whitney relied on the help of her mom, who moved in when the expectant mother was advised to rest. The family was also sustained by their faith.

“We had so many people praying for us and I definitely know that the peace I felt came from God,” Whitney said. “I knew He pointed us in this direction and I knew that He would take care of the rest, no matter how that turned out. We just had to trust in Him. And we did.”

Roman was born in Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital on May 5, 2016, healthy, happy, and adorable. Although his parents were warned that he might have cognitive delay and be paralysed from the knees down, Roman turned out to be a clever little boy determined to walk as soon as he could. Thanks to the operation, therapy, and the help of his parents, this became a reality.

“We do believe getting the fetal surgery gave him a higher chance [of being able] to walk,” Whitney told LifeSiteNews. “It’s been proven that fetal surgery allows you to function better.”

Now able to take steps without a walker, Roman is still on his journey to full mobility. He gets regular chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. His parents work with him at home, and he wears braces, called SMOs, on his ankles to keep his feet properly aligned.

“He doing awesome with walking,” his proud mother reported.

Adam Dinkel told “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan that he and Whitney want to show parents of babies diagnosed with spina bifida that “this is an amazing life.”

“This is what you get,” he said happily, as Roman clambered to his feet on the couch.

“A lot of kids do have many more issues than Roman, but they’re happy and their family is happy to have them,” Whitney Dinkel told LifeSiteNews. “So we want people who get this diagnosis to think of Roman and how amazing he is.”

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Pro-lifers hope drug that prevents morning sickness will lead to fewer abortions

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

October 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In good news for mothers and unborn babies, a new drug for combating severe morning sickness has been licensed in Britain.

Around 80 per cent of pregnant women report some kind of morning sickness and up to 2 per cent will be diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form likened to the nausea caused by chemotherapy and from which the Duchess of Cambridge suffered.

In final clinical trials Xoneva was found to reduce the amount of nausea by two thirds and cut the number of episodes of sickness from four a day to just one.

Unbearable symptoms driving women to abortion

Some 15% of HG pregnancies in the US end in abortion, and abortion provider BPAS estimates that 1000 pregnancies a year are terminated in the UK because of debilitating symptoms. Last year, a charity warned that suffering women were being denied help by NHS staff, driving many into abortion. 

SPUC researcher Fiorella Nash, who suffered from the condition in all four of her pregnancies, says that HG is "one of the most distressing and misunderstood complications of pregnancy". In her book the Abolition of Woman, she writes that the overwhelming majority of abortions triggered by HG "are unwanted, causing high levels of grief, guilt and anger from women who are driven to abortion as a result of being unable to cope with their symptoms."

"This is a very welcome breakthrough," she said. "HG is an incredibly distressing condition, which as well as damaging the woman's health and elevating the chance of miscarriage, drives a significant minority into abortions they do not want. If this new drug goes any way to alleviate women's suffering, it's very good news."

Attitudes need to change

However, she said that a change in attitude from the medical profession was also needed. "Women have reported being patronised, dismissed, instructed to pull themselves together, or being told it was 'all in the mind'. My own doctor lectured me for being so silly as to 'purposefully' dehydrate myself when I came to her vomiting blood. It's disgraceful that in the 21st century women with pregnancy complications that can lead to high levels of miscarriage, and the sort of desperation that leads them to abort, are not being given the care they need.

"When women end up having abortions because of HG, it's because they're in such a state of despair that they literally can't see any other way out," she continued. "What kind of choice is that? Women who are that sick are incredibly vulnerable, and it's ludicrous that they are left with no support. What's really tragic is that these are often very much wanted babies, and inadequate care drives women to do something they never usually would. These women don't need abortion, they need to be taken seriously and have their very serious medical condition treated." 

Let's hope that this new drug and better medical care means that women feeling there is no way out of their sickness than abortion is a thing of the past. 

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

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Missouri abortion facilities barely surviving, legal battles continue

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By Cheryl Sullenger

October 5, 2018 (Operation Rescue) – Abortions scheduled for today will not take place at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Columbia, Missouri. This is the same facility that was cited on September 26, 2018, for infection control issues that included a rusty abortion machine with tubing that contained mold and dried blood from the last abortion done at that facility five days earlier.

But the good news doesn't end there.

The Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas City also does not qualify for license renewal and will not be issued an abortion facility license under the current conditions there. Both the Columbia and Kansas City abortion facilities are operated by Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

That leaves just one abortion facility left in Missouri, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Louis, which has its own problems with failed inspection reports and a high number of women hospitalized due to abortion-related medical emergencies.

Adding to the St. Louis Planned Parenthood's woes, Mary Kogut, CEO of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, suddenly announced her resignation effective later this month, leaving that organization and its so far unsuccessful abortion expansion plans in disarray.

Several factors led to the cessation of abortions today in Columbia.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains had challenged a long-standing Missouri law that required abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the abortion facilities where they worked. In 2017, a federal injunction was issued blocking the enforcement of that law. This allowed Planned Parenthood Great Plains to expand abortions into Kansas City and resume them in Columbia.

Last month, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down that lower court injunction and allowed Missouri health officials to once again enforce the licensing law beginning October 1, 2018.

Two other things happened on October 1. The Columbia Planned Parenthood's abortion facility license was set to expire that day. Its abortionist, Colleen McNicholas holds no hospital privileges in Columbia, which meant the facility did not meet licensing requirements so no license could be issued.

Instead of shutting down, Planned Parenthood filed a motion for a new temporary restraining order to once again block enforcement of the law and began to schedule abortion appointments in Columbia for Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

Also on October 1, oral arguments were heard on Planned Parenthood's motion for a temporary restraining order. It was thought that the judge would issue a ruling that night, but a ruling never came. If fact, as of this morning, there has been no order has been issued by U.S. Western District Court Judge Brian Wimes on Planned Parenthood's request.

That has left Planned Parenthood's Columbia and Kansas City locations in non-compliance with the law and unable to legally operate.

"Anytime an abortion facility must cancel abortion appointments, we know that some women will never go back. That means lives are saved," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "The pro-life groups in Missouri have worked very hard for today's victory. We congratulate them and pray that these closures will be permanent."

Judge Wimes' ruling on Planned Parenthood's restraining order request remains pending as of this writing.

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Cardinal Muller on EWTN Sept. 4, 2018.
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Cardinal Müller: Root of clergy abuse crisis is laxity in 60s and 70s

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican’s former doctrinal chief told EWTN last night that the abuse crisis was largely caused by an “absolute false politics” within the Church that allowed abusive clergy to remain in active ministry instead of facing the canonical penalties they deserved. 

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, 71, formerly the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) agreed with Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s “The World Over,” when the host stated that a “misplaced idea of mercy, sparing these priests or bishops the penalties they deserve, really is the cause of the abuse crisis.” 

“This goes back to the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Müller explained. ‘There was an [attitude that] Jesus preached love and we don’t need laws in the Church.”

“But this is stupid because we are a communion of men,” he continued. “Love comes from God, but we can become sinners or we can do crimes, and therefore the Church needs ... this [system] of penalties against its members, especially against the clergy.”

“We must return to the old system,” Müller stated.  “It was better. The old law in the canon law must be reestablished for overcoming this crisis.” 

The Cardinal had told Arroyo that, as head of the CDF, whose job it was to adjudicate clerical abuse cases, he was opposed by influential sources in the Vatican in his determination to dismiss abusers from the clerical state. 

“I had a relatively good relationship personally to the Holy Father but then they instituted a special college separated from the Congregation, within the Congregation…,” he explained. “They decided against our opinion [and] in many cases to recuse the penalties because some of them have this opinion [that] we cannot laicize a priest. They are absolutely against secularization of a priest.”

This group of ten had agreed that guilty priests should receive a penalty but not dismissal from the clerical state, a punishment Müller believes is absolutely necessary to justice for the priest’s victim or victims.

“We see now the result of this absolute false politics [that] are naive,” he said. 

“And I can only repeat my meaning: If abuse is so great...the only solution, and the only justice for the victim, is that the perpetrator must be dismissed from the clerical state,” he said. “If you are a priest, a good shepherd, you cannot ruin the sheep.” 

“It is the only escape from this crisis,” he continued.

When Arroyo asked him if it were true that Pope Francis ordered him to stop an investigation into an allegation made against Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor,  Müller would only confirm that the CDF needs special papal permission to begin an investigation into a bishop. 

However, Müller strongly stated that he believes this papal privilege is a mistake and that such investigations should be independent of the pontiff--let alone the influence of his friends. 

“There must be an ordinary process… There cannot be obstacles [to] a real process,” he told Arroyo. “In the States, it is not possible that the President of the United States [can] make a call to a tribunal and stop [it]. We need independence of ecclesiastical courts and the canonical process.”

The Cardinal took aim at Pope Francis’s closest advisers, whom he says interfere with investigations and the appointment of bishops. 

“The great problem in this pontificate are the so-called ‘friends’ of the Pope who are in reality more his enemies,”  Müller said. “And we, his true friends, are called by some mass media ‘the enemies’ of the Pope. But this thinking in the categories of friendship, of not friendship, is not helpful.” 

“We need correct handling of questions of faith and discipline and morals, and not this system of personal relationships all the time,” he continued. 

Müller stated that when the C-9, or council of nine cardinals chosen to be Pope Francis’ inner circle, came together, some of them asked for certain candidates to be made bishops, not because the candidates were the most qualified to be “shepherds”, but because of power plays. Thus, they bypassed the Congregation of the Bishops.

“This is the problem,” he concluded. 

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Man pushed wife to suicide to collect on life insurance, court rules

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

October 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In a case that illustrates the dangers of assuming that those assisting a relative's suicide always have their best interests at heart, a man in Australia has been convicted of aiding his wife's suicide in order to get her life insurance payments.

"I have to kill myself"

A jury found that Graham Morant, 69, counselled and aided his wife Jennifer, 56, to commit suicide. Mrs Morant had suffered from chronic pain but was not terminally ill when she was found dead alongside a petrol generator in her car on 30 November, 2014.

Prosecutors had told the court that Mr Morant stood to receive A$1.4m (£770,000) as the sole beneficiary of his wife's life insurance policies. According to testimony heard in court, Mr Morant, a "devout Christian" told her that he planned to use the insurance money to build a religious commune.

Mrs Morant - who suffered from chronic back pain, depression and anxiety - had told a friend a week before her death: "I have to kill myself and Graham will be helping." Justice Peter Davis said the jury had ruled that Mrs Morant would not have ended her life without her husband's counselling.

He will be sentenced on 19 October.

Putting the vulnerable at risk

The conviction of counselling a person to die by suicide appeared not to have a precedent in Australia or elsewhere, prosecutors told the court.

However, the case does serve to illustrate that vulnerable people can be put under pressure to end their lives by unscrupulous relatives. The elderly and the sick are particularly vulnerable, and no assisted suicide law is able to prevent this kind of abuse.

Last year, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalise assisted suicide.

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

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Papal Foundation rocked by abuse allegations against prelates close to the organization

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By Lisa Bourne

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Did disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick commit fraud when voting multiple times to approve a dubious $25-million Papal Foundation grant requested by Pope Francis? Considering he was for at least three of those final votes voting with a huge conflict of interest given the Vatican investigation into his child sexual abuse, it would certainly seem so.

This insight and much more comes in a blockbuster First Things report by Matthew B. O’Brien last week. O’Brien points out that three of the Papal Foundation’s most prominent clerical leaders – McCarrick, current Board of Trustees president Bishop Michael Bransfield and the Foundation’s first Executive Director Monsignor Thomas Benestad - each happen to be facing serious allegations of sexual abuse.

“Did these men use the grant-making power of the Papal Foundation to curry favor and buy protection from Vatican officials?” O’Brien asks. “Did they enable the misappropriation of the Foundation’s charitable grants?”

These questions and other irregularities with Foundation grant operations call for independent investigation, he says.

McCarrick allegations

The alarming sexual abuse charges against McCarrick – beginning with the credible and substantiated allegation surfacing in June that he abused a minor decades ago, which then led to subsequent allegations and reports he routinely preyed on seminarians and young priests for years – have Catholics asking who knew what and when about McCarrick’s predation - and who covered for the prominent cleric, allowing him to be elevated to cardinal.

The charges have also shed light on the reported homosexual network in the Catholic clergyan alleged power system, whose members cover for and promote their own.

The Foundation

McCarrick was one of three clerics who established the Papal Foundation in 1988.

Lay Stewards, or donors to the Papal Foundation, pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”

The money is invested to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church. The Foundation typically gives grants of $200,000 or less to benefit organizations in the developing world.

Fifteen U.S. bishops, including every U.S. cardinal living in America, comprise most of the Foundation board, which oversees the Foundation. The remainder of the Board’s members, a minority of nine, are laymen.

A problematic grant request from Pope Francis

The Foundation gained media attention back in February after internal documents obtained by LifeSiteNews showed Francis had personally requested, and partially obtained, the $25 million grant to the Church-owned the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI) in Rome, which has, according to the former chairman of the Foundation’s audit committee, “a history of mismanagement, criminal indictments and bankruptcy.”

The pope’s original request had come in June 2017 via Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin through Wuerl, whom, as current chairman of the Foundation’s controlling board of cardinals, employed unconventional means, and “pushed hard to meet it immediately,” O’Brien writes.

By January 2018 half the funds were transferred, “over strenuous objections from a number of lay donors to the Foundation who were involved,” says O’Brien. The grant’s handling by the Board prompted the audit committee chairman and at least two other lay members of the Foundation to resign.

Cardinal Wuerl asked the Vatican not to require the second half of the grant due to the objections of the donating members of the Papal Founation.

The pope cancels his regular meeting with U.S. Papal Foundation donors

As a result, Francis cancelled his regular annual audience with the lay donors of the Papal Foundation, scheduled for April, the first time a pope has not met with Foundation Stewards.

While at the Vatican for their April annual meeting, shocked Foundation donors were informed that the Board had decided to go ahead with the entire $25 million grant despite the objections.

McCarrick’s votes for Francis’ grant

McCarrick, who was an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees until his July 28 resignation from the College of Cardinals – owing to the credible substantiated abuse allegation against him - had advocated approval of the grant requested by Francis for the IDI, and McCarrick voted four times for it.

At least the three latter votes occurred after McCarrick would have been aware he was under investigation for abuse, according to the First Things report.

McCarrick’s alleged victim reached out to the Archdiocese of New York with the charges in May 2017, weeks before the Wuerl received grant request from Parolin. Before the archdiocese could have conducted an investigation, it would have needed authorization from the Vatican, since McCarrick as a cardinal fell under the Holy See’s canonical jurisdiction.

Under the law in Pennsylvania (the state where the Papal Foundation is incorporated) McCarrick would have committed fraud on the Foundation Board due to a manifest and gross conflict of interest in considering the grant request.

This is because the Vatican, to whom the Papal Foundation sends its grants for distribution, is the sole entity with canonical authority for McCarrick as a cardinal or archbishop – and thus the one responsible for policing and holding him accountable for the abuse charges.

McCarrick’s fraudulent votes would also have tainted the Foundation votes on the IDI grant, the First Things report says, and McCarrick's awareness that he was under investigation for any of the four votes renders the grant “voidable and returnable to the Foundation at the instigation of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania or any of the clerical or lay members of the Foundation’s boards."

And further, every Foundation board member - the U.S.’s nine remaining resident cardinals, a half-dozen U.S. bishops and the nine Catholic laypeople - would be personally liable legally for the apparent failure of the Foundation’s controlling board of cardinals to monitor the distribution or use of grants.

An emergency?

Additionally according to First Things, after all that’s occurred in regard to the controversial grant – the rushed process for which was predicated on the premise that it was an emergency – the $13 million already forwarded to the Vatican for the IDI still sits in a Vatican bank account undisbursed.

From its 1990 inception to 2018 the Papal Foundation made $120 million in grants to hundreds of Catholic charities worldwide, mainly in developing countries. 

The funds go through the Vatican

After approving its list of individual grants each year, the Foundation forwarded a check for the total amount - in recent years generally between $10-15 million - to the Vatican Secretariat of State. The Foundation trusted the Secretariat office to then send the appropriate sums to the respective charitable beneficiaries of each grant.

This indirect procedure for disbursing grants through the Vatican was adopted as a discretionary decision of the cardinals’ board, according to First Things, and is not something required by Foundation’s bylaws or articles of incorporation.

Its bylaws and articles of corporation, however, require the Board to oversee and monitor whether the intended beneficiaries receive the grants it awards, and that grants are used for charitable purposes.

According to multiple independent interviews First Things conducted with people involved in the Papal Foundation, throughout the Foundation’s nearly three-decades of awarding grants, “virtually no accounting or audits were performed to confirm that individual grants reached their intended beneficiaries after annual checks were sent to the Secretariat of State.”

“Moreover,” the report continued, “the Foundation allegedly failed to make any systematic attempt to confirm that funds received by the intended beneficiaries were used for charitable purposes.”

The apparent failure on the part of the Foundation’s controlling board of cardinals to monitor the distribution or use of grants, “raises an important issue,” University of Iowa Professor of corporate law Robert T. Miller told First Things.

By the Board’s failing to act in good faith by not carrying out its duty to monitor distribution or use of grants, every Board member would be personally liable for breaching that duty. The duty to monitor the grants was in the bylaws, making it impossible for Board members to claim they did not know of the obligation.

The Foundation’s audit committee had broached concerns about the Foundation’s grant disbursement accounting at a Foundation Board meeting between 2015 and 2016. 

A later review of recent grants by Foundation staff found most grants had been acknowledged either by the charity recipient or the papal nuncio for the respective country, but often there was no mention of the grant amount, and usually no mention of the charitable use of the grant.

Further, there is a conflict created by the nuncios being the party to report back to the Foundation on any grants, because the Vatican Secretariat of the State, the same party responsible for dispersing the grants, employs the nuncios.

Additionally, there were Foundation grants identified in the staff review for which the Foundation did not have any records.

After Wuerl directed Foundation attorneys late last year to assess the Foundation’s operations and bylaws for legal compliance, the lawyers identified five problem areas in its operations and procedures in December 2017; two of which were “an apparent general failure to confirm that the ultimate recipients of its grants were operated in a fashion analogous to US public charities,” and “an apparent general failure to obtain meaningful audits or accountings of how grant beneficiaries spent the money they received.”

“The cardinals’ board of the Papal Foundation apparently distributed its charitable grants in a manner that made them remarkably vulnerable to fraud and embezzlement,” O’Brien writes, “and in so doing, the board appears to have contravened its own bylaws, and thus violated Pennsylvania civil law as well.” 

“The Foundation’s chosen partner in distributing grants, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, has a longstanding reputation of financial mismanagement,” he continues.

O’Brien then cited Cardinal Parolin’s predecessor Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and a personal connection to misappropriating $500,000 in charitable assets to double pay his contractor friend to renovate his Vatican apartment, and also directing millions of Holy See dollars into a since-failed Italian television venture owned by his friends.

An independent investigation is necessary

The only way to answer the questions of whether McCarrick, Benestad and Bransfield misused the Papal Foundation’s grant-making power or enabled the misappropriation of Foundation grant funds, O’Brien says, “is with an independent investigation of the Papal Foundation, along with a forensic accounting of its past grants.”

An investigation like this would not be bound by canonical constraints, he says, nor encroach on the authority of bishops over their dioceses. This is because the Papal Foundation is not an ecclesiastical entity, rather, an ordinary 501(c)(3) religious non-profit.

With no permission from Rome necessary, the Foundation’s board could commission an investigation with a simple vote, O’Brien adds.

“If the Foundation does not authorize its own independent investigation,” he says, “it may nonetheless find itself facing one from state or federal authorities.”

Correction October 5: An earlier version of this story stated that O'Brien's first name was Michael, whereas it is Matthew. It has now been corrected.

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Gabby Skwarko attacks Katie Somers at Ryerson University. YouTube screenshot
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VIDEO: Second Toronto pro-abortion activist assaults pro-life demonstrators

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By Calvin Freiburger

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

TORONTO, Ontario, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Another Toronto pro-abortion activist has been caught on video violently attacking pro-life protestors, footage released by Toronto Against Abortion (TAA) shows.

During an October 1 demonstration outside Ryerson University, civil debate between pro-lifers and pro-abortion counter-protestors was interrupted by Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective (RRJC) member Gabby Skwarko, TAA reports in a Friday blog post.

Skwarko can be seen approaching TAA founder Blaise Alleyne and member Katie Somers from behind, at which point Skwarko kicks and pushes Alleyne, swings and then throws a metal dolly cart, repeatedly pushes Somers, and attempts to tear a backpack from her back. She also takes an object from the backpack and throws it on the ground.

Another member of RRJC can be seen trying to block a camera filming the event. Much of the dialogue is inaudible, but Swarko can be heard belligerently challenging the pro-lifers. “C’mon, let’s go,” she says. “You filming me? Let’s do it.”

Somers reportedly suffered injuries including bruises to her leg, TAA added. Police and EMS were called to the scene and an investigation has been opened, but charges have yet to be filed.

“This is one of many incidents our Ryerson Team has had to endure over the past two years from the student unions and the Reproductive Justice Collective,” Alleyne said. However, he added, “Hearts and minds are being changed on abortion at Ryerson every week, and our team is growing. We will not be intimidated by violence.”

In her post on the attack, Somers explained that she would persist despite pro-abortion violence because of the impact she’s seen from dialogue with opponents – including a conversation with a formerly “pro-choice” young man on the very same day.

“He said, ‘I reflected on the images that you guys bring here. It really doesn’t look like just a clump of cells. And besides, you are just a clump of cells, I am just a clump of cells,’” Somers quotes the man as saying. “‘But more than that, the images made me change my behaviour [...] It is unfair for me to treat a woman like an object and expect her to just go get an abortion. So my contribution to lowering abortion is that I’ve changed my behaviour, I no longer treat women that way.’”

The attack follows a similar incident covered earlier this week by LifeSiteNews, in which Toronto hair salon employee Jordan Hunt “roundhouse-kicked” Campaign Life Coalition youth coordinator Marie-Claire Bissonnette at a pro-life rally. Noble Studio 101 fired Hunt after his identity was confirmed, and several members of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform subsequently identified Hunt as the same man who had attacked another pro-life woman in Toronto.

“It disgusts me even more that I’m not the first pro-life woman Jordan Hunt has assaulted. I’m glad that the victim has posted this,” Bissonnette told LifeSiteNews Friday in response to these subsequent developments. “I hope people will continue to speak up in defense of the preborn and in defence of our rights to speak the truth with regards to abortion.”

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Planned Parenthood ‘coming for’ senators who support Kavanaugh, abortion giant threatens

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The political arm of America’s largest abortion committer threatened Thursday to punish senators who vote to put Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court, as tensions among left-wing activists reach a fever pitch.

“Roses are red, Violets are blue, Senators vote NO on #Kavanaugh, Or else we're coming for you,” the Planned Parenthood Action Fund tweeted Thursday. “We're going to be LOUD. We're going to be NOISY. And we're not going to stop until we WIN.”

The abortion giant is trying to rally its followers to pressure senators via phone, mail, and social media. But some conservatives are interpreting their rhetoric in a more ominous light, due to the level of hostility and even violence Republicans have faced from left-wing activists.

Kavanaugh’s initial confirmation hearings were marked by protestors, many organized by the “feminist” group Women’s March, screaming to interrupt the proceedings every few minutes. Last month, the Antifa branch Smash Racism DC tweeted a series of threats to Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump, pro-life Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and others.

No – you can't eat in peace – your politics are an attack on all of us. You're (sic) votes are a death wish. Your votes are hate crimes [...] You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.

“Just this past week, several Republican senators, including Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Andy Harris (R-MD) have found themselves in heated confrontations with anti-Kavanaugh protesters,” The Daily Wire reports. “Harris was reportedly physically assaulted as he tried to shut the door on protesters in the hallway outside his office.”

"The level of intensity is probably unlike anything I've seen in three and a half years," Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, said. Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, called it “the worst it's been since I've been here.”

Much of the anger appears rooted in fears that Kavanaugh would give the Supreme Court its first clear conservative majority since 1973’s Roe v. Wade, particularly that he might provide the long-awaited fifth vote to overturn it. Kavanaugh has generally espoused an originalist approach to the Constitution, though during his initial hearings he also expressed significant respect for Roe’s status as precedent, and gave mixed signals on the judiciary’s ability to declare “unenumerated” rights such as abortion.

Kavanaugh’s pro-life supporters and pro-abortion foes both argue that his non-committal answers were phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately would vote to overturn Roe.

The judge’s confirmation appeared to be a foregone conclusion in August, but shortly before the original vote was slated to take place, allegations surfaced by three women claiming he sexually assaulted them. The judge has forcefully denied their claims, which lack corroborating evidence, and critics have noted several inconsistencies in all three stories.

The Senate voted 51-49 Friday to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a final confirmation vote Saturday. Moderate Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona says he plans to vote “yes” tomorrow, leaving the final outcome in the hands of pro-abortion Republican Susan Collins of Maine and moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. If one of the two votes “no,” Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie.

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Canadian profs bully female student into silence after she brought up abortion in class

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By James Risdon

CHILLIWACK, British Columbia, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two profs at the University of the Fraser Valley browbeat a Christian student for almost an hour for bringing up abortion in the classroom.

Then-student Valerie Flokstra secretly recorded that meeting which took place last year. Former classmates who recently heard that recording were shocked by what they heard and urged her to make it public. A full transcript of the recording she made of her meeting with the two profs is available on National Campus Life Network's blog. 

Professor Nancy Norman and Department Head Vandy Britton ultimately told Flokstra that speaking about abortion made the classroom “unsafe.”

“So we don’t put forward ideas that are… intentionally or not… that are hateful. And I think sometimes abortion is one of those contentious issues that can make someone feel threatened on both sides,” said Britton.

Flokstra said that such comments made it appear as if the “program is about feeling safe” instead “about learning.” She said that she thought universities were “supposed to be places with freedom of speech and sharing ideas.” 

“I kind of feel like you are shutting me down,” she said at one point.

“Freedom of speech is that you have the opportunity to share provided it isn’t hurtful of other people. That’s the mandate of the university,” said Britton.

At no time in the discussion did Britton or Norman ever mention an actual complaint from a student about the mention of abortion in the classroom. According to Flokstra, there was no such complaint.

Ruth Shaw, executive director of National Life Campus Network, described what happened to Flokstra as “bullying.”

"It's unfortunate to see Canadian professors bullying a student for mentioning a medical statistic that was relevant," said Shaw in an interview.

Those who support abortion should examine their own consciences and consider why it is that any mention of abortion is so troubling to them, she added.  

The national pro-life organization has not yet decided what its next steps will be with regards to the University of the Fraser Valley's treatment of Flokstra. Shaw is disturbed by the incident and what it reveals about the profs' attitudes towards pro-lifers.

Flokstra told LifeSiteNews that while the classroom environment may be “safe” for others, her experience was that it was not safe for Christians. 

She recounted how during a previous meeting she had been told to keep her Christian identity to herself.

"All I could really remember was her saying that I had to put my Christian identity aside and put my teacher identity on top of that even though I assured her that my identity as a Christian helps me to deeply care about students as people and to be understanding of them," she said. 

Although the grad — who now works as a teacher in a private, Christian elementary school — felt welcome during her time studying physics and chemistry for her bachelor's degree of science, things changed for her when she then enrolled in the Teacher Education program. 

"I would really like (the University of the Fraser Valley) to look into the Teacher Education program," she said. “I was scared to be a Christian in that program." 

The University is so far refusing to discuss what happened to Flokstra. 

When contacted, the university's director of communications, Dave Pinton, ignored questions about Britton and Norman's treatment of Flokstra. Instead, he quoted from the Teacher Education department's handbook. 

It states: “The Teacher Education Department at UFV is committed to creating a respectful learning and working environment where the fundamental principles of human rights, as laid out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are upheld. The Teacher Education department is committed to providing accessible, usable, and welcoming spaces for all people regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, nationality and/or citizenship status."

According to Pinton, students in the teacher education program are expected to uphold this commitment to respect and inclusivity in coursework, in field experiences and in their daily interactions with others.

Flokstra says the profs do not uphold this standard themselves, making some students feel uncomfortable. 

"(The university will) want to look at whether the profs are really committed to that," she said. "I want them to make sure the professors are creating a learning environment for all students, including Christians."

University president and vice-chancellor Dr. Joanne MacLean did not return an invitation to comment on this story by deadline. 

The incident smacks of then-teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd's case in which three Wilfred Laurier University faculty members reduced her to tears, berated her for creating a “toxic climate” in class for playing an interview clip of professor Jordan Peterson. They repeatedly suggested she’d broken Canada’s new law enforcing the use of gender-neutral pronouns. In Shepherd's case, too, there was no complaint filed by any student. 

Wilfred Laurier University eventually apologized to Shepherd.

Contact info:

Respectful comments can be sent to the president and vice-chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley here: [email protected]

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Kavanaugh clears last hurdle in 51-49 Senate vote. Final vote, Saturday

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 Friday to end debate on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote on Saturday.

Just before the Senate was set to vote last month on President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, a trio of women – Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick – came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

The District of Columbia circuit judge forcefully denies all of their claims, and many conservatives suspect the last-minute attacks are really part of a partisan effort to prevent Kavanaugh from potentially voting to overturn Roe v. Wade.

None of the individuals Ford claims attended the party where she says Kavanaugh tried to rape her can recall any such event, and critics have noted several inconsistencies in her different accounts of the incident. Swetnick changed multiple details of her own story in a recent interview, and has been involved in multiple lawsuits pertaining to false sexual harassment claims and other forms of fraud. Ramirez admitted to former classmates she wasn’t even sure of her alleged assaulter’s identity.

On Thursday, the FBI completed a series of interviews concerning the allegations – the bureau’s seventh background check of Kavanaugh – with Democrat Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware admitting “there is nothing in here that is some bombshell that is unknown.”

Following the report’s completion, Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, moderates seen as holding Kavanaugh’s fate in their hands, hinted Thursday that they are satisfied with the FBI’s findings. Both voted yes for cloture, as did moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Pro-abortion Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted no.

The report and 51-49 tally don’t necessarily forecast the final outcome; however. CNN reports that Collins will announce her final vote at 3 PM eastern today, Manchin is staying mum on his final vote, and Flake is still undecided.  If one of those three defects, the Senate can still confirm Kavanaugh with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

The White House has reportedly refused to consider any “plan B” in the event of two or more sinking Kavanaugh’s nomination, drawing a line in the sand for Trump’s nominee.

Kavanaugh’s nomination has inflamed passions on both sides, as his replacement of liberal “swing vote” Kennedy could potentially give the Supreme Court its first clear conservative majority since Roe.

The judge has generally espoused a devotion to the Constitution’s original text and intent, though during his initial hearings he also expressed significant respect for Roe’s status as precedent, as well as mixed signals on the judiciary’s ability to declare rights not explicitly listed in the Constitution. His pro-life supporters and pro-abortion foes argue his non-committal answers were phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately would vote to overturn Roe.

Just after the vote, President Trump tweeted he was pleased to see Kavanaugh clear his second-to-last hurdle:

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Knights of Malta president to members: Steer clear of sex abuse debate

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By Phil Lawler

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

October 5, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – This Sunday will be October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and – not coincidentally – the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. It will be a good day to re-read Chesterton's magnificent Lepanto, and a good day to recall the role that the Knights of Malta played in that epic battle, defending Christian civilization against her enemies.

Today the venerable Order of Malta takes a different attitude toward great battles. Peter J. Kelly, the president of the Order of Malta in America, has written to members, instructing them not to become involved in debates over the sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Kelly wrote that "official participation of members in the public debate regarding the aforementioned issues – beyond condemning abuse in general – is not helpful and could interfere with our work."

Well it's nice to know that stalwart Knights are still allowed to make general statements against abuse. But why would it be inappropriate for them to take part in the current debate, which is a battle for the integrity of the Church? Is the Order that once dared to face the Sultan's ships now afraid of public controversy? And if lay members exercise their right to speak about current issues facing the Church, how would that interfere with the work of the Order?

The Order of Malta today is a charitable organization, which provides an enormous amount of help for the needy, provided by its wealthy members. Would the victims of earthquakes, floods, and epidemics decline to accept relief from an organization whose members criticized the cover-up of abuse? I doubt it. Would some Knights refuse to contribute because other members of the Order made controversial statements? Again it seems unlikely. The Knights are a disparate group, representing a broad range of political opinions, united only by their Catholic faith and their commitment to good works.

So again, how would a bit of open discussion about the abuse issue interfere with the Order's work? To answer that question, maybe we should travel back 18 months or so, to look once again at the Vatican takeover of the Order. Or perhaps the answer can be found in a more recent story, from April of this year, when the Knights were warned that public criticism of Pope Francis was not allowed.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Frank Hawkins

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Kavanaugh hearings reveal the America Obama left us

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By Frank Hawkins

October 5, 2018 (American Thinker) – President Trump has been in an uphill battle to reverse Obama's efforts to "fundamentally transform" America. Trump's successes in the past 20 months in erasing the damage of the Obama's eight years are well documented. But he has a long way to go based on what we saw in the Kavanaugh hearings.

Trump's biggest challenge is to push back Obama's primary legacy of identity politics, which is destroying the fabric of our nation. Neighbors, family members and old friends have been split apart, by design. Obama polarized America according to race, ethnic background, sex, sexual orientation, and politics.

Like a deadly cancer, the Obama legacy has metastasized into widespread hatred among Americans that was on display at the Kavanaugh hearings. Obama's primary legacy is dangerously malignant and more toxic than ever, fueled by cynical and destructive politicians, the Alinsky Rules for Radicals, and billions of dollars from the evil George Soros.

Statements from the hearings and the left-wing mobs and commentators attempting to disrupt the proceedings tell the story. "Call your senators and tell them to vote no for Kavanaugh – the future of our country deserves more than a privileged white boy." Were you able to catch the code words? "Privileged." "White boy."

Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono made headlines when she told all men to "shut up and step up and do the right thing for a change." In other words, men rarely do the right thing. Men, did you get it?

Democrat Senator Cory Booker used his "Spartacus moment" to suggest that Kavanaugh was guilty of "racial profiling." Racial profiling, presumably against minorities. Get it?

"Women deserve to be angry all of the time," said talk show host Andy Richter. "This country's government is an abuser. We live in the most shameful of times." Yes, of course, the Trump government is an abuser of women. Now armed leftists, some with funding from George Soros, are calling for mass violence if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Here's one certain to win over a lot of Americans: "The Antifa Website Calls for 'Slaughter' of 'Fascistic Border Patrol Dogs and Their Bosses."

In short, the Kavanaugh nomination reveals the obvious: we no longer have a viable two-party system in which both parties embrace our current Constitution-based system, share the same set of core values and fairness, and agree on certain standards of ethical conduct regardless of who wins an election.

This all sums up the primary legacy of one Barack Hussein Obama. You'll remember he's the one who appointed to the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, who famously suggested that a "wise Latina" on the bench would come to more just decisions than a white male. Did you get the code words there? Some Republicans in a show of good faith actually voted for her.

Go back to July 2009, when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested outside his home in what was clearly a misunderstanding between him and the police. Obama, just a few months in office, immediately politicized it.

I don't know ... what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say ... the Cambridge police acted stupidly[.] ... We know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.

Did you get all of that? Police acted stupidly. A long history of black Americans and Latinos stopped by police acting "disproportionately."

After Trayvon Martin was killed after attacking a partially black Latino who happened to have a "white" name, George Zimmerman, Obama quickly jumped in, noting that if he had a son, he would look like Martin, a black hoodie-wearing 17-year-old. Get it? I'm black. The kid is black. He must be innocent. The support Trayvon movement led to the formation of "Black Lives Matter," an incendiary project funded by George Soros that brags that it is now global network with more than 40 chapters.

When Michael Brown was shot dead after assaulting a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, a large fuss was made over the racial composition of the police department. Obama wasn't going to let this crisis go to waste.

The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials.

The Department of Justice subsequently found no civil rights violations in the case. But the damage was done. Obama had already identified with Michael Brown, showing "compassion" for his – as it turned out – so-called family.

And who can forget Freddie Gray, Jr., a 25-year-old black man who was arrested by Baltimore police for possessing an illegal knife? While in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and died. Obama wasted no time getting involved. "This has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn't pretend that it's new." Get it? Black people getting killed by police has been going on for a long time. Riots followed. Homicides with a preponderance of black victims spiked. Ultimately, the six Baltimore police officers involved (three of them black men and one black woman) were all found not guilty or charges were dropped. But again, the damage had been done. Obama's DOJ reluctantly announced it would not bring federal charges against the officers.

It isn't just race that Obama has used to divide us. The Obama legacy is also about sexual politics. Remember when Obama ordered all U.S. public schools to allow students to access opposite-sex restrooms in a move that escalates the national fight over LGBT rights? That escalated battles at the statewide level. Michelle Obama has also been part of the effort. After leaving the White House, she said, "Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton, voted against their [sic] own voice."

Over 60 million Americans saw through this. Trump was elected president. But the Obama damage was obvious. At the end of Obama's presidency, just 27 percent saw the U.S. as more united, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted after the 2016 election. Far more – 44 percent – said it was more divided. USA Today has just reported that a third of American voters think a civil war is coming.

The Kavanaugh hearings were a major opportunity for the left. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich blasted the Democrats for behaving:

... in an evil way unworthy of the United States. This has been the most despicable behavior by a major party in modern history. This is a deliberate, vicious, character assassination – hurt the guy's daughters, hurt his mother, hurt his wife, hurt his reputation – they didn't care[.]

Writer Patricia McCarthy called the Kavanaugh hearings:

... [t]he historical low point in American politics – and make no mistake: this was all about politics, not Kavanaugh. If there was any doubt before, there is no longer: the American left today is malevolent. The Democratic Party has demonstrated for all to see just how soulless it has become. The Democrats on the committee disgraced themselves. The two youngsters, Harris and Booker, are callow, shallow, rude, and power-mad. We have seen what they are made of: pure narcissism.

But for Obama, they are the future of his America. New York University professor Jonathan Haidt notes that "diversity, immigration and multiculturalism are right at the heart of the problem in Western democracies[.] ... Identity politics is like throwing sand in the gears ... a world in which factions are based on race and ethnicity, rather than economic interests, that's the worst possible world."

Obama is not stupid. He knows this. It's his road map.

The Obama legacy of hatred among identity groups is a viral cancer in our society. It pits race, ethnic, and religious groups against each other. It pits women against men. It is pitting gays and others who claim LGBTQ victimhood against heterosexuals. As this disease further metastasizes, our country faces an even more seriously divided future. It is pushing us toward tribalism, balkanization, and potentially, dissolution. The hatred of Trump by the left is deep. He is a forceful barrier to their destructive aims. We can't afford to lose him. But the question is whether even Trump can put the Obama legacy into remission and prevent the left from ripping our country further apart.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies, and published novelist. He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Emily Price

Opinion, ,

Ontario’s new leader should restore free speech to pro-life advocates

Emily Price
By

October 5, 2018 (Campaign Life Coalition) – In just under a month, it will have been a full year since Bill 163, also known as the abortion bubble zone law, came crashing down on human freedom across Ontario with dictatorial finesse. While Ontario’s government under Kathleen Wynne stripped pro-lifers of free speech, the UK government, however, recently refused to walk down that same road. 

The reasons given by the UK government for not enacting an abortion bubble zone law is something that new Ontario leader Doug Ford may want to take note of. After all, Ford has stressed that protecting free speech from the ongoing assault by liberal ideologues is a high priority for his administration.

A pivotal moment in Ontario’s history, the passing of the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act on October 25, 2017, dealt a threefold blow to the so-called ‘protected’ democratic freedoms of pro-life Canadians by directly infringing upon their rights to free speech, expression, and assembly. 

The bill, which was fast-tracked through the legislature in two weeks, established zones of 50 to 150 meters around abortion facilities where protesters are not permitted to stand — sorry, let’s be honest — where pro-life protesters are not allowed to stand. 

The bill was ushered in on exaggerated accounts of violence and harassment that were supposedly experienced by clients and staff entering the facilities. Most activists don’t say even a single word while they stand on the cement sidewalks all across the country in whatever weather nature decides to send their way. In fact, a request for information back in October of 2017 revealed that, at the Morgentaler abortion Facility in Ottawa, (the abortuary at the center of the debate), there were a total of 64 police reports between January 1, 2014 and June 1, 2017. 

Most of them “were false alarms, canceled calls, administrative issues, and other minor issues.” 

The report goes on to say that “in this three year, five month period, there were exactly two level 1 assaults" (Police confirmed that these level 1 assaults had no injuries and no one was charged) Furthermore, not only were there only two reported cases of level 1 assaults but it was “unknown if the assaults were perpetrated against pro-life or against pro-choice people.” 

The desperate “need” that Bill 163 apparently sought to rectify was a blatant lie. 

Therefore, it was a chilling blow indeed for pro-life advocates to have their right to disagree suddenly stripped from them.

While pro-lifers are having their freedoms removed in Canada, it’s a different story unfolding in the United Kingdom – a story that just might be powerful enough to give Ontario Premier Doug Ford a box to stand on in the fight to regain the democratic right of free speech in Ontario and set a precedent for the rest of Canada.

Last month, pro-lifers and free speech advocates in the UK had a great reason to celebrate: The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom rejected demands to impose a buffer zone on pro-life protesters outside of abortion facilities. Had the request been approved, the buffer zones would have been applicable all across England and Wales. 

But it wasn’t approved. 

And the irony of the whole situation is that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, rejected the proposal for much the same reasons that pro-lifers in Canada had used to argue against the same legislative proposal that was passed in Ontario on October 25th of last year.

While a review in the UK had allegedly reported some cases of harassment or other inappropriate behavior at pro-life vigils, Javid was adamant that they were “not the norm” and 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." 

Furthermore, as was also argued by Campaign Life Coalition and other groups that appeared before the Standing Committee discussing Bill 163, Javid pointed out that current legislation already had existing mechanisms to “restrict activities that cause harm to others.” 

For pro-life residents in Ontario, the timing of this monumental victory in the UK could not be better. With Doug Ford as the newly elected premier of Ontario, they have an opportunity to make a difference in the defense of free speech not just for themselves, but for all of Canada. 

If pro-life speech, expression, and assembly can be defended in the UK, then why not in Canada?

To this end, Campaign Life Coalition has created a petition to encourage the Premier to fulfill his promise to defend free speech.

The bubble zones are a keen example of just how undemocratic the previous Liberal government had become, especially in their disregard for true and authentic human rights. The “no free speech zones” outside of abortion facilities fly directly in the face of the fundamental freedoms of Canadian citizens that are listed in the Charter as follows:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

With the totalitarian Wynne Liberal government out of commission, now is time to reclaim freedom of speech in this province and around the country. 

Please sign Campaign Life Coalition’s petition urging Doug Ford to undo his predecessor’s wrong. 

What kind of country do you envision for your children? Does it involve having the right to disagree with the majority opinion without the fear of punishment, discrimination or retribution? Then start building that future today. Sometimes it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest difference. In this case, all free speech needs is a signature. 

Sign here.

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Cardinal Marx: Priestly celibacy should be discussed in wake of abuse crisis

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By Maike Hickson

ROME, October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who is participating in the Youth Synod upon papal invitation, claimed celibacy is one potential factor that could lead to sexual abuse.

According to a Katholisch.de report, Cardinal Marx, who spoke at an event in Rome, “wishes to put priestly celibacy to a test.”

As Marx stated at the Gregorian University during the opening ceremony of a new study program dedicated to the “safeguarding of minors”: “Words of dismay are not enough. We have to act.” In light of the sex abuse crisis, part of the Church’s discussion should be about “abuse of power and clericalism; sexuality and sexual morality; celibacy and formation of priests.”

However, he added, “celibacy is not the cause for abuse, that is absolutely not the case.” But a life in the unmarried state, he suggested, could become a problem if combined with certain weaknesses. Cardinal Marx – who is the President of the German Bishops' Conference – insisted that the “education and formation of the Church's employees” is crucial for the “fight against sexual abuse and physical violence.”

Observers are now wondering whether Cardinal Marx made these comments especially in light of the ongoing Youth Synod in Rome.

In March 2017, Cardinal Marx indicated that the theme of priestly celibacy might be discussed at the 2018 Youth Synod. He said, “I cannot exclude that.”

He explicitly referred to the same preparatory process that took place for the Family Synods in Rome, saying about the question of married priests that “there will surely appear articles in it [Herder Korrespondenz' a German Catholic journal], that is also how it was with Amoris Laetitia, too.”

One can well see some similar patterns here. Cardinal Marx also said in 2017 that it was Pope Francis himself who discussed the matter of married priests (or the so-called viri probati – morally proven married men) with the German bishops during their last Ad Limina visit in Rome.

Cardinal Marx’s latest comments come in the wake of an interview given by his own vicar general of his Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, Dr. Peter Beer. Beer stated a few days ago that the Munich diocese has “homosexual priests and homosexual employees” and that they “render an important and good service and are an important part of the community of service.”

Beer also raised the matter of celibacy, saying that it does not necessarily need to be abolished. However, he added that it is important for the education and accompaniment of priests that celibacy does not become a flight from one's own sexuality and that celibacy is not regarded as a loss which has to be compensated with the help of power or money.  

“Should it not be possible largely to avoid such negative characteristics of a celibate life,” Beer added, “then one really should let it be.”

A similar questioning and discussing of the Church's discipline and morality just came from the Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who is taking a leading role at the current Youth Synod in Rome, having been elected to be a member of the Synod's Ordinary Council. Additionally, the Austrian cardinal has been elected to the Information Commission of that Synod.

On September 29, before the opening of the Youth Synod, the Austrian cardinal said, “Perhaps I may one day also ordain women to the diaconate.” In additional comments a few days later, he explained: “I said [a few days earlier]: Perhaps I will be able one day to ordain female deacons. Indeed, this question is open from the standpoint of the Magisterium. There is no compelling theological reason why it should never be that way. It is a question as to what the Lord plans for His Church.”

These remarks stand in contrast to a statement made by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, who said that the question of female priests – including “the ordination of female deacons” – was authoritatively ruled out by Pope St. John Paul II. Therefore, says Brandmüller, anybody who insists upon this matter “has left the foundations of the Catholic faith” and “fulfills the elements of heresy which has, as its consequence, the exclusion from the Church – excommunication.”

We can see here that German-speaking prelates – Cardinal Schönborn, Cardinal Marx, as well as vicar general Dr. Beer – come to the public with several progressivist ideas concerning the Church's discipline and morality. One Catholic observer who wishes to remain anonymous wonders “whether this gives us a foreshadow about the results of the current Youth Synod.”

In 2016, Rome Correspondent Edward Pentin reported that Pope Francis had wished for a synod on the married priesthood, but that after opposition from prelates, the Youth Synod was decided upon instead.

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New video shows abortion activists attacking peaceful pro-lifers

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By Jonathon van Maren

October 5, 2018 (CCBR) – Pro-abortion violence against peaceful pro-life activists has been on the rise over the past several years. 

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

As the Canadian pro-life movement expands exponentially, abortion supporters have often decided to push back by attacking peaceful pro-lifers. 

The Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform just uploaded a compilation video of the violence we regularly face.

It's pretty crazy stuff. 

Every day, we see minds and hearts changed and babies saved, so we at the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform expect pushback. 

But it is time to change the deceitful narrative that progressive politicians have been pushing--it is not pro-lifers who are "harassing" women. 

It is often abortion supporters engaging in overt violence.

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With Cardinal Marx at Youth Synod, his vicar general says Munich diocese has ‘homosexual priests’

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By Maike Hickson

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – While Cardinal Reinhard Marx is in Rome after being personally invited by the Pope to attend the Youth Synod, his general vicar, Dr. Peter Beer, has stated that the Archdiocese of Munich has “homosexual priests and homosexual employees,” adding that they “render an important and good service.”

Dr. Beer gave an interview that has now been published by the website of the Archdiocese of Munich. On October 1, the German bishops’ news website Katholisch.de reported on the Beer interview, which especially addresses the problems of clerical sexual abuse.

“We have homosexual priests and homosexual employees, and these persons with homosexual inclinations [and acts?] render an important and good service and are an important part of the community of service, in which we together work for (and in the context of) the mission of Jesus,” he said.

As the Archdiocese of Munich informs readers on its website, the diocesan homosexual employees of both sexes have regular meetings among themselves and they are also “in communication with the general vicar.” Mrs. Ingrid Winkler, a diocesan “spiritual mentor for teachers of religion,” organizes regularunder the rainbow meetings” (“Austausch unterm Regenbogen”) for LGBT employees of the Archdiocese of Munich. According to a source from Munich, the announcements for these events are being sent to all diocesan employees. Winkler also openly announces a monthly “queer prayer service” (“Queergottesdienst”) for LGBT people in the diocese.

Dr. Beer explicitly denies that any connection exists between homosexuality and clerical abuse: “There are now, repeatedly, those claims that the studies [on clerical abuse in Germany] have shown that the abuse victims are mostly boys and the offenders mostly men.”

“I wish to give a warning,” continues the prelate and close collaborator of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, “not to draw –  because of this observation – a direct connection between homosexuality and abuse.” In Beer’s eyes, such an approach would “constitute an unbearable discrimination of persons with homosexual inclinations. I explicitly reject that and I ask us all, not to follow here such slogans.”

Furthermore, Beer adds, “all experts say that these abuse cases are less, or not at all, about homosexual deeds or homosexual relationships, but, rather, that they are about an expression of an immature sexuality,” which then expresses itself in abuse, in a sort of “displacement activity.”

When asked by the interviewer as to whether his words indicate the Church’s re-assessment of homosexuality, Dr. Beer says he is merely “giving an honest answer to your question – or do you think that in former times, there were no homosexual priests and no homosexual employees?”

Moreover, the German priest also points to the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s warning that “one should not discriminate [unjustly?] against homosexual persons, and then one also should not do it.”

Dr. Beer’s superior, Cardinal Marx, indicated in February of 2018 he is open toward the idea of blessing homosexual couples, but with the explicit explanation that one should leave that in the hands of the local pastor. Later on, after strong international protest, Marx backed off and claimed never to have meant that he supported the idea of blessing homosexual couples. However, at the same time, he admitted that there is an episcopal commission in Germany that discusses this question. As Katholisch.de stated at the time: “A possible blessing of same-sex couples is not on the agenda of the bishops [who were gathered for their assemply] in Ingolstadt, according to Marx. That topic first has to be carefully prepared. For this, one has now given a work order to the pastoral commission of the Bishops’ Conference.”

Dr. Beer's comments thus have to be seen in this larger context of a movement toward an acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church in Germany.

However, his remarks seem to stand in direct contradiction to both Pope Benedict’s and Pope Francis’ own 2005 and 2016, respectively, instructions concerning the ordination of priests. Both of those instructions explicitly say homosexuals may not be ordained to the priesthood.

In 2005, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education stated about homosexual acts in light of the Church’s Catechism that “Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the Natural Law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved.”

The authors add: “In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”

Just as with heterosexual priests, homosexual priests who do not live according to the vow of chastity should be removed from the priesthood. In 2009, Cardinal Claudio Hummes made it easier for bishops to proceed validly against priests who do not live the vow of chastity.

As CNA reported at the time, “the bishops can begin the procedure to declare the loss of the clerical state for those priests who ‘have attempted marriage, even if only civil,’ and ‘after the proper warning have not made changes.’ Also the bishop can proceed in cases where the priest is ‘guilty of grave external sins against the sixth commandment,’ which is: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’”

Will we now soon hear that Dr. Beer was merely talking about those priests and employees already in the Archdiocese of Munich who have homosexual inclinations, but do not live them out?

Another report about the moral leniency of the Archdiocese of Munich has recently come from a secular source. In a story that has been confirmed by other sources, German political magazine Der Spiegel recently reported that “a high-ranking clergyman of Munich shamelessly places his concubine right in the first pew, and that, also in this city, there is indignation about openly homosexual pastors and about an unpredictable Pope.”

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What ‘clericalism’ really looks like

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

October 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Lately we are hearing a great deal from the pope, his collaborators, and his allies about the dangers of “clericalism” in the Catholic Church, as they attempt to steer the conversation away from the cause of the vast majority of sexual abuse cases (the psychological disorder of homosexuality) and to lay the blame on structural and institutional factors that play into their liberal narrative of a Church in need of radical reformation in its teachings connected with sexuality (e.g., ordination of women, clerical celibacy, regularization of divorcees, normalization of homosexual relationships).

In a perfect expression of this mentality, Bishop Felix Genn of Münster recently remarked: “I can tell you firmly: I do not want pre-conciliar clerical guys and I will not ordain them.” The language used here connects with a frequent theme in Pope Francis’s preaching, namely, that before the Council the Church was segregated into first-class citizens (clergy) and second-class citizens (laity), the former lording it over the latter; and that the phenomenon of traditionalism today is characterized by the same false ecclesiology. In this respect he shows himself a perfect son of the 1970s, when it was fashionable to grant a monopoly to the expression “People of God” in a quasi-Marxist, democratic, secularized sense.

I was thinking about all this recently as I watched the way parishioners at my local parish—an oratory of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest—behave towards the priest as he processes down the aisle for Holy Mass. The faithful first make the sign of the cross as the Cross passes by, and then they bow towards the priest—not because he is this or that particular man, wielding authority over other men, but because he represents Christ the High Priest who offers the one saving sacrifice that unites all of us to Him and to one another. The very fact that the priest is clothed with a cope and later with a chasuble, and that he faces eastwards at the altar, shows very clearly that he is actively and powerfully standing in for Christ, clothed in the garments of His priesthood, with his own individuality hidden and his office exalted. In this way the faithful are paying homage to their Lord, not to a mere creature.

The same can be said for other pious customs of tradition-loving Catholics, such as kissing a newly-ordained priest’s hands when receiving his first blessing, or kneeling for his blessing. In so acting, we recognize in the priest in front of us an efficacious sign of the One whose blessing he has been empowered, by holy orders, to impart. This is not clericalism; this is simply Catholicism.

What, on the other hand, does clericalism really look like? Let me suggest six ways it manifests itself in the Catholic Church today.

1. When a priest, contradicting nearly 2,000 years of unanimous tradition in the apostolic churches of the East and the West, faces the people at Mass (versus populum), he unavoidably imposes himself on them as the principal actor in the liturgy, standing “over against” the passive congregation. In this way the message is transmitted—whether the priest intends it or not—that he is the center of attention, the facilitator and even the validator of the assembled faithful. This is an efficacious sign of clericalism if ever there has been one. When a priest faces eastwards, on the contrary, the attention is focused more on the liturgical rite and on the altar, crucifix, or reredos that may dominate the sanctuary as a reminder of the supreme Sacrifice of Calvary. All in common, oriented in a single direction, offer a single prayer together. This is the antithesis of clericalism, and may explain why so many clergy fed on the “spirit of Vatican II” are vehemently opposed to its recovery.

2. When a priest says “call me Fr. Jimmy,” acts casually, tells lots of jokes and stories from the pulpit, and “doesn’t stand on ceremony,” he is in fact promoting a cult of the individual personality, the cult of Jimmy, rather than humbly accepting his God-given office or role in the Church as the impersonal minister of the Lord Jesus, one of a million that God will make use of in the span of history. A certain respect or reverence towards the priest is in fact crucial not only for the laity but also (and perhaps especially) for the priest, if they are to understand the seriousness of their respective tasks in the world and in the liturgy. An informal or casual manner of celebrating the liturgy, which rests on a lack of living faith in the awesome holiness of the sacred mysteries, is a terrible scourge of clericalism that causes countless laity to wince from week to week.

3. On the other hand, when clergy extend traditionally clerical ministries to lay people (e.g., extraordinary ministers of holy communion), they are perpetuating the false view that the only worthwhile, validating “work” for a Catholic is to be busy in the sanctuary. This is one of the worst manifestations of clericalism. The proper role of the laity is not to substitute as “straw ministers” but to sanctify the world outside of the church building, as many popes have taught and as Vatican II reiterated. The lay faithful are responsible for imbuing family life, their culture, their civil society, with the radiant truths of the Faith—a task that is noble, indispensable, and rewarding. The proper role of the clergy is and has always been to dedicate themselves to prayer, the sacred liturgy, the sacraments, and preaching. When clergy become social activists and laity become mini-priests, all is thrown into confusion, and we lose the beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ with its graceful hierarchical order that reflects the ranks of angels and saints in the heavenly Jerusalem.

4. When priests, bishops, and even the pope ignore or hold in contempt the legitimate aspirations and needs of the faithful or of their subordinate clergy; when only the pope, only his collaborators, only his allies, know what is best for everyone else, regardless of education, competency, or expertise—we are facing another notorious form of clericalism, which could be summed up as: “My way or the highway.” This, sadly, is something we have seen continually during the pontificate of Francis, who seems to think it a virtue to ignore cardinals, bishops, priests, and hundreds of thousands of laity when they express their (quite understandable!) concerns about certain of his teachings and actions. We also see it in parishes where a young parochial vicar, desirous of reintroducing beauty and tradition, is gagged or hamstrung by an older priest who “knows better.” St. Benedict was wise to recognize that “God often reveals what is better to the younger” (Rule, ch. 3).

5. When bishops or priests want to intrude their personal theological opinions into their preaching and writing, rather than following and handing down the common and traditional teaching of the Church, we are certainly dealing with a particularly acidic form of clericalism.

6. When the pope appoints ambitious men as bishops and curial officials instead of imitating great reforming popes who scoured observant monasteries and parishes for humble, holy, orthodox candidates, or when people entrusted with proposing episcopal candidates fail in their grave charge, they are flexing the muscles of a clericalism that becomes mightier the more successful the ambitious are. It is like a disease that feeds upon itself. We can see, from the St. Gallen “mafia” to the McCarrick scandal to the Viganò exposé, how flourishing this form of clericalism is in the Church today—and, ironically, most of all in those who have made an incoherent notion of “clericalism” a diverting screen behind which they think to hide.

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