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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet, declares itself pro-life

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

October 8, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Verona has long been immortalised as the city of love. Now, it could be known as the city of life, after councillors passed a motion declaring the North Italian city officially pro-life.

Promoting motherhood

Councillors approved "an initiative to prevent abortion and promote motherhood", put forward by Alberto Zelger, a member of the League party.The motion had three aims; to declare Verona a "city in favour of life", to finance local pro-life projects, and to promote a regional project that allows pregnant women to anonymously give up their babies for adoption.

Despite protests from women's rights groups dressed as "handmaids", the motion passed by 21 votes to six. As well as members of the League party, it was backed by Mayor Federico Sboarina, and by the leader of the centre-left Democratic party, Carla Padovani.

And protecting life

Mr Zelger put motion 434 forward earlier this year to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Italy's abortion law. It contains strong pro-life statements, with point two reading that the committee "acknowledges that the life of every person from conception until natural death should be welcomed and protected in all its aspects". 

It is sharply critical of the abortion law, which, it says, was intended for exceptional cases and to prevent backstreet abortions, but in reality has "contributed to the use of abortion as a mode of contraception". The law should inform women of alternatives to abortion, (adoption, economic help, psychological assistance, job support), it continues, but that seldom happens.

Funding real help for mothers

Because "sometimes just a little economic aid or the prospect of a job is enough to give a woman in difficulty the peace of mind needed to look after her child", the motion calls for funding for pro-life organisations to be written into Verona's budget, specifying Project Gemma, a perinatal adoption service, and a project of the Diocesan pro-life centre.  

In Italy, just over 70 percent of gynaecologists refuse to carry out abortions, according to health ministry data from 2016.

Perhaps the City of Love is an example of how all parties can come together to give practical help to women and build a Culture of Life at a local level.

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

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Corinne Weaver

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Facebook exec censured for celebrating Kavanaugh confirmation

Corinne Weaver
By Corinne Weaver

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October 8, 2018 (NewsBusters) – The "intolerant political monoculture" at Facebook has a grip on even the highest ranking executives.

Facebook convened a meeting Friday, October 5, to discuss the conservative views of Vice President of Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan. The VP had caused Facebook employees to panic due to his show of support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate confirmation hearings. At the Facebook meeting, both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and CFO Sheryl Sandberg "expressed frustration that Kaplan had inserted the company into the political moment," according to NBC.

Sources told NBC that Kaplan apologized at the meeting, saying it was "a mistake for him to have attended the hearing without consulting other executives." However, Kaplan did not back down from his support of Kavanaugh, as was made apparent by Politico. The Facebook executive threw Kavanaugh and his employees a celebration on Saturday night, after Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Sandberg and Zuckerberg also "unequivocally condemned sexual assault and said that Facebook should be a place where diverse points of view are tolerated and supported." Other members of the liberal media/political scene have called for Kaplan's firing.

Hillary Clinton's political advisor Adam Parkhomenko wrote on Twitter, "Clearly the problems at Facebook run deep. NY Times article on head of Facebook DC was damning. Joel Kaplan needs to be fired immediately. Email Facebook and demand they fire Joel Kaplan [email protected]"

In leaked statements to the New York Times on Thursday, October 4, Facebook employees called Kaplan's actions a "slap in the face to his fellow employees" and said Kaplan "violated our policies." Previously, Facebook engineer Brian Amerige wrote in August that Facebook employees were "quick to attack – often in mobs – anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology."

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Nick Searcy directs a 'Gosnell' scene with Sarah Jane Morris as Assistant District Attorney Lexi McGuire and Dean Cain as Detective James Wood. Photo courtesy of Hat Tip Films, LLC
Anita Crane

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‘Gosnell’ filmmakers didn’t care about abortion until they saw his victims

Anita Crane
By Anita Crane
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Gosnell producer Ann McElhinney
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Gosnell producer Phelim McAleer
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Gosnell director Nick Searcy

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LOS ANGELES, California, October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews)Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is the true-crime movie about how Philadelphia Detective James Wood and his partner Detective Stark bust Dr. Kermit Gosnell for selling prescription drugs illegally, only to discover that he is a murderer.

In their joint raid of Gosnell’s office with the FBI and DEA, they enter into the stench of death and find that he is an abortionist who keeps baby bodies in the lunchroom refrigerator. U.S. abortion restrictions are weak, but it is a federal crime to murder babies who survive abortion attempts, and Wood thinks Gosnell delivered some of the little victims alive and then killed them.

Earl Billings plays Gosnell, Alfonzo Rachel plays Stark, Dean Cain plays Wood, and Detective Wood was a consultant. Gosnell could have been a gory true horror movie, but the filmmakers made a PG-13 feature, and it opens nationwide in theaters on Friday, October 12.

Kickstarter began a series of ongoing efforts to blackout the movie by cancelling the filmmakers’ crowdfunding campaign, then Indiegogo welcomed them, and so I asked three of the main filmmakers why they were compelled to make it.

Phelim McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney are longtime Irish journalists who wrote the screenplay with Andrew Klavan and produced the movie with their Polish partner Magdalena Segieda. Nick Searcy is a Hollywood actor who plays Gosnell’s defense attorney and directed the film.

McElhinney made Gosnell for young people and everyone else who thinks the way she did. When she was a young woman in college, she dismissed pro-lifers as too religious and she continued to dismiss them until she saw the brutal truth of evidence presented by crime scene investigators, medical examiners, plus the testimony of doctors who do abortions.

“I never trusted or liked pro-life activists,” she explained. “I thought the shocking images they showed were manipulative. I was sure they had been photoshopped. If the anti-abortion position was so strong, pro-lifers should be able to argue without resorting to emotionally manipulating their audience with fraudulent horror pictures. Once you have this mentality, it’s very easy to completely dismiss pro-life activists. The universities of the world are teeming with young people just like that young person I once was. This story was not orchestrated by the pro-life movement. This was a trial: a murder trial. What witnesses said and the pictures they showed changed me. I am not the same person I was.”

The Gosnell movie began with McAleer. In 2013, he was in Philadelphia working on the couple’s documentary FrackNation. He had a day off and saw a notice about Gosnell’s trial in a newspaper.

“I walked in and saw they had photographs of Gosnell victims blown-up in massive detail on one wall. Then they had witnesses giving truly horrific evidence,” said McAleer. “In all my years of journalism, this was the most shocking evidence I’ve ever heard. The most shocking thing of all was behind me: no reporters. It was one of the most shocking stories I’ve ever heard, but no one would know it.”

In their book by the same title as the movie, McElhinney and McAleer credit reporter J.D. Mullane for covering the trial and tweeting a photo of the empty courtroom. During an interview with Mike Huckabee, Mullane independently confirmed McAleer’s theory on media bias and revealed that evidence of Gosnell’s crimes converted a pro-choice reporter to pro-life.

“So I thought about journalism and I thought this is something that somebody somewhere doesn’t want published,” said McAleer. “People don’t want this story out – we need to get it out. So I came back to Los Angeles and said to Ann and Magda, our business partner, ‘This is our next story.’ And they said, ‘No. We’re not doing abortion.’ I showed them the transcripts of the trial; they read them and realized the story had to be told.”

Prior to making their movie, McElhinney and McAleer wrote their book, except it is analytical journalism while the movie is a gripping drama. Their research for the book includes interviewing Gosnell in prison, and that interview haunts McElhinney.

“He is extremely creepy,” she said, shaken anew. “He touched my legs continuously during the interview, and then apologized after he did it and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean to do that,’ but then he kept on doing it. He answered some of the questions we had with this very odd cheerfulness. He was smiling a lot. And then when we got down to the nitty-gritty asking him very specific questions about the clinic, about what he did, he quite quickly changed his demeanor and said ‘Oh, you know about that.’”

McElhinney said Gosnell was obsessed with his own hands, and bragged about how large they are.

“His plausibility and his deniability would shake anyone because you’re sitting there in the presence of someone – and I know what he did because I know the sworn testimony of what the witnesses said that he did – and you look at his hands. I knew him because of the trial and reading all the transcripts and because of all the people I interviewed who knew him and my own experience (of studying him) for a very long time. He’s highly manipulative and that’s why he was so successful.

“At the end of the interview, he got really gross, asking me personal things about my female health,” she said.

As McElhinney and her husband stood to leave the interview, Gosnell shook her hand and she thought: “My God. Look what those hands have wrought.”

McElhinney and McAleer are Catholic, and Gosnell’s victims gave them greater purpose.

The evidence was “brutal” for McElhinney. “I had a profound sense of the presence of evil in the actions of Gosnell and his staff and their complete lack of conscience,” she recalled. “I wept at my computer. I said the Our Father sitting at my desk. I am no holy roller – I hadn’t prayed in years – but at times when I was confronted with the worst of this story I didn’t know what else to do.  

“I am absolutely certain that the dead babies spoken of in court were unique people whom the world will never know. I hope the movie and book go some way to mark the fact that they lived, and in their short lives they made a difference. This story can change hearts and minds. It changed mine.”

You might know Nick Searcy as Chief Deputy Art Mullen in the FX series Justified or some character in a hundred other TV shows or movies. Maybe you saw him playing Father Montgomery in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or General Hoyt in The Shape of Water. Both of those flicks were nominated for the 2018 Best Picture Oscar, and the latter feature won. Searcy is a character actor in Hollywood and an outspoken character in real life.

Why did he make Gosnell?

“When Ann and Phelim mentioned the possibility of me directing, I read the script and there was so much that I didn’t know, so much that I was fascinated by,” said Searcy. “I didn’t know what a legal abortion was. I didn’t know anything about all the laws surrounding it – the way the political establishment in Pennsylvania had sort of covered for this man – not covered, but ignored it – didn’t inspect his clinic because of political ramifications. They didn’t want to be seen as ‘anti-reproductive rights,’ so they left this man alone to do these horrible things for decades. And when I read that script, I thought this is an important film and I don’t get that many chances in my silly little career to do things that I think are really, really important and that add to society as I think this film does.”

Parents and sensitive souls shouldn’t worry about violence in the film. “The horrors of what Gosnell did are so terrible we didn’t want to make a gore movie. We didn’t want to make an exploitive horror film,” Searcy said. “We wanted to make a film that addressed the issue seriously but people could sit through without running away in horror. So we approached every one of those moments (such as) when they discover bodies in the clinic and when they discover feet in jars and all the terrible stuff Gosnell did as theater of the mind rather than forcing it in everybody’s face.”

In 2015, Hat Tip Films shot Gosnell in Oklahoma City and Searcy was struggling to cast the role of Viola Brown, who told Dr. Gosnell to stop aborting her baby, then rushed to a hospital to bring that child into the world. Searcy couldn’t find the right actress until he met Tessa Watley.

Here is film critic Christian Toto’s interview with Tessa Watley and it stunned Searcy because he didn’t know Watley’s true story:

“When I saw that video, I felt like God led me to her because, literally, I’m sittin’ there in a Waffle House and this was the one part I had not been able to find. I couldn’t find anybody that I liked for that role and this woman was managing the Waffle House and going around apologizing to customers because their food was taking too long or whatever and I thought ‘That woman is perfect for this role,’” Searcy laughed with great delight. “So I went up to her and said ‘I know this sounds like a Hollywood cliché, but I’m a big-shot director and I’m shooting a movie here and I think you’re a star.’ I went back and got the script and she sat down and read it and I said, ‘Do you want to do this?’ and she said, ‘Yeah.’”

Searcy described himself as Baptist but said he’s not an every-Sunday churchgoer.

Of course, Hollywood and the entertainment industry are highly political. Therefore, Searcy’s work on Gosnell could cost him a lot.

“Well, I was sort of out of the closet, as they say, about my political thoughts,” Searcy replied. “Before this film even came around, there was a man named Andrew Breitbart, who was a good friend of mine, who passed away in 2012 and he was a real political warrior and he kind of stepped out against the Hollywood left and said, ‘We don’t have to be afraid of these people.’ And when he passed away, I thought I don’t know how much time I have left, I don’t know how much more work I’m gonna get done, but what am I afraid of? I’m just gonna be myself, say what I think and do what I believe. And if it costs me, it costs me.

“People laugh at me when I say this, but the movie is uplifting. It’s uplifting because it’s about the people who stop the evil. Even though Dr. Gosnell is a horrible evil man, the fact that he was caught and stopped is uplifting,” Searcy concluded.

Anita Crane is a writer, editor and media producer with a B.A. in Catholic Theology from Christendom College. See more about her work at anitacrane.com.

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K.V. Turley

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Irish Pro Life Campaign poll shows strong public backing for freedom of conscience protections

K.V. Turley
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DUBLIN, Ireland, October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life Ireland is alive and kicking and ready for the fight ahead against a pro-abortion Irish government determined to impose its will upon pro-life doctors.

At the Pro Life Campaign’s national conference last Saturday in Dublin, the group  released poll findings showing strong public backing for freedom of conscience protections for healthcare workers from having to assist in abortions.

More than 600 people attended the conference in the RDS. The keynote speaker was Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. However, the main focus for many attending was the plight of Irish doctors, many of whom were at the conference and raised concerns about the lack of freedom of conscience protections in the Irish government’s proposed new abortion law.

The poll findings, conducted by Amárach Research and released at the conference, revealed that a clear majority comprising 68 percent of the Irish public opposed doctors being forced to carry out abortions, with only 17 percent of those questioned in favor, and 15 percent responding with “don’t know.”  

In regard to the issue of abortion referrals from one doctor to another, of those questioned for the poll, the margin was not so great. Asked whether doctors opposed to abortion should be forced to refer someone seeking an abortion to another doctor, 42 percent of respondents said doctors should not be forced to refer, and 41 percent said they should be forced to refer. Another 18 percent opted for “don’t know/no opinion.”

Commenting on the poll findings, Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said: “These findings paint an entirely different picture to the one being presented by the Government. It is clear from surveys of GPs themselves that they don’t want the provision of abortion to be GP-led and it’s very clear from today’s poll findings that the public don’t wish to see doctors being compelled to be involved in abortions. The result on whether or not doctors should be forced to refer is particularly interesting. In the absence of any public discussion on the devastating impact on GPs of being forced to refer, a majority of the public still sides with GPs who don’t want to be compelled to refer women for abortions that will lead to the certain death of her unborn baby.”

Throughout the day, there were a variety of pro-life submissions at the conference. One was from Monica Handeran, a mother of a baby with Down syndrome who spoke about the challenges and fears during her pregnancy and the lack of support.  She said, “Now that I see my son and his impact on our lives, I wonder does he have an extra chromosome or are we missing one?” Gavin Boyne told the audience about how his life was saved by the Eighth Amendment.  He urged attendees to challenge some of the narrative around the forthcoming legislation that, he said, legitimizes the ending of lives like his.

In regard to that forthcoming legislation, Wendy Grace said: “The definition of abortion in the new bill is a 'medical procedure intended to end the life of a foetus.' It is an insult to the intelligence of the Irish people to call that healthcare.  Healthcare is about preserving life, not ending it.”

There is still very much an appetite in Ireland to oppose the result of the recent referendum. Speaking to those assembled, one of those at the media forefront during the referendum campaign, Cora Sherlock, said: “Other countries are making great strides in restoring pro-life protections and now it’s Ireland’s time to join the international struggle. We may have lost the battle, but we will win the war.  Because we all know that the injustice of abortion will never win out.”

Others expressed concerns at the way in which the referendum has colored the political debate within Ireland. Barrister Lorcan Price talked about the lack of political representation and leadership for those who voted ‘No’ to repeal of the Eighth Amendment. He said: “Politicians may be on a journey, but we are not going on a journey. We are going to stand by the unborn and their mothers.”

Hawkins,shared some of the experiences of the pro-life movement in the U.S.  She noted that there are more pro-life young people involved than ever before.  She told the Dublin audience that life is always worth fighting for and the experience of the U.S. shows that the pro-life movement can develop and flourish.

The Pro Life Campaign is a non-denominational human rights organisation, drawing its support from a cross-section of Irish society. Established in 1992, its founders were key members of the Pro Life Amendment Campaign, which organised and campaigned successfully for the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Article 40.3.3) in 1983. It continues to campaign for the rights of the unborn in modern Ireland.

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Bishop Robert McElroy
LifeSiteNews.com

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San Diego Catholic leaders demand ‘truthful answers’ from Bishop McElroy on sex abuse scandal

LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

SAN DIEGO, California, September 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — "Acting with urgency and with purpose," local lay leaders have launched Concerned Catholics of San Diego (CCSD), a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a committee of faithful Catholics whose first order of business is to seek "truthful answers" from San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy about the sex-abuse crisis.

"The Catholic Church, including here in San Diego, is facing an unprecedented crisis," said committee member Charles LiMandri. "We believe the time is now to mobilize the lay Catholic community in San Diego to bring renewal to the Church."

In a detailed letter delivered to Bishop McElroy on October 5, CCSD members asked him to provide his plan of action "to meaningfully include the laity in the process of purification and reform of the Church hierarchy that will include accountability, transparency and an emphasis on maintaining clerical celibacy."

A particular concern is a 2016 letter that Bishop McElroy received from A.W. Richard Sipe, a leading researcher of the sexual and celibate practices of Catholic bishops and priests. In the letter, Sipe told McElroy: "Sooner or later it will become broadly obvious that there is a systemic connection between the sexual activity by, among and between clerics in positions of authority and control, and the abuse of children."

McElroy never acted on Sipe's warnings.

CCSD has also launched a petition drive to publicly demand that Bishop McElroy answer the questions in the group's letter.

"We are devastated by the evil that has spread throughout the Church," LiMandri said. "But we are also hopeful that this tragedy will bring about an extraordinary spiritual renewal not only among the clergy but the whole Church."

Concerned Catholics of San Diego is a grassroots coalition formed to mobilize the lay Catholic community to seek change and accountability in the wake of the Church's sex-abuse crisis. For more information, please contact Daniel Piedra at 858-759-9948 or visit CCSD's website at https://concernedcatholicssd.org/.

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Thomas FioRito
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He weighed less than two pounds when he was born. Now he’s a healthy toddler

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By Lisa Bourne
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Thomas as a baby
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The FioRito family

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GLENVIEW, Illinois, October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Responding to a continuing effort to normalize abortion, the producers of The 40 Film are again spreading the pro-life message through film and media.

Life’s precious nature is beautifully conveyed by Pro-Life Champions in the latest installment of their Shout My Story campaign. The new short film tells the story of a family who chose life despite being pressured to abort after receiving an adverse prenatal diagnosis.

Dan and Deborah FioRito weren’t prepared for Deborah’s water to break when she was pregnant at 21 weeks and five days, but the couple held together in faith and fought for their son, even when medical professionals told them their baby had little to no chance at life.

The Miracle Baby Thomas Story: One of the youngest premature babies ever to survive in the U.S. walks viewers through the FioRito’s journey of giving their son his chance at life in the face of tremendous odds.

Thomas, now two, healthy, and the youngest of nine, was born at just 22 weeks. His parents are convinced Thomas is a miracle and that his premature birth was part of God’s plan.

“He’s amazing,” Deborah FioRito said of her son.

“Thomas is a testament to life,” said Dan FioRito. “And there’s a reason that Thomas was born the way he is, and I firmly believe it’s God’s will to affect others.”

Thomas’s story is the latest to be told by John and Cindy Morales, the couple behind Pro-Life Champions.

Their Shout My Story campaign is the pro-life response to Shout Your Abortion, an Oprah Winfrey-backed effort to celebrate abortion as normal and good.

“While our first story, the story of Mary Grace, was in production, we stumbled across the ‘ShoutYourAbortion.com’ website and we were horrified,” Cindy Morales told LifeSiteNews. “The pro-aborts had moved from ‘abortion is a tragic necessity that should be safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘Yeah abortion! Abortion is a positive good!’”

“We could not believe that no one had mounted a counter offensive, so we decided we should do it,” she said. “And thus ‘Shout My Story’ was born.”

Shout My Story looks to present positive hopeful stories of people who have chosen life, John Morales told LifeSiteNews, in contrast to the pro-abortion message.

Shout My Story is a full media campaign of short films, videos, audio, and print stories that Pro-Life Champions is making immediately available on all social media.

When it comes to filmmaking, Cindy and John unite their respective backgrounds in media, the pro-life movement, and faith formation. With their pro-life production team, they are writing, filming, producing, and editing five- to eight-minute films of life-affirming stories.

“The people we have filmed are joyful and at peace with their decision to choose life, and they want to share that joy and peace with others,” said Cindy Morales. “There are stories of women who have been pregnant by rape, whose children died soon after birth – and this was expected – and women who felt pressured to abort because of their financial situation or youth.”

“All of them want to give encouragement and hope to women in similar situations and to urge them to choose life,” she said.

Thomas’s story can be accessed on the Shout My Story website and on social media through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Cindy and John hope their website will serve as a library of life-affirming stories in varying forms since they can’t film or even collect them all.

“We want hundreds of stories on our website, eventually, to counter the heinous Shout Your Abortion rhetoric,” Cindy Morales said.

Pro-Life Champions has collaborated with other pro-life groups to tell life-affirming stories, and the plan is to do so again in the future.

“Anyone who wants to help is welcome,” Cindy added.

‘This is God’s will’

Even when stories don’t have the archetypical happy ending, Pro-Life Champions conveys that all life is precious.

The first story they filmed, the story of Mary Grace, was about a baby diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks gestation. Her parents, John and Molly Kurt, knew that her life would be short, Cindy explained.

“The message they wanted to give was, ‘her life was short, but she was loved, and she loved,’” Cindy said.

As the FioRitos encountered consistent pressure to abort after they got Deborah to the hospital, they had to process the possibility they might not have their son for long.

“They really painted a dire picture for our little guy,” said Dan FioRito.

It didn’t change their conviction to give Thomas however long a life God had planned for him. They asked for another medical professional who would respect their wishes.

“I told them, however this kid comes out, that’s God’s will,” Dan FioRito said. “And we’re going to love him. Don’t you dare discount that.”

Thomas was breathing on his own when he was born, and was intubated with some difficulty. He weighed one pound and two ounces.

Deborah FioRito recalled, “He was the tiniest thing.”

When he was released after 18 weeks in the NICU, Thomas weighed almost eight pounds. He went home around the time he was due to be born, without any oxygen support or a feeding tube.

After most doctors gave him no chance at life, his family considers him a miracle.

“Thomas came home to the madness of a big family,” Dan FioRito said, “and there was such joy, the true celebration of life.”

Thomas plays, talks, swims, and is very curious, like the other FioRito children are.

“Except he’s the miracle man, and the other kids know that,” said Dan FioRito. “Thomas is at the center of so much in the family. His older brothers and sisters cherish him and it’s incredible just to see the love that they have for him. And they never for get the small beginnings of Thomas.”

The FioRito family hopes they can encourage other families to fight for their children who doctors say may not viable.

Don’t let anyone convince you your baby isn’t meant to be here, they say.

The family’s pro-life convictions are only stronger having been through what they have with Thomas, Dan FioRito told LifeSiteNews, and their son is a living symbol of the pro-life movement.

“This is God’s will,” he said. “This is why Thomas came along the way he did.”

Pro-life stories can be shared with [email protected]. More information is available at ShoutMyStory.com.

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Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham tease runs against pro-abortion Republican Lisa Murkowski

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By Calvin Freiburger

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October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of the U.S. Senate’s two openly pro-abortion Republicans, may face primary challenges from one of two nationally-popular conservative women following her decision to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by a 50-48 vote Saturday, following a bitter three-month battle over his abortion views and unsubstantiated, last-minute allegations of sexual assault. Resistance was particularly steep because Kavanaugh might provide the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to directly ban abortion.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the Senate’s other pro-abortion Republican, decided to support Kavanaugh after concluding his interpretation of stare decisis (the doctrine of judicial precedent) meant he was actually likely to uphold Roe (a possibility some pro-lifers fear and others dismiss).

Murkowski agreed with that assessment and that Kavanaugh is a “good man,” but ultimately decided he was not “the right person for the court at this time” due to the divisiveness of the confirmation process. At the same time, she voted “present” rather than “nay” as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, who supported Kavanaugh but had a scheduling conflict with his daughter’s wedding.

Speaking for many outraged Republicans, the president denounced Murkowski’s decision as “very frankly disgraceful,” and predicted that “the people from Alaska will never forgive her for what she did.”

Now, two women may be counting on that prediction: former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham.

“Hey @LisaMurkowski - I can see 2022 from my house,” Palin tweeted on Friday, playing off a popular misquote attributed to Palin for years by her critics.

Ingraham, a radio pundit and Fox News host who is also the co-founder of LifeZette, tweeted the same day that she “like[s] Alaska...a lot. Maybe it’s time to run for Senate after all.”

Both women are pro-life and align more closely with the conservative grassroots than with the GOP establishment. As a past Alaska officeholder, Palin would presumably have an advantage over the Connecticut-born, D.C. resident Ingraham, though relocating for political bids is by no means unheard of. It remains to be seen how serious either is about her tweets.

“Palin is the woman who, in 2006, defeated Murkowski's father in a Republican primary to become the first female governor of Alaska,” The Week’s Kathryn Krawczyk recalls. “Frank Murkowski had served just one term as governor after a long stint in the Senate, though he actually appointed his daughter to fill his seat when he won the governorship in 2002.”

Regardless of who throws a hat in the ring, many conservatives believe that replacing Murkowski is long overdue, with some arguing that there’s blame to go around for why it hasn’t happened yet.

Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz wrote Friday that too many of the conservatives “reminiscing about the 2010 primary, when Joe Miller successfully wrestled the GOP nomination away from Murkowski, only to lose to her in a write-in bid for the general election” have seemingly forgotten that Miller challenged Murkowski again as a third-party candidate in 2016, “after six more years of betrayals.”

“Murkowski only got 44 percent of the vote. Miller had a strong showing at 30 percent, but had not a penny to his name because no conservative organization, much less the party establishment, focused on him,” Horowitz recalls. “Don’t give me the excuse of party labels. Everyone knew that Miller was really a conservative Republican using the [Libertarian] party for ballot access and that he would be a solid vote for all Trump’s nominees.”

“A healthy conservative movement would have ensured that McConnell and party leaders denied Murkowski support for the GOP nomination in 2016 after she left the party in 2010, was pro-abortion, and failed to exhibit a modicum of support for anything in the party’s platform,” he laments, warning readers to pay closer attention to primary battles in this and future election cycles.

Murkowski holds a pro-Roe litmus test for judicial nominees, lists “maintaining access to Planned Parenthood facilities” among her “healthcare” priorities, opposes bans on embryo-killing research, and has worked to obstruct Trump’s efforts to defund abortions abroad. She was also instrumental in killing last year’s effort to repeal Obamacare and temporarily defund Planned Parenthood.

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Georgetown prof who wished death on Kavanaugh supporters placed on ‘research leave’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Georgetown University professor who wished “miserable deaths” on defenders of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will be taking a leave of absence ahead of schedule, following the university’s initial attempt to quell the controversy by invoking academic freedom.

The Senate voted 50-48 on Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh’s appointment, following a bitter three-month battle over his abortion views and unsubstantiated, last-minute allegations of sexual assault. Kavanaugh was privately sworn in hours later, and President Donald Trump plans to hold a public swearing-in ceremony Monday evening.

Georgetown security studies professor Christine Fair ignited controversy starting September 29 when she called Kavanaugh’s defenders “entitled white men justifying a serial rapists’ arrogated entitlement,” who “deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps.” She concluded by suggesting “we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine.”

Twitter temporarily suspended her account, a move a company representative subsequently said was “in error.”

“The views of faculty members expressed in their private capacities are their own and not the views of the University. Our policy does not prohibit speech based on the person presenting ideas or the content of those ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable,” Georgetown spokesman Matt Hill initially said in response to backlash. “While faculty members may exercise freedom of speech, we expect that their classrooms and interaction with students be free of bias and geared toward thoughtful, respectful dialogue.”

The Jesuit school’s statement didn’t sit well with Fair’s critics, particularly as it coincided with Catholic University of America suspending social services dean William Rainford for merely questioning the age discrepancy in the claims of Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick. Georgetown’s Dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Joel Hellman, subsequently announced that Fair had agreed to leave the classroom “effective immediately.”

“We can and do strongly condemn the use of violent imagery, profanity, and insensitive labeling of individuals based on gender, ethnicity or political affiliation in any form of discourse. Such expressions go against our core values,” he said, as reported by Campus Reform. “To prevent further disruption to her students and out of an abundance of caution for the security of our community, we have mutually agreed for Professor Fair to go on research leave effective immediately. Professor Fair will accelerate previously scheduled international research travel.”

Hellman added that Georgetown has received “many legitimate concerns from members of our community and beyond regarding the social media posts Professor Fair has made in her personal capacity,” as well as “provocative and threatening” statements that have been handed over to the school’s Threat Assessment Team and the police.

Fair, a self-proclaimed “inter-sectional feminist [...] nontheist, resister” and abortion supporter who has worn “Abort Trump” and “F*** Trump” stickers at public speaking events, claims her tweet was an “experiment” in “throw[ing] back the kind of hate I get in one of the forms I get to make people as uncomfortable as I feel.” She dismissed as “preposterous” any notion that her calls for violence were sincere.

At her personal blog (titled “Tenacious Hellpu**y: A Nasty Woman Posting from the Front Lines of F***ery”), Fair also published an insult-filled reply to a Campus Reform reporter’s polite request for comment. In it, she frames critical coverage of her words as a “harassment” campaign to “silence” her.

“My question for YOU is why are you CON-servatives so afraid of women’s rage and anger?” Fair asked. “You KNOW there is a war on women going on AND the Republican party and evangelical and other so-called religious CON-servatives are partners in waging it.” She vowed to “continue to Tweet things that make you uncomfortable and I will do this by choice. I will select words and phrases that will make you and your fellow-travelers furious.”

Kavanaugh’s accusers received intense sympathetic press coverage and delayed his confirmation by nearly a month, despite lacking any corroboration and suffering from other credibility problems. The FBI’s seventh check into the judge’s background produced no new evidence to back up their stories, and the attorney of Christine Blasey Ford says her client has no plans to pursue her allegations further.

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Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

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By Lianne Laurence

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media.

The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on the synod’s Information Commission, and part of the team handling daily press briefings during the three-week event that began Wednesday.

Pope Francis named 34 young people to the synod as “collaborators” and “observers.” As such, they take part in discussions, but don’t vote on final documents.

Rosica emailed a letter to Vatican media last month announcing the Pope chose only Salt and Light team members to represent Canada’s Catholic youth.

“It is a great sign of affirmation from Pope Francis and the Church’s recognition of Salt and Light’s mission of bringing the flavour of the Gospel and the light of Christ to the world,” wrote Rosica.

The Canadian youth observers are Salt and Light producer Emilie Callan, and former television intern and current Salt and Light blogger Julian Paparella. Collaborators are Salt and Light operations manager Prevain Devendran, and Salt and Light assistant producer Allyson Kenny.

The media network is firmly behind Pope Francis, and will soon be releasing the documentary The Francis Impact, a sequel to The Francis Effect, a paean to the pontiff.

“For many people around the world, he is the most authentic and credible moral leader,” notes a blurb for The Francis Impact.

“As impressive as Francis is, his impact cannot be restricted to his celebrity status,” it adds. “Francis himself does not like to be in the spotlight, but seeks to encourage and empower people of all walks of life to work together in a tangible way to build a better world.”

In like vein, Salt and Light CEO Rosica appears to believe the current Holy Father is above tradition and Scripture.

“Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments,’” Rosica declared on a Salt and Light blog in August.

“Our Church has indeed entered a new phase,” he wrote. “With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

Zenit deleted those statements when it republished the blog. Rosica took to Twitter to scold those who strongly repudiated his view, telling them “go to confession.”

Rosica also is known for his pro-homosexual views.

He defends LGBT activist Fr. James Martin, rejects the Catechism’s description of the homosexual inclination as “objectively disordered,” and says the phrase “intrinsically disordered” is “harsh.” Rosica was a longtime admirer of the late Gregory Baum, a homosexual dissident former priest whom he interviewed on Salt and Light in 2012.

More recently, Rosica was scheduled to say Mass for the pro-LGBT All Inclusive Ministries in Toronto but cancelled after news of the event was widely published. Rosica has preached a “mission” at the LGBT-friendly parish Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco.

Such proclivities are particularly significant at a synod that many observers fear will be used to push for a change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Those fears appeared justified when the synod working document released in June included the term “LGBT,” which had never before appeared in a Vatican text.

Top synod organizer Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said youth used the term in pre-synodal documents, but when LifeSiteNews debunked that claim, he said the acronym would remain.

The controversy hit the synod floor Thursday when Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput argued the acronym should not be used in Vatican documents.

“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.

Using the acronym “suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way,” he said. “This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now.”

But Chaput’s objection would not have been reported if not for LifeSiteNews. It was not included in the press briefing, and Rosica did not mention it to reporters.

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

Rosica has argued doctrine will change when “pastoral contexts shift.”

“Will this Pope re-write controversial Church doctrines?” he asked a 2014 lecture in Windsor, which is posted to Youtube.

“No. But that isn't how doctrine changes. Doctrine changes when pastoral contexts shift and new insights emerge, such that particularly doctrinal formulations no longer mediate the saving message of God's transforming love.”

The youth synod assembly elected Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, as a member of the Information Committee on Wednesday night, but he declined for “personal reasons.”

RELATED:

Catholics shouldn’t sue one another: Cardinal Burke comments on Fr. Rosica’s lawsuit against blogger

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‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

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By Calvin Freiburger

Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon.

The Senate voted 50-48 on Saturday to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh was privately sworn in just hours later.

Spanning from early July to early October, the battle over his nomination was characterized by screaming protesters and false talking points about the possibility he might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and finally allow states to vote directly on abortion. Kavanaugh has in the past spoken favorably about the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s critique of Roe, but also told the Senate Judiciary Committee he grants substantial weight to Roe’s status as precedent.

Shortly before the Senate was slated to confirm Kavanaugh a month earlier, a trio of women came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. The judge forcefully denied all of their claims, which lacked corroboration and suffered from other credibility problems. Yet Democrats and the media ran with their claims, triggering another round of hearings and investigations – none of which produced evidence against Kavanaugh.

Following their defeat Saturday, Kavanaugh’s foes have reacted by denouncing the perceived policy outcomes of his tenure, doubling down on the narrative that he’s a potential rapist, and even expressing pleasure at the suffering inflicted on his personal life.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s executive vice president Dawn Laguens advised supporters to “unleash your rage by making yourself heard every day. And especially Election Day.” The group’s former CEO Cecile Richards retweeted a quote urging women to “stay angry” because “you will need all your anger now.”

“Republicans are not, and never were, interested in the truth about Brett Kavanaugh’s history of sexual assault and lying. They are only interested in forcing their ideology on all of us,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said in a press release. “Republicans want to gut Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion, repeal the Affordable Care Act, roll back LGBTQ rights, and decimate the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action. Their intent is to consolidate power and wealth through stripping hundreds and millions of Americans of generations worth of progress toward justice, equality, and opportunity.”

One video shows a group of protesters chanting “shut it down” as they pounded at – and tried to open – the locked Supreme Court during Kavanaugh’s swearing-in. The Daily Wire reports that the group had broken through a police line to reach the doors.

Breitbart has compiled additional reactions from the weekend’s Capitol Hill protests, which include sobbing, unintelligible screaming, a man in a “THIS IS WAR” t-shirt telling a counter-protester “you are subhuman” and “we’re done being polite,” shouts of “F*** YOU” and middle fingers aimed at a motorcade presumably carrying either Kavanaugh or lawmakers, and a woman screaming that she’s “sick and tired of this entire patriarchal, controlling bulls**t” while wearing a “WE STAND FOR LOVE” shirt.

Ariel Dumas, a writer for CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” tweeted, “Whatever happens, I'm just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh's life." She later deleted the tweet, claiming to “regret my tone-deaf attempt at sarcasm.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-HI, the Judiciary Committee member who previously said Kavanaugh’s claim of innocence lacked “credibility” because he’s “against women’s reproductive choice,” refused to answer CNN host Dana Bash’s question if “run[ning] senators out of restaurants, go[ing] to their homes” is “going too far.”

Remarkably, Politico reports that after a month of Democrats suggesting Kavanaugh was an alcoholic who frequented gang-rape parties, Democrats such as former Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believe their party suffers from being less “ruthless” than Republicans. Some are also blaming attorney Michael Avenatti for “introducing less credible allegations” that supposedly undermined Christine Blasey Ford’s claims, despite the choice of several Democrat senators to embrace the allegations he represented.

Ford attorney Deborah Katz says her client isn’t interested in getting Kavanaugh impeached from the Supreme Court, and has no plans to pursue her allegations further.

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

Opinion, ,

Man who kicked pro-life woman was my friend, before I was raped and didn’t abort my baby

Shalyn McGuin
By

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

October 8, 2018 (Save the 1) – I am a mom of two. The beautiful girl who made me a mom is almost 6 years old. That same beautiful girl was conceived in a rape. As soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test, I thought abortion was the answer. Abortion is "always the answer" when a woman is raped, isn't it? In fact, I was working as a nanny and my employer told me I would have to abort if I wanted to keep my job because she didn't want her children to see me "like that."

I went to the pregnancy resource centre here in Ontario and asked the woman whether I should abort or not. She told me that although she couldn't tell me what to do, she would offer support regardless. If I kept the baby, they would help me with furniture, prenatal class, counseling – the whole nine yards, and she assured me that I was capable of raising my baby.

So I kept the baby, and that's when it hit me: women don't abort because they CAN'T carry the baby. They abort because they are scared to carry the baby and nobody is telling them otherwise.

This is myself with an old friend, Jordan – Jordan Hunt. He was always quirky. He walked barefoot everywhere, climbed on equipment, statues, poles and trees. He had a loud and contagious laugh and was always a shoulder to lean on. He was unapologetically himself.

We eventually grew apart, as many young friendships do. Then I saw his face in my Facebook newsfeed: Pro-life protest turns violent. I watched the video in horror. Before the violence even started, my heart shattered when Jordan Hunt insinuated that babies like my daughter should be aborted. Like it's the obvious choice – mocking with thumbs up, thumbs down whether a rape victim "should keep the baby?"'

Then he kicked her – a young pro-life activist named Marie-Claire Bissonnette. You can hear Jordan yelling, "I only meant to kick her phone," and I wholeheartedly believe he only meant to kick her phone out of her hand – but even that was such an unnecessary act of violence and the hatred he had was easy to see. And all because Marie-Claire suggested it wasn't okay to kill a baby conceived in rape. All because she suggested it wasn't okay to kill MY baby.

Since watching this video I have caught myself grieving. The Jordan I knew died when I saw that video. But it hurts more when I realize he is still here – but he cares so little about my child's life that he would kick a woman for suggesting we do anything other than abort children like mine.

This incident has damaged so many people, including him. I pray this is a lesson learned, I pray this opens his eyes, I pray he opens his heart, and I pray that the Jordan I knew comes back some day. I also pray for his victim as she recovers from the trauma of this incident. And I pray for my daughter. I pray that some day, people will see her worth.

Maybe if Jordan and I had kept in touch, he would have seen how pro-life people gave me hope and took care of me and my baby. He would have seen how pro-choice people were only giving me one choice – abortion. He would have seen the reality of who my daughter is, and would have to feel much differently about this issue. She is not a "rape baby." She is MY baby. She is the baby of a rape victim, and she is worthy of life. Children like her should not be punished for the crimes of their fathers. Thank you Marie-Claire for defending us.

My daughter is truly the rainbow after the storm.

Shalyn McGuin is a wife and a Stay at Home mom, a pro-life blogger for Save The 1, and resides in Ontario, Canada. She hopes to make a positive difference for babies conceived through rape and their mothers. Here is a link to Shalyn's original blog written: My Daughter is Truly the Rainbow After the Storm.

Published with permission from Save the 1.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, ,

‘St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us!’

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

SIGN THE PETITION: Urge bishops to re-institute the St. Michael Prayer. Sign the petition here.

October 8, 2018 (Human Life International) – Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. –Ephesians 6:10-13

Journalist Rod Dreher recently recounted a disturbing story on his blog. A Catholic friend of his – respectable, upper middle-class, devout, normal in every sense of the word – confided to him in a phone call recently that his wife has been undergoing regular exorcisms.

The friend – who Dreher calls "Nathan" – explains that it all began normally enough, when his wife fell into a state of depression, a condition that she had suffered from as a teenager. This time, however, there were otherfar stranger symptoms, beginning with a strong aversion to religious items. It escalated from there. Now, writes Dreher, "The wife goes through periods in which she hears foul blasphemies, and feels compelled to commit suicide. In the exorcism sessions, Nathan says the demons, under compulsion from the exorcist, speak of these things – in particular, how they intend to destroy Nathan's wife, and her family life."

Dreher insists that his friend is the furthest thing from a pseudo-mystical nut, given to strange spiritual enthusiasms or to finding angels and demons under every rock. The diagnosis of possession was a last resort, when all other natural explanations were ruled out.

As Catholics, we know that the devil is real. However, it sometimes seems that we do everything possible to avoid this reality. The idea that there are malevolent forces at work in the world drawing souls away from God into hell, and otherwise sowing chaos and confusion, is a deeply unsettling one. It is far more comfortable to assume a modern, rational, "reasonable" faith, one that downplays some of the stranger spiritual doctrines of Christianity and that focuses instead on pursuing moderate moral reform and positive social change.

Nathan and his wife no longer have the luxury of believing in this comforting version of "Christianity lite." Spiritual warfare has come to their doorstep in a way few of us can imagine. The mysterious world of warring spirits, of heaven and hell, of damnation and redemption, of good and evil, is a daily reality for them. When coming face to face with the devil, the shades of gray in which we like to spend most of our days fade against a backdrop of starker colors.

Spiritual Warfare Surrounds Us

In many respects, the same is increasingly true of all Christians. Every day, it seems, we are being confronted with deeds of such profound evil that it is difficult to interpret them according to that standard modern moral code: i.e. that everyone is more or less "well-intentioned," and that if we only walked a mile in their shoes, we might understand. Who, for instance, can read the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of clerical sex abuse without feeling a gut-wrenching sickness, without feeling that here we are coming face-to-face with evil, that we have entered a world devoid of comforting shades of grey, but one rather that is utterly suffused with a corruption that is darker than merely human.

For many people, the reality that evil of such a degree exists, and surrounds us, has come as a cold shock. Many simply do not know how to process it. On the other hand, for those of us involved full-time in the pro-life movement, the reality of such evil is unavoidable. To stay truly informed about the pro-life issues is to routinely read stories about abortionists "twisting" the heads off babies, of hospital staff abandoning living babies to slowly die after botched abortions, of abortionists negotiating the best pricesfor the bodies of the babies they have killed; it is to watch videos of abortion clinic works sorting throughthe disembodied limbs of fully formed babies to find fresh organs to sell; it is to listen to self-proclaimed "Catholic" politicians unapologetically defending the "right" to crush the skulls and suck out the brains of babies who are already halfway out of their mothers' birth canals. In some cases, the diabolical underpinning of abortion becomes explicit, as when abortion supporters openly invoke Satan.

To read these stories is to know what St. Paul meant, when he said that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

Meanwhile, every day Christians are being confronted with ever more extreme moral innovations in the face of which silence or reasonable "dialogue" no longer seems an option: "drag queen" story-time in our public libraries, transgenderism in our kindergarteners' classrooms, overt Satanism in mainstream movies and entertainment, students hounded for gently speaking up for basic moral truths about life and the family, Christian business-owners tarred and feathered for politely defending their beliefs, and Christian doctors being told to reject the Hippocratic oath, ignore their consciences and accept the "new" moral norms. I am far from the only one to note that our culture's rejection of the old moral consensus is rapidly escalating, and that to even politely resist the new status quo is to make oneself a target of a rage that scarcely seems rational. In the face of such institutionalized evil, a lukewarm faith no longer seems a viable option – only holiness suffices.

Spiritual Warfare Closer to Home

C.S. Lewis famously stated that "the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist." To forthrightly face the horrors of the sex abuse crisis or of legalized abortion or the attacks on the family is to make it far more difficult to discount the reality of malevolence at work in the world. However, one needn't go so far afield as that to find evil at work. Not only must we open our eyes to and face the tangible evil in the broader culture; so too must we become sensitive to the ways evil is at work far closer to home.

In the absence of prophetic preaching from our pulpits, and as a consequence of a pervasive moral relativism that affects our churches as much as our culture, many Christians have adopted a lukewarmness that blinds them to the spiritual warfare in their families and personal lives.

Some of those reading this column, for instance, may have marriages that are disintegrating due to their habitual use of pornography; they even have come to justify what they are doing, placing the blame on their spouse, or arguing with themselves that after all pornography use is "normal." Others reading this column may be harboring deep resentment over some past injury, a resentment that has poisoned their relationship with God and with their family or neighbors. Others may be consumed by addictions to alcohol, or entertainment, or the pursuit of wealth, to the point that they have become insensitive to God's voice in their lives.

These "everyday" forms of evil, and others like them, lack the overt sordidness of the horrors we read in newspapers. Nevertheless, they represent ways in which we have become numbed to the presence of evil in our lives, evil that is holding us back from being the saints we are called to. "The greatest sin is to lose the sense of sin!" said Pope Pius XII. Many Christians have lost the sense of sin in some part of their lives, or even altogether. Such Christians can no longer comprehend the famous saying of French author Leon Bloy, "The only tragedy in life is not to become a saint!" Everything they see is now in shades of a dull monochrome: the outlines of good and evil have faded, and their highest ambition now is to be a "nice" person. The devil has successfully persuaded them that he doesn't exist.

Against such as these, the angel in Revelations spoke his terrifying condemnation: "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

The Comeback of the St. Michael Prayer

"Nathan's" experiences with his wife's possession has utterly changed his perspective on the faith. "Once you've seen reality through the eyes of spiritual warfare," he told Dreher, "you can't go back. It's everywhere."

Nathan now sees the world as St. Paul saw the world, and as traditional Christian teaching has always seen the world: a battleground in which every person is engaged in the struggle, not merely against the flesh, but "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." To be a Christian is not to choose a "safe" and reasonable moral philosophy, it is to take up arms in this struggle, and to be satisfied with nothing less than holiness: "to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect."

The Church provides many tools to engage in this struggle. "Nathan says that this ordeal has taught him about the power of prayer, and of the Church's weapons against these things," writes Dreher.

This whole column, in fact, was inspired by the resurgence of one of these weapons: The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. For 80 years, this powerful prayer, invoking the archangel's assistance in the battle against the "wickedness and snares of the devil," was prayed after every single Catholic low mass. The required recitation of the prayer after Mass was suppressed during the liturgical reforms of the 1960s.

Now, however, it is making a comeback. In response to the horrors of the current sex abuse scandal, and the general confusion affecting the Church and the culture, at least 13 U.S. bishops have reportedly urgedthat the prayer be recited after Holy Mass. I take this as an extremely positive sign. This may, in fact, represent the "good fruit" that Christ is bringing out of the horrors of the past few months and decades.

For too long the Church has been too "comfortable." We enjoyed social respectability. We grew soft. And in that softness, sin flourished. Now, in response to the failures of some of our pastors and shepherds, other shepherds are waking to the danger of lukewarmness. In response, they are urging their flock to take up arms and to engage in spiritual warfare, beginning by praying this prayer to St. Michael after Holy Mass. It is a good start.

I hope you too will join me in praying this prayer every single day: "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits, who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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John Eidson

Opinion, ,

Climate alarmists aren’t trying to save the planet, they want communism in America

John Eidson
By John Eidson

October 8, 2018 (American Thinker) – In comments that laid bare the hidden agenda behind global warming alarmism, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, let slip during a February 2015 press conference in Brussels that the U.N.'s real purpose in pushing climate hysteria is to end capitalism throughout the world:

This is the first time in human history that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally changing [getting rid of] the economic development model that has reigned since the Industrial Revolution.

The economic model to which she referred is free-market capitalism. A year earlier, Figueres revealed what capitalism must be replaced with when she complained that America's two-party constitutional system is hampering the U.N.'s climate objectives. She went on to cite China's communist system as the kind of government America must have if the U.N. is to impose its environmental will on the world's most free and prosperous capitalist nation. In other words, for the U.N. to have its way, America must somehow be transformed into a communist nation.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Figueres is not alone. Another senior U.N. official had comments of his own about the true agenda behind "climate change." If you're among those who still believe climate alarmists when they say all they're trying to do is save the planet, what Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer had to say will leave your jaw on the floor.

In a Nov. 14, 2010 interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Edenhofer, co-chair of the U.N. IPCC's Working Group III, made this shocking admission:

One must free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. [What we're doing] has almost nothing to do with the climate. We must state clearly that we use climate policy to redistribute de facto the world's wealth.

In the same interview, Edenhofer added this:

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with protecting the environment. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated.

Edenhofer, one of the U.N.'s top climate officials, effectively admitted that the organization's public position on global warming is a ruse, and another senior U.N. official, Figueres, said in an official capacity that the United States must be converted to communism for the world to be saved from global warming.

Let all of that sink in for a moment.

Powerful progressives in this country believe it's not right that billions of people in the world sleep on the ground in mud huts while Americans sleep on soft mattresses in air-conditioned comfort. The progressive elites who feel that way – nearly all of whom are found in the Democratic Party, and 100% of whom live opulent, carbon-based lifestyles – also believe that far more of America's wealth must therefore be forcibly "shared" (read: redistributed) with poor nations. Global wealth redistribution is the foremost tenet of communism, and those who advocate it are, by definition, communists, whether they openly admit it or not.

The stunning pronouncements by Figueres and Edenhofer are all the evidence a rational mind needs to conclude that climate alarmism is being used as a Trojan horse to justify the massive new carbon taxes clamored for by powerful progressives like Barack Obama, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, none of whom has ever denounced the anti-American, pro-communist sentiments of two of the U.N.'s most senior climate officials.

The words of one of those officials reveal that such taxes would be used not to save the planet, but to fund the most massive redistribution of wealth in human history, literally trillions of dollars extracted under false pretenses from hardworking U.S. taxpayers and given to the corrupt governments of every undeveloped nation on Earth, all in the guise of "climate aid."

Democrats in high places are attempting the largest heist in human history, an international collusion to exfiltrate unprecedented sums of money from the world's largest capitalist nation. Why? To implement, on a global scale, the mandate set forth in The Communist Manifesto: from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

Outraged that President Trump dealt their plan to redistribute America's wealth a major setback when he withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, Democratic Party luminaries would have you believe they're nothing more than environmentally concerned citizens who would never even dream of supporting an effort to upend their country's capitalist system. Trump knows that's a big lie. And now, so do you.

No intelligent person can fail to recognize that the modern Democratic Party is using "climate change" as a ruse to fundamentally transform the United States of America into a socialist-cum-communist nation. But because the human ego is loath to admit when it's been duped, many patriotic liberals will continue allowing themselves to be led like sheep into the closing noose of the hammer and sickle. By the time they realize what happened, it will be too late.

John Eidson is a 1968 electrical engineering graduate of Georgia Tech; a lifelong conservative; and the father of two law-abiding, self-reliant sons.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Amy Contrada

Opinion, ,

Is the Trump State Department smearing normal Americans as bigots?

Amy Contrada
By Amy Contrada
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A press release like this would have been considered insane throughout most of our nation's history.
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The US Embassy in Cuba – bringing a totalitarian ideology to a totalitarian country.
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US Embassy personnel marching in the street in Riga, Latvia, this past June.

October 8, 2018 (MassResistance) – Last month's Values Voter Summit audience applauded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speechpromoting religious freedom around the globe.  He declared at that Family Research  Council event in Washington, DC:

The heart of our mission is the preservation of human dignity…  We are assuring human dignity by advancing one of our most cherished and indispensable liberties.  It's enshrined in the First Amendment.  It is our religious freedom.

We're glad there's a new focus in this administration on religious persecution in other countries.  But what about when conservative Christians and Orthodox Jews (whether abroad or in the US) are labeled as bigots and irrational fear-mongers? Isn't that religious persecution?

That name-calling is just what Secretary Pompeo did this past spring.  In May, he issued an official statement, "On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia."  (Phobiameans an irrational fear.)  He gave credence to the radical ideology deeming all forms of sexual and "gender" expression "human rights" and that any disagreement is irrational or hateful.

Then, he proclaimed June to be "LGBTI Pride Month":  "The United States joins people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month…" (Note the acronym's addition of "I" for intersex – a true biological condition, unlike the other self-proclaimed "identities.")

Is Secretary Pompeo unaware of the attacks on religious freedom coming from sexual radicals here in the U.S.?  So-called "LGBT rights" roll over anything in their path: bringing lawsuits against conservative believers over refusals to bake "gay" or "trans" wedding cakes; demanding transgender persons' acceptance in public accommodations; catechizing school children on the LGBT creed against parental beliefs; censoring the serious health risksaccompanying LGBT lifestyle choices, etc.

The celebration of all things LGBT has become totalitarian.  Sexual radicals now have the power to shut down websitessilence university researchers, and yank payment platforms from conservative groups.  They silence debate with charges of "hate speech."  They push people to self-censor.

Moreover, we ask Secretary Pompeo:  How is it affirming "human dignity" to define persons by their sexual proclivities, or their denial of their own biological reality?  Is it dignified to publicly celebrate one's engagement in sodomy?  Is it dignified to impersonate the opposite sex and demand access to opposite-sex facilities?  Is it dignified to seek one's own chemical and surgical castration? Is it irrational "homophobia" or "transphobia" to be concerned about these issues?

Yet Pompeo apparently believes the State Department is promoting "human dignity" when it officially supports vulgar LGBT pride events and flies the rainbow flag at our embassies.

Pompeo's recent proclamations were no doubt authored by the still powerful LGBT lobby in the State Department.  They are pure sexual-radical propaganda.

His May statement exaggerates the plight of so-called "sexual minority" persons around the world.  "Fear and bigotry are enshrined in laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct in more than 70 countries. In some, being LGBTI is punishable by death," Pompeo said.

But in fact, as even a major international LGBT group admits, harsh penalties targeting LGBTs  (including the death penalty) that are "codified under Sharia" are often "not known to be implemented."  In some areas, a penalty such as stoning "applies broadly for adultery, rape … incest … and homosexual sodomy" (and not just homosexual acts).

Only recently have "LGBT rights" – i.e., all forms of sexual and "gender" expression – been declared"human rights" by radical activists. So, it's a stretch to claim that the 72 countries criminalizing "same-sex acts" are violating "human rights." 

Why is it acceptable for Pompeo's State Department to attempt to force acceptance of this new "LGBT rights" ideology on the majority of countries around the world that dissent? Why does LGBT cultural imperialism get a pass?

Do the pro-LGBT views of the State Department represent most Americans?  No. Pompeo's incendiary vocabulary (homophobiatransphobiabiphobia) smears a majority of American citizens as irrational, deplorable bigots. The evidence:

When our citizens were still allowed a voice on same-sex "marriage" (before the Supreme Court's 2015 overreach in Obergefell), voters had banned it in a majority of states.  Congress has never passed an LGBT anti-discrimination law (though the Obama administration pushed the EEOC to interpret broadly the existing law against "sex discrimination" in employment, to include sexual orientation and gender identity).  And only 20 states (plus D.C.) currently have laws banning discrimination on the basis of both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." 

So, where's the public mandate for our State Department to push radical sexuality on the world?

Sadly, Pompeo inherited a Department of State that has been promoting "LGBT rights" around the globe for quite some time, with a huge push occurring under the Obama administration.  LGBT staffers apparently have tremendous power, with employee lobbies and support within the bureaucracy.  Rainbow flags are still flown at our embassies.  Pride events in DC are officially recognized by the State Department.  UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recognized 2018 "LGBTI" Pride month.

The Deputy Secretary of State, John J. Sullivan, expanded on Pompeo's June statement dignifying "LGBTI Pride Month."  He noted the Secretary's "pledge to create a more diverse and inclusive Department of State."  He called for mandatory pro-LGBT re-education of all department employees:

In 2009, this Department extended workplace protections against discrimination to all of its employees, and more recently, has advocated strongly for employees' families to better facilitate their service abroad.  As a Department, we continue to seek greater diplomatic recognition for the families of LGBTI employees.  We know that in many countries, this is a challenge, but if an employee is ready and willing to serve in a country where they may face hardships, our support of their service and sacrifice should be matched by the way we advocate for them and their families.

FSI [Foreign Service Institute] has also created the online training course "LGBTI at State" … to increase awareness among the entire workforce about issues and sensitivities related to the LGBTI community.  I encourage everyone in the Department to take this training, in fact, I insist upon it…

It can be argued that all this goes against our nation's values.  So why didn't Family Research Council challenge Secretary Pompeo on this issue, rather than focusing on global religious freedom at their recent event?  Have they abandoned their 2017 demand for Trump "to launch a major purge of pro-LGBT diplomats inside Foggy Bottom"?

Our policies in foreign lands should reflect our nation's values, as far as they can be discerned by laws enacted by the people's representatives – not the rantings of radical special interest groups.

We thought we were done with this radicalism when Obama left office. Obviously not.

Amy Contrada is with MassResistance and author of Mitt Romney's Deception (2011).  She has degrees from Tufts and Brown, plus a diploma in violin making.  See AmyContrada.com for some of her writing.

Published with permission from MassResistance.

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After pro-family campaign, library drops drag queen storytime for kids

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An ad for Drag Queen Storytime at the Ponce De Leon library on Sept. 30, 2017. They told us they were planning to do it again on Sept. 30 this year!
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The Ponce De Leon branch of the Atlanta Public Library system.
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Here's the flyer they passed out.
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Passing out flyers at the library.
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Some of the Georgia MassResistance activists outside the Ponce De Leon library.
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This is what the politicians are allowing in public libraries – and parents are outraged.

October 8, 2018 (MassResistance) – Our Georgia MassResistance chapter has stopped a "Drag Queen Story Hour" in one of the most pro-gay areas of the South. And more are being targeted as outraged parents contact us for help.

As we've been seeing across the country, the "Drag Queen Story Hours" programs held at local libraries is one of the latest well-organized efforts of the radical LGBT movement to indoctrinate young children and change their perception of reality. While the pro-family establishment works to "inform" the public to write letters and politely complain, MassResistance pulls no punches when it comes to stopping these horrible attacks on children.

A "Drag Queen Story Hour" scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 30 in the Ponce De Leon Library in Atlanta, Georgia was abruptly cancelled after pressure from outraged MassResistance parents and activists, and also other local citizens.

The Ponce De Leon branch of the Atlanta Public Library had done a "Drag Queen Storytime" on Sept. 30 last year. A month ago, when one of our MassResistance activists asked if they were going to do it again this year on Sept. 30, a library official said yes, they were planning to do it then. It was very upsetting. At first it seemed that stopping it would be quite a challenge.

How bad is Atlanta?

Most conservatives are not aware that even though Georgia is a red state in the Deep South, Atlanta is one of the most liberal cities in the country, and the lawmakers are usually too cowardly to stand up to the LGBT movement there.

The LGBT agenda is strong and prominent throughout the city. High-ranking officials in the fire department and the public health department have been terminated because of their biblical, pro-family views.

Most of the Republicans are RINOs," one of our local activists says. "And the churches have caved in to the LGBT agenda. One hundred pastors in the Atlanta area wrote an agreement to be more inclusive of LGBT!"

It's even felt in the Capitol. Two years ago, Georgia governor Nathan Deal vetoed a watered-down religious liberty bill which would have allowed pastors and other ministers to avoid prosecution.

The fight begins

To start with, citizens contacted not only the Ponce De Leon library officials, but the elected Board of Commissioners which governs Fulton County. "One of the commissioners even agreed with our stance against these programs," one activist reported. But more pressure was needed to get anyone to act. The library continued to acknowledge that another "Drag Queen Story Hour" was being planned for Sept. 30. So the calls and emails continued.

On Sept. 16, Georgia MassResistance parents passed out flyers in front of the library. It was a warm Sunday, and a lot of people came by. This clearly upset the library officials.

Parents also passed out flyers in neighborhoods, stores, and other public places in Atlanta, as well as sharing the information with their prayer groups.

More calls and emails poured in. For two days the Ponce De Leon library was not taking calls from anyone. The library manager refused to meet with one of the parents. At one point, the emails to the County Commissioners were bouncing back.

Then one of the Georgia MassResistance co-leaders received a rather threatening phone call on her cellphone while at work. "The person who called me used a voice box to disguise his voice," she told us. "The person said 'If you protest in front of the Ponce De Leon Library on September 30th, you will be removed from the premises!'" She filed a police report with her local sheriff's office, "It means that we are getting to them and winning this fight," she said.

The library gives up

On September 26th, we contacted the Ponce De Leon library. The staffer informed us that there would be no Drag Queen Story Hour.

Just to make sure that that library had not brought in the Drag Queen program under everyone's nose, Arthur Schaper, our Organization Director who helped the Georgia team, called the Ponce De Leon Library the next day. The library staffer also affirmed – twice – that there was no "Drag Queen Story Hour" this year even though there had been one last year.

But just to be sure, Georgia MassResistance showed up a second time to protest in front of the library on September 30th. They handed out flyers for patrons of the library as well as to passers-by along Atlanta's streets. The weather was good again, and the team made great contact with lots of people. The MassResistance team gained new members, too. (Even the library security guard who came out ended up agreeing with the MassResistance parents.)

It didn't look like there were many people who came looking for the Drag Queen event. There were a few angry liberals who tried to intimidate them, but they refused to be intimidated by anyone.

Going forward

Georgia MassResistance activists are not going to rest on this victory, they've told us. They will be out there passing out flyers, informing the public against Drag Queen Story Hour at other libraries in Atlanta.

They plan on connecting with college students and continuing their information campaign against the County Board of Commissioners to stop promoting the LGBT agenda to children.

It's a message that politicians haven't been hearing enough!

Published with permission from MassResistance.

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US bishops’ head silent on details of sex abuse meeting with Pope

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By Maike Hickson

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

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As Pope Francis and some bishops and priests have told Catholics, clericalism is the root problem of the current sex abuse crisis.

If we are to understand clericalism as the abuse of a hierarchical structure and power in order to keep the laypeople in an inferior position, uninformed and, in abuse cases, even to abuse them sexually, then we should start to address that problem.

A good start would be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo giving U.S. Catholics a full accounting of his audience with the Pope, especially about the Pope's response to DiNardo’s idea of an Apostolic Visitation.

When, in the middle of the McCarrick scandal, Cardinal DiNardo announced that he asked Pope Francis to send an Apostolic Visitation to the U.S. in order to thoroughly investigate all the events surrounding the McCarrick case and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's claims about it, many Catholic faithful took in a breath of fresh hope: such a visitation, with the authority to open secret Church files, could truly bring out the truth about the McCarrick case.  

Moreover, such a visitation could help bring out the truth about so many other related shady operations of cover-up and of corruption, for example with regard to Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Kevin Farrell and their possible complicity in McCarrick's evil doings.

When, on September 13, Cardinal DiNardo went to see the Pope and spoke with him for 30 minutes, the only news item we – the much praised and honored “People of God” – received from the Vatican was a picture. The Vatican merely published a photo of that audience, with all participants present, laughing. That photo depicting laughing prelates in the middle of a most serious crisis in the Church was not well-received.

Yet, the Vatican did not deem the simple faithful important enough to inform them about the content of that meeting, its urgency, and any concrete steps that were agreed upon.

As the Catholic Herald's Christopher Altieri describes the situation: “The US bishops have asked Pope Francis to sanction a special investigation into the affair. They announced their intention to seek the measure on August sixteenth, and waited nearly a full month before getting the opportunity to present their request formally. The meeting between the Pope and the leadership of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on September 13th did not end with an announcement of the authorisation of any such investigation or any other concrete steps.”

Altieri can therefore only speculate that “Though the Vatican has not confirmed it, Pope Francis appears to have rejected the measure.”

So, we “People of God” – who according to Cardinal Gerhard Müller have a “right to know” – are being sidelined and ignored once more?

To make things worse, the leadership of the U.S. Bishops' Conference under Cardinal DiNardo does not seem to think, either, that American Catholics deserve an accounting of what their leaders and Pope Francis were discussing on September 13. While one grand jury after another is opening up investigations, the USCCB published a short statement, praising the atmosphere of the conversation with the Pope who attentively listened to them.

“We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience. We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States – how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange. As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God's mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps.”

That was all that DiNardo told the Catholic world.

And what about the Apostolic Visitation, your eminences and excellencies?

It's clericalism, stupid.

LifeSiteNews did reach out to DiNardo's office, asking him whether he asked Pope Francis to send an Apostolic Visitation and what the Pope's answer was. Since he met with the Pope again today, he might very well have asked him again. But this silence from all these high-ranking prelates is telling.

Or, as a German journalist just put it: “The Church is mute from the head down” (“Die Kirche schweigt vom Kopfe her”) – a word play with the German expression: “The fish stinks from the head down.” (“Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopfe her.”)

As Christian Geyer points out in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, it is the Pope who sets the example. And the Pope has not yet even started a canonical process against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, something that he owes to the many victims of McCarrick's evil deeds of sexual assault.

“Also Pope Francis will not be able to justify his silence (‘I will not say a word’) with the help of higher insights if he does not wish to discredit sustainably in his Church the principle of personal responsibility,” he explains, “quasi as a form of magisterial-authoritative teaching from the top down, certified by the example of the pontifex.”

Geyer concludes: “No wonder – but nevertheless appalling – that the German bishops believed to have to follow the example of their [pope] and made sure that there would be no mentioning of personal responsibilities – from bishops or even let alone from concrete dioceses – in the research design of the [German bishops'] abuse study.”

When on September 25 Cardinal Reinhard Marx was confronted about whether there were one or two bishops who seriously considered resigning due to their own guilt of sex abuse cover-up, he hesitated for a very short time and then “answered with short ‘no.’”

Then “people were relieved,” concludes Geyer.

It's clericalism, stupid.

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Cardinal Ouellet’s letter to Viganó makes two important admissions – and a puzzling claim

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

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

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Those observing the developing controversy which has followed Archbishop Viganó’s extraordinary denunciation of Pope Francis had their patience rewarded by an official response from a leading Cardinal, the Canadian Marc Ouellet. As Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops since 2010, he is uniquely qualified to confirm or deny what is perhaps the central factual claim of Viganó’s testimony. This is that in 2009 or 2010 (I quote from Viganó’s testimony):

Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.

(McCarrick had retired at the usual age from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. in 2007. On June 20, 2018, he was stripped of the title of Cardinal in light of allegations that he had sexually abused a minor. He retains the rank of Archbishop.)

This claim is explosive because following the election of Pope Francis, McCarrick was, as one journalist approvingly expressed, “back in the mix and busier than ever,” having been “more or less put out to pasture” by Pope Benedict.

Archbishop Viganó made a special point in his testimony of pointing to Cardinal Ouellet, among others, as able to corroborate his claims. In a second public letter, he addressed Cardinal Ouellet directly:

Your Eminence, before I left for Washington, you were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick. You have at your complete disposal key documents incriminating McCarrick and many in the curia for their cover-ups. Your Eminence, I urge you to bear witness to the truth.

So what has Cardinal Ouellet said in response? The key passage on this question of substance, in a long letter, is as follows:

The former Cardinal, retired in May of 2006, had been requested not to travel or to make public appearances, in order to avoid new rumors about him. It is false, therefore, to present those measures as “sanctions” formally imposed by Pope Benedict XVI and then invalidated by Pope Francis. After a review of the archives, I find that there are no documents signed by either Pope in this regard, and there are no audience notes from my predecessor, Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Re, imposing on the retired Archbishop the obligation to lead a quiet and private life with the weight normally reserved to canonical penalties. The reason is that back then, unlike today, there was not sufficient proof of his alleged culpability. Thus, the Congregation’s decision was inspired by prudence, and the letters from my predecessor and my own letters urged him, first through the Apostolic Nuncio Pietro Sambi and then through you, to lead a life of prayer and penance, for his own good and for the good of the Church.

In the first sentence Cardinal Ouellet makes two admissions: first, that the Holy See was well aware of “rumors” about McCarrick, before Viganó’s appointment as Nuncio in 2011; secondly, that McCarrick was indeed under orders not to travel or make public appearances.

The rest of the quoted passage, and indeed the rest of Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, reads like an attempt to play down the significance of these admissions. Ouellet denies the existence of any paper trail linking the sanctions on McCarrick to Pope Benedict personally, and he points out that the sanctions, if we may call them that, did not arise from a canonical trial. However, since it was clear from Viganó’s original letter that the sanctions were not publicly known, neither point is surprising.

As the canon lawyer and Catholic News Agency editor Edward Condon remarked on this passage: “Sounds like a precept to me.” The point is that McCarrick was clearly placed under an obligation to observe these conditions, which were imposed by his canonical superiors, and delivered to him in person by the Pope’s official representative in America, and, on one Nuncio’s retirement, emphatically reiterated by his successor.

The significance of Viganó’s claim was never in the precise canonical category of McCarrick’s “life of prayer and penance,” but in the fact that there was something which Pope Francis later de facto lifted or rendered irrelevant.

Did Pope Francis know about the accusations against McCarrick? We might similarly ask whether Pope Francis was ignorant of the accusations of cover-up made against the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Daneels when he personally invited Daneels to participate in the Synod on the Family. In both cases, if by some chance Pope Francis did not know, it is hard to accept that no member of his staff, seeing such an innocent mistake, would not have felt obliged to inform him. On the other hand, Pope Francis was clearly aware of the accusations against the abuser Fr. Mauro Inzoli, when he lifted sanctions against him, and of the accusations of cover-up against Bishop Juan Barros when he appointed him to a Chilean diocese against the wishes of his fellow bishops.

The fact is that Pope Francis clearly felt a certain freedom in brushing aside such accusations, which in the Barros case he memorably attributed to “leftists.” He has since apologized for his handling of that case, and may perhaps feel a similar contrition for his handling of others like it.

Another aspect of the defense of Pope Francis over McCarrick undermined by Cardinal Ouellet’s letter is the question of the Pope’s “silence.” When confronted by the news of Viganó’s testimony, Pope Francis said that he would “not say one word” about the matter. In a series of sermons, he later seems to make this silence into a virtue, even comparing it with the silence of Christ before His accusers.

From a public relations perspective silence is an appropriate response to accusations so absurd that their credibility would be enhanced, rather than reduced, by taking them seriously. However, the decision has clearly now been made that the policy of silence is not working. Viganó’s accusations cannot be ignored; instead, a senior cardinal has stepped forward to address them: the very cardinal, in fact, whom Viganó most wanted to hear from. This is an acknowledgement, however reluctant, that the accusations are worthy of response.

Finally, Cardinal Ouellet criticizes not only Viganó’s detailed claims, but his action of making them. Addressing Viganó directly, he exclaims:

I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church.

This is a very puzzling statement. The Pope is indeed “the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church,” but it does not break communion with a pope to criticize him, even harshly, or even unjustly. It is a profoundly worrying sign that a senior Cardinal should confuse the bond of communion with the Pope, which derives from baptism, with support for a particular Pope based on his personal qualities. As far as is publicly known, or implied by Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, Archbishop Viganó has not disobeyed any command of his superiors; nor is he under any canonical penalty or (to use Cardinal Ouellet’s distinction) informal restriction.

Contrary to Cardinal Ouellet, those most loyal to the Pope at this moment of crisis are those who, if necessary in defiance of considerations of career and reputation, speak and hold fast to the truth, to make possible the cleansing of the Church from the “filth” which Pope Benedict warned besmirches it.

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Cardinal Marc Ouellet leaves the opening session of the Synod on the Family on October 5, 2015 in Vatican City. Giulio Origlia / Getty Images
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Cardinal Ouellet’s letter confirms the very problems Viganò has identified

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

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

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Ouellet’s response to Archbishop Viganò is obviously a document of great seriousness that attempts to respond to the latter’s revelations and allegations. Both the eminent position of its author and its severe content compel those who are investigating the truth of the matter to take it seriously as part of the many documents that the McCarrick case has occasioned.

But if the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops (and therefore one who has been involved in the appointments in recent years of some of the Church’s most controversial liberal prelates) thinks his letter is going to be enough to shut the door on Viganò’s account, he is mistaken. There are three things that give one pause about this letter.

First, although Ouellet accuses Viganò of essentially “going over to the dark side,” he never invokes a higher authority in support of his own claims. That is, unlike Viganò, he does not say his conscience is compelling him in the sight of God and that he swears before God to the truth of what he is reporting. For Ouellet, it seems the guiding rule is: “Trust me. I’m an important person. I have access to the Pope. All that I’m saying is true and all that Viganò is saying is false.”

I’m sorry, but with so much evidence of real lying and cover-up on the part of hierarchs of the Church, “just take my word for it” is not going to cut it anymore. If someone, even the highest authority in the Church, were to say to you: “The Synod of Bishops on the Family was run with perfect transparency, fairness, and collaboration,” would you buy it? Of course not. Truth has its claims on our human reason.

More particularly, since there are already many reasons to distrust Pope Francis’s handling of this and other disciplinary and doctrinal affairs, saying that “the Holy Father assures me” and “has given me permission to say this” and “will ensure all documents are thoroughly searched” is about as convincing as Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Tobin saying “they didn’t know” there were serious problems with their predecessor McCarrick. Does anyone really expect intelligent people to believe this kind of thing? It reflects sadly on the breakdown of trust under this pontificate to note that many Catholics fear and even expect (again, not unreasonably) that incriminating documentary evidence will be or has already been shredded. Conveniently, investigations will discover nothing!

Second, if some have criticized Viganò’s letter for being “over-the-top” distrustful and disrespectful of Pope Francis, unfortunately this letter by Ouellet is “over-the-top” sycophantic, even papolatrous. He undermines his credibility by speaking of the Holy Father as of a veritable Messiah who has only labored selflessly, with heavenly purity, for the Kingdom of God: “a true shepherd, a resolute and compassionate father, a prophetic grace for the Church and for the world…”

Yes, by all means, we want to remain in communion with the Successor of Peter—and nothing in Viganò’s letter suggests that he repudiates this Successor or would wish to sever communion with him. But do we have to crawl on our knees to lick the boots of the fisherman? Ouellet undercuts his case by showing that, in his eyes, this pope can do no wrong (at least no serious wrong), and on the contrary, is the God-given prophet for our times. Would that this were so, but it cannot simply be assumed as a kind of geometrical axiom.

Along these lines, our eyebrows rise when Ouellet claims that his own “interpretation of Amoris Laetitia”—namely, an interpretation that favors access to holy communion for those living objectively in adultery, contrary to divine law—“is grounded in this fidelity to the living tradition, which Francis has given us another example of by recently modifying the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the question of the death penalty.”

Again, Your Eminence, with all due respect, no one on earth can excuse Catholics from the solemn duty they have before God to follow the settled and established tradition of the Church, not to mention Sacred Scripture and the ordinary universal Magisterium, all of which measure, delimit, and control the so-called “living” tradition—whether about divorce and “remarriage,” the legitimacy of the death penalty, or any number of issues. The loaded phrase “missionary reform” in Ouellet’s final sentence is another signal that he is thinking along the lines of a hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity. For Catholics concerned about the novelties of this pontificate, such sweeping language will not incline us to meekly drop our objections.

Third, Ouellet’s letter is strangely, one might say eerily, bereft of believably genuine acknowledgment of the sheer amount of damage done by McCarrick and others like him in the Church. He writes:

How is it possible that this man of the Church, whose incoherence has now been revealed, was promoted many times, and was nominated to such a high position as Archbishop of Washington and Cardinal? I am personally very surprised, and I recognize that there were failures in the selection procedures implemented in his case.

“Incoherence” is as weasily a word as “inadmissible.” How about “vicious behavior”? The prefect says he is “very surprised.” I dare him to look a victim of abuse in the eyes and say: “I am personally very surprised that this could have happened to you. There must have been failures in our procedures.” A little frank discourse here would have gone a long way towards giving Ouellet ground to stand on, but he is so intent on slamming Viganò that he forgets the gravity of the matters about which Viganò is indignant in the first place.

Let’s put it bluntly: No one reading this letter by Ouellet can believe that he cares about the extent of the moral corruption of homosexuality in the hierarchy, that he recognizes it and its fallout as a crisis, and that he and his Vatican associates intend to exterminate it. Rather, reading between the lines, one senses that the only man who is really in trouble is Viganò himself.

As Edward Pentin pointed out, not once in Ouellet’s letter is Viganò referred to as a bishop; and in one chilling moment, the prefect appeals to him to “return to communion” with the pope. This suggests that Viganò has already been stripped of his episcopal dignity and excommunicated, or that this will soon take place. Given that such severe penalties have been rarely administered even to bishops of monstrous moral corruption, the implicit message is that no crime whatsoever can compare with that of challenging the Dictator Pope.

All told, Cardinal Ouellet has accomplished two things with this letter. First, he will have equipped progressive and “conservative” Catholics with the perfect excuse for discrediting and discounting Viganò’s testimony; hence, whatever truth is contained in it will have an even harder time gaining a foothold and prompting overdue reforms. Second, and ironically, he will have strengthened the conviction of many that it is precisely a blind adulation of Church leadership that has led us straight into the lion’s den of the current abuse crisis.

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