All articles from October 11, 2018


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Quebec’s premier-elect wants to ban religious symbols for teachers, police, judges

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By James Risdon

QUEBEC CITY, October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Wearing religious symbols in the Canadian province of Quebec will become illegal for teachers, judges, police officers and those who work in prisons under a campaign promise made by the newly-elected Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ).

Premier-elect François Legault's party isn't set to officially take over in the predominantly French-Canadian province until October 18. But the party's official line while it waits in the wings is that its campaign promise to bring in a secular charter will go ahead.

Aspects of that secular charter, widely considered to be open to a constitutional challenge, would make wearing religious symbols illegal for agents of the state who wield coercive power.

CAQ spokesman Mathieu St. Amand refused Thursday to get into the details of just what is included in the term "religious symbols" ahead of the government swearing-in ceremony.

In Quebec, the term "religious symbols" is commonly thought to include the wearing of the hijab, a veil worn by some Muslim women in presence of any male other than members of their immediate families, which covers the top of the head and shoulders but not the face.

Religious symbols targeted by a secular charter in Quebec would also likely include crosses, crucifixes, and the yarmulke, worn by Orthodox Jewish men.

"Religious signs will be prohibited for all persons in positions of authority, including teachers," states the CAQ website. "After 10 years of discussion on the subject and on reasonable accommodations, it is more than time to act and adopt legislation clearly establishing the secularity of the state."

It's not a new idea in Quebec, but it’s one that previously cost political parties dearly at the polls.

The then-reigning Parti Quebecois came out with similar draft legislation to develop a Charter of Quebec Values five years ago. It would have forbidden employees in law enforcement, schools, courts, hospitals, and daycares from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.

“To recognize secularism as a Quebec value is to take cognizance of the evolution of a people which, for the past half century, has become increasingly secular and has taken the confessional character out of its institutions,” then-Premier Pauline Marois reportedly said in 2013.

Despite its aversion to the wearing religious symbols, the Parti-Quebecois-led government had no issue with flying an LGBT "Pride" flag for six months over its government buildings to affirm its solidarity with homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people during the Sochi Olympics.

In 2014, after a massive outcry over the ban on religious symbols, Quebecers went to the polls and voted the Parti Quebecois out of power.

Anti-Catholic and anti-religious sentiment has been brewing in Quebec since its 1960s Quiet Revolution that saw Quebecers turn away from the Catholic church in droves. Politicians have since sought to capitalize on that secularist tide.  

The CAQ is simply the latest political party to try to make hay with a ban on religious symbols.

Legault has gone so far as to reportedly say that he will invoke the notwithstanding clause to get around the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and put in place this ban against the wearing of religious symbols. The ban would also mean amending Quebec's bill of rights.

Under that provincial Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, freedom of religion and expression are both expressly protected.

"Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on …. religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin," reads that provincial charter of rights.

The CAQ scored a massive electoral victory October 1, soundly beating the Liberals with a platform that promised to cut the number of immigrants, lower taxes, and privatize some parts of the health-care system.

But the CAQ landed its majority and 74 seats with only a smidgeon more than 37 percent of the popular vote. The Liberals, left licking their wounds with only 32 seats, had garnered almost 25 percent of the popular vote.

That opposition to the CAQ is now making itself felt in the streets.

In Montreal last weekend, thousands protested the proposed secular charter, cuts to immigration, and the anticipated values and language tests for immigrants.

One Muslim woman held up a sign. It read in French: "Not only will I keep my veil, Mr. Legault, but I will put on my cowboy hat and fight for my rights."

Another protester held up a sign that proclaimed "The human race is one: Co-exist" with the word co-exist including an Islamic crescent and star, a peace sign, a Star of David, and a cross.

The idea of banning some public officials from wearing religious symbols was recommended in the Bouchard-Taylor report presented to the Quebec provincial government a decade ago.

While that report recommended prohibiting judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and the president and vice president of Quebec's National Assembly from wearing religious symbols, it exempted teachers.

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Recognition of ‘other forms of family’ called for by Youth Synod small group led by Cdl. Cupich

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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Vatican City, October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fourteen small groups of members of the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment discussed the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), or working document, guiding the Synod’s deliberations this week.  

Divided by language groups, there were four English-language conversations, three French, two Spanish, one German, and one Portuguese. For many of the participants, these were foreign, or second, languages. 

The reports of these sessions were largely difficult to read; most were verbose and poorly organized. However, certain themes and tendencies were clear. 

First, the English-speaking groups were concerned that the IL had underemphasized faith in Christ and the Church’s teaching office. One of the English-speaking groups noted that the IL did not mention chastity. 

Second, of all the groups, only the one moderated by pro-LGBT Cardinal Cupich explicitly questioned the Church’s emphasis on the traditional nuclear family. Cupich’s group went so far as to suggest that the Church does not accompany young people in unusual familial circumstances. 

Third, as expected, there were some rumblings about “updating” the Church’s teaching on sexuality, particularly from the French-speaking Group B, the German-speaking Group, and Cardinal Maradiaga’s Spanish-speaking Group A.  

Maradiaga’s group posited that the young have the “right” to make “mistakes” and encouraged pastors to “accompany” the young without reproof, saying “an empathetic Church is one that accompanies despite errors, without imposing, prohibiting, or demanding...” 

Fourth, most of the Groups were interested in the role the internet and social media play in the lives of youth people although two Groups pointed out that not all young people have access to the internet. Several were quite concerned about the “digitalization” of culture. 

Fifth, at least one Group felt that the IL overemphasized Western concerns.  A few Groups discussed the differing circumstances of young people in the developed and in the developing world. Migration concerned all the Groups. Many mentioned the rejection, not just of faith, but of ancestral and cultural traditions.

Sixth, several Groups mentioned the clerical sex abuse crisis and how it has hampered evangelization. 

Seventh, some Groups were more optimistic than others about the role faith plays in the lives of the young today. The English-language and Italian-language groups mentioned the openness of the young to faith and their skill in evangelizing other young people. The French-language groups reflected that many young people no longer participate in Christian community life and that they are not looking for Christ.  

Eighth, most of the Groups repeated the importance of “listening” to the young. The word “accompaniment” was also frequently employed.  

Ninth, it appeared that the pleas of young Catholics who adhere to traditional Catholic liturgies and devotions to the Synod Fathers had fallen on deaf ears. Not only was there no mention of the new liturgical movement, neither the Blessed Mother of God, nor the saints, not even young contemporary saints who might best serve as models to young Catholics, were mentioned in the reports. 

Summaries of group reports

The English-speakers

English Group A (moderated by Cardinal Gracias)

Group A was concerned “the faith dimension”, “a Christological perspective”, and an emphasis on Christ’s relationships with people were not strong enough in the IL.  

“Relationship is clearly the key to encounter with youth,” they reflected.

This was the only Group to mention one serious absence in the document: chastity.

“We noted that a proclamation of chastity, as achievable and good for our young people, is missing from the document, they wrote.

They recommended that the final synod document include quotations from young people at the Synod and pre-Synod to bring it “to life”, and include examples of youth movements around the world.  

Group A also discussed social media, not only because it is important for young people, but also because some young people are exploited online.

They emphasized the Church as the teacher of the young, saying, “From the riches of her teaching, including from her ‘“treasure trove’ of social doctrine, the Church can offer them reasons for living and hoping.”

Regarding vocational discernment, this group also contrasted the good priests who had inspired them in their vocations with the current abuse crisis. 

English Group B (Moderated by Cardinal Cupich)

This group suggested that the IL was weak in appreciating the openness of young people to faith. They also observed that young people are already active participants in ecumenism and religious dialogue. 

Group B’s primary concern, however, seemed to be making the Final Report easily accessible to young people. 

“Firstly, a series of small messages, updates, perhaps at the end of each week from the Commission for Information,” they proposed. 

“To be accessible to youth, these should have a component which is in video format and is short (less than 3 minutes),” Group B continued.  

“Any text should be less than 400 words and be accompanied by pictures. (‘If there isn’t a picture, it didn’t happen.’) These should be done in at least the major languages of the Synod.”

Group B also recommended serious participation by Youth Auditors, saying that they should prepare a text with two Synod Fathers, as a missionary message to the youth of the World.” 

Group B objected to the defence of the traditional family. Citing “many other forms of family”, they asked: “Does leadership in the Church require bishops and priests to proclaim the Gospel truth by denying that these are families? Or does our leadership require us to accompany the young people in the reality in which they find themselves…?  Is it possible for us to both accept and even honour the family unit that a young person finds herself in and to share the Gospel ideal to her?”

In underscoring the need of the young for friendship, Group B conflated the relationship with the family:  “Friendship is yearned for by our young people. They find community through this and they find family in this way.”

English Group C (Moderated by Cardinal Coutts) 

Group C found the IL lacking in its section on “Life Choices” because there was not enough there about God and listening to God.

This group emphasized the contemporary breakdown in family life and the growing problem of young people not knowing what “fatherhood” and “motherhood” mean. They stressed that society should support families, that the Church should be a family, and that flourishing new movements in the Church involve families coming together.

Group C said that the very young and very old should be brought together. They declared that the young and the elderly get along well; it is the 40-60 age group that the young have problems with.  

Regarding education, there was concern that in Nigeria, for example, Catholic education is just for elites. The developing world needs funding for educating children or developing their skills. At the same time, the group is concerned that “education can be used to promote a form of manipulation”. They discussed the homeschooling model of the USA, but someone asked if parents are qualified to educate their children.

Group C definitely showed a mix of concerns. On the one hand, they cautioned that many young people still do not have access to the internet and social media. On the other, they said that “the psychological way of finding your self-actualization should also be included” in a section on spirituality and religion. 

The Group also declared that “Secularization is not something we should be opposed to, that “transhumanism” should be mentioned in the Final Report, and that the Synod members “need to make sure we are clear that young people who don't agree with the church on sex are still members of the churches.”  

English Group D (Moderated by Cardinal DiNardo) 

Group D had the most clearly written report, following seven themes: 

1. Group D said the Final Report should begin, not with sociology like the IL, but with the image of Christ. Group D felt that the perfect image would be that of Christ walking with the disciples to Emmaus.

2. The IL begins too gloomily; Group D thought its emphasis should be on “many examples of young people who are joyfully living out their Catholicism.”  

3. The IL is “too Western in focus and tone”; Group D was concerned about western ideological colonization and the “throwaway culture” so particularly destructive in developing countries.

4. Group D stressed the importance of spiritual paternity and maternity.

5. The group was concerned about the “prevalence and influence of the digital culture” which leads to the rootlessness of young people who wander away from their parents’ heritage “into a world of privacy and self-invention”. 

6. The group mentioned the sex abuse crisis.  Group D observed that a “Church that cannot be trusted is simply incapable of reaching out to young people in an effective way”. It also called for an emphasis on chastity and virtue. 

7. Group D asked if the IL’s strong emphasis on listening “compromise or underplays the Church’s authentic teaching mission”.

The French-speakers

French Group A (Moderated by Archbishop Macaire) 

French Group A said that the purpose of the Synod is “To help young people to meet the eyes of Christ, through the Church which is His body, so that they discover themselves loved by Him, listen to Him and commit to following Him.” 

They identified a missionary need to bring Christ to young people, many of whom are not even looking for Him.

Group A thinks that there should be a re-emphasis on the importance of the family and the male-female bond. 

They warn that although IL claims that digital media and social networking are ubiquitous, many young people are not connected to the internet. 

Group A discussed the special problems of young Christians in Middle and Near East and those who are migrants or simply immigrants “seduced by the mirage of the West”. They interested in helping young people who stay in their countries of origin as well as those who travel westwards. 

Group A  also discussed current ecumenical and interreligious dialogue among the young in their day-to-day life, and said the young find it difficult to be welcomed into church movements and parishes and to journey spiritually with others.  

French Group B (Moderated by Bishop Lacombe)

French Group B reflected that in many countries the young have largely abandoned Christian worship communities. The group believes the Church must both listen to young people and go out as missionaries to them, like the good shepherd who seeks the lost sheep. 

They recommend that the Church should develop a new evangelization and a new style of Christian life; train pastors to hear, understand, and accompany the young; raise and educate young people in the faith and Christian life; address the issue of youth migration; and update Church teaching on sexuality:

“It now seems necessary to approach the issue of sexuality more openly with the young and to discuss all subjects related to it.” they wrote. “The Church is called to update her teaching on these matters being aware that she is the servant of the God's mercy. In this sense, it might be useful to elaborate and propose to specific Churches a document dealing with questions of sentiment and sexuality.”

French Group C (Moderated by Cardinal Nzapalainga)

French Group C sees that the problem of handing on the faith is part of a worldwide problem of transmission of the culture of the elders to the young. 

This group called for communication between all the different movements and communities within the Church. It was concerned with social exclusion and other problems stemming from migration. 

They think that the Final Document should be a conversational document, or “instrumentum conversationis”, engaging the young on the topics of the transmission of faith; response to cultural changes; migration; the body, emotional life and sexuality; the emotional life in ecclesial communities and houses of formation; and the “digital continent”. 

Regarding sexuality, Group C wrote:

“The IL sheds light on another criterion of understanding: the insistence on the individual as a whole, while never ignoring the questions of sexuality and feelings. The use of these terms is sometimes a trap as their deeper meaning is not always understood and should be presented as positive. However, this must be done for a positive and beautiful revelation that is part of God's plan.” 

The Italian-speakers

Italian Group A (Moderated by Cardinal De Donatis)

Italian Group A also believes that the Final Report should begin with the disciples’ encounter with Christ on the road to Emmaus. They are concerned that the IL does not adequately present the crisis of the transmission of faith to the young.

They emphasized that the young are part of the Church, not outside it, so the expression “young people AND the church” shouldn’t be used. In the same vein, they counselled that initiatives should be organized with, not for, young people.

They were also concerned that the loss of spiritual maternity and paternity in the church has orphaned the young. They reported In their discussion, members of Group A had often mentioned that damage had been done to the young’s spiritual growth by “the scandals in the field of sexuality, wealth and even the abuse of authority”. 

Group A believes also that a spirit of individualism has infected the Christian community with a concept of salvation that is “a self-centered psychological well-being ... detached from the communitarian and sacramental dimension.”

Italian Group B (Moderated by Cardinal Filoni)

Italian Group B emphasized the importance of listening to the young with empathy and openness to dialogue. 

Group B feels it is important not to generalize about the young as all young people are different. They observed that young people in the West lack hope whereas youngsters elsewhere hope to better their circumstances. 

Group B stressed the importance of supporting the young in being responsible and in their commitment to the good. Group B observed that the young often excel at catechesis and serving the poor, and thus, if trained, are excellent evangelizers of other young people.

They said that young people must be accompanied with faith, love and discretion, and that a lot of time should be spent with them. It is also necessary to accompany young people regarding emotional life and sexuality:

“A field in which this accompaniment is particularly important is that of the emotional life and of sexuality, where the young need someone to speak to them with clarity, deep humility and empathy, helping them to recognize the signs of God’s love present [in these areas] .”

Group B also voiced concerns for future employment, for migration and for creating better opportunities in young people’s countries of origin. They also counselled greater attention to Catholic schools and universities as places both for evangelizing and dialogue with diverse groups of people. 

Italian Group C (Moderated by Cardinal Ravasi)

Of the Italian reports, this is the one that most deserves the phrase “word salad.” Nevertheless, some interesting points can be plucked from the bowl. 

First, Italian Group C stressed that pastors and churches should be aware of the “concrete” realities of life lived by young people today brought about by globalization. 

They contrasted the youth of the West who have many opportunities, to the young of countries where “food and freedom are lacking.”  They voiced concerns about the internet which, far from bringing a democratization of freedom of expression, has led to an echo chamber and an exclusion of reality. 

They proposed a catechism which, “without eliminating ‘private’ religiosity, would make people grow in the awareness of being a biblical people on the way”. They also called for a liturgy that would be always more attractive, “not in the exterior sense, but with participation full of the language of signs and with the richness of the content.” 

Group C talked of accompanying young people into the work world, where they saw many “enslaving traps” and of migration. 

The Spanish-speakers

Spanish Group A (Moderated by Cardinal Maradiaga) 

Spanish Group A began with a discussion of the desires of young people regarding the Church.

“It is necessary to know what kind of Church young people think about and want, and to assume preventative attitudes and give signs of credibility, without which things won’t change,” they wrote.

There were three main points Group A thought should be emphasized in discussing ministry to the young: 

“1) to listen more profoundly in freedom, empathy, without prejudices, in the style of Jesus, 2) abuses, apart from damaging the Church, go against being disciples of Jesus, 3) to give leadership to young people so that they may transform social and ecclesial structures.”

Interestingly, the group proposed a new way of defining who a young person is, saying,  “Keeping in mind the increase in lifespan, it might seem more convenient to use sociological characteristics rather than chronological ones to classify youth.”

The group reported a rather negative view of the Church among young people: 

“Young people see the Church as indifferent, incompetent, immovable. The final document should inspire the [Bishops’] Conferences to see the reality that they have before them and not be only judges who dictate laws.”

Strangely they posited a “right” of young people to make mistakes: 

“The Working Document reflects what young people have said and they are asking us to open up a space for them in the Church, recognizing that our young people have great value and have the right to make mistakes. “

In response, they thought a “charismatic” theology should be introduced. 

“It is necessary to have a theology that is more charismatic than institutional,” they wrote, “based on an a hopeful, welcoming, integrating anthropology, one that brings joy, since evangelization is the announcements of the beatitudes, and in the missionary going out that evangelizes through a Christian life and the service of others.”

Spanish Group A indicated that the IL’s section on Life Choices (Points 16, 17 and 18) was very important but that the Church should avoid giving negative precepts to the young. Curiously, they say the Church should simply “accompany” as the young make “mistakes”:

“... it is necessary to avoid saying to young people ‘that should not be done,’ but rather make them see the consequences of their acts, since an empathetic Church is one that accompanies despite errors, without imposing, prohibiting, nor demanding,” they wrote. 

“Nonetheless, those same points are the least empathetic that there are and the importance of decisions must be emphasized and they must be encouraged to take risks and make decisions.” 

The group also believes that it is “becoming necessary” to reform the “whole subject of anthropological challenges” and to revise “very important subjects such as love, sexuality, women, and gender ideology”.

Meanwhile, Spanish Group A believes also that “neither secularization nor globalization are negative processes, but rather opportunities.” 

Spanish Group B (Moderated by Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer) 

The members of Spanish Group B concerned themselves mainly with the text of the Instrumentum Laboris. Their report contains various suggestions for modifications of wording and for clarifying minute points.

The German-speakers

German Group (Moderated by Bishop Genn) 

The members of the German Group pointed to the "world-wide, varied perspective," where themes are often the same.

These include "the challenges of sexuality; the topic of abuse; the difficulty in communicating the Faith;  digitalization; the question about an attractive liturgy and homily; flight and migration; the wish of the youth for freedom and at the same time for an authentic accompaniment; the question of active participation of the young; the question of equality for women in the Church, and much more."

The German Group stressed the importance of listening to young people and proposed putting the IL’s fifth chapter, which is on this theme, at the top of the Final Document.

The German Group believes there should be a discussion of all the pressures to which young people are exposed: "pressure in school and formation; through the Church, through the expectations of parents, of families, society; to promote oneself in social media; of fashions and opinions of peer groups or also the pressure that comes when a young person confesses to being Catholic." 

It is harder for the young today "to become themselves,” they believe. 

This group wants the Final Document to describe in greater detail the "digital reality" of the internet in both its positive and destructive, e.g. pornography, aspects. 

They are also concerned for young people who aren’t keen on multiculturalism: 

 "We are grateful that many young people see pluralism and multiculturalism in a positive way, but we believe that there are also not few young people who close themselves to it out of fear for losing one's identity," they wrote. 

The German Group named three reasons why young people are alienated from the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church: 

1) the seeming incongruence between the modern, scientific worldview and the faith

2)  themes connected directly or indirectly with sexuality and relations between the sexes (sexual morality in general, assessment of divorce and remarriage, celibacy, the issue of women’s ordination, abuse scandals).

3) a real or apparent connection between religion and violence, including war.

The German group wishes to discuss more deeply the term "metamorphosis" of the human condition, proposing a deeper understanding of what "we mean when we speak of human beings?" 

"We have to show the young people the faith as a way to a life that is also successful in human terms," the German Group maintained.  

One of them said that "If we do not have a clear diagnosis of the conditio humana, then we also have no therapy for it."

They return to the subject of sexuality to say that  "in light of the importance of the topic of sexuality for  youth, it is not sufficient merely to describe the phenomenon and some problems in paragraphs 52 and 53." 

Thus, the German Group asked for "an anthropological deepening and orientation."

Regarding technology’s  “digitalization” of life, the German Group sounded rather gloomy:

"We do not yet know whether and how the digital world really makes societies better or whether it rather decays and radicalizes them,” they wrote. “We do not yet know, for example, how we can oppose the increasingly totalitarian characteristics of powerful internet giants." 

"Here we feel overwhelmed, as might also be the case not only for the Church, but for the whole of humanity."

The Portuguese-speakers

Portuguese Group (Moderated by Cardinal De Aviz) 

The Portuguese-speaking Group identified the theme of “life choices” as a ‘guideline’ that should be present in the entire document. 

They too mentioned that there are different kinds of young people and different circumstances that young people find themselves in. 

The Portuguese Group believes the Church should “encounter” young people in all environments where they are to be found, particularly in the technological one:

“Another fundamental environment to be considered is the digital one, it being an intrinsic part of the youth's culture, in which the digital and face-to-face worlds live together simultaneously,” they wrote. 

“The Church needs to be present in that environment through the young themselves,” they continued.  “Finally, we also listed aspects of the positive dimension of that digital environment, which, to us, seems to have been given little attention by the 'Instrumentum Laboris'."

The Portuguese Group reported also that they have  “noticed the predominance of the feminine presence in ecclesial environments as well as the high growth of sects  in our countries.”

They also said it is important to strengthen the Church’s dedication to and concern for the realities of indigenous people, minorities with African roots, and other local minorities. 

The Portuguese Group also wrote that in Chapter 5 they felt a “certain negative undertone concerning the action of Episcopal Conferences towards the young”. In response to this, they noted “the value of World Youth Days” and similar events at the diocesan level.

Regarding sexuality, they wrote that they had noticed that, in some contexts, the Church struggles to correctly transmit the Christian anthropological view of the body and sexuality to young people.

“There are good practices of dialogue and formation in that field that could be better [realized],” they wrote.  

The members also discussed the relationship of youth with the liturgy.  They said that In some places there is a desire for “greater participation and involvement” in the liturgy, while in other places this “already happens”.

Editor's note: Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Maike Hickson, and Ricardo German contributed to this report.

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Trump blasts Eric Holder for ‘disgusting, dangerous’ statement about kicking enemies

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump says former Attorney General Eric Holder “better be careful” with recent comments claiming that “when they go low, we kick them” is what the “new Democratic Party is about.”

Holder, who ran the U.S. Department of Justice for former President Barack Obama, said at a political event Sunday that former First Lady Michelle Obama was wrong to boast about Democrats going “high” when Republicans “go low.” He refused to apologize for his remarks.

“No. No. When they go low, we kick them,” Holder declared. "That's what this new Democratic Party is about. We are proud as hell to be Democrats.” He qualified his statement by claiming he didn’t mean “anything inappropriate” or “anything illegal” by “kicking,” but by then his audience had already given the threat laughter and applause.

"He better be careful what he's wishing for,” Trump responded Thursday morning on Fox & Friends. “That's a disgusting statement for him to make. For him to make a statement like that is a very dangerous statement. You know, they talk about us; we are exactly opposite (...) my rallies are extremely calm and well-run.”

By contrast, he continued, “they used to send in paid protesters, the Democrats and (George) Soros, and they came from all over. We’d have protesters. And I would say this: it wasn’t so successful for those protesters. But they have to be very careful with the rhetoric, because it’s very dangerous.”

The president then blasted Holder’s record, specifically referencing Holder’s hounding of religious conservatives and Tea Party activists, as well as Congress’ decision to hold him in contempt for refusing to hand over documents pertaining to the Operation: Fast and Furious scandal.

“Holder is — he's got some problems,” Trump concluded. “And I don't see him running. And if he did run, I think he gets gobbled up before he even gets to the election itself. I think the primaries would gobble him up.” Holder has previously floated a potential presidential run against Trump in 2020.

Holder is just one of several high-profile Democrats who has recently endorsed open hostility toward Republicans. Over the past two weeks, Hawaii Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono refused to say left-wing protesters shouldn’t follow Republicans to their homes or restaurants, and failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Democrats shouldn’t be “civil” with Republicans until her party retakes Congress,” both of which happened within the past week.

Before that, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters threatened in June that Trump administration officials “won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station,” and New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker told a crowd in July to “go to the Hill” and “please, get up in the face of some congresspeople.”

Left-wing protests against Kavanaugh have seen irate screaming, near-constant attempts to shout down committee hearings, and even attempts to break into the Supreme Court building while the new Justice took his oath of office. Protesters have also chased down multiple GOP lawmakers passing through Reagan National Airport, as well as harassed and assaulted Republicans in the halls of Senate office buildings.

Regardless, Holder dismissed the criticism as “fake outrage” Thursday, claiming he was “obviously not advocating violence.”

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Report: Witchcraft rising in US as Christianity declines

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Recent decades have seen a dramatic rise in paganism and the number of Americans identifying as witches while Christian denominations have been losing members, according to a new report.

Last week, Quartz published a piece reviewing religion survey data from Connecticut’s Trinity College covering 1990 to 2008, and from Pew Research Center covering 2014 to the present. They report that the United States’ Wiccan population skyrocketed from 8,000 in 1990 to 340,000 in 2008, a year that also found roughly 340,000 self-described Pagans.

“The best source of data on the number of witches in the US comes from assessments of the Wicca population,” Quartz’s Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and Dan Kopf explain. “Not all people who practice witchcraft consider themselves Wicca, but the religion makes up a significant subset.”

Pew currently puts the percentage of self-identified Wiccans or Pagans at 0.3 percent, and those who self-identify as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise unaffiliated at 22.8 percent.

Singh-Kurz and Kopf suggest witchcraft’s popularity is due to a combination of factors, from the longtime allure of witches in media and literature to contemporary rebranding of witchcraft as having more to do with nature and individuality than demons and the occult.

“As [Quartz’s Alden] Wicker noted, witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal millennials who are already involved in yoga and meditation, mindfulness, and new-age spirituality,” they write. “With that foundation, they might show up for pagan holidays or new moon gatherings, or begin to explore the more serious spiritual concepts at the root of these practices.”

Wiccan websites such as The Celtic Connection and the Church and School of Wicca promote this impression, with the former claiming that witchcraft “fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature,” and the latter invoking “self-empowerment through knowledge.”

The truth is far darker however, Christians say. The Catholic Church teaches that “all forms of divination are to be rejected,” and any efforts to “tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others” are “gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.”

“When it comes to what ultimately counts, witchcraft and Christianity (but not witches and Christians) are mortal foes,” Richard Howe of the Christian Research Institute explains. “Without the sacrifice of Christ to wash away our sins and reconcile us to our Maker, there is no hope in the world to come. Witchcraft teaches that our destiny is to return again to this world through reincarnation.”

More than 70 percent of Americans still identify as Christian, but religious affiliation has been on the decline for years. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released in May found that self-identification with Protestant denominations dropped eight percent over the previous 15 years (Catholicism held constant). The share of Americans with no religious affiliation almost tripled from 1990 to 2017.

“It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern. The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill,” author Julie Roys told the Christian Post. “It’s tragic, and a reminder of how badly we need spiritual revival in this country, and also that ‘our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world.’”

“The Church needs to wake up to the reality of this realm and begin to approach it from a Kingdom perspective which understands its place and purpose,” Wanda Alger of Intercessors for America and Winchester, Virginia’s Crossroads Community Church argues. “The sad thing is that these millennials who are exploring the dark side of the supernatural have more faith and belief than most Christians. Because they are open and spiritually hungry, the spirit realm responds. The biggest hindrance to understanding the realities of the Spirit realm is unbelief.”

Another element in the rise of witchcraft is its use by the anti-Trump movement. There is a movement of at least 13,000 people who promise to cast “binding spells” against President Trump, an effort that has been celebrated by the liberal media. The rituals this movement practices invoke the assistance of “demons of the infernal realms” and other spirits.

In 2017, iconic fashion magazine Vogue encouraged women frustrated at the current political climate to recite a feminist spell and join the “witchy renaissance.” On Wednesday, Vox published an article promoting “magic as self-care after Kavanaugh,” encouraging those upset at the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of the newest Supreme Court justice to turn to witchcraft as a feminist coping mechanism.

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Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, former head of the Pontifical Council responsible for interpreting canon law
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Cardinal embroiled in gay-orgy scandal represents Vatican at interfaith conference

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By Claire Chretien

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Papal collaborator Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who a high-ranking Vatican source tells LifeSiteNews was at a now-infamous cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in 2017, is representing the Vatican at the 6th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan this week.

The cardinal was until April 2018 the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. According to the Vatican source, Pope Francis knows of Coccopalmerio’s participation in the orgy. At that orgy, which occurred in late spring of 2017 in a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith apartment building and was kept quiet by Vatican officials for two months, Coccopalmerio’s secretary Monsignor Luigi Capozzi was arrested.

Coccopalmerio asserted in 2014 that the Church should emphasize what he calls the “positive elements” of homosexual relationships.

The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is a meeting that promotes interreligious dialogue between “representatives of world and traditional religions, heads of states, heads of international organizations united by a common aspiration for peace, harmony and constructive cooperation for the sake of prosperity of all mankind,” according to its website. The Congress’s October 11 declaration emphasizes “the special importance of adhering to the spiritual guidelines for cooperation to overcome intolerance, discrimination, exclusion, tensions and conflicts based on ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural differences.”

The same statement affirms the Congress’s support of “all efforts aimed at protecting refugees, their rights and dignity, as well as providing them with necessary assistance,” along with other objectives like stopping terrorism, encouraging “peace-building,” preventing violence in places of worship, and urging “politicians and world media to renounce associating terrorism with any religion.”

“This is a very important moment for human history,” Coccopalmerio told the Congress, according to Kazakh news site B News. “The moment when we focus on the words of wisdom that are key to many important challenges the world faces. The resumption of normal life and peace should be especially considered. Our contribution, religious leaders with politicians, is a guarantee to achieve those important results.”

The cardinal called the Congress “a good platform for meetings, discussing ideas, views on what can be done to strengthen safety in the world.” He spoke about the “necessity” of separating politics and religion.

They “need to keep a distance between each other,” Coccopalmerio said.

“Religion and politics strive to provide people and societies’ well-being, as well as to avoid ambiguity. Religion and politics need to keep a distance between each other. And, such separation gives an opportunity for effective cooperation between these two in the name of common development,” he said.

The prelate then praised Kazakhstan, whose president began the Congress as an initiative in 2003, for its “glorious mosaic of diverse views of religions, which is the basis to avoid conflicts when various groups of religious and ethnic people with different principles live in peace and cooperation.”

In his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI wrote that nations should recognize Christ as King and not embrace false religions, an often-overlooked or misunderstood Catholic principle:

If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences.

The predominant religion in Kazakhstan is Islam; around 70 percent of its population is Muslim. The Catholic bishops of that country, however, are known for their strong fidelity to Church teaching. The auxiliary bishop of Astana is Bishop Athanasius Schneider, one of the prelates at the forefront of defending Catholic orthodoxy amidst the ambiguity and error many of his brother bishops in other parts of the world promote. Schneider is outspoken about the crisis in the Church under Pope Francis and the need for reverent liturgies and a strong pro-family culture.

On December 31, 2017, Kazakhstan’s three bishops issued a Profession of the Immutable Truths about Sacramental Marriage upholding the Church’s perennial teaching on the Sacraments, marriage, sin, and the reception of Holy Communion. After its release in January 2018, seven more bishops signed it.

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DC National Episcopal Cathedral to become LGBT ‘pilgrimage’ site with Matthew Shepard’s remains

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Washington National Cathedral in the country’s capital is slated to become an unlikely symbol of homosexual activism following the news that it will be the final resting place of murdered University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.

The family of Shepard, a 21-year-old homosexual man brutally beaten to death in 1998, has decided to have his ashes interred in the crypt of the iconic Episcopal cathedral, the Washington Post reported. His parents had previously kept his ashes for fear of drawing unwanted attention to a public grave, but have now settled on the cathedral ahead of his murder’s 20th anniversary on Friday.

In a public service on October 26, his ashes will be placed in the private, off-limits crypt columbarium. One of just 200 to receive such a distinction, Shepard’s remains will join those of distinguished historical figures such as President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, and Navy Adm. George Dewey. The Daily Caller noted that the cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, is responsible for selecting figures of national significance to inter.

The service will be presided over by Bishops Mariann Edgar Budde and Gene Robinson, the latter of whom is an open, "divorced" homosexual.

Robinson, who is friends with Shepard’s parents, suggested Wednesday that pro-LGBT activists turn the cathedral into a pilgrimage destination.

“(We have) the triangle, that reminds of what was used to brand us during the Holocaust, the rainbow flag, and we’ve got Matt Shepard, who became a symbol of how we are targets of violence,” he declared. “This could be a wonderful place for Matt’s ashes to rest, and where people could go and make a kind of pilgrimage (...) I think this could become a destination for LGBTQ people who have known violence in their own lives, which keeps being an issue, despite all the gains we’ve made.”

“For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt’s story with the world. It’s reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world,” Shepard’s mother Judy said in support of the idea.

The Post noted that visitors will not be able to directly access the crypt, but the cathedral is considering a special plaque recognizing Shepard, which visitors would be able to see and touch.

On its official website, the Washington National Cathedral purports to “serve as a house of prayer for all people and a spiritual home for the nation,” and act as a “catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in the world.” Yet this is the the latest ideological move from the liberal church, which has performed same-sex “marriages” at the cathedral since 2013.

Shepard’s death inspired numerous films, documentaries, and other cultural works, as well as federal “hate crime” legislation. But despite the dominant narrative – epitomized by the Washington Post matter-of-factly stating he “was a victim of one of the nation’s worst anti-gay hate crimes” – questions remain as to what, if any, role Shepard’s sexual attraction played in his murder.

The “anti-gay hate crime” narrative “has persisted to this day, thanks in part to murderer Aaron McKinney’s and his girlfriend’s initial testimony that Matthew Shepard sparked McKinney’s rage by making an advance on him,” the Daily Caller’s Joshua Gill explains.

But “McKinney and his girlfriend later recanted,” he continues, “saying that they lied hoping that it would make McKinney’s actions more sympathetic, when in reality McKinney had simply robbed and beaten Matthew Shepard in a rage after the meth dealer McKinney was planning to rob did not show up.”

Additionally, journalist Stephen Jimenez interviewed several witnesses who claim McKinney was himself either homosexual or bisexual. Jimenez’s dissent from conventional wisdom has made him a target of derision among pro-LGBT advocates.

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Planned Parenthood unveils abortion ‘underground railroad’ for post-Roe America

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By Calvin Freiburger

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

October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fearful that it’s only a matter of time before the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and allows Americans to vote directly on abortion, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) unveiled a new plan Wednesday to facilitate abortions across the United States.

The abortion lobby is still reeling from Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s narrow confirmation to the nation’s highest court last weekend. Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court pick replaces notorious liberal swing vote Anthony Kennedy, leading pro-lifers to hope the new conservative majority will finally be enough to overturn Roe.

How Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and John Roberts would rule on the question remains to be seen, but PPAF isn’t taking any chances. Nine states never repealed their unenforced, pre-Roe abortion bans, while another four have enacted bans that would immediately take effect upon Roe’s fall. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) estimates that 22 states could ban abortion outright.

In response, PPAF’s so-called “Care for All” plan lays out a three-part contingency plan for a post-Roe USA. At Salon, pro-abortion activist Amanda Marcotte calls the plan an “underground railroad,” comparing the pro-abortion scheme to the 19th-century network that helped fugitive slaves escape to free states in the North.

The first part is to expand facilities in abortion-friendly states like California or Illinois so they can form a “Regional Access Network” that would financially assist women traveling to them from pro-life states. This network would also expand telemed abortions and “leverage technology and innovation to ensure patients, no matter what state they live in, can connect to resources and determine how and where they can access abortion.”

Pro-lifers argue that telemed or “webcam” abortions, in which a patient listens to a doctor on a video screen while abortion pills are dispensed, expose women to additional risks without proper medical supervision.

The second part consists of lobbying legislatures to pass their favored bills and defeat pro-life measures, and “determine how we can use state policies to ensure there’s an ironclad network of states across the country where abortion will still be legal.” It’s unclear from their examples – statutory codification of a “right” to abortion, taxpayer funding – how this push differs from PPAF’s normal lobbying; presumably it will also redouble efforts to let adults take unrelated minors across state lines for abortions.

The plan’s third and final component consists of fighting cultural “stigma” against abortion. PPAF teases collaborations on positive depictions of abortion through movies and TV shows; websites, videos, and other “resources” to “educate” people about abortion; and general public awareness campaigns to normalize the killing of preborn babies.

“We began working on this plan before Trump and Pence took office, and we’re kicking it into high gear today,” PPAF executive vice president Dawn Laguens declared. “We demand a world where who you are or how much money you make doesn’t determine your access to health care or access to safe, legal abortion. We demand a world where your personal health care decisions aren’t affected by stigma, shame, or silence.”

Earlier this summer, the pro-abortion group NARAL launched a more direct approach to compensating for the loss of Roe, by lobbying House candidates to pledge that they would support federal legislation forcing all fifty states to allow abortion.

Pro-abortion groups aggressively tried to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation from the beginning. Planned Parenthood lobbied senators to block him within days of his announcement, attacked him during his confirmation hearings for accurately stating that legal scholars disagree about Roe and that some contraceptives are abortifacients, and threatened to be “LOUD” and “NOISY” while “coming for” senators who voted “yes.”

After the final Senate vote, Laguens and former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards called on their followers to “unleash your rage [...] every day,” and to “stay angry” because “you will need all your anger now.”

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Feminist book names former abortion exec Cecile Richards ‘matron saint of mothers and daughters’

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By Calvin Freiburger

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October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A feminist author has taken it upon herself to elevate former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and a variety of other pro-abortion figures to sainthood.

Released in March by Penguin Random House, Julia Pierpont’s The Little Book of Feminist Saints is billed as a collection of “short, vibrant, and surprising biographies” matched to “stunning full-color portraits of secular female ‘saints’: champions of strength and progress.”

“The idea came from the Catholic saint-of-the-day book, the kind one might read as a source of daily inspiration throughout the calendar year,” Pierpont explained.

“The achievements of women haven’t been documented for nearly as long or as widely as those of their male counterparts,” the author claimed in an interview with Virago. “The more familiar their stories become, the more empowered future generations of women will be.”

While many of the book’s selections are women who made universally-recognized contributions to the world, such as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, radiation pioneer Marie Curie, and novelist Jane Austen, it also elevates several pro-abortion figures.

The latter include failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Planned Parenthood founder and eugenics proponent Margaret Sanger, pro-abortion activist Gloria Steinem, and Cecile Richards and her mother Ann, a former governor of Texas. Pro-life leader Abby Johnson first highlighted their inclusion in the book on September 30, stunned that “someone actually wrote this.” 

Pierpont dubs Cecile and Ann Richards the “Matron Saints of Mothers and Daughters.” Their one-page entry, which is readable here via Google Books, consists of a handful of “inspirational” quotes that say little about parenting.

“The most discouraging thing we are facing is the thought that our daughters and granddaughters could have fewer rights than we do – Mom never would have stood for it, so I can’t either,” Cecile is quoted as saying. The context is unknown, but similar quotes from the former abortion chief referred to abortion “access” rather than actual “rights.”

During her 12-year tenure at Planned Parenthood, the younger Richards presided over the abortions of an estimated 3.5 million pre-born babies (almost half of whom were likely female), whose lives she dismissed as not “really relevant” to discussing abortion.

Her time leading the abortion giant also saw sharp declines in actual medical services like breast cancer screenings or prenatal care while abortions rose 11 percent. Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling aborted babies’ organs was also revealed during her tenure.

“Planned Parenthood in truth violently separates mothers and daughters by ending the lives of unborn children, male and female,” EWTN Pro-Life Weekly host Catherine Hadro responded. “This dramatically contrasts with whom the Catholic Church offers as the patron saint of mothers: St. Gianna Molla. The modern-day woman was a physician who sacrificed her own life to save that of her unborn child.”

“That is love, and that is what saints are made of,” Hadro continued. “St. Gianna is just one of the many strong women the Catholic Church recognizes as a saint – women whom you won’t find in this blasphemous book for children.”

Pierpont also told Virago that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, was among the women she would have loved to fit in the book. Gillibrand is a pro-abortion lawmaker who supported and campaigned with former President Bill Clinton as recently as 2016, then claimed he should have resigned for his treatment of women one year after his wife lost the White House to President Donald Trump.

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Priest urges Catholics to ‘stay properly angry’ over Pope’s handling of sex abuse crisis

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By Lisa Bourne

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A recent Holy See statement on Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct seems to signal an attitude improvement for the Vatican and the Pope regarding the issue, a noted priest of the Archdiocese of Washington said. And the change in tone and policy is owing to Catholics justifiably angered by the abuse and cover-up who are speaking up about the scandal.

But Catholics need to “stay properly angry” at the covering up of abuse in the Catholic Church, Monsignor Charles Pope said, if true reform is to happen.

While this places many in an uncomfortable position, he said, an activist response from faithful Catholics is necessary in a papacy that wields ambiguity like a weapon and frequently closes its ears.

“Like many of you, I feel awkward in this new role of loyal agitator,” Msgr. Pope wrote. “It should not be this way, but it has become necessary in a pontificate of weaponized ambiguity and often stubborn refusal to listen.”

“Many are compelled to speak out and express rightful anger,” the priest blogger said, and the October 6 Vatican communiqué is “great progress” - if the promised thorough investigation comes to fruition.

But Catholic laity and clergy must continue in both righteous anger and in pushing for reform.

“The step forward represented by this communiqué has only occurred because we have refused to remain silent and have respectfully demanded accountability and a just investigation,” he said.

“So stay angry, my friends,” Msgr. Pope stated. “Stay angry at sin, at cover-ups, and at different standards for the powerful and those at the top. Yes, stay angry.”

In an Oct. 8 blog post published in the National Catholic Register, Msgr. Pope recounted how prior to now, the pontiff has avoided addressing the McCarrick scandal and derided those who call for investigation of the situation. 

Up until the Vatican communiqué, he said, Francis “has brusquely refused to address the allegations that Archbishop McCarrick’s offenses were long known up to the highest levels in Rome.” 

“Those who viewed the allegations as credible and worthy of further investigation or who expressed concern over them were greeted with an announced policy of silence at best, and at worst were implicated by the Pope in his sermons as scandalmongers in league with the Great Accuser,” said Msgr. Pope.

Further, he said, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, in his recent open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, “does confirm a central claim made by the archbishop — namely, that allegations about Cardinal McCarrick were known well before June of this year and resulted in some sort of censure, even if informal.” 

Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, had released an open letter Sunday fiercely chastising the former U.S. papal nuncio for his explosive 11-page testimony released in August implicating Francis and other senior churchmen in covering for McCarrick. 

Many have pointed out, however, that Ouellet’s letter inadvertently acknowledges Viganò’s claim that “everybody knew” about McCarrick, including top leaders in Rome.

And this, Msgr. Pope wrote, underscores his point that Catholics feel the need to speak out in just anger.

“Though these methods have become regretfully necessary,” he said, “they are effective and must continue if reforms are to happen.”

The Holy See communication, he said, “Seems to accept the need for a thorough examination of documents in relevant dicasteries and congregations and of following the truth wherever it leads.”

The October 6 Vatican Press Office Communiqué had said Francis has been taking action to address McCarrick scandal; that he’d ordered the Archdiocese of New York to conduct an investigation of McCarrick in September of last year. 

The results of the investigation are to be combined with “a further thorough study” of the Vatican’s documentation on McCarrick, the statement said, and “the Holy See will, in due course, make known the conclusion in the matter.”  

“This is great progress if the stated approach is in fact followed,” said Msgr. Pope of the statement. “However, we need to realize that this change in tone and policy is the fruit of active insistence by God’s faithful. Laity and clergy together must persist in this approach if the investigation is to be sufficiently thorough and true reforms are to be forthcoming.”

The Washington D.C. priest cautioned against directing anger imprudently, saying, “Our anger is to be focused on opposing sin, the approval of sin, and any ambiguity that winks at sin.”

The anger must ultimately be focused on purifying the Church and the repentance of sinners, said Msgr. Pope.

“Persistence has gotten us this far, but we must not allow a mere statement to lull us into inaction in the future,” he wrote. “It is action we must seek, not mere words.”

Msgr. Pope also called for prayer for and affirmation of bishops who were doing the right thing in the abuse scandal, as well as holding bishops accountable.

An unhealthy deference to authority was being set aside, he continued, and while the hierarchical nature of the Church is to be respected, “It is the obligation of all the members of the Body of Christ to ensure the proper functioning of the Church.”

“Stay strong, persistent, faithful and properly angry, fellow Catholics,” said Msgr. Pope. “Although it is a step in the right direction, one communiqué cannot solve this mess.” 

“Affirm it, but continue to demand action,” he stated. “Insist that the communiqué be a true path forward both to the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the February meeting of Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences called by the Pope.”

The USCCB has said via statements the abuse scandal and the McCarrick matter would be taken up at its General Assembly in November in Baltimore, and Francis has called the presidents of the national bishops conferences to Rome next February to discuss the "protection of minors” in the abuse crisis.

Now is the time for Catholics to remain strong and persistent in holding Church leaders’ feet to the fire, Msgr. Pope wrote.

“Yes, stay properly angry,” he said. “This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Pace and long-term determination are going to be critical.”

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Eric Holder: ‘We kick them’ is ‘what this new Democratic Party is about’

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By Calvin Freiburger

GEORGIA, October 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General under ex-President Barack Obama, is the latest prominent Democrat accused of giving tacit approval to increasingly violent left-wing demonstrators.

During a campaign event Sunday in Georgia for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, CNN reports that Holder invoked former First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2016 claim that “when they [Republicans] go low, we [Democrats] go high” instead of “stoop[ing] to their level” when someone “is cruel or acts like a bully.” Conservatives have long disputed her characterization of the two parties, but Holder is the most prominent Democrat to openly reject it.

"It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are," he said. "Michelle always says, Michelle Obama, I love her. She and my wife are really tight. Which always scares me and Barack. Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high.' No. No. When they go low, we kick them."

The audience responded with laughter and applause.

"That's what this new Democratic Party is about. We are proud as hell to be Democrats,” he continued. "When I say we kick them, I don't mean we do anything inappropriate, we don't do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight.”

Holder’s advice follows Hawaii Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono’s refusal to say left-wing protesters shouldn’t follow Republicans to their homes or restaurants, and failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s declaration that Democrats shouldn’t be “civil” with Republicans until her party retakes Congress,” both of which happened within the past week.

Before that, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters threatened in June that Trump administration officials “won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station,” and New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker told a crowd in July to “go to the Hill” and “please, get up in the face of some congresspeople.”

Left-wing protests against Kavanaugh have seen irate screaming, near-constant attempts to shout down committee hearings, and even attempts to break into the Supreme Court building while the new Justice took his oath of office. Protesters have also chased down multiple GOP lawmakers passing through Reagan National Airport, as well as harassed and assaulted Republicans in the halls of Senate office buildings.

Despite Holder’s later qualifier that he means “kicking” figuratively, many conservatives have denounced Democrats for promoting, whether deliberately or unwittingly, a message they say left-wing extremists will take literally:

Holder has previously said he’s considering a presidential run of his own against Trump in 2020.

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To German leaders of 1960s cultural revolt: Why as a woman I returned to children, kitchen, Church

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By Maike Hickson

Note from the author: The following open letter is addressed to the generation of the 1960s in Germany who revolted against the German society as a whole, against its educational system, its Christian morality, against its political system. It might be that this cultural revolution was more thorough in Germany than in other western countries, but in general, its effects were everywhere the increase of divorce rates, the introduction of abortion, the lowering down of education, and the spread of relativism.

I myself was born in 1972 and thus was affected in many areas of my childhood by these revolutionary changes. Since this year 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Cultural Revolution in Germany and since those who were in the leadership and at the front lines of that revolution still are proud of what they have achieved, I thought it was time to speak the truth about the effects of that revolt on many children of that generation.

It is my hope that this open letter could be of benefit also for some of our U.S and Canadian readers and that it might help us in the deeper reflection upon the question of how we got to where we are today.

I thank Giuseppe Nardi for first publishing this text in the original German on the German website Katholisches.info.

October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It is enough. Just now, I read yet another autobiographical report of someone who praises herself for having broken with the rules of bourgeois society. It is time to shake out this pride and to resist the resisters.

I know that you yourself did not have an easy youth. Born in the war, or just afterward, most of you knew hunger which we, as your children, never knew. But we are hungry for something else that you have taken from us, even when it was not necessary: protection and security, family, education, culture, and, most of all, the Christian faith.

All of this was still given to you, even though the war had torn huge gaps. Most of your parents remained loyal to one another, also toward their own parents. They did not burden you – nor their parents – with their selfish escapades, in the wake of which nothing remained together that belonged together.

You were proud destroyers who thought you would do many things much better than many people, and the generations before them. You flatly rejected the whole culture, with all its beauties, rules, and all of its protections, and you called it a bondage. Did you ever look back and critically examine your own fruits? Did you really create something more beautiful?

Understandably and rightly, you despised the war, but how does it look today? How many wars has the West already once again started, without that many really [crying] out against them? Of course, the victims now are far away. But perhaps they will soon come back into our neighborhood, directly to be seen. Perhaps we ourselves will soon be part of those who are suffering. 

You expected from your parents that they should have stood up against Hitler, behind whom loomed the weapons. Do you not, then, see the danger that comes from your own politicians? Or why are you silent today? Perhaps you now realize how difficult it is to build up a real and sustained resistance? For example, when something indispensable is at stake? Or do you think – now that you yourselves are in positions of power – that it is nice to make use of that power and to silence others who oppose your own public opinions?

And education? Do you look at what the youth are still capable of? Do they have the knowledge and the broad education which you still received in your schooling, which you then largely insulted as being backwards? Are the younger ones still capable of writing, as you yourself are? Why did you take it from them, with your wild ideas of new reform schools which only promoted a dimming down and an inflicted equalization? Now you are at the end of your careers and shrug your shoulders when the schools are being “bertelsmannized” [subjected to economic criteria of efficiency and its competition]. An economization of the school which you could not have dreamed of in the 1960s when stiff and highly educated, authoritarian teachers – as you saw them – passed through the classrooms? They, however, as I believe, still had more dignity.

And your children? How many divorces and breaches did they already go through? Can you still keep in mind who currently is the partner of whom and from whom stems which of your grandchildren? You have torn down a dam which stood for centuries, and now the water flows everywhere, ruthlessly. You mocked the old sexual morality and freed yourself from it, and with it also from that God who instituted it, without that you even understood or sought to understand what perhaps was right and good and uplifting in it. Today, you regret that women have been degraded to objects of sexual pleasure, but it was you who tore down the protective mantle of the woman. You troubled your children already in their most tender age with such topics, even though it was of no interest to them, and you thus took away their naïveté and innocence. You women of 1968 were the first, after all, who undressed yourselves.

Do you not shiver? How much is destroyed in your lives? How many “life partners” did you so far have, with whom you visit the Italian Tuscany region and enjoy your life instead of being grandparents for the little ones who so much yearn for stability, protection, love, and orientation? You yourself then still had it; the grandparents who were always there, who remained together, who lived out family traditions. Our children do not have that anymore. Much is in ruins and in a sorry state, because nobody wanted to make a sacrifice and everybody thought only of one's own apparent good. Certainly nobody thought of the little ones. The little ones now also are supposed not to need anymore a mother at home who cooks something delicious and healthy for them, makes crafts with them, goes for a walk with them and sings songs. No, there is not time for that. After all, the mother has to self-actualize herself, has to have her own profession. 

However, there is nothing more dignified and beautiful than to help a young life to grow, to flourish, and to be happy. Did you ever, when you divorced your spouse, look into the eyes of your children who now had to give up one of their parents and possibly had to accept quickly a new mommy or a new daddy – whom they perhaps did not even like? Did you think of your children who suddenly had to celebrate Christmas at three different locations? Who had no family, no harmony, no protection?

Can children who grow up in such a way have a strong, virtuous character – in spite of the lack of support and the lack of love in the family? Or are they not most of the time broken and thereby more open to manipulation, especially through the mass media?

Now we stand here, broken men and women with a broken happiness, not any more prepared for the storms of our time and not well equipped to resist today's sophisticated manipulators. After all, we are still all too busy licking our own wounds and straightening out our disheveled hair; we are occupied with the separated households, the unhealthy food and fast food which makes children overweight and sick; with struggles over finances and child support; with jealousy and with yearning, and often just with fulfilling our own desires.

In light of this situation, a “Bertelsmann” [a company in Germany with inordinate influence over education matters] can easily come by and tell us that the children will become much smarter now when we throw the schools into even greater disorder; and that small children – the best just after they have been born – are to be given into the hands of strangers, just as in the GDR [former Communist Germany]. And nobody notices it? Where is here the resistance of true humanity?

Because your resistance was certainly not human, no. In part, it was even dangerous, life-threatening. But in other ways, it was inhuman. To silence and humiliate the old, wounded soldiers who had been willing to give their lives? To never have let them tell their stories, even if they had been led astray? To silence and ridicule the German post-war refugees and displaced persons who lost everything and who cry still today; those who lost their children on the way, through illness, hunger, and war? All were demeaned, yes, all Germans were said to be equally bad. Only you were better, because you had never been in the situation to prove yourself. And then you did not even realize how much you yourself were being manipulated. You did not know that, in 1981, John Lennon would thank CIA for the LSD drug, and that he would make it public that the CIA has developed this drug for the sake of the control of men. You did not know then that the Frankfurt School was initially financed by Moscow. And that later, during the Second World War and afterwards, Marcuse, Adorno and Horkheimer were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The plan was, after all, to de-christianize Europe and to undermine its moral foundation, so that it could more easily be ruled, dominated. So that it would become more receptive to the materialistic media manipulation which turns us into mere consumers and apolitical sensualists. You ran into something truly terrible, you let yourself be used, and now you are even proud of it!

You trampled upon our culture and dignity and honor. You mocked the beautiful, the true, and the good, and raised us like animals who play in the mud and who learn early on how to rut and procreate like animals, now only supported by some new medications and methods. You did not raise us toward the beautiful, but you lowered us toward the ugly. In part, you did not even want to take care of your own offspring, and then you taught the world how one can simply kill the little ones in the thousands, and before they are even allowed to see the light of the world. How is it, then, that in that supposedly bad bourgeois-Christian society, there were never so many isolated, abandoned, drug-addicted, criminal and suicidal children and youth as there are today?

And we should thank you for this and praise you?

True humanity begins in the small things, not with big words. Humanity starts with the little ones who are vulnerable. Humanity starts by civilizing the little ones and teaching them the rules with which they can measure themselves and others so that they have a human standard with which to assess whether or not a war is just, a law a lie, or the conduct of a politician to be fitting or not. You destroyed all the rules and also the virtues and now are astonished that the politicians lie to you right and left? That they do not know anymore the word common good? Nor the Ten Commandments which still teach us clearly how one can be human?

Are you proud that your grandchildren follow the newest fashion, the newest computer games, and the latest ugly music fashion? Where are the great ideals of the younger generation? 

Did you wake up at all when the great member of the 1968 movement, Gerhard Schröder, after laying down his office as chancellor, started to work for the Rothschild financial imperium; and were you awakened when the icon of the 1968 movement Joschka Fischer became a counsellor to the Albright Stonebridge Group? Is this a so-called anti-capitalism under new colors? Does this fit to Karl Marx? Perhaps somehow, since he himself also let himself be funded by a wealthy man – by financial capitalism.

Humanity starts in the small things. And demands loyalty. A man who is not loyal toward himself and others cannot be convincing, but he always appears to be only egoistical. Only in self-sacrifice and in perseverance are great things being created, as one can see in great artists. The lukewarm, in the long run, do not attract. They also do not bear good fruit.

In order to bring forth good fruit, one needs a higher standard, something that pulls us up and that does not turn us into apes.

That is why I say “No.” “No” to all that you have brought us. You pulled me, too, into the mud. And now I return and apologize for my own guilt. And I return to that which you have mocked: the three “Ks”: Kinder, Küche, Kirche [children, kitchen, church], and I do it with much joy. Thus I would still love to have more than our two children, so that we would be a big family. I shall remain loyal to my husband, for my whole life, and I wish to cook well for all of us, and dress our children in lovely clothes so that they have gracious dignity and look lovely. I should have first talked about the Catholic Church, because she civilizes and educates us men and women, already for centuries, and she raises us up to something higher, and often with much success, even if today she has too often allowed herself to be affected by worldliness, indifference, moral disorder and a corruption which your revolt has helped to promote. Perhaps, she even only opened the doors for your insanity, as she did by her own interior revolution in the Second Vatican Council.

Should you now have realized, after all, that your dreams and revolts were illusions and only created damage, then it is not yet too late. For sure, in many of you there were many good intentions. But one always can turn around and also publicly correct what one has once defended. Even if it is perhaps now too late with your own parents, with your own children you still can speak and apologize to them. One can always speak the truth, also when it hurts. But you have to expect that you, too, when you do it publicly, will be dragged through the mud. That is, after all, the aspired-to better world of the Generation of 1968, as you have created it. But, just as you expected it once from your own parents, you are also now called to offer resistance – even if it is directed against yourself!

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Leftists say the time for civility is over. When have they ever been civil?

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By Jonathon van Maren

October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court and the failure of the attempt to prevent him from taking the seat that was shamefully denied to Judge Robert Bork, the Left in America has made a confusing announcement: Their dedication to civility is over. From now on, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

For those of us who have been watching the Left riot since before Donald Trump’s inauguration, this has been rather confusing to hear. Antifa violence is frequent and rarely condemned. Protesters at Trump’s inauguration trashed things across the city, and protesters at the Women’s March reached a level of crudeness that would have destroyed the Tea Party movement – not to mention Madonna’s announcement that she’d thought a lot about bombing the White House.

This is not even to mention the near-fatal shooting of a Republican Congressman at a baseball game and the mob tactics used on other conservative politicians. Maxine Waters has encouraged crowds to physically harass Trump Administration officials wherever they can be found. Cory Booker urged activists to “get up in the face of some congresspeople.” Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and his wife, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham have been swarmed in the last month. And the Left are vowing to continue these tactics wherever they can, despite the fact that Senator Rand Paul – who was himself violently assaulted – has warned that sometime soon, somebody is going to get killed.

“I fear that there's going to be an assassination,” Paul told a radio show host in Kentucky. “I really worry that somebody is going to be killed, and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation...they have to realize they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.” Ben Shapiro has stated the same thing on his own podcast – that after the Kavanaugh hearings, civil war seems like a more tangible possibility simply due to the fact that it is very easy to imagine some politician being shot. It is also easy to imagine the assassin being on the Left.

The Left has claimed that Trump’s presidency threatens American institutions while also insisting that he is an illegitimate president serving as a puppet leader for Vladimir Putin rather than rightfully elected, and demanded during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings that the rule of law be suspended in favor of a no-holds-barred witch hunt where presumption of innocence was done away with and guilt assumed. The failure of their attempt to destroy Kavanaugh saw the mobs of the Left literally clawing and pounding on the doors of the Supreme Court. The very American institutions that they claim Trump threatens can, in their mind, be done away with whenever they cease to be useful in accomplishing their ideological agenda.

And it is in this climate that two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the civility that the Left has apparently been displaying up until now is over.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,” she noted without the slightest hint of irony. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

What civility is Clinton talking about? What tactics has the Left not been utilizing in their attempts to destroy the Trump presidency and stop his Supreme Court nomination? Is it the mobs at the Supreme Court and at the Capitol? Is it the swarming of politicians – the sort of thing that if it were right-wing mobs would already be triggering dire warnings about the rise of fascism? There is only once place to go from here, and that is violence. It is bizarre that Clinton either believes herself or thinks that her base believes that until now, the Left have behaved as paragons of virtue defending the vestiges of civilization.

On one thing she is right: The middle ground has imploded, and there is only a chasm where it once was. How can those who believe in a right to crush the skulls of full-term babies in the womb find common ground with those who believe that all human life is sacred and should be protected? How can the Right compromise with the Left when the Left is fully willing to utilize revolutionary tactics when they do not get their way? The Left has proven, over and over again, that there is nothing they are not willing to do to protect abortion. Abortion is a microcosm of the worldview of the Left: Violence can be used against inconvenient people, the strong against the weak.

If what we have seen up until now is what the Left considers to be “civility,” then we should be genuinely worried. Things are going to get much uglier before the smoke clears.

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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A parish priest explains how Pope Francis is undermining his ability to teach moral truths

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

October 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the benefits of writing regularly on the internet is that I receive a fair number of notes from readers with whom something I’ve published has struck a chord. I hear disproportionately from priests, religious, and seminarians who are struggling to live a faithful Catholic life—above all, liturgically—in the midst of a hostile wasteland, with wolves on one side and hyenas on the other. 

A priest recently wrote to me about the challenges created for him by the Pope’s rough manhandling of settled Catholic doctrine in regard to capital punishment (about which I have written a number of times: that Francis’s new text is not in accord with the truth; that it cannot be defended; and that it should neither be taught nor adhered to). Here is what he said, apropos the last of these articles:

Thank you so much for writing this article. It seems odd that this subject has received such little attention. I’ve not found anyone who thinks Pope Francis’ actions are problematic. Until now, I have always taught that despite some sinful popes and bishops, none has ever officially proclaimed an error to be truth. The teachings of the Magisterium cannot be “overturned” like an unconstitutional law. Teachings can be expanded or elaborated on to account for new developments or discoveries, but not reversed. To my knowledge, no encyclical with a declarative statement to establish, explain, and define the [new] teaching was issued. It’s simply inexplicable that an act is morally good/allowable for thousands of years, to become today an intrinsic evil. This event leads me to believe that Francis has no clue about the workings of the Magisterium or the Holy Spirit!

One of my concerns is the damage this kind of thing does to my ability to teach moral truths. It’s essential for the faithful to have absolute confidence in the accuracy of the Church’s teachings.  I fear similar errors will follow from the current Vatican in regard to teachings on marriage, human sexuality, and ordination. If a pope can simply bypass common sense, convention, and tradition to revise the Catechism, all moral teachings are questionable.

This good priest is quite correct. The faithful deserve clear and consistent moral guidance that is not peppered with contradictions, ambiguities, doubts, and loopholes, otherwise they will turn away from the Church either to a secularism that has no rules except self-gratification or a sect that has strict (but not always correct) rules. For man cannot live without some principle to live by, and he will live either by true principles such as Christ has given us through His Church, or by false principles such as self-love, political messianism, or sectarian codes. The extent to which the Vatican appears to be operating by all three—the messianic complex of the great leader, the sectarian creed of liberal Protestantism, and the self-love that places modern differentness over traditional commonality—is therefore most appalling, and presents the single greatest challenge to pastoral care, Church renewal, and evangelization that the Church has yet seen in the post-Tridentine period.

In responding to the priest, I expressed my agreement with his analysis. What the pope is doing is terribly destabilizing, not only for Catholic pastors today, but for the future work of all of his successors. The papacy has become far too politicized, as if each conclave is a new parliamentary session electing a new prime minister to run the country’s affairs in a liberal or conservative direction. This is certainly not the vision of the pope as the staunch guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy and the determined upholder of ecclesiastical traditions that Church history reveals to us at the papacy’s best moments, nor is it the theological vision of the papacy discussed at and taught by the First Vatican Council. 

In my opinion, Pope Francis has not attempted to engage his full magisterial authority to teach anything, let alone something erroneous. After all, if we look at the conditions under which earlier popes have signified their intention to teaching infallibly, we will see an exceptional care taken to use the most solemn language coupled with threats of the most dire punishments. (This prompts me to wonder if any modern pope, inasmuch as he buys into the false ideas about justice and mercy first enunciated by John XXIII in the run-up to Vatican II, would ever be able to muster the courage or clarity to issue a solemn pronouncement that could be known to be an infallible statement!) 

As for teaching error, either the Holy Spirit would prevent the pope from doing so (e.g., by bringing about his death prior to the act of teaching error), or in the moment he uttered the error, he would ipso facto cease to be pope. For this latter scenario to play out, the error would have to be manifest to all, e.g., “Jesus Christ did not actually rise physically from the dead on Easter Sunday; he only rose spiritually, inasmuch as the early Christians were inspired to follow his example in their hearts.” If a pope ever came out and said such a thing, and it was clear that he was not insane or joking, it would be time for the cardinals to book their plane tickets to Rome. (Actually, if he was insane or joking, it would also be time for them to book their tickets.)

Let us hope, for the sake of preserving the little sanity we have left, that Our Lord does not permit us to capsize into still murkier and rougher waters than those in which we are currently sailing.

I return now to the issue raised by my correspondent. There is no question that the death penalty is permissible in some circumstances, and that is because the death penalty is taught by God to be, and is accepted by Catholic tradition as, a legitimate exercise of punitive and retributive justice on the part of the state, which has its authority from God, the Lord of life and death. One is allowed to argue that those circumstances no longer obtain, but one cannot say the thing in itself is evil. That, indeed, would be heresy, and one notes that Francis did not dare to say this explicitly in the new Catechism text. But he implies it, which is hardly less damaging, for all the reasons we have seen.

Are you a Catholic tempted to tear out your hair and say: “Wait a minute, if the pope can’t be trusted, who can?” There is a way out of this perplexing situation. It involves admitting forthrightly, as most Catholics in history would readily have done, that the pope is not above the law, not above tradition, not above the theological witness of the Fathers and Doctors, but in communion with them and, in a sense, subordinate to them. Therefore, one may always be confident believing and teaching what has been held “by everyone, always, and everywhere” prior to this time of confusion.

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