All articles from December 5, 2018


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South Carolina to introduce ban on aborting babies with beating hearts

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By Calvin Freiburger

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina, December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life lawmakers in South Carolina plan to hit the ground running in the new legislative session by attempting to pass a law that would protect the majority of pre-born babies in the state from being aborted.

Starting in January, several Republicans plan to push for a ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, the Greenville News reports, a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) or dismemberment abortions, and a Personhood Act expressly protecting a right to life from conception onward. Pre-born babies’ hearts finish forming around seven or eight weeks into pregnancy.​​

More than 60 percent of South Carolina’s abortions last year were committed after six weeks of gestation or post-fertilization, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The state currently allows abortion through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. In October, it stripped Planned Parenthood of “family planning” subsidies. In May, a state Senate vote effectively killed a bill that would have banned almost all abortions.

“It’s a common-sense bill. If a heart stops beating permanently, the person is dead,” said state Rep. John McCravy, a Republican. “Common sense should tell us that when a heart is beating, we have a precious human life that should not be terminated.” Versions of the legislation introduced in previous years made exceptions for rape, incest, or threats to a mother’s life, but McCravy wouldn’t yet say what if any exceptions the latest draft would include.

“Whether the child is born or pre-born, murder is wrong and the government [has a primary] duty to protect a fundamental right to life,” declared state Sen. Larry Grooms, a Republican who plans to introduce the Senate version of the legislation.

Democrat state Sen. Margie Bright Matthews dismissed the bill as a “waste” to “please the fringes of a political party” that distracts from priorities such as education and jobs, but Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said through a spokesman that he remains committed to pro-life priorities.

“We’ve got a governor now that signed the Personhood pledge,” Republican state Sen. Shane Martin said. “I’m hoping that with our fight and the governor’s support, we can get some of these so-called pro-life Democrats and Republicans to actually vote pro-life.”

The GOP retained control of the state legislature after the November elections, but lost some reliable pro-life votes in the Senate. Further, even if the bill reaches McMaster’s desk it’s still certain to face an intense legal battle. Iowa enacted a heartbeat law earlier this year that’s currently tied up in the courts, and Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich has cited the cost of a lawsuit as his reason for threatening to veto his state’s recently-passed heartbeat bill.

In South Carolina, however, McMaster and Republicans have repeatedly signaled a willingness to challenge the Supreme Court’s prevailing abortion precedent by enacting pro-life laws, and think President Donald Trump’s replacement of liberal Justice Anthony Kennedy with Justice Brett Kavanaugh means that now is the time to press this confrontation.

“We have a moral obligation to defend life,” GOP state Rep. Steven Long said. “The court system is primed and ready for a good piece of pro-life legislation. Now is the time we need to be pushing and fighting to get legislation like this passed. The tide is turning.”

“We have a great chance this year [...] to make sure we are protecting all life as the Constitution requires,” GOP state Rep. Josiah Magnuson agreed. “No life can be taken without due process of law, and I believe that is the state’s highest responsibility.”

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Kelly Salomon

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Faithful college coming to New England to help spur Catholic revival in ‘secularized’ Northeast

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By Kelly Salomon

December 5, 2018 (Cardinal Newman Society) — The Catholic Church in New England will soon have a new higher education option with the arrival of Thomas Aquinas College, a well-respected Great Books college in Santa Paula, California, that plans to begin classes next fall at its new branch campus in Northfield, Mass., pending approval from its accreditor.

It joins two other nearby colleges — Northeast Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire, and The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire — providing authentic Catholic education and embracing faithful Catholic tradition, liturgy and culture in a region where Catholics have struggled with clergy scandals and increasing secularism. All three colleges are recommended in The Newman Guide for their strong Catholic identity.

“When Pope John Paul II made the case for the ‘new evangelization,’ he acknowledged that the faith has withered in many societies where it was once dominant, such as our own,” said Philip Lawler, a Catholic journalist and program director of the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture at Thomas More College.

“New England is ripe for this ‘new evangelization,’” Lawler believes. “The pendulum has swung so very far in one direction — toward secular materialism — that a reaction is inevitable. In the long run, people will not accept an ideology that is so foreign to the intrinsic nature of man.”

For four decades, Thomas More College has provided a traditional Catholic liberal arts education and helped lead and inspire the renewal of Catholic life in New England.

Likewise, Northeast Catholic College students enjoy a strong Catholic, liberal arts education while serving the poor in the Boston area or sharing the cultural and musical traditions of the Church. The college’s president, Dr. George Harne, says the faculty and students “are seeking to build bridges through liberal education and to be faithful to our own calling.”

That, Harne says, is especially important in New England. He describes it as “one of the most secularized, post-Christian parts of the country,” where there is a “sense among those who live here that ‘we’ve tried Catholicism and it has failed.’”

Northeast Catholic and Thomas More invite Catholics to rediscover the richness of the faith and intellectual heritage that laid the foundation for New England values of religious freedom, individual rights and social responsibility. Now Thomas Aquinas College will join in the conversation, with its experience facing similar challenges of secularism in California.  

“Having a strong Catholic identity has been key to the College’s success,” said Anne Forsythe, director of college relations. “That identity can be found not only in our campus life and in the vibrant spiritual life of our students and faculty, but also — and primarily — in our academic program, which is ordered to theology, in particular the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church’s Universal Doctor.”

The College was donated the Northfield campus by the National Christian Foundation, which considered more than 150 applicants. The campus formerly housed a preparatory school and consists of 100 acres of land and 20 buildings.

“We have heard from many alumni of the former Northfield school, who have been praying for years that a solid Christian — and in some cases, Catholic — school would rejuvenate their beloved campus,” Forsythe continued. “So it appears very much that God has great things in store, and Thomas Aquinas College is looking forward to becoming part of this thriving community and to doing our part to help revitalize Christian culture.”

Kelly Salomon is director of Newman Guide programs for The Cardinal Newman Society.

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Apple CEO: It’s a ‘sin’ NOT to ban those who disagree with company’s ‘values’

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By Doug Mainwaring

NEW YORK, December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Monday that his company’s mission extends far beyond designing hardware to spreading Apple’s own interpretation of morality.

In what is an ironic co-opting of religious terminology, the secular tech mogul made his appeal speaking about “morality,” “sin,” and that which is “sacred.”

Cook, who recently announced that being gay “is God’s greatest gift to me,” said technology companies have a moral obligation to ban certain people and content from social media and digital platforms, and that to not do so is a “sin.”  

“My friends, if we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, then we’ve got big problems,” declared Cook. “At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions.”

“I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong,” he continued. “Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin.”

The Apple CEO offered his religion-tinged remarks while accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s first ever “Courage Against Hate” award in New York City.

Cook made it clear through repetition that the standard for being banned from social media should be opposition to the “values of Apple.”

Invoking the name of holocaust survivor and noted author, Elie Wiesel, Cook explained that Apple has a mandate to “not be indifferent,” which moves Apple “to speak up for the LGBT community,” immigrants, and others.

Anti-Defamation League CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt explained that Cook was receiving the award because he had already banned certain individuals and organizations, including Alex Jones and his conservative news site, Infowars.  

“Apple was the first company to remove Alex Jones’s hateful anti-government conspiratorial rants from their platform, and other tech companies, as we know, followed their lead,” said Greenblat.

To some, Cook’s remarks appear to be a thinly veiled warning to conservatives and Christians to brace themselves for exclusion from social media as tech giants begin to wield their own peculiar brand of religious power.

“They understand how much power they have now and know the media won’t challenge them as long as they continue deplatforming their enemy,” tweeted Patrick Courrielche.

“Sin is a religious concept,” said John O’Sullivan. “Tim Cook seems to be suggesting that the internet should be censored on explicitly religious criteria. He's making a case that we need a reform to make the internet subject to the First Amendment. Bold, transgressive, theocratic. Where's the ACLU?”

“Yes Tim Cook, we know you're a paragon of virtue & think (you) have Divine Inspiration & Apple isn't just a business but an instrument of God,” observed Sharon Maclise. “But WE think it’s a sin that (you & your) tech monopoly are not prosecuted under antitrust laws as you should be.”

“If you don’t understand why this is scary you need to research history more,” warned Ben Askren.

“What Cook apparently means is that it’s morally wrong and a ‘sin’ not to ban viewpoints he doesn’t agree with,” observed American Mirror’s Martin Walsh.  

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New trade deal would make it harder to crack down on social media censorship

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump promised that “all of our countries will benefit greatly” from the newly-signed trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but another provision has been discovered that raises concerns about far-reaching consequences for some of the president’s most loyal supporters.

Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), last week at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

“This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever,” Trump said, and “will ensure a future of prosperity and innovation for Mexico, Canada, and the United States.” But Breitbart reveals that one of those changes threatens progress on an issue Trump himself has promised to confront: tech giants’ censorship of conservative views on their platforms.

The agreement’s “Article 19.17: Interactive Computer Services” says that “no Party shall impose liability on a supplier or user of an interactive computer service on account of [...] any action taken to enable or make available the technical means that enable an information content provider or other persons to restrict access to material that it considers to be harmful or objectionable.”

Breitbart tech expert Allum Bokhari says this essentially gives social media platforms and other online services immunity from any potential lawsuits over improper censorship of particular political views. At first glance the provision seems insignificant because it merely reflects similar language in U.S. law, but the danger is that enshrining it in an international agreement would make it all-but impossible for Congress to change without cooperation from their counterparts in other countries.

Online censorship is currently a hot-button issue over numerous instances not only of conservative voices improperly restricted on Facebook, Twitter, and the Google-owned YouTube, but of insiders at all three companies discussing their partisan motivations.

Facebook and Twitter insiders have admitted to targeting conservative accounts and topics, and multiple private exchanges have leaked expressing a desire to use their power to shape political narratives. Multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes disproportionately harmed conservatives. In September, PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard found evidence that Google manipulates search results to favor left-wing news sources.

Among the individuals and groups improperly restricted since 2016 are various Republican leaders, officeholders, and candidates; pro-life groups such as LifeSiteNews, Live Action, and Susan B. Anthony List; conservative commentator Jesse Kelly; Dennis Prager’s Prager University, “Activist Mommy” blogger Elizabeth Johnston; theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon; conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk; the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; the recent film Gosnell; and an upcoming film about Roe v. Wade.

President Trump has forcefully condemned the social media giants for “silencing millions of people,” and reportedly considered investigating Google and Facebook’s practices. Conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, suggest the problem should be addressed by repealing discriminatory platforms’ immunity from liability for the content they allow, which is predicated on their exercising of true neutrality.

While USMCA could complicate such efforts, Bokhari says that there’s still time to prevent the provision from taking effect.

“By January, Democrats will control the House of Representatives and the Senate will feature two new Republican senators, Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley, who are no friends of Silicon Valley tech giants,” he writes. “That will create a negotiating environment favorable to making broad changes to USMCA. It’ll also provide a window for the grassroots to voice its concerns and pressure Congress to remove the pro-censorship provision from USMCA.”

This is not the only provision of the new trade agreement to alarm conservatives. Last month, several Republican lawmakers raised concerns over language that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the three countries’ non-discrimination commitments, potentially complicating the Trump administration’s own efforts to restore clarity on the issue of biological sex.

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‘Transgender’ beauty queen favored to win Miss Universe contest: ‘Trans women’ are women’

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By Doug Mainwaring

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Spain’s contestant in this year’s Miss Universe pageant is not a woman but a man, a “transgender” who oddsmakers now favor to win the international beauty competition.  

Known as Angela Ponce, the contestant will be competing in the 2018 pageant, which will be held later this month in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ponce recently told Time Magazine that he was “crushed” in 2015 while competing in Spain’s Miss World contest.  “I found out on the day of the competition that their rules didn’t allow a transgender woman to win,” said Ponce.  

“I’m competing because it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl,” adding that he loves the evening gown portion of the pageant.

Ponce hopes to win the competition because, “If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women.”

The male contestant reportedly began hormone therapy at 16, and underwent vaginoplasty surgery at 24.  

The prospect of a man winning the Miss Universe competition shows that “Political correctness has overridden the slightest commonsense,” said Gwendolyn Landolt, national vice president of REAL Women of Canada.  

“That man is not a woman,” said Landolt, adding that despite having had surgery and taking hormones, “He’s still a man.”  

“If he is in the Miss Universe competition and he wins,” noted Landolt, “it just goes to show the whole thing is a joke.”  

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Bishop Pineda (middle) with two seminarians. Facebook
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Francis ally’s auxiliary bishop diverted government funds to reward homosexual lovers: report

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An investigative report by the respected Honduran digital publication Confidencial HN gives new details on accusations previously reported against Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga’s auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, and against the cardinal himself, a close associate of Pope Francis, of abuse of funds and homosexual misbehavior.

Confidencial HN’s report confirms the accusation that Pineda Fasquelle embezzled approximately 1.2 million USD of government money destined for poor parishes and spent the money on a lavish lifestyle for himself and his homosexual lovers. It also highlights the claim that the wayward auxiliary bishop’s cavorting occurred within sight of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, who lived on the same property as the bishop.

“To pass beyond the curtains of Villa Iris, the residence of Cardinal Rodríguez, one begins to become aware of the existence of some mutual relationships of convenience” related to homosexuality, the author writes. “According to the testimony offered to the Vatican commission by a protected witness,” Pineda and his accomplices “practiced sexual relations in a way that was disguised but that always left the windows open to curiosity and suspicion.”

Confidencial HN’s investigation of the scandal has revealed, in its words, accounts of “orgies, homosexual practices, conspiracies, removals from leadership, and death threats,” although many of its claims it leaves unspecified and vague. It also mentions accusations of sexual abuse committed by Pineda against seminarians, an accusation that was also reported by the National Catholic Register in March of this year.

The charges are particularly significant for Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, a very close associate of Pope Francis and a member of the pontiff’s elite “Council of Cardinal Advisors.”

Rodriguez Maradiaga is reported to have personally ensured that Pineda could have access to the seminary after he was expelled for homosexual misconduct in 2016. He has also privately denounced a group of 48 seminarians who have made public their complaints of widespread homosexual behavior in the seminary of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, calling them “gossipers” who are seeking to make their fellow seminarians look bad, according to sources who spoke to the National Catholic Register.

Following the initial flurry of accusations, the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin reported in August that, despite orders from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy to remove several dozen homosexual seminarians from the seminary, Rodriguez Maradiaga and another bishop had arranged for their accused seminarians to be sent on a year-long assignment at a parish for “pastoral work.”

However, regarding the embezzlement of money, sources cited in the article portrayed the cardinal as the dupe of his auxiliary bishop, who deceived him into signing documents to approve the illicit transfers of funds. The sources claim that Rodriguez Maradiaga had no other involvement. No audit was ever performed by the archdiocese, reports the publication. Rodriguez Maradiaga has also been personally accused of mismanagement of funds, an accusation he has vigorously denied as a distortion of his financial activities.

Confidencial HN also describes in new detail the schemes used by Bishop Pineda and his associates to deceive the government of Honduras into giving the bishop the money, and accounts for how he spent it on various favorites, with whom he seems to have had homosexual relationships.

The publication says that its information comes from anonymous witnesses as well as a report regarding the corruption that was commissioned by Pope Francis and delivered to the pontiff in 2017.

Money used for gifts, sexual favors for auxiliary bishop

The article’s author, David Ellner Romero, says that the money was used “to pay for sexual favors, to maintain a network of lovers, for whom he purchased various forms of real estate, cars, trips to other countries with a paid lover, among other things.”

As examples he names a policeman named Ronny Cáceres, for whom the bishop purchased a motorcycle and constructed a house. For his assistant Oscar, whom the bishop called “Oscarito,” he purchased a Toyota Yaris, a motorcycle, and a house. He purchased a motorcycle and a house for a security guard, Luis Fernando Rodríguez, the latter in the same neighborhood as “Oscarito.” He reportedly did similar favors for the family members of his favorites.

Ellner Romero also reports information from sources regarding purported paramour Erick Cravioto Farjado, who also received a Toyota Yaris from Pineda. He describes Cravioto Farjado as “a layman of Mexican origin whom Juan José Pineda brought to Honduras, and whom he made out to be a priest, but the reality is that behind the cassock he used there was hidden a man who, according to the testimonies of various people close to the priest, was the husband of Bishop Fasquelle, for whom, by the way, he purchased a vehicle of the well-known model Toyota Yaris.”

The money was purportedly obtained following the submission to the government of various proposed projects by pastors of parishes in the archdiocese, which were solicited from the pastors by Pindea. However, the money was never used for the projects, and was instead diverted to Pineda’s private use.

Pineda reportedly would maintain his relationship with “Oscarito” by going out to visit various parishes with his friend in tow, and asking for a single room for the two of them to stay the night, according to Ellner Romero.

Some of this was known – or should have been known — by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, according to the National Catholic Register, which earlier quoted sources saying that “Cravioto’s room was ‘right next to the cardinal,’ who knew ‘perfectly well that Pineda spent hours and hours with him and never said anything, never did anything.’”

Threatening messages scrawled on a mirror in red

When the clamor of protest against Pineda’s misdeeds reached Rome, the bishop reportedly became unhinged with rage against those among the clergy and laity who he believed had betrayed him, and left threatening messages against them on display in Villa Iris, where he lived close to Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga.

“Pineda, overwhelmed by all of the accusations against him, especially of sexual abuses in the major seminary of Our Lady of Suyapa, searched out those who were guilty of his disgrace and among them found various colleagues in the Church in lay friends who supposedly conspired to put him in a bad light with the cardinal and with Pope Francis, by denouncing him for all of the evils that for years he had hidden underneath his cassock and his Christian oath,” writes Ellner Romero.

Ellner Romero reports that, according to an unnamed source, the bishop used a mirror in the “grand hallways of Villa Iris” to deliver his threatening messages of accusation against more than a half-dozen perceived accusers, writing his accusations in red. “They were all threatening words,” said Ellner’s source. Those accused by Pineda included laymen and priests.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Pineda in July of this year following public revelations of the accusations made against him published in the Italian and English-speaking media.

At that time, Pineda denied that the accusations being made against him were true. He claimed that he himself had requested the investigation launched by Pope Francis, a fact confirmed by the National Catholic Register, which states that both Pineda Fasquelle and Rodriguez Maradiaga made the request. Pineda added that he has nothing to hide but will not respond to news reports or internet posts about his purported behavior, challenging his critics to take him to court.

An Honduran source told the National Catholic Register that the Confidencial HN article is a “confirmation of all the filth.”

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Facebook cracks down on pro-life viral video creator, says ad violates ‘discrimination’ policy

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By Calvin Freiburger

AJAX, Ontario, December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is cracking down on the Canadian pro-life group responsible for a series of viral hits, and placing onerous new restrictions on their ability to spread their pro-life content internationally.

The Ontario-based nonprofit Choice42 (Choice for Two) is perhaps best known for a series of satirical videos in which founder and director Laura Klassen dons a pink wig and sarcastically spouts pro-abortion talking points for the purpose of dismantling them. The group also connects women to crisis pregnancy resources, and publishes more serious videos on topics such as the firsthand accounts of women who choose life in difficult circumstances.

On Tuesday evening, Choice42 posted a notice they received from Facebook over one of their most recent ads, which was promoting their video taking aim at the pro-abortion claim that men shouldn’t discuss abortion because they can’t get pregnant. “We find this pretty ironic” that Facebook found the video highlighting a pro-abortion argument “to be discriminating,” they said.

“To avoid disruption to your ad campaigns, please review and accept our non-discrimination policy as soon as possible,” the notice read. It’s unclear whether the warning mistook the ad’s satirical depiction of pro-abortion discrimination to have been in earnest, or was claiming the ad was discriminatory for other reasons.

“We have been getting a lot of censorship lately,” Choice42 told LifeSiteNews. Facebook eventually reversed itself and approved the ad...but only for Canadian audiences.

Facebook appears to be subjecting Choice42 to the same limitation the social media giant began applying to LifeSiteNews this spring, in which publishers who want to run ads in a particular country don’t just have to provide a headquarters or office in that country, but also a government-issued identification, personal address, and the last four Social Security Number digits (in America's case) for anyone actually posting the ads in that country.

The restrictions are not fully implemented yet, but it appears Facebook wants to ensure that only citizens of a particular country can run ads in that country of a “political” nature or otherwise deemed “of national importance.” Since the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Facebook has amplified efforts to combat what it calls “foreign election interference,” but the new rules threaten to severely limit the impact of pro-life groups that operate internationally.

This isn’t the first high-profile encounter Choice42 has had with Facebook censors. In October, the social media platform took down a post comparing abortion to slavery and the Holocaust as “hate speech,” and a video about a rape survivor who chose life because it “violated Facebook community standards.” And Facebook isn’t the only one.

"Twitter has done to us what they've done to Live Action, making our entire account ineligible for promotion unless we delete all of our 'anti-abortion tweets,’” Klassen said at the time. "Live Action has been quite successful about making it known that they are being censored. I find it interesting that Facebook/Twitter cares enough about our little Canadian org to do the same to us."

Choice42, Live Action, and LifeSiteNews are just three of the pro-life, pro-family, and/or center-right voices improperly restricted on both platforms since 2016. Others include various Republican leaders, officeholders, and candidates; conservative commentator Jesse Kelly; “Activist Mommy” blogger Elizabeth Johnston; theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon; conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk; the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; the recent film Gosnell; and an upcoming film about Roe v. Wade.

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The famous Three Wise Men atop Newaygo Elementary School 9&10; News / screenshot
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Michigan town fights left-wing group that wants to remove Three Wise Men display

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEWAYGO, Michigan, December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Citizens of a small Michigan town are not giving up their Christmas traditions without a fight.

A display of the Three Wise Men atop Newaygo Elementary School has attracted the ire of a “civil rights” group. The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) is demanding that the school district remove the Three Wise Men from the roof of the public building.

Not everyone in town agrees.

Amy Postma told Eastern Michigan’s CBS affiliate “9&10 News” that the figures are a symbol of Newaygo.

“It’s just a symbol of our community,” she said. “It’s always been there and we love it.”

She said that objecting to the Three Kings on a school roof was as ridiculous as saying you can’t have Santa Claus in a bank taking photos with children.

“You can’t just take away something that we’ve always done,” she added. “It’s not harming anyone, it’s not hurting anyone, so live and let live.”

The flat wooden figures have been a part of the town’s Christmas landscape since the 1940s, and the son of one of the former Newaygo students who built them has suggested a compromise.

“IMO [in my opinion], they should be allowed to remain,” wrote Lowell Godfrey on one of two posts about the controversy on the MACRA activists’ Facebook page, “so long as the schools add a wider variety of religious symbols.”

“My dad helped build those in shop class in the old school back in the 1940's,” he added. “So....IMO, the school should have a class on world religions and as a project for the class have students create more artwork (like those 3 Wise Men), representative of other religious groups, and add them to the display.”

According to the Friendly Atheist blog on Patheos, the Newaygo Public Schools superintendent objected to removing the display on the grounds that it is not meant to be religious.

On a now-deleted Facebook post, Dr. Peggy Mathis apparently wrote: “Newaygo Public Schools has a legitimate secular purpose for the display. We are both upholding the community’s tradition of celebrating a public holiday and attempting to point towards the importance of wisdom, knowledge, and open-mindedness.”

Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta reports that Mathis said that the wise men have been described as the “scientists of their time,” that “wise men” are part of many religious traditions and that there is no evidence that the “wise men” were Jews or Christians.  

“We are in no way seeking a primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion,” Mathis added. “To my knowledge no one has been led to faith, or driven from faith, by this display that has spanned more than half a century.”

“To my knowledge there is no case law that prohibits the depiction of three non-Christian middle eastern men on camels that are seeking wisdom. Our display has a legitimate secular purpose,” she repeated.

“It is my hope that we all will continue to stress the importance of seeking wisdom, knowledge, and open-mindedness during this entire holiday season.”

However, the “civil rights” group, which responded to a complaint by a single resident, is adamant that anything resembling a Christian symbol should be removed from public property.

MARCA leader Mitch Kale told CNN that the display is, “in essence,” a nativity scene.

“We’ve asked the school to remove what is in essence a nativity scene, from the top of the school, and from school property,” he said. “If this were on private property it wouldn’t be an issue.”

Kale, whose group has worked to remove religious icons from public land in other Michigan towns, published his objections on Facebook. However, this attracted a storm of comments in favor of keeping the town’s traditional figures. There are also several comments expressing hatred for Christians on both the first and second MACRA posts about the Three Wise Men.  

The activist, however, is sure that the townsfolk will forget all about their beloved Three Wise Men, claiming that nobody in a nearby town complains today that their 70-year-old nativity scene was removed.

“We understand that the situation sometimes will make people upset,” Kale told CNN. “But just like in Grand Haven, where their nativity scene has been up for 70 years, that’s now been gone for five years, the city council voted to remove it. And no one complains about it now.”

Newego is located 32 miles from Grand Rapids. In 2010, the population was just under 2,000.

To support School Superintendent Peggy Mathis in her wish to preserve the town’s tradition, contact:

Dr. Peggy Mathis
Newaygo Public Schools
360 S. Mill St.
PO BOX 820 Newaygo,
MI 49337
231.652.6984

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Terrified grandmother sent to all-male prison after she was mistaken as ‘transgender’

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By Calvin Freiburger

MIAMI, Florida, December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With every week seemingly bringing a new batch of disputes over “transgender identity,” it was perhaps only a matter of time before a scandal arose over “assuming the gender” of somebody who isn’t gender-confused.

Fior Pichardo de Veloz is a 55-year-old attorney who was arrested in November 2013 on old drug charges when flying into Miami for the birth of her granddaughter, the Miami Herald reports. During a medical checkup as part of her booking, nurse Fatu Kamara Harris saw on her records that Pichardo was taking hormone pills, and allegedly assumed she was a man taking them to grow breasts.

In fact, Pichardo was taking the pills as part of hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause symptoms, and her sex had already been confirmed by the arresting officer as well as a strip search. Pichardo maintained she was a woman, but Dr. Fredesvindo Rodriguez-Garcia allegedly “reclassified” her as male without any further examination or inquiry about her sex or the pills.

Harris allegedly told the jail officer “everything [i.e., male genitals] fell out” during an exam, but corrections officers Kimberly Jones and Audrey Morman expressed concerns about her assessment. Nevertheless, Harris added a note to Pichardo’s file reading,"Transgender, male parts, female tendencies," and dismissed Jones’ inquiries by simply saying “she’s a man” and walking off.

Pichardo was taken to the all-male Metro West Detention Center, with another corrections officer allegedly telling her, “You are a woman. Good luck if you’re alive tomorrow.”

She was placed in a holding cell with roughly 40 men, some of whom laughed and leered at her and verbally harassed her. Pichardo says she was so terrified to use the cell’s toilet that she ended up urinating on herself.

She ultimately spent ten hours in the men’s prison, after which she sued the county and prison staff for “cruel and unusual punishment.” A federal judge threw out the suit, but this month a federal appeals court unanimously reinstated it.

“Every reasonable prison officer and medical personnel would have known that wrongfully misclassifying a biological female as a male inmate and placing that female in the male population of a detention facility was unlawful,” Judge Frank Hull wrote, finding that Harris and Rodriguez-Garcia’s conduct constituted “deliberate indifference.”

They concluded Harris was “exposed to consistent and repeated information that Mrs. Pichardo was a woman” and “stubbornly refused” to verify it. The court also found that Rodriguez-Garcia “knew that sending a woman to an all-male prison would pose a risk of serious harm to her safety, however, he took no steps to verify Mrs. Pichardo’s sex before re-classifying her as male.”

The ruling means that Pichardo can pursue a trial against Rodriguez-Garcia and Harris.

“The opinion correctly held, as we believed, that the defendants could not be so struthious as to ignore the overwhelming evidence in front of them that Mrs. Pichardo was in fact female,” Pichardo’s attorney Ryan Marks said.

There has been growing concern in the United States and United Kingdom over placing men who claim to be women in female prison populations. Cases like what happened to Pichardo are much rarer, but are in danger of recurring in the absence of clear mandates that inmates be grouped based on their actual sex.

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The image of Santa and baby Jesus that was censored by Facebook. Jennifer Beahm Crawford / Facebook
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

News, ,

Facebook censors image of Santa kneeling before baby Jesus, calls it ‘violent content’

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring
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Screen grab of Facebook censoring image of Santa and baby Jesus.

Update Dec. 6, 2018: Facebook is no longer censoring the image of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus after LifeSiteNews' report on the matter went viral. Read our new report: Facebook unblocks image of Santa kneeling before Baby Jesus after LifeSite report goes viral

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook has covered over a posting of a picture of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus, warning viewers that the photo "may show violent or graphic content.”

A second warning beneath the obscured image of Santa on bended knee, reverentially adoring the Christ Child states, “This photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to see it.”

Users can click on a button to uncover the photo. 

Facebook explains on its site what it means by “Violence and graphic content:” 

"We also know that people have different sensitivities with regard to graphic and violent content. For that reason, we add a warning label to especially graphic or violent content so that it is not available to people under the age of eighteen and so that people are aware of the graphic or violent nature before they click to see it," the social media giant states. 

“We err on the side of allowing content, even when some find it objectionable,” declares Facebook’s community standards, saying it does so in order to maintain a “safe environment” for its “Facebook community.”

It remains unclear why the image of Baby Jesus and Santa was deemed by Facebook to be "violent and graphic content." 

On December 25, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ that happened 2,018 years ago. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to save mankind from sin and to open the way to heaven. Christians consider God becoming man the greatest historical event to have ever taken place. 

The image in question — of the Savior of the World as an infant and a popularized version of a saint — was originally posted on December 1, 2015, with this accompanying poem explaining the touching illustration: 

My dear precious Jesus, I did not mean to take your place,
I only bring toys and things and you bring love and grace.
People give me lists of wishes and hope that they came true;
But you hear prayers of the heart and promise your will to do.
Children try to be good and not to cry when I am coming to town;
But you love them unconditionally and that love will abound.
I leave only a bag of toys and temporary joy for a season;
But you leave a heart of love, full of purpose and reasons.
I have a lot of believers and what one might call fame;
But I never healed the blind or tried to help the lame.
I have rosy cheeks and a voice full of laughter;
But no nail—scarred hands or a promise of the hereafter.
You may find several of me in town or at a mall;
But there is only one omnipotent you, to answer a sinner’s call.
And so, my dear precious Jesus, I kneel here to pray;
To worship and adore you on this, your holy birthday.

Facebook has a long history of censoring faith-based organizations and individuals.  The social media giant has been forced to apologize for numerous instances of improperly flagging conservative or Christian content as “hateful” or otherwise inappropriate. It has also come under fire for letting left-wing organizations like PolitiFact and the Southern Poverty Law Center influence its “fact-checking” and “hate speech” policies.

Facebook has censored a Christian theology professor after he criticized a video selling LGBT “pride” to children. It has suspended the account of Elizabeth Johnson, a Christian who goes by the name of Activist Mommy, after she called gender confusion a mental illness. The social media giant has also blocked ads for the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, labeling the film about the serial killer abortionist ‘political speech.’

The social networking giant has also banned many LifeSiteNews’ pro-life ads, deeming them too “political” because they showed pictures of pregnant mothers, ultrasounds, preborn babies, and the tiny feet of an infant child held in her mother’s hands.

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ANNOUNCING: Our Christmas Campaign starts today

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By John-Henry Westen

I want to thank you for following LifeSite and reading our news in 2018. Today marks the first day of our year-end Christmas fundraising campaign - by far our most crucial fundraiser of the year! We are 100% donor-funded, which allows us to have the freedom to write on the most important and controversial topics of our time. 

We would not be able to accomplish our unique mission in the media without our supporters. Today, I would like to invite you to join them.

We must raise a minimum of $300,000 by the end of this campaign to ensure we can continue our mission of unapologetically reporting the truth about life, family and the culture. By joining our LifeSite giving family you can be a part of making this possible.

This year has been an incredible and challenging year for life and family values. Yet, as I look back on the year, what stands out to me is just how important our supporters are to our mission. Our supporters enable LifeSite to make an impact in a saturated news cycle because there are few news organizations reporting on issues integral to saving our culture.

I hope you will prayerfully consider joining our LifeSite family of supporters with a donation this Christmas to ensure our reporting can continue and reach even more culture-changers in 2019.

You may also consider joining our Sustain Life program to support our mission on a monthly basis. As a sustainer you can make a valuable impact by supporting our mission year-round. You can find out more by clicking here or by contacting our Sustaining Donor Coordinator, Danielle, at [email protected].

So, from all of us at LifeSiteNews, thank you. Thank you for reading and sharing our news with the people around you. By joining our LifeSite giving family today, you can make a direct impact on the future of our culture.

God bless you!

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Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See
Christopher Monckton

Opinion,

Cdl. Parolin calls for ‘limit’ on ‘global warming’ as poor denied basic electrical needs

Christopher Monckton
By

ANALYSIS

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, speaking at the latest UN climate talks, was content merely to echo the wealthy global elite in declaring support for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s inadequate science and unsound economics. The Cardinal uttered platitudes about “building our common home”.

"It is still possible to limit global warming, but to do so will require a clear, forward-looking and strong political will to promote as quickly as possible the process of transitioning to a model of development that is free from those technologies and behaviors that influence the over-production of greenhouse gas emissions," said Cardinal Parolin.

Like the Pope, however, he was culpably silent on the sufferings of the 1.2 billion people – a sixth of the world’s population – who, according to the International Energy Agency, do not have access to electricity. The Agency defines “access to electricity” as being able to turn on a single 60-Watt light bulb for four hours a day. Those 1.2 billion do not even have that much.

Lack of access to electricity is the chief avoidable cause of mortality in the Third World. According to the World Health Organization, 4.3 million people a year die from just one consequence of no electricity – particulate pollution from open cooking-fires in smoke-filled huts. Another 500,000 women a year die in childbirth owing to lack of electricity, to say nothing of the children whose lives are also thus lost, or of the uncounted millions who die each year because they cannot get life-saving operations or store refrigerated food or medicines. 

Life expectancy in the electrified West is 80 years. In the unelectrified Third World, it is 60 years. The blunt truth, which the Cardinal could and should have spoken at Katowice, is that a growing fraction of the 20 million people who die worldwide each year is due to an increasingly totalitarian international elite who will not let them have electrical power. The excuse for this murderous refusal is “global warming”. 

In the name of Saving The Planet from this clumsily-fabricated bugaboo, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will not lend for the construction of the coal-fired power stations that could provide the cheapest and most reliable continuous, base-load electricity and would be easy for third-world engineers to maintain. 

Next year the World Bank will refuse to lend for extraction of oil and gas as well, even though the world is warming at a harmless and net-beneficial one-third of the midrange predicted rate, deaths from extreme weather are at their lowest since global records began, CO2 fertilization has increased the net primary productivity of trees and plants by 15-30% in three decades, crop yields are at record highs, Arctic ice has not vanished as predicted, Antarctic ice shows a 30-year rising trend, sea level is rising at only 8 inches per century, the economic cost of preventing global warming is orders of magnitude greater than just letting it happen, the consensus that we are chiefly to blame for it is not 97% but 0.3%, and the whole scare is based on a strikingly elementary error of physics by which models predict three times the warming that is at all likely to occur.

And what has the dictator Pope or his mouthpiece in Katowice to say about the callous and growing outrage: the annual Holocaust of preventable but unprevented deaths from lack of electricity, perpetrated and perpetuated by the canting profiteers of doom who laugh all the way to the bank while dodging the corpses of the millions whom their dishonesty and indifference has left to die?

Nothing.

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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Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Tanzania CatholicRadioTVNet / YouTube
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African Cardinal: It’s ‘better to die of hunger’ than accept homosexuality

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By Maike Hickson

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Tanzania has refused to welcome international aid programs that are linked with the promotion of homosexuality, insisting that “it is better to die of hunger than to receive aid and be compelled to do things that are contrary to God’s desire.”

The German bishops' news website Katholisch.de and the Catholic Information Service for Africa have picked up on a November 30 blog entry of the Eastern African Bishops' Conferences' Association AMECA, according to which Cardinal Polycarp Pengo has asked the government of Tanzania not to accept aid from western states which give their aid on condition of their acceptance of homosexuality in his country.

The November 30 AMECA blog entry states: “The Cardinal said that there are some threats from developed countries alleging that ‘they will stop support us if we are against homosexuality. It is better to die of hunger than to receive aid and be compelled to do things that are contrary to God’s desire,’ Cardinal Pengo said.” The cardinal then added that “the sin of homosexuality was the cause of destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and that, these things are contrary to God's plan in creation and should not be accepted at all.”

Continues the AMECA report: “He thanked the Tanzanian Government for its position on the matter while stressing that all Tanzanians should say no to [homosexuality] which apparently is encroaching very fast in African countries.” Repeating his stance, Cardinal Pengo added, “we cannot accept such displeasing things to God; and if we are starving because we have refused to engage in such acts, then we would rather die with our God.”

“Accepting homosexual[ity] is denying God,” he insisted.

According to the report, the Minister for Internal Affairs, Kangi Lugola, has just said that “homosexual acts should be shunned by every human being created in the image of God because the act is against human nature and, consequently, the Government of Tanzania will not accept it.”

Cardinal Pengo joins in his resistance against the homosexual agenda the late Bishop Evaristo Chengula of Mbeya Diocese who, as the AMECA report points out, “was the first to warn [the] Tanzania government not to accept homosexual acts several days before he died.”

In Tanzania, homosexual acts are being punished with sentences of up to 30 years imprisonment. As Katholisch.de points out, “many western states and aid organizations condemn this policy and have repeatedly threatened to stop giving their aid.”

Most other African countries also refuse to accept homosexuality. The Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan said at the beginning of 2018 that in his country, there exists a consensus in society to reject homosexuality. To accept homosexuality is, in his eyes, “no progress.” In 2015, the Archbishop of Abuja, Onaiyekan, stated that the position of the Church in Nigeria against homosexuality is “irrevocable.” He then added: “Unfortunately, we are living in a world where these things have now become quite acceptable, but the fact that they are acceptable doesn’t mean that they are right...The Catholic Church considers itself as carrying the banner of the truth in the world that has allowed itself to be so badly deceived.”

The remarks of these African cardinals stand in stark contrast to sentiments expressed by Western prelates.

Only recently, the Vatican approved the re-election of a rector at a German Jesuit Graduate School in Frankfurt, Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, in spite of his having blessed homosexual couples and claiming that the Bible did not know about homosexuals the way we know them today.

Additionally, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn just hosted a rock concert in his St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. The event was co-hosted by a prominent Austrian homosexual activist and presented as its main actor a man who recently played the roles of homosexuals in several prominent pro-LGBT films. The man stood on the cathedral’s altar rail shirtless as part of the performance.

In 2014, Cardinal Walter Kasper, when discussing with Edward Pentin and other journalists the then-ongoing synod on marriage and the family and the African resistance to moral laxity, said: “The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.” Kasper then added: “There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems, but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.”

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The January 2017 cover of National Geographic depicting a biological boy who says he is a 'girl.' National Geographic
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Kids are turning to blackmarket sex-change hormones for secret transitions

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By Jonathon van Maren

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the number of children identifying as transgender skyrockets—over 4000% in the United Kingdom—experts are beginning to highlight the fact that the relentless promotion and mainstreaming of gender identity theory is triggering a social phenomenon. In fact, many children are not even willing to wait for an overly-willing gender identity clinic to take them on—an investigation by the Daily Mail has indicated that a black market for sex change drugs has sprung up on the Internet. 

The Daily Mail found in the investigation, released on December 4, that they could quite easily purchase a “range of transgender medicine,” without any questions being asked, for as low as only twenty-five pounds. There are no age-checks on those attempting to buy hormone drugs online, and there are apparently an enormous number of online forums where children can explain to each other how to order the drugs and which pharmacy sites are best to use.

In their investigation, for example, the Daily Mail found that they could purchase a package of “male hormone blockers” with an “ordinary bank card” from a pharmacy in Thailand with a price tag of only thirty-four pounds, postage included. The pills were labeled as containing “natural oestrogen to promote transgender breast growth.” It took the investigator less than a minute to find the pills online, and there were no age requirements or prescriptions needed to order them.

It wasn’t just one online pharmacy in Thailand, either. The Daily Mail found another site in India where they found that they could purchase “sachets of testosterone gel” called “Cernos,” which was being marketed as “transgender hormone therapy for females transitioning to male.” On the order form, the site did warn that the impacts of these easily-purchasable pills on girls, such achieving a much lower voice, are “irreversible once they develop.” An American site based out of Florida offered the Daily Mail Triptorelin, which “acts on the pituitary gland to pause sexual development in boys and girls reaching the early stages of puberty”—for only twenty-five pounds.

Even more sobering is the fact that these companies are cashing in on the transgender trend because it pays: With the proliferation of “transgender celebrities” on YouTube, Tumblr, and Reddit, transgenderism is becoming a social phenomenon, which children thinking that it is “cool” to become transgender. Some experts warn that children are being persuaded in discussions in online chat rooms that they are transgender, even when they are experiencing perfectly normal teenage angst. As a result, the waiting lists for gender clinics are enormously long, and children are seeking ways to begin transition on their own.

Children are not only purchasing these drugs on their own—something even transgender activists say is extremely dangerous—they are having older teenage friends purchase the drugs for them if they run into any problems. One mother who believes her son was brain-washed by online transgender propaganda found pills he had ordered from an American online pharmacy in his bedroom. He had ordered “the female hormone oestrogen” and had begun to develop breasts. They had simply been mailed to the local post office, and he’d collected them on his own. The drugs were so cheap, the mother said, that he could have purchased them with “his birthday money from Granny or pocket money.”

Children are notoriously impatient, and with the wait lists for clinics growing, many are now taking matters into their own hands. They have been persuaded that they can be whatever gender they decide to be, and as such, they see an irreversible sex change as their right. Children are mutilating themselves, and they have been sold this ugly ideology by trans activists who still accuse any parent who raises concerns of being a bigot. These activists are hurting kids, and they should be kept as far away from them as possible. Unfortunately, for the moment, their ideology is as ascendant as it is destructive. 

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Gerhard Kruip University of Fribourg / Video screen grab
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Pro-LGBT Catholic prof: Many German bishops don’t believe homosexual acts are wrong

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By Maike Hickson

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic German ethics professor calls Cardinal Müller's recent remarks on homosexuality “unbearable” and claims that, just as the Church's teaching on the death penalty has changed, the teaching on homosexuality is also open to change.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has been under constant sharp criticism since his 21 November interview with LifeSiteNews, in which he had drawn a link between homosexuality and clerical sex abuse.

Several prominent Catholics – among them Father Klaus Mertes, Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, General Vicar Klaus Pfeffer – have expressed their indignation over the German Cardinal's re-stating of the Church's traditional teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts; and they all have in common that they desire to normalize the practice of homosexuality. Moreover, these clergymen are now supportively joined by Professor Gerhard Kruip, who teaches at the University of Mainz, Germany.

In his 29 November article, Professor Kruip calls Cardinal Müller's words “unbearable” and refers to Pope Francis' post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) as a proof that the Church has now learned to regard sexuality in general in a more positive manner. Quoting AL 152 which states that the “erotic dimension” of love is a “gift from God,” and then contrasting it with the current Catechism's claim that selfish lust is “disordered” (no. 2351), the Catholic theologian and ethicist sweepingly concludes that the Church is changing her views on sexuality: that “the Church obviously has learned something more, and that she now obviously regards the lust that is accompanying it in a more positive manner.”

The Catechism states more fully in that section no. 2351 that “Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.”

Furthermore, Kruip refers to AL 151 in order to show that the new Church teaching stresses more so that sexuality aims not only at procreation of life, but it is also an “expression of love.” If this is the case, the theologian continues, “then one also has to wonder whether this should not then also be possible among same-sex partners who love each other. Also for them who, after all, are homosexual not out of a free decision, but, rather, because of their nature, sexuality can be an expression of their love for one another.”

Referring to the supposed consensus in the field of theological exegesis, Professor Kruip claims that biblical quotes do not justify the condemnation of homosexuality: “In any event, in the exegesis, there exists a broad consensus that those Bible passages that are now being quoted against homosexuality (Gen 19, 1:29; Rom 1, 24:27: 1 Cor 6, 10; 1 Tim 1,10) cannot justify such an interdiction.”

According to Kruip, “most Catholics, theologians, and more and more bishops (even if they do not dare to say it in public) in Germany have come to the conviction that homosexual acts – at least then, when they are an expression of a loving relationship, in which the partners take responsibility for one another – are not something that is generally 'intrinsically disordered' (as the Catechism claims it in no. 2357).” Also with reference to Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, Kruip points out that it should be at least be possible to discuss these matters.

As an example of how the Church is, he says, changing her teaching, the German professor then says that “such a learning progress has taken place in history again and again. The most recent example is the moral condemnation of the death penalty which, in the earlier Church tradition up to the Catechism of 1992, had previously nearly always been regarded as legitimate.” 

Professor Kruip mentions additional examples of how the Church has changed, in the recent past, her own previous teaching – such as, for example, concerning the matter of religious liberty in the Second Vatican Council's constitution​ Dignitatis Humanae – thus “following certain moral learning processes in society, albeit with a certain delay.”

“Nothing speaks against the possibility,” he continues, “that such adaptations to moral learning processes will also take place in the future – and the consensus in the Church is big that this is urgently needed in questions of sexual morality.”

Quoting Vatican II's pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes (44), the author points out that the Church at the council was very appreciative of the influence of history upon the Church. The Vatican text states: “Just as it is in the world's interest to acknowledge the Church as an historical reality, and to recognize her good influence, so the Church herself knows how richly she has profited by the history and development of humanity.”

Kruip regrets that there are currently “important groups and persons in the Church who wish to hinder such learning processes, and thus they oppose the sensus fidelium [“sense of the faithful”], Pope Francis and, finally, against Jesus' own mandate.” Among those “resisters” is also, purportedly, the papal nuncio in Germany, Nicola Eterovic, who has recently stated with regard to the Wucherpfennig conflict that Catholic professors “have to follow what the Church's doctrine says, and this can be found, for example, in the Catechism.”

With these words, comments Kruip, Eterovic “renders useless not only any theology as an academic discipline, but he also does so as if the Catechism of 1992 – which was even then already controversial within the Church – is the irrevocable Word of God.”

Further in the article, the German professor more specifically criticizes Cardinal Müller and his words about detecting atheism in Wucherpfennig's own welcoming words about homosexuality. He considers this to be a dismissal of the work of Wucherpfennig and his arguments. 

Moreover, Kruip argues against Müller that a good morality can be found outside of God's Revelation, adding that “we Christians do not have a monopoly on the insights into what is morally right. Rather, the Christians also have to open themselves up to the dialogue about morally controversial questions, and they may not refuse moral learning processes which take place also outside of the Church.”

Applying Cardinal Müller's own words here, one may conclude that Kruip proposes to ask, not the Church, but, rather, the world (among them the atheists) what is morally good and right.

In Kruip's eyes, it is exactly Müller himself who uses God for his own purposes, “because it is he who degrades God as an aid and means of justifying his  fundamentalist ideology [sic] and [favoring] an absolute position of power for certain Church authorities and institutions, which, however, cannot themselves even build upon the authority of the Pope.” 

That is to say, Kruip points out that those loyal defenders of Catholic moral teaching, as it has been taught for two thousand years, cannot, in their battle, rely on Pope Francis's support. Whoever refuses to accept these recent and new changes “is damaging the Church.” These are the last words of Professor Kruip.

In light of Professor Kruip's reference to the recent decision on the part of Pope Francis to change the Church's doctrine concerning the death penalty, it might be worth remembering that there was a strong resistance against the Pope's decision. 75 Catholic scholars had published a statement in which they oppose that change in the Catechism and asked Pope Francis to withdraw it.

Professor Kruip's article has received already some criticism. The German priest, Father Engelbert Recktenwald, showed in a critique written for CNA Deutsch how Kruip incorrectly uses quotes from Church documents in order to present a caricature of the Church's traditional teaching on marriage.

The British philosopher Thomas Pink, who teaches at King's College in London, commented on this article, saying that the “Denial of 19th century papal teaching on the state and religious liberty is now being used to justify radical doctrinal change on morals – from the official German Church website, no less.” Pink further showed that some theologians such as Joseph Ratzinger “thought they could ditch Quanta Cura [condemning errors 1864] and the Syllabus [of Errors, 1873], while still relying on the authority of the very same magisterium to protect family and marriage teaching – hasn’t worked...”

What Professor Pink shows here is that, indeed, there took place in the recent past changes in the Church's teaching that now can be exploited by modernists in order to further change Catholic doctrine.

In this context, it might be worth recalling what the Italian Church historian Professor Roberto de Mattei just stated with regard to some of the controversial parts of the Second Vatican Council – to which Kruip refers in order to justify further changes in the Church's teaching:
“That Council heralded a great pastoral reform to purify the Church, and instead resulted in a historically unprecedented corruption of faith and morals, for it has reached the point of not only enthroning homosexuality among the highest ecclesiastical hierarchies, but also of allowing it to be publicly defended and theorized.”

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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The late former U.S. President George HW Bush: “I strongly supported the ‘life’ position”

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By Jonathon van Maren

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With the passing of President George H.W. Bush, the last president to have served in World War II, there has been an outpouring of bipartisan sympathy. President Trump has declared December 5 to be a national Day of Mourning, and ordered all the flags to half-staff for 30 days. Obama and Clinton both spoke kindly of their predecessor. And at the Capitol, thousands of people are still lining up to file past his casket and pay their respects. As Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention noted: “George H.W. Bush was one of this country’s best presidents, and one of the best men to ever serve as this country’s president. He served with character, integrity, and competence. We will miss him more than we even realize.”

Not all are treating the departed president with kindness, of course. Gay activists have been taking the opportunity to speak savagely of him, just as they did when Billy Graham died earlier this year. The accusations are standard: They claim he was not committed enough to addressing the AIDS crisis, he spoke of homosexuality as “not normal,” and opposed gay parenting in even stronger terms, stating that, “I can’t accept as normal [the] lifestyle of people of the same sex being parents. I’m very sorry. I don’t accept that as normal.” Even though he and Barbara attended a much-publicized same-sex union in 2013 as witnesses, Bush still clung to his beliefs, telling his biographer in 2015 that although he had “mellowed,” he had not changed his mind: “Personally, I still believe in traditional marriage.”

On abortion, too, Bush’s record is unacceptable to progressives: He became powerfully pro-life. He is often not recognized for this due to the fact that his position evolved over time—he was pro-abortion when he joined the Ronald Reagan ticket in the leadup to the 1980 election, and had said as much publicly. He joined Reagan for several meetings with pro-life activists, and listened quietly and carefully. It was Dr. Jack Wilke of National Right to Life who knocked on his hotel room door on the campaign trail shortly after he became Reagan’s running mate, and asked Bush if he could sit down with him and explain the pro-life position. Bush agreed to have his secretary set up a meeting. Wilke informed him that he’d like to have at least four hours, and noted that Bush would need pro-lifers to get elected. Bush agreed to have Wilke come up to his house in Maine to give him a presentation.

On a beautiful summer morning in 1980, Wilke later recalled, he drove up to the Bush compound in Kennebunkport and spent two and half hours going through a slideshow, the projector sitting on the coffee table (and Barbara in the next room). At lunch, Wilke asked Bush directly where he stood on the pro-life issue. When I came in this morning, he told Wilke, I was not on your side. But I think you’ve changed my mind. Bush committed that day to supporting the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and when Wilke challenged him to share that promise with several pro-life activists who joined them for the afternoon, he willingly did so. And as president, his Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe at every opportunity. (Most notably, his Attorney General Dick Thornburgh asked the Court to overrule Roe in its landmark 1989 decision Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.)

Bush 41 was not always adept at addressing the pro-life issue—his verbal mishaps were as famous during his career as his son’s would be a decade later—and as such, he was sometimes more persuasive by making the issue personal rather than abstract. During the October 13, 1988 debate with Michael Dukakis, he explained how one of his grandchildren—his son Marvin Bush and his daughter-in-law Margaret adopted two children—informed his position on abortion. “I think human life is very, very precious,” he noted. “And look, this, hasn’t been an easy decision for me to meet. I know others disagree with it. But when I was in that little church across the river from Washington and saw our grandchild christened in our faith, I was very pleased indeed that the mother had not aborted that child, and put that child up for adoption. And so I just feel this is where I’m coming from. And it is personal. And I don’t assail [Michael Dukakis] on that issue, or others on that issue. But that’s the way I, George Bush, feel about it.”

Bush’s pro-life position fit into his desire for a “kindler, gentler” nation—Karl Rove noted that he was horrified when he discovered that abortion was becoming increasingly common. “Bush's mind worked by drawing on deeply engrained principles, and he constantly sifted information,” Rove recalled. “This made him open to profound growth. He read that the number of abortions in D.C. had eclipsed the number of live births. This callousness toward life deeply disturbed him and he began moving more firmly into the pro-life camp. It wasn't as if he were at one point on the continuum one day and at the opposite point the next day. He had a constantly engaged mind, a habit he passed on to his children.”

As president, Bush upheld the Mexico City Policy, and vetoed an entire Labor-HHS spending bill when Congressional Democrats attempted to loosen the Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion funding—and according to National Right to Life, he would veto a total of ten bills that lacked pro-life protections like Hyde—an enormous change from his co-sponsoring of Title X in Congress. Although he was supportive of contraception, he vehemently opposed abortion, including in his collection of correspondence All the Best. In a 1989 letter, he noted that, “If there was an issue in the campaign that was clear, it was the abortion question. My opponent strongly supported the ‘choice’ position, and I strongly supported the ‘life’ position. I am not ‘imposing’ my views, because I clearly stated them in running for office, and I am not about to change. I strongly support family planning and have always favored disseminating information on birth control. I do not favor advocating abortion in any way, shape, or form.”

Bush would also release annual Sanctity of Life Proclamations, which he used to promote the pro-life ethic. In his January 11, 1991 Proclamation for National Sanctity of Human Life Day, he noted that: “My Administration has championed compassionate alternatives to abortion, such as helping women in crisis through maternity group homes, encouraging adoption, promoting abstinence education, and passing laws requiring parental notification and waiting periods for minors.” He also enacted legislation that banned NIH funding for the use of fetal tissue, and appointed Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court—although David Souter would later prove to be an enormous disappointment, just as Reagan’s appointments of Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy would be. It continues to be a singular tragedy that pro-life Republican presidents have appointed the very justices who have upheld the legality of abortion.

Historically speaking, it was the back-to-back pro-life administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush that truly cemented the GOP as a pro-life party as the Democrats veered sharply in the direction of abortion extremism. Activists like Phyllis Schlafly and countless other pro-life heroes worked tirelessly from convention to convention to put pro-life planks in the Republican Party, while meetings like Wilke’s presentation to Bush presented the pro-life position persuasively to those on the fence.

George H.W. Bush was a man of honesty, integrity, and honor. The pro-life movement had the opportunity to witness that first-hand.

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