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Pope Francis kissing baby Maria Faustina Hichborn in 2014. Supplied by Michael Hichborn
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Pope to pro-life group: We have an ‘absolute duty to defend’ life

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis is calling on Catholics and all people of good will to protect the unborn, saying we have an “absolute duty to defend” life. 

Speaking to leaders of the Movement for Life at the Vatican on Saturday, Feb. 2, ahead of Italy’s annual Day for Life, the Pope said such movements highlight “the primary value of human life and the absolute duty to defend it, from its conception until its natural end.”

The Pope immediately stressed, however, that “taking care of life requires that it be done throughout one’s life and to the end” and also “demands that attention be paid to living conditions” such as “health, education, job opportunities, and so on.”

While he has often spoken out strongly against abortion, Pope Francis’s message on the gravity of this evil with respect to other social issues has varied, depending on the group he is addressing.

For instance, his apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exultate, put care for migrants and opposing abortion on equal footing, as observed by both secular and Catholic media. And he famously praised one of Italy’s most notorious abortionists, Italian Senator Emma Bonino, as a “forgotten great” because of her work helping refugees.

Critics of the Pope’s “seamless garment” approach see it as a departure from the teaching of his predecessors, including Pope Benedict XVI, for whom the sacredness of life, the recognition and promotion of the natural family and the rights of parents to educate their children were non-negotiable values.

Fulcrum of defending life

But in his remarks to the pro-life group on Feb. 2, the Pope said the “fulcrum” of defending life is in “welcoming those who were conceived and are still in the womb, enveloped in the womb of the mother as in a loving embrace that unites them.” 

He therefore praised the theme of this year’s European school competition — “I will take care of you. The model of motherhood.” 

He said the theme “invites us to look at conception and birth not as a mechanical or physical fact, but from the point of view of the relationship and communion that unites the woman and her child.”

Throwing away miracles

In his remarks, Pope Francis recalled a passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah: “Behold I am doing a new thing!” (Is 43:19). 

This passage, the Pope said, points to the miracle of life each time a new child is conceived, body and soul, in the womb, and how the refusal to see God’s “wonderful work” can lead men and women to literally throw His miracles away. 

God’s heart, the Pope said, is “ever-young” and rejoices every time, as in the beginning (cf. Genesis), a life that “was not there before” is conceived and “brings an unexpected beauty.”

“Do you not perceive it?,” God through the mouth of the prophet, to shake us from our torpor (Is 43:19). 

Applying the prophet’s words to our duty to defend life today, Pope Francis said: “How is it possible that you do not perceive the miracle is being wrought right beneath your gaze? And how can we consider [this miracle] our own work, to the point of feeling entitled to dispose of it as we please?”

The Pope continued:

Voluntarily extinguishing life as its blossoming is, in any case, a betrayal of our vocation, as well as of the pact that binds generations together, a pact that allows us to look forward with hope. Where there is life, there is hope! But if life itself is violated at its dawn, what remains is no longer the grateful and amazed welcome of the gift, but rather a cold calculation of what we have and what we can dispose of. Then even life is reduced to a consumer good, to be used and thrown away, for ourselves and for others. How tragic is this vision. Unfortunately it is widespread and deeply-rooted, and also presented as a human right.

“How much suffering it causes to the weakest of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

“But we never resign ourselves, but continue to work, knowing our limits but also the power of God, who looks with renewed amazement to us his children and the efforts we make to let the good buds forth each day,” Pope Francis told the pro-life group.

Young people defending life

The Pope said the presence of “so many young people” in the pro-life movement is a “special sign of consolation.”

Thanking young people for their commitment to defending life, he said: “Dear young men and young ladies, you are a resource for the Movement for Life, for the Church and for society, and it is beautiful that you dedicate time and energy to the protection of life and the support of the most defenseless.”

The Pope also praised the pro-life group for its “attachment … to the Catholic faith and to the Church,” which he said makes its members “explicit and courageous witnesses of the Lord Jesus."  

But he also expressed his appreciation for the “secularism” with which they act. Such secularism, he said is “based on the truth of the good of life, which is a human and civil value and, as such, needs to be recognized by all people of good will, whatever religion or creed they belong to.” 

He also praised the pro-life group for openly bearing witness that “those who are conceived are children of the whole of society, and their killing in huge numbers, with the endorsement of the States, is a grave problem that undermines the foundations of the construction of justice.” 

When a society kills its own children, he said, this “compromises” the “proper solution to every other human and social issue.”

Pro-life groups will undoubtedly welcome Pope Francis’s words, including his call to foster respect for life at all levels of society.

But they may find it more difficult to understand why, in 2016, he praised Italy’s foremost abortion activist, Emma Bonino, as one of the country’s “forgotten greats,” for her work in helping refugees in Africa. The same woman who, in 2017, was photographed rejoicing (amid others’ tears) after the Italian Senate passed a law allowing citizens the right to refuse artificial nutrition and hydration in living wills. 

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Lawyer sends warning letters to 50+ media outlets, dioceses, celebs who slandered Covington student

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By Doug Mainwaring

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Attorneys for young Nick Sandmann have sent letters to more than 50 media outlets, pundits, journalists, and celebrities as well as Catholic dioceses who publicly slandered the pro-life high school student from Covington, Kentucky based on a misleading video clip that went viral.

The letter, which seeks to prevent the destruction of evidence, discloses a potential intent to sue the recipients, many of whom are household names –– a who’s-who list of strident, often controversial liberal voices.

Attorney Todd V. McMurtry wrote that he was notifying the more than four dozen recipients of their “obligation to preserve information that may be relevant to potential litigation,” in what he refers to as the “Sandman Matter.” The letter is explicit and detailed.  

Sandmann was catapulted into the national spotlight when mischaracterizations of his appearance in the incomplete video unleashed a barrage of unwarranted vitriol and even death threats against him and his Catholic classmates who were participating in the March for Life last month in Washington, D.C.

Among the media outlets who received the letter after having jumped the gun to criticize Sandmann are The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, HBO, GQ, and TMZ.  

Individual journalists and pundits include NBC's Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Savannah Guthrie; MSNBC's Joy Reid; CNN's Erin Burnett, S.E. Cupp, and five others; The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, David Brooks and two others; and The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein and seven others.

Liberal Hollywood types include Jim Carrey, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano, and Bill Maher.

Two controversial Democrats were also sent letters: 2020 Presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and newly elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Four dioceses that rushed to unfairly criticize the boys have also heard from Sandmann’s attorneys. They include the Diocese of Covington, Diocese of Lexington, and the Archdiocese of Louisville in Kentucky and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland.  

Here is the complete list of recipients who were sent the letter on Friday, February 1:

  • The Washington Post

  • The New York Times

  • Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN)

  • The Guardian

  • National Public Radio

  • TMZ

  • Atlantic Media Inc.

  • Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.

  • Diocese of Covington

  • Diocese of Lexington

  • Archdiocese of Louisville

  • Archdiocese of Baltimore

  • Ana Cabrera

  • Sara Sidner

  • Erin Burnett

  • S.E. Cupp

  • Elliot C. McLaughlin

  • Amanda Watts

  • Emanuella Grinberg

  • Michelle Boorstein

  • Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

  • Antonio Olivo

  • Joe Heim

  • Michael E. Miller

  • Eli Rosenberg

  • Isaac Stanley-Becker

  • Kristine Phillips

  • Sarah Mervosh

  • Emily S. Rueb

  • Maggie Haberman

  • David Brooks

  • Shannon Doyne

  • Kurt Eichenwald

  • Andrea Mitchell

  • Savannah Guthrie

  • Joy Reid

  • Chuck Todd

  • Noah Berlatsky

  • Elisha Fieldstadt

  • Eun Kyung Kim

  • HBO

  • Bill Maher

  • Warner Media

  • Conde Nast

  • GQ

  • Heavy.com

  • The Hill

  • The Atlantic

  • Bustle.com

  • Ilhan Omar

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Kathy Griffin

  • Alyssa Milano

  • Jim Carrey

McMurtry told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the incident permanently stained Sandmann’s reputation and that after an in-depth review by a team of several attorneys they “concluded we have a good faith basis to sue.”

“There was a rush by the media to believe what it wanted to believe versus what actually happened,” said McMurtry. “They know they crossed the line.”

“We want to change the conversation. We don't want this to happen again,” McMurtry told The Enquirer. “We want to teach people a lesson.”

McMurtry, a member of the Kentucky law firm Hemmer Defrank Wessels, is working in conjunction with famed trial attorney L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, Georgia, a libel and defamation lawyer who has represented clients against media giants, some of which have captured national attention.  

Wood most famously defended Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 and then brought defamation suits on behalf of John and Patsy Ramsey and son Burke for false accusations regarding the murder of child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey. Working with Wood, Burke Ramsey recently agreed to settle a $750 million defamation suit against CBS, which aired a documentary in 2016 that suggested he killed his six-year-old sister, JonBenét, when he was nine.

Wood also represented the victim in the Colorado civil case against NBA star Kobe Bryant and was the lead civil attorney for Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee Holloway.

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Democrat Patty Murray blocks Senate bill banning infanticide after failed abortions

By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, blocked the unanimous passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act today, a bill which would have required doctors to provide medical care to babies born alive during failed abortions.

This was a unanimous consent vote, a mechanism under which the bill passes the U.S. Senate if no senator objects and individual senators’ positions are not recorded.

Murray objected to the motion, claiming there are already laws against infanticide.

“This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and, therefore, I object,” said Murray.

After Murray objected to the bill, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA, lamented on the Senate floor that this body “can no longer unanimously condemn murder.”

“There is nothing great, there is nothing moral, or even humane about the discussion that we have before us today,” said Ernst. “Over the past week, we have witnessed the absolutely ugly truth about the far-reaching grasp of the abortion industry and its increasingly radicalized political agenda. Politicians have not only defended aborting a child while a woman is in labor, but have gone so far as to support the termination of a child after his or her birth. A child. A baby. Rationality, decency, and basic human compassion have fallen by the wayside.”

Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, called the Act “legislation that ought to be the very definition of something that receives unanimous consent in this body.”

“It’s harrowing that this legislation is even necessary,” said McConnell. “It was even more disturbing when last week, a Democrat Governor was unable to simply state that of course – of course – these newborn babies have human rights that must be respected.”

It’s now up to McConnell to decide whether to force a roll call vote on the anti-infanticide bill at a later date. 

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE, brought the measure to the floor after “morally repugnant” comments Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat and pediatric neurologist, made last week about infanticide. Sasse suggested after Murray’s objection that he will fight to force a roll call vote on the bill.

Video went viral last week from a subcommittee hearing in which Democrat Del. Kathy Tran takes questions about her bill to repeal regulations on late-term abortions. Republican Del. Todd Gilbert asked how late in the third trimester a physician could perform an abortion and whether that includes when the mother “has physical signs that she is about to give birth.”

“I don't think we have a limit in the bill [...] my bill would allow that, yes,” Tran answered.

Northam then defended Tran’s bill, saying in a radio interview: “So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

He later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, the chair of the new Senate Pro-Life Caucus, read Northam’s comments aloud on the Senate floor today.

“The word ‘evil’ comes to mind,” he said of Northam’s comments. “These comments the governor made pull back the curtain on an extreme and dangerous abortion agenda that shows callous disregard for human life. What the Virginia governor is defending and what these ghoulish abortion-up-to birth laws enable is the free reign of brutal killers like Kermit Gosnell. Babies who survive the violence of an attempted abortion must not be subject to further violence and neglect.”

Northam’s comments “turned the stomachs” of people around the world, Sasse said tonight. He called the Virginia governor a “disgraced coward.”

“Just a few years ago, the abortion lobby was really clear in its talk about hoping abortion would be…safe, legal, and rare,” he continued. “Now we’re talking about keeping the baby comfortable while the doctors have a debate about infanticide.”

“You’re either for babies, or you’re defending infanticide…please, don’t let Governor Northam define you,” Sasse pleaded with his Democrat colleagues.

READ: New York celebrates legalizing abortion until birth by lighting One World Trade Center pink

The bill was co-sponsored by more than three dozen Republican senators.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, shared the story of Gianna Jessen, who survived a late-term saline abortion.

“Triumphantly, defiantly, and against all odds, Gianna Jessen entered this world after her own abortion,” he said.

“Providing life saving care to an infant who survives an abortion is an issue that everyone should be able to agree on but that's not the case in the United States Senate,” said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. “Senator Murray went to the floor this evening and blocked a vote on legislation that ensures babies born alive after a failed abortion are treated with the equal care given to babies born at the same gestational age.”

He continued, “Infanticide is unacceptable in a civilized society, regardless of what one may think about abortion itself. Whether it's by negligence or with intentionality, the killing of a baby who has been born alive – even if he or she survives an abortion – is abhorrent. This atrocity must stop. America must be better than this.”

‘We’re talking about...infanticide’

On Thursday, Sasse said on the Senate floor, “I’m going to ask all 100 senators to come to the floor and be against infanticide. This shouldn’t be complicated.”

Of Northram’s comments, Sasse said, “Let’s really be clear about what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls ‘infanticide.’”

“We're talking about killing a baby that's been born,” he said. “We're not talking about some euphemism, we're not talking about a clump of cells. We're talking about a little baby girl who’s been born and is on a table in a hospital or a medical facility and then a decision or a debate would be had about whether or not you could kill that little baby. We're talking about the most vulnerable among us and we have a public official in America out there again and again defending a practice. This is infanticide that we're talking about. This should be so far beyond any political consideration. We're talking about a little baby. A baby with dignity. An image bearer.”

“Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This doesn't take any political courage. And, if you can't say that, if there's a member of this body that can't say that, there may be lots of work you can do in the world but you shouldn't be here,” Sasse argued. “There should be no politics here that are right vs. left, or Republican vs. Democrat. This is the most basic thing you could be talking about.”

It is not likely that the House version of the bill would pass in the Democrat-controlled House, if even allowed to be voted on. This is despite the fact that the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which defines infant survivors of abortion as “human beings” entitled to all the rights in the U.S. Constitution, was passed by both Democrats and Republicans in 2002 and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would build on that law.

In 2015, only five House Democrats supported the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which then-President Barack Obama said would have a “chilling effect” on “access to care.”  

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Virginia pregnancy center vandalized after state assembly shoots down infanticide bill

Katie Franklin
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Photos: Culpeper Town Councilman Jon Russell's Facebook.

February 4, 2019 (Pregnancy Help News) – Just days after the Virginia House of Delegates defeated a bill legalizing abortion all the way through birth, a pro-life pregnancy help center in Culpeper, Virginia was vandalized with hateful spray-painted messages early Friday morning.

"You hate women," said one of the messages on the sign for the Culpeper Pregnancy Center, one of four locations run by The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia.

That wasn't all.

The Culpeper Star-Exponent reports:

"You hate women" and "Jesus hates this [vulgarity deleted]" along with "FAKE" in big black letters were scrawled on the outside of the small office on Sunset Lane, right next to the Culpeper Hospital and across the street from Farmington Elementary School. A front window was smashed in and one of the center signs covered with red paint and a sad face drawn underneath it.

A trio of investigators from the Culpeper Police Department was on the scene Friday morning measuring footprints in the snow and canvassing the neighborhood to learn more about who did it. Investigator Norma McGuckin confirmed the police department was trying to figure out when the vandalism happened.

The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia (which is changing its name to Thrive Women's Healthcare) has served over 24,000 women since its first location opened in 1984. Its services include pregnancy testing and verification, confidential options counseling, abortion information, ultrasound, community referrals and resources, pregnancy support, and post-abortion care and support.

Lindy Dimeo, director and patient advocate coordinator for the center, organized cleanup Friday morning. Throughout the day, she witnessed an outpouring of support from the community.

"We already had a client come by this morning just to give me a hug. And to say she's here for us and what she can do to help," she told the Culpeper Star-Exponent.

According to Dimeo, someone from the nearby hospital saw the damage and called police around 3:30 a.m. Friday.

"It makes me sad. I'm not angry; it's just sad because none of it is true," said Dimeo, who started the Culpeper center 20 years ago. "We're not a fake clinic, we have a doctor on staff; we have sonographer on staff. We do ultrasounds, STD testing, pregnancy testing.

"We're HIPAA compliant, so we meet all regulations. We are part of a financial accountability organization. All of our services are to help women who are facing pregnancy, unplanned or not with material assistance up to 2 years old and with medically accurate information on all of their options. We are not here to tell them what to do."

The accusation that the center is a "fake" clinic echoes claims made by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-abortion groups over the years. Such smears have led to multiple legislative attacks across the U.S., including a California law mandating that pregnancy help centers tell women where they can find an abortion. Although the Supreme Court struck down that law last summer, pro-abortion politicians continue to push similar measures in cities and states around the country.

Now, as New York, Virginia, and other states work to expand late-term abortion, the outreach performed by life-affirming pregnancy help centers is all the more necessary. 

"There's a reality that we can't forget and that's the fact that pregnancy help still matters," said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, a worldwide network of more than 2,600 pregnancy help organizations. "The on-the-ground, practical work that's going on in pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and call centers like Option Line is the vital response the pro-life community needs to rally behind right now. This is the work that empowers women and saves lives." 

In 2017 alone, thousands of pregnancy centers across the U.S. served nearly two million clients with free services. That's an estimated community cost savings of at least $161 million.

As the investigation of what transpired in Culpeper continues, Police Chief Chris Jenkins is urging anyone with information to come forward.

"We encourage anyone who may have been in the area or noticed anything suspicious last night to reach out to our detectives to assist with bringing the person(s) responsible for this crime to justice," he said.

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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Lesbian feminists join conservative think-tank to protect kids from transgenderism

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By Austin Ruse

February 4, 2019 (C-Fam) –Seventeen-year-old transsexual Jazz Jennings celebrated his castration with a "penis cake" that he gleefully cut into pieces as his friends and family cheered.

This was just one of many oddities and outrages discussed at a Heritage Foundation panel last week that featured radical feminists in opposition to the powerful transgender ideology that seems to be sweeping the country and especially schools.

Lesbian Julia Beck told her story of getting kicked off the LGBTQ Commission in Baltimore for the "violence" she perpetrated. She refused to use female pronouns for a jailed male rapist. The man continued to rape female prisoners in the women's prison he was sent to. She was forced off the commission by the chairman, a man who presents as a woman and considers himself a lesbian. The contempt on Beck's face was palpable when describing a man who thinks he's a lesbian.

Jennifer Chavez of the Women's Liberation Front read the testimonies of several mothers whose daughters were stricken with what has come to be known as sudden onset gender dysphoria. One mother described her daughter's overnight transition from a "sweet loving girl" to a "foulmouthed hateful pansexual male." Though diagnosed with ADHD, depression, and anxiety, doctors only wanted to help with this girl's "transition." Her mother was forced to meet with a transsexual counselor who told her she had to accept her daughter's new identity. Her daughter moved to Oregon where doctors performed a double mastectomy and a radical hysterectomy. She said her daughter is now homeless, living on the street, and suffering from mental illness.

Dr. Ryan Anderson, author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, hosted the conference. He said, "Gender identity is based an individual's inner sense of being a man or a woman or both or neither. It exists along a spectrum, and can be fluid, it's entirely arbitrary and self-disclosed, and rather incoherent. As it is not at all clear what is means to feel like a woman, or how I would know if I felt like one, or why my feeling like a woman, whatever that might mean, would make me a woman. And as a result, if gender identity becomes a protected class in federal civil rights law, there will be serious negative consequences."

This was a common theme at the panel. "Gender identity" has no real meaning. Kara Dansky, a lawyer associated with the Women's Liberation Front, said the issue is "not about the law but about the intellectual bankruptcy of gender identity ideology and the importance of language. No one really knows what these words mean. All definitions of gender identity either reinforce sexist stereotypes or are completely tautological."

Both male and female homosexuals point out the "regressive" sex stereotypes associated the trans ideology. Boys who may be feminine are now considered trans-girls. Girls who like blue and to climb trees are considered trans-boys. This panel of self-proclaimed radical feminists blanch at such stereotypes. Their movement has fought against them for decades.

The panel was organized at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank because no left-of-center group was willing to host it. The speakers are part of a larger movement called "Hands Across the Aisle," conservatives and liberals making common cause on this one issue, saving boys and girls from the trans ideology.

Lesbian Julia Beck finished her talk nearly in tears saying, "I am here because I care about women and I suspect you do, too." The packed house of conservatives cheered.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Gavin 'Laurel' Hubbard
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Sanity prevails: Biological men may not compete against women in USA Powerlifting events

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The American arm of the International Powerlifting Federation has published guidelines excluding biological males from its women’s events, citing the principle of “fair play.”

USA Powerlifting published a “Transgender Participation Policy” that bars both the use of androgens by any athlete, including women seeking to “transition from female to male,” and the participation of “male to female” competitors.

Androgens are not allowed because of their “anabolic nature” and USA Powerlifting won’t permit any exceptions on medical grounds. As for biological males who wish to compete against women, the federation pointed out the physical advantages that biological males have over biological females when it comes to strength.

“Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence naturally occurring androgens as the level necessary for male development, significant advantages are had, including but not limited to, increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue,” the policy states.   

“These advantages are not eliminated by reduction of serum androgens such as testosterone yielding a potential advantage in strength sports such as powerlifting,” it continued.

USA Powerlifting acknowledged that its parent federation, the International Powerlifting Federation, has adopted International Olympics Association (IOA) guidelines saying transgender athletes may compete. However, the American club pointed out that the IOA had allowed some ethical wiggle room for individual sports organizations.

“ … the IOC guidelines also allows sports to determine the impact on fair play through such inclusion,” the policy reads.  

“The IPF Medical Committee, while respecting the rights of those who choose to transition, has been consistent in its opinion that use of testosterone and participation of male to female transgender athletes in our sport compromises fair play,” it continues.

“While other sports and activities and other powerlifting organizations may choose a different interpretation of the impact on their respective competitive activities, USA Powerlifting will continue to follow the policies as defined by the IPF Medical Committee.”

The participation of male-to-female transsexuals in powerlifting has been unsurprisingly controversial. Laurel Hubbard, originally known as Gavin Hubbard, was the first male-to-female “transgender” powerlifter to win a gold medal for New Zealand at the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open. Hubbard’s victory in the heaviest weight class of the women’s division was called “unfair” by several other competitors. His hopes of winning gold in women’s powerlifting at the Commonwealth Games was foiled, however, by an elbow injury.

The USA Powerlifting policy means that female powerlifters can train for at least some American events safe in the knowledge that their hard work will not be in vain. They will be participating in a competition of female frames in peak condition, not in one that the results were fixed decades before by a Y-chromosome and all the physical advantages it confers upon the male athlete.   

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Judge Jeanine on Fox News Feb. 02, 2019. Fox News / Youtube screen grab
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WATCH: Fox News host reacts in disgust when hearing about sale of aborted baby body parts

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By Stephen Kokx

NEW YORK, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro reacted with disgust when one of the creators of the hugely successful movie Gosnell told her during an interview how lucrative it is to sell body parts from aborted babies.

When asked about what happens to the bodies of abortion victims, the film's co-producer Phelim McAleer told a visibly disturbed Pirro that, “aborted babies bodies are a very valuable commodity in today’s America. Research institutions, elite universities, medical centers pay a lot of money for baby parts."

"I find myself in complete shock saying that on television in America in 2019 but you can buy the arms and legs and skin of babies today. It’s shocking,” he said. 

As McAleer was saying this, Pirro was shaking her head, as if in disbelief. She then exhaled, dropped her head in disgust, and blocked her eyes with her hand.

"Awful...yeah, I've got to...the viewers...I've got to keep my viewers...[watching] this show," she stuttered. 

McAleer along with co-producer Ann McElhinney appeared on Pirro’s February 2nd show to react to the pro-infanticide comments made by Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam last week and to discuss their film and the impact it has had.

“The whole reason that we decided to make this movie…was because the testimony that was heard in the court when Gosnell was on trial. And that testimony, described, you know, ‘comfort care’ — if a baby was born alive in a botched abortion you just let it die, eventually it will pass,” McElhinney said.

Northam said in January 30th comments defending a proposed abortion bill that doctors could refuse to resuscitate an infant born alive that "would be kept comfortable" after a failed abortion if that's what the mother wanted.

McElhinney argued that Americans know little about the crimes of Kermit Gosnell but that the testimony given during his trial “must be heard.” The “incredible reaction” to the remarks of Governor Northam and Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran shows people are finally learning about the reality of abortion laws in the United States, she added.

Gosnell depicts the 2013 arrest, trial, and conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell for the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies and the involuntary manslaughter of patient Karnamaya Mongar. Gosnell is currently serving three life sentences in jail. The film is based on courtroom transcripts, interviews with Gosnell himself, and the 280-page grand jury report. 

Despite every major Hollywood agency turning the film down, crowdfunding helped raise more than $2.3 million in 45 days from almost 30,000 donors. When released, hundreds of movie theaters across the United States refused to show the movie. Still, Gosnell earned a box office of more than $3.6 million as of December 17, 2018. The movie’s DVD, set to be released Tuesday, February 5th, can be preordered on Amazon for $9.99 by clicking here.

The trio discussed the reasons why Gosnell was made and the positive effect it has had on viewers, with McElhinney sharing a story about how Americans across the country who used to be pro-abortion saw the movie but are now fighting against abortion. 

“I think the next election could be the abortion election,” McElhinney said. “We’ll have Donald Trump on one side defending the most defenseless and we have the Democrats who want abortion up to nine months.”

The interview concluded with McAleer thanking Governor Northam, who he referred to as “Governor Gosnell,” for speaking “loudly and clearly” on what really goes on in states across the country where babies are left to die after a failed abortion. To which Pirro responded, “I actually call him Governor Mengele,” a reference to a 1930s Nazi physician who conducted human experiments on prisoners during World War II.

Editor's note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report.

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Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

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New doctor practice in Delaware: ‘Would you like a contraceptive with that?’

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

February 4, 2019 (C-Fam) – If a woman visits a doctor in Delaware for a sore throat or a sprained ankle, she may be asked a surprising question: "Do you want to become pregnant in the next year?" If she says no, she could leave the clinic that same day with a long-acting contraceptive implant or intrauterine device.

Promoting contraception as a way to reduce poverty is the result of a partnership between the state of Delaware and an organization called Upstream. The approach has received national attention and is being considered for a national expansion. Although this approach may seem innovative in the United States, it looks very familiar in an international context.

For decades, women in developing countries have surveyed about whether they would like to become pregnant in the near future. Those who answer no are described as having a "demand" for family planning, even if they say they have no intention of using a method.

The global contraceptive market has become increasingly saturated, and knowledge of methods is near universal. Meanwhile, family planning organizations have redoubled their efforts to increase demand among women on the ground through mass marketing campaigns, including radio and TV dramas. To donors and governments, they offer contraceptives as a solution to poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation.

Like all marketing experts, family planning organizations have done extensive research on how to increase "sales." Recent years have seen a broad international push to integrate family planning into all areas of health care. In practice this means any woman of reproductive age may be offered contraceptives when she visits a health clinic, regardless of the reason for her visit.

As retailers know, most impulse buying occurs when people are already in stores, and may be followed by buyer's remorse. But unlike food or an item of clothing, the insertion of a long-acting reversible contraceptive (or LARC) is a major medical decision that carries risks and side effects. Researchers found that four in ten women who stopped using long-acting contraceptives did so because of health concerns. Nevertheless, Upstream focuses on promoting such contraception over other methods due to their low failure rates. A spokeswoman for the pro-abortion National Institute for Reproductive Health expressed concern to the New York Times that the Upstream approach may be "tipping the scale" in favor of these methods.

Some women currently seeking to avoid pregnancy may want to return to fertility in the near future. As Lyman Stone notes in The Federalist, women accepting long-acting contraception may not realize that the effects can last up to a year after removal.

Whether in Delaware or sub-Saharan Africa, decisions around procreation are best made within the context of the family. The campaign for same-visit delivery of long-acting contraceptives eliminates the opportunity for women to consult their partners – or parents, in the case of adolescents – before making a decision.

Delaware's former governor Jack Markell started the partnership with Upstream in 2014. He now sits on the organization's board of directors, alongside an Upstream co-founder who worked as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations.

As for the hope of reducing poverty, the data is mixed. Brookings Institution fellow Isabel Sawhill told the New York Times, "It's very expensive and very hard to reduce poverty. Reducing unplanned births is easy by comparison."

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, November 13, 2018 Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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CNN guest criticizes Ralph Northam’s abortion extremism, immediately gets shouted down

Brad Wilmouth
By

February 4, 2019 (NewsBusters) – On Friday's Erin Burnett Outfront on CNN, during a discussion of revelations that Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam included a racist photograph in his portion of his medical school's yearbook, frequent Republican guest Stephen Moore was lambasted and cut off by other panel members when he brought up the other controversy involving Northam from this week – that he defended an extreme abortion legalization bill by speaking approvingly of allowing some babies to die immediately after birth if the mothers so chose. 

Picking up on the fact that the abortion legalization story had received little attention on CNN before the news network started covering the yearbook racism controversy, Moore injected: "You want to talk about a politician who has had a bad week, I mean, you kind of didn't exactly report what happened this week when I think it was quoted as 'relax' the abortion restrictions."

Liberal CNN contributor Keith Boykin's face could be seen getting frustrated, and he sighed out loud as Moore continued: "I mean, this was basically a bill that he supported that almost literally allows abortion all the way up until the time you cut the umbilical cord."

Boykin shook his head and injected, "That's not the point, Stephen. That is not the point." Host Burnett disapprovingly responded: "That is what came out this week. I don't want to get into the debate about abortion. What he said was confusing."

The group became even more agitated after Moore declared: "But he's under assault for that, too, and I would even make the case that that's an even worse offense than this picture."

CNN contributor April Ryan bristled as she jumped in: "Let's talk about – no, no, no, no, no! We're going too far." She soon exclaimed: "Let's focus on the issue, please!"

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Bishop Thomas Daly.
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U.S. bishop: pro-abortion politicians ‘should not’ receive Communion in my diocese

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By Martin Barillas

SPOKANE, Washington, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic bishop has warned pro-abortion politicians who call themselves “Catholic” and who reside in his diocese that they “should not” present themselves to receive Holy Communion.

“Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church,” wrote Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, citing Canon 915 of church law (read full letter below).  

In a tweet, the bishop said that “willful murder of unborn children is a grave evil,” and called on Catholics to read his Feb. 1 letter.

According to Canon 915 of Church law: Those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” 

A spokesperson for the Spokane diocese said that Bishop Daly’s letter is not commenting directly on any politician in his diocese, but seeks to clarify that the “Catholic faith and public abortion advocacy are incompatible.” Those who publicly support access to abortion, the spokesperson said, “should refrain from receiving Holy Communion,” according to CNA.

The issue of pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion has been stirred of late ever since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, signed one of the most liberal pro-abortion laws in the country on Jan. 21. Various bishops have shown support for excommunication of Cuomo, but Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has called such a move “not an appropriate response.”

Bishop Daly mentioned Cuomo in his letter, stating that it is “unacceptable” to call oneself Catholic and champion abortion. 

“The champion of this abortion legislation is Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic and governor of New York. Governor Cuomo frequently cites his Catholic faith in support of legislation he favors. His public witness as a Catholic politician, coupled with his stalwart support of abortion, is unacceptable,” the bishop wrote.

“Efforts to expand access to abortion, allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil. Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm,” he stated. 

Bishop Daly concluded his letter by calling on Christians “to turn to Our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church.” Finally, he wrote: “Let us also keep the unborn, as well as all pregnant mothers, in our prayers.”

The issue of withholding Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians has been contentious in the U.S. church. At a 2004 meeting of U.S. bishops, the now-disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick withheld a letter addressed to the bishops by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) on this issue. Titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles, the letter provided guidance to the bishops about Catholics in political life. 

The future pope wrote that pro-abortion politicians must be admonished not to present themselves for Holy Communion. When “precautionary measures” have been to no avail, and the person continues to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, Ratzinger wrote, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."

***

Bishop Daly’s Feb 1, 2019 letter:

February 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

Each January as the nation commemorates the sad anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, marches are held, and vigils are prayed. Those committed to the cause of human rights of the unborn make their voices heard. This year, pro-abortion politicians fearing increased restrictions on abortion have advocated for and passed laws expanding access to abortion in the state of New York. Similar attempts have been made in Virginia.

Efforts to expand access to abortion, allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil. Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm.

The champion of this abortion legislation is Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic and governor of New York. Governor Cuomo frequently cites his Catholic faith in support of legislation he favors. His public witness as a Catholic politician, coupled with his stalwart support of abortion, is unacceptable.

Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church (cf. Canon 915; "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles." Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2004).

The Church’s commitment to the life of every human person from conception until death is firm. God alone is the author of life and for the civil government to sanction the willful murder of children is unacceptable. For a Catholic political leader to do so is scandalous.

I encourage the faithful to turn to our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and thI encourage the faithful to turn to our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church. Let us also keep the unborn, as well as all pregnant mothers, in our prayers.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts forever.

In Christ,

Most Reverend Thomas A. Daly

Bishop of Spokane

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VP Pence slams Democrats for ‘morally reprehensible and evil’ abortion-infanticide legislation

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, Vice President Mike Pence joined in the conversation over extreme pro-abortion bills recently enacted in New York and considered in Virginia, writing an op-ed decrying the culmination of the Democrat Party’s wholesale rejection of abortion limits over the past several years.

Video went viral last week of Democrat Del. Kathy Tran admitting her bill to repeal Virginia’s restrictions on late-term abortions would allow abortions just as a woman is about to give birth. Following that, Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam suggested that a born-alive “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.” He later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities.”

Tran’s bill was tabled in committee, but the controversy – and the mainstream media’s defensive coverage of it – intensified a discussion of the extremes to which Democrats and their allies have settled on abortion. Such a discussion was already underway in response to New York’s recently-enacted law, which received cheers in the state capitol, declaring a “fundamental right” to abortion and effectively letting babies be killed until birth.

“There’s another word for this: infanticide. And it is morally reprehensible and evil,” Pence wrote of Northam’s comments Thursday in National Review.

“This shameless embrace of a culture of death is startling to every American who cherishes life,” the vice president wrote. “Not too long ago, the Democratic party’s stated position was that abortion should be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ It was this widespread rejection of late-term abortion that led a large bipartisan majority in Congress to pass the partial-birth-abortion ban in 2003. But now look at how far the Democratic party has fallen.”

“To support, let alone cheer, late-term abortions not only marks a disturbing step backward by so-called ‘progressives’ — it also violates every demand of human decency,” he continued. “As modern science has moved the point of viability ever earlier in pregnancy, most Americans have agreed that a child who can survive outside the womb deserves a chance at life. Only a handful of countries, including China and North Korea, allow late-term abortions.”

Pence suggested those cheers and comments were a wakeup call to the idea that “states were moving beyond such barbaric practices,” and argued the bills “should be a call to action for all Americans” to “recommit ourselves, today and every day, to restoring the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”

The vice president went on to tout the Trump administration’s pro-life record so far (particularly Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw the United States from supporting abortion abroad), incremental pro-life laws at the state level, and the downward trend in American abortion rates.

“So even in this dark moment in our nation’s history, Americans should take heart. The New York and Virginia bills aren’t some bold departure into a brave new world. They are the last gasp of a dying movement that stands in stark and irreconcilable contrast with our nation’s timeless founding principles,” Pence claimed.

The vice president concluded by promising that the Trump administration “will continue to fight until our nation once again recognizes and celebrates the sanctity of all human life.”

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg 'married' David Daniels and Scott Walters in 2014. projectq.us
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A-list gay couple ‘married’ by Justice Ginsburg arrested for rape of male student

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Scott Walters and David Daniels, who were 'married' by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have been arrested for sexually assaulting a male student. Washtenaw County Jail

MICHIGAN, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent homosexual couple whose “marriage” was officiated by United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being held pending extradition to Texas for the 2010 rape of a then-23-year-old male student.

Renowned opera countertenor David Daniels, 52, and conductor Scott Walters, 37, were arrested on warrants issued in Texas charging both men with sexual assault of an adult, according to multiple reports.  

In a ceremony that generated much media attention, Ginsburg “married” the two men in 2014, but monogamy apparently has never been one of the long-time male couple’s strong suits.  

Samuel Schultz accused the A-list gay couple last summer at the peak of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged victims of sexual assault to step forward.

“I was raped,” declared Schultz at the beginning of his online statement. He explained why he waited eight years to come forward.  

“I have been terrified to talk about this publicly because, as many know, people in positions of power (or perceived positions of power) have not been held accountable in the past,” continued Schultz. “There was a legitimate danger of destroying my career by reporting someone else’s assault against me. Because of this, I have lived with the fear of exclusion and being silenced which has meant that my story has not been told. And I was not willing to risk a career in opera by exposing this truth.”

Schultz said that while he was a 23-year-old graduate student at Rice University, he met Daniels and Walters at a closing night party for Houston Grand Opera’s run of “Xerxes.” The homosexual power couple invited him to their apartment for drinks. 

The young man blacked out after taking just a few sips of the drink he had been offered.

Schultz said that the next thing he remembers is waking the following day, “in a bed alone, completely naked,” and “bleeding from my rectum.”

When Daniels and Walters returned to their apartment, Daniels allegedly said, “‘Don’t worry about the BB thing, I’m totally negative.’ BB in this case meant bareback, otherwise known as raping me without a condom.”  

Schultz told the Daily News that what finally convinced him to go public was learning that Daniels had obtained tenure at the University of Michigan, where he would be in close contact with other young singers.  

An attorney representing Daniels and Walters said, “David and Scott are innocent of any wrongdoing.”

The attorney suggested Schultz is looking for attention by saying he was raped.

“Sam Schultz is not a victim,” continued attorney Matt Hennessy in a statement to NPR. “He never would have gotten this much attention from his singing, and he knows and resents that fact. He waited eight years to complain about adult, consensual sex to ride the MeToo movement to unearned celebrity. We will fight this.”

But this is not the first allegation of sexual misconduct incurred by Daniels, the older of the two accused men.  

In November, the San Francisco Opera replaced Daniels, who was to appear in a future production, after a male University of Michigan student filed a lawsuit accusing Daniels of sexual assault.     

The student said that Daniels groped him, sent and requested sexual photos, gave him alcohol and sleep medication, and touched him sexually, according to an Associated Press report.  

A third student reportedly accused Daniels of offering to pay him in return for sex over Grindr, a gay hook-up app, in March of last year. Police investigated but found no evidence of criminality.

Despite the warning signs, Daniels was granted tenure by the University of Michigan just a few weeks after the complaint was lodged with police.

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg generated controversy by officiating “weddings” for same-sex couples before the High Court had ruled on same-sex “marriage.”

In the run up to the Obergefell case, which would ultimately impose same-sex “marriage” on the entire nation in June 2015, many lawmakers, religious leaders, and pundits demanded that Ginsburg recuse herself because she had clearly already made up her mind on genderless marriage before hearing the case.

In 2013, Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a gay “wedding.”

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Vancouver archdiocesan newspaper criticized Vigano letters, won’t print responses defending him

By Lisa Bourne

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vancouver archdiocesan newspaper issued sharp criticisms of whistleblower and former U.S. nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and refused to allow corrections of the criticism when submitted, claiming that doing so would widen divisions in the Church.  

Penned by a high-ranking prelate in the archdiocese, the article painted Viganò in a negative light, suggesting that Viganò had gone to the media without consulting with the Pope.

“However, a good son must first speak in secret with his father and not go to the media or assume a role that does not belong to him,” wrote Monsignor Pedro Lopez-Gallo, judicial vicar of the diocese for over 35 years.

Letters sent to the editor by Vancouver Catholics tried to correct the record by noting that Viganò had spoken with Francis prior to going public with his testimonies, and that silence on the part of clerics is how McCarrick was able to persist in being abusive and rise to power. But the corrections were rejected.

Msgr. Gallo charged in his column for the November 20, 2018 issue of the The B.C. Catholic that “it was wrong” of Archbishop Viganò “to disclose information that was under pontifical secrecy and accuse the Pope of ignoring claims made against important prelates of the Holy See.”

But the letter writers pointed out how Viganò had made clear that the purpose of the pontifical secret is to protect the Church from her enemies, not protect them. Viganò was compelled to go public with the information, they said, after the inaction and apparent complicity he encountered from Church hierarchy.

The letters had been forwarded to Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, and The B.C. Catholic’s Editor Paul Schratz advised the two Catholics their letters did make some valid points.

LifeSiteNews inquired with Schratz and the archdiocese, asking whether Miller had given any directive prohibiting The B.C. Catholic from publishing letters that support Viganò or his testimonies.

Schratz told LifeSiteNews there is no such directive. Letters are considered on an individual basis, he said, at times involving a judgment call. Schratz said editorially the publication is trying to build unity in the Church right now, hence the decision to not run the letters. Schratz said he’s always happy to discuss decisions with writers if they disagree. 

Countless Catholics of all walks of life have continually supported Viganò since the release of his first testimony in late August, while many progressive Catholics have denounced him and his testimony.

Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Archbishop Miller was considered conservative by many. However, since Pope Francis’ reign, the Vancouver Archbishop has shed that reputation.

Archbishop Miller stunned orthodox Christians when in 2017 he signed onto a letter denouncing evangelical leader Franklin Graham, son of the famed preacher Billy Graham. As Graham was coming to speak in Vancouver, the letter signed by several left-leaning religious leaders and Archbishop Miller criticized Graham for making “disparaging and uncharitable remarks about Muslims and the LGBTQ+ community.”

The former apostolic nuncio’s call in his testimony for Pope Francis to step down was predicated upon the necessity that Francis “be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses” and that Francis “must acknowledge his mistakes...in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance.”

Viganò also recounted in detail in his initial testimony that he in no uncertain terms gave warning about McCarrick to Pope Francis on June 23, 2013, the first time they’d met after Francis’ election, and how Francis was not surprised by the information.

Viganò explained in a subsequent testimony why he’d broken the pontifical secret, a pledge of confidentiality taken by some employees of the Vatican Curia and the Vatican diplomatic corps.

“Certainly, some of the facts that I was to reveal were covered by the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe and that I had faithfully observed from the beginning of my service to the Holy See,” he said. “But the purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the Church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members.”

“I was a witness,” Viganò continued, “not by my choice, of shocking facts and, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (par. 2491), the seal of secrecy is not binding when very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Only the seal of confession could have justified my silence.”

Viganò then followed in his September 29 testimony with a statement that remains valid today: “Neither the pope, nor any of the cardinals in Rome have denied the facts I asserted in my testimony.”

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Cardinal Roger Mahony
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Pro-family org. demands cardinal who covered-up sex abuse withdraw from conference

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-family organization has launched a petition asking Cardinal Roger Mahony, infamous for covering up child sexual abuse by his clergy, to withdraw as a speaker at the upcoming Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. 

The retired archbishop is invited to speak at the Catholic conference that is taking place March 22-24. The topic of his March 23rd address will be "Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues."

The Ruth Institute, an inter-faith pro-family organization combatting the Sexual Revolution and clerical sex abuse, launched the petition at CitizenGo. The petition currently has over 650 signatures

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the president of the Ruth Institute, told LifeSiteNews that Mahony represents what's wrong with the church's handling of the abuse crisis and should not be addressing Catholic conferences, no matter how pious his topic might be. 

"I don't care if he's teaching children the Hail Mary. The subject of his talk is not the issue. He's a symbol of all the wrong things and he shouldn't be there," she said. 

Morse said the petition was inspired by a combination of issues. 

“The clergy sex abuse issue has been gnawing at me all summer, and then there’s Mahoney’s history, and the L.A. Religious Education Congress – all coming together,” she said.

Cardinal Mahony and the L.A. Archdiocese have been embroiled in a scandal for years surrounding the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse and transfer of abusers to other locations. The archdiocese has been forced to pay out $600 million in settlements.  

Morse is concerned for the effect Cardinal Mahony’s appearance at the Conference will have on survivors of clerical sexual abuse. 

“People who have suffered childhood sexual abuse are triggered,” she said.  “They are triggered by a person like Mahony.” 

“It is so utterly clueless to give such a guy a platform,” she continued.  “It’s not like this Congress has to have him. What are they even thinking?” 

Morse said that the immediate inspiration, however, was Catholic writer Joseph Sciambra’s article, which was republished by LifeSiteNews, about Mahony’s appearance at the 2019 conference. 

“You know, this has got to stop,” said Morse.  

The scandal arising from revelations of Mahoney’s bad management when he oversaw the archdiocese led Archbishop Jose Gomez to relieve the Cardinal of all administrative and public duties in 2013. Nevertheless, the Cardinal has accepted invitations to speak – and then rescinded after vociferous protest from outraged Catholics.   

“We all thought Archbishop Gomez asked him not to appear publicly,” Morse said. “This has happened on two other occasions, and he didn’t appear.”

Whether Cardinal Mahony withdraws of his own volition or is disinvited is not the point. 

“If he wants to save face by saying he doesn’t want to come, that’s fine with me,” Morse stated. “He should have the common sense and decency to see that his presence there is an affront to survivors of sexual abuse.”

Withdrawing, she said, “is a classy thing that he should do.” 

In a press release, Dr. Morse concluded: “Your Eminence, with all due respect to your office, show some class. Stay home from the Religious Education Congress. Your presence will be hurtful to people who have already suffered enough.”

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the Sexual Revolution and helping survivors to heal. It defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same.

The petition asking Cardinal Mahony to withdraw from the L.A. Congress can be found here.

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Ontario Child Services denies couple seeking to foster solely due to Christian beliefs

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By LifeSiteNews staff

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) has sent a legal demand letter to Simcoe Muskoka Child, Youth and Family Services ("Child Services") calling upon it to reverse its decision to dismiss the application of a loving couple seeking to become foster parents. 

In November 2017, the couple "L" and "A," who wish to remain anonymous, applied to become foster parents. They started the required training in January 2018 and completed it in March. After they completed the training, a Child Services social worker interviewed the couple.

The social worker asked L questions regarding his religious beliefs, including whether his church "still believes in some of the more outdated parts of the Bible." He responded that his church believes and adheres to all of the Bible. The social worker then commented that her son is gay and that her son had been told by churches in the past that homosexuality is a sin. L explained that although the Bible does identify homosexual behaviour as a "sin," he believes all people are created in the image of God and are worthy of respect, dignity and honor. He further explained that, in accordance with their beliefs, he and his wife would provide any child in their care with unconditional love, respect, and compassion regardless of the child's sexuality. 

The couple heard nothing from Child Services for the next six months. Then, on October 24, 2018 they received a letter from Child Services communicating its decision to dismiss their application to foster. The letter stated, "we feel that the policies of our agency do not appear to fit with your values and beliefs and therefore, we will be unable to move forward with an approval for your family as a resources home."

On the morning of October 25, L phoned their social worker and asked for clarification about which "values and beliefs" had disqualified him and his wife. Ms. Batt responded that Child Services' "anti-oppressive" policy conflicted with the couple's views regarding homosexuality. L reiterated the couple's commitment to treating any child in their care with unconditional love, respect, and compassion regardless of their sexuality, gender or anything else, but Ms. Batt did not offer any recourse. 

The Justice Centre's letter, sent on January 23, 2019, explains that Child Services "unlawfully dismissed the couple's application, not due to any legitimate deficiency in their qualifications, but due solely to Child Services' prejudice and bias against the religious beliefs of the [couple]." 

The letter requests that Child Services reopen the couple's application to foster and properly process their application to become foster parents in a non-discriminatory manner.

"Tens of thousands of Canadian children are trying to find a real home with a loving family," stated Justice Centre president John Carpay. "For their sake, governments must stop disqualifying good foster parents and good adoptive parents due to ideological bias," continued Carpay. 

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Brittany M. Hughes

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Liberal reporter wants to ‘expose Christian schools.’ Alums are not having it

Brittany M. Hughes
By Brittany Hughes
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February 4, 2019 (MRCTV) – Dan Levin, a New York Times reporter, put out a blast on Twitter asking for personal stories for a piece he's writing about a campaign to "#ExposeChristianSchools," a new social media tirade that's taken off in the wake of recent "news" that for the past 12 years, Second Lady Karen Pence has been teaching art at a private D.C. school that doesn't accept homosexual behavior in keeping with their Christian faith.

Levin posted on Twitter Thursday:

And it's pretty safe to say, people weren't having it.

As of Friday morning, Levin's tweet had garnered more than 8,500 responses compared with only 1,700 "likes," a phenomenon commonly referred to on Twitter as a "ratio" that indicates a tweet isn't being very well received.

Now, to be fair, Levin didn't necessarily say flat-out that he's planning to write negatively about the social media campaign or Christian schools in general. However, given the New York Times' less-than-flattering coverage of Ms. Pence's volunteer activities – and Levin's suggestively-worded request for personal accounts – it's fair to assume a heavily biased approach is forthcoming.

Published with permission from MRCTV.

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Democratic Party celebrates Black History Month by aborting more black babies

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By Ryan Bomberger
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February 4, 2019 (Radiance Foundation) – Many Americans heard the cheers of pro-abortion New York Democrats after they passed the extreme abortion bill, the Reproductive Health Act. Now the state's laws mirror those of China and North Korea. Abortion is legal in New York for any reason and throughout the entire pregnancy. If someone kills a mother's "wanted" unborn child in a homicidal act other than "legal abortion", there's no criminal statute to prosecute the attacker. New York Dems have gleefully deemed a group of human beings as 'non-persons'.

Hmmmmm, where have we seen this before?

It's Black History Month, and many still haven't learned from history. Slavery. Jim Crow. KKK. Lynching. Poll taxes. Literacy tests. And now, limitless abortion. How many times does the Democrat Party need to be wrong? How many millions need to be killed, harmed and exploited for Americans – of any hue – to wake up and see abortion for what it is: fatal systemic racism and elitism?

For the past two decades in New York City, more black babies have been aborted than born alive. In 2014 (the latest year for Guttmacher's national abortion stats), for every 1,000 black babies born alive, there were 1,101 aborted. But you know, lack of access. In 2016, that number dropped slightly to 994 black babies aborted for every 1,000 born alive. For pro-abortion Dems, not enough are aborted.

By the way, Planned Parenthood, trotting out black spokespeople for its billion-dollar abortion chain, doesn't change its racist DNA any more than hiring female lawyers changes Harvey Weinstein's nature. 

Over the past 10 years in New York state, overall abortion totals declined from 121,278 in 2006 to 82,189 in 2016 (the latest year reported). In a state that has 218 abortion-committing facilities and taxpayer-funded abortions, who exactly is "lacking access" to abortion? Only 15.6% of those having abortions in the Empire State pay out of pocket, according to the New York Department of Health. The rest are paid through insurance or Medicaid. In fact, 51% (or 28,893) of New York City's nearly 56,607 abortions in 2016 were paid for by taxpayers through Medicaid. "Pro-choice" has morphed into government-mandated participation in the killing of innocent human lives in a Gosnell-style abortion utopia where no one is accountable, violence brings "equality" and women's health is put in jeopardy. Gosnell is all giddy in his jail cell. His House of Horrors was not a morbid lesson to be learned, apparently, but a model to repeat. 

Despite declining abortion numbers, abortion defenders seem hell-bent on increasing them. It's like tobacco companies claiming they're preventing cancer deaths by expanding access to cigarettes. But pro-abortion "progressives" turn their eugenic agenda into "concern" for the poor – the very ones they don't think should exist because no one should be a "burden" to anyone. Poor people need abortion, they say. You know, because having abortion ratios that are five times higher (black women) and two times higher (Hispanic women) than the majority population, respectively, just isn't enough.

Poverty and lack of insurance are always used by pro-abortion apologists to explain higher abortion rates in the black community. Yet the NYC Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity reports that Asians and Hispanics have higher poverty rates (24.1% and 23.9%) than the black community (19.2%) in NYC. And, as abortion has declined in NYC, so has poverty for every demographic. 

What about the uninsured? In 2016 Hispanics were uninsured at 11.9%, Asians at 8.9%, blacks at 7% and whites at 4.2%. Yet abortion rates were five times higher in the black community than Asians, four times higher than whites, and nearly twice as high as Hispanics. 

Voting rights and anti-poverty activist Fannie Lou Hamer denounced abortion as black genocide. She was an adoptive mama and a prolife Democrat who decried the racial targeting.

Planned Parenthood is still operating in its unchanged DNA, fashioned in the vile pseudoscience of eugenics. The billion-dollar abortion chain continually and disproportionately targets the black community, tweeting garbage like this: "If you're a Black woman in America, it's statistically safer to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to term or to give birth. #ScaryStats." (This "abortion is safer than childbirth" rhetoric is debunked herehere, and here.) 

What if President Trump had tweeted this? What do you think the reaction would've been? Complete. SJW. Meltdown. But Planned Parenthood tweets this racist pseudoscience, and it's heralded for "standing with [pro-abortion] black women"

In my home state of Virginia, abortion activism has gotten so extreme, mainstream Democrats don't even filter their words anymore. Governor Ralph Northam bizarrely announced his support for allowing a child born alive with fetal "abnormalities" to be left to die, if the mother and her doctor [abortionist who profits when the child is killed] agreed. He wasn't even talking about a botched abortion. As someone who has several disabled siblings who had "fetal abnormalities" in utero, I shudder at the same "racial hygiene theory" espoused by NAZIs freely flowing from pro-abortion Democrats' mouths. The truly disabled are those who think killing the most powerless, the most marginalized and the most defenseless is something to celebrate. 

So, this Black History Month, take a moment and think of the millions that won't be celebrated. Think about the countless stories of struggle and triumph that will never be told because the womb to abortion pipeline is praised and defended by those who claim to fight for "equality". There is no situation, today, more emblematic of civil rights gone wrong than in the former Party of Slavery now proudly proclaiming its status of being the Party of Limitless Abortion. As someone who was once considered "black and unwanted" but adopted and loved instead, I pray that many in the black community will awaken and understand the difference between being empowered and being fooled by those in power. Until then, the Democrat Party will keep pushing the horrific violence of abortion and making millions of blacks, history.

Published with permission from the Radiance Foundation.

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Matthew Bosnick

Opinion

Marine veteran: God reveals Himself in the beautiful newborn, the aged, the sick, the disabled

Matthew Bosnick
By

“Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also be found in other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2500)

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – God is revealed in truth, goodness, and beauty. Sacred art and music, and the natural beauty of God’s creation, are images of Him, His goodness, and His truth. But actions and events involving people can be beautiful, too. An action is beautiful when it is good in a way that reflects the highest good, or virtuous in a way that reflects God, who is Goodness itself. And likewise, the event reveals God’s truth.

It is important to consider this relationship now because the modern way of thinking rejects the idea that anything can be known other than what is observable or measurable according to what some call science. Any other truth is considered relative to the person. Beauty and morality are also judged to be relative to situation, beholder, or the spirit of the age. It escapes those who follow this ideology that without any objective measure of what is true, beautiful, and good, anything is permissible.

I deeply experienced this revealing of God’s truth in beauty 14 months ago in the birth of my daughter, an event that I have found no other words to describe besides beautiful. It is evidence of God’s love that he would allow – no, that he desires – us to share in creating new life. It was an experience of the love that allows us not just to observe, but to partake in the beauty and goodness of creation, the miracle of life. In the beauty of this new life and in the first moments of being a father, I witnessed a glimpse of God’s love for us as our Father. Words cannot adequately describe the beauty of what the Catechism calls “The depths of the human heart and the exhalations of the soul.”

I work as a firefighter and EMT. We are often called to help pick up elderly or disabled people who have fallen and cannot get off the ground. One night last year, we were called to the home of an elderly brother and sister who lived together. The brother had fallen off the toilet and ended up soiling himself while on the floor. Often in these situations, there is a nurse or other caregiver present that takes care of the patient after the firefighters lift him off the floor and make sure he’s not injured. It was late that night and the nurse had gone home. His sister was in no shape to clean her brother up, so we washed him, put clean underwear on him, and put him back in bed. While helping clean the man, I remembered the words of Jesus, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). God reveals himself not only in the beautiful newborn, but also in the aged, the sick, and the disabled. In that moment I knew that the words of Jesus are Truth.

The mystery of God revealed above is that all life is to be treasured, protected, and cared for, since it comes from God himself. A rejection of any of that is a rejection of God. The recent news of the new abortion law in New York, and the proposal of a similar law in Virginia, is shocking. The cruelty of abortion itself is horrifying, especially to my wife and me, as we are expecting our second child any day now. But equally disturbing is that educated lawmakers and citizens can rationalize and even celebrate a law that permits the helpless victim of a failed abortion to die without attempted resuscitation.  

The recent push to legalize assisted suicide is also disturbing. It reflects a general apathy towards life, that if one deems himself to be a burden on family or caregivers, he may or even should commit suicide.

The history of the 20th century shows that it is reasonable to believe a government could task itself with making this decision, and could euthanize those persons whose “quality of life” does not measure up to some arbitrary standard, or those who are a “drain on the taxpayer” – the elderly, the disabled, the prisoner, the addict. I recently took part in the Charlotte March for Life and spent much of the march walking with a wheelchair-bound woman, Mary Ellen Schick, and her husband. Mrs. Schick reminded me of my godmother – a delightful woman, full of the kind of joy that comes from love of God. At the end of the march, a reporter for the Catholic News Herald asked Mrs. Schick why she came out to march that day.

“If babies can be killed,” Mrs. Schick said, “I am next. I hope people will march for my rights.”

In the mystery of human life, in the beauty of new life and even in suffering, we see the image of God. When we care for the least of God’s people, the most vulnerable among us, we catch a glimpse of the depths of the human heart. We see the mystery of God and we understand God created us to love, to give ourselves like Jesus, who loved the Father and loved us to the point of death on the Cross. We understand that we are made in His image and that our lives – that all lives – are part of his creation. God, who is Truth, is revealed in the beauty of life.

Matthew Bosnick lives in Monroe, North Carolian with his wife and daughter. He is a member of St. Luke parish and the Rosary Confraternity. He works as a firefighter and is a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan.

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Amil Imani

Opinion,

America needs to truly understand Islam’s mission of world domination

Amil Imani
By Amil Imani

February 4, 2019 (American Thinker) – Every organization has a mission or a mission statement with a goal in mind. It works day and night to reach its ultimate target. Think of Islam as an organization (not just another religion) with an ambitious mission. What is that ambition? you might ask.

While our fellow Americans are snoozing, or at least not as active or proactive as their counterparts, Muslims never deviate and never stop pursuing their goal of world domination. They place their primary focus on non-Islamic lands – in this case, Europe and the United States.

Knowing Islam intimately, please allow me to assure you that to Muslims, the goal is everything. Let's call it "religious fascism." Islam condones any and all means to achieve its goal. The ultimate objective of Islam is the rule of the entire world under the Islamic Ummah – never mind that these life-in-hand soldiers of Allah disagree with one another regarding the Ummah itself and who is to reign over it. That's a "family dispute" that they will resolve by their usual favorite method: brute force.

Like any organization and sub-organization, conflict exists within Islam. Muslims do disagree with one another on several issues. Each Islamic sect believes that it has the Prophet and Allah on its side and will prevail over the other. For now, they should work diligently to achieve the intermediary goal of defeating all non-believers. There are countless instances that substantiate Muslims' "ends justifies the means" guiding principle. This policy dates to Muhammad himself.

Muhammad repeatedly made peace covenants with his adversaries, only to violate them as soon as he was in an advantageous position. Betrayal, deception, and outright lies are fully condoned in furthering the work of Islam. In the present-day world, the work of Islam is defined by an entrenched and influential clergy who issue fatwas – rulings – that become directives and laws to the faithful.

As an example, Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian Islamic state, made extensive use of the fatwa. Widely known in the west is Khomeini's fatwa condemning Salman Rushdie to death for his book The Satanic Verses. A less known fatwa of Khomeini during the last Iran-Iraq War led to the slaughter of thousands of Iranian children. Children, nearly all under 15 years of age, were given plastic "keys to paradise" as they were commanded by the fatwa of Khomeini to rush forward to clear minefields for the tanks to follow. The Islamic murderers, in obedience to the fatwa of a bloodthirsty man of Allah, had no problem in deceiving the clueless lads with made-in-China plastic keys to paradise.

Such is the existential threat of Islam. It is a rigid Stone-Age controlling system with a stranglehold over many of nearly one and a half billion people under its command.

A dangerous feature of the fascistic personality is the relative lack of independent thought. This deficiency makes the person highly amenable to manipulation. Islam, by its rigidly authoritarian makeup, robs a Muslim of independent thought to the extent the believer blindly adopts it as his infallible system of belief. Hence, the ideology of Islam is guilty of conditioning masses of people as easily manipulated instruments in the hands of influential figures.

One of the greatest subtle, yet important differences between the Muslim's thinking and that of the people in the West is the extent to which Muslims are fatalistic. There is hardly a statement that a Muslim makes without being conditional – conditional on the will of Allah. "I shall see you tomorrow, Allah willing"; "You will make it home, Allah willing"; "Things will work out, Allah willing"; and on and on and on. To the Muslim, Allah is on the job – on every job. Allah, with his invisible mighty hand, literally does run everything. "Allah's hand is above all other hands" adorns every imaginable space in Islamic lands – a telling point about the Muslim's fatalism and submission to the omnipotent, omnipresent hand. If something happens, it is Allah's will. If it doesn't, it is Allah's will. The rank-and-file Muslim has little will of his own. It absolves him of any and all responsibility. This mentality is in stark contrast with the "take charge" and "can do" mental characteristics of Americans and others. 

In the Qur'an, itself, Allah gives these fellows their mandate: cleanse the Earth of all kefir (infidels), and help usher in the Golden Rule of Islam over a corrupt world. This high-purpose strategic goal of Islamization legitimizes any and all tactics.

Qur'an 8:39: "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah." Allah, in his kindness, leaves a bit of wiggle room for the unbelievers. Those who refuse to convert or whose life is spared may live under the rule of Islam by paying poll taxes (jizya)."

Conclusion

While many Muslims work around the clock for their cause – i.e., to infiltrate our schools, our law enforcement agencies, our health care system – they also run for office with the help of our Democrats and some GOP officials, who provide them with necessary tools. Regrettably, only a small number of Americans understand the real threat.

There is no doubt that Islam's goal is to religiously dominate the world, which involves complete control over all phases of society through the brutal means of sharia, with no distinction between mosque and state, between religion and liberties.

As Muslim organizations march through with their own crusade here in the United States, under our nose, I have not seen anyone stopping them.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Opinion, , ,

Surprise! Ireland faces pushback on abortion liberalization from Muslim doctors

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By Jonathon van Maren

February 4, 2019 (The Bridgehead) – I've noted before that the strange alliance between progressive politicians and Muslim minorities has an expiration date if religious immigrants are ever faced with the same attacks on conscience regularly faced by Christians in the West, especially on issues such as abortion and sexuality. Here in Canada, for example, Justin Trudeau discovered that Muslims are actually not on board with his abortion agenda when he attempted to change the requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs Program by inserting a values test into the application and faced strong pushback from Islamic groups. Muslims also pushed back on Kathleen Wynne's radical sex education curriculum. And now, it seems that Ireland is discovering that its commitment to diversity may soon involve more than simply pushing Christians around. From the Irish Catholic:

Ireland's reliance on Muslim doctors in hospitals around the country may derail Government plans to roll out a national abortion service, a leading obstetrician has said.

Large numbers of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) working in maternity units outside Dublin are Muslims from abroad, according to Dr Trevor Hayes of Kilkenny's St Luke's Hospital, who says he had been personally told that they have serious religious qualms about performing abortions.

"A lot of the NCHDs – a lot of the registrars and senior registrars and SHOs (senior house officers), so the front line – would be from Egypt, Sudan, and generally Muslim countries," Dr Hayes told The Irish Catholic. "These would be in the country hospitals, and because of that they have frontline exposure, and they would have religious objections to be involved in the abortion service."

Dr Hayes, who was named Obstetrician of the Year in 2009 and 2013 by Maternity and Infant Magazine said a dependence on Muslim consultants is preventing Cavan General Hospital from introducing an abortion service, and that he suspects that conscientious objections from Muslims could block abortions from taking place in 12 of the country's 19 maternity units.

"I'm not professing that I have huge knowledge about Islam, but they have religious objections to being involved in it," he said.

According to Dr Ali Selim, spokesman for the Dublin's Islamic Culture Centre, abortion is unacceptable for Muslims except in cases of dire need. "In Islam abortion is the lesser harm, conducted only to save the mother's life if all other options prove to be useless," he told The Irish Catholic, adding: "Life is God's gift."

According to figures published by the Medical Council in 2016, roughly two out of five doctors registered to work in Ireland have trained abroad, with over three quarters of the country's non-consultant hospital doctors being international medical graduates and with Pakistan and Sudan being the top countries from which internationally-qualified doctors come.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology is the field most likely to be staffed from doctors with overseas qualifications, with 58% of doctors in that area having graduated abroad.

In fact, over 90% of Irish doctors are refusing to perform abortions, and many hospitals are having trouble finding staff to assist with abortions even where there is a willing physician. The London Times reported that in smaller hospitals, it has been difficult for doctors to find any staff at all willing to assist in abortion procedures, with less than 5% of general practitioners indicating their willingness to work for Simon Harris's abortion regime – about 200 out of 4,000 GPs. According to the New York Times, this is already making it extremely difficult for women to obtain abortions – one woman said she had to spend three days on the phone before she managed to find a doctor willing to do it and a clinic which actually had the necessary equipment. Despite the referendum result, abortion supporters are discovering that Ireland may have voted against the 8th Amendment, but most did not actually vote for the abortion regime they desire – and they certainly have no intention of bloodying their hands along with Simon Harris and his gang.

Published with permission from The Bridgehead.

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Matt Gaspers

Opinion, ,

To fix the Church, fix fatherhood. Here’s how

Matt Gaspers
By Matt Gaspers

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – St. Paul tells us at length in his Epistle to the Ephesians about this battle in which we find ourselves, which "is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" (Eph. 6:12) – in other words, against the devil and his minions. "Therefore," he continues:

[T]ake unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication... (Eph. 6:13-18, emphasis added)

The armor of God: truth, justice, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer. These are some of "the weapons of our warfare," weapons that are "mighty to God, unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:4-5). How do we obtain these weapons? And from whom do we learn how to wield them? Ultimately, of course, they come from God; but God, in His infinite wisdom and providence, has ordained that souls receive them through the Church and learn to employ them in the family.

These two societies – the Church and the family – were both founded by God and are intimately related by His design. Consequently, the health and vitality of one affects the health and vitality of the other. The Church, as a supernatural and perfect society ("perfect" in the sense of "containing within itself all the resources needed for attaining its end"[1]), is by nature superior to the family and is not, strictly speaking, dependent upon it (on the contrary, the family desperately needs Holy Mother Church, her sacraments, and her infallible teachings for support). However, since the universal Church is made up of individual families, it stands to reason that if a majority of those families are spiritually and morally weak, the Church (in her human element) will likewise be weakened and much less effective in fulfilling her divine mission to convert all nations.

The family, as we all know, is in a state of grave crisis, especially in those countries which used to form the Christian West but have since apostatized – you know, the ones that jumped off the one, divinely constructed Ark (the Church) in favor of leaky life-boats of their own making. The family, together with its cornerstone of marriage, is being attacked from without and even from within the Church! As Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote to the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in the early 1980s: "The final battle between the Lord and the reign of satan will be about marriage and the family."

Yet we must ask ourselves: How did the family – and even the Catholic family – become so vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one? How were its defenses so radically corrupted in order to allow entry and free rein for the world, the flesh, and the devil? The answer is found by asking this question: Who is in charge of protecting the family? Fathers! In both the home and the Church, fathers – whether biological, adoptive, or priestly – are the divinely appointed guardians, and based on the track record of the last several decades, there is clearly a deep crisis of fatherhood crippling both the Church and the family.

Crisis in the Church – Known Causes

The fatherhood crisis in the Church was exposed in horrifying detail this past summer. After reading as much of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report as I could stomach, one of the questions I had screaming in my head was, How on earth did these wicked men get so messed up?

A couple weeks later, after reading Archbishop Viganò's courageous testimony about "the homosexual current" within the hierarchy that is bent on "subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality," again I asked myself, How in the world did this happen? How did the Church's hierarchy become infested with sodomites?

I believe the answer to these questions has two parts or causes, if you will – a strategic cause (pre-meditated, deliberate) and a familial cause (spontaneous, less intentional), which are interrelated.

Strategic Cause: Communist Infiltration

Let's start with the strategic cause. We know from the testimony of insiders like Bella Dodd (1904-1969) that the ranks of the clergy in America and elsewhere were successfully infiltrated by Communist agents. John Vennari wrote about this in his booklet, The Revelations of the Holy Face, as follows:

Dr. Bella V. Dodd was a high-ranking Communist in the United States. She was Attorney General Designate of the Communist Party. Eventually, she returned to the Catholic Faith she had abandoned earlier in life. In the 1950s, however, after her conversion, she delivered numerous lectures about the successful Communist infiltration of religious institutions, and of the Catholic Church in particular.

She explained that in the 1930s and 40s, orders came from Communist headquarters to send radicals into the seminaries to subvert the Church from within. Communist agents started doing this all over the Western world. Bella Dodd said that she personally recruited over 1,000 young radicals to enter Catholic seminaries. And she was only one Communist. (p. 40-41)

John also recounts in his booklet something an acquaintance of his heard directly from Bella Dodd during one of her lectures in the early 1950s: "in 10 to 15 years, you will not recognize the Catholic Church." And she meant it in more ways than we think – not just the changes in the Mass, but the changes to the theology and the soul of the Church and the priesthood.

What does Communism have to do with homosexual clergy? The stunning connection was revealed by Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, who befriended Dodd after her conversion. During a 2015 interview with Michael Voris of Church Militant, Dr. Von Hildebrand shared the following information personally related to her and her husband, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, by Bella Dodd herself in 1965. Alice recalls:

Stalin, soon after he came to power, ordered his cronies to invade Catholic seminaries ... with young men that had neither faith nor morals. Now ... the ideal cases: homosexual. ... (emphasis added)

And also, we know from a book called The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen (former FBI special agent), which lists 45 "Current Communist Goals" ("current," that is, in 1958 when the book was first published), that one of Communism's strategic objectives was to: "Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as 'normal, natural, healthy'" (n. 26) as a means of destroying marriage and family, both of which impede Communism. Interestingly, the goal listed immediately after the one about promoting sexual immorality reads: "Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with 'social' religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a 'religious crutch'" (n. 27). Thus, we see that apostasy (loss of faith) goes hand-in-hand with moral depravity. Corruption of morals begins with the loss of faith. It begins in the intellect, because the intellect (where faith resides) leads the will. If your intellect is corrupted, eventually your will (the faculty by which we act) will also be corrupted.

Familial Cause: Poor Fathering at Home

Based on these sources, it's pretty obvious how the priesthood became infested with such "filth," as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict XVI) called it back in 2005. But a deeper, more fundamental question remains: What causes homosexuality? What caused the young Communists who infiltrated the Church, for example, to develop same-sex attraction (SSA) and embrace the lifestyle in the first place? Or, as I asked myself after reading the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, How did these men get so messed up?

To answer this more complex question – what I referred to earlier as the "familial cause" of the crisis – we now turn to Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a renowned Catholic psychiatrist and director of the Institute for Marital Healing outside Philadelphia. Representing the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), Dr. Fitzgibbons wrote the following in an open letter to the bishops of the United States in May of 2002, following the so-called "Long Lent" during which the clergy sexual abuse scandal was blown wide open by the Boston Globe:

As a Catholic psychiatrist and psychologist who have [sic] treated a significant number of priests from various dioceses and religious communities over the past 25 years for same-sex attraction (SSA or homosexuality) and for pedophilia and ephebophilia (homosexual behavior with adolescents), we believe that our particular expertise and those of our colleagues in the Catholic Medical Association may be of help to the American bishops as they seek to create effective long-term strategies to prevent the recurrence of the problems in which the Catholic Church in the United States now finds itself enmeshed.

Many have pointed out that solving the problem of sexual abuse by clergy will necessarily involve addressing the problem of SSA among priests. Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, admitted at a press conference in Rome on April 23 the existence of an ongoing struggle to ensure that the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.

As the revelations of abuse have become public it has become increasingly clear that almost all the victims are adolescent males, not prepubescent boys. The problem of priests with same-sex attractions (SSA) molesting adolescents or children must be addressed if future scandals are to be avoided.

In treating priests who have engaged in pedophilia and ephebophilia we have observed that these men almost without exception suffered from a denial of sin in their lives. They were unwilling to admit and address the profound emotional pain they experienced in childhood of loneliness, often in the father relationship, peer rejection, lack of male confidence, poor body image, sadness, and anger. This anger, which originated most often from disappointments and hurts with their peers and/or fathers, was often directed toward the Church, the Holy Father, and the religious authorities." (emphasis added)

Concerning the crucial role of fathers in early childhood development, Dr. Fitzgibbons offers similar testimony, together with two colleagues from CMA, in a booklet entitled "Homosexuality and Hope" (most recently updated in 2010):

Those who conceptualize SSA as a disorder have long recognized the part [that] poor identification with the father plays in the development of SSA in men. Irving Bieber, who conducted a comprehensive study of men with SSA in therapy, wrote:

'We have come to the conclusion that a constructive, supportive, warmly related father precludes the possibility of a homosexual son...'" (emphasis added)

And finally, in his contribution to The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful (a book by Fr. John Harvey, founder of Courage), Dr. Fitzgibbons wrote:

When the need for warmth, approval, physical affection, and praise from a father is not filled, an inner emptiness develops, often referred to today as 'father hunger'. In an attempt to overcome this pain, some adolescents and young adults seek comfort in being held by another male. [2] (emphasis added)

As the father of two young children, these words cut straight to the heart. They are a powerful reminder to me of my vital role in their lives. How I speak to them, how I engage them, how I love them (or fail to do so) makes all the difference in the world. It will impact them for literally the rest of their lives, and potentially for eternity. Fatherhood, like motherhood, is very serious business, and if we ever hope to see a restoration of the Church's hierarchy to its rightful condition, I am convinced that a restoration of true fatherhood in the home must play a fundamental role simply because today's fathers are forming tomorrow's priests and bishops.

Restoring the Church through Authentic Fatherhood

Let's take a few moments to dwell upon this theme of restoring the Church by restoring true fatherhood. Earlier this year, I came across a book called The Three Marks of Manhood by Dr. G.C. Dilsaver, a Catholic psychologist who calls upon men to embrace their God-given role as head and leader of their families. He writes in the book's Introduction:

The Christian family is a patriarchal hierarchy. So teaches the Catholic Church in Scripture, in the Roman Catechism, and in modern encyclicals. As a patriarchal hierarchy it reflects the hierarchy of the Church; it also reflects the hierarchy of the divine government itself, which is manifest not only in God's rule over His creation, but in the relationships of the Trinity, whose absolute unity derives from the subordination of the Son to the Father. [3] (emphasis added)

Dr. Dilsaver goes on to ask why "this teaching [is] such a hard saying for modern ears," citing hyper-egalitarianism and feminism as two major factors. He then offers some very astute and timely commentary:

It is characteristic of lay Catholics of a traditional or conservative bent to be ever in search of an explanatory analysis of what went wrong with society and the Church. Most of the explanations they find, valid as they may be, are in areas out of their influence or competency, such as liturgical or ecclesiological issues. Hence it is also characteristic of such Catholics to feel a deep frustration. But there is one area that the laity have full competency to reform and make as Catholic as they wish, and this area is the key to all the other besetting problems. It is the family. Order the home and the rest will follow. [4] (emphasis added)

A few pages later, in Chapter 1, he gets more specific:

If there is to be a wholesome future for the West, if Christianity is once again to make inroads into a heathen world, then the Christian family must be miraculously restored. For it is the family that will produce the saints of tomorrow: be they bishops, priests, religious, fathers, or mothers. And it is the Christian family that is on the front lines of today's conflict between good and evil: it bears the brunt of that battle ["the final battle", to use Our Lady's words] as the very last defense against the total domination of the secular and the profane. ...

Though many factors have facilitated the destruction of the family, the final and proximate cause is to be found in the jettisoning of its essential structural order; that is, the rejection of the patriarchal hierarchy of the family, in the name of emancipation and egalitarianism. Therefore, the restoration of the family, indeed the restoration of ecclesiastical leadership and Christendom itself, is only possible with the advent of a new Christian patriarchal order: the fatherly rule of family, community, and Church. [5] (emphasis added)

The Family Is the Domestic Church

Earlier this year [2018] at the Catholic Family News Conference, I gave a talk entitled "Holiness at Home: The Importance of the Family" (Part 1 and Part 2) during which I described how the family is the ecclesia domestica ("domestic church"), citing Scripture, the Roman Catechism, and the Church Fathers. Unfortunately, I don't have time today to share all of that material with you, but to quickly summarize the central theme: The Catholic Church is the family of God; the Catholic family, in turn, is the domestic church – a sort of microcosm or extension of the universal Church.

This does not mean that the family can somehow replace or do without the Church (as I said towards the beginning, the family depends upon the Church for the sacraments, sound doctrine, and general support). It does mean, however, that the family, as a hierarchical society of baptized persons (father, mother, and children), is called to reflect the hierarchical structure and life of the Church in the home, including the role of the father as head and leader.

A Man after God's Own Heart

In order for us fathers to "take thou courage, and show thyself a man" (4 Kings 2:2), as King David exhorted his son, Solomon, we must first have a clear vision of what it looks like to be "a man after [God's] own heart" (Acts 13:22). Thankfully, Holy Scripture is replete with examples and admonitions. Men simply need to know and follow them.

For starters, every man must acknowledge that God the Father is the source of "all paternity in heaven and earth" (Eph. 3:15) and, therefore, the reference point for all authentic fatherhood. How does He manifest His paternal Heart and character to His children? First of all, He shows Himself to be a loving provider. "Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change or shadow of alteration" (Jas. 1:17). From the very beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, He provided for all their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs in a superabundant way. And even after they disobeyed His command and sinned against Him, the Lord promised our first parents that, one day, He would provide a Redeemer, and also a Woman who would crush the head of satan (cf. Gen. 3:15). We are also told in Genesis that after the Fall "the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21), thus demonstrating that, despite their offense, their heavenly Father still loved them and wanted to take care of them.

This is not to say He did not punish them for their wrongdoing. On the contrary, God inflicted specific temporal punishments (cf. Gen. 3:16-19), in addition to the loss of sanctifying grace, to help Adam and Eve – and the rest of humanity, down through the ages – understand the evil and destructive nature of sin. God does not punish His children out of cruelty or uncontrollable anger, but rather out of love for the purpose of correction, as Our Lord Himself testifies: "Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous, therefore, and do penance" (Apoc. 3:19).

Fathers must imitate the patience, longsuffering, and mercy of God in their relationships with their children, while at the same time using "the rod of correction" (Prov. 22:15) – including a calm but firm spanking, if necessary – to accomplish the same loving purpose. "And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). Such discipline and correction, administered with paternal love, will contribute greatly to a child's growth in virtue and holiness.

In addition to godly discipline, which is primarily the father's responsibility, children also desperately need to receive the blessing and acceptance of their father. Recall that when Our Lord was baptized, God the Father publicly proclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). He said the same during the Transfiguration, shortly before Our Lord was to endure His Passion (cf. Matt. 17:1-9). The Son of God, in His sacred humanity, was no doubt strengthened by His Father's affirming words and galvanized to fulfill His saving mission. Such are the power of words, as the Book of Proverbs says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). Children need to hear and know that their father delights in them, just as "the Lord is well pleased with His people" (Ps. 149:4). Such affirmation, coming from the representative of God's authority in the home, will likewise strengthen children and make them secure in their identity as beloved sons and daughters, ultimately, of God our heavenly Father.

In regard to teaching the Faith, parents are the primary educators of their children; and the father, as the divinely appointed leader, has a particular responsibility to be the "master catechist" of his family. St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), who served for a time as Patriarch of Constantinople and is venerated as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs by our Eastern Catholic brethren, describes what family catechesis should look like in his Second Sermon on Genesis:

[W]hen you go home from here [referring to the Divine Liturgy, or Holy Mass, in Roman Rite terms], lay out with your meal a spiritual meal, as well. The father of the family might repeat something of what was said here [note the role of the father as teacher]; his wife could then hear it, the children too could learn something, and even the servants might be instructed. In short, the household might become a church, so that the devil is driven off and that evil spirit, the enemy of our salvation, takes to flight; the grace of the Holy Spirit would rest there instead, and all peace and harmony would surround the inhabitants. [6] (emphasis added)

St. Augustine (d. 430), perhaps the most famous Catholic convert after St. Paul, who served for many years as Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, likewise emphasized the father's spiritual headship of his family. In his Sermon 94 (On Selected Lessons of the New Testament, sometimes numbered Sermon 44), St. Augustine wrote:

Discharge our office in your own houses. A bishop is called from hence, because he superintends, because he takes care and attends to others. To every man, then, if he is the head of his own house, ought the office of the Episcopate to belong, to take care how his household believe, that none of them fall into heresy, neither wife, nor son, nor daughter...Do not neglect, then, the least of those belonging to you; look after the salvation of all your household with all vigilance." [7] (emphasis added)

Importance of Tending Our Own Spiritual Lives

So, fathers, how do we live out this exhortation? First of all, we cannot give what we do not have. If we as men are not taking our own spiritual lives seriously, we will have nothing of value to offer our wives and children.

We must faithfully and fervently live the sacramental life of the Church. The Holy Mass must be the sun around which the life of the family orbits. As Padre Pio used to say, "It would be easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!" The same is true for the spiritual life of our families.

In conjunction with Holy Mass and the sacraments, I'll quickly mention three more crucial means that all of us must employ: 1) daily prayer (especially the Holy Rosary and mental prayer), 2) sacrifice (especially fidelity to our daily duties), and 3) true devotion to Mary. These are the simple but powerful means that so quickly sanctified the three little shepherds of Fatima. Hence, we must teach our own children the full Message of Fatima and lead them in putting it into practice (e.g., daily Rosary, making reparation, Five First Saturdays, prayers for the Holy Father to consecrate Russia).

One resource I highly recommend to help adults grow in prayer, sacrifice, and true devotion to Mary is a book called Divine Intimacy (originally published in 1953) by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., a Carmelite priest and renowned spiritual director. The book's subtitle says it all: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year. A friend of mine gave me a copy as a gift about a year and a half ago and I will be forever grateful! I can't tell you the number of times that the meditation on a given day has spoken directly to something going on in my own life. I guarantee you will not regret using this book!

Be Strong, Be Courageous

In the fall of 2011, when my daughter (the older of my two kids) was just over a year old, my wife and I went to see a powerful film called Courageous (granted, it was produced by Protestants, but the message on fatherhood is outstanding). The story centers on an average American family and, specifically, the father, who is a sheriff's deputy. The family is rocked to the core when tragedy strikes and Adam (the father) is forced to take stock of the rather mediocre job he's been doing as a father. He seeks spiritual guidance from his pastor, starts digging into Scripture, and, as a result, he produces a written commitment for himself which he calls the Resolution (full text available here).

The last scene of the film is Adam sharing his testimony and exhorting the men of his congregation to join him and his small "band of brothers" (the guys on stage with him) in committing to the Resolution.

Conclusion – Prayer to Saint Joseph

Let us conclude by invoking St. Joseph, glorious Head of the Holy Family, Terror of demons, and Protector of Holy Church:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, we fly in our tribulation, and after imploring the help of thy most holy Spouse, with confidence we ask also for thy intercession. By the affection which united thee to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by the paternal love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee to look kindly upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ acquired by His Precious Blood, and with thy powerful aid to help us in our needs.

Protect, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep us, loving father, from all pestilence of error and corruption. From thy place in Heaven be thou mercifully with us, most powerful protector, in this warfare with the powers of darkness; and, as thou didst once rescue the Child Jesus from imminent danger of death, so now defend the holy Church of God from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Guard each of us by thy constant patronage, so that, sustained by thy example and help, we may live a holy life, die a holy death, and obtain the everlasting happiness of Heaven. Amen.

Notes

[1] Fr. Austin Fagothey, S.J., Right and Reason: Ethics in Theory and Practice, Second Edition (Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 2000), p. 352.

[2] Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS, The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful (Ignatius Press, 1996), p. 309.

[3] G.C. Dilsaver, The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet, and King of Your Family (Charlotte: TAN Books, 2010), p. vii.

[4] Ibid., p. viii.

[5] Ibid., pp. 2, 3.

[6] Robert C. Hill (trans.), The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 74 (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 1-17) (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1986), p. 37.

[7] Philip Schaff (Ed.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., fifth printing—January 2012), p. 406.

Editor's note: This article was based on a talk given by the author at the Nov. 2-4, 2018 Catholic Identity Conference. It was first published at Catholic Family News. It is republished here by permission of the author.

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Monica Showalter

Opinion, ,

Why won’t Pope Francis take a stand against the dictatorship in Venezuela?

Monica Showalter
By Monica Showalter

February 4, 2019 (American Thinker) – Imagine Pope John Paul II openly declaring he wouldn't take sides in Poland, as the showdown between Solidarity's hugely popular freedom-fighters and the detested Jaruzelski communist military regime came to a head.  In Venezuela, that same sort of sort of conflict over communism and freedom is happening, the world is choosing sides, a pope from the actual region is there, and Russia remains the same malevolent puppet-master in the background.

The difference is that now, we seem to have a pope who's abdicated his moral authority, saying he's not about to take sides, and all because he's concerned about "violence."  He didn't specify who was doing the violence, but it's obvious enough to the rest of us.

Here's the incredible report:

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday he feared bloodshed in Venezuela but that it was premature for him to take sides because it could cause more damage.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, citing a fraudulent election and winning wide international support.

"In this moment, I support all the Venezuelan people because they are a people who are suffering," the pope told reporters on a plane taking him back from Panama, where he made an appeal for a just solution and respect for human rights in Venezuela.

Talk about empty words.  Venezuela's opposition is making just that move for a "just solution" and "respect for human rights," and he's not offering them a word of support.

America is.  Brazil is.  Most of Latin America is.  The European Union is.  Israel is.  Australia is.  Georgia is.  Heck, even the Inter-American Development Bank is.  But not the pope.  His neutral position is exactly the same as the position of China, which has a large financial stake at risk if the dictatorship is sent packing.  The old gray men of the Forbidden City are hedging because they don't want to burn bridges if the whole thing falls apart, because, well, money.  The pope's neutrality is suggestive of this being all about soulless money, too, though it probably isn't.

No, instead of using the might and power of his office to speak out against some very real injustice – seriously, this is a no-brainer, not hard to do at all – he's just calling for a preservation of the status quo, and his words must mean a world of comfort to Venezuela's odious dictator, Nicolás Maduro, who can now yell he's got the pope on his side as his goons and foreign "advisers" keep their little torture operation going on and millions of poor continue to starve and flee.

The pope pays lip service to caring about the poor, even in his cowardly statements, but the hard fact is, the poor are going to starve so that Maduro can stay in power.  His socialist system has failed.  The money is worthless.  The money for imports is running out, meaning that the food is running out.  Medical care has become nonexistent.  Foreign aid has been blocked, a regime act so bad that Venezuelans are planning their next big protest around it.  Venezuelans are starving, with the poor hardest hit – they lost an average of 21 pounds under the Maduro regime last year, and 90% are in poverty.  At least three million have fled for their lives.  That's why it's the poor who are leading this protest – which is countrywide.

And the pope can't spare a word of support for these poor, who are unanimous in their loathing for this detested Cuban- and Russian-controlled military regime and are doing the only thing they possibly can, which is to peacefully protest it out of existence?  He should be praising these poor if he cares as much as he says he does about them, especially for not taking up arms, which, frankly, they have a right to do. 

He speaks of his fears of violence, which is pretty cowardly, given that the Venezuelan government's war on the poor has already started.  The violence is no longer to be feared; the violence is there.  Venezuela's people weren't interested in war, but under socialism, war was interested in them. 

With this insane "neutrality," about a matter no one can be neutral about, the pope doesn't seem to actually care about the poor, at least as far as getting them less poor is concerned.  The poor have already concluded that Maduro (an obviously well fed billionaire along with his cronies) isn't going to give them any food based on the threat that poses to his power, therefore Venezuela's poor will continue to see their children and old people starve or eat garbage if nothing is done.  They are responding to literally a mortal threat from an odious dictatorship that they didn't elect, and they are doing the only moral thing they can to save those babies, which is try to stop it.

The local bishops of Venezuela have been forthright about the horrors of socialism and the abuses of the regime.  Yet the pope is ignoring them, too.  It's baffling.  The Maduro regime probably is going to fall as momentum builds and the West separates the thug from Venezuela's money.  What is the pope going to say then?  He won't have anything to say.  For a Latin pope to be that out of moral ammunition is sad.  Nobody's going to call this guy after he passes "Pope Francis the Great."

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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David Carlin

Opinion, ,

Priests must courageously preach against sodomy

David Carlin
By

February 4, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) – Ideological defenders of homosexuality argue that all disapproval of homosexual conduct arises from "homophobia" and that all speech against homosexuality is, therefore, "hate speech." In the United States, in recent decades, this campaign against homophobic hate speech has been very effective. Almost never nowadays does anybody dare to utter a public word of disapproval against homosexuality.

What about the Catholic Church? Has the homosexualist campaign against "hate speech" had the effect of silencing the Church, of preventing it from communicating its ancient teaching that homosexual sodomy is sinful?

If my anecdotal information is reliable, it is a rare priest who gets into the pulpit at a weekend Mass and reminds his parishioners that homosexual conduct is seriously sinful. In some cases, probably not many, this silence on the part of priests is the result of their disagreement with Church teaching on the subject.

But in most cases, their silence is likely just a matter of discretion (the kind of "discretion" that is, as Falstaff says, the better part of valor). Why upset parishioners, many of whom disagree with the Church teaching on homosexuality, and not a few of whom have friends or family members who are gay or lesbian? Let sleeping dogs lie.

"Besides," the priest can say to himself every time he decides not to preach on this touchy topic, "everybody knows what the Church teaching is. No need for me to remind them."

This is true to a certain extent. The Catholic Church is famous for its super-strict sexual ethic, according to which the only morally legitimate sex is that which takes place between husband and wife without contraception and within the context of monogamous marriage. If you know that, then you know that the Church condemns homosexual conduct. Leaving aside the fact that some people don't actually know this (it's amazing what perfectly obvious things some people don't know), there is a distinction between believing something in the abstract and actually believing it.

Take, for example, another element of the Catholic sexual ethic: the teaching that marital contraception is a serious sin. "Everybody knows" in an abstract way that this is what the Church teaches, but not many American Catholics think this is what the Church actually believes. Why not? Because for a half-century, ever since Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the traditional Church teaching on this topic in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, parish priests have pretty much left the topic of contraception alone.

The priest knows that the younger married couples in his parish (if he's lucky enough, in many places, to have any younger couples) are almost certainly practicing contraception, or are getting ready to practice it as soon as they achieve their desired quota of children; and he knows that many of his older parishioner couples used to practice it when the wife was still young enough to get pregnant.

So it is not a sin that is rare and almost unheard-of among his parishioners, like murder or bank robbery. To sermonize against murder or bank robbery would indeed be a waste of time. But to sermonize against contraception would be to call the attention of parishioners to a sin commonly committed in the parish. Yet for the priest to sermonize against contraception would be to antagonize parishioners and make himself unpopular. Better, then, to remain silent on the topic.

But this silence, when it persists year after year, decade after decade, pastor after pastor, gradually persuades the average person in the pews that the Church isn't truly serious when it says that marital contraception is a serious sin. The Church must think that marital contraception is a minor sin or perhaps not a sin at all.

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), often called "the father of American Unitarianism," once wrote that Calvinism went into decline in and around Boston, not because Congregational ministers sermonized against Calvinist doctrines, but because they no longer preached in support of these doctrines. The anti-Calvinists didn't preach against the doctrines of predestination, total depravity, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, etc. They just remained silent about these matters. And then one day the best people in Boston woke up and realized that they were no longer orthodox Christians and had become Unitarians.

Something not very different from this is happening in American Catholicism with regard to homosexual behavior (not to mention other elements of Catholic sexual ethics). Perhaps no priest is preaching against the traditional Catholic teaching. But not many are preaching in support of it either. As a consequence, the moral disapproval of homosexual conduct that should be found and used to be found in the hearts and minds of Catholics is withering away.

And so the answer to the question I asked above – "Has the homosexualist effort to silence all criticism of homosexual behavior been effective among American Catholic priests?" – is a definite: YES.

The success of this "let's silence the Catholic Church" campaign imposes, it seems to me, a fourfold obligation upon Catholic bishops and priests to preach vigorously against homosexual conduct. This must be done:

(1) in order that the Catholic moral doctrine regarding homosexuality not fade away;

(2) in order to say in no uncertain terms to pro-gay ideologues and their anti-Christianity allies, "You will not silence us on this or any other Christian topic";

(3) in order to give encouragement to faithful Catholics, many of whom sometimes fear that the Church is about to discard or water-down this element and other elements of the Catholic faith. And

(4) to give encouragement to non-Catholic Christians who, whatever their disagreements with Rome, look to the Catholic Church as Christianity's Rock of Gibraltar.

Catholics and everybody else, both friend and foe, must be assured that the Catholic Church is not about to walk down the path that has been trod by liberal Protestant churches; that is, it is not about to discard one element after another of Christianity, thereby drawing closer and closer to atheism.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Andrew Cuomo
George J. Marlin

Opinion

Andrew Cuomo continues father Mario’s bloody legacy, but on steroids

George J. Marlin
By George Marlin

February 4, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) – In March 1970, the New York State Legislature repealed the anti-abortion law that had been on the books since 1830. The bill narrowly passed, due to support from several legislators from heavily Catholic districts who were subsequently defeated for their apostasy in the November elections.

Back in those days, the Catholic Church in New York possessed moral authority, and the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Terrence Cooke, was not afraid to use that power in the public square.

Cardinal Cooke led the charge to repeal the law that permitted unrestricted abortions up to 24 weeks. And in May 1972, the State Legislature did just that and reinstated the 1830 statute.

Sadly, Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoed the repeal of the liberalized abortion law shortly thereafter.

The New York abortion issue became moot, however, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

Fast forward forty years and abortion has once again made headlines in New York thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, a baptized Catholic and graduate of Archbishop Molly High School in Queens and Fordham University in the Bronx, has abandoned some major moral tenets of his faith.

In 2011, his first year in office, he engineered the passage of same-sex marriage legislation. "Marriage equality," he declared, "is a question of principle and the state shouldn't discriminate against same-sex couples who wish to get married."

Then on January 16, 2014, Cuomo announced, on a radio show, that Catholics and others with traditional moral views were unfit citizens who were no longer welcome in New York:

Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that's who they are and they're the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York because that's not who New Yorkers are.

It gets worse.

Cuomo has been off the rails on the subject of abortion. In his 2013 State of the State Address, he cast his lot with the radical pro-abortion lobby, screaming four times, "It's her body; it's her choice!"

Cuomo introduced legislation that would repeal the 1970 abortion law, and would codify abortion as a "fundamental right of privacy," a classification even the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected.

Cuomo's proposal was bottled up in the Republican-Conservative-controlled State Senate for four years. But last November, the GOP lost control of that legislative chamber.

A jubilant Cuomo boasted that his so-called Reproductive Health Act would be the first order of business before the newly organized Legislature in January 2019.

And so it was.

On January 22, the 46thanniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Legislature passed the bill, to thundering applause and wild laughter. Minutes later, to a standing ovation, Cuomo signed it into law.

This law goes far beyond Roe v. Wade. It removes abortion clauses from the penal code and "creates a right to the procedure under the public health law."

Although abortions are restricted to the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, exceptions are so broad (i.e., economic, social, or emotional distress) that anyone will be able to procure an abortion up to minutes before giving birth. In other words, the lives of unborn children who have viability outside the womb can now be terminated by doctors and non-doctors.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is very different from his father, Governor Mario Cuomo. The elder Cuomo tried to be St. Thomas More and Machiavelli at one and the same time.

In his famous 1984 Notre Dame speech on "Religious Belief and Public Morality," the More-Cuomo said "The Catholic Church is my spiritual home. My head is there and my hope. ... [and] I accept the Church's teaching on abortion." But the Machiavelli-Cuomo gave himself an "out" by claiming that as a public official, he could not impose his private religious views on the rest of society.

Mario Cuomo demonstrated the absurdity of his position every time he vetoed death penalty legislation that was approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature and was supported by over 60 percent of New Yorkers. Cuomo imposed his personal moral objections even though there was public opinion against him.

Andrew Cuomo is vastly different from his father. There is no duality; he prefers to be a Machiavellian and he promotes whatever works to advance his political ambitions.

In fact, it has been reported that when he was Clinton's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, one of his first acts "was to distribute the book by Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, to his key aides ... telling them: 'This is my leadership philosophy.'"

Cuomo uses or spurns the Church when it suits his political ends. While he discarded Church teaching on abortion, he embraced and praised Pope Francis's message concerning the needy and the marginalized. And when the pope visited St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015, Cuomo made sure he was in a front pew. It was great political theater for the governor.

Since Andrew Cuomo has dismissed the fundamental Church teaching that all persons have the right to life because they are made in the image of God, maybe it's time the Church dismissed him.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that "Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged."

So, at the very least, the bishops of New York should announce publicly that because Cuomo has caused public scandal, he must be denied Communion.

Or the bishops, if they have the mettle, might call Cuomo in and point out the canonical penalties they are prepared to impose if he does not renounce his heresy. Whether or not that includes excommunication is a matter for canon lawyers.

But something really must be done, lest New York's bishops confirm the growing perception that the Catholic Church is a compromised paper tiger.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Cardinal Zen from the cover of his Jan. 2019 book "For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent" www.ignatius.com
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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Cdl. Zen in new book: Vatican’s China ‘strategy was wrong, all about compromise and surrender’

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson
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Cardinal Zen's book: For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent www.ignatius.com

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen has strongly criticized in a new book the Vatican's recent dealings with China, stating that the "strategy was wrong," adding that it was "all about compromise and surrender." He has also revealed that the troubling China policy did not start with Pope Francis. 

In "For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent" released by Ignatius Press on Jan. 25, Cardinal Zen describes in detail the history of the Vatican's shifting China policy over the course of the last decades.

After he praises Cardinal Jozef Tomko, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP) from 1985 until 2001, for his clarity in dealing with China, Cardinal Zen also makes it clear that, since Tomko's end of tenure in 2001, the Vatican has been sending confusing messages and has made compromising decisions when dealing with Communist China. Zen writes with honesty and open disclosure about the inner conflicts in the Vatican regarding China.

The book contains a set of eight lectures delivered by the Chinese cardinal in Hong Kong in 2017, the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's own 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics which presents “some guidelines concerning the life of the Church and the task of evangelization in China.” Zen – the former bishop of Hong Kong – had counseled Pope Benedict with regard to that official letter, and he describes in detail how the letter came into existence and how some members of the Roman Curia tried to skew the Pope's own message. As a matter of fact, Cardinal Zen describes that, especially since 2001, there exists a group of curial members from the CEP and the Secretary of State who promote a sort of Ostpolitik which seeks more compromise with the Communist government in China, to the detriment of the Catholic faithful.

As will be seen, Pope Benedict, though personally supporting Cardinal Zen in his efforts to resist the Communist influence in the Catholic Church in China, also showed himself too lenient toward those curial members who were working against Cardinal Zen. When seeing problems with the Vatican's new China policy, “I brought it to the attention of the Holy Father, but it seems that not even the Pope could do anything about it,” is Cardinal Zen's polite, but discouraging comment. On another occasion, when the Pope did not want to confront those in the Vatican who opposed Cardinal Zen, Pope Benedict XVI limply said to Cardinal Zen: “Sometimes one does not want to offend a person.”

Overall, the book is marked by an unusual honesty and frankness. For the sake of a truthful assessment of the history of the Vatican's dealing with China, Cardinal Zen does not shy away from quoting private conversations with Pope Benedict XVI and from secret Vatican meetings concerning China. Yet, this disclosure is meant to be for the good of the Church, for the sake of a policy that truly protects the Catholics in China and defends the truth of the Catholic Faith.

China's complexity

Throughout the book, Cardinal Zen makes it clear that the situation in China is very complex, and he insists upon drawing a differentiated picture that does justice also to those Catholics who are now members of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) under the influence of the Communists. However, Zen insists that, since the foundation of the CPCA in 1957, this organization has been schismatic, inasmuch as it is under the complete influence of the Communists and inasmuch as it has been consecrating bishops without any permission or mandate from Rome.

What Cardinal Zen is able to show is that the Chinese Communists, however, have always been sensitive to their being seen as having the support of the Catholics, and that they tend to be less bold and oppressive when they feel some counter-pressure from Rome. That is to say, the more lenient Rome has shown itself to be toward demands from China, the bolder the Communists have become in their intrusion into Catholic affairs. They at once exploit what Fritz Kraemer calls a "provocative weakness" on the part of the Church.

As Zen says, there is “faithfulness not only within the underground Church, but also among most people in the official Church.” (He taught at different seminaries in official seminaries in China and thus has first-hand experience here.) Even though Cardinal Zen sees that there are still many well-meaning Catholics in the CPCA, he insists upon fighting back against the undue influence of Communism in Catholics' affairs and he insists that the confusion of the faithful should not be increased. That is to say, Rome should not send the message that it is now acceptable to accept the Communist rule over Catholic affairs. Yet, too many times – even before Pope Francis – this acquiescence has been practically done.

Cardinal Zen shows in his book that a sort of confusion has been exponentially increasing in the last decades. Rome has been sending messages to China that have encouraged faithful bishops to make some essential compromises with China, even coming out into the open and submitting themselves to the rule of the Communists. These developments have had the effect that the loyal Catholics in China from the underground have lost trust in those compliant bishops, but they also are confused as to what the Vatican is actually intending.

Problems prior to Pope Francis

This description of confusion and of discouragement unmistakably already pertains to the time before the pontificate of Pope Francis. For example, Zen says that, under Cardinal Tomko's successor, “some of the Bishops ordained on January 6, 2000, were too easily legitimized.” They had asked for forgiveness from the Holy Father, but such a legitimization had usually to be granted only after a thorough examination of whether such an illegitimately consecrated bishop truly had the Catholic Faith. For, the illegitimate consecrations in the year 2000 have certainly been “a clear challenge to the Pope's authority.”

When, in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, appreciating Zen's “zeal for the Church in China,” made him a cardinal, Cardinal Zen told the Chinese Catholics that he himself “had received the scarlet vestment in their name because it represented the red of the blood of the martyrs.” Benedict thereby wanted Zen to help him with China. But at the same time, the new head of the CEP – it was then Cardinal Cardinal Ivan Dias – tried to slow Zen down, telling him: “Don't forget that the Communists are also our brothers.” Cardinal Zen replied that the bishops who are jailed by the Communists are his brothers, too, and asked on whose side he, Zen, should stand. It was clear to Cardinal Zen that this prelate “wanted me to stay out of it.” When Zen came to Rome for a visit, neither the CEP nor the Secretary of State even tried to meet with him. “We are very busy,” they said.

Pope Benedict – “a Pope who loves China” – then tried, in this atmosphere, to write his 2007 Letter to the Chinese Catholics, restating some fundamental aspects of how to deal with the situation in China, such as the insistence upon the Pope's authority with regard to episcopal consecrations. While Cardinal Zen honors the Letter to Chinese Catholics, a careful reader will notice that he does not always agree with the tone of appeasement, even under Benedict, something he politely calls the “overly tolerant attitude of the Holy See.”

“The Holy See has not always reacted forcefully,” Zen says, when dealing, for example, with illegitimate consecrations of new bishops by the Chinese Communists. (Important to know in this context is that Cardinal Zen says that a certain Mr. Liu Bainian, the powerful layman who effectively runs the official Catholic Church in China, is a high-ranking official in the Communist Party.) By legitimizing too many of the illegitimately consecrated bishops under Communist rule, the Vatican is again sending a confusing message to the faithful Catholics in China, says Zen. The impression is made that “sooner  or later you will be legitimized,” thus implicitly inviting future illegitimate episcopal consecrations. Zen states: “I brought it to the attention of the Holy Father, but it seems that not even the Pope could do anything about it.”

Importantly, Cardinal Zen shows how the 2007 papal letter to the Chinese Catholics was mistranslated – and then and thus manipulated – and that it took Cardinal Zen a full year to get the Vatican to post on its website a correct Chinese translation (and this manifestly against the will of the CEP). There was also published an explanatory note to the somewhat lengthy 2007 Letter, and this note contains some strange comments, indeed, such as: “Some, caring for the good of the faithful and looking far into the future, have accepted to be illegitimately ordained.” Zen then asks: “If this is the case, does it mean that those who did not accept illegitimate ordination do not care about the good of the faithful? Are they shortsighted?” (Later, he calls such compliant talk “grossly unfair.”)

Strategy was wrong

Cardinal Zen is very forceful in his critique of the overall Vatican policy. He says: “the strategy was wrong, all about compromise and surrender [....] The Curia has always tried to please the Chinese government.” He adds that “they didn't listen to us, who come from the front line.” But the Holy Father, he explains “could not say who was right and who was wrong.” Zen says that “we could see the gap between the Pope's way of thinking and that of the people who were supposed to support it, and who instead distorted it.” Why this is the case, Cardinal Zen further explains when he writes “Pope Benedict is a saint, a great theologian, but has weakness: he is too good, too humble, too tolerant.” 

Cardinal Zen reveals that he said at some point to the Pope: “Holy Father, I can't take it anymore. You want me to help you with the Church in China, but I only have words; you have the authority and you are not helping me.”

Cardinal Zen discusses in detail  this 2007 Letter which he calls a “great gift.” The main argument of Zen is that a reconciliation between the official Church and the underground Church in China is not possible, as long as the Communists try to influence and to steer the Church's inner life and suppress the free exercise of the Catholic Faith. Therefore, it is not a proper reconciliation between two parties, but an attempt at telling one party to stop influencing the other.

He explains that he saw in the draft of the Letter an “excessively laudatory” tone, and Benedict indeed removed a specific quote that Zen had singled out (he followed also other suggestions of Zen). On the question of “good will” on both sides, Zen says that “the deadlock can last for a long time, and perhaps we can never reach a good outcome.” If this is the case, the most important aspect should be to help the Catholics in China to preserve the full Catholic Faith.

“Harmony and understanding,” Zen said, “cannot come at the expense of the truth.”

Cardinal Zen insists that the Communist government “shows no respect” even for the bishops of the official Church, whom they control completely. Often, the Communists even force these bishops to partake in illegitimate episcopal consecrations, forcing them physically to attend. And: “They act as if the Pope does not exist.”  

Cardinal Zen discusses also the question as to whether or not the clergymen of the underground Church should now come out from hiding and get officially acknowledged. Pope Benedict leaves this question open in his 2007 Letter, saying that it is up to each bishop to decide, but that the faithful should obey their bishop if he decides to do so. “The Pope did not rule out the possibility of doing so,” Zen says, “but neither did he encourage it.” Some, however, afterwards thought that the Pope actually had encouraged a coming out.

Cardinal Zen shows that, in most cases, this “coming out” is to the detriment of the Faith, because the Communists will thereby further take control. “It is very difficult to come out into the open.” Cardinal Zen sees that the Pope's attitude here had been detrimentally influenced by the CEP which had even encouraged one auxiliary bishop – Bishop An of Baoding – to come out into the open. However, as Zen shows, Bishop An “who had suffered for many years in prison for his faith” then became “a blind follower of the government.” Zen states here that “priests and believers who now abandon the Bishop [An], guided by their consciences, sorrowfully have no other choice.” They cannot follow their bishop.

Using even stronger words, Zen adds: “In the current situation, going from an underground to an official condition is, for all intents and purposes, unlawful because the official condition is a schismatic structure.” As can be seen here, Zen takes a stronger stance than Pope Benedict himself.

A too lenient attitude on the side of the Vatican encourages the Communists to be bold, says Zen. An example is that the Communists openly celebrated – shortly after the publication of the Pope's 2007 Letter – the fiftieth anniversary of the first illegitimate episcopal consecration in China (in 1958), with many Catholic bishops and priests present, “as if the Pope's Letter had never been written!” Cardinal Zen then said to the Pope, in the presence of Cardinal Bertone (the Secretary of State at the time): “It is all the fault of Ostpolitik. The willingness on the part of the Holy See to yield has encouraged the Chinese government to be more and more arrogant.”

Defender of the Catholic Chinese

Thus, Cardinal Zen shows himself to be a defender of the Catholic Chinese who yearn to keep the Faith intact and to remain united with the hierarchical Church as founded by Christ. “How can we deliver the flock into the mouth of rapacious wolves?” is the piercing question that Cardinal Zen poses with regard to our now leaving Catholics in the hands of Communist-controlled structures. He warns us, saying that “in the underground community the Bishops are becoming fewer and fewer.”

This Chinese prelate is to be honored for his speaking the plain truth, even if it wounds and hurts, for the sake of helping the Catholic Church in China. His book will help Catholics to learn more about the history of this long-lasting conflict with China, and it will help them assess the new approach of Ostpolitik, as proposed now by Pope Francis, which was, however, partly started long before his own pontificate.

For sure, Cardinal Zen warns us against Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the current Secretary of State, whom he calls “arrogant and despotic, interested more in diplomatic (worldly) success than in the triumph of the Faith.” Zen says that Parolin “got rid of me.” Thus, he concludes: “The ones we fear are Pope Francis' collaborators, infatuated with Ostpolitik.”

When asked in a January 31 interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo about the response of the Catholics in China to the new Vatican agreement, Cardinal Zen said: “They say: 'Horrible', a voice of despair, of confusion.”

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Why priest is wrong for slamming parents for bringing children to church

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a blog post on January 26, Fr. Michael White got himself into hot water by criticizing parents who bring their young children to Mass. 

In an article titled “Why we don’t encourage (little) kids in Church” he wrote: “There is something in Catholic Church culture that insists kids belong in the sanctuary [church?] for Mass. I must say I don’t totally understand it, but it is definitely a Catholic thing. Part of the thinking is that sheer exposure to the service imbues them with grace and other good things in some kind of effortless and mindless sort of way. But if they can’t understand the readings and they cannot take Communion, it is unclear what they are ‘receiving’ Sacramentally.”

Fr. White, who is pastor of Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, even quotes Scripture to back himself up: “Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women and those children old enough to understand” (Nehemiah 8:3).

I was puzzled by this quotation because it appears to contradict another with which Fr. White should be familiar, as it is quoted with approval by Christ (and in relation to children taking part in what amounts to a liturgical event: Christ’s entry into Jerusalem): “Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (Psalm 8.3: see Matthew 21.15-16).

Even more directly comparable is Joel 2.15-7:

Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber.

“Those who suck at the breasts” are invited to the Prophet Joel’s penitential liturgy. Are they really excluded from the High Priest Ezra’s solemn reading of the Law?

The puzzle over these conflicting passages evaporates, however, when one notices that the word “children” does not actually appear in the text of Nehemiah. The Latin says simply “in conspectu virorum et mulierum et sapientium”: “in the sight of men and of women and of the wise”. Looking at the Bible Hub where multiple translations can be seen side by side, it is clear that Fr. White went to a lot of trouble to find one which mentions children. It is possible that “men and women” refers to Jews, and the extra clause refers to sympathetic non-Jews. In any case, if the meaning is unclear, we must refer back to precedents, for Nehemiah is re-enacting the solemn reading of the Law found in Deuteronomy 31.12:

And the people being all assembled together, both men and women, children and strangers, that are within thy gates.

(See also Joshua 8.35 and 2 Kings 23.1-2.) It is hardly plausible to claim that Nehemiah wanted to exclude those explicitly included by Moses.

A lot has been said about Fr. White’s unfortunate post, but I would like to add two things.

First, a lot of people engaging in this debate on the anti-infant side do not appear to realize that by excluding small children from church they are also excluding the mother, and in practice very probably the father and older siblings. Infants ‘at the breast’ cannot be left at home while the family goes to church; nor can toddlers. It may be possible for parents to go to different Masses with different members of the family; sometimes it is not. Anyway, do we really want to prevent married couples from going to Mass together? Just how inconvenient do we want to make going to Mass?

Second, Fr. White professes not to know what small children ‘get out of’ Mass. This invites the question: what did they get out of baptism as babies? Fr. White would probably respond: an objectively efficacious sacrament. But blessings are also objectively efficacious, to those not in a state of sin.

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not place a minimum age when He blessed “infants” and “little ones”, and He rebuked His disciples for trying to prevent this (Mark 10.13-16; Luke 18.15-16).

Indeed, Christ began his ministry of blessing tiny ones early, by blessing St John the Baptism when he was in his mother’s womb (Luke 1.41). The Mass and many of our other Catholic liturgies include numerous blessings, which as part of the Church’s public prayer, may be said to come from Christ Himself.

What we seem to have here is a conflict between an Enlightenment conception of the liturgy as something which has to be “understood” in a verbal, propositional way, and a conception of liturgical actions as having objective importance and an objective effectiveness on those taking part in them. As the liturgical scholar Louis Bouyer explained it:

the main business of the liturgy is not to teach us this or that lesson easily converted into pat formulas; it is to place the faithful, without them quite knowing how, into a certain state of mind which it would be perfectly fruitless to try to recreate by explaining it.

The liturgy must be allowed to do this over many years; it must soak into us. This means, of course, that it must be beautiful, since we are not going to be receptive to something which is ugly. You can’t let something soak into you when you are gripping the pew and inwardly begging the music to stop.

We all know about the receptivity of children to music: women who have experienced pregnancy can attest this phenomenon directly. Becoming familiar with Gregorian Chant and other sacred music is just one example of the ways “them that suck at the breasts” can gain a foundation for liturgical participation of later years. 

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New CDC report shows staggering increase in ‘trans’-identifying youth

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By Jonathon van Maren

February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Every poll for five years has been showing that the number of teens (and even children) identifying as “transgender” is climbing astronomically, but this latest number – reported by the Washington Post yesterday – is still staggering when you consider the implications:

Transgender teens — those whose gender identity does not align with their biological sex at birth — now represent almost 2 percent of U.S. high school students, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That conclusion stems from the agency’s analysis of data based on a nationally representative sample of 131,901 public school students in grades nine through 12, who were asked a variety of questions about gender identity and personal health and safety issues.

Even the researchers at the CDC were obviously taken aback by their findings, and their resulting recommendations are concerning. Without delving into why this is the case, the CDC reports that “transgender youth,” a broad and hard-to-define category when you factor in the amount of current confusion surrounding gender and sexuality, face far more physical danger and bullying than their peers, and that this reality has understandably devastating consequences. The CDC also vaguely reports that transgender youth feel more “unsafe.”

Then comes the bombshell: Nearly 35 percent report having tried to commit suicide in the past 12 months, the CDC reports. In response to this, the authors of the report “noted that steps should be taken to create safe learning environments and provide access to competent mental-health care and that ‘continued research into the health of transgender youths and development of effective intervention strategies are warranted.’”

When teens are trying to kill themselves, it is quite obviously true that more research is warranted. I fear, however, that any such research will be rigorously policed and constrained by the ideology currently being imposed on our culture by radical trans activists. Trans activists are not interested in the truth, as was so clearly highlighted by their vicious attacks on Dr. Lisa Littman and journalist Jesse Singal for publishing research and reports that questioned their cruel obsession with affirming the confusion of children – and Littman and Singal are not even opposed to transgender ideology on principle.

It is not surprising that children and teens struggling with gender confusion might be afflicted with more mental health struggles than children and teens who are comfortable in their bodies. There are obviously many factors that contribute to gender confusion, and anyone with the best interests of these young people in mind would support research into how this confusion can be reduced, how children can be made more comfortable in their bodies, and how their mental health issues can be adequately addressed. But trans activists have already proven that any research that interferes with their ideological agenda will be smeared as “bigotry” with the help of the obedient media, and the unfortunate academics and psychiatrists who dared to utter such heresies will be targeted.

If you think that is an exaggeration, I would encourage anyone who is interested in getting a grasp of how the transgender movement has swept our culture to pick up a copy of Ryan T. Anderson’s phenomenal and sobering 2018 book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. In fact, Anderson points out that sex change surgeries, which are now being referred to in the mainstream press as “sex confirmation surgeries,” have virtually no impact whatsoever on reducing the high rate of suicide in this group, despite the fact that these surgeries are presented as life-saving healthcare by trans activists. This evidence, of course, is either dismissed, ignored, or condemned.

In the coming months, we will see trans activists use the CDC report to come after Christian schools. Over the past several weeks, we have seen progressives turn their attention to Christian institutions of learning, which threaten their cultural hegemony and iron grip on the minds of young people. Karen Pence was condemned for teaching at a school which holds to the Christian view of sexuality, and the New York Times began trawling for dirt on Christian schools under the guise of a story on the #ExposeChristianSchools hashtag. This report will now be used to claim that a reasonable, evidence-based approach to gender confusion is causing trans suicides, and that as such, Christian schools – and Christians themselves – pose a danger to “trans” youth.

Progressives and trans activists will not be satisfied with allowing Christians to withdraw from the public school system and set up their own communities and schools. They want to force their ideas on all of us, and they want the children most of all. They are currently strategizing how to attack Christian schools, and you can be sure that this CDC report is one way they’ll do it.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his second episode, he and former porn actress Jessica Neely discuss the truth about the pornography industry. You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below:

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