All articles from December 4, 2018


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Cdl. Burke: ‘Synodality’ suggests some kind of ‘new church’ where pope’s authority is destroyed

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LIMERICK, Ireland, (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out criticizing the concept of “synodality” that was barely discussed during the recently concluded “Youth Synod,” but, nevertheless, found its way into the final document, surprising many of the Synod Fathers. 

“It’s become like a slogan, meant to suggest some kind of new church which is democratic and in which the authority of the Roman Pontiff is relativized and diminished—if not destroyed,” said Cardinal Burke in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. 

“This is typical of a lot of things in the Church, today. The enthusiasts for ‘synodality’ keep talking about it, but I can’t find any definition of what it is,” he said. 

During Lumen Fidei’s “CatholicVoice” conference in Ireland this past weekend, the Cardinal answered questions from LifeSiteNews on topics ranging from spiritual warfare, the attack on marriage, and the controversial notion of “synodality.”

When pressed on why he believed the term “synodality” was found throughout the final document from the “Youth Synod”, when the concept itself was never addressed, Burke replied: “It's typical of the synod of bishops in these last times that it's used as a kind of political tool to suddenly promote ideas that weren’t even discussed in the synod itself – and that’s not honest.”

When asked if the principle of “synodality” was applied to the USCCB Conference in Baltimore, MD last month — where the Vatican asked the bishops to delay voting on two measures to address the sexual abuse crisis — the Cardinal responded: “It’s difficult to say whether it was applied or not because there is no definition of the term.”

Addressing why a synod would be called, historically, Cardinal Burke explained that synods of bishops were created to reaffirm the teachings of the Church, never to dictate new doctrine. 

“There has existed in the Latin Church the notion of a synod—a synod was held in either a diocese or a province—or even on a national level—to find ways to teach the Catholic Faith more effectively and to promote the proper discipline in the Church. That’s basically what a synod of bishops is—that’s its definition. It’s a meeting of bishops to assist the Pope to see how to teach the Faith more effectively and how to promote a more faithful Christian life in accordance with the discipline of the Church. But now, seemingly, the term 'synodality' is being used to suggest that conferences of bishops would have Doctrinal Authority," he said,

"It’s all quite confused, and I would say very dangerous. People not understanding the notion of a synod correctly could think, for instance, that the Catholic Church has now become some kind of democratic body with some kind of new constitution,” he added.

Burke addressed this concept of “ecclesiastical deconstruction”—part of what some in the hierarchy have labeled the “new paradigm” -- by reaffirming the Petrine foundation of the Catholic Church. 

“The Catholic Church is an organic reality of grace, which comes to us from Our Lord, Himself. He constituted the Church — once and for all — the same: One Faith with the Sacraments, one discipline, one governance. These things have to, now, be made very clear,” he said. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider has also raised concern about the concept of synodality, saying last month that it was being used at the Youth Synod by some high-ranking clergy to “promote their own agenda.”

“Pushing through the theme of ‘synodality’ in the final document, in disregard for authentic synodal methods — since this topic was not sufficiently debated in the synod hall, and there was not enough time to read the final text, which was given to the bishops only in Italian – is a demonstration of an exasperated clericalism. Such ‘synodal’ clericalism intends to transform the life of the Church into a worldly and Protestant parliament style with continuous discussions and voting processes on matters that cannot be put to a vote,” he said. 

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Pro-abortion Irish health minister refuses to meet with nurses, midwives about abortion concerns

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

DUBLIN, Ireland, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-abortion Irish health minister and his deputy are still refusing to meet with pro-life nurses and midwives about their conscience rights.

In a recent press release, Ireland’s Nurses & Midwives for Life have said that the Irish government’s health minister Simon Harris and the leader of the opposition, Michael Martin, will not meet with them.

The group says that almost 500 nurses and midwives on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMI) register signed a petition in the last three weeks to Harris calling on him to protect their freedom of conscience and to support amendments to the republic’s proposed liberalized abortion law in relation to freedom of conscience.

“Nurses and midwives who do not want to participate in abortions are extremely concerned in relation to Section 24(3) of the bill which states *Section 24 (3) A person who has a conscientious objection referred to in subsection (1) shall, as soon as may be, make such arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as may be necessary to enable the woman to avail of the termination of pregnancy concerned,” said the group.

Meanwhile, they are “appalled” that members of the governing party have not supported various moderate amendments aimed at preserving the health and dignity of at least some of Ireland’s most vulnerable human beings.

“We are appalled that humane amendments in relation to pain relief for late abortions, resuscitation measures where a baby survives an abortion, the exclusion of disability, race or gender as grounds for abortion, parental notification and dignified disposal of remains have not been supported by any Fine Gael TDs,” the pro-life nurses and midwives wrote.

The group stated that they have “repeatedly” asked to meet with Harris and Martin to discuss their concerns, but they have received no “follow up.”

They have also said that there has been “little or no consultation with staff as to what impact this legislation will have on clinical practice and the impact on health service delivery.”

In addition, the pro-life nurses and midwives have sent the Minister of Health a letter telling him that the “intentional ending of the life of the unborn child” conflicts with their “conscientious commitment to life.”

The petition from nurses and midwives to Harris is below.

Petition to the Minister of Health, Simon Harris, TD

Dear Mr. Harris,

We are dedicated, hardworking nurses and midwives who care for patients from conception to natural death.  We have a conscientious commitment to life which accords with the values inherent in Our Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics.  We respect and defend the dignity of every stage of human life and we have a responsibility to make every valid or reasonable effort to protect the life and health of pregnant women and their unborn babies.

We are extremely concerned that the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018, in particular, Part 3 Section 24 (3)*, will seriously impact on our ability to practise. In 2018 two Scottish midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood were forced to quit their jobs when they refused to oversee abortions. For the first time this legislation, which differs from the 2013 Act, will permit the intentional ending of the life of the unborn child up to birth. For us as nurses and midwives participation in termination of pregnancy defined in relation to a pregnant woman, as a medical procedure which is intended to end the life of a foetus, is morally objectionable and conflicts with our conscientious commitment to life.

Participation includes any supervision, delegation, planning or supporting of staff involved in termination of pregnancy. We do not want to be discriminated against by our employers or victimised as employees if we exercise our right to freedom of conscience.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis in the Health Service and as yet there has been no effort made by you as Minister for Health to consult the nursing or midwifery professions on the clinical implications of this bill.

We are calling on you as Minister for Health

(a)       to consult our professions in relation to this legislation and

(b)       to support the amendments that have been tabled to protect our right to freedom of conscience so we will not be forced out of our professions.

Yours sincerely,

Marie Donnelly RGN  [Registered General Nurse] Chair
Margaret McGovern RGN Vice Chair
Catherina O'Sullivan RPN [Registered Practical Nurse] Secretary
Fiona McHugh Clinical Paediatric Nurse Specialist PRO
Nurses and Midwives for Life Ireland

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69-year-old Dutch man loses bid to change legal age, vows appeal

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By Calvin Freiburger

ARNHEM, Netherlands, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch court has rejected a 69-year-old man’s novel effort to shave two decades off of his legal age, in a case that echoes the “gender identity” debate on both sides.

Emile Ratelband is a 69-year-old life coach from Arnhem, a town southeast of Amsterdam. He sued last month in hopes of getting a court to change his birth certificate to say he was born on March 11, 1969 instead of his actual date of birth, March 11, 1949, arguing that he’s physically and mentally healthy enough that he should be able to reap the professional and romantic benefits of being considered much younger.

“If you’re 69 on Tinder, you’re outdated,” explained Ratelband. He added that his actual age has been a sticking point for potential clients concerned he can’t “speak the language of young people” despite being more knowledgeable and experienced than younger competitors.

Ratelband has something of a reputation as a “political provocateur,” raising questions as to whether his bid is sincere or just an elaborate stunt, but he says he subjected himself to a psychiatric evaluation to demonstrate his seriousness.

“Nowadays, in Europe and in the United States, we are free people,” Ratelband said, explicitly comparing his case to the case for transgenderism. “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age. My feeling about my body and about my mind is that I’m about 40 or 45.”

Last month, Ratelband’s oratory skills reportedly won him some sympathy from the court, but a judge had reservations about effectively erasing the first 20 years of his life from his birth certificate. Those reservations ultimately prevailed, CNS News reports.

“The court found that there was no scope in legislation or case law to allow such a ruling,” the Arnhem district court announced Monday. “The court did not find any reason in Mr Ratelband’s arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially registered name or gender.”

The announcement explained that the priority is to ensure “accurate factual information” in public registers, and that allowing fake dates of birth would make age-related rights and responsibilities such as voting and attending school “meaningless.”

“Mr Ratelband had failed to sufficiently substantiate his claim that he suffers from age discrimination, and in any case there are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth,” the court reasoned. “The court also rejected Mr Ratelband’s argument based on free will, since free will does not extend so far as to make every desired outcome legally possible.”

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” the court explained. “But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

Ratelband’s arguments about the age he “feels” himself to be echo LGBT activists’ claims that a gender-confused individual’s feelings should trump their objective biological sex. The court’s rejection of those arguments echo conservative concerns for the cultural, legal, mental, and emotional ramifications of erasing gender distinctions.

In responding to the ruling, Ratelband actually seemed pleased that the story would live on during appeal.

“The rejection of [the] court is great…because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I say [my claim is] comparable [to changing gender] because it has to do with my feeling, with respect about who I think...I am, my identity.”

In his column discussing the case, conservative commentator Dennis Prager agreed that both rationales are similar. “If sex doesn’t objectively exist, why does age?” he asked. “If feelings determine sex, why don’t feelings determine age?” Nevertheless, he saw the notion of gender fluidity as dangerous.

“We are living in a time of intellectual and moral chaos,” Prager said. “The political movement known as leftism or progressivism (not liberalism) is first and foremost a chaotic force. And nowhere is that chaos more evident than in the left’s attempt to end the reality that the human being is created either male or female.”

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Alberta religious schools challenge LGBT club mandate on parental rights grounds

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By Calvin Freiburger

CALGARY, Alberta, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Over two dozen religious schools in Alberta continue to fight for their right to not allow “gay-straight alliance” (GSA) clubs, six months after being blocked by an Alberta judge.

Bill 24, or “An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances,” requires independent religious schools permit the creation of GSAs if requested by a student, and forbids schools from informing parents when their children join one, unless the child consents to his or her parents knowing.

Represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), 26 schools of Christian, Jewish, and Sikh faiths challenged the mandates on constitutional grounds. But in June, Justice Johanna Kubik of the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Bench in Medicine Hat rejected their bid to block the measure, claiming “the public interest in promoting basic equality for staff and students of institutions supported by public funding would not be served by staying the provisions.”

Now JCCF has taken their case to the Alberta Court of Appeal in Calgary, the Calgary Sun reports.

“There is a problem with the School Act because it restricts information to parents,” JCCF attorney Jay Cameron told the court. “Parents’ rights and children’s rights are harmonious to a certain age.” JCCF has also argued that GSAs amount to “ideological sexual clubs” and frequently disseminate radical and graphic material.

“Government has mandated secrecy but abdicated responsibility,” he continued, referencing schools’ lack of control over the materials shared by GSAs. “Government has lost control.”

In response, the three-judge panel stressed that GSA membership was voluntary and students were free to talk to their own parents about involvement in school clubs, indicating sympathy with the government’s position, but they did express reservations about Education Minister David Eggen’s threat last month that “following this law is not optional,” and failure to comply could imperil independent schools’ funding.

“It seems to be an attempt by the government to make the appellants give up their litigation,” observed Justice J.D. Bruce McDonald. The other judges expressed concerns about the impact on several thousand Alberta students whose schools could be shut down over the standoff.

Province representative Kristan McLeod responded by claiming there was no evidence either that any school will actually lose funding, or that GSAs distribute graphic material.

In fact, the Alberta GSA Network website has linked to a variety of explicit materials related to topics such as bondage, masturbation, porn, and sex positions, all easily accessible to visitors to the site regardless of age. Furthermore, several parents testified in June that GSAs encouraged their children to believe they were “transgendered,” which in turn led to “psychological distress” and attempted suicide.

GSAs essentially take on a “leadership role” for “queer- and trans-informed education and activism” to compensate for a perceived lack of “anti-heteronormative and anti-cisnormative education,” Alicia Lapointe of the University of Western Ontario admitted in April.

The Alberta Court of Appeal has not yet revealed when it will release its written opinion on the case.

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GOP gives up trying to defund Planned Parenthood in lame-duck session

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December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With only four weeks left until Democrats assume control of the House of Representatives, pro-lifers had hoped for congressional Republicans to make one final push to defund Planned Parenthood before losing their majority. But GOP leaders have already thrown cold water on those hopes.

Last week, leaders and representatives of Live Action, Students for Life of America, the March for Life, and the Susan B. Anthony List met with administration officials at the White House to urge President Donald Trump to veto the upcoming budget agreement if it continues to finance the abortion giant.

Live Action president Lila Rose and Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins both sent letters to the president reminding him of his campaign pledge to defund Planned Parenthood, and urging him to follow through.

Hawkins’ letter specifically calls on Trump to “refuse to sign any budget that gives taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood,” move quickly on the Protect Life Rule against sending family planning dollars to abortion vendors, end all remaining funding of research using tissue from aborted babies, and cutting off sex education grants to abortion vendors.

Trump has once again floated threats to veto a budget that doesn’t reflect his priorities, but most Republicans are unwilling to draw a line in the sand on Planned Parenthood, Politico reports. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, attempted to rally support for another defunding effort, but his colleagues rejected it over fears of a potential government shutdown. A Cruz spokesperson says the senator will continue fighting to defund Planned Parenthood in the next session.

Politico quotes unnamed pro-lifers as being unwilling to force a budget confrontation, and instead favor a “longer term vision for incremental progress” that includes state laws, executive actions, and continuing to transform the judiciary. Judicial nominees only require approval from the Senate, whose pro-life majority is expanding next year.

President Trump is expected to continue advancing the pro-life cause through regulations, and enacting standalone pro-life legislation will be all-but impossible in the next two years. But other pro-life leaders expressed disgust with GOP leaders’ failure to do more in Trump’s first two years.

“They had two years to defund Planned Parenthood, and they failed,” lamented Hawkins. “It’s a huge frustration. We worked so hard to elect supposedly these pro-life Republican officials, and we expected results.”

“There would have been a much more motivated electorate if Republicans even gave the appearance of fighting more,” added March for Life vice president of government affairs Tom McClusky. “Instead, they seemed to be very good at negotiating with themselves and defeating themselves.”

A variety of factors contributed to the previous majority’s lack of legislative results.

The House of Representatives passed bills that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, repealed Obamacare, and banned abortions past 20 weeks, but they died in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to reconsider filibuster rules mandating a supermajority for most legislation, and pro-abortion Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski obstructed simple-majority votes on pro-life measures (for which GOP leaders never challenged or punished them).

Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, presided over multiple budgets that continued Planned Parenthood’s $543.7 million in government funding. Trump has threatened to veto previous budgets, but ultimately signed them. Despite these setbacks, most pro-life leaders remain either opposed or silent on changing the filibuster, and did not support conservative challengers to House GOP leadership.

Congress will vote this week on pushing back the December 7 funding deadline to December 21, ostensibly to account for services for former President George H.W. Bush. But many suspect less lofty motives for the scheduling change.

“They canceled this week, so two weeks puts us almost to Christmas – this puts pressure on members in that second week to cave and accept what leadership offers in order to get home for Christmas,” Blaze Media’s Nate Madden quoted a conservative Hill staffer as saying. Madden went on to call it “one of the swampiest plays in the book,” citing the Christmas Eve 2009 Senate vote to pass Obamacare as an example.

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WATCH: Mom who had abortion slams Irish politician in viral video for denying abortion regret

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

DUBLIN, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Irish woman who had an abortion 13 years ago has created a video that has gone viral in which she slams an Irish politician for labeling abortion regret as a “makey-uppy thing.”

Patricia Gaughran, mother of three living children, turned to Facebook last Friday to record her disgust with Irish TD (member of the Irish Parliament, or Dáil) Lisa Chambers for claiming women do not regret abortion.  

On Thursday, November 29, pro-life TDs Carol Nolan and Peadar Tóibín pleaded for an amendment to the proposed new law that would ensure abortion-minded mothers have access to ultrasounds. “We represent citizens who have told us they have experienced abortion regret,” said Tóibín.

“Abortion regret is a makey-uppy thing, and it does not exist,” retorted Chambers. 

"The ultrasound is useful for establishing the gestational age of the unborn child, which is necessary, and the woman will be asked whether she wants to see it,” Tóibín argued. “It is included in the amendment because abortion regret is a significant issue.”

“No, it is not,” chimed in pro-abortion TD Kate O’Connell. “It is nothing.”

Filming from inside her car so that her surviving children wouldn’t hear her, Gaughran gave Lisa Chambers an earful:

“I’m absolutely disgusted and so angry that you can dismiss women like me and thousands of other women out there who have suffered with depression, with anxiety, from suicide, drink, drugs, hospital stays--like me,” she said. “I have suffered. I’ve been in hospital after my abortion twice from trying to end my own life because I couldn’t live without my child.”

“I’ve suffered for the last thirteen years from anxiety and depression,” she added. “Are you telling me that my symptoms, that my abortion story, that what I’ve suffered was a makey-uppy thing? Are you telling me that I’ve made this up?”

"You do not understand what abortion does to a woman," she said. Gaughran demanded that the politician go and “educate” herself and offer an apology to post-abortive mothers who have suffered from the choice they made. 

Gaughran’s video has been seen over 46,500 times as of this writing.  

“Ms Chambers words caused huge offence and distress, with many women taking to social media to express their hurt and anger,” said Life Institute spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain.

The politician claimed that she had been responding to a suggestion that “abortion regret is an accepted medical condition and her intention was to highlight that it’s not a medical term.” 

However, Uí Bhriain said that a review of the Dáil record shows that this is untrue: nobody had suggested that it was.  

"We looked at the transcript of the Dáil debate for the day, and at no stage in the debate did any TD say that abortion regret was a medical condition or a medical term,” she said in a press release. “Lisa Chambers is simply trying to excuse her appalling remarks, but she is not being truthful in her claim, and she should be challenged by the media on this.”

"It's worth looking at what was actually said in the debate, because it reveals the mindset of both Deputy Chambers and of Deputy Kate O'Connell, and their callous disregard for women who regret abortion and do not suit their abortion narrative," she added. 

The pro-life campaigner also called for Chambers and O’Connell to apologize.

"Both Lisa Chambers and Kate O'Connell should apologise for their appalling remarks and their attempts to dismiss and silence the many thousands of women who have suffered regret, anxiety and despair after abortion. Their much-vaunted concern for women is clearly restricted only to the women who agree with them on abortion," Uí Bhriain said.  

Bernadette Goulding of Ireland’s “Women Hurt”, a group for post-abortive mothers, said that Chambers “might have thought twice” before making “such an ignorant statement” had she known the “devastating impact” her remarks would on women who live with “the heartbreak of their abortion.” 

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Shock: New York college actually stands up for pregnancy center’s rights

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December 4, 2018 (Pregnancy Help News) – Over the years, college campuses have grown a notorious reputation for being over-zealous echo chambers that suppress free speech – particularly that of conservative and pro-life students who don't toe the pro-abortion line.

So it's surprising when a school does just the opposite and protects the rights of students who disagree with abortion radicals.

This month, the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz did just that. 

In a refreshing move that pro-choice politicians should take note of, the school stood by its relationship with a life-affirming pregnancy help center – The Bravo Center – defending its presence on campus and opting for neutrality.

"We must remain viewpoint neutral and even handed when we make determinations [regarding guests]," Mike Patterson, student activities and union services director, told the school paper.

"If we had a Planned Parenthood, then it is only fair to have The Bravo Center," Patterson said. "It protects the interests of those students that might want this. That means you're going to have different viewpoints and ideologies."

The dispute began when the school's International Socialist Organization (ISO) discovered "there is not one accessible reproductive health care center for women within the area."

Instead, when the group did an online search for "abortion" or "female healthcare" in New Paltz, Google directed them to The Bravo Center, otherwise known as the Pregnancy Support Center of Ulster County, which has two locations nearby. 

Outraged, ISO concocted a predictably misleading opinion column for the college paper and orchestrated a protest at the pregnancy center's New Paltz location.

Parroting the incendiary rhetoric of the abortion lobby, the group's stated purpose was to "expose this fake clinic and demand the right to safe, accessible abortions" – a "right" that the pregnancy help center, of course, has no influence over.

But as outrageous as ISO's goal is, it certainly gets to the heart of why abortion advocates consider pregnancy help centers to be "fake clinics": They simply don't provide abortion.

Going back to the group's original Google query, the group said, "A quick Google search reveals that reproductive health care is barren in the town."

Oddly enough, my quick Google search revealed that there is at least one OB-GYN office within a 6-minute drive from the SUNY New Paltz campus. 

One has to wonder if even the offices of regular OB-GYNs would be considered "fake clinics" under the abortion lobby's excessively narrow definition of what it means to be a "real clinic."

And how interesting that in a town that is supposedly "barren" of any reproductive health care, a group of "reproductive health care" advocates would protest one of the few outposts offering any help to pregnant women whatsoever.

Established in 1986, The Bravo Center provides pregnancy tests, options counseling, abortion recovery support groups, community referrals, and material resources such as diapers to those in need – all free of charge. They're even anticipating offering ultrasound, with hopes to bring a medical director and nurse on board in the near future.

This spring, The Bravo Center's director was granted the chance to meet with clients on the SUNY campus once a week for eight hours. As she told the college paper, they don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

The Bravo Center's persistence in the face of the students' outrage is admirable, as is the university's defense of its students' interests and the pregnancy center's first amendment rights.

While New York and other city and state governments have targeted the rights of pregnancy help centers – even after the Supreme Court struck down one such law this June – at least this college is brave enough to entertain different viewpoints.

Indeed, considering the overly-sensitive political climate that has forsaken so many institutions of higher learning, SUNY New Paltz deserves major applause.

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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New study: When babies kick in the womb, they’re developing their brains

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December 4, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – In March this year, we reported on a study from Trinity College Dublin which found that babies move around in the womb because they are trying to develop strong bones and joints. Now, scientists at University College London may have discovered another reason why unborn babies kick.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that foetal movements enable a baby to construct a basic brain network so that it can understand what part of the body is moving and how it is being touched.

Feeling their surroundings

The team analysed the brainwaves of 19 two-day-old infants, some of whom were premature and were therefore assumed to be acting as if they were still in the womb. Using noninvasive electroencephalography (EEG) researchers found that when the babies kicked, a region of their brains that is linked to sensory input, known as the somatosensory cortex, was activated. 

The size of these brainwaves was largest in premature babies in the equivalent of the last trimester, and were no longer triggered by movement once the infants turned a few weeks old.

"Spontaneous movement and consequent feedback from the environment during the early developmental period are known to be necessary for proper brain mapping in animals such as rats. Here we showed that this may be true in humans too," study author Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi said.

Care for preemies

Mothers start feeling movements between 16-25 weeks gestation (though spontaneous movement starts at 7 weeks). Apart from shedding light on this aspect of pregnancy, this research could also be used to help premature babies.

"We think the findings have implications for providing the optimal hospital environment for infants born early so that they receive appropriate sensory input," said co-author Kimberley Whitehead, a clinical physiologist. "For example, it is already routine for infants to be 'nested' in their cots – this allows them to 'feel' a surface when their limbs kick, as if they were still inside the womb." "As the movements we observed occur during sleep, our results support other studies which indicate that sleep should be protected in newborns, for example by minimising the disturbance associated with necessary medical procedures."

Mothers might be glad to know that there is a reason for all the kicking, especially as another recent study found that a baby's kick has more than 10 lbs of force – more than hitting a tennis ball! 

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

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Virginia middle school bans Christmas carols that mention Jesus

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MIDLOTHIAN, Virginia, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A middle school in Virginia is barring Christmas songs “of a sacred nature” that mention Jesus Christ for the sake of diversity, excluding the one after whom Christmas is named.

David Allen, the father of a child at Robious Middle School, provided NBC 12 with a copy of an email exchange in which a chorus teacher explains, “We had a few students who weren't comfortable singing a piece I have done many times in the past, but it is of a sacred nature and does mention Jesus."

The decision was made in consultation with school administrators, according to the email, which NBC 12 summarizes as justifying it “in order to be more sensitive to the increasing diverse population at the school.”

Announcements on the school’s website indicate that Robious follows the contemporary practice of giving Christmas-season festivities secularized names such as “Winter Concert” and “Holiday Party” rather than using the holiday’s name.

"It just seems like... everywhere you look everyone's afraid of stepping on someone's toes or everything is being so sensitive," said Allen, whose child participates in the choir. "I'm trying to rationalize how you can encourage diversity and yet be exclusionary in one specific area.”

Allen argues that if diversity truly is the goal, Christianity deserves representation as well. Students "all can get a feel of [what] each individual religion, ethnicity and nationality have to offer. It's a school, it's a learning educational experience,” he said. “I wouldn’t object to my children singing Hindu songs during their celebratory period of time."

Breitbart reports that the religious freedom nonprofit First Liberty Institute has gotten involved in the case, with attorney Michael Berry writing Chesterfield County School District a letter explaining that the law does not require public schools to censor “sacred” content from holiday events.

“Federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of public school holiday programs that include the use of religious music, art, or drama, so long as the material is presented in an objective manner ‘as a traditional part of the cultural and religious heritage of the particular holiday,’” the letter said.

The socially-conservative group TFP Student Action has collected more than 17,000 signatures for a petition calling on Robious Middle School principal Dr. Derek Wasnock and the Chesterfield County School Board to reverse the policy.

“As a person who cherishes true freedom, I respectfully urge you to reinstate Christmas carols that mention the name of Jesus in your school,” the petition asks. “To remove Christ from Christmas guts the meaning of Christmas altogether.”

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What Pope Francis may really be doing by saying he doesn’t want gays to become priests

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By John-Henry Westen

ANALYSIS

December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The full book has not been released, but the teaser quotes from Pope Francis’ new book-length interview on clergy and religious life are causing a stir. The book suggests that active homosexuals within the ranks of clergy and religious are not acceptable. Only the most scrutinizing Pope-watchers will recognize Francis as having mentioned such things before since they seem to contradict so many of his words and actions.

The teaser quotes have the Pope warning against admitting practicing homosexuals into the priesthood. “In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection,” he says. “Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.” He added that homosexual priests and men and women religious should be urged to “live celibacy with integrity.”

Pope Francis has good reason to recognize the harm that homosexual clergy are causing. According to the recently-retired head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith which dealt with such cases, sexual abuse by the clergy was overwhelmingly homosexual in nature. Cardinal Gerhard Mueller has reported that more than 80% of victims of clergy sexual abuse are male. Moreover, Cardinal McCarrick's homosexual escapades, scandals such as the homosexual orgy in the Vatican apartment, and the public resignation of a homosexual Vatican priest hoping to alter the Chruch's teaching captured worldwide media attention.

Intentional or not, Pope Francis has established a pattern of saying one controversial thing which deflects attention from another controversial matter. For instance, the famous “who am I to judge” remarks – which exploded into a campaign seeing the Pope on the cover of many homosexual magazines – actually came in response to a question about a homosexually active priest.

Another such case was when Pope Francis became the first Pope in history to state publicly that contraception is permitted in certain cases. He predicated his remarks by calling abortion a “crime” – a narrative that stole both the attention of the media and also the hearts of pro-lifers. What many failed to notice, however, is that that remark was a prelude to his saying that the use of contraception (the pill and condoms) is permitted in grave cases such as where Zika virus may be transmitted, increasing the risk of birth defects.

In May of this year, Pope Francis told the bishops of Italy to exercise an “attentive discernment” regarding cases of possible homosexuality among potential seminarians. “If there is even the slightest doubt, it is better not to let them enter,” the Pope told them.  

Those remarks came in the wake of a widely-reported conversation between Francis and Chilean sex abuse victim Juan Carlos Cruz, who identifies as “gay,” which gave rise to grave concerns about the integrity of the faith on the subject of homosexuality. In comments the Vatican refused to deny or confirm, the Pope allegedly said, “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are.”

When the full book is released, will Catholics see an attempt to shift Catholic teaching on homosexuality (which of course cannot in reality be changed)? The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls homosexual behavior “acts of grave depravity” which are “intrinsically disordered,” and calls homosexual tendencies “objectively disordered.” The teaching of the Church also forbids any recognition of “civil unions” between homosexuals or silence about the immorality of homosexual acts.

Here are a number of reasons why some might worry about such a possibility:

  • Just this month, notoriously pro-homosexual Jesuit Fr. James Martin – who was made a Vatican consultant during this pontificate and a speaker at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland – stated that Pope Francis has gone out of his way to appoint “gay-friendly” bishops and cardinals in the Catholic Church.
  • Also this month, the Vatican approved a priest as rector of a Catholic university in Germany who has said and continues to maintain that homosexual couples should receive blessings in the Catholic Church.
  • In August, Pope Francis consecrated as a bishop and put in charge of the Vatican Secret Archives a Portuguese pro-homosexual priest.
  • In July, Pope Francis sent a three-page letter “blessing” and endorsing a Catholic ethics conference co-organized by Jesuit Father James Keenan, a public promoter of same-sex “marriage.” The conference featured many feminist and pro-LGBT speakers.
  • In March, a French priest announced in a televised interview that Pope Francis approved of his blessing of homosexual couples.
  • In February, one of the Pope’s top nine advisor cardinals suggested that spiritual encouragement of homosexual couples should be undertaken and blessings for homosexual couples should not be ruled out.
  • In a book-length interview in September 2017, Pope Francis signaled support for legal recognition of same-sex “civil unions.”
  • “Let us call things by their names,” he said. “Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a ‘civil union.’”
  • On October 2, 2016, Pope Francis referred to a woman who underwent a sex-change operation as a “man.” He referred to her as having “married” another woman and admitted to inviting them to and receiving them at the Vatican in 2015, describing the couple as “happy.” Clarifying his use of pronouns, the pope said, “He that was her but is he.”
  • Despite the avalanche of evidence of harm to the Church from the Pope’s “who am I to judge” remark on his first plane interview in 2013, he repeated the line in June 2016 while misrepresenting the Catechism on homosexuality.
  • In 2014, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago despite his reputation for telling priests not to join 40 Days for Life. After he demonstrated his dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality, saying homosexual couples should be given Holy Communion, Cupich was nevertheless named a cardinal.  
  • When the United States nuncio had pro-family hero Kim Davis meet with Pope Francis at the nunciature during his USA papal visit, Davis was refused permission to take photos of the meeting. When the media asked the Vatican about the meeting they first refused to confirm it, and after some time said that “the only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and his family.” The Pope’s former student, Yayo Grassi, was there with his sister, mother, and his homosexual partner. They took not only photos but also video in which Pope Francis can be seen embracing Grassi and his homosexual partner.
  • In May 2014, Pope Francis concelebrated Mass with and kissed the hand of a leading homosexual activist priest campaigning for changes in the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
  • Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the archbishop emeritus of Brussels, was a personal appointment by Pope Francis to the Synods of Bishops on the family in 2014 and 2015. In addition to wearing rainbow liturgical vestments and being caught on tape concealing clergy homosexual sex abuse, Danneels said in 2013 of the passage of gay “marriage”: “I think it’s a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want.”
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Javier Ortega, secretary general of Spain's Vox party shutterstock.com
Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq.

Opinion

Pro-life party ends 40 years of socialist rule in Spain’s largest region

Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones Esq.

SPAIN, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The French philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote that a counter-revolution is not the opposite of a revolution, but instead an active opposing revolution.  

The latest signs of the opposing revolution to modern secular globalism came on Sunday, when elections in Andalusia – Spain's most populous autonomous community (similar to an American state) – handed the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) its first defeat there since the modern constitutional era (1982).

The rise of an unapologetic God and Country counter-revolution to secular globalism is a reality in North America (United States), South America (Brazil), Eastern Europe (Hungary and Russia), and now, as the election in Andalusia proves, even in parts of Western Europe.

This anti-globalist counter-revolution is often identified with a worldwide "Trump effect." The comparison is appropriate not so much for who Trump is as an individual, but for the broad constituency who President Trump represents. In the post-soviet modern era where cultural marxism was vanquishing Western civilization with an effectiveness that the red army never could have dreamed of, Trump's unlikely victory over the cultural marxists of the modern Democratic party has given hope to many patriotic people around the world who are not comfortable exchanging their own national identity for Obama's utopian global citizenship.

Even after the victories of Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, and Jair Bolsonaro, the monolithic liberal media continue to be incapable of believing that this counter-revolution is not an isolated, redneck phenomenon.  

Pollsters completely failed to predict the election results in Andalusia, which allowed center-right parties, along with the new pro-life conservative Vox party, to gain enough seats to oust the Socialist party from its perennial seat of power in the southernmost and most populous region of Spain. And yet, the results could have been foreseen by any objective observer with a knowledge of 20th century Spanish history.

For Spain, the 20th century was one in which anarchists and marxist revolutionaries attempted to replicate Russia's revolution (complete with genocidal anticlericalism) but were defeated by Catholic traditionalists and fascists during the Spanish Civil War. After containing the marxist threat, Francisco Franco, the victorious Spanish general turned dictator, focused on creating a prosperous Spanish nation unified by Catholic traditions. As opposed to other dictators of the 20th century (Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Tito, etc.), Franco succeeded in lifting his nation from poverty and creating a unified nation capable of transitioning to a democratic monarchy. And while the role of the military was always an important one during the dictatorship, Franco did not create a militaristic state. Ultimately though, the traditional Spain of the 1950's and 60's would prove no match for the ravages of cultural marxism, which would claim Spain as one of its many Western European victims.

Like all marxists, as soon as Spanish cultural marxists gained power, they attacked traditional institutions in order to ensure long term power for themselves. Nowhere in Spain were the marxists more successful at this fundamental transformation than in Andalusia, where despite chronic astronomically high unemployment and a generalized societal atrophy, the Spanish Socialist Party retained power for almost 40 years.

All of this came to an end last Sunday, and the main reason is the emergence of the Spanish Vox party. Uniformly categorized by the international media as an anti-immigrant, far-right party, it is instead an openly pro-life and patriotic Christian conservative party that has filled the void left by the timid and morally ambivalent establishment center-right party known as the Popular Party.

When one looks past the liberal media spin at the actual platform of the Vox party, the fundamental components of basic constitutional conservatism are evident. On the economy, Vox proposes to keep taxes to a minimum and eliminate regulations that limit business development and growth. On social issues, Vox advocates for strong families and traditional views on marriage and strong religious liberty protections. They call for an end to abortion and the defense of the right to life.

On sovereignty, Vox proposes tighter immigration controls, especially with North Africa, as well as the total rejection of Catalan and basque separatism. On education, Vox is proposing school choice so that parents can decide where to send their children to school. There are some aspects of Vox that are unique to Spanish conservatism and do not translate directly to traditional conservatives in the United States or in other parts of the world, but the basic recipe is there: God and Country.

Also familiar to any American conservative are the profiles of the newly-elected representatives of the Vox party. One is a retired policeman, another is a doctor and mother of seven children, another is a housewife. There is a family law attorney and an experienced politician who changed party affiliation from the center-right to Vox; another is an IT professional and yet another is a small businessman. In essence, it is a cross section of a traditional Spain that for the first time in 40 years of democracy has the ability to vote for a party that represents their values, not those of a European or global elite.   

On the national level, the election in Andalusia is important because it constitutes a strong rebuke to the recently appointed Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, who came into power in June by impeaching the previous center-right prime minister with the help of the radical marxists and the regional separatists. Spanish media are currently reporting that Prime Minister Sanchez will most likely be forced to call for snap elections in order to be able to continue governing next year.  

On a global scale, the election in Andalusia, while not as important as Trump's or Bolsonaro's, is important because it shows that cultural marxism is no longer hegemonic, even in the heart of Western Europe. The movement for national sovereignty and traditional values is beginning to come of age and is showing the marks of a worldwide counter-revolution.

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Jason Craig

Opinion, ,

Enough already: The sex abuse crisis is not the laity’s fault

Jason Craig
By Jason Craig

December 4, 2018 (Those Catholic Men) – My local parish has recently begun a schola for the children, led by a very talented mother. The other mothers are often in the back, nursing and bouncing babies, and the fathers usually outside overseeing (lightly) whatever children are not participating and talking amongst themselves. If there was ever a "safe environment" for my children, that's it. Yet, one of the biggest headaches of the whole thing – bigger than the cat-herding of teaching young ones – is that we have to finagle people to sit inside so as to dot the I's and cross the T's of "safe environment" requirements for our diocese. It's a pain, and to anyone outside of a bureaucrat's office a foolish waste.

Many of us have gotten used to these requirements, but it might be time to push back, or at least remind the fathers-that-be (our bishops) that we, the parents, are not the problem. I know that needs to be said because many diocese are either publishing "reports" that list all of the requirements for youth protection in their diocese and how many people have gone through "training," or hosting fake Q&A sessions at parishes that are meant to say, "See, we did good things to protect your kids." This is their response to the scandals of late, and it's the worst response possible. I've been through the youth protection training and I, like most sane people, realize how silly the little video was (Virtus in my case). Really its harmless and all, but, as some have said, it seems like the penance imposed on the laity for the sins of the clergy.

But youth protection training failures are not the scandal right now. To reiterate, the bishops have lost the trust of the faithful by not curbing the cowardice in the face of evil or being directly involved with the evil itself. And, of course it's been said but can't be said enough, it's our money that has both funded the playpens of dirty uncles and then paid for their sins in the courts. We don't need reminders about policies and guidelines enacted after 2002. 2018 is a very different year.

This is not a PR problem folks. Stop writing reports of all your great deeds and sending in your officials to tell us solutions to problems we're not talking about, like how many of us are trained to keep predators away from our kids. Because of decades of failure in almost every measurable way, we're already skeptical about that official's salary and position as it is. We know how to keep our kids safe – in the Catholic Church it means keeping them far from the actively homosexual clergy and their nooks and networks. They are not safer because my friend's grandma is sitting in for me to fulfill safe environment training.

A better understanding of what has happened to the relationship between the laity and the bishops is a deep wounding. We are hurt by our fathers (See, Make Bishops Fathers Again). Sure, plenty of them are innocent, but not enough of them to make us stop asking questions and demanding more than an op-ed of courteous sorry-and-all-that's. And, as in the case of biological fathers that have violated the trust of their family, listing all of the things you did right won't help. We want to hear, out loud, what was done wrong (See, How to Make a Sincere Apology).

And, yes, we're now lumping all of the abuses together – liturgical, catechetical, etc. – because we have been abused too long. We have funded failure and grown up on spiritual saccharine. We are Catholics and have a right to hear and see Catholicism preached, prayed, and practiced. If you can't do this, go retire to a cabin or beach house somewhere. The Catechism, GIRM, and other such things are available online. We're not dumb. We want you to stop all of the abuse and get busy building a culture of truth and holiness – only that will save us (which has always been the case). When people are hurt, repent and show actions that communicate you understand how wrong the wrong was and how much you want to right it. Don't tell us we're safe because we're following the guidelines to keep our children's choir safe. We weren't worried about that.

Published with permission from Those Catholic Men.

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Shutterstock.com
Lou Iacobelli

Opinion, , ,

Canadian parents must demand choice in education to protect their children

Lou Iacobelli
By Lou Iacobelli

December 4, 2018 (Everyday for Life Canada) – An article in The Ottawa Citizen, titled "Parents' bill of rights is the wrong choice for Ontario" by Amber Labelle, deserves our response, since we are fighting for parental rights in Ontario and my name is mentioned.

Labelle is concerned that the current process of consultation by the Ministry of Education may result in a Parents' Bill of Rights. Labelle argues that she has lived in the United States where parents have a bill of rights that was used to "to undermine teachers, defund public schools and harm children, especially those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or who are questioning their orientation or gender identity." (Where is the proof of this harm? According to the courts, there needs to be a proof of harm!) Then there is the issue of "how it would be used nor its legal standing relative to existing provincial or federal law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." This is a mere distraction from the matter.

Labelle says that we must look to America to see the ill effects of such a policy because no parents' bill of rights exists in Canada. Her argument: parents will misuse this right... How? They will withdraw their children from classes that oppose their family values. So, "Commonly avoided topics are evolution, sexual health education, the existence of climate change and human influence on climate." The rights can also be used to avoid vaccinations and justify corporal punishment in the home. Notice that Labelle considers the issues mentioned as settled when they clearly are not. This is the big flaw of Equity Education. Its proponents push it as neutral and objective when it's not.

Who are the bad guys, according to Labelle? First, it's most parents because they will abuse the right. Second, it's the "far-right legislators; recognized hate groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom; and anti-LGBTQ religious groups such as Focus On The Family." Labelle makes it pretty clear: the Christian view of marriage, family and sexuality is wrong and must not enter the public school system... But, transhumanism, the belief in gender fluidity at will, has to be taught in all schools and believed by students and parents. Her view is not considered "hate speech." Hers is the same dictatorial approach used by the Trudeau Liberal government on Canadians who disagree with their policies. The government has shut the doors to pro-life people. All candidates for the Liberal party need to support abortion. The party also compelled employers to sign a value attestation in order to access government summer job grants. Now is this not hate speech and wrong?

Labelle cites the court case of Steve Tourloukis, backed by the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund. As chair of the Fund, it was not only I, but many parents across the province who gave donations to pay for the case. Their voices must be heard. In court, the arguments against Dr. Tourloukis were made by, get this, two lawyers from the Attorney General of Ontario, two lawyers from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and two lawyers from the Elementary Teachers of Ontario. Six lawyers were present to make sure that Tourloukis' parental rights and those of every parent in Canada, would be undermined. They used a pile of taxpayer money to fight taxpayers...and not only Christian taxpayers. Nevertheless, the court decision both by the lower and the appeal courts made it clear that parents do have rights and that those rights must be balanced against other rights. Although Tourloukis lost, the ruling was not one that totally overruled parental rights over provincial Equity and inclusive Education. To even suggest as Labelle does that this is the case is not accurate.

It is also a mistake to scare Ontarians into thinking that if parents have real choice in education then this freedom will destroy the public school system. The opposite is actually true: more choices and competition will make for a stronger educational system. The separate schools have made the public schools better than they would be without them. Competition is good. But of course if the agenda is to put an end to alternative choices in education, such as homeschooling, charter schools, private schools and Christian schools, then you argue as Labelle does that having a say or a choice is bad. It's not. The public system should not have a monopoly on education. This is a misguided strategy not based on democracy nor in keeping with the spirit of Canadian history and law.

Parents should make their voices heard by supporting a parental rights bill. If Labelle wants to truly "create a future where all children can thrive" then it must include others' views about education, not just those of the current or future governments. Forcing students to be taught an ideology is not true diversity; it's dictatorial! She wants rights for parents with a gender-confused child but not the same rights for parents with a gender-non-confused child. Look, my experience is that parents want all children to be safe and protected.

Sections 2 and 3 of Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state: "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace." And "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children." In Canada, both laws at the federal and provincial levels, including Equity Education, should support this declaration. A bill of rights for parents is a way to achieve this goal. It's the right choice for Ontario and Canada.

Published with permission from Everyday for Life Canada.

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Prof. Gerard van den Aardweg speaks at the John Paul II Academy for Human and Life and the Family conference in Rome May 21, 2018 Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
Gerard van den Aardweg, Ph.D

Opinion, ,

Jesuit magazine uses ‘gay science’ to deny link between gay priests and abuse crisis: Psychologist

Gerard van den Aardweg, Ph.D
By

Update Dec. 5, 2018: Footnotes have now been added to this report. 

Editor's note: Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg is a Dutch psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is one of Europe’s foremost experts on homosexuality. 

December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “Sexual orientation by itself is irrelevant to child sexual abuse behavior or risks,” stated an article published online at the Jesuit-run magazine America Oct. 22, 2018. In his article titled “No, homosexuality is not a risk factor for the sexual abuse of children” psychology professor Thomas Plante repeated this false slogan in a fruitless attempt to deny the rock-solid fact that “ordinary” homosexuality is most assuredly the key cause of the sex abuse scandals in the priesthood and of the ensuing cover-up maneuvers. 

Avoiding truth, propagating lies

The gay-normalization propaganda clings to the lie that homosexual attractions and behaviors are “by themselves” natural, healthy and morally and spiritually all right. So if some less desirable things turn out to be inherently connected to homosexuality – mental and medical disorders and ailments, excessive promiscuity, partner violence, substance addictions, and relative to our subject here, a substantially enhanced risk of molestation of minors – the gay reflex reaction is: blame discrimination, religious and social prejudices, invent whatever alibis, suppress media attention for the facts; but no critical word about what they revere as 'holy homophilia.' 

But then, how does a homosexual activist explain away these annoying, repeatedly confirmed statistics on abusing priests, and on male molesters of minors in general, for that matter? 

When all cases of minor abuse by priests, pre-adolescents and adolescents are taken together, about 80% concerned boys, so only 20% girls; Two-thirds of pre-adolescent victims are boys and 85% of adolescent victims are boys. Eighty percent (80%) of all victims are adolescents. (1) Thus the abuse of minors by priests is overwhelmingly homosexual: It is homosexual pedophilia as regards abuse of pre-adolescents, but pederasty (abuse of adolescents) in the overwhelming majority of all abuse cases. How can we deny that minor abuse by priests is a question of homosexuality?

Gay rationalization

Plante tries a desperate, almost comical escape: “Most [priest] offenders viewed themselves as more likely to be heterosexual than homosexual.” In other words, the implication is that most abusive priests were bisexuals who thought they might be predominantly heterosexual, so their homosexuality was 'irrelevant.' This gay rationalization or self-deception stems from the second John Jay Report. (2) Think of what “most” of these molesters of juvenile boys are alleged to have said about themselves: 'In hindsight, it is quite possible I am basically heterosexual.' So they generally felt they erred in their choice of the victim’s sex. If this fantastic idea proceeded from some of the abusers themselves, it cannot be made out, for the authors of this peculiar Report show themselves no less skilled in the art of gay rationalization. Anyway, no solid examination of the sexual attractions and fantasies of the offending priests has been made to verify this 'interpretation.' And there is not a shred of evidence for the existence of a type of male heterosexual who is inclined to abuse same-sex minors. 

Adult male molesters of boys invariably prove predominantly homosexual. Their fantasies about boys are obsessive, including their grooming, stalking, and clinging to their prospective victims, whether they are directed to pre-adolescents or teens. While on the other hand, no adult man with normal, heterosexual, feelings is sexually interested in boys; let alone that he would feel tempted to sexually seduce or molest them. No matter how lonely he may feel, or in what emotional crisis he may find himself.

Plante’s second argument for the “irrelevance of homosexuality itself” as the key cause of the priest scandals is that heterosexual men would be as likely to molest minors as homosexuals: “The vast majority [of abusers of minors of either sex] are heterosexual, married, and non-celibate lay persons.” Yes, because the vast majority of people are heterosexual. 

Nevertheless, according to the most reliable estimates, about 2% of male adults have homosexual inclinations, and this 2% are responsible for over 14% of the cases of molestation (which concern pre-adolescent and adolescent boys). Thus 98% of the adult male heterosexuals are accountable for 86% of the abuse cases (of a heterosexual nature) which indeed is the vast majority of the cases, however only in absolute numbers. (3)

It remains that the average homosexual man is more than 8 times more at risk to molest boys than the average heterosexual man to molest girls. (4) If, as it is in the overall population, only 2% of priests were homosexually inclined — and these would be responsible for 100% of the cases of abuse of boys — then the homosexual 2% are responsible for 80% of the cases of all abuse against minors (see above). And, the remaining 98% of priests, those who are heterosexually inclined, would be responsible for 100% of the cases of abuse of girls, what amounts to 20% of the cases of all abuse against minors. In other words, the average homosexual priest would be 200 times more at risk to offend than his heterosexual colleague. But perhaps, during the period of most abuse cases, up to 15% of the priests were homosexual or homosexual pedophiles. Then, the homosexual priests were still more than 20 times more at risk. 

Even if one wants to blame external circumstances or situational factors like the position of authority of the abusing priests – this psychologically nonsensical accusation of “clericalism” – the fact remains that it is homosexuality (and homosexual pedophilia) per se, by itself, that drives the priest to react to these circumstances by seeking sexual lust with young boys, predominantly with teens. 

Pedophilia v Pederasty

The close association between homosexual and pedophile-homosexual desires and the inclination to seduce or molest minors is a well-documented constant, both clinically and statistically. It is a consequence of the neurotic, obsessive nature of these feelings. Let me first clarify the terms “homosexual pedophilia”, “ephebophilia”, and “pederasty”. Heterosexual pedophilia stands for sexual attractions to pre-pubertal girls, homosexual pedophilia for attraction for pre-pubertal boys; ephebophilia for homosexual attraction to teens, and pederasty means sexual contact with teens. (5) The preferred partner age of most homosexually inclined men is adolescence and young adulthood; (6) therefore, seeking contacts with teens, which is the case with 85% of the adolescent (post-pubertal) victims of priests and with 70% of all priest victims taken together, male and female, is just ordinary homosexuality, namely, pederasty. The much higher frequency of homosexual than heterosexual molestation of teens, in general, has been well-documented all along. (7) For instance, a quarter of adult practicing gays admitted sexual experiences with minors under age 16. (8)

Homosexual pedophilia accounted for 64% of the alleged abuse of prepubertal victims of priests, which is 12% of all priest victims. (9) Thus pedophile homosexuality is a minor cause of abuse by priests. Fortunately, the suspect media habit of calling abusing priests “pedophiles” is on the wane, though the taboo on calling them “homosexuals” is far from lifted. Homosexual pedophilia, similar to ephebophilia or androphilia, is to be regarded a subcategory of homosexuality, not as an isolated disorder that has nothing to do with “normal” homosexuality, as is the favorite cliché of the gay propaganda. The pedophile homosexual is principally directed to boys who do not yet show the physical characteristics of puberty, but there is some overlapping between homosexual pedophilia and ephebophilia.

That this pedophilia belongs to the family of the “homosexualities” is confirmed by clinical and statistical studies on the causative or predisposing childhood psychological factors (parent-child interactions, peer relationships), which are much the same in ephebophiles, androphiles, and pedophiles. (10)

That homosexual pedophilia is part of “homosexuality” has always been recognized by gay activists. Homosexual pedophiles have always been prominent in the gay movement. The right-hand man of top homosexual activist Alfred Kinsey, Pomeroy, was a homosexual pedophile. (11) As one Dutch pedophile academic stated in an essay on pedophilia and the gay movement: “By acknowledging the affinity between homosexuality and pedophilia, the COC (official Dutch gay organization) has … broadened gay identity.” (12) Therefore, of all alleged cases of minor abuse by priests according to the statistics in John Jay I, 70% (ephebophilia) plus 12% (pedophilia) add up to 82% cases of homosexuality.

Swallowing gay ideology, hook, line, and sinker

The fairy tales told by Plante in order to deny the all-important involvement of homosexuality in the abuse epidemic signals the blindness to reality that often characterizes many homosexuals and pedophiles who want to see their feelings as normal. (Gay “self-normalizing” and “self-justifying”.) Whether or not he himself labors under the disorder, he clearly swallowed the gay ideology, hook, line and sinker. This most naïve statement of his admits of no other conclusion: “Many see  heterosexuality as normal … while believing that homosexuality is abnormal.” (13)

Gay and pedophile self-normalizers simply turn things upside down. Starting to deceive themselves, they are forced to deceive others. Unless they have the courage to be honest and recognize the abnormality of their inclinations and the wrongness of their behavior, they imprison themselves in an inner world of lies. (14) A mind thus obscured cannot produce but “gay science”, which a lesbian activist once defined as “potentially pernicious” and “more propaganda than truth”. (15) It doesn’t seek the truth but justifications for a sick ideology. In this mindset, Plante, apparently immune to what has become patently clear by the explosion of evidence during the last decades, peddles the same gay rationalization/justification today he sold in a Time interview in 2005: “Being homosexual doesn’t put you at higher risk for committing sexual offences against kids.” (16)

Pro-gay psychologists responsible for the wave of homo-scandals in the Church

So we must make the following observation. This psychologist, who was “comfortable with the 20% to 40% of the priesthood he believes are homosexually oriented” (17) and his not so few colleagues who shared his ideological blindness or psychological ignorance, are partially co-responsible for the wave of homo-scandals in the Church. (18) They acted on one of the “pernicious” gay-science myths, the harmlessness of homo-tendencies and behaviors. Their position has likely been used to help many homosexual young men enter into the seminary. Going by Plante’s present contentions, even today he seems unwilling to dissuade a seminary rector to accept “normal homosexual” candidates. 

The gay and pro-gay indoctrinated psychological and psychiatric professions have been a major force in the homosexualization of the seminaries and the priesthood. They are the ones to blame, not the handful of firm and courageous professionals such as Fr. John Harvey, the founder of Courage, psychiatrist Dr. Fitzgibbons, and an exceptional bishop who, in spite of the disinterestedness and unwillingness of the mainstream Church and most bishops and in spite of lack of money, helped good-intentioned homosexual men and priests to lead a chaste life, and some abusing priests to curb their impulses. (19)

No studies are necessary to discover what everyone knows: Since the sixties, a great number of bishops, modernist or orthodox, more or less gravely neglected their duties and abandoned their flock. For them, sexual sin was abolished, Humanae Vitae was a dead letter, and teaching the whole Catechism was antiquated. 'Why make problems about people with different sexual tastes?' such bishops likely reasoned. Only in such a general climate of decadence could the gay subculture flourish in the Church and develop its powerful networks. 

Influence of gay ideology on bishops has been immense

The influence of the gay ideology on the ecclesiastical bureaucracies and the bishops has been immense. We must remind ourselves that the pastoral letter on homosexuality Always Our Children (1997), approved by the majority of the American bishops, was a whining piece of gay promotion. Along with thickly laid on sentimentality and a lot of dramatization of the social victimhood of young people with homosexual tendencies, the false suggestion was given that homosexuality is inborn and that homosexual relations should be accepted. The “warm welcome” into the Church for people living in same-sex partnerships, which was actually advocated in that glib pastoral document, resurfaced unimpaired in 2014, in the Interim Report of the Bishops’ Synod in Rome.

These historically significant documents reflect the prevailing influences and moods in the Catholic Church up to the present day; they are pro-gay. Not the sound opinions and practical initiatives of the likes of Fr. Harvey and Dr. Fitzgibbons have thoroughly impacted the American Church but the lies, often dressed up as "science," and immoral ethics of gay ideology. This “compassionate” Always Our Children was even unwilling to recommend the authentically Catholic group Courage in a footnote. (20) Such pro-gay documents do not include the scientifically well-established insights of those psychologists and psychiatrists who explain homosexuality, not as something innate, but as a mental and sexual disorder and who point out that homosexual relations are de-humanizing, self-degrading and self-destructive, as has been perennially taught by the Church. No, included in these documents are the untruths, often masked as science, and sick morality of gay and pro-gay theologians, priests, and bishops. 

Symptomatic of the power of the gay ideology in the U.S. Church of the 1980s, the period Fr. Harvey started his enterprise of restoration, were the activities of the director of the St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland MD, the practicing homosexual psychiatrist Fr. Michael Peterson, well-financed and sponsored by prominent prelates such as the Cardinals Baum and Hickey. In this “treatment center” homosexual and pedophile priests were taught the ideology of the normalcy and unchangeability of their tendencies (only “be careful with children”), while the “expert” himself was allowed to indoctrinate many bishops with the gay science of Alfred Kinsey. (21) The influence and power of a gay guru such as this Peterson casts light on the veritable cause of the sexual abuse- and subsequent coverup crises: the homosexualization of the Church.

***

Notes:

1 John Jay Report I. Washington DC: USCCB, 2004; Table 3.5.4 

2 As an “interpretation” of unclear responses of a no less vague subgroup of priest offenders in a “treatment” center. The John Jay II study ( Washington DC: USCCB, 2011) “interprets” from an obviously pro-gay-prejudiced viewpoint a few methodologically substandard studies which used invalid inventories to compare some unrepresentative groups of abusing priests with arbitrary groups of non-abusing priests. The pointless scores and statistics falsely impress the layman as scientifically valuable. A lot of psycho-babble and use of unclear psychological notions must whitewash “homosexuality” as the core problem of the clergy abuse crisis. This psychological jargon was no doubt unreadable for the bishops to whom the report was addressed. 1 or 2 million US$ for providing a few pseudo-scientific arguments in order to distract the attention from the truth. 

3 According to official US statistics.

4 Roughly 10% of molestations of male pre-adolescent concern pre-teens, i.e., homosexual pedophilia. This does not significantly change the relative probabilities of homosexual and heterosexual adults to molest minors.

5 “Ephebos: Greek for male “youth”; “philia”: love.

6 Older large-scale European studies found that the ideal partner for 20% of practicing homosexuals was 13-20 years (ephebophilia), 17-25 years for another 20% (thus in part ephebophilia), and for 35% between 20-35 years (androphilia; “andros”: man). (Giese, H. Der homosexuelle Mann in der Welt. Stuttgart: Enke, 1958; Freund, K. Die Homosexualität beim Mann . Leipzig: Hirzel, 1963.) In practice, the borders between these groups are fluid (For ex., Marshall et al., Sexual offenders against male children: sexual preferences. Behavior Research and Therapy , 1988, 26 , 383-398). 

An American study indicated that as many as 80% preferred a lover between 15-20 years. (Zebulon, A. et al., Sexual partner age preferences of homosexual and heterosexual men and women. Archives of Sexual B ehavior, 2000, 29 , 67-76.)

7 A review in 1985, dealing with the period that much abuse by the clergy took place, concluded that 25-40% of the cases of “child” molestation reported in the literature were homosexual (Cameron, P. Homosexual molestation of children; Sexual interaction of teacher and pupil. Psychological Reports, 1985, 57 , 1227-1236. The distinction between pre-pubertal and adolescent children in these studies is not always clear). The risk of adult gay men to molest minor boys is 10-20 times the risk of adult heterosexual men molesting minor girls. (For convicts: Walmsley, R. & White, K. Sexual offences, consent and sentencing. Home Office Research Study. London: HMSO, 1979; for foster parents: Cameron, P. Homosexual molestations by foster parents: Illinois. Psychological Reports , 2005, 96 , 227-230; for teachers: Cameron, P. Teacher-pupil sex, how much is homosexual? Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior (online), 2007, 1 , 1-9.) 

8 Bell, A.P. & Weinberg, M.S. Homosexualities: A study of diversity among men and women . New York: Hill & Wang, 1978; Jay, K. and Young, A. The gay report . New York: Summit, 1979. 30% of the interviewees in the latter inquiry said they “were open” to contact with minors.

9 Statistics in John Jay I (2004). 

10 E.g., Mohr, J.W. et al. Pedophilia and exhibitionism: A handbook. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1964; van den Aardweg, G.J.M. On the origins and treatment of homosexuality . New York: Praeger Publishers, 1986. 11 Kinsey himself, a gravely perverted gay man, may have had pedophile tendencies too.

12 Sandfort, T.G.M. Pedophilia and the gay movement. The Journal of H omosexuality, 1987, 7 , 13, 89-110. 

13 Emphasis added.

14 This is what Robert Reilly analyzed in his Making gay okay: How rationalizing homosexual behavior is changing everything . San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014.

15 Camille Paglia, Statement at a symposium at Harvard Medical School, 1993. Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, 1997, 4 , 3.

16 Time, October 17. 2005.

17 Plante’s estimate of 20-40% homosexual priests is a substantial exaggeration. He would feel “comfortable” with a priesthood almost half of which is/would be gay. Normal men and women will feel anything but happy if that were the reality, it is a typical gay preference. Wishful exaggeration of the portion of homosexuals in society (the illogical idea is: the more, the more normal) has always characterized the gay propaganda. Kinsey’s distorted statistics “showed” that at least 10% of the male population were homosexually interested. However, it is true that a disproportionally high percentage of priests have homosexual feelings; I would guess up to 15% since the 1960s, and considerably less earlier. The affinity of many Catholic homosexual men for the priesthood and of many Protestant homosexual men for Protestant ministry is another fact of all times. In my view, it is not a question of vocation, but of certain character and personality weaknesses which are endemic in homosexual men.

18 “All four Church-contracted psychologists interviewed by Time agreed vociferously with his [Plante’s] contention that homosexuality doesn’t make one more likely to sexually abuse children.” (Time, 10.17.2005.) 

19 ​A note in defense of Fr. Harvey, Courage, and psychiatrist Dr. Fitzgibbons.
A recent article in Crux accused Fr. John Harvey, Courage , and Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons of having substantially contributed to the abuse crisis in that they directly or indirectly influenced many bishops to refrain from punishment in cases of offending priests. (White, C. Courage founder pushed bishops to resist zero tolerance on abuse. Crux , 2018, Oct.)
As for Fr. Harvey, he recommended leniency when he thought zero tolerance threatened to be over-emphasized at the cost of justice to certain perpetrators, but as far as I knew him from the occasional contacts I had with him since the late 1980s, he was not averse to disciplinary measures, much less in cases of recidivism or possible recidivism. His philosophy was however that neither punishment was the real solution, nor psychological treatment by itself, but religious and moral conversion. (E.g., Harvey, J.F., The homosexual person. S. Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987, 226).
He was not at all the type of sentimental psychologist or pastor who view and treat the homosexual abuser (or homosexual men in general) one-sidedly as victims of childhood “traumas”, stressful circumstances or “availability”, or “discrimination”, as if they had no conscience, free will and responsibility. He treated them with realistic sympathy and understanding, with what he called “tough love”, and taught them to treat themselves the same way. His chastity program was and is demanding: conquer yourself. He was realistic about the personality weaknesses and defects of the average person with homosexual tendencies. He was not naïve either on the modest effects of counseling and of his own retreats for abuser priests: “Several relapsed” (Harvey, 1987, 139). On the results of one project for priests who had molested children and teens (pederasts and pedophiles) he soberly wrote that “we have been able ... to help [these] 14 clerics to get some measure of control over their lives.” His next sentence very much deserves being memorized and meditated on because it formulates in a nutshell the deep-seated personality and moral-religious disorder of most homosexual abusers: “Psychologically, they are like little boys [emotional immaturity], morally, they lack sensitivity concerning the damage they may have done to these young people [moral-value blindness and self-absorption]; and spiritually, they have lost contact with their God in the depths of their souls[alienation from God].” (Harvey, 1987, 226). Is it likely that a man with this insight rashly advised or inspired bishops to expose abusing priests to a new situation of temptation? Fr. Harvey’s quick accuser(s) must come up with at least a handful of documented cases where his misguided advice or disproportional leniency had led to a priest’s recidivism. Should they fail to do that, they will have to bow their head(s) in shame for having besmirched the memory of a good shepherd and courageous pioneer. 

Then there is the insinuation that “the methods” of Courage and Dr. Fitzgibbons substantially favored the cover-up mentality, notably in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. Again, without the support of anything in the way of objective evidence. Only a series of far-fetched contentions launched out of thin air. No substantiation with well-documented cases of coverup on the instigation of the accused, no witness testimony by at least a few bishops who would have been led astray by Courage, Dr. Fitzgibbons cum suis

Dr. Fitzgibbons is known as a man of great integrity. He wrote critically about McCarrick before his case exploded; he can testify never to have treated an abuser priest who thereafter was returned to ministry, and to have treated only once such a priest who had not already been removed from ministry.
He (and his co-author Kleponis) did not write they believed a certain group of 21 priests of the Philadelphia diocese were innocent, but that their responses to a “test” that falsely pretends to assess sexual interests in children should never have been used as incriminating evidence, for that constituted grave injustice against the accused, regardless of their guilt or innocence. They found the only priest of these 21 they examined sexually normal and innocent, convicted largely on the basis of the incompetent, arbitrary, thus highly irresponsible interpretation of the man’s responses to this “test” that allegedly had assessed his “unconscious sexual interests” in little girls. (In other words, the accused himself had no idea of his tendencies, but the apparently telepathic psychologist knew what went on in his “unconscious”. And this was “evidence” for the priest’s criminal sexual behavior... ) Objecting to the use of this test was in fact an honorable act of justice and professional integrity. Indeed: Methodologically, this (Abel) test is absolutely invalid, i.e., does not measure what it insolently claims to “measure”; it is charlatanry, no more reliable than gazing into a crystal ball. So much for the solidity of the accusations against Dr. Fitzgibbons in Crux . (One or two more similar contentions are of the same quality.) 

In conclusion: This is a case of defamation, libel. Which at any rate, despite five years of “paradigm shifts”, still is a serious trespassing according to the Catholic Catechism. 

20 The archbishops of Philadelphia, Bevilacqua and Krol were accused in a Grand Jury Report of 2005 of massively covering up repeated sex offences in their diocese. If one seeks who might have influenced them: they were close with the pro-gay prelates Mahony, Brown, Rigali, and McCarrick but had no contacts with a Dr. Fitzgibbons or Courage people (Engel, 2006, 915, 1007, 1170). 

21 Engel, R. The rite of sodomy: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church. Export, PA: New Engel Publishing, 2006, 586 ff. Like her predecessor, Fr. E.T. Rueda ( The homosexual network: Private lives and public policy. Old Greenwich CT: Devil Adair Company, 1982), pro-life journalist Randy Engel has much concrete information. Though some of her stories and conclusions are better documented than others, her book is a valuable source for the history of the homosexualization of the American Church. 

As for St. Luke’s: Was this one of the “treatment centers” for abusing priests that produced one of the studies John Jay II used for its pro-gay speculations? 

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Charity concert at Cdl. Schönborn’s cathedral features shirtless actor dancing on Communion rail

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By Maike Hickson
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December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is facing criticism for allowing and attending an event in his Vienna cathedral featuring a shirtless, pro-homosexual actor standing on the altar rail, loud rock and electronic music, and actors dressed as demons.

Father Johannes Maria Schwarz, an Austrian priest, published an article today on the website Kath.net commenting on the November 30 World AIDS Day charity concert that took place in Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's St. Stephen’s cathedral. While the money ostensibly went to a good cause – an HIV hospice in South Africa – Father Schwarz sees that this house of God, “the heart of Catholic Vienna,” is being turned into a “multipurpose hall.” The event might well show “the death of a feeble Church,” he commented.

Cardinal Schönborn, the Order of Malta, and Gery Keszler's LGBT Life Ball – who last year organized a charity event for HIV patients that drew much criticism – hosted the event. Part of the event was the performance in the cathedral of a play written by Hugo von Hoffmansthal, but in a “reloaded” way, with loud electronic and rock music. Philipp Hochmair – a well-known Austrian actor who already has played various roles on stage nude and who has also played homosexual roles in different pro-LGBT movies – was the main actor of that “Jedermann reloaded” performance, together with his band God's Electrohand (Elektrohand Gottes).

In pictures, he is shirtless, standing on the altar rail. The concert was loud, with flickering lights, and many actors were dressed as demons. The Jedermann (Everyman) play depicts a wealthy man in his last hours of life who realizes that neither his friends nor his money follow him into death. He then converts to Christianity. The organizers proudly stated afterwards that they solicited and received 68,000 euros in donations.

However, for Father Schwarz, the good cause of this concert is not enough to justify the fact that it was performed in the house of God.

“I am ashamed of my Church in this and in other questions,” he writes. “We do not fear the Almighty anymore! Nothing is anymore holy for us! We trample upon the souls that are entrusted to us!” There would surely have been another way of promoting the “great initiative of Father Gerhard Lagleder,” who works with HIV patients, Father Schwarz politely adds. Moreover, Schwarz saw that Hochmair the actor was dancing on the communion rail, “with a bottle of beer(?) and microphone” in hand, with Cardinal Schönborn observing from the first row.

The communion rail is an “extension of the altar,” Schwarz pointed out.

“Did one now really forget the significance of the altar rail?” he asks. “Also at St. Stephens' Cathedral? That is to say, there where the faithful, at all Masses, still receive the Living God at that holy extension of the altar? It seems so.”

“The Cathedral of Vienna is now a multipurpose hall, a place where it does not rain and which is badly heated, but at least it offers ‘ambience.’”

If we do not have any other idea of how to promote a good cause, he continues, “then the performance of Jedermann at St. Stephen's Cathedral is not only the story of the death of a wealthy man, but also of the death of a feeble Church.”

Some Catholics might also object to the fact that Cardinal Schönborn gave permission for Philipp Hochmair – who has performed naked on stage, starred in homosexual love scenes in movies, and has a strong liking for playing diabolical figures on stage – to perform in the cathedral.

Many Catholics might likewise ask whether such a performance is not really, and in several respects, a slap in the face to God – as was the previous event at St. Stephen's Cathedral last year, at which  Conchita Wurst, a famous drag queen, gave a speech.

The homosexual activist and co-sponsor of the November 30 event and last year’s featuring the drag queen claimed in September that Cardinal Schönborn blessed him and his homosexual partner at a private dinner. After the blessing, said Keszler, “his confidant had brought a bottle of champagne, and he loosened the cork, and after this blessing, this cork bursts into the air, comes thundering down, and breaks his plate – my most expensive Meissen plate!”

“This was no little bit of a forced outing for the cardinal,” Keszler says, “but since he has done it, he probably will also be fine with me saying it.”

Later, Cardinal Schönborn said he merely blessed Keszler and his partner as the hosts of that evening, thus denying having performed a special blessing of the homosexual couple.

Of the rock concerts, flickering lights, and half-naked dancing actors on the Communion rail, Father Schwarz says: “I am ashamed of my Church in this and in other questions. We do not fear the Almighty anymore! Nothing is anymore holy for us! We trample upon the souls that are entrusted to us!”

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What Vatican II said—and didn’t say—about the liturgy

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Today is the 55th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which took place on December 4, 1963. It is a cause for amazement just how much nonsense people have attributed to it, how much harm they have justified by airy appeals to its supposed requirements.

Today, there are few who could tell you accurately what Vatican II actually did say about the liturgy—and more importantly, what it did not say. It may be helpful, therefore, to offer a brief overview of the most salient features of the Council’s teaching on the liturgy.

The introduction of Sacrosanctum Concilium exhibits a mystical, contemplative, symbolic vision of liturgy. The remainder enunciates two controlling principles for renewal: first, “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation (actuosa participatio) in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (§14); second, “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (§23).

In a 1998 address, John Paul II explained the meaning of the first principle:

Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song, and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness, and listening: indeed, it demands it. … In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be countercultural.

As for the second principle, the Constitution generally models the modesty it recommends. It brings forward various proposals, yet there is a surprising absence of the very things people most often associate with Vatican II.

Thus, the Council never said that Mass should cease to be in Latin and should only be in the vernacular. The Constitution reaffirmed that the fixed parts of the Mass would continue to be in Latin, the very language of the Roman Rite, but gave permission to vernacularize some parts, such as the readings and the general intercessions (§36; cf. §101). After stating that the people’s language may be used for some parts, the Council added: “Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (§54). Latin remains, to this day, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and of her liturgy. It is surprising, to say the least, that the aforementioned desiderata of Vatican II are only rarely achieved.

The Council never said that Gregorian chant should be set aside in favor of new songs. On the contrary, the Council acknowledged Gregorian chant as “specially suited to the Roman liturgy” and deserving “foremost place” (principum locum) in the celebration of Mass, along with the great musical compositions of our heritage (§114–§117). New songs could be added as long as they suited the liturgy—which most of the new songs after the Council didn’t and still don’t.

The Council breathed not a word about the priest “facing the people” over a table. The Council assumed that Mass would continue to be offered at an altar by a priest facing eastwards, so that priest and people were together aligned towards the East, symbol of the Christ who is to come—the universal custom of all liturgical rites, Eastern and Western, from the beginning. In fact, the rubrics of the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI presuppose that the priest is facing eastwards.

The Council never dictated that tabernacles be moved from the center of the church, that sanctuaries be “reordered,” or that altar rails be removed. It said nothing about receiving communion in the hand while standing. It assumed that communion under both species would continue to be of rare occurrence among the non-ordained (cf. §55); extraordinary ministers of holy communion are nowhere mentioned. Lastly, the Council did not downplay or discourage traditional practices of piety such as Eucharistic adoration and Marian devotions.

Consider how Pope John Paul II, in a 2001 address, explained the essence of the Mass:

The celebration of the Liturgy is an act of the virtue of religion that, consistent with its nature, must be characterized by a profound sense of the sacred. In this, man and the entire community must be aware of being, in a special way, in the presence of Him who is thrice-holy and transcendent. Consequently, the attitude of imploring cannot but be permeated by reverence and by the sense of awe that comes from knowing that one is in the presence of the majesty of God. … [The Mass] has, as its primary aim, to present to the Divine Majesty the living, pure, and holy sacrifice offered on Calvary once and for all by the Lord Jesus, who is present each time the Church celebrates Holy Mass, and to express the worship due to God in spirit and truth.

Anyone who attends a Catholic liturgy ought to be able to see, hear, and internalize the attitude and the aim of which the late Holy Father speaks. Pope Benedict XVI taught us, in word and in deed, the very same lessons. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote many years ago:

In the history of the postconciliar period, the Constitution on the Liturgy was certainly no longer understood from the viewpoint of the basic primacy of adoration, but rather as a recipe book of what we can do with the liturgy. In the meantime, the fact that the liturgy is actually ‘made’ for God and not for ourselves seems to have escaped the minds of those who are busy pondering how to give the liturgy an ever more attractive and communicable shape, actively involving an ever greater number of people. However, the more we make it for ourselves, the less attractive it is, because everyone perceives clearly that the essential focus on God has increasingly been lost.

Thanks to many acts and documents of Benedict XVI, above all Summorum Pontificum, the future of Catholic liturgy looks bright again—if only we will trust and embrace the age-old tradition of the Church. This treasury of wisdom and beauty is far more valuable than the wares of the so-called experts who set up their trade in the temple. When the Lord in His mercy wills it, He will prepare a whip of cords and drive them out.

The Christian people who have suffered so much from the “spirit of Vatican II” deserve to know what Vatican II really taught and did not teach about the liturgy—what it asked for, and what it did not ask for. Sacrosanctum Concilium will not come off looking blameless, but it cannot be blamed for the most obviously disastrous things that happened to the liturgy in the mid- to late 1960s. For this, the blame lies largely elsewhere, as a new biography shows with utmost clarity.

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