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Is the Vatican trying to recast McCarrick abuse of teen as ‘consensual’?

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By Doug Mainwaring

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a shocking reversal, the Vatican reportedly indicated that it deemed the allegations of sexual abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick against an altar boy, found to be credible by the Archdiocese of New York, to be “not credible,” essentially nullifying the grievous testimony upon which the Holy See’s case against the prelate was being built.  

The former altar boy, 16 years old at time the abuse occurred in 1972, had testified that in preparation for Christmas Mass at New York’s venerable St. Patrick’s Cathedral, McCarrick sexually abused him in the Cathedral’s sacristy and then again a year later in a lavatory.

“The credible evidence has been dropped because the altar boy went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to solicit sex from McCarrick,” according to James Grein, another man whom McCarrick had abused as a boy. As a newly ordained priest, McCarrick had baptized Grein when he was an infant and then molested him repeatedly for 18 years beginning when Grein was just 11 years old.  

“He was 16 years old,” so “he was a consensual adult,” added Grein in his recent interview with Taylor Marshall. “There was no crime.”

Despite the fact that the United States views a 16 year old as a minor, Canon law views a young person of that age as having reached the age of majority.  

“The Vatican is attempting to recast the molestation as somehow ‘consensual sex,’” noted Church Militant’s Michael Voris in a video report.  

Voris also pointed out that this echoes a notion promoted by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting in November, that consensual homosexual sex involving priests with young men is somehow not all that egregious.  

The Vatican’s apparent attempt to discredit and downplay the charges against McCarrick raises a “big red flag,” said Voris, who asserted, “The Vatican is more concerned with cover-up than the truth.”  

“Many are thinking that all of this is just one huge smoke screen,” said Voris, who suggested “Rome has no real concern about this issue, too easily adopts a ‘blame the victim approach,’ and is content to treat this scandal as just an ‘American thing’ that will be forgotten soon enough.”  

Because the initial case against McCarrick seems to be crumbling, Grein’s sworn testimony last week to Church authorities conducting the Vatican’s investigation into McCarrick’s long history of sexual predation may soon become the cornerstone –– and the last hope –– for any canonical action to be taken by the Holy See against McCarrick.

Though canon law may be lenient on McCarrick for his despicable sexual abuse of the altar boy in the sacristy of a St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grein’s abuse occurred during confession, which canon law views as a capital crime.

Grein explained that when he was a young boy, McCarrick, who was a close friend of his parents, brought him to a third floor bedroom in the Grein family’s house to hear his confession, far away from the others who were gathered on the main floor.  

McCarrick told Grein he wanted to “hear my sins of the mind and body.”

“And as he blesses me, he puts his right hand on my right shoulder and starts to bless me with Holy Water down my body,” recounted Grein, “and then he massages my genitals, and he kisses me there.”  

Because the sexual abuse began when Grein was just 11 years old, this is clearly a case of abuse of a minor that cannot be excused as consensual sex by higher ups in Vatican City seeking to protect the now-disgraced former cardinal.

According to Patrick Noaker, Grein’s attorney, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is considering charging McCarrick with three distinct canonical crimes based on his treatment of Grein when he was a boy: sexual contact with a minor; sexual contact with an adult, since the abuse continued for nearly 20 years; and perhaps most chillingly, soliciting sex from a penitent during confession (canon 1395 §1 and 2 and §1387).

Grein’s personal testimony confirms precisely why such an act by a priest or prelate within the Sacrament of Penance is a capital crime: “The biggest thing he did to me was he made me lose my faith in Jesus Christ, which condemns me to hell and death.”

“With Dolan’s original case against McCarrick apparently blown out of the water by Vatican investigators, (New York’s Cardinal Timothy) Dolan needs to put together case and to it fast, and it would have to be air-tight,” said Voris in his video report.

“And in James Grein, he has found such a case.”

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
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High-ranking priest denounces ‘diabolical’ assault on Mexico’s families and unborn

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By Martin Barillas

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Father Hugo Valdemar, who serves as canon penitentiary of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, released a video in which he excoriated the political party of incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for seeking to establish a “dreadful and diabolical” tyranny in opposition to human life and families in Mexico.

Featured at the website of Contra Replica, a Mexican daily, and bearing the title “They want to destroy us,” Father Valdemar condemned the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena) party, which he said is “ignorant, arrogant and power-hungry.”

López Obrador’s Morena party, said the priest, has become an “instrument for the destruction of Christian faith and families.” Valdemar said, “It is fundamentally a new totalitarianism: a tyranny as dreadful and diabolical as communism.”

In the video that was released just before Christmas, Valdemar sought to describe the Christian faith as being apart from partisan considerations. Father Valdemar stressed that "we Christians are those who profess the faith in one true God in three distinct persons, that is, a faith in the Trinity, for which we were marked in baptism. And we are the same who celebrate at Christmas not the birth of a great man, an enlightened teacher, a remarkable humanist, nor much less the birth of a revolutionary or a reformer, but the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, who by assuming our flesh from Mary’s virginal womb undertakes an amazing exchange: he assumes our humanity so that we can participate in his divine life."

“With His death on the cross and resurrection, Jesus created a new humanity: a humanity that in accordance with God’s plan is not bound to death but to immortality.” Valdemar went on to say “This wondrous plan is set out clearly in the Gospels and is found throughout the Bible and has forged, until recently, the values of Western culture of which our country is part.”

Pointing out the dangers of the pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ project of the new leftist government of Mexico, Valdemar deplored “the headlong attack on the human family through the gender ideology that denies elemental and biological truths such as the difference between man and woman and their natural complementarity. It criminally promotes abortion, it exalts homosexuality and the the recognition of false rights such as same-sex marriage.”

Father Valdemar also warned against what he called “the return of neo-paganism that has revived absolutely ridiculous and irrational superstitions and has created created rights for beings such as animals which have no rights.” He went on to say, “We must be vigilant so that a clique of useful idiots may not destroy our families and our faith.” The priest may have been referring to the rise of the pagan cult of Santa Muerte, which is promoted by Mexico’s violent narco-terrorist cartels and has found acceptance in Mexico and some areas of the United States.

Leftists are now in the majority in both chambers of the Mexican congress and aim to decriminalize abortion throughout the country through several pieces of legislation. Abortion is offered to any woman who is within 12 weeks’ gestation in Mexico City, but restricted in most states.

Since 1974, Mexico has provided contraception free of charge at all public health clinics. At that time, Mexico amended its Constitution and thus established Mexicans’ "right to freely decide, in a responsible and informed manner, on the number and spacing of their children." Lorena Villavicencio, who represents Morena in the Mexican congress, said in December that the decriminalization of abortion is part of President Lopez Obrador’s agenda.

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Cardinals and bishops pack the front section of St. Peter's Basilica during the opening Mass of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family on October 5, 2014. John-Henry Westen /
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Catholics launch appeal urging world’s bishops to break silence on crisis under Pope Francis

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By Diane Montagna

Bishops: Speak out on the crisis under Pope Francis Sign the petition here.

ROME, January 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent group of Catholic laity are calling on bishops and priests to break their silence surrounding the “homosexual networks” in the Church’s hierarchy, which many believe are at the “root” of the clerical sexual abuse crisis to be discussed next month at the Vatican.

In an appeal launched in Italian, English and Spanish on Jan. 5 (see full text below), the president of the Rome-based Lepanto Foundation, Italian historian Professor Roberto de Mattei, is urging Catholic bishops and priests to abandon “the path of absolute silence” about the moral and doctrinal crisis in the Church, arguing that it is only precipitating her “self-destruction.” 

He is also entreating them to place “the interests of the Church, which are those of Jesus Christ,” above their own personal interests, and to join their voices to prelates like Archbishop Viganò who have openly denounced what they call “homosexual networks” in the hierarchy that thrive in “secrecy” as they “strangle innocent victims, priestly vocations, and […] the entire Church.” 

Titled, “Dare, Monsignor!,” the appeal urges bishops and priests to ask God for the supernatural grace needed to respond courageously to the current crisis. 

“If you will dare to ask Him, the Holy Spirit will not fail to suggest to your conscience times, ways, and tones of coming out into the open, in order to be ‘the light of the world, a city set on a hill, a lamp set on a lampstand’ (Mt 5:13-16),” the appeal reads.

“What are you afraid of? The world may attack you with defamation and slander. Your superiors may deprive you of your authority and external dignity. But it is to the Lord that you must render an account, as must each one of us on the Day of Judgment,” it adds. 

Until now, de Mattei observes, many bishops and priests — even those who sympathize with the “unease” and “concern” expressed by cardinals and laity — have adopted “silence as the supreme rule” and counselled others to follow suit in the name of “following the Pope” and “preventing schism.” 

But, he argues, “there is only one way to save the Church from schism. Proclaim the Truth. By remaining silent we will only further the schism.” 

The lay group is therefore urging bishops and priests: “Dare to openly encourage those who defend the Church from within, and who publicly profess the entire Truth of the Catholic Faith. Dare to seek out other confreres who will join you and us in issuing that cry of war and of love which St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort raised in his “Fiery Prayer” [Prière embrasée] with these prophetic words: “Fire! Fire! Fire! There is a fire in the house of God! There is fire even within the Sanctuary!”

In comments to LifeSite, de Mattei explained why the Lepanto Foundation is issuing their appeal now, what they hope to achieve, and also why they focused on the issue of homosexuality. He said:

On February 21, a summit on clerical sexual abuse with presidents of episcopal conferences around the world will open at the Vatican. Pope Francis has just sent a letter on this issue to the US bishops gathered at Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago archdiocese for their week-long retreat. Pope Francis, however, seems to limit the problem of the moral corruption of pedophilia to one of clericalism and the abuse of power, without extending it to homosexuality — which Archbishop Viganò has rightly denounced as a true “scourge” in the Church today.

In issuing our appeal, we are acting as the laity have done many times in the course of history. The laity by their action have contributed to the moral reform of the Church in key moments; for example, through the “Pataria” movement of the eleventh century in Lombardy. 

The Pataria was a religious movement in the northern Italian archdiocese of Milan that sought to reform the clergy and ecclesiatic government, and supported papal sanctions against simony and clerical marriage. The “patarini” — or “ragpickers” as their opponents called them — were generally lay tradesman who were motived by personal piety. 

De Mattei continued: 

Today, however, the problem is not only moral but also theological, because even more serious than the practice of homosexuality is the affirmation by many members of the clergy that a bridge between the Catholic faith and LGBT culture is possible. These pastors and theologians are likely a minority, but they are an active minority, and have been encouraged by the Supreme ecclesiastical hierarchies through a general silence. I often meet both in Rome and in other cities around the world, clergy who privately criticize these positions and complain about the situation of the Church, but do not dare to make their voices heard and lock themselves up in silence.

Our appeal aims not only at shaking the sleeping clergy from their lethargy, but at serving as a symbolic act of indignation and defense of the Church’s honor. We hope that our voice as simple lay faithful will not be despised, but will be listened to and respected, also as a contribution to the debate that must precede the February summit. 

Here below is the official English text of the Lepanto Foundation appeal. It may also be accessed here in pdf format.


An Appeal from the Lepanto Foundation

Dare, Monsignor! 

Twenty-five years later...

Twenty-five years ago, on 8 February 1994, the European Parliament voted on a resolution that invited the nations of Europe to promote and give legal protection to homosexuality. In his Angelus address on 20 February 1994, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II appealed to public opinion worldwide, affirming that “the legal approbation of active homosexuality is not morally admissible [...]. The Resolution of the European Parliament has called for the legitimization of a moral disorder. The Parliament has unduly given institutional value to deviant behaviors, which do not conform to God’s plan.” 

In May of that same year, the Lepanto Cultural Center [Centro Culturale Lepanto] handed out a manifesto in Strasbourg to parliamentary representatives, called “Europe at Strasbourg: Represented or Betrayed?”. The manifesto made an indignant protest against the promotion of a vice condemned by both Christian and Western conscience, and asked the European bishops “to unite their voices to that of the Supreme Pastor [John Paul II] in order to multiply it in their dioceses, by publicly denouncing the moral fault with which the European Assembly has stained itself and warning the flock entrusted to their care of the growing attacks of anti-Christian forces in the world.”

Today, one after another, the principal European nations, including many of those with the most ancient Catholic tradition, have elevated sodomy to a legal right by recognizing, under different forms, so-called “same-sex marriage” and introducing the concept of the crime of “homophobia.” The Pastors of the Church, who should have formed an unbreakable dam of opposition against the homosexualization of society promoted by the political class and by the media-financial oligarchies, have in fact fostered it by their silence. Even at the highest levels of the Church, the practice of homosexuality and of a so-called “gay-friendly” culture that justifies and encourages homosexual vice has spread like a cancer. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, said in a message dated 28 July 2018, that “We are witnessing an incredible scenario, in which some priests and even bishops and cardinals, without blushing, are already offering grains of incense to the idol of homosexuality or gender ideology, to the applause of the powerful ones of this world, that is, to the applause of politicians, social media giants and powerful international organizations.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in his historic testimony of 22 August 2018, denounced — using precise names and circumstances — the existence of a “homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality” and the presence of “homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc.,” and which “act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.” 

These courageous voices remain isolated even until today. The climate of indifference and cover-up which reigns within the Church has profound moral and doctrinal roots that date back to the Second Vatican Council, when the ecclesiasticalhierarchies accepted the process of secularization as an irreversible phenomenon. But when the Church subordinates herself to secularism, the Kingdom of Christ becomes conformed to this world and is reduced to a mere power structure. The militant spirit dissipates, and the Church, instead of converting the world to the law of the Gospel, surrenders the Gospel to the world’s demands.

How we long to hear resounding once again the fierywords of a new Saint Peter Damian or Saint Bernardine of Siena, instead of the infamous statement of Pope Francis, “If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge them?” If it is true that the meaning of this statement was distorted by the media, such misuse should have been combatted by means of clear and solemn documents condemning sodomy, as St. Pius V did with the two constitutions Cum Primum of 1 April 1566 and Horrendum Illud Scelus of 30 August 1568. Instead, Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia of 8 April 2016 not only was silent about this most grave moral disorder but also relativized the precepts of the natural law, opening the path towards the approval of cohabitation and adultery. 

And this is why we now make an appeal to you, Monsignor. 

[Translator’s note: In Italian and several other European languages, the term “Monsignor” is an honorific form of address used with prelates of the Catholic Church below the rank of cardinal and patriarch, including archbishops, bishops, and priests to whom the title has been granted. It is in this broader sense that “Monsignor” is being used here.]

To Serve the Church

The term “Monsignor” evokes a certain dignity, not a power or a bureaucratic function. Each one of the bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, are recognized with the title of “Monsignor,” but simple priests are also able to receive this title. The word “dignity” seems to have lost its meaning today, despite the fact that there was an entire declaration of Vatican II dedicated to it. Dignity means an awareness of a role and mission given by God. Respect for a person’s dignity is the source of a feeling of honor. Your dignity, Monsignor, derives from the honor which you have of serving the Church, without seeking either your own interests or the approval of the powerful. You have received the dignity of Monsignor from the Church, not from the men of the Church, and it is to the Church that you must render an account. The Church is the divine society founded by Jesus Christ, ever-perfect and ever-victorious, both in time and in eternity. The men of the Church may either serve the Church or betray her. Serving the Church means placing the interests of the Church, which are those of Jesus Christ, ahead of one’s personal interests. Betraying the Church means placing the interests of a family, a religious institute, or an ecclesiastical authority taken as a private person ahead of the Truth of the Church, which is the Truth of Jesus Christ, the one Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6). 

We would be insulting your intelligence, Monsignor, were we not to suppose that you already have a certain awareness of the crisis in the Church. Certain eminent cardinals, on various occasions, have manifested their unease and concern over what is happening in the Church. The same unease is displayed by the common man, who is profoundly disoriented by the new religious and moral paradigms. In the face of this unease, Monsignor, many times you have put up your hands, seeking to calm the person speaking to you, using words like: “There is nothing we can do but be silent and pray. The Pope is not immortal. Let’s wait for the next conclave.” That’s all we can do, you say. We cannot speak; we cannot act. You adopt silence as the supreme rule of your behavior. Is this attitude the result of human self-serving; of a selfishness that seeks above all else to live quietly; of the opportunism of those who are able to adapt themselves successfully to every situation? To assert this would be to make a judgment about your intentions, and a judgment about intentions cannot be made by men; only God can do this on the Day of Judgment, when we will each stand alone before Him, to listen to His lips pronounce the un-appealable sentence that will send us either to eternal happiness or to eternal damnation.

We who live on earth can only judge facts and words as they objectively appear. And the words with which you explain your behavior, Monsignor, at times appear to be more noble than your true feelings. “We ought to follow the Pope, even when he displeases us, because he is the Rock on which Christ has founded His Church,” you say; or “we ought to avoid a schism at any cost, because this would be the most serious disaster for the Church.”

Noble words, because they state truths. It is true that the Pope is the foundation of the Church, and that the Church can fear nothing worse than a schism. But what we would like you to reflect on, Monsignor, is that the path of absolute silence that you want to follow will bring harm to the Papacy and will hasten a schism in the Church.

It is true that the Pope is the foundation of the Church, but before being founded on him, the Church is founded on Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the primary and divine foundation of the Church, while Peter is the secondary and human foundation — even if it is true that he is divinely assisted. The divine assistance does not exclude the possibility of error or the possibility of sin. In the history of the Church, there has been no lack of popes who have sinned or erred, without this fact ever prejudicing the institution of the papacy. To say that “we need to always follow the Pope and never depart from him,” while refusing to respectfully correct him in exceptional cases, means attributing to the Church all of the errors which, over the course of the centuries, have been made by the men of the Church. The absence of this distinction between the Church and the men of the Church enables the enemies of the Church to attack her, and many false friends of the Church to refuse to truly serve Her.

Equally fraught with (disastrous) consequences is the assertion that to break silence, to tell the truth, and to denounce – if necessary – the infidelity of the same Supreme Pastor, would lead to a schism. The word “schism” means division, and never as in this moment of her history has the Church appeared so internally divided and fragmented. Within each nation, within each diocese, even within each parish, it is impossible to agree on a common way of living according to the Gospel, because each one experiences and lives a different Christianity – both liturgically and dogmatically – with each one constructing their own religion in such a way that the only thing  remaining in common is the name “Catholic”, but the essence of Catholicism is no longer present. What are the reasons for this fragmentation? The star that lights the way has disappeared, and the faithful make their way in the darkness of night, following opinions and personal sentiments, without even one voice being raised to remind them of the unchanging doctrine and praxis of the Church. The schism is being caused by the darkness, which is the daughter of silence. Only clear voices, crystalline voices, voices which are entirely faithful to the Tradition, are able to dispel the shadows and permit good Catholics to overcome the divisions which have been provoked by this pontificate, and to avoid new humiliations to the Church beyond those which have already been inflicted upon her by Pope Francis. There is only one way to save the Church from schism: Proclaim the Truth. By remaining silent we will only further the schism.

An Urgent Appeal

Monsignor, you who enjoy a certain dignity, you who exercise a moral authority, you who have received an inheritance – what are you afraid of? The world may attack you with defamation and slander. Your superiors may deprive you of your authority and external dignity. But it is to the Lord that you must render an account, as must each one of us on the Day of Judgment, when everything will be weighed and judged according to measure. Do not ask us what you ought to do concretely. If you will dare to ask Him, the Holy Spirit will not fail to suggest to your conscience times, ways, and tones of coming out into the open, in order to be “the light of the world, a city set on a hill, a lamp set on a lampstand” (Matthew 5:13-16).

What we ask of you, Monsignor, is that you assume an attitude of filial criticism, of deferential resistance, of devout moral separation from those responsible for the Church’s self-destruction. Dare to openly encourage those who defend the Church from within, and who publicly profess the entire Truth of the Catholic Faith. Dare to seek out other confreres who will join you and us in issuing that cry of war and of love which St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort raised in his “Fiery Prayer” [Prière embrasée] with these prophetic words: “Fire! Fire! Fire! There is a fire in the house of God! There is fire within souls! There is fire even within the Sanctuary!”

Tongues of fire like those of the day of Pentecost, as well as flashes of fire like those of Hell, seem to be hanging over the earth. A destroying fire, a purifying fire, a restoring fire – destined to engulf the entire world, to consume it and transform it. May the divine fire flare up within us before the fire of God’s wrath does, which will reduce our society to ashes as happened to Sodom and Gomorrha. And this is the reason why, twenty-five years after the unfortunate resolution of the European Parliament, I now make this appeal to you, for the good of souls, for the honor of the Church, and for the salvation of society.

Monsignor, please accept this appeal, which is also an invocation to the Blessed Mother and to the Angels, that they may intervene, as soon as possible, in order to save the Church and the whole world. 

Dare, Monsignor, to take up this holy cause in 2019, and you will find us battling at your side in this good fight!


Roberto de Mattei
President of the Lepanto Foundation


Written at the foot of the Manger, 
on this First Saturday of January 2019, 
the Vigil of the Epiphany of the Lord

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Reports of predatory nuns surface as US bishops meet to discuss sex abuse crisis

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By Doug Mainwaring

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the nation’s prelates continue their retreat at Mundelein Seminary, praying, fasting, and pondering the Church’s problem of clergy sexual abuse, another dimension of religious sexual predation lurks in the shadows: pedophile nuns.  

Stories of abuse by nuns are uncommon outside the Dickensian stories about homes for unwed mothers that have cropped up now and then from generations past in the British Isles.  

After months of stories of clerical sexual abuse against young males dominating national headlines – and 45 states now having launched investigations into priest predation – equally disturbing tales of sexual misconduct by nuns against girls and young women have begun to surface.  

A recent report by CBS News tells the story of Trish Cahill, who as a 15-year-old confided to Sister Eileen Shaw at a convent in New Jersey that she had been abused by her uncle, a Catholic priest.  

Instead of finding solace and healing, Cahill said she was met with more sexual abuse.

The nun used Cahill’s brokenness to begin a process of grooming, plying “her with drugs and alcohol while teaching her how to have sex with a woman.”

“I'm with my friends during the day. And I'm with this pedophile nun on the evenings and on the weekends, and in the summer,” Cahill told CBS.

Cahill has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol and drug addiction, all of which she traces back to her sexual abuse.

In December, local media reported that a nun who taught at a Catholic high school in Ohio had been accused of sexually abusing a female student 36 years ago.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, a police report filed last summer said that in 1982, Sister Lisa Zuccarelli of the Dominican Sisters of Peace molested a girl who Zuccarelli had allowed to stay in her room for the night. 

Much like Cahill, the girl was seeking respite from an abusive situation at home, but instead encountered more abuse from the nun.

Former nun Mary Dispenza also recounted to CBS News that she too had been a victim of sexual abuse by one of her superiors.  

When she was summoned to the superior’s room, “I knelt down right next to her and she kissed me all over softly, my face.”   

“I want to say, ‘Oh but it wasn't bad,’ but it was. And I've carried it with me until today,” she added.

Dispenza, who now works with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said that since the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report, more stories about sexual abuse by nuns have begun to emerge.   

In a letter dating back to 2012, SNAP asked U.S. bishops to investigate what “America’s religious orders of women are doing and are not doing regarding child sex crimes and cover ups by nuns.”  

The SNAP website suggests: “Many abusive nuns have never been exposed or disciplined; Many who have seen, suspected or hidden their crimes have similarly never been exposed or disciplined, and; Many who were abused by nuns have coped by essentially denying and mischaracterized the crimes they suffered, and minimizing the impact of those crimes, so they suffer in confusion, denial, isolation, shame and self-blame.”

The SNAP website also offers a timeline of repeated failed attempts to work with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) dating back 15 years. The LCWR is generally comprised of left-leaning, feminist orders.

In a letter addressed to LCWR dated July 13, 2004, SNAP brought together survivors “who were raped and sexually molested as children, teenagers, and vulnerable adults by religious women of numerous orders,” parents and loved ones of those who committed suicide after being sexually abused by nuns, and those who experience “life-long afflictions of abuse which absolutely affects our spouses, children, and friends as they struggle to dearly love us and support us.”

“Sexual abuse by religious women offenders, whom the LCWR members represent,” continues the letter, “has left many of us spiritually desecrated with a murdered soul.”

Over the course of many years, the LCWR repeatedly rebuffed SNAP’s attempts to meet and address the issue.  

At the moment, there is no indication of the scope of the problem of predatory sexual behavior by women religious.  

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Planned Parenthood sues to allow non-doctors to commit abortions

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By Lisa Bourne

BOISE, Idaho, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood is suing the state of Idaho so that medical professionals other than doctors can commit lawful abortions there.

The lawsuit filed December 14 by the abortion company and Seattle-based feminist group Legal Voice argues that an Idaho law requiring that a licensed physician perform abortions is unconstitutional.

It cites research showing that medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse midwives are also medically qualified to “safely and effectively” commit abortions, The Lewiston Tribune reports. The medical professionals belong to a class known as advanced practice clinicians.

Idaho is one of 42 U.S. states requiring that only licensed physicians perform abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the Planned Parenthood-founded research organization.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, and other pro-abortion groups have also sued in the past to allow non-doctors in Maine and Montana to commit abortions. Per Guttmacher, non-physician abortion is allowed in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont.

The plaintiffs in the Idaho suit say a shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas, limits the availability of abortion. Three of the state’s five abortion facilities belong to Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant has locations in Twin Falls, Boise, and Meridian.

Ninety-five percent of Idaho’s counties do not have an abortion facility, the Lewiston Tribune report said, based upon 2014 data, with 68 percent of the state’s women living in those counties.

Existing abortion locations could offer abortion more days a week if the law were changed, the plaintiffs say, and new abortion sites may be able to open.

One plaintiff is Mary Stark, an Oregon-based nurse practitioner who lived previously in Idaho. She worked in two Idaho Planned Parenthood locations.

Because a physician is only present at the Twin Falls Planned Parenthood two days a month and one day a week at its Boise site, Stark said pregnant women have had to travel extensively to get an abortion.

She said, “The woman would have to decide, ‘Can I rearrange my life around that one day or do I have to continue this pregnancy?’”

Stark is legally allowed in Oregon to perform chemical (medication) abortions and vacuum aspiration (“suction”) abortions. She can also administer chemical abortions in Washington.

“It’s like my skills magically dry up when I cross the border,” she said.

Idaho State Representative Fred Wood of Burley, a retired physician and chairman of the Idaho House Health & Welfare Committee, said he’d not been aware of the law before last week, and as far as he knows, discussion of changing the law has never been raised in the Idaho statehouse.

Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs is listed as a defendant in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit, as are Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Jan Bennetts, and members of the State Board of Medicine and State Board of Nursing.

Loebs said his office has not had to enforce the law locally.

Planned Parenthood also challenged an Idaho law on the reporting of abortion complications which went into effect last July. The federal lawsuit against the state is awaiting a decision from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a U.S. District Court Judge’s ruling rejecting Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction against the law.

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Supreme Court debates taking up Indiana ban on abortions for race, sex, or Down syndrome

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court privately deliberated Friday over whether to take up the first major abortion case of the year, which concerns Indiana’s efforts to prevent girls, minorities, or children with Down syndrome from being deliberately targeted by abortion.

Before leaving office to become President Donald Trump’s running mate, then-Gov. Mike Pence signed House Enrolled Act 1337. It banned abortions sought specifically because of a preborn baby’s race, sex, ethnicity, or potential disabilities. It also required abortionists to bury or cremate fetal remains rather than treating them as medical waste.

Abortion advocates sued, arguing in the words of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Ken Falk that every woman has an “absolute right as part of her privacy interests” to use abortion to eliminate children she considers undesirable. A district judge sided with Planned Parenthood, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld their injunction.

In October, Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to consider HEA 1337, arguing that the “right to abortion declared by our Supreme Court protects only the decision not to bear a child at all, not a right to decide which child to bear,” and stressing that “our nation knows only too well the bitter fruits of such discrimination.”

The justices met Friday to privately discuss whether to hear this and dozens of other cases. They are expected to announce their decision next week at the earliest.

At least four justices must vote to take up a case. UPI notes that the Supreme Court only hears oral arguments in about 80 of the 7,000 to 8,000 cases submitted to it every term, but pro-lifers are hopeful the current court will be interested.

Attorney Jennifer Kalven of the left-wing ACLU told the Los Angeles Times it was “very unlikely to the court will take the case. There is no split in the circuit courts on this question, which is a typical reason the court takes case.” Pro-lifers have placed a great deal of hope in Trump’s two appointees transforming the Supreme Court into a pro-life ally, but recent events have raised new doubts about the court’s stomach for addressing abortion.

Last month, Justice Brett Kavanaugh alarmed pro-lifers by voting with Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s liberal wing not to hear Kansas and Louisiana’s appeals regarding their efforts to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood. Justice Neil Gorsuch joined conservatives Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito in voting to take the case.

The case did not hinge directly on abortion’s legality, but Thomas accused his colleagues of being afraid to even come near the subject in a blistering dissent

“What explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood,’” he wrote. “Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty. If anything, neutrally applying the law is all the more important when political issues are in the background.”

In 2015, the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimated that abortion reduces the Down syndrome community in the United States by 30 percent. Sex-selection abortion is primarily considered more of a global problem than an American one, but the pro-life group Live Action has filmed several Planned Parenthood staffers across the nation expressing a willingness to abort babies specifically because they are unwanted girls.

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Liberal ‘fact-checking’ site claims it’s ‘problematic’ to call abortion a ‘cause of death’

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By Calvin Freiburger

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The popular “fact-checking” website Snopes has once again waded into the abortion debate, this time suggesting it’s medically inaccurate to descirbe abortion as “death.”

Over the past week, multiple outlets including LifeSiteNews covered the year-end global tally of abortions estimated by the statistics tracking service Worldometers, which found that more than 41 million induced abortions had occurred in 2018. The reports noted that this makes abortion the leading cause of death worldwide, exceeding the combined deaths attributed to cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol, and traffic accidents.

On Thursday, Snopes published an article questioning that assessment. The piece agrees that, assuming the numbers are accurate, “it would be true that the number of abortions worldwide outnumbered overall deaths from heart disease and stroke, the top two causes of death that year,” but takes issue with the statement’s characterization of abortion.

“Stating that abortion is the ‘leading cause of death’ worldwide (as opposed to a medical procedure) is a problematic pronouncement, because that stance takes a political position, one which is at odds with the scientific/medical world,” Snopes’ Bethania Palma Markus wrote. “The medical community does not confer personhood upon fetuses that are not viable outside the womb, so counting abortion as a 'cause of death' does not align with the practices of health organizations such as WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Markus also cited Guttmacher Institute public policy director Heather Boonstra as declaring abortion a “legal, constitutionally protected medical procedure” that is “not considered a cause of death by CDC, WHO and other leading authorities.”

The author described Guttmacher merely as a “reproductive health research organization,” however, and did not mention the group’s pro-abortion bias or origin as Planned Parenthood’s research arm. She also neglected to mention that WHO is not impartial on abortion, and its endorsement of abortion as “family planning” is a relatively recent and controversial development.

While it is true that the CDC describes abortion neutrally, it also doesn’t list the practice as an aspect of “women’s reproductive health.” Additionally, its primary roles are combatting disease and providing health information to lawmakers and the general public, so its mild handling of abortion says little about the nature of the procedure.

Markus next cited two articles asserting that the “legal, philosophical, religious, and scientific arenas provide no definitive answers as to when personhood begins,” but neither she nor the quotes she selected seriously grapple with the science of embryology.

In fact, long-settled biological criteria and numerous mainstream scientific and medical textbooks established that a living human being is created upon fertilization and is present throughout the entirety of pregnancy. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines death as the “irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity: the end of life.”

Many abortionists and some pro-abortion activists admit all of the above. They typically defend abortion by claiming preborn humans lack human rights and/or drawing a philosophical distinction between humans and persons (arguments pro-life philosophers have extensively challenged), but typically don’t dispute that death is involved.

“Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions,” leading feminist author Naomi Wolf admitted in 2013. “We need to contextualise the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a foetus is a real death.”

Curiously, Markus concluded the article by citing claims that fetal personhood laws could somehow lead to prosecuting women for miscarriages, a topic that has no bearing on the question of whether abortion kills a living human being.

Several pro-life leaders criticized Snopes for the article.

“Pretending that a unique life isn't ended by abortion is the kind of misinformation groups like Snopes are supposed to debunk,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins told LifeSiteNews. “Saying that abortion is merely medical ignores the impact of that procedure on a human being. Just because abortion vendors end the lives with surgery and drugs doesn't change the fact that someone ceased to live.”

“Abortion being the leading of cause of death is a political statement and is the truth," Patrina Mosley, the Family Research Council's director of life, culture, and women’s advocacy, said. "The fact that this many innocent lives have been taken and it’s perfectly legal, should alarm us and begs the question, what are we going to do about it? The last time it was legal to do this we called it the holocaust.”

“Embryology answered the question of when a human being’s life begins long ago. An embryo, even a single-cell embryo, is a living being distinct in every way from his or her mother. That is the simple science," said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser with the Catholic Association. "The fact is that abortion ends the life of a human being in his or her early stages of development, at the rate of over 50 million beings a year. Ischaemic heart disease and stroke comes in at 15.2 million yearly, a distant second.”

Snopes originally rose to prominence as an entertaining resource for confirming or debunking urban legends, but as political “fact-checking” gained popularity over the years it grew increasingly liberal, and its reliability increasingly disputed.

In April, Washington Times contributor Robert Knight fact-checked Snopes’ defense of legislation in California that would have banned not just treatment but speech regarding unwanted homosexual attraction.

“In December 2017, Forbes ran a piece that concluded Snopes has major credibility problems such as: David Mikkelson’s ‘responses regarding the hiring of strongly partisan fact checkers,’” Knight wrote. “On the Snopes website, the 'About Us' section lists David Mikkelson solely as founder, with no mention whatever of co-founder (and ex-wife) Barbara Mikkelson, who has been tossed down the memory hole.”

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Irish health minister to introduce legislation making organ donation automatic without permission

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By Claire Chretien

IRELAND, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s health minister plans to introduce legislation making organ donation in the republic automatic.

“It is my goal to make organ donation the norm in Ireland when people pass away in circumstances in which donation is a possibility,” said Simon Harris, who aggressively and ultimately successfully campaigned for the legalization of abortion in Ireland.

The proposed legislation will allow people to forgo organ donation only if they opt out in advance. If family members don’t want a dead relative’s organs harvested, they will be able to stop it from occurring, according to DublinLive.

“While this has taken a lot longer than anticipated, I will bring forward proposals to ensure 2019 is the year we introduce an opt-out organ donation register,” said Harris. “I hope the introduction of an opt-out system encourages people to discuss their wishes with loved ones.”

If the legislation is passed, Ireland will join Wales and England in presuming consent for organ donation unless someone has opted out. Similar measures have been proposed in Scotland.

Pro-life advocates have expressed concern that many medical professionals classify patients as “brain dead,” even though these patients’ hearts are still beating on their own and their bodies are functioning normally. The nebulous “brain death” classification allows a patient’s organs to be collected.

Others worry that consent or presumed consent for organ donation incentivizes doctors to view sick patients as potential harvesting opportunities rather than people they are obligated to heal.

As Brad Mattes of Life Issues Institute has documented, the organ transplant industry generates $20 billion annually and transplant surgeons are paid “handsomely ... The only ones banned from the money gravy train are the donors and their families.”

There have been a number of cases of patients waking up shortly before having their organs harvested.

Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada allow doctors to harvest organs of patients they legally euthanize.


Watch: Shocking realities of ‘brain death’ and organ transplants

The inconvenient truth about organ donations

European doctors push for harvesting organs from patients they help kill

Dad who saved son’s life by armed, three-hour hospital standoff is freed from prison

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Justin Trudeau at Gay Pride parade. Shutterstock
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Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. 

Trudeau’s government approved the coin design on December 14, reported CBC last month. 

According to CBC, the design is a "… stylized rendering of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear …" It is understood that the two human faces belong to a couple of the same sex. 

The coin will also feature the years “1969”, when private homosexual acts were decriminalized, and 2019. The word “equality” in both English and French will be included, as will the initials of the artist, currently known only as “RA”.

“Canada’s new coin celebrates day gay sex was legalized,” states a Dec. 30th headline from 

The one-dollar coin, or “loonie”, as it is popularly known in Canada, was originally, and is normally, engraved with the head of the monarch and the image of a common loon (Gavia immer) on the reverse. A number of commemorative loonies have been struck since the coin was introduced in 1987, usually to celebrate sporting events, like the Olympics or the centenaries of such cultural icons as the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the Navy, and women’s right to vote. 

It is unprecedented to mint a loonie to mark the semi-centennial of anything, let alone a change in the Criminal Code.    

In 1967 Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), acting as Canada’s Justice Minister, introduced a controversial “Omnibus Bill” (Bill C-195) to the House of Commons, asking for sweeping changes to the nation’s Criminal Code. Among the changes were the partial-decriminalization of abortion, new restrictions on gun ownership, and the decriminalization of certain sex acts if performed in private.  

Borrowing the famous phrase from a Globe and Mail reporter, Pierre Trudeau told reporters that there was “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” The elder Trudeau also suggested that homosexual acts in public were “a different matter.” 

As a matter of fact, the original Omnibus Bill did not seek to decriminalize homosexuality per se, but to distinguish between public and private sexual acts. It stated only that certain sexual acts between consenting adults aged 21 or older were legal when performed in private. If a third person or others were present, these acts--including sodomy--were still considered illegal.

This detail of the Bill changed, however. In 1968, the Omnibus Bill was modified and reintroduced to Parliament by the now-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Justice Minister, John Turner, as Bill C-150. Inspired by similar legislation pertaining to England and Wales, the Bill now included the explicit decriminalization of homosexual acts among those aged 21 and over. On May 14, 1969, after three weeks of furious opposition from the Quebec’s Catholic Créditiste (Social Credit) party,  Bill C-150 passed third reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149:55. There were 59 abstentions. 

When Bill C-150 was signed into law both homosexual acts and abortion became legal in Canada under certain circumstances. However, men in Canada continued to be arrested for soliciting or performing sexual acts in public and semi-public places. In 1981, Toronto police conducted a series of raids on bathhouses, charging men they found there with prostitution and indecency. These and other raids led to accusations of discrimination against homosexuals, and Toronto police have since apologized. 

Canada legalized same-sex "marriage" in 2005, thirty-six years after the passage of bill C-150. Today, public institutions across the country, including courts, schools, and various government organizations, are unrelenting in pushing what critics say is a homosexual agenda on the population. 

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Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 Values Voter Summit. Andy Parrish / LifeSiteNews
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Trump administration rejects Democrat spending bill to restore foreign abortion money

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration made clear it would not consider a Democrat spending bill to fully reopen the federal government, partially because it would also restore foreign aid to organizations that commit or promote abortions.

The federal government has been partially shut down since President Donald Trump rejected a government funding bill that didn’t include $5 billion to begin constructing the southern border wall he campaigned on. Despite widespread media talk of a “government shutdown,” most of the government was already funded and remains in operation.

Following her re-election as House Speaker Thursday, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi announced that her party would be “offering the Senate Republican Appropriations [Committee] legislation to reopen the government later today.” The proposal consisted of one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 and another to fund federal departments until the end of September.

The legislation lacked the wall funding at the heart of the dispute, however, and would also repeal the Mexico City Policy (now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance) that Trump reinstated shortly after taking office and later expanded. In addition to making abortion-involved groups once again eligible for foreign aid, the Democrat plan would also give $37.5 million to the United Nations Population Fund, from which Trump withdrew in 2017 over its participation in China’s forced abortion regime.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the pair of bills, CNN reports, with five Republicans breaking ranks to support the security bill without wall funding.

“The Administration opposes passage” of both pieces of legislation, the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement released Thursday. “The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to reopen lapsed agencies, but cannot accept legislation that provides unnecessary funding for wasteful programs while ignoring the Nation’s urgent border security needs.”

The statement primarily focused on the debate over illegal immigration, but also highlighted the proposal’s funding of a “number of unnecessary programs at excessive levels well beyond what was put forward in the FY 2019 Budget.”

“It includes $700 million more than requested for the United Nations, including restoring funding for the United Nations Population Fund,” the statement noted. “The bill would also undermine the President’s Mexico City Policy (Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2017), which prohibits the funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.”

“If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the message concludes.

Vice President Mike Pence reiterated Thursday evening that “we will have no deal without a wall,” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also declared that the Senate “will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which cannot pass this chamber and which the president will not sign.”

With the Democrats’ new House majority committed to defending abortion, pro-lifers are largely resigned to two more years without direct legislation to defund Planned Parenthood or otherwise restrict abortion, though they remain optimistic that the president will keep pursuing incremental steps for life via executive action, and are hopeful that Republicans’ expanded Senate majority will enable the confirmation of judges with clear pro-life credentials.

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Pope Francis greets Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta. El Tribuno
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Argentine bishop promoted by Pope Francis at Vatican accused of abusing seminarians

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By Martin Barillas
Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta. Diocese of Orán

ROME, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Argentine bishop, who suddenly resigned from his diocese in 2017 citing health reasons only to be appointed to a top Vatican administrative position by Pope Francis, is now under investigation for sexual abuse, the Vatican said in a statement today. 

Alessandro Gissoti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office, said today that accusations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta emerged over recent months, about a year after Pope Francis created a position for him as “assessor” of the Holy See’s financial administration office.

Bishop Zanchetta resigned from his diocese of Oran in northwest Argentina in 2017, stating that “a health issue prevents me from carrying out the pastoral mission that was entrusted to me.” He added that he wished to relinquish his post as “soon as possible” so as to receive treatment elsewhere. “Please forgive me for having failed or deceived you,” Zanchetta wrote.

After his resignation, Zanchetta spent some time in Spain before being named as an advisor to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees the various real estate and other properties of the papacy. According to a papal spokesman, Zanchetta was appointed to the administrative position because of his professional abilities. During the investigation, Zanchetta will take a leave of absence from his work at the Vatican. 

According to Gissoti, at the time of Zanchetta’s resignation, there had been accusations laid against him of authoritarianism and strained relations with members of the clergy. However, no accusations of sexual misdeeds emerged at that time. Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina, who currently presides over Zanchetta’s former diocese, has several testimonies about Zanchetta that must still be reviewed. 

According to El Tribuno, the newspaper of Salta, a province in northern Argentina, three seminarians accused Zanchetta of abuse and later left the seminary. Ten other seminarians were intimidated to remain silent about the abuse they had witnessed, said the report. 

According to media reports, some of Zanchetta’s accusers were subjected to his reprisals and were reassigned. “Knowing the gravity of all types of abuse, the bishop is available to anyone who would like to present a complaint to begin the corresponding procedure for canonical justice, while recalling the right of all victims of abuse to seek ordinary justice [through civil authorities]," said a statement from the current bishop of Oran, an impoverished province that borders neighboring Bolivia. 

The alleged abuse, according to testimony provided to the papal nunciature in Buenos Aires, occurred at parties organized by Zanchetta where he offered alcohol to his alleged victims. Reportedly, the seminarians were minors at the time. Zanchetta founded a seminary in Oran where six seminarians were admitted. That seminary is due to be closed.

Zanchetta was under a cloud of accusations even before being named bishop of Oran. According to El Tribuno, Zanchetta was accused of abuse of power and financial misdeeds during his time as bishop of Quilmes, a city near Buenos Aires. A number of priests and laity expressed opposition at that time to his nomination to the Oran diocese. It was Pope Francis himself, a fellow Argentine, who elevated Zanchetta to the post at Oran. Zanchetta was one of the first bishops named by the pope, a fellow Argentine.

Zanchetta hastily left behind his flock in Oran without even a customary farewell Mass on July 29, 2017, after returning from the Vatican where he had offered his resignation to Pope Francis. He departed to Corrientes, several hundred miles away, and was the guest of the archbishop there until the pope accepted the resignation three days later. 


Statement by Alessandro Gissoti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office

Bishop Zanchetta was not removed from the diocese of Oran. It was he who resigned. The reason for his resignation is linked to his difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and very tense relations with the priests of the diocese. At the time of his resignation there had been accusations of authoritarianism against him, but there had been no accusation of sexual abuse. The problem that emerged then was linked to his inability to govern the clergy.

After his resignation he spent a period of time in Spain. After the period in Spain, in consideration of his capability for management, he was appointed councilor of APSA [Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See] (a position that does not provide governmental responsibility for the dicastery). 

No charges of sexual abuse had arisen at the time of appointment as advisor. The accusations of sexual abuse date back to this fall. On the basis of these accusations and the news recently reported by the media, the bishop of Oran has already assembled some testimonies that are yet to come to the Congregation for Bishops. If the elements to proceed are confirmed, the case will be referred to the special commission of the bishops. During the investigation, Msgr. Zanchetta will abstain from work.

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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Abortionist Leah Torres Twitter
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Abortionist: ‘God performs way more abortions than I do’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SALT LAKE CITY, January 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Utah-based abortionist who claims to promote medical and sexual education has confused natural death with killing.

Planned Parenthood employee Dr. Leah Torres, who has over 18,000 followers on Twitter, tweeted out a comparison of her deadly work with naturally occuring miscarriages, suggesting that God is an abortionist.

Replying to someone who asked her what God thought, Torres tweeted on December 29, “Everyone seems to assert they know what god thinks, so have at it.” 

“God performs way more abortions than I do, so there’s that,” she claimed.

The tweet to which Torres was responding has since been deleted.

In response, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life retorted that abortion supporters not only confuse “dying and killing,” they confuse humans with God.

“Abortionist Leah Torres says that God commits far more abortions than she does, i.e. miscarriages,” he tweeted.  

“How absurd,” he continued. “Supporters of #abortion not only fail to tell the difference between dying and killing, they also fail to tell the difference between humans and #God.”  

A Twitter reader who called herself “pro-choice” also called out Torres on the differences between miscarriages and abortions and between the work of nature and of the direct intervention of God.  

“Hey, I'm pro-choice, but I also lost a son at birth, and had a miscarriage, and that was f*** up nature doing it, not God,” tweeted Margaret P. Houston. “Please don't make this argument.”

“God grieves with me. He doesn't do this to me,” the bereaved mother added.

In March 2018, Torres made headlines by stating that the unborn babies she kills don’t scream because she first cuts their “cord,” a gruesome remark which recalled testimony offered at the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

The human larynx (or voice box) is formed after the unborn child is 10 weeks old. It was unclear whether Torres was saying she cuts babies’ vocal cords, spinal cords, or umbilical cords.

Torres, whose Twitter feed is jam-packed with pro-abortion propaganda, also opposes the very expression of realities she finds troubling. Yesterday she used Twitter to ask why Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson’s remarks concerning the social fallout from women’s wages exceeding men’s were “even allowed on the air.”

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President Trump delivers his inauguration speech at the U.S. Capitol.
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Deep State bureaucrats undermining Trump’s agenda at the United Nations

C-FAM Staff
By C-FAM Staff

January 4, 2019 (C-Fam) The Trump administration has delayed the release of its Congressionally-mandated strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, just as international feminist groups ramp up efforts to radically reform the UN Security Council-based agenda toward feminist, LGBT, and pacifist aims.

The purpose of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda is to protect women and girls during war and to get more women involved in conflict prevention, reconciliation, and mitigation. It began with a UN Security Council resolution in 2000. Some seventy countries have action plans to implement it. The United States is the first country to enact domestic legislation. The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 gave the administration until October 2018 to issue an implementation strategy. Congress granted an extension until the end of the year.

Sources say staff in the four agencies responsible for drafting and implementing the new strategy have not reached agreement on what it should look like. The competent departments are Defense, State, Homeland Security and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The National Security Council is coordinating the drafting effort.

At issue is whether the plan might resemble the previous administration's agenda or stick to the new law's narrower mandate. The bill passed Congress only after Democrats agreed to drop references to the Obama-era plan. The law's Republican champion, outgoing House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo earlier this year explaining that Congress expects a new strategy and not a repeat of the Obama document.

Even so, some career staff members are apparently seeking to make Trump's strategy resemble the broader international feminist agenda. The agenda, also called "The Hillary Doctrine" for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was reflected in the Obama plan which included such things as abortion and transgender training at the nation's war colleges.

During its tenure on the UNSC, the Obama administration sponsored new WPS resolutions focused on sexual violence rather than women's participation and empowerment. While some feminists are leery of casting women primarily as victims, the focus buttresses a broader feminist claim to an international right to abortion for women raped in conflict and humanitarian settings. The emphasis on sexual violence also underpins an effort to transform the agenda toward an LGBT focus.

According to the LGBT group Outright International, "the name 'Women, Peace, and Security' itself continues to perpetuate harmful gender essentialist thinking unless a nuanced gender analysis is applied." In its year-end newsletter, the group said it has successfully influenced the WPS agenda at the UN by its membership in the NGO working group on WPS, viewed by UN member states as the expert body on the issue.

According to Outright, the UN working group seeks to overturn the WPS agenda's "heteronormative framework" and to link "toxic masculinity" against women and gay and transgender men. Providing academic support and a roadmap to the movement is an article in the prestigious journal International Security. It takes issue with prioritizing "motherhood as a vulnerable category" and says that it's "equally if not more important to recognize other aspects of gender identity as targets of violence." Further, the article says, "relief programs targeting women only, for example, have been problematic for transgender people and ... gay men," and that the term "gender perspective" in the UN's WPS resolution "provides the potential for radical reform" of the agenda.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

UN flag waving on the wind
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Will pro-family UN members buckle to increasing pro-abortion, LGBT pressure?

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

January 4, 2019 (C-Fam) For decades, the expert bodies monitoring compliance with UN human rights treaties have been increasingly bold in promoting abortion along with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). While this exceeds their mandates and falls outside the agreed text of the treaties they monitor, their activities have gone largely unchecked, and this trend has only continued in the past year.

When a UN member state ratifies a multilateral human rights treaty, it agrees to undergo a regular review by an expert committee, which in turn provides observations urging the member state to increase its adherence to the treaty. Unlike the treaty itself, these observations are not binding, but they have been cited by high courts within countries to justify such measures as liberalizing abortion laws.

While none of the six major treaties addressing human rights issues, including those of women, children, and persons with disabilities, includes direct references to abortion or SOGI, each of their monitoring bodies has pressured countries on these issues in the past year.

The committee monitoring the women's rights treaty pressured countries on abortion in 88% of cases. In a joint statement with the committee monitoring the rights of disabled persons, they asserted that abortion is a prerequisite for women's rights and disputed the claim of pro-life groups that special allowances for abortion in the case of fetal abnormality constitute discrimination on the basis of disability.

Ninety percent of the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee in 2018 included pressure on SOGI. In November, this committee issued a general comment stating that its understanding of the "right to life" includes a right to abortion. The comment was also favorable to euthanasia.

While pro-life groups, including international human rights experts and members of these same committees, have expressed concern and even outrage at these developments, concrete steps toward treaty body reform remain elusive. UN human rights treaties themselves continue to maintain considerable credibility, with high rates of ratification by member states. All but one country – the United States – have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for instance. Its monitoring body pressured states party to the treaty on both abortion and SOGI at unprecedented levels in 2018, in 65% and 53% of cases, respectively.

Although treaty monitoring bodies involve experts talking to the governments of member states, another UN mechanism allows countries to address each other directly and encourage their promotion of human rights. In the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), each country undergoes a broad review every few years and receives recommendations from fellow countries. Although SOGI and abortion pressure are widespread within the UPR, it comes from a relatively small group of countries, clustered predominantly within Western Europe and its allies. At the end of last year, C-Fam reported that some countries have begun using the UPR to encourage their fellow nations to protect life in the womb and support a traditional understanding of the family. In January, Kenya urged Botswana to "affirm that there is no international human right to abortion" and resist pressure to liberalize its abortion laws. Also in 2018, Egypt issued calls to several countries to protect the family as the "natural and fundamental group unit of society," quoting the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which had its 70th anniversary this year.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Appeals court rules in favor of Trump’s transgender military ban

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration should be allowed to implement its ban on individuals suffering from gender dysphoria serving in the military, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday, though the ruling does not vacate every injunction against the policy.

The unsigned opinion ruled that District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was wrong to have blocked the ban, Reuters reports. But it has no power to vacate injunctions imposed by other districts, meaning the administration is still waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the matter.

The policy disqualifies “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.” It was developed after “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” according to the White House and as detailed in a memo from former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The ban has been challenged in court since before it was even finalized, and in July the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the administration’s request to lift another temporary injunction against enforcing it.

In November, the administration petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case instead of waiting for it to work its way through lower courts whose outcomes would almost certainly be appealed anyway. The court can fast-track cases that haven’t yet reached it if they’re shown to be “of such an imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this court.”

One of the factors behind the D.C. Circuit panel’s decision was that Kollar-Kotelly failed to recognize changes in the finalized policy from an earlier version she had also blocked. “It was clear error to say there was no significant change," they ruled, whereas the current version "appears to permit some transgender individuals to serve in the military consistent with established military mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards.”

Pro-LGBT activists argue the policy constitutes discrimination for no valid military purpose, but several military veterans and experts disagree.

The Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired Lieutenant General Tom Spoehr and former Army drill instructor John Burk, endorse the Mattis memo’s conclusion that gender dysphoria in the ranks harms “healthcare costs, readiness, and unit cohesion,” and therefore presents “considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Center for Military Readiness leader Elaine Donnelly argues that the policy’s foes are attempting to stigmatize something that was a consensus view before LGBT activists took yet another left turn. “In June 2017, for example, AP [Associated Press] reported that three of four military service leaders wanted one or two years more time before implementing Obama-era transgender mandates,” she wrote.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide on January 11 whether to take the case. If at least four justices agree to do so, the policy’s fate would likely be revealed sometime in the summer of 2019.

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Daniel John Sobieski


Hollywood glorifies pro-abortion Ruth Bader Ginsburg in new bio film

Daniel John Sobieski

January 4, 2019 (American Thinker) – In anticipation of her seat being the next Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by President Trump, Hollywood has come out with a fawning biopic of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg depicting how, in 1956, she overcame the sexist fortress of Harvard Law School to become the feminist icon she is today:

It's 1956, and Ginsburg is one of only nine women in the class, facing the slings and arrows of sexist men of all ages. The opening scene will be deeply satisfying, especially for viewers who have joined the burgeoning cult of RBG, because they know what those students obviously didn't: That Ginsburg will end up sitting on the Supreme Court, long after most of the guys who beat her out for law firm jobs have retired to the golf course. More than that, the elderly Ginsburg will become a cultural icon of still-uncharted dimensions.

"On the Basis of Sex," a full Hollywood production in which the young Ginsburg is played by Felicity Jones, is the latest entry in the popular movement that presents the pioneering women's-rights attorney as a kind of progressive superhero. The film is a myth-building exercise for a woman who's reached mythic stature in a shockingly short period of time.

Without saying so, the film probably anticipates that her replacement is likely to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as far from Ginsburg's secular progressive and anti-Constitution philosophy as one can get. Just as John F. Kennedy was said by some to be a stalking horse for the Vatican who would clear each major decision with the Pope, Barrett, a practicing Catholic who actually gets it right, was charged with embracing Catholic dogma so tightly that there is no room left for the Constitution and those "emanations from the penumbras" that sanctified Roe v. Wade.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed the issue on The Ingraham Angle on Fox:

Senate Democrats grilled Barrett over how her Catholic faith would affect her views on court precedents concerning abortion cases during her confirmation process after Trump nominated her as a circuit judge in 2017.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), in particular, showed what Catholic League President Bill Donahue [sic] called anti-religion "animus" during their questioning of her religious beliefs[.] ...

"Let's remember... the seminal statement by Sen. Feinstein – she said the dogma screams [sic] loudly in you," Donahue [sic] told Ingraham. "That's coming awfully close to establishing a religious test."

Feinstein received intense backlash after she told Barrett during her confirmation hearing, "Dogma and law are two different things. And, I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you."

On the Basis of Sex is supposed to warn us of our imminent journey from the progressive to the Neanderthal and to hide the fact that the dogma that lives within Ruth Bader Ginsburg, far from a heroic fight for women's rights, is a bizarre concoction of radical feminist angst and ideology that ignores originalist interpretations of the Constitution in favor of reliance on international law, foreign court decisions, and a flagrantly political agenda. 

We need only look at her 230-page book, called Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, published in 1977 by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to see elements of her radical philosophy:

The purpose of this book was to show how the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (for which she was an aggressive advocate) would change federal laws to make them sex-neutral and "eliminate sex-discriminatory provisions."

Ginsburg called for the sex-integration of prisons and reformatories so that conditions of imprisonment, security and housing could be equal. She explained, "If the grand design of such institutions is to prepare inmates for return to the community as persons equipped to benefit from and contribute to civil society, then perpetuation of single-sex institutions should be rejected." (Page 101)[.] ...

Ginsburg called for reducing the age of consent for sexual acts to people who are "less than 12 years old." (Page 102)

She asserted that laws against "bigamists, persons cohabiting with more than one woman, and women cohabiting with a bigamist" are unconstitutional. (Page 195)

She objected to laws against prostitution because "prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions." (Page 97) ...

Ginsburg wrote that the Mann Act (which punishes those who engage in interstate sex traffic of women and girls) is "offensive." Such acts should be considered "within the zone of privacy." (Page 98)

Ginsburg is no fan of President Trump, which is why she refuses to retire, but is a fan of bypassing the U.S. Constitution. If we needed another reminder of why it matters who is elected president and who gets to pick not only the replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us. In statements to CNN and the New York Times during the 2016 presidential election, Ginsburg called the presumptive GOP presidential nominee a "faker" and warned of the danger of a Trump administration to SCOTUS and the country. As ABC News reported:

"He is a faker," Ginsburg said of Trump on Monday on CNN. "He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego[.] ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."

She also told the New York Times that a Trump presidency would be unimaginable for the country and the Supreme Court.

"I can't imagine what this place would be – I can't imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our president," she told the Times. "For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be – I don't even want to contemplate that." 

She jokingly added that she would move to New Zealand if he were to win the election in November.

She is entitled to her own political views. She is entitled even to use them in forming her court decisions. She is not entitled to use her lifetime appointment to attempt to sway Americans in an election. Her remarks show how far liberals on the Supreme Court and in lower courts have gone beyond interpreting the intent of the Founders in writing the Constitution to using the Supreme Court to advance a political and social agenda. To them, the Constitution is a "living document" written in the sand, not carved into the bedrock of American democracy.

She is one of the justices who advocates incorporating foreign law and foreign constitutions into SCOTUS decisions:

At the beginning of February, Ruth Bader Ginsburg traveled to South Africa, where she gave a public address on "The Value of a Comparative Perspective in Constitutional Adjudication." She defended the Supreme Court's recent practice of taking guidance from foreign law when interpreting the U.S. Constitution. She acknowledged that the practice has been criticized. She expressed concern at bills before Congress condemning the practice.

In that speech in South Africa, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that if judges can consult law review articles and such in the U.S., "why not the analysis of a question similar to the one we confront contained in an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the German Constitutional Court, or the European Court of Human Rights?"

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a concurring opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, affirmed the use of racial preferences in university admissions, citing the fact that the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination temporarily allows for the "maintenance of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups." Separate but equal?

Justice Ginsburg shares the view that the Supreme Court is a tool – not for ruling on the law and the Constitution, as the Founders intended, but for social engineering, incorporating foreign laws and opinions. She is a globalist who believes that "we the people" includes the people of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. She believes in a "living Constitution" as an Etch-a-Sketch document that can mean, as in Alice in Wonderland, whatever she chooses it to mean.

She is the poster child for judicial activism and legislating from the bench. She will not be missed.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Garrett Hardin (second from left) was a population control advocate.
Susan Swander

Opinion ,

My 1968 journey on California’s abortion underground railroad

Susan Swander
By Susan Swander

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Unable to sleep the other night, I began to think back over my life. I reflected on my turbulent youth as a child of the 60s: the men, the drugs and drinking. I came of age in a tumultuous time; everything was in a state of change and upheaval. 

I got to thinking about an old college friend and his family. I decided to Google my friend’s father who had an unusual name and was sadly influential in my life.  I found an obituary for the father, Garrett Hardin.  

As I read it, I was in shock.

At 18, I was a freshman at the University of California, Santa Cruz, facing an unplanned pregnancy. I could have shared the pregnancy with my parents, who were against abortion and would have helped me parent my child. I turned instead to this college friend and his family. 

As I struggled to accept the reality that I was pregnant, the Hardins persuaded me that I could get rid of the pregnancy and then after the procedure I could return to my pre-pregnancy life. That’s exactly what I wanted.   

But in 1968 abortion was still illegal. Not to worry. Garrett Hardin had another option that would make my problem go away.

One particular paragraph of Hardin’s obituary hit me especially hard. I was not the only woman he helped get rid of the problem:

“Mr. Hardin and his wife were longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood, and … helped operate an ‘underground railroad’ in which 200 local women went to Mexico seeking abortions.”

I am one of those 200 local women who went to Mexico on that Hardin Underground Railroad of Abortion.  

Garrett Hardin was tragically wrong. That abortion did not magically return me to my pre-pregnancy life. Pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing events. But abortion is also a life-changing event.  

At 18, I really had no idea what I was doing on that journey to Mexico. One of the Hardin family women went with me. We drank the whole two days. I’m surprised they were able to do anything medical given my blood-alcohol level. I’m sure it was through the roof.  

For a short time after that trip, life seemed sort of OK. The only problem was that my drinking, drugging and promiscuity all got worse. After two more unplanned pregnancies and two more abortions, I was a mess.

I finally had a child and then got sober. After a number of years floundering around, I returned to my childhood Catholicism. I then found an abortion healing program called Rachel’s Vineyard that began my journey back to peace and serenity.

In Garrett Hardin’s obituary, a friend of his shared:

“Mr. Hardin’s research and writing on reproductive rights ‘were fundamental in getting the state Legislature (California) to pass therapeutic abortion bills in the 1960s.’”  

I also learned something else about Hardin. His aggressive advocacy for abortion rights led him inexorably to the promotion of euthanasia.  

The first parents of our human family faced the temptation to “become like gods,” and rebel against the providence of their Creator. In their anguish and shame, they learned the painful lesson that some choices do not lead to liberation and freedom but to spiritual and physical death.

This temptation to rebel against God’s absolute providence over our lives, and the lives of the unborn, remains a powerful and deadly temptation that still rages in the hearts of women and men.   

The obituary revealed the final chapter in the life of Garrett Hardin. He was a member of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society. Faced with illness and disability, Hardin and his wife died in a double suicide.  

Susan Swander lives in Oregon and is a member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign

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K.V. Turley


2019 begins one of the most shameful moments in Irish history: Legal destruction of the unborn

K.V. Turley

IRELAND, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – And so it begins.

The new Irish law permitting abortion took effect January 1, 2019.

One wonders if there has ever been a law so rapidly enacted in the history of Irish politics? This controversial piece of legislation was rushed through the normally sluggish Irish Parliament and then the current political class proceeded to pat itself on the back, with the Irish Prime Minister describing this new law as ushering in an “historic day” worth celebrating.

If this jubilation was viewed from outside Ireland, one could be forgiven for thinking that the most pressing issue affecting all Irish men and women was the destruction of the unborn in the womb. Instead, however, of being anything worth “celebrating,” this new law marks one of the most shame-filled moments in all Irish history.

The Irish Times, one of the most pro-abortion media organs in a country that has few dissenting media voices on the subject of abortion, reports that “about 20 women sought terminations on the first working day of abortion service.” The Irish Times went on to say that the first consultations for abortion took place on January 1. Ironically, this date in the Catholic Church is the Feast of the Mother of God and in the octave of the solemn feast of Christmas.

The newspaper report, however, went on to say that “abortions over 12 weeks are not permitted except in limited circumstances so it is expected the flow of Irish women travelling to the UK for a termination will continue, albeit at a reduced level.”

Wait a minute. I thought that was the whole thrust of many of the pro-abortion arguments in the referendum debate: the provision of abortion in Ireland, we were told, would end that “flow of Irish women travelling to the UK for a termination.” Therefore, in regard to this much talked of solution to “exporting abortion to England,” the referendum seemingly has proven not only futile but has changed nothing.

Furthermore, the Irish Times also reports that only 187 of the Irish State’s 3,500 GPs “have signed up to provide abortion services, and only about 100 of these are accepting referrals from the My Options helpline [set up by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as the main referral path for women seeking an abortion].”

Currently, there are only nine hospitals in the Irish Republic willing to commit abortions: the National Maternity Hospital Dublin, the Rotunda Hospital Dublin, Holles Street Dublin; the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda; University Hospital Galway; Mayo University Hospital; University Maternity Hospital Limerick; Cork University Maternity Hospital; and University Hospital Waterford.

Looking at this roll call of shame and particularly at the names of the hospitals involved, the confused and defeated nature of Irish Catholicism has never been more evident. The Drogheda hospital is dedicated to the Mother of God and her concern for the sick and vulnerable pilgrims who travel each year to Lourdes. That hospital is now to become a place for the killing the unborn. Surely a campaign should be started immediately to rename Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda? Instead, it might be dedicated to Moloch.

Noticeably, these latest Irish news reports about the implementation of the referendum result have changed their tone. The word “abortion” is rarely used – a “termination” is the preferred phrase, one as empty as the “compassion” behind it. But, of course, “termination” sounds so much more indistinct than abortion, as if something has simply run its course or as if nothing at all has really happened rather than what has actually occurred: namely, the violent taking of a human being’s life. The wording of the reporting also suggests women only seek out these new “services.” There is no hint of coercion, or the pressure of a “crisis” pregnancy; there is no talk of the “hard cases” so often mentioned in last year’s referendum.

There is also no description in the reporting of what an abortion really is, which is hardly surprising given the way the media shaped the debate with the connivance of the main political parties during the referendum campaign. The discussion then made it seem as if the Irish electorate were voting for some vague idea of female physical autonomy, for a woman’s right to choose a health option among many.

Pro-abortion voices and their many allies in the media continually evaded the reality of abortion. Instead, the media – almost exclusively pro-abortion – kept talking of the need for a “civilized debate.” This was code for not allowing the gory details of abortion ever to enter that debate. Recent discussion in the Irish parliament and in the wider public square of what an abortion actually consists of, including what is to be done with the remains of the murdered Irish unborn, have inevitably caused some to wonder what exactly the Irish state is now engaged in.

No longer just a debating point, sadly, the reality of abortion is about to hit Ireland.

Following last year’s referendum result, the streets of Dublin were ringing with the sounds of cheers. I suspect it will not to be too long before those same people who rejoiced will be ringing their hands at what they have unleashed into Irish society.

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REAL Women of Canada staff

Opinion ,

Want to stop school shootings? Stop fatherlessness

REAL Women of Canada staff
By REAL Women of Canada staff

January 4, 2019 (REAL Women of Canada) – The mass shootings in the US have dumbfounded its citizens. Americans have owned semi-automatic weapons for over a hundred years, but only in recent years have school shootings become a phenomenon.

What is the common thread in all these shootings? Six out of the seven deadliest shootings that occurred in the US between 2005 and 2015 were committed by men who grew up in fatherless homes. Even a study of older male shooters, such as Stephen Paddock of the Las Vegas massacre, indicates that they grew up in fatherless homes.

A boy's relationship with his father has a profound effect on his identity. Many of the school shooters struggled with a sense of "damaged masculinity" and sought to become "ultra-masculine" by obtaining a gun which they believed gave them power. This conclusion on mass shootings has been established by much research, and refuted by none.

The consequences of fatherlessness are simply staggering. US statistics on the effects of not having a father in the home include the following:

  • 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes;
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes;
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father in the home; and
  • 90% of runaways or homeless teens are from fatherless homes.

Father-enriched boys are able to channel their masculinity constructively as father deprived boys channel their masculinity destructively.

Perils of the Divorce Court

An unfortunate notion has developed that marriage is about the emotional fulfillment of adults, when it is actually about the needs of children. Children's needs are the same today as they were one hundred years ago, but our society and current culture has changed, which is harming our young people and leading to their troubled behaviour.

One of the most significant of these cultural changes is the increase in absent fathers by no-fault divorce, not by their own choice.

Divorce is most often instigated by the wife (70%) and, in a majority of cases, divorce causes the separation of a child from his/her father.

It should be pointed out, however, that broken homes are not just caused by divorce and separation, but also by infidelity, substance abuse, criminal behaviour, domestic violence and child abuse, that are far too prevalent in our culture.

False Allegations

Under current Canadian legislation, divorced or separated mothers have been provided with an opportunity to undermine their children's relationship with their father by accusing him, without evidence, of abuse, whether sexual or physical. With this allegation, the father is immediately removed from the home in order to protect the mother and her children. This removal can be critical since 18 women and two men have been killed in Canada between January and April, 2018 by their intimate partner. However, with this allegation, the father is jailed overnight and then released on bail terms which include a provision requiring that he stay away from his wife and children until the allegation has been resolved by the courts. The mother can further enforce the father's absence by obtaining a restraining order against him, requiring he not return to the home. Because of the courts' backlog in domestic cases, court hearings are frequently delayed for 12 to 18 months. This delay is harmful to the child-father relationship since the father is absent from the child's life for this prolonged period of time.

Further, family law does not require that "guilt" of abuse be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as required in criminal cases, so that the complaining parent alleging violence or abuse, can basically say anything about the other parent and the burden of proof is shifted. That is, in the absence of witnesses, there isn't much in place to prevent a parent from fabricating false allegations. Consequently, an innocent parent doesn't have much of a chance against such an allegation.

There must be a recognition that in the often emotional context of a family breakdown, allegations of violence made by one spouse against another can be exaggerated or even fabricated. There should be provisions in the legislation for penalties for false allegations.

According to Statistics Canada Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile which was released in January, 2016, 4% of the 19.2 million Canadians with a spouse or common law partner, reported having been physically and/or sexually abused. This was significantly fewer than the proportion who had reported in 2004 (7%) and in 2009 (6%) that they had been victimized by a spouse or partner. It is to be noted that this statistic refers to only a "report" of abuse, but not that of proven abuse by the court.

While it is always necessary to protect women and children from abuse, it is equally critical that substantial evidence first be obtained to support the charge of abuse before it is acted on. At the present time, police do not necessarily properly investigate the domestic abuse allegations. The mere statement of one spouse accusing the other of domestic violence or abuse is simply not sufficient. Rather, such allegations should be substantiated by credible evidence, such as pictures, doctors' notes, videos, as well as witness testimony, in order to provide balance to the allegation. Investigation by properly selected and trained individuals would help eliminate illegitimate claims that result in separating parents from their children.

Fathers Undermined by Custody Orders

When a hearing occurs, the father's position is usually undermined because in the majority of cases, custody is awarded to the mother, with only limited access to the child by the father.

The limited access granted a separated parent, which allows only brief dinners and occasional week-end visits, is not rich, broad or extensive enough to nurture a relationship. In contrast, weekday and week-end daytime and night-time activities by a separated parent are important for child development.

Until we come to grips with the dismal effects of no-fault divorce, broken homes and the court ordered interference in family relationships, good fathers will continue to be shut out of the lives of their children. This results in damaged lives, and in some horrible instances, which are now occurring with alarming frequency, that is, terror and death to innocent people because of the lack of meaningful father/son relationship in the life of the young man holding the gun.

Positive Programs

Instead of removing barriers to divorce, as occurred during the latter half of the 20th century, the government should fund efforts to help couples form and sustain healthy marriages. Education programs, not therapy, have proven very helpful in saving struggling marriages.

Those who received classroom instruction had fewer destructive conflicts. Importantly, women reported less physical assault from their partner. The couples had generally warmer and more supportive relationships and they worked more effectively as co-parents.

Shattered family relationships are creating havoc in society. There is increasing evidence that relationship education works. Society should build on this success.

Published with permission from REAL Women of Canada.

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Muslim men at prayer Shutterstock
William Kilpatrick


Another Muslim attacks another Christmas market

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

January 4, 2019 (Turning Point Project)On December 11, a Muslim named Cherif Chekatt opened fire at the famed Christmas Market in Strasbourg, killing three and wounding thirteen.

There are several important lessons to be learned from the incident. Here are five of them:

I. The attack was aimed at Christians. It was no coincidence that the terrorist chose to target a Christmas market. It doesn't matter that not all visitors to Christmas markets are Christians. Despite Europe's secularization, Christmas markets still symbolize Christmas and, thus, are a favorite target of jihadists.

The Strasbourg Market had been targeted on two previous occasions (although both plots were foiled), and several other European Christmas market plots were uncovered before they could be activated. However, in 2016, an Iraqi boy successfully planted a nail bomb at the Christmas market in the German city of Ludwigshafen. And in the same year, a Muslim refugee killed 12 and injured 56 in a truck attack on the Berlin Christmas market.

Meanwhile, in the Muslim world, Christians are at a particularly high risk of attack during the Christmas, New Year's, and Easter Holidays. On Christmas Day, 2017, at least 32 people were killed while leaving Mass at St. Theresa Church in Abuja, Nigeria. And on Palm Sunday, 2017, two suicide bomb attacks in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt, left 45 churchgoers dead and over 100 injured. Christians in Muslim lands who attend church at Christmas or Easter are well aware that it may be their last Christmas or their last Easter.

These deliberate attacks on Christians in Europe and in Muslim nations ought to put to rest the notion that Muslims hold Christians in high regard. Some do, but a great many don't. In general, Christians who live in Muslim-dominant societies lead a precarious existence. Christians also need to think twice about the claim – oft heard around Christmas time – that "Muslims love Jesus, too." Although there are similarities between the Jesus of the Koran and the Jesus of the Gospels, they are not the same Jesus. The Koran is quite clear that Christians who call Jesus the Son of God are blasphemers. And, as in the case of Asia Bibi, they can spend years in prison for contradicting the Muslim understanding of Jesus.

II. The attack in Strasbourg was predictable. As the Muslim population of France continues to increase, the probability of terror attacks also increases.

The Strasbourg gunman had 26 prior convictions, and, like so many other terrorists, he was well-known to police as a security risk. But, you might ask, if he was well-known, why wasn't he taken into custody or surveilled more closely?

The answer is that although Chekatt was on France's "security threats" list, so were about 20,000 other Muslims. As one former police inspector observed: "There are so many people that are involved around the edges of this sort of terrorism ... that you can't keep any sort of meaningful surveillance on them."

Apparently, this overabundance of potential terrorists is a deliberate strategy. As Robert Spencer notes:

The Islamic State (ISIS) years ago announced its intention to mount so many jihad attacks that Western law enforcement and intelligence agencies would not be able to keep up with them all, and would collapse.

It's the Islamist version of the Cloward-Piven Strategy – the brainchild of two Columbia University professors who called for overloading the welfare system until it collapsed, with the aim of replacing it with more extreme forms of socialism such as a guaranteed annual income. Likewise, European officials who are faced with an unmanageable flood of security risks are more likely to make concessions to sharia demands as a way of placating the increasing population of non-moderate Muslims. The ultimate aim of the overload strategy is to replace European culture with Islamic culture.

III. Barriers belong on borders. Despite the current focus on Christmas attacks in Europe, the vast majority of attacks on Christians, in season and out, occur in Muslim-majority countries. This strongly suggests that the way to cut down on attacks against Christians in Europe, Australia, the U.S., and Canada is to severely restrict the flow of migration from Muslim-majority lands.

European governments are currently spending huge amounts of money on beefing up security around Christmas markets and other popular sites with bollards, massive concrete barriers, and ugly fencing. In addition, bollards and security guards are sprouting up around churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship. Wouldn't it make more sense to put the security barriers at the borders rather than placing them around every Christmas market, church, museum, concert hall, shopping mall, and café in the Western hemisphere?

IV. As the threat increases, denial deepens. At a point in time when national borders need to be made more secure, an increasing number of people seem to think that there's no need for them at all. According to a story in National Review, professors at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana are calling for the "abolition of the police, ICE, borders and the judicial system."

The statement, which was issued by the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, is simply a more extreme expression of a widespread sentiment. In America, the "Abolish ICE" posters are omnipresent on campus and at open-borders rallies. Many of the same people who think you can abolish the differences between the sexes without consequences are convinced that you can abolish national borders without consequences.

Of course, the mainstream media are also in denial. They portray opponents of illegal immigration as bigots and racists. They ignore the story of the global persecution of Christians by Muslims, and downplay the Islamization of Europe, all the while churning out feel-good stories about the achievements of moderate Muslims. Not to be outdone, the social media giants – Google, Facebook, and the like – are striving to eliminate all criticism of Islam. According to the new rules of social media, if you can't say something nice about Islam and immigration, don't say anything at all – or else.

The net result of all this academic and media manipulation is that the average American is more naïve about the nature and goals of Islam than he was a decade ago. The good news is that this foolish naïveté about the threat from Islam seems to be abating in Europe. Border-security parties are making gains all over Europe while open-borders parties and politicians are steadily losing ground.

V. You will forget about Strasbourg. An important lesson to take away from almost all terrorist attacks is that we quickly forget about them, and thus we tend to grossly underestimate their number. So you will probably soon forget about the Christmas Market attack in Strasbourg. How well do you remember the Beslan, Russia, school massacre where over 300 were killed? Do you remember the attack along Las Ramblas in Barcelona a few years ago where 13 people were killed and 130 injured? Do you recall that the original intended target was the iconic Sagrada Familia Cathedral? How about the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid which left 191 dead and 1,800 injured? Does that ring a bell? Do you remember the story about the three Americans on board a French train who subdued a well-armed terrorist? (Clint Eastwood made a movie about it). How about the several other jihadist attacks aboard European trains that were not interrupted by American heroes and were thus ignored by the American media? For most Americans, the victims of those underreported attacks will remain unknown – strangers on a train, so to speak.

Do you remember the Moscow Metro bombings that left 40 dead? How about the jihadist attacks at the Brussels airport and subway station that left 32 dead and 340 injured? The 836 victims (52 dead, 784 injured) of the London tube and bus bombings? The 38 people (mostly British citizens) who were killed at a beach resort in Tunisia? The Muslim who killed five people at a mall in Salt Lake City? The jihadist who shot five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport?

An annotated list of all the jihad attacks in Europe and North America since 9-11 would probably fill a small volume. The Religion of Peace website, which keeps track of global Islamic jihad, lists over 34,000 deadly terror attacks since 9-11. And these are only the "successful" attacks. According to police and FBI reports, the number of foiled attacks far exceeds the number of actual attacks.

Terror attacks are not pleasant to remember, but we can't afford to forget them. The next one may strike far closer to your home than the ones listed here.

This article originally appeared in the December 17, 2018 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Bill Donohue


New York Times publishes horrifying 8-part series advocating abortion

Bill Donohue
By Bill Donohue

January 4, 2019 (Catholic League) –  On December 28, an editorial in the New York Times broached an eight-part series on abortion rights that is positively astonishing. It is clearly the most rabid defense of abortion ever published by the mainstream media. The first installment was published on December 30; it will end on January 20. The entire series is now available online.

Why is the Times running this series? The best explanation is found in the first paragraph of the 8th installment. "Now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority that appears inclined to overhaul Roe v. Wade, it is likely only a matter of time before women's reproductive rights are ratcheted back." Its central fear is a ruling declaring the unborn child worthy of "personhood" rights.

The thesis of the series is that any attempt to recognize the humanity of the unborn baby threatens women's rights. According to the Times, laws that restrict abortion rights are ultimately about controlling women's sexuality, and no group is more preyed upon than brown and black women. Peppered with anecdotes, the series pays almost no attention to data: highly debatable assertions are routinely made without any supporting evidence.

Many defenders of abortion rights will at least acknowledge the competing right to life of children in utero. But not the authors of this series. Nascent human life is referred to as nothing more than "clusters of cells," as if these human biological properties were mere stuff.

It is this mental block – the refusal to admit the obvious – that allows the Times to object to prosecuting a woman for murder after her attempted suicide resulted in killing her eight-month-old baby. Similarly, it cannot understand why a jury convicted a pregnant woman driver of killing three persons after she drove her car over a double-yellow lined road on Long Island, crashing into another car: the driver of the other car, his wife, and the woman's eight-month-old baby were killed (the reckless driver was under the influence of drugs and alcohol). The jury said she needlessly caused the death of her daughter (who died five days after the accident) because she was not wearing a seatbelt.

Those two babies would have lived had their mothers not acted irresponsibly, but that gets lost in the fog of abortion rights run amuck.

The contortions that the Times goes through trying to deny reality are remarkable. For example, it offers the account of a "visibly pregnant woman" seeking an abortion in another state having to deal with airport security officers. They wished her "a happy Mother's Day." One of them "cheerily" asked, "Is this your first?" The Times branded her experience "a surreal journey." What is truly surreal is the paper's interpretation.

What is really gnawing at the Times is the recent emergence of laws protecting the personhood of unborn babies. It calls them "an extreme legal argument with little precedence in American law before the 1970s." However, the common law in Western civilization typically held that a pregnant woman convicted of a capital offense could not be executed, thus paying homage to the existence of an innocent human being. No matter, the newspaper is right to say that personhood legislation is of recent vintage.

There is a reason for this, and it has nothing to do with what the Times says: it attributes this to a move by Republicans in the 1970s to criminalize abortion. In point of fact it was technology, not politics, that proved to be the key to protecting the personhood status of unborn children. To be exact, ultrasound made the difference. Invented in the 1950s, it was not used with any regularity in U.S. hospitals until the 1970s.

How did ultrasound change the debate? Consider what Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the nation's leading abortion-rights advocates in the 1960s and 1970s, said about the subject. [Note: This Jewish atheist later became a pro-life champion and converted to Catholicism.]

By 1984, however, I had begun to ask myself more questions about abortion: what actually goes on in an abortion? I had done many, but abortion is a blind procedure. The doctor does not see what he is doing. He puts an instrument into a uterus and he turns on a motor, and the suction machine goes on and something is vacuumed out; it ends up as a little pile of meat in a gauze bag. I wanted to know what happened, so in 1984 I said to a friend of mine, who was doing 15 or maybe 20 abortions a day, 'Look, do me a favor, Jay. Next Saturday, when you are doing all these abortions, put an ultrasound device on the mother and tape it for me.'

He did, and when he looked at the tapes with me in an editing studio, he was so affected that he never did another abortion. I, though I had not done an abortion in five years, was shaken to the very roots of my soul by what I saw.

The precision of sonograms (the actual picture of an ultrasound) is much more advanced today. It would be instructive to learn what the editors of the New York Times might think of such images. Would they see "clusters of cells," or small human beings?

The most controversial part of the series is found in the 4th and 5th installments, especially the 4th. It would be hard to find a more unpersuasive, and disturbing, attempt to discredit the damage done to unborn babies by their drug-ridden mothers. Moreover, this section of the series, while condemning racism, actually promotes it.

Part 4 condemns what it says is the "myth of the 'crack baby.'" It criticizes the mainstream media (it includes the Times) for over- dramatizing the physical and psychological damage done to babies by their cocaine-using mothers. Reading this part of the series makes one wonder just how far radical pro-abortion reporters will go in their defense of the indefensible.

The idea of "crack babies," the newspaper says, is a combination of "bad science and racist stereotypes." These twin evils, we are told, were "debunked by the turn of the 2000s." Really?

Somehow I must have missed this story. So I looked forward to reading why the "bad science" was wrong. But there was nothing there.

"The Legacy of the Myth" is the title of a section of Part 4 that led the reader to believe that the evidence would be forthcoming. It begins by saying, "Researchers debunked the 'damage generation' theory numerous times, finding no indication that children exposed to crack in the womb faced long-term debilitation and that the effects once tied to exposure were attributable to other drugs like alcohol and tobacco, or to factors associated with poverty, including homelessness and domestic violence."

Let's break down that sentence. Which researchers? Who are they? Why didn't the article tell us? And even if other drugs can cause similar problems – which is nowhere proven – why is this proof that the "damage generation" theory of crack-using pregnant mothers has been debunked?

The underscored words are a link to a book, one which supposedly offers the evidence the Times says exists. I accessed a copy of it and nowhere does it offer any such evidence. The book, Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transactional Adoption, by Laura Briggs, is more sociological than physiological. This makes sense: The author is not a professor of the natural sciences – she is a professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The relevant chapter in this book, "'Crack Babies,' Race and Adoption Reform, 1975-2000," does not attempt to debunk the "bad science." Just as important, the fact that it covers "race and adoption reform" in the last century does nothing to show why babies born today of crack-using mothers are not seriously impaired.

No wonder the Times likes this book. The author trashes people like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett, and Charles Krauthammer – all of whom have expressed concerns about low-income black families (almost all headed by a single woman) and the evils of drug addiction. Such politics may make for a good read in the academy, but it does nothing to shine light on why any of them were wrong.

In 2016, the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that besides the damage done to the women who use crack, "Babies born to mothers who use cocaine during pregnancy are often prematurely delivered, have low birth weights and smaller head circumferences, and are shorter in length than babies born to mothers who do not use cocaine."

It added that "scientists are now finding that exposure to cocaine during fetal development may lead to subtle, yet significant, later deficits in children. They include behavior problems (e.g., difficulties with self-regulation) and deficits in some aspects of cognitive performance, information processing, and sustained attention to tasks – abilities that are important for the realization of the child's full potential."

Other studies describe learning disabilities that result from a damaged central nervous system and congenital heart diseases. Such children tend to do poorly in school and have social problems and a host of other developmental disabilities.

Forget about the science for a moment. What responsible professor in a medical school would instruct students that crack-addicted mothers have little to worry about? What responsible professor in a medical school would engage students in a social analysis of racism, instead of warning about the damage being done to the physical and psychological well being of babies conceived by cocaine-using mothers?

The Times is right to note that racism has affected this issue, but it is looking in the wrong direction: It should look in the mirror. We would expect white supremacists, not the alleged opponents of racism, to downplay the effects of crack on unborn black babies. The newspaper is so totally obsessed with abortion rights – it has reached a state of delirium – that it is willing to slight the harm being done to black children by their cocaine-addicted moms, all because of the necessity of denying them personhood.

It may take some time before the idea of granting personhood status to unborn babies catches on nationwide, but the vector of change is moving that way. This is why the New York Times sees this as such a frightening prospect.

Published with permission from the Catholic League.

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Robert Royal

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4 essential New Year’s resolutions to help the Church in 2019

Robert Royal
By Robert Royal

January 4, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) – New Year's resolutions almost always fail. If they didn't, year after year, we'd see constant improvement in the world, in people around us, in our own selves. Sadly, we don't. Steps forward – if any – are usually offset by steps backward or sideways, or mere marching in place.

To put this theologically, redemption – even humble change of heart or habit – is a gratuitous gift, the secularized notion of progress mostly an illusion. Yes, your new Smartphone has more features than the old one, and your doctor may have some better ways to treat you in 2019. But don't confuse these technical advances with greater humanity – we abort a million babies a year without batting an eye and euthanasia is just getting started – let alone holiness (which, in the end, is what matters).

Still, it may not hurt to lay out some public desiderata anno Domini 2019, fully aware that they will likely never come to pass. But also with the hope that at least identifying what we need may help us to orient ourselves in coming days.

First Resolution: In 2019 we should never lose sight of the fact that the world, especially our American world, has gone mad. The world first went mad in the Garden of Eden, but it sometimes slows down to catch its breath. We're now going full tilt.

The nuttiest campus crazes – transgenderism, "wokeness," even the old discredited socialism – are being transmitted and enforced on us by journalists trained at mental institutions, conniving politicians, absurdist school boards, a supine medical establishment, social media, sports channels, Silicon Valley, fast-food chains, sometimes even church men and women.

Each of us has to be prepared to resist this plunge into cultural abnormality at every step, and with a warrior's determination – the time for quiet dialogues, that begin not at mid-field but a few yards outside our end zone, has passed. The threats are many and the solutions few, and it's hard to say in advance how to resist in your own specific circumstances. Some will choose withdrawal (and contemplation), others action; but resist now we must – vigorously, everywhere we can – especially in sheltering marriage and family from the State's new culture.

Second Resolution: Many of us must, regrettably, continue to speak in the hope of convincing the pope to avoid casually appearing to contradict Catholic doctrine. Case in point: four days before Christmas, Francis gave an off-the-cuff holiday speech to Vatican workers, in which he asserted that Mary and Joseph were not born saints, but became holy through life experience, as we all might.

Joseph, perhaps. But the 1854 Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception is one of only two modern infallible statements issued ex cathedra. The pope's garbling of the truth – Mary's being conceived without sin clearly means she's born a saint – was so bizarre that it drove me to check the original Italian (found here). The relevant passage says, santi non si nasce, si diventa, e questo vale anche per loro ("saints aren't born, they become such, and this is true also for them").

Confusion like this – if it is only confusion – must not continue. The text, now on the Vatican website, could easily be corrected if the pope merely misspoke during a heavy Christmas schedule. But there it remains, a further irritant – and worse – to Catholics who expect mere Catholicity at the Vatican.

Third Resolution: We've had so many examples of this sort of thing that it's eroded the trust of the most active Catholics in the world. And of course, the mishandling of multiple cases of sexual abuse in several countries and the Vatican itself has damaged the standing of Pope Francis and the Church even among non-Catholics and the secular world.

We need to constantly remind the Vatican that it must take action in 2019, not just talk – and real action, which we have not seen so far except from secular prosecutors. (We'll see much more of the latter in 2019.) Indeed, what we've had is more ducking hard questions and shielding high-ranking prelates.

And from what we know so far of the February meeting of presidents of bishops' conferences to deal with the abuse crisis, real action doesn't seem very likely then either. Besides, we've had enough of meetings, commissions, documents. In the secular world, all this would look like an effort to just kick the can down the road, and hope the whole thing just dies down.

Partisans of Pope Francis have argued that people who are disappointed in his papacy for other reasons are trying to use the abuse issue to drive him out. In a few, extreme cases, that may well be true. But mainstream liberal commenters – like Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press writing in the Jesuit magazine America – have observed that what happens in February may very well "threaten the pope's legacy." And secular outlets like CNN speak of "How 2018 became the Catholic Church's Year from Hell."

If Pope Francis talks tough in 2019, as he did in a widely publicized discourse to the Curia before Christmas, but continues to avoid strong action – even restraining others, as he did with the American bishops – no one will take the talk seriously anymore. For the sake of the Church and the pope himself, we must call, relentlessly, for action.

Fourth Resolution: We must make the persecution of Christians around the world a larger public theme. Much larger. There's plenty of brutality by governments all over the world for various reasons. But Christians – globally – a quarter billion Christians, are being persecuted in Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East. The pope raised this question as the year was coming to an end, but we need much more constant, public exposure – the way that the Holy Father has, for example, heightened the profile of the Rohingya (a Muslim group).

A central part of this process will require a hard look at the situation in Communist China – which has not been helped by the Vatican-China Accord. Indeed, the Chinese government is becoming, if anything, even more aggressive against all religious believers, as Rep. Chris Smith has recently documented.

Many governments are afraid to denounce persecution by Muslims for fear of being labeled Islamophobic – or encouraging terrorist reprisals. It's hard to say why so many are so easy on China. What can China do to them, increase tariffs? Vatican leadership could make a difference here – but that would require making some public noise, whatever secret agreement has been signed.

We can never forget that some of the most heroic Christian witnesses and martyrs are suffering, right now, in plain view, in China. And in a way, their fate could become our own as governments in so-called developed nations (as well as larger international bodies like the UN and EU) marginalize and sometimes demonize traditional religion in pursuit of secular utopias.

In the New Year, anyone who wants to resist – really resist – needs to train relentlessly in the school of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – developing virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity to levels we haven't seen in a long time.

There's a New Year's Resolution worth making for yourself – and sticking to.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Christ the King Monument, Swiebodzin, Poland.
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What faithful Catholics must do in 2019 to effectively combat abortion and LGBT agenda

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By Stephen Kokx

January 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Throughout human history, man has on many occasions scorned the sweet yoke of Christ and sought to live according to his own feeble ideas. 

Atheistic communism, the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and today’s atomistic liberalism are just some of the most recent manifestations of depraved man’s attempts to order society around his instead of his creator’s ways.

Some will argue that in order to effectively combat the evils of our age, Catholics must convey their theologically-rooted arguments in a “reasonable” way so even the most hardened non-believer can entertain what they are saying. In other words, Catholics are to de-divinize the claims of the one true faith and speak only of a generalized “natural law.” If they don’t do this, they are told, they won’t be taken seriously by non-Christians. What’s worse is they will be accused of wanting to impose a theocracy.

While the natural law and the Catholic faith go hand in hand, the way in which this lowest-common-denominator approach has been implemented over the past half-century has not prevented the growth of what the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus referred to as “the naked public square.” 

Reading the signs of the times

Despite the efforts of many seemingly well-intentioned, God-fearing people, the Western world’s ever-downward spiral has not slowed down. The four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance are rampant in most “first world” nations, even though more Catholics are engaged in politics today than in all Church history. Moreover, while President Trump is providing a momentary respite from leftist assaults on conservatives, progressives will return to the halls of power in the not so distant future and, if past is prologue, attempt to make them violate their consciences. 

This assessment of the situation at hand, uncomfortable perhaps for some, is not a call for despair or to intentionally sound like one of Vatican II’s purported “prophets of doom,” whose warnings about liberalism, it must be admitted, couldn’t have been more correct! It is, simply put, the reality in which we live.

Indeed, the spiritual effects of original and actual sin, coupled with a hedonistic culture and the unraveling of modernity’s core tenets, seem to have taken such a toll on mankind that the West has little chance of ever recovering from the dense fog it has plunged itself into. One sometimes wonders whether the effects of liberalism, as well as technology, have so disfigured man’s nature that grace has nothing left to build on. Those who claim we are living in a time not unlike Noah’s are surely more correct than many give them credit for.

What are Catholics to do?

It is clear Catholics are now faced with a dilemma unlike many they have confronted before. One option they have is to continue doing what they have for decades - building ecumenical coalitions, issuing public statements, holding protests, voting for political parties that claim to stand for traditional values. No doubt there will be victories along the way if this path is chosen. But, the Culture of Death will likely remain.

Another option is to get serious about the situation at hand and, after reflecting on the real purpose of the Catholic faith, realize a different, more supernatural, course of action is needed, one that is in alignment with how the Church previously approached times of woe.

In his book The Liberal Illusion, 19th century French polemicist Louis Veuillot relays an insightful parable that should clarify to Catholics just what their path forward should look like. His words:

Imagine a King deposed from his throne, the last, best hope of his conquered fatherland, who was suddenly to declare that he considered himself justly deposed and that he only aspired to enjoy his personal possessions according to the laws governing all citizens, beneath the protection of the very men who were plundering his subjects...

The King, we would imagine, would disgrace himself in vain. No one would believe him. Those to whom he offered to sell his rights and his honor would tell him: “Are you mad, you are King!”

What Veuillot is saying here is that coexistence with the liberal, modern world and its anti-Christian usurpers is not what Catholics should strive for. The Social Kingship of Christ extends to all corners of the earth. All nations owe him obedience. A “free Church in a free State” is not enough. Caesar himself must give homage to his creator.

A liberal, pluralistic society – even one that respects the natural law – does not, objectively speaking, fulfill its debt to God. Subsequently, it cannot be said to be pleasing to Him. If natural law truths are something Catholics want enshrined into law, such truths should be desired insofar as they are stepping stones to the eventual public recognition of the divine law, as in, for example, the case of Poland, where businesses are closed on Sundays and where Christ was recognized as “King and Lord” in 2016. 

No one should be denied the Word of God

In the years ahead, it will become clear to all that supporters of same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, abortion, and the like are, whether they themselves know it or not, engaged in a diabolical winner-take-all game.

At root of their warped ideology is an attitude that despises Christian morality and does not want it to influence society or to be passed on to the next generation. The fact that such persons do not want to share power with Christ over the social sphere is undeniable. Praying and doing penance for them, on top of seeking to convert them to the true faith, is where our efforts should primarily lie. As Pius XI wrote in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”

Penn Jillette, a well-known magician and atheist, remarked in 2009 that he doesn’t respect persons who don’t proselytize. His words, presented below, should motivate Catholics to once again teach their faith, and not just the natural law, to all nations.

If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell...and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Peace can only be brought about by the union of hearts, wills, and minds of men united in the same doctrines in the Church Christ established. You cannot have a truly moral society without Jesus Christ at its center and you cannot truly have Jesus Christ without the Catholic faith. 

The solution to the errors of our time is not convincing persons of the natural law alone. Sure, the intellect is capable of grasping the truths of the natural law, but, as taught by St. Pope Pius X in Acerbo Nimis in 1905 and affirmed by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis in 1950, without the divine law guiding man’s thinking, his reason will inevitably falter and his understanding of truth will gradually subside.

The solution to the errors of our time is, as it always has been, to convert the world to Catholicism. As Pope Leo XIII taught in 1899, the “abundance of evils which have now for a long time settled upon the world...pressingly call upon us to seek for help from Him by whose strength alone they can be driven away.”

Original sin is too strong and the modern world too enticing for man to create any sort of lasting society without the grace that flows through the sacraments. The 21st century – like all centuries before it – requires a supernatural solution to the problems it faces. Novenas, First Friday and First Saturday devotions, observing Ember Days, calling for the consecration of Russia, fasting, preaching to Jews, invoking the most Holy Name of Jesus in public, and, most importantly, proclaiming the Catholic faith in its entirety in season and out will have immense salutary effects in the effort to rid the world of abortion and the rest of the rotten policies conjured up by the deceivers of our age. 

Catholics serious about promoting a Culture of Life in 2019 must make more widely known these aspects of their faith.

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Canadian police warn parents: 8-year-olds are posting nude photos online

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By Jonathon Van Maren

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A few weeks ago, I wrote a couple of columns in this space detailing the growing dangers of smartphones, and explained why I think that parents should avoid providing their children with these devices for as long as possible. The nearly ubiquitous sharing of explicit imagery and messages in middle schools and high schools, the enormous pressure to provide such images, and the near-universal use of pornography via smartphones by teenagers were my primary reasons for this advice.

I provided many examples of young children who were exposed to pornography as a result of having access to these devices, and became corrupted or addicted as a result. This is something I encounter regularly. I’ve noted in the past that even our legal systems are having a hard time trying to figure out how to deal with minors—just kids—who are technically guilty of the distribution of child porn, and must now be saddled with the label of “sex offender” for life. Legal experts and judges have admitted that our laws were not written to net a young teenage boy sharing a photo he received from a young teenage girl and brand him for life, but such are the cruel conundrums of the digital age.

The average age of first exposure to pornography is now a mere nine years old, and sexting is increasingly beginning much, much earlier as well. Children, after all, are growing up in a culture that has been hyper-sexualized in a historically unprecedented way: Entertainment, music, pornography, and youth culture are all infused with it to the point of saturation. Sexting and porn use are now the norm, and they are the norm for children, regardless of the comforting lies parents like to tell themselves to excuse their decision to provide their children with the devices necessary to access these things.

One recent example of just how ugly things are getting surfaced this week in the National Post, where police in the Canadian province of New Brunswick have issued a public warning to parents about children sharing nude and explicit images of themselves online. And by children, they do not mean young teens: Four children between the ages of eight and twelve posted naked photos or videos of themselves to free websites over the past several months. This “image-sharing” is becoming far more common, the police warned parents, and vigilance in these matters is absolutely essential.

The four children, fortunately, are safe, and have all been identified by the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit. But police highlighted the fact that this is by no means an isolated incident. “It is unfortunately more common for young people, even children, to share exploitative photos and videos of themselves online, and once it’s online it can’t always be removed,” New Brunswick RCMP Sergeant Chantal Farrah noted in a statement earlier this week. “Many young people also don’t realize that publicly sharing images or videos of a sexual nature of a person under the age of 18 is a child pornography offence.”

In response, the police suggested that parents should be constantly monitoring the websites their children visit, reviewing their activity on any Internet-connected technological device they might be using, and have open conversations with them about what constitutes appropriate online behavior. Additionally, they noted, families should consider making a “contract” amongst themselves to ensure that everyone in the household is aware of what the online rules are. While it might be awkward to discuss things like sexting and porn, recent events are illustrating just how important that is.

If you are a parent, you need to familiarize yourself with what is taking place in the culture right now. I cannot even count the number of parents who have informed me that their children are too good to make these sorts of mistakes, and their children would never do these kinds of things, and that those who work to educate people on the dangers of sexting and pornography are simply waxing hysterical when we attempt to highlight these new realities. In many cases, the very parents who are saying such things are unaware of the fact that their children have been or are involved in sexting or pornography. The cultural pressure to participate in these things is huge, and many parents simply cannot understand the world their children are growing up in—a world that is wildly different from the one they inhabited at the same age.

So if you won’t take it from me, take it from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force: Sexting and porn are ruining children. Talk to them. Find out what is going on. And please, please do what you can to protect them, even if you find it difficult.

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Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Catholic mom lays out what’s wrong with Pope’s letter to US bishops on abuse crisis

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By Maike Hickson

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Yesterday, when sitting at a table while my children were taking their piano lessons, I read the eight-page letter written by Pope Francis on January 1 and addressed to the U.S. bishops. There were important things that I found missing in this new document dealing with a great moral and spiritual crisis in the Catholic Church.

Let me say from the outset that I, as a mother (and together with my husband), have read this letter as a sort of potential mother of an abuse victim. Yes, I read this letter through the lens of a concerned mother who wishes that never, ever, would any of this evil crime of priestly sexual abuse befall my own children. Nor that any other child of other Catholic parents should undergo it ever again.

But let me also explain that I have, as a journalist, come to know several people who themselves have been the victim of clerical sexual abuse or who are the parents of victims. Thus, I know from close-up the deep suffering that this crime committed by clergymen has caused in people. I know about the wounds that go deep and remain and affect a victim's life for the rest of one's temporal life. It causes anger and despair, in some cases drug or alcohol abuse, sometimes an incapability to ever enter a marriage bond or to keep it. It nearly destroys a life, but for the grace of God and the supportive love of others.

In an even more personal context, I did myself, as a child, witness at fairly close contact sexual abuse, though not within the framework of the Church. Out of respect for the persons involved, I leave it at that, but say that I know how the stains of such abuse and broken trust can remain ingrained in one's soul, to flash up from time to time, leaving ugly stains in one's unhealed memory, with often destructive effects on one's own moral life. Sexual abuse is a deeply sensitive abuse, affecting one's inner core.

Needless to say, this topic is close to my heart, from different perspectives.

In this context, Our Lord's words that those who scandalize the little ones deserve to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their neck, has often come back into my mind. Our Lord, I am sure, had such evil deeds in mind when he spoke those words.

Abhorrence of sin

What we are witnessing here is the darkness of sin, the evil effects of sin, and its utter ugliness. Such sin leads to hell. 

It is, truly, in this light that we in the Catholic Church should consider the ways of healing and of reparation, but also of penance and of punishment – in part in order to deter future abuse.

But, what do we do when we have a Pope who, in his moral teaching, tends to pander to the sins and weaknesses of man, rather than to instill in them a deep abhorrence of it? We now have a Pope who tells those in “irregular” situations that God sometimes wishes them to remain in their sinful relationships, such as a second marriage without a previous annulment. He is a Pope who – as again in this new letter of his – speaks in a demeaning manner of “rigoristic” approaches, “issuing stern decrees,” and strongly rejects “false certainties,” “rigid formulations,” and the constricting idea of reducing catholicity to a “question of doctrine or law.” He warns us against “reductive ways of thinking” and a “climate of hatred and rejection.” Instead, Pope Francis calls for a “change of mind-set,” for “dialogue,” and for a further reflection on “our handling of money and power.” He also says that we are called to holiness. “Credibility,” he adds, “is born of trust.” At one place, Pope Francis also speaks of transparency.

But how, then, can we restore deep trust, foster transparency, and try to grow in holiness?

One way would be by growing again in the abhorrence of sin. All the Saints had it. They loved God so much that they had a strong sensitivity toward those acts that offend Him and hurt man.

If I know in which ways I have greatly offended God and men, and if I am aware of how terrible these offenses are, I will strive more to avoid them and grow in virtue which will finally lead to a more humane dealing with others. But in dealing with others, if I have committed grave sins or errors that affect many people up until today, I can only rebuild trust by admitting my sins and faults. If my faults or sins are such that they have contributed to the destruction of the lives and happiness of many – to include, perhaps, their loss of the Faith – then I would feel urged to make public amends.

Restoring trust

Thus, in order to restore trust, the leaders of the Catholic Church have to “come clean” with their own past and their own present. Some bishops have given good examples in this, in that they went sincerely through all their files, sought out abuser priests and punished them, and made public statements about their own past shortcomings. When something like this happens, a Catholic faithful sees that just change also happens, a sincere change, and that trust may slowly be rebuilt.

But for this to happen on a large scale, the Pope himself would have to set an example. In light of the terrible McCarrick case – which has many ties directly to Pope Francis, his predecessors, and the Vatican – it would be advisable that Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI sit together and reflect upon what went wrong in this case – and possibly in other cases – over the last two decades or even more. 

Their silence does not set a good example for the rest of the Church's leaders.

Why not have a statement issued together, where they both tell us what they believe, looking back (and in Francis' case looking at today), they have done wrong. Should Pope Benedict have taken more timely and more rigorous steps against McCarrick? Should he have stopped when he ignored the sanctions imposed upon him? Should not reports about McCarrick's homosexual activity with subordinate seminarians have been enough of a reason to remove him from the priesthood? Is homosexual activity on the side of priests in itself not anymore a sin against the Sixth Commandment that leads to suspension and more?

But this set of questions also leads to Pope Francis.

Pope Francis, in order to re-establish a measure of trust, would also have to answer the question as to whether he knew of McCarrick's immoral behavior and whether he chose to ignore it and work with him closely in many matters, such as in China, Iran, and in Cuba.

But there are also other cases of leniency toward immoral priests. It was the German theologian, Dr. Benjamin Leven, who only recently revealed that, among others, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, a papal confidant and defender of Amoris Laetitia, as a member of a review commission at the Congregation for the Faith (CDF) established by Pope Francis, always argued for leniency in dealing with the punishment of abuser priests. (The Wall Street Journal just reported that actually one-third of all the cases coming before this panel receive less strict punishments.) Of course, it is also known that Pope Francis himself decided to re-instate the abuser priest Don Maurizio Inzoli, against Cardinal Müller's own counsel at the time. And then we also have the case where Pope Francis unjustly intervened and stopped an investigation into abuse allegations against the now-deceased Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, with the sudden intervention itself thereby forestalling a correct and just closing of that case, thus fostering further mistrust.

There is no sign for us to see that Pope Francis has realized that this lenient approach toward sexual abusers was a grave mistake.

Which leads us back to the topic of sin. Cardinal Gerhard Müller said only recently in an interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo that it was the moral leniency and vagueness of the 1960s and the 1970s that contributed to the sexual abuse crisis in the Church.

Cardinal Müller also recently told LifeSiteNews that the new 1983 Code of Canon Law's omission of certain clear and obligatory penalties posed upon an abuser priest – as well as the omission to mention explicitly homosexual acts as a priestly violation of the Sixth Commandment – was a “disastrous error.”

Penalties and preaching

Therefore, in the face of the enormous suffering of so many Catholic souls whose lives have been maimed by abuser priests, would it not be the logical conclusion to re-insert in canon law strong penalties against abuser priests? Should the Church not then realize that she needs to return to the more “rigoristic” teaching on sin and its ugliness? That, of course, would also include that she starts preaching again more forcefully on the Four Last Things: Death, Personal Judgment, Heaven or Hell. 

For some reason, this “old” and “rigid” teaching has brought forth good fruit, and, most of all, the fruition of many Saints – whereas a lenient attitude toward the violation of the innocence of God's little ones has led to their further destruction.

Which leads us, last but not least, also to the consideration of the aspect of homosexuality with regard to the Church's abuse crisis. Once more, we quote Cardinal Müller who has made it very clear that – in the many cases he himself had to deal with as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – at least 80% of the victims of clerical sex abuse were male (with most of them being adolescents, not children). That is to say, there is a firm link between homosexuality and abuse in the Church. That is why the German Cardinal now says: “In the Church's law, one also once again has to present and sanction homosexual acts by priests as a grave offense against the priest's ethos.” 

When I was speaking with different priests in Europe, as well as in the U.S., about this matter, they all confirmed to me the morally lax situation at priestly seminaries, and this has been the case for the last decades. In many seminaries, there has existed for decades now an open homosexual culture and network.

Yet, this topic is not even mentioned by Pope Francis in his new January 1, 2019 letter to the U.S. bishops. He has only chosen to mention sexual abuse as a subordinate topic, in third place, when even speaking about it. He speaks two times about sexual abuse, and each time he mentions “the abuse of power and conscience and sexual abuse.” This sort of approach, of course, is what his new editorial director for Vatican media, Andrea Tornielli, has also tried to do when he dared to claim that McCarrick's abuse was not about homosexuality, but, rather, about an abuse of power. McCarrick “did not have homosexual relations,” he stated.

If we look to Germany to get some clues as to how the Vatican under Pope Francis might now try to address the problem of clerical sex abuse, we then see that the German bishops, too, for the most part, utterly ignore the link between homosexuality and the abuse crisis. On the contrary, Cardinal Marx' own general vicar in Munich has recently claimed that establishing such a link is wrong (“I explicitly reject that,” he said), and he publicly stated that his own diocese has homosexual priests who do a lot of good work. 

Thus, instead of addressing the obvious link, many German bishops and theologians now wish to discuss the “defective” sexual morality of the Church and wish to liberalize the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Just recently, the Vatican re-instated as rector of a Jesuit post-graduate school a priest – Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig – who himself has already blessed homosexual couples and who claims that the Bible did not know of homosexuals as we know them today.

That Pope Francis himself would also be inclined to discuss these moral matters in a liberalizing manner, has been confirmed by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of the Pope's Council of Nine Cardinals (now reduced in numbers). Just before Christmas, Marx stated that he has spoken several times with the Pope about the matter of the Church's sexual morality, adding: “I see that he is not so fixed here [in discussing the Church's sexual morality].” The root cause of the sexual abuse crisis, in Marx' eyes, is not homosexuality, but an abuse of power. As Marx explains, the Church has so far only spoken about sexuality in an “odd and touchy [“verschroben”]” way, and now she needs “to speak about sexuality in a different manner, also about homosexuality.”

“As you know, this is highly controversial,” Marx admitted, “also theologically and dogmatically.”

To sum it up, after my reading of Pope Francis' letter to the U.S. bishops, I am still as troubled as before. I do not see that he even addresses the real underlying problems – even putting the evil of sexual abuse merely on the third place – and I still detect the same demeaning tone against the very laws and rules that have helped to protect God's little ones and foster many Saints throughout the centuries. A moral laxity will not help address the problem that was fostered by the moral laxity and provocative weakness of the 1960s and 1970s.

It is worth considering what German Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer recently said about the German reform proposals in response to the German abuse crisis. He told the Austrian news website that “some circles – also within the Church – abuse the cases of sexual violence in order to offer once more their recipes, which have already not been helpful in the past, and to twist the crimes into an occasion to create, finally, their own 'different Church'. This is what I call an abuse of the abuse.” In another interview given to CNA Deutsch, he made it clear that “it was not Catholic sexual morality which led to the deplorable crimes [of sexual abuse], but the fact that one notoriously defied it.”

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